Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ubiquity: The Sweet & The Sour

Starring in several films that arrive in short succession can do wonders for a rise to fame, comeback, critical or Oscar momentum, Q rating, and salary (if you're in demand, up goes the asking price). But a heavy workload also has a dark side: overexposure, high profile failure, increased risk of miscasting. Here, from a 'what's in the pipeline?' investigation, are 18 actors you'll be seeing thrice or more in movie theaters this year. None of them are quite in Jude Law 2004 or Scarlett Johansson 2005 territory (I mean, we don't think they've been cloned) but they'll be around. A lot. Commence rejoicing or the gnashing of teeth ...depending on how you feel just reading their names.


(alpha order)

Christian Bale leads last year's festival hit Rescue Dawn from crazy/brilliant Werner Herzog into theaters soon. Then Bale will lend his services to another auteur genius, Todd Haynes, as one of seven "Bob Dylan"s in I'm Not There. Finally, he'll lock horns with ever irritable, ever horn-lockable Russell Crowe in James Mangold's western 3:10 to Yuma. Gretchen Mol plays Bale's wife. Bettie Page and Patrick Bateman in the same bed. Eep.

Vinnie Barbarino Feel free to curse at the heavens or Quentin Tarantino ...either way. America's #2 Most Beloved Scientologist is never going away. He's back to torture us with not one, not two, but three gruesome film objects. From least to most terrifying they are: Lonely Hearts in which he tracks down serial killers Salma Hayek and Jared Leto, Hairspray in which he'll scare us to death in full drag, and 'The Apocalypse' more commonly known as Wild Hogs. Hey, it feels like the end of the world to me. In it you will see not just John Travolta but two other former sitcom stars (Martin Lawrence & Tim Allen) that you had never hoped to see again. None of them are funny. And, worse yet, they'll all be naked.

Adam Brody, freed from The OC hottie prison, begins phase 2 of his career. This part is called: "I want to be a movie star" It kicked off with two Sundance ensemble entries The Ten (also starring busy Gretchen Mol) and Smiley Face (with Anna Faris) but the big test case will undoubtedly be his leading role in In the Land of Women in which he'll have to hold the center while not getting blown off the screen by the dramedic antics of a whole slew of talented and/or desperate women like Meg Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lindsay Sloane ('Big Red' from Bring it On! , yessss) and Kristen Stewart (Jodie's daughter from Panic Room all grown up) among them.

Chris Evans was the best part the only good part of Fantastic Four so he's reprising his role as 'The Human Torch' in the awkwardly titled Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Contrary to popular belief, the character was named The Human Torch even before Evans took off his shirt. In addition to flaming on for that one he'll court even more geek fandom with voicework for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He's part of the activist ensemble in Battle in Seattle (with Susan Sarandon, Channing Tatum, and many more). He'll be smoldering next to subtler sexpots like Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh in the sci-fi flick Sunshine. Finally, to underline my point, I think you should know that he'll actually be playing a character named "Hottie" in The Nanny Diaries opposite Scarlett Johansson. I'm not making this up.

James Franco's breakthrough year was supposed to have arrived years ago. But you can't say he gives up easily. In addition to his third crack at Spider-Man he'll be popping up with some regularity. He's in the Sundance drama about an infamous child abuse case An American Crime, the Bruce Lee obsessed Finishing The Game, gazing at Sienna Miller in Camille and co-starring in Paul Haggis's latest drama In the Valley of Elah.

Paul Giamatti , like Chris Evans, co-stars in The Nanny Diaries but he is not playing a character named "Hottie". After that adaptation, he'll team up or fight against (I think the latter) Clive Owen in the imaginatively titled actioner Shoot 'Em Up. Towards the end of the year he's playing Santa Clause. You knew that already. The teaser for Fred Claus, with Vince Vaugh and Giamatti bantering on a couch, is already playing in your multiplex.

Nicole Kidman is back. Presumably you're very excited. She'll bring Daniel Craig with her twice, first in the sci-fi thriller Invasion and then for the holidays in the fantasy epic The Golden Compass. She'll also be headlining Noah Baumbach's Squid and Whale follow up, Margot at the Wedding. She's Margot. Duh.

The Lovely Laura Linney has five films coming your way. The Savages and Jindabyne have already won her raves though they've yet to open here. She'll hopefully raise the acting games of young blonde hit & missers like Ryan Phillipe in Breach and Scarlett Johansson in The Nanny Diaries. Late in the year she'll appear in James Ivory's latest The City of Your Final Destination.

