Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ubiquity: The 2008 Edition (Pt 2)

Last year about this time we investigated a group of actors who might dominate 2007, hard working SAG card holders with 3 or more movies arriving. Doing it again for 2008... (if you missed Part One ---which has been updated, click here)

Ubiquitous Actors
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.

South African supertstar Theron and Dutch sensation van Houten

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]

Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to Google


Anonymous said...

Great column. I'm really eager to watch Michelle Willimas. Haven't seen much of her since Brokeback Mountain.

Check out The Oscar Nazi for year-round predictions and analysis.

ryansumera said...

nat, where is my toni collette?


toni collette told me to tell you that she belongs to me. not you ;)

my friend walked by her yesterday as she was chatting on her phone. He didn't remember her name! what's wrong with him? He had to tell me "you know the frazzled mom in Little Miss Sunshine"


i didn't count "nothing is private" i guess --so only 2 films. i dunno. i'm sure i missed some people. But after 35ish, I'm done!

Anonymous said...

Charlize Theron is also in Battle in Seattle who premiered in Toronto last year but is released this year. And she's the lead in The Burning Plain, a film that is supposedly submitted for entry at this year Cannes Film Fest.

Sigourney Weaver also does voice-work in The Tale of Despereaux.

Juliette Binoche is in Paris, Disengagement, L'Heure d'été, Le voyage du ballon rouge.


IMDB has changed the burning plain listing to 2009... so i'm not sure what's up there.


and by that i mean, it was in the rough draft of this post.

Anonymous said...

What about Meryl Streep starring in Mamma Mia and Doubt this year. Those two movies will be HUGE... how can you ignore that!?!

Catherine said...

I'm most excited about Mark Ruffalo. Rewatching Zodic last night with my mam, I remembered how great he is. We both kinda fell in love with him during that film.

Anonymous said...

Cillian Murphy does not play Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in "The Edge of Love". That part went to Welsh actor Matthew Rhys.
Murphy plays William Killick.

Here's a still:

Dr. Stan Glick said...

If you haven't seen Mel Brooks's The Twelve Chairs, it's an absolute must. Hilarious. And Frank Langella is absolutely gorgeous! This is coming from a straight guy, but the fact is simply undeniable. Brooks even
references Langella's greatlooks at one point in the movie


1. fixed the murphy section. thx

2. frank langella has such an interesting backstory what with the 70s hunk status, the frequent stage triumphs, the intermittent movies (some truly dreadful like the Madonna Body of Evidence picture) and the Whoopi Goldberg romance!

i expect everyone will know all details by the end of the next Oscar season since he'll surely be in the race.

jahs34 said...

About Patrick Wilson, couldn't be he haven't break out yet because he sucks?, i'm sorry i've only seen him in Little Children and Hard Candy, and he seems like an empty vessel, if it wasn't for his good looks he wouldn't have a carreer imho.


jose you write re Patrick Wilson:

"if it wasn't for his good looks he wouldn't have a career imho."

that's probably true. But isn't that true for about 82% of Hollywood? I agree that he was bad in Evening but he's been good in some things and truly he is terrific in musicals (i've seen him twice on stage). i don't understand why he hasn't been in a movie musical yet...

gabrieloak said...

I've been a Mark Strong fan since he did Emma with Kate Beckinsale. I saw him on stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Emily Watson in The Tempest and Uncle Vanya and he was excellent. He's one of those actors who just hasn't had a big role yet on screen. He certainly deserves to shine.

ryansumera said...


wilson was in the phantom of the opera. induced selective amnesia, i'm sure.

TheGreenMan said...

Guy Pearce is back?! Where the hell has he been?!

Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon is INCREDIBLE!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see Frank Langella, Meryl Streep, and Viggo Mortensen this year in their performances.

Anonymous said...

I grew a whole new respect for Charlize Theron when she did Monster. She's pretty incredible! I can't wait to see her new flicks.

Anonymous said...

IMO the reason Patrick Wilson has not achieved A-list status is that he's about as exciting as watching paint dry. I've seen him in person on Broadway and wondered why he was in a starring role. Dull. Dull. Dull. And he would have been the worst thing about "The Phantom of the Opera" movie if Gerard Butler not been in it. As for Wilson's looks - he's nice enough looking, I suppose, but certainly not extra-ordinary.

Anonymous said...

How on earth can Tilda Swinton be in "Prince Caspian"?! The witch only appears by name when Nikabrik talks about summoning her to help them fight the king! The only other story she's in is "The Magician's Nephew" and I'd be surprised if that one made it on screen... (I'm guessing they'll stop at 5 films, leaving out "Nephew" and "A Horse and his Boy")

lylee said...

Oh my, too many to choose from here. I hope you're right about Langella! I've heard amazing buzz about "Frost/Nixon," too, and am willing to give this biopic a chance.

And "yes, please" to Mark Ruffalo, Eric Bana, Viggo (I'll take those three on a plate, please, if I can also have me some Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor on the side), followed by Cillian Murphy (who intrigues me), Guy Pearce, David Wenham (hooray Aussies!), and Ralph Fiennes (I want to see "In Bruges" just to see him take on a semi-comedic role). Speaking of comedic roles, why doesn't Bana do one? Didn't he start his career as stand-up?

