Monday, May 08, 2006

Daniel Pearl, "Hot Fuzz" diaries

The story of Daniel Pearl, as sad as it is, could give embattled journalists just what we need right now: A true cinematic hero.

Tod Williams will direct an untitled thrilled inspired by the Bernard-Henri Levy book "Who Killed Daniel Pearl?" The French author, not one to shy away from a good conspiracy theory, journeyed to Pakistan to investigate the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl, and came away convinced Pearl had dangerous information about complicity between the Pakistani secret service and Al Qaeda.

There are, however, some danger signs. For the movie, the story will be told by New York Times magazine foreign correspondent Peter Landesman and, due to a competing project based on a book by Pearl's widow, Marianne Pearl, will be fictionalized. And, I guess because we Americans need our leading men to be, well, American, Levy has been changed into an American TV newsman who sheds his media celebrity trappings to find answers in a terrorist hotbed.

And this TV newsman will be played by Josh Lucas. Though he has one very big black mark in my book after starring in the simply horrendous dumbing down of "Glory Road," he's still a young man, and life is all about second chances, so in the spirit of good Monday karma, I wish him well. The production will begin this fall, with scouting under way in Morocco, Dubai, India, Libya and Tunisia.

On the up side, Williams did a fantastic job with the 2004 John Irving adaptation "Door in the Floor" (according to the IMDB, he is also working on an even more exciting project, an adaptation of Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire.") He should fare well here.

The stakes are just far too high to fail here. With journalists getting threatened with arrest by their own government for simply telling the truth, we're sorely in need of more agitprop that celebrates rather than demonizes their work.

"Hot Fuzz" diaries

And now for some footage that can only brighten up your Monday morning (well, at least it really did mine.)

Courtesy of Ain't It Cool News, I discovered this morning that the makers of "Hot Fuzz," who previously brought us the perfect zombie comedy "Shaun of the Dead," have been making "video blogs" about their new production.

And the premise for this one sounds even better than "Shaun." The very sunny Simon Pegg will play a London cop reassigned to the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. After a series of grisly accidents breaks up the calm, Pegg and his new partner investigate what might lay beneath the surface. While this might sound like the premise for a bad American horror movie, in the capable hands of Pegg and writer-director Edgar Wright it should instead be comic gold.

Getting in on all the fun will be a cast that includes Jim Broadbent, "Shaun" vet Nick Frost and Timothy Dalton. But enough of my rambling. Check out the seven video production diaries here and see what you think.


palinode said...

You can't go wrong with Simon Pegg, that's for sure.

Reel Fanatic said...

Amen to that ... He must have been born funny

themarina said...

I didn't mind "Glory Road". Certainly not fantastic but it was enjoyable enough. On the other hand, "Shaun of the Dead" wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. Though it did crack a few jokes, I thought I'd be laughing a little harder.