James McAvoy got shafted in the praise department despite film-carrying work in The Last King of Scotland, so he's leaving soon-to-be Oscar'ed co-star Forest Whitaker behind for ensembles and starlets. First up is Starter For Ten where he plays a university student. Then he'll be staring at Christina Ricci's pig-nose in Penelope (again -I'm not making any of this up). He joins Anne Hathaway for the Jane Austen biopic Becoming Jane and closes the year sharing the screen with four ladies in the Oscar hopeful Atonement which comes from the director and star of Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright & Keira Knightley.

Julianne Moore and I have been going through some rough times in our star/fan romance. She's busy trying to win me back. Her first attempt comes with the Nic Cage sci-fi action flick Next (which I've dismissed discussed already). In a very promising move to restore sanity to her "dead children" based career, she'll be reuniting with her premier director, Todd Haynes (who led her to shattering greatness in both Safe and Far From Heaven) for a supporting role in I'm Not There. Julie wraps up the year with an Oscar bid chewing the scenery as doomed heiress Barbara Daly Baekaland in Savage Grace. Will she receive a fifth nomination for her troubles?

Mandy Moore is 'asking for it'. If you've seen the trailer for Because I Said So you'd know. And who hasn't seen that trailer (speaking of ubiquity). She's also part of the dark romantic comedy Dedication and the light Robin Williams comedy License to Wed. At some point, wormholes be damned, she'll pop up in the uncategorizable Southland Tales from the director of Donnie Darko.

Samantha Morton wins the Jude Law honorary award for most films ready for your viewing pleasure. She's got six titles on the way. She's still best known to audiences as the Minority Report telepath and she'll have ample opportunity to show off that otherworldly acting gift in '07. She might have an Oscarable role playing Mary Queen of Scots, Cate Blanchett's enemy, in The Golden Age. Morton is part of a critical darling ensemble in the latest from mindbending Charlie Kauffman which is called Synecdoche, New York. In addition to those high profile outings, she's got four smaller films which should be hitting your neighborhood arthouse if the distribution gods are kind. Sundance brought her acclaim for two titles: Expired (with Jason Patric) and Longford (with the great Jim Broadbent). She'll play Marilyn Monroe in the latest oddity from Mr. Chlöe Sevigny, Harmony Korine (Gummo) which is called Mister Lonely. And finally, she'll be starring in the debut feature for music video legend Anton Corbijn called Control which is a biopic of Ian Curtis, the suicidal lead singer of Joy Division.

La Pfeiffer is (almost) back. Stardust, I Could Never Be Your Woman and Hairspray. If this blog suddenly stops being updated it means I have died of happiness.

Natalie Portman is already filming The Darjeeling Limited for the inimitable Wes Anderson but that might not arrive until 2008. I'm not sure what happened to Goya's Ghost which was supposed to arrive last year but Natalie isn't one to sit around and wait ('I don’t sleep mother f***er off that yak and bourbon'). In the meantime enjoy her in Wong Kar Wai's first English language feature My Blueberry Nights and Zach Helms Stranger Than Fiction follow-up Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Undoubtedly the big draw will be her battle with Scarlett Johansson for the hand of King Eric Bana in The Other Boleyn Girl. Natalie Vs. Scarlett. Did they have mud wrestling in the 1500s? I think it's safe to say that everyone will want to see that throwdown. Place your bets.

Alan Rickman hasn't been seen all that often outside of his frequent Professor Snape gigs for Harry Potter. He's doing that again but bringing three more characters to the screen, too. He's the lead in Snow Cake with Sigourney Weaver and a prickly Nobel winner in Nobel Son. In the winter he'll torment Johnny Depp as 'Judge Turpin' in the long awaited Stephen Sondheim adaptation, Sweeney Todd.

Tim Roth will always be "Pumpkin" to me from Pulp Fiction. He's been working steadily but will he see a revived critical interest in his career? I'm guessing that's a 'hell yes'. Among the juicy offerings will be lead roles for two masters in Michael Haneke's Funny Games and Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth. He's also in the ensembles of Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights and some kind of black plague centered period romantic comedy called Virgin Territory --I don't understand that description either, sorry.

Mark Ruffalo ohmygodthisarticleislong. OK. So Mark. This one's for you Arden. Not that he doesn't already work a lot but you'll be seeing him in two heavy-breathing dramas Reservation Road and Margaret which are both about grieving and death, you know, light stuff. He'll also be uncharacteristically not the sexiest one in Zodiac which arrives early next month.

