Screen Talk - A rap Phoenix rises
Friday 23 January 2009
Living and working in Hollywood can be a strange, rarefied existence, so it should come as no surprise when chums end up making movies about each other.
The latest example features the actor Joaquin Phoenix, brother of the late River, who is embarking on a new path. As a rapper. The twice Oscar-nominated Joaquin, who memorably portrayed Johnny Cash in 'Walk the Line', has enlisted the producer talents of Sean Combs, aka Diddy, to help launch his new career. And his pal Casey Affleck, younger brother of Ben, the former fiancé of Combs's ex Jennifer Lopez, is directing a documentary film following their efforts. Just don't mention vanity projects to any of them.
The buzz is building on Roman Polanski's adaptation of Robert Harris's novel 'The Ghost'. The movie, in pre-production in Germany, is being adapted by Harris with Polanski lending a hand. The tale of a ghostwriter hired to finish the memoir of a former British prime minister stars Pierce Brosnan as the fictional ex-PM, Olivia Williams as his wife, Kim Cattrall (right) as the private secretary and Ewan McGregor as the ghostwriter.
Funny is money
Will Smith, one of few stars trusted by the studios to open a movie, recently made a telling plea. At the British premiere of 'Seven Pounds', the actor told fans that if they supported his latest dramatic turn, he promised "to make a comedy next time". In the US, 'Seven Pounds' stumbled to $15m on its opening weekend. Contrast that to Smith playing it for laughs in 'Hancock' as a drunken superhero trying to get back on track; that swept to $60m on its opening weekend.
Dog has its day
The power of Will Smith the star was on display at my local Odeon last weekend. This was the week that Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire' became one of the biggest entertainment stories of the year so far. Until early Saturday evening it was 'Seven Pounds' that was programmed on the biggest screen. However, as the queues for 'Slumdog' snaked round the block, the cinema had to effect a quick switch – even though Sony Pictures usually has more muscle than French-owned Pathé Distribution, which is releasing 'Slumdog'.
All wound up
The battle over the adaptation of 'Watchmen' (right), one of the most celebrated comic-book series, didn't have its day in court after all. After weeks of legal posturing, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros reached agreement, and both will benefit should the film be a hit. Fox gets a slice of the release pie; Warner gets to show the world its $150m gamble. 'Watchmen' is due to open in the UK on 6 March.
The best TV shows and films coming to the servicetv
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Poldark star Heida Reed says show is not that racy: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
House of Cards season 3: Claire Underwood is based on an eagle, says Robin Wright
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut