Part 2 ~ L-Z
Part 2 ~ L-Z
This is part 2... Part 1 was lorded over by Cate Blanchett and the ruling spirit for Part 2 is sneaky Channing Tatum (a TFE favorite) who goes mosty AWOL this year after this month's Iraq drama Stop-Loss. So why is he mentioned? Well, he should have about 7...12...21 movies ready for release next year at the rate he's signing contracts. So, get used to that mug. 2009 belongs to him.
Frank Langella, will be in three films. The most attention will be paid to his star turn in Frost/Nixon, a role for which he won a TONY already. Langella never quite became a movie star, preferring the stage, but the closest he got was in his Dracula stint in 1978 (a role he also incidentally did first on stage). He got a little bit of Oscar buzz last year for the indie Starting Out in the Evening, but this year he'll have more success with the Academy. What's baitier than playing a famous person? Nothing. Watch for abundant "OMG... FrankLangella IS RichardNixon" style reviews and an Oscar run for the Ron Howard film. Oh, there's more? Yes. He's in the next oddball Richard Kelly effort The Box which is a horror thriller of sorts (pssst. Never trust easy genre categories for Kelly who previously made Donnie Darko and Southland Tales). He's in a corporate corruption drama The Caller, too.
Sienna Miller, Jude Law's on & off girl and inexplicably very famous actress (quick: what's she famous for?) has five films due. There's the title role in the completed Camille where she takes a honeymoon with James Franco but there's no release date in sight yet. She has the principle female role in the bowdlerized adaptation of the great novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (I haven't seen it but I'm free to judge since I love the book and the reported changes are... ghastly. I may join the boycott). Sienna is also getting mixed up with Cillian Murphy in not one but two biopic period pieces. The first is The Edge of Love (Keira Knightley co-stars) which takes place in the 30s and 40s and the second is the British 60s counterculture story Hippie Hippie Shake. Finally, if they're quick about the adaptation of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, she could end the year with that.
Viggo Mortensen fans are thrilled that he finally got an Oscar nomination last season (for his second Cronenberg film, Eastern Promises). More meaty roles and challenges are coming his way. You may remember that celebrated Ed Harris directed himself and Marcia Gay Harden into the Oscar race for Pollock in 2000. He's finally made a follow up feature, a western named Appaloosa which stars Viggo, Harris himself, Jeremy Irons and Renée Zellweger. He'll play a novelist named "Halder" in Good who gets swept up in the rise of socialism in Germany. It's based on a stage play. Further away but possibly ready in 2008 will be his darkest role yet as "Father" in The Road. I've read the genius novel by Cormac McCarthy and its so bleak that No Country For Old Men's die hard fans will whimper. I have no idea how they'll make it work as a movie but the director of The Proposition (John Hillcoat) is the one who attempts it.
Cillian Murphy was everywhere a few years back but it's been quiet. Why? He was working. He has six films in the pipeline (though I'd be surprised if they all opened in the next 9 months). We've already discussed the two with Sienna Miller (The Edge of Love and Hippie Hippie Shake) but Murphy nuts will be happy to know that they're both biopics so he could end up with his first Oscar nomination. Edge... is about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (played by Matthew Rhys) and his rival William Killik (Murphy) for the women in his life. Counterculture figure Richard Neville is the focal point of Hippie. The biopic Oscar tactic seems to work best if the Academy is very familiar with who you're pretending to be. So maybe not... Murphy will be reprising his Scarecrow role (in cameo form?) for the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight and you'll have to catch Watching the Detectives on DVD shortly. There are two more films (Telepathy and Dali & I: The Surreal Story) that are looking more like 2009 prospects. Remember, nothing is ever definitive with release dates.
Guy Pearce might have six (!) releases this year. He was originally reported to have replaced Viggo Mortensen in The Road but they're both still listed as cast members at IMDB and the movie is filming. Perhaps those rumors were erroneous. Even if we don't think he's quite the actor Viggo is, they can both certainly do the emaciated thing that will be crucial to this movie's post-apocalypse believability. (Where's Christian Bale?) Further along in production, i.e. already wrapped, are five films. They go by the names of Traitor (a CIA drama with an outstanding cast that includes Don Cheadle, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jeff Daniels and A Mighty Heart's Archie Panjabi), The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq thriller), How to Change in 9 Weeks (an Australian crime drama with Sam Neill and Miranda Otto), Winged Creatures (a post traumatic stress group therapy drama with an all star cast), and Death Defying Acts (as famous magician Harry Houdini. It played at Toronto last fall).
