Friday, February 02, 2007

Polanski & Pompeii

Ever wondered what Roman Polanski would do with $130 million? Well, we're about to find out, and it should be a blast.

In a rather dramatic shift in scale, subject and budget, Polanski's next project will be "Pompeii," a dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of Mt. Vesuvius just before and during its eruption, based on the book of the same name by Robert Harris.

In the book, which I read a while ago, a young engineer is charged with repairing an enormous aqueduct whose destruction threatens the Roman Empire. The film will take place over three days and the final act is the volcanic eruption and the destruction of the aqueduct, which stretched 60 miles and served hundreds of thousands of people.

This may all seem like a stretch for Polanski, who even in his most famous works like "Rosemary's Baby" and "Chinatown" never worked on a scale like this. As he told Variety, however, he's not a neophyte when it comes to high-tech effects.

"I don't like to brandish effects, but the truth is that there have been a lot.," he said. " 'Pianist' had about 200 CGI effects and 'Oliver Twist' had at least 400. It's always a challenge to do something a little different, but that's what keeps me going."

Though he's made many great movies (and, to be honest, some real dogs too), my favorite Polanski flick remains "Death and the Maiden," just a perfect psychological thriller. I can't wait to see what he does with this.

Whedon talks "Buffy" to

As anyone who's been here before knows, when I get obsessed with something, I kind of just run with it. And Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is high on that list of things I just can't stop talking about.

Though the TV Buffy is clearly dead, she will soon live on with an "eighth season" coming in comic book form March 7 from Darkhorse Comics. Whedon has written the first volume, and will likely pen many more in what should be at least a 25-issue run.

You can see the first six pages or so (the cover is to the right) by clicking
here. It's wild stuff, and Whedon offered many more details to MTV. Be warned, there's spoilers ahead, so just skip through them if you don't want to know.

* Buffy and The Immortal were never an item. That blonde girl Angel and Spike glimpsed partying in Rome was a double and a decoy.

* Buffy now oversees 10 squads of young women comprising 500 slayers.

* Anya Emerson, who died at the end of season seven, is back (if not precisely back from the dead).

* Dawn Summers reaches “ginormic proportions” as a byproduct of losing her virginity.

* Xander Harris now leads slayer central command in Scotland.

* The U.S. government, perhaps believing Buffy responsible for Sunnydale’s destruction, has labeled her army of slayers a terrorist group.

This all sounds a bit too epic to me, but it should be fun, especially Dawn's new predicament and Xander leading the Scottish brigade. Mark your calendars for March 7.

Woody & Penelope

Is Woody Allen just determined to grope beautiful women in all corners of the world before he dies?

According to, his latest leading lady will be Penelope Cruz, for my money the most beautiful woman in the world. She will star in an as-yet untitled comedy-drama that will film all summer in Barcelona, where Allen will move his family and crew.

I just hope, for the prevention of nausea everywhere, that Woody has the sense not to cast himself as her love interest. He showed some restraint with Scarlett Johanssen, but the wiles of Ms. Cruz may just be too much for the perverted genius to resist.

Before he begins production on the Cruz film, Woody still has to release "Cassandra's Dream," a film he has just finished starring Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor and Tom Wilkinson.

More Wallace & Gromit!

According to my favorite froggie film site,, Aardman Animation is going back to its heroes, Wallace & Gromit, for its next project.

This good news comes just after the announcement of the dissolution of the Dreamworks/Aardman partnership, which means whatever Aardman comes up with next will have to find new financing for distribution.

Though my Francais is more than a bit rusty, as far as I can tell they quote Aardman "porte-parole" Arthur Sheriff (whatever that means) as saying it will be a sequel of sorts to "Curse of the Were-Rabbit," and that it could be for either TV or the big screen. Right now it's still in the writing stage, but this could be really fun, so keep your eyes on it!

"Knocked Up" international trailer

I know, I know, I've been pushing this upcoming Judd Apatow comedy a lot, as if it will need it. But I can't help it, and if you watch this trailer, I guarantee you'll be hooked too. Rarely have the words "fuck off" been used with such perfect timing. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!


jeremy said...

Katherine Heigl is kinda growing on me. I mean, she's beautiful, sure, but there is a down-to-earth quality that she possesses as well.
And I'm so happy to hear that Anya's back. I let out the girliest of girly screams when that knife went through her chest in the finale. As for the scale of Buffy in the comix, I think its great. Comix generally have that large of a scale and with all of the events that transpired at the end of season 7, I think it is time to embiggen the whole franchise.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you may be right about that, Jeremy .. in the MTV piece, Whedon said much the same thing, that comic books just call for a more epic plot than the show demanded

Chris said...

I saw the theatrical trailer yesterday for Knocked Up and it was hilarious, but nothing prepared me for this version. This movie is going to be great, and I'm glad Seth Rogen is finally getting a chance to lead.

Reel Fanatic said...

He definitely deserves it, Chris, even if he doesn't look like the traditional leading man ... After seeing this clip and some other footage, I'm convinced this movie's gonna make him a big star

Mo Diggs said...

I agree. Maybe it's the Freaks and Geeks fan inside of me talking, but Apatow and Rogen go great together like Lubitsch and Dietrich

Reel Fanatic said...

They are indeed one of the great comedy teams of recent memory, Mo ... I never imagined watching Freaks and Geeks, as great as it was, that this partnership would be so fruitful

Marina said...

I'm thrilled about the Pompeii movie. If well done, this has huge potential (speaking from someone who can't get enough of the TLC specials with the low budget scenarios).

As for "Knocked Up"...AHHAHAHA

"Was your vagina drunk?" OMG. I nearly fell off my chair!

Reel Fanatic said...

About midday I started to have qualms that that trailer was maybe a little blue for this site that it linked from a "family newspaper," but like you I just couldn't stop laughing each time I watched it, so it had to stay

Caio said...

Showbiz Gossip: Word has it that the new Woody Allen movie will be about a neurotic writer in New York City!!

ryan said...

"Maybe I've reacted ... unfavorably."

Oh, that's gold. Pure gold. Buy my ticket now.

sanchapanzo said...

hmm.. woody is a true genius, no wonder all beautiful women say 'yes' to him for a movie :-)

Reel Fanatic said...

He must have a masterlist of actresses he wants to work with, Sanchapanzo, because he seems to have an endless supply of beauties

Michelle said...

With Woody -- don't forget the younger the better!