Tom Wilkinson is intermittently awesome. So I'm crossing my fingers that his supporting stints in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, the dark comedy Dedication, or the legal drama Michael Clayton opposite George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, will be something to get excited about. Can we get another In the Bedroom level performance? Sure do hope so.

THE END (whew)

Post Script: Movies that are intending to arrive this calendar year may disappear from the schedule completely. Other actors may suddenly emerge as the year's ubiquitous stars. All things are subject to change. Especially in Hollywood.

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If you liked this article, consider looking around the film experience or the blog itself. Interested in new stars for 2007? Check out Abbie Cornish or Eddie Redmayne. We also have Oscar commentary and predictions. Or see some of our greatest hits like "all hail the queen" on Helen Mirren's awards steamroll, "A History Of...Angelina Jolie" from teen model to globetrotting superstar, "Far From Heaven vs. Brokeback Mountain.

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41 comments:

Kamikaze Camel said...

The Lovely Laura Linney is Lovely in Jindabyne. Really really wonderful. Her line readings feel so powerful. I think it's the American accent against the thick Aussie ones.

"I didn't make myself sick. People don't make themselves sick. It's something that happens to you. Something bad that happens to you."

God, that movie is so so so good.

JA said...

Damn this year is promising.

RC said...

this is an awesome post!

and it definitly answers for why some seasoned-vets we always see this time of year recently (moore, kidman, etc.) are abscent...and gives light to who's up and coming (McAvoy, etc.)

Nice work.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Michael Parsons said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I will be using this for my in advance predictions.

SusanP said...

Okay, was planning to read this post (looks really cool) but got totally distracted when I scrolled down first and saw that pic of Chris Evans..... Damn.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, yes, Christian Bale is co-starring with Russell Crowe in "3:10 to Yuma", but you should have included Crowe in your piece as he also has two other films coming out this year; the John Polson indie, "Tenderness" and Ridley Scott's "American Gangster". Unusual for Crowe to have three films in one year but his fans are very happy.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Blanchett?

Anonymous said...

I'll be thrilled to see most of these fine people. Except the ones who ain't so fine or interesting, obviously.

I can confirm that McAvoy is really super in Starter For Ten, and has received raves for it here in the UK, even if the film is only 'blah'.

Rob

daveylow said...

I saw Jindabyne, Starter for Ten, and Snow Cake in Toronto. I agree that Linney is very fine in Jindabyne, as is Gabriel Byrne. The film was a bit heavy-handed, not quite as good as Lantana.

Starter for Ten is a wonderful little comedy and should get good reviews for McAvoy and the charming Rebecca Hall, as well as other cast members, which includes the talented Dominic Cooper.

I liked Rickman in Snow Cake but I think the critics are going to hate this film. I enjoy watching films that haven't been reviewed by everyone, and Snow Cake had a lot of quirky elements to savor. But the Weaver character tests one's patience.

NATHANIEL R said...

as far as i know, in a rare case of restraint, Cate Blanchett only made 2 movies for 2007. Slacker.

brad said...

Nate:

What did you think of Julianne Moore's performance on stage this year in THE VERTICAL HOUR? I'm assuming you ran to see this: did you ever post your thoughts?

Pearson said...

I am so excitd to see Kidman in The Golden Compass and Margot at the Wedding.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know too, Brad. I saw it, and I live in the UK, so I'm sure Nate will have made a visit!

Rob

Bruno Packer said...

Great writing! Some of the people mentioned there, are ubiquious because, well, they are just annoying as hell.

James Franco and Adam Brody, especially, who annoy the living crap out of me.

Michael Parsons said...

Ohh what about Meryl...she has 4 lined up.

Anonymous said...

Yay for Nicole (and Daniel) and Natalie!

NATHANIEL R said...

meryl is busy yes. but i think it's 2008 where we'll have the blitz.

adam k. said...

Yeah, I think Meryl's winning an oscar for her output in 2008. Just hard to say which one it'll be for.

I think it's interesting that you didn't include Hugh Jackman in 2006 alongside Jude in 2004, etc. as far as people with insanely busy years. Maybe because Hugh was actually good in all his 2006 films? But he was definitely in 6 new movies. Insanity.

I'm feelin' a good year Juli in 2007. Let's just pray that Savage Grace wasn't botched somehow. With a little luck, it's Academy Award winner Julianne Moore, '07 and a third oscar for Streep in '08.

Shell said...

I'm so happy that Nicole Kidman is going to have BOTH a promising indie AND a promising huge big bud. film( The Golden Compass) next year. I'm excited.

Arkaan said...