Dennis Quaid had a bit of a rocky patch in his career but two films in 2002, Far From Heaven and The Rookie, reminded people of his talent and charisma. He's in demand again, or thereabouts. His first 2008 film (in theaters now) is the action thriller Vantage Point. He'll follow that up next month opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in the comedy Smart People. He's got a big role in The Express due in October, the latest entry in the very crowded true life inspirational sports drama genre and he plays a bitter detective in the serial killer thriller The Horsemen which is due in May.
Eddie Redmayne was last seen flopping in his attempt to murder Cate Blanchett. The glow off of her Oscar winning costumes in Elizabeth the Golden Age temporarily blinded him. Seriously. She was bathed in white. The sunlight really reflects! He can currently be seen in the ensemble of The Other Boleyn Girl. He's paired up with Julianne Moore in the shocking true life 1972 murder of Savage Grace. And still two more movies await. Yellow Handkerchief finds him on a road trip through Louisiana with William Hurt and in Powder Blue he's got one of the four central roles in a Los Angeles set 'strangers colliding' drama -- we expect that we'll be seeing a lot of that subgenre in the coming years. Ahem.
Mark Ruffalo has four films ready for you. Nah, let's make that three. I mean, does anyone believe that Kenneth Lonergan's (You Can Count on Me) Margaret is ever going to open? It's two years late. But we'll still get a triple fix of this almost big star (seriously, when will he "break"?). In no particular order we'll get the con-artist film from the director of Brick (Rian Johnson) which is called The Brothers Bloom. There's also Real Men Cry about Boston boys turning to crime (another subgenre that's hot in Hollywood). Finally, he'll play the Doctor in Fernando Meirelles adaptation of the classic novel Blindness which I've discussed a bunch already.
Amy Ryan was all smiles on Oscar night. It wasn't just because she was a nominee. She's been working a lot, too. And that's even before the after-effects of the Gone Baby Gone breakthrough have hit. The only way is up. She's got one unreleased film from last year's festival circuit called Neal Cassady (which is about the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's "On the Road"). We'll also see her in The Missing Person (her third film with Bug's Michael Shannon) and the comedy Bob Funk. The big dog in her 2008 roster is undoubtedly the Angelina Jolie drama Changeling. No word on who she is playing but she's in it. And since it's a Clint Eastwood picture, that alone is a big deal.
Terence Stamp, now in his 5th decade of screen stardom, is busier than ever. He's playing Siegfried in the Farrel/Hathaway adaptation of TV's Get Smart. His inimitable silver haired presence will assist Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise in Wanted and Valkyrie, respectively. At Christmas time he'll be part of the Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man. If I had to guess I would say that 2009 will be full of him, too.
Mark Strong was the most evil of the plentiful evil princes in Stardust and he's working the dangerous man angle in the period comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day too. It opens tomorrow. You'll also see him in five other films this year. Busy, busy, busy. The films: Good (that German nationalist drama with Viggo Mortensen), Babylon A.D. (Vin Diesel's summer action pic) RocknRolla (another Guy Ritchie crime film), Flashbacks of a Fool (a Hollywood memoir piece with Daniel Craig), and The Young Victoria (he plays "Conroy" to Emily Blunt's queen). If you've read all this and you're still scratching you're head saying "who the hell is Mark Strong?", here's an earlier post that explains.
Olivia Thirlby was the least famous of Juno's celebrated ensemble (she played Juno's BFF Leah) but she's aiming to correct that fame disparity this year. The beautiful New Yorker has a couple leftover films from last year that haven't opened in the States yet called Si j'étais toi and Love Comes Lately. First to find release this year will be Snow Angels, the David Gordon Green film. It opens tomorrow. You'll also see her in Margaret (if it ever gets released) as well as the comedy The Wackness. Finally there's two dramas coming from exciting directors. The first Uncertainty comes from the pair behind the Tilda Swinton film The Deep End, remember that? Her co-star is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And last but probably not least she'll be Jonathan Glatzer's (Birth, Sexy Beast) Safety Glass which is set in the 80s and centers around a group of students and the Challenger Space Shuttle launch.
Tilda Swinton follows her Oscar win for Michael Clayton by logging more time in Hollywoodland. She's reprising her White Witch role for summer's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. She's costarring with fellow 2007 Oscar nominees George Clooney (again) in the Coen Bros Burn After Reading which is opening wide in September and Cate Blanchett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button which opens in November.
