Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Departed, take two?

When I first heard this crazy news, I had to just scratch my head and ask "who the heck was left standing at the end of "The Departed"?"

Just in case any of you somehow haven't seen this great return to form for Martin Scorsese, I won't answer that directly, but the general answer is not many at all. Now, however, screenwriter William Monahan, unable to let go of a good thing, is apparently working on a sequel to star Mark Wahlberg and ... Robert De Niro?

I have no idea how in the world this could work. I guess Wahlberg, whose performance as the quick-tempered copper Dignam snagged him a deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, would get some new men in blue to help him take on a mob boss, possibly played by De Niro.

Scorsese would apparently need to approve any take before development was to move forward. "Infernal Affairs," the Hong Kong movie from which "The Departed" was adapted, actually had two sequels: "IA 2," which I've seen, was a great prequel, and "IA 3," which I have not, apparently combined elements of the first two.

As I chew on this with a strong cup of coffee, I'm beginning to think it's just crazy enough to work. What Monahan really has here is the opportunity for a fresh start with a great character. Warner Bros. bought the rights to all three IA movies, but that doesn't mean he can't, with their permission, take the Dignam character and just roll with it anywhere he chooses. His script for "The Departed" is a worthy Oscar nominee in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, though I'm definitely cheering loudly for Alfonso Cuaron and friends with "Children of Men."

What do you think? Is this idea crazy? Am I? I'm perfectly willing to accept that the answer to both is yes.

Aardman gets flushed

In unsurprising yet still fairly depressing news, Dreamworks has severed its ties with Aardman Animation, after three pictures completed in what was to be a five-picture deal. The problem? Two of those movies were box-office bombs, at least in the U.S.

"Flushed Away" cost more than than $100 million to make, but grossed only $63.4 million in the U.S. The far-superior "Wallace & Gromit" feature, amazingly, only made $56.1 million domestic, but did better around the world. Both fell fall short of the first Aardman/Dreamworks collaboration, "Chicken Run," which grossed $106.8 million stateside.

Aardman is back in development on several films inhouse, but how they will get any of them distributed is an open question. Possibilities could include slate financing from private equity money, a one-off deal with a studio for its next pic or a new multifilm deal.

The best hope for Aardman in the U.S. lies in its reprise of "Creature Comforts" as a claymation series pitched to CBS. The network has ordered seven episodes so far, but has yet to schedule them. They could air as soon as this spring or be pushed back to summer or fall, so keep your eyes out for them (I know I will).

"Knocked Up" posters

Before the world found out just how funny Judd Apatow is with his "40-Year-Old Virgin," he proved it solidly on TV with both "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared," both of which, maddeningly, only lasted less than one season.

One partner in crime who has been with him is actor Seth Rogen, and now Apatow's about to make him a big star. As you can tell from these posters I found at (especially the first one), he's clearly the man in Apatow's new comedy, "Knocked Up," due June 1. Katherine Heigl has replaced Anne Hathaway as Rogen's surely much better half.

Click on each one for a bigger view (the third, the international poster, is particularly funny) and enjoy!


jeremy said...

Eeew. That about sums up how I feel about more Departed stuff.
Your talk about Apatow made me wonder what his cohort Mike White was up to.
And it looks like he and buddy Jack Black are staying teamed--with Them coming out sometime soon and Black taking a producing credit for "Year of the Dog" written by White and starring Molly Shannon.
Hmmmm . . .
I wish Freaks and Geeks had never been cancelled.

* (asterisk) said...

Oh Lord, more Departed nonsense. Say it ain't so...

Reel Fanatic said...

I can see why you both think it would be a waste of film, but Monahan's script was so good that I'm still intrigued .. I've seen mixed reviews so far for "Year of the Dog," Jeremy, but I'll see anything with Mike White's name attached to it

Chris said...

STILL haven't seen The Departed, but loving Internal Affairs like a muthaf----, I'm trying to catch it while it's in theaters again. Sequel? Well, I gotta check out this one first...

Sad about the Aardman - Wallace and Gromit are a staple in our house. As long as they keep putting stuff out, I'll keep supporting them.

Divinity said...

Did you finally give into the Google-regime, RF, and convert to new Blogger? :o)
One of the theatres nearby is still running the departed... I'm tempted to try and catch it on the big screen before the Oscars.
I was in England when Aardman Studios had their fire. Poor guys can't seem to catch a break...

Reel Fanatic said...

They really do seem to be cursed, Divinity ... I did indeed give in and convert, but only because it makes posting photos phenomenally easier

Caio said...

If they make a sequel to Departed, and it actually is good, I hope Scorsese stays the fuck away from it, because as great as his movies are, I can't handle another Gimme Shelter-Headed Classic Rock soundtrack.

Watching Scorsese films makes me feel like I'm listening to the relaxing music they play in senior's homes.

Reel Fanatic said...

The music for "The Departed" may have been a bit of a letdown, but for me that was only a minor distraction from what was otherwise a great flick

FrancesDanger said...

No no no! Marty needs to leave well enough alone. No sequel to The Departed, please. There's a one in a million chance it'll be a Godfather II, and a 1 in 2 chance it'll be a Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions.

Reel Fanatic said...

You may well be right there, Frances .. Interestingly, I've read that in Hong Kong, the "Infernal Affairs" trilogy is often called their "Godfather"

Piper said...

Not surprised about Departed Deuce since there's a second Infernal Affairs.

Seth was the highlight of 40 Year Old Virgin. I'm excited to see what he does in this new movie.

Replicant said...

I was with Freaks and Geeks every week until it was disgustingly canceled so I'm loving Jud Apatow's rise in the comedy world. Happy Seth is along for it too.

Seth actually was one of the writers for some of the Ali G HBO show before Borat mania took over. He also wrote a few of the funnier episodes in Undeclared too, if my memory is working correctly.

Reel Fanatic said...

He did have a lot to do with Undeclared, Replicant, and that show has space on my DVD shelf right next to Freaks and Geeks and Serenity as one-season wonders .. I didn't know he was involved with the Ali G show, but it doesn't surprise me because that show is consistently hilarious

lynne said...

I agree with Caio and have been ranting about it for a month or so. Enough with Gimmie Shelter!
I just saw The Departed today. I was surprised with how much I liked it. I knew I would like it but did not know I would REALLY like it. Believe it or not, I actually thought of a sequel not long after seeing the movie. I was thinking of Madolyn, did she know Mark W character. What is sorta life will the baby boy that she is carrying have???

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