Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Crazy Heart" director plotting what would be just about the perfect followup

Though Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" isn't my single favorite movie of 2009 yet (that distinction goes to Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds"), I've seen Cooper's movie twice now and it just keeps getting and better in my mind, much like Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" did, so just give it time.

The movie just has such a natural pace and feel to it that it makes the utterly familiar story go down extremely sweetly, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the Dude is so great in it. And now, it seems that Cooper is lining up two other top-notch actors to take on an epic Southern saga.

Making the rounds to promote "Get Low," in which he plays a cranky old man who wants to plan his own funeral party so he can attend it, Robert Duvall revealed that Cooper has been lined up to direct "The Hatfields and the McCoys" for Warner Bros., from a script by Eric Roth (the "Forrest Gump" scribe, so he certainly needs and deserves a chance for atonement). Duvall, who had a small but key part in "Crazy Heart," has signed on to star in it, and he said Brad Pitt is now being courted to join him, though exactly what roles each would play is so far not at all clear.

Cooper, who made his debut with "Crazy Heart," is definitely one to keep your eyes on, so I'll certainly share more about this whenever I find it. And, apparently bored on the junket circuit and wanting to chat, Duvall also took the occasion to tell Movieline something about the status of Terry Gilliam's truly quixotic "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote" too.

He revealed that "the Irish guy who was in 'Crazy Heart'," who we have to assume would mean Colin Farrell, was approached to play the role that Johnny Depp tried to the first Gilliam tried to make this movie, but has - probably wisely - turned it down. Duvall, however, said he will be in the movie, playing some kind of "Latin guy," assuming it ever gets made.

And if you've ever been the seriously satisfying - albeit depressing - documentary "Lost in La Mancha," which chronicles the epic failure that was Gilliam's first attempt to make this movie, you know the odds against this ever happening this time are pretty steep. Here's more of what Duvall had to say about the obstacles that remain:

"They [the producers] need a name. He's [Gilliam's] going after two people now, but he doesn’t want to say who they are until after he gets them. But it’s been six months he’s been after people. And it’s a bigger budget than his others. And he doesn’t stick to a budget, they say. He goes on and on. And he’s got locations picked out in Spain. So it’ll be very exciting. And when the time comes — and I know for sure — then I’ll start riding horseback every day … But you know, when the time comes - I can’t really start preparing for it until it’s greenlit. Until it’s really greenlit."

Duvall certainly and understandably has his doubts, and coincidentally enough, this news comes in the same week as the DVD release of Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," which, having seen it, I can say is a movie he probably should never have completed.

When my family goes to New York just after Christmas each year, a big part of the gathering is getting to see movies you wouldn't where we normally reside. My brother usually lets me drag him to one movie I want to see but he's almost certain will suck at least a little bit. Two years ago it was Steven Soderbergh's seemingly interminable "Che," an utter act of hubris, though Benicio Del Toro certainly gave it his all, and this year it was "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus."

Everyone knows by now the saga of how Heath Ledger died during the filming of this flick, and Gilliam turned to three big stars - Depp, Farrell and Jude Law - to finish the job. Well, what I can reveal to you is, after making an oddly entertaining flick during the portion Ledger was around for, Gilliam - predictably perhaps - then just lets his movie go completely out of control to the point that the last 45 minutes or so just make no sense at all. I'm still glad I saw it, but I can't really recommend the experience on DVD for anyone else except as a film oddity.

OK, that all went on a bit longer than I had originally planned, so I'll simply leave you today with a couple of videos. The first is the first full trailer I know of for Irish director John Carney's "Zonad." You may remember Carney from the truly magical musical "Once," but this is something completely different: The story of a mysterious stranger who arrives in an Irish village in the 1950s and passes himself off as an alien. Sounds like exactly the kind of goofball comedy I love, but I'll almost certainly have to wait for DVD to ever see this one. Enjoy.

And finally, I'll leave you with something even odder, the new video from MIA, who we (or at least I) haven't heard from since her "Paper Planes" became an earworm that bore into my skull for most of a year. This song, unfortunately, isn't nearly as catchy, and be warned that the video is 9 minutes long. It has, however, apparently been banned from YouTube because of its extreme violence (don't say I didn't warn you), so "enjoy" it while you can (and be warned, if you're a Ginger, really don't watch this). Peace out.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.