For die hard Swintonians who may soon start to resent the post-Oscar silliness of "discovery" when she's already been famous for culturally savvy types for close to 20 years, there's arthouse fare too. The festival circuit has already seen her in Bela Tarr's The Man From London. She's the title character Julia who is extorting a bunch of money with a young boy as bait. Bad Tilda! The chief non-Tilda reason to be excited about that one is that Erick Zonca (The Dreamlife of Angels) is the director. She's got three other more art films lined up, too but don't expect these until 2009: a Lady Macbeth (!) turn in Come Like Shadows , teamed up with Marilyn Manson in the Alice in Wonderland derived Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll and a supporting turn in the new Jim Jarmusch picture The Limits of Control (with Bill Murray). The 47 year old (but ageless) icon is not going away anytime soon.
Charlize Theron is a smart woman. Once known mostly for her astonishing beauty she worked ferocious deglam magic in Monster to win very own Oscar @ 28. So here she is in her early 30s, already firmly established as a seriously talented actress --perfect timing. I expect she'll be in demand until at least until 2020. The first of her three '08 pictures is Sleepwalking in which a young girl most cope with her mother's abandonment. She'll co-star in the Will Smith superpowered vehicle Hancock... And if they're quick about it, she'll play "wife" in the apocalyptic drama The Road. It's not a big role but it's bound to be a devastating one. 2009 looks even better but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Carice Van Houten found her international breakthrough last year with Paul Verhoeven's Black Book and offers apparently starting pouring in. I have no idea if her Dutch romantic comedy Love is All will find release but why not? People are curious about her. Strike while the iron is hot, distributors. But even if that's just something to track down on DVD eventually, Carice speaks four languages so she's totally mobile for the good roles. She's playing a German in the Bryan Singer WW II picture Valkyrie opposite Tom Cruise. She's got the lead role of the psychiatrist dealing with a troubled girl in the English language thriller Dorothy Mills and in October she'll be supporting two mega stars (Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe) in Ridley Scott's CIA drama Body of Lies.
Sigourney Weaver. Sigweavy for short... only she's very tall. Will this post ever end? I miss her and hopefully her gut busting turn in The TV Set reminded Hollywood was a unique and valuable assett she is too films. Films already in theaters include Be Kind Rewind and Vantage Point. Still to come: the drama The Girl in the Park (delayed from last year) and the Tina Fey surrogate mom comedy Baby Mama.
Rachel Weisz has been flirting with the supporting actress Oscar curse since winning for The Constant Gardener doing films like Fred Claus and as the voice of the dragon in the silly Eragon. But 2008 looks pretty good, 2009 even better. But why am I always jumping ahead? This year we'll see in the promising sounding The Brothers Bloom, the long delayed Wong Kar Wai road trip movie My Blueberry Nights and she's already in theaters as one of the women opposite Ryan Reynolds in Definitely, Maybe
David Wenham. If you're saying "who" just think "Faramir" in Lord of the Rings or one of those oiled and ab'ed warriors in 300. The talented and handsome Australian will be seen in the Baz Luhrman Nicole Kidman epic Australia... (see previous posts). He's part of the strong cast of the the China set orphanage / war drama called The Children of Huang Shi (which co-stars Jonathan Rhys Meyes and both Michelle Yeoh & Chow Yun Fat of Crouching Tiger fame). Last but not least, he's delicious in a relatively small role in Married Life (opposite Patty Clarkson) which is about to open.
Michelle Williams was last seen as a socialite having a complicated affair with Cate Blanchett's Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. The former Brokeback Mountain Oscar nominee's face will adorn screens throughout the year. She's one of a bevy of beautiful women involved with Hugh Jackman and Ewan MacGregor in the sex club thriller The List. And proving once again that she's got a taste for dark and serious filmmaking, she'll be seen in Incendiary (about a suicide bombing), Lukas Moodyson's new film Mammoth with Gael Garcia Bernal and something a little lighter but still intelligent: Charlie Kauffman's ensemble film Synecdoche, New York (previously discussed here... my god what a cast)
Patrick Wilson, Kate Winslet seducer par excellence (Little Children), is still working for A list leading man status. Why is it so elusive? Neither Brothers Three: An American Gothic or the Ed Burns romantic drama Purple Violets found suitable release last year but you can maybe pick them up on DVD soon. Violets is on iTunes. Later this year, this looker will be part of the ensemble of the grief counselling drama Passengers (with Dianne Wiest and Anne Hathaway), he's a troubled architect in Life in Flight and he's the husband in the potentially buzzy Neil LaBute picture Lakeview Terrace which is about an interracial couple (Wilson & the ever-wondrous and gobsmackingly gorgeous Kerry Washington, a TFE favorite) who are being harassed by a cop (Samuel L Jackson). But what I want to know is why on earth isn't Mr. Wilson being cast in any of these new movie musicals? They're making them again and that's how he got famous in the first place. It's a head scratcher. The voice is as beautiful as the face.
and we're done. WHEW.
[Back to Part 1 if you missed it]