Thursday, February 05, 2009

Looking for the next "Arrested Development"?

"Nothing for 40 years in the business, then my son graduates from college, goes to work for Price Waterhouse and boom!"
- The ever-humble Richard Jenkins on his much-deserved Oscar nomination for "The Visitor"

As for the headline of this post, it comes from the lead of a Variety story on Imagine and its move back into TV comedy. As anyone who's seen "Arrested Development" knows, however, there could only ever be one show quite that madly entertaining.

That said, any effort to bring actually funny comedies to Fall TV is welcome in this little corner of the world, especially since I just assumed it would pretty much be a victim of the recent writers' strike.

What "Arrested Development" producer Brian Grazer was actually talking about that led to Variety's little bit of hyperbole does indeed sound like it could fit that bill, especially since it comes one half of the creative team behind "Gilmore Girls" (and not the half that created the unqualified disaster "The Return of Jezebel James.")

Daniel Palladino will be the main writer for a sitcom loosely based on Grazer's father, who Grazer said was "a lawyer with a slightly questionable moral compass." The show will be called "The Chairman of Chatsworth," so keep your eyes out for it.

Michael Gambon peruses "The Book of Eli"

I think the reason I just can't get too much into apocalyptic movies is that, once they're over, the world never really does end (not that I'm looking forward to that or anything), but I'm gonna give the genre at least one more chance for "The Book of Eli," for several reasons.

First and foremost, it's the very welcome return to feature film directing for the Hughes Brothers, Allen and Albert, who have been out of the movie game for far too long.

Secondly, with the new addition of Michael Gambon (a k a Albus Dumbledore the second), it's acquiring a first-rate cast. Denzel Washington plays the titular Eli in what the IMDB describes as a "post-apocalyptic Western, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind." Gambon will play one half of a "strange couple that holds onto old traditions," and Gary Oldman's in on this somehow too.

But most of all I'm just happy to see the Hughes working on a big-time film again (with this one tentatively set for release next January), because they showed so much promise before pretty much disappearing after 2001's "From Hell."

Will Johnny Depp really write "The Rum Diary"?

Speaking of a director who is soon (hopefully) to make a welcome return after an even longer absence, the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "The Rum Diary" to star Johnny Depp and be directed by Bruce Robinson indeed appears to be back on again.

Robinson, as you may or may not remember, made the simply brilliant "Withnail and I" in 1987 and only two films since (neither of which I have seen.) I just assumed that "The Rum Diary" project, based on Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel about a young journalist working in Puerto Rico in the 1950s, was buried somewhere in deep development, but it hit the wire again this morning.

The latest bit of news is that Amber Heard (Dale Denton's just-about-jailbait girlfriend in "Pineapple Express") is about to sign on to play the female lead, which will put her in the middle of a love triangle between Depp's Paul Kemp and a fellow journalist.

That all sounds good to me, but it will sound so much better if this ever comes close to becoming an actual movie, and I'll certainly tell you if it does.

Who watches the Watchmen?

I've recently started re-reading Alan Moore and Robert Gibson's "Watchmen" graphic novel again to get psyched up for the movie, and I can report that it more than stands the test of time. As I've lugged it around town to read over lunch, no less than three strangers (all dudes, of course) have come up to me to tell me how much they love the book, and I have to say I share that devotion.

And I'm reasonably confident that Zack Snyder's feature film, when it comes out March 6, will be a real winner. All I know for sure so far is that the viral marketing machine has certainly been efficient, with the video below about the Keene Act to suppress masked vigilante justice being the most recent bit of promotion. Enjoy it, and have a perfectly pleasant Thursday. Peace out.


Bob said...

I'd been hearing spring for production on "The Rum Diary." I think it may actually happen this time. As you know, "Withnail and I" is my favorite movie of all-time so I'm more than a little excited about the return of Bruce Robinson.
I haven't seen "Jennifer 8," but I do highly recommend "How To Get Ahead In Advertising." Richard E. Grant is brilliant and Robinson's dialogue is of course, stellar. I hope he finds a place for Grant in "The Rum Diary."

Reel Fanatic said...

I love Richard Grant, so I'll certainly check that out .. thanks for the heads up!

Chalupa said...

I started reading The Watchmen too! I acquired a copy over the holidays. Loved that Keene Act clip at the end. I really hope the film turns out good.

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