Nathaniel, Longford (Samantha Morton and Jim Broadbent film) is actually an HBO telefilm, airing on Feb 17.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Adam, two of Jackman's movies were animated. But then, I suppose, one of Jude's films was a narrator for Lemony Snickets and a 3-minute cameo in The Aviator. So I suppose they're comparable. Jackman was made fun of though. And they were more spread out through the year (starting in May).

"The film was a bit heavy-handed, not quite as good as Lantana."

The more that I get away from Jindabyne being in the shadow of Lantana (which is, ya know, a masterpiece and all) I actually think I like Jindabyne more. As it is they're very solidly even on my mind. Ray Lawrence should just make movies constantly. It's not like he'd have trouble getting casts - people would kill to work for him.

Lyn said...

"Ray Lawrence should just make movies constantly. It's not like he'd have trouble getting casts - people would kill to work for him. "

Yes, but it took him years to get the $$$ to do Jindabyne. Of itself, this says a lot of very sad things about the state of film financing and govt support for the industry in Australia.

par3182 said...

any year filled with the lovely laura linney is sure to be a good one. roll on, '07...

Kamikaze Camel said...

How very sad, Lyn, but very true. Why on earth after the huge success of Lantana does it take so long to get a movie with Laura Linney off the ground! I mean, honestly.

I know he likes to work really slowly (three films in 21 years), but that's crazy.

But those financing bodies are pretty much batting zero per over. I mean, how could they not finance Kenny?! It ended up being the highest grosser of the year. Idiots, the lot of 'em!

Anonymous said...

Kidman is also narrating "I Have Not Forgotten You", the Simon Wiesenthal documentary that I believe will be quite big because of the subject. She also shows up in "Lagerfeld Confidential", a documentary on Karl Lagerfeld. She is going to have quite a year. Berlin Film Festival will show how much impact these 2 docs will have.

I have missed her so I am very glad to see her back :).

mol said...

and Vera Farmiga?

daveylow said...

Where did the birthday tribute to Christian Bale go? I thought I read this in the blog last night but now it's not there.
Did I dream it?

NATHANIEL R said...

it's the post after this one. just hit the title "film experience blog". you're probably coming here from a link. if you come in from a link you only get the post that's linked.

or click here

Anonymous said...

Julianna Moore expect more bad performances from her.

Skippy said...

I have nothing to live for but Spider-Man 3.

NATHANIEL R said...

Skippy, believe it or not there's more to live for than Spider-Man 3. starting tomorrow 2007 PREVIEW. there's some potentially good stuff on the way

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman and the new james Bond together with Nicole's husband in bed... that's what I call: so #%$*ing hot!

Skippy said...

Oh, thanks--you inadvertently made me cry. Good news for February, then, I'll check out the preview.

Anonymous said...

I see that DIANE LANE (Unfaithful. Perfect Storm) has alot of movies on the horizon for 2007-2008. Could she be a star to watch in the coming year ?

Good actress and very HOT also!

Anonymous said...

You forgot Sarah Michelle Gellar!

She's in Southland Tales, A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, The Air I Breath, Alice Addicted and voicing Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles and Hapily N'ever After

Anonymous said...

How about Ciaran Hinds (Munich)? He's got 6 films coming out this year: Margot at the Wedding with Nicole Kidman, Hallam Foe with Jamie Bell, There Will Be Blood with Daniel Day-Lewis, The Tiger's Tail with Brendan Gleeson, Stop Loss with Ryan Phillippe and Amazing Grace with Ioan Gruffudd. He's the supporting actor of the year it seems.

NATHANIEL R said...

i knew more busy actors would pop up. thanks for sharing in the comments. Who else have we missed?

Anonymous said...

dude...great blog man...seriously, very insightful,,,but you gay?

Anonymous said...

Grüß Gott!

Know what?!?
You forgot Michelle Williams!!!! How dare you?
This year she's in Todd Hayne's I'm Not There, Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, Charly Kauffman's Synecdoche, New York, and also in Bronte and The Tourist!
Wow!

Anyway, I love your site, very insightful...

lalalalala

lylee said...

Yay Christian Bale, Laura Linney (my favorite actress), Mark Ruffalo (can those two star in another movie together some day?), and Tom Wilkinson (only bad performance I've seen him in was in "Batman Begins").

Once again I'm forced to ponder the mystery of Samantha Morton's appeal. Maybe I'm missing something, but...I just don't see what all the fuss is about.

Anonymous said...

So any word on Snow Cake and Nobel Son release dates? I love Alan Rickman and would love to know when I can see these films that don't feature him in that lovely black frock coat and black wig?