Nat, I love Viggo as much as you do, but I actually think Guy Pearce might be better casting for "The Road" than Viggo. Mainly cause I think he just looks more tight-drawn than Viggo, not that either of them couldn't do a beautiful job. Remember how terrific he was in "L.A. Confidential"?

Oh, and among the ladies, I'm looking forward to more quality work from Amy Adams and, of course, Tilda Swinton. Still not completely on the Emily Blunt wagon yet, but willing to be converted.

lylee said...

Uh, small correction, I know "Frost/Nixon" isn't a biopic, I meant that kinda role that gets Nathaniel all hot and bothered. :-)


crazycris --i know right? re: prince caspian. i assume they'll use her in only a very brief way. what that way is i do not know.

lylee --not converted yet to Blunt? have u tried summer of love?

Anonymous said...

In "My Summer of Love" I thought Nathalie Press stood out more. What about adding her to the list?

Anonymous said...

@ Nat
you forgot Uma, she's in 3 films : The Accidental Husband, Life before her eyes and My Zinc Bed (on HBO).

Anonymous said...

Strange to have an ubiquity list without Blanchett.. oh yeah she's preggers, that explains everything

Michael B. said...

Ummm..Did you forget Jennifer Hudson? Sex and the City, and the Bee movie title(The Life of Bees, I thin thing with Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah.

gabrieloak said...

I saw Frost/Nixon on the stage and I felt Langella was playing a cartoon version of Nixon. It was painful. I hope he doesn't win a Oscar for doing an bad impersonation of Nixon. He certainly didn't deserve a Tony award for his performance.

I've seen Guy Pearce in Death Defying Acts. He looks like Mark Wahlberg in the film. The movie is a pleasant entertainment and has a lovely performance by Saoirise Ronan.
Pearce is such a sexy actor, he deserves to be a STAR.

Michael B. said...

^^^oh and I meant to inclde Winged Creatures...


17.. at the time of writing Jennifer only had 2 movies coming out (the same reason Uma isn't listed since she only has 2 ---i wasn't counting television movies) since bees is for 2009. But I see that she's added a third now.

too late...

so 4 upcoming movies. and still no album.

GRRRRRRR. i want my Jennifer SINGING

Anonymous said...

Is the world going to stop being cruel and award Sigweave he long overdue 4th oscar nomination? (and an eventual win soon!)

Glenn Dunks said...

Thegreenman, where's Guy Pierce been? Making movies, obviously. Did you catch The Proposition, which was out in 2005.

Anonymous said...

I totally don't believe in the "gospel" of Blunt either. Saw My Summer of Love. Press was far better. Saw Devil Wears Prada. Funny, but massively overrated and not really a character. Saw Charlie Wilson's War. Did nothing. Saw Dan in Real Life. Did nothing. Saw Jane Austen Book Club. Probably her best performance, but not worth nominating. Plus, her eyes are always dead and it bothers me.

ryansumera said...

in defense of the blunt.

i've always thought that streeps' was "the other great performance" in that movie.

Anonymous said...

Blunt is what, 23 ? 24 ? She's got plenty of time to prove her worth after these two breakthrough perfs (My summer of love and The Devil wears Prada). She's where Uma was after Dangerous Liaisons and Henry & June, the "in-demand hot young thing who is clearly talented"

Anonymous said...

I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing Rachel Weisz in My Blueberry Nights. The soundtrack for that film is going to be amazing!

lylee said...

Re: Blunt, I haven't really seen her in enough to form an opinion. I seem to be one of the few who wasn't that impressed by her in
"Prada." Thought she was good in "Jane Austen Book Club," though, and haven't seen "Summer of Love."

On Michelle Williams, must say I barely recognized her in "I'm Not There." Looking forward to The List," though perhaps more for her co-stars than her specifically, and "Synecdoche, NY."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the Blueberry Nights soundtrack is indeed amazing. I really enjoyed the film too - Norah Jones was good in it, as were the rest of the great cast (Law, Weisz, Strathairn, Portman, Cat Power etc). Nowhere near the disaster it was made out to be at Cannes - it's just a bit of a watered down version of Wong's previous better work, that's all. Darius Khondji's photography is STUNNING.

Seconding a "bleugh" to the Blunt in Prada - too much of a caricature, not enough of a character to make a real impression. Although I liked her work in all the films she popped up in last year (Dan; Charlie Wilson's; and especially The Jane Austen Book Club).

Seconding the love for Michelle Williams. She took me by surprise in I'm Not There too and I can't wait for her meatier roles this year. Keener (who this year should've also joined Linney and Depp on their 3rd noms) and Diaz got my other two votes.

Anonymous said...

@ Nat
your forgot Kathy Bates !! How could you ? I know she's not a milf or a hot young shirtless actor, but still..
she does voice work in "Christmas is here again" (November 2008), and she can be seen in the flesh in :
- Revolutionary Road
- The day the earth stood still
- The family that prays together
And the Pfeiffer film Personal Effects might be released this year but it is listed as 2009.

Anonymous said...

AMY RYAN is playing a prostitute in The Changeling

Jeff M said...

Would have liked to see you include Meryl Streep:


Anonymous said...

You know what I just stumbled upon? John Savage, aka Claude from the movie version of "Hair" is in, according to imdb, no less than 14 movies due out in 2008. Although not too many look like they'll be wide release. Actually, direct to DVD looks likely. Still, guy's been working hard.