Universal gives 'Indian Summer' an early winter: movie news recap

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The Independent Culture

In the movie news recap for Tuesday, October 20: Universal Pictures cancels Cate Blanchett vehicle Indian Summer over budget concerns; Chinese propaganda film Jianguo Daye becomes the country's highest grossing local film; and Monica Bellucci stars alongside Vanessa Redgrave in the Canadian-German production The Whistleblower.

Universal gives Indian Summer an early winter
Mainly due to budgetary constraints, Universal Pictures has cancelled the historical drama Indian Summer before the start of filming, according to entertainment trade magazine Variety. Oscar-winning Australian actress Cate Blanchett was to star as Edna Mountbatten, wife of the last viceroy of the British Indian Empire, in a film detailing the final days of Britain's colonial rule over India. The script to Indian Summer was an adaptation of British historian Alex von Tunzelmann's 2007 book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire. Though American director Joe Wright was to begin filming in early 2010, Universal ultimately balked at the $30-$40 million budget. Both Blanchett and Wright remain attached to the film until more favorable market conditions arise.

Jianguo Daye becomes China's highest-grossing local film ever
Jianguo Daye ( The Founding of a Republic), a 2009 Chinese Communist propaganda film, has earned over $58.4 million since its September 16 release, becoming the highest-grossing Chinese film in the country's history, according to the China Film Group. Jianguo Daye, which tells the story of the Chinese civil war and the 1949 establishment of the People's Republic of China, was also distributed in more Chinese movie theaters than any other in Chinese film history. American blockbusters Titanic and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen still outgross Jianguo Daye at the present moment.

Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave join cast of The Whistleblower
Italian actress Monica Bellucci, Oscar-winning English actress Vanessa Redgrave and American actor David Strathairn have been cast in the Canada-Germany coproduction The Whistleblower, according to film magazine site Screen International. Danish actors Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Anna Anissimova will also feature in the film, which tells the true story of an American police officer volunteering in war-torn Bosnia, and discovering a sex-trafficking ring. Ukrainian director Larysa Kondracki is set to begin filming The Whistleblower in Bucharest, Romania, on October 26.


Actress Laura Dern meets the Little Fockers
American actress Laura Dern will portray an elementary school headmistress in the  Meet the Fockers sequel Little Fockers, according to entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter. Directed by American filmmaker Paul Weitz, Little Fockers reunites most of the principals of 2004's original Meet the Fockers family comedy, including American actors Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson and Blythe Danner. American actress Jessica Alba is another recent addition to the cast. Little Fockers is scheduled for a July 30, 2010 release.

Michelle Yeoh commits to upcoming Su Chaopin thriller, Jianyu Jianghu
Malaysian Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh has signed to star in the tentatively titled romantic kung-fu thriller Jianyu Jianghu ( Rain of Swords in the Martial Arts World), according to entertainment trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter. The Hong Kong-Taiwan film production begins shooting on October 30 in Shanghai under Taiwanese writer-director Su Chao-Pin. Yeoh, former star of the Oscar winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will portray an assassin romantically involved with the son of a man whose grandfather was murdered by her gang. Jianyu Jianghu also features Korean actor Jung Woo-Sung, Chinese actor Wang Xueqi, and Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu.

Studio desires Donnersmarck for Angelia Jolie vehicle The Tourist
Spyglass Entertainment made Oscar-winning German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck the studio's front-runner to direct The Tourist, starring Oscar-winning American actress Angelina Jolie, according to entertainment trade publication Variety. Though von Donnersmarck has yet to officially enter into talks, production on this American remake of the 2005 French thriller Anthony Zimmer would begin in February 2010 should he agree to direct. Jolie plays an Interpol agent who has a dalliance with a clueless American tourist in order to snare a criminal who was once Jolie's lover. Australian actor Sam Worthington portrays the tourist.