Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The impossibility of replacing Helen Mirren, and much, much more

This idea has already died once for the best of all possible reasons: They couldn't find anybody to follow in the footsteps of Dame Helen Mirren in playing the role of Jane Tennison. Of course they couldn't, because it would be impossible.

But that apparently won't stop people from trying. Although the simply awful idea was shelved as a midseason possibility once already, NBC is now trying to revive a "Prime Suspect" reboot once again, this time with its eyes on Maria Bello to play the lead. Take a second or two to think about just how much this would be trading down, though she is obviously a very pretty lady.

If you've seen Mirren in anything, and I'm going to have to assume everyone has, you know she would be hard to follow in any role, but this one in particular really can't be played by anyone else. Along with "The Wire" and "Homicide," "Prime Suspect" is the only other cop TV show that I've bothered to watch in the last 20 years, almost entirely because of the desperate humanity she brought to the role (I meant to watch "Chicago Code," since it comes from the "Terriers" guys, but I simply forgot, as many other people apparently did too.)

So, here's hoping this idea is already D.O.A. Here's what Bello, who recently starred on some incarnation of "Law & Order," apparently, had to tell Entertainment Weekly about the matter:

“There may be interest in me doing it, but I haven’t read anything yet or talked to anyone in-depth about it,” Bello told EW exclusively while attending the 10th Annual Movies For Grownups Awards on Monday. “I’m possibly interested. Definitely nervous to even think about taking over for Helen Mirren. C’mon! How could anyone compete with her? Didn’t she do about 10 of them and win an Emmy every time? I’m open to things right now. I’m just trying to go with the flow of my life and I’ve been going back-and-forth to Haiti trying to help out. That has felt good, but I am also wanting to do something spectacular with my life work-wise and that may end up being it.”

Even with Peter Berg of "Friday Night Lights" apparently roped in to running this, I really can't see how it would be anything but a spectacular failure, so just move on, please!

In much better TV news, Zooey Deschanel, who is one of those women I'll definitely watch in just about anything, is about to sign for a Fox sitcom for the fall, with the rather colorful title of "Chicks and Dicks."

Of all the possibilities that might be swimming through your dirty minds, the "dicks" here are apparently her three roommates. The comedy would have her playing an elementary school teacher who, fresh from a break-up, moves in with a trio of "immature young men." Sounds an awful lot like "The Big Bang Theory" to me, but like I said, for her, I suppose I'll watch at least a few episodes of just about anything.

OK, a lot of stuff to get to today, so forgive the schizophrenia, but I don't have a ton of time to do this in the morning. Paul Dano, who I saw most recently in the engaging little oddity "The Extra Man," is reteaming with "Little Miss Sunshine" directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for something even odder that springs from the mind of his girlfriend, Zoe Kazan.

Kazan, who just happens to be the granddaughter of Elia Kazan, wrote the script for "He Loves Me," in which Dano will play a writer who wills Kazan's character into existence by writing her to love him. Sounds like nothing but fun to me.

And fans of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (I first wrote the first word of that as "assassassination," perhaps distracted by the rather saucy presence of Carla Gugino at the end of this post .. stay tuned) director Andrew Dominik is slowly assembling a first-rate cast for what should be a grand heist flick with "Cogan's Trade."

One Brad Pitt plays Cogan, a hit mans' point person who becomes involved in the investigation of a heist that hits the mob at a high-stakes poker game. Now comes word that the always great Richard Jenkins is joining the game as a lawyer who's collecting information on the game. Definitely keep your eyes on this one ...

And speaking, sort of, of Jenkins, Thomas McCarthy, who directed him in his Oscar-nominated role in "The Visitor," has just signed on with Disney to write the script for what should a really fun baseball movie. "Million Dollar Arm" will be based on "the inspirational story of how sports agent J.B. Bernstein discovered professional pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel through his Indian reality show.”

If that sounds a lot like "Slumdog Millionaire," so what. Here, courtesy of Collider, is a brief synopsis of the tale:

Bernstein reportedly got the idea for the reality show when he was watching cricket and realized that the throwing motion wasn’t that different from baseball. The show launched in India in 2008 with over 40,000 applicants including Singh and Patel, who were the two finalists. They were brought to the U.S. and improved their English by listening to rap and watching action movies. Singh and Patel became the first Indian athletes to sign professional baseball contracts when they picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even better, Singh and Patel probably didn’t know they were being picked up by one of the worst baseball teams of all-time.

Wow. No word yet if McCarthy would also direct this, but given the chance, I can't imagine he'd turn it down. In the meantime, McCarthy has one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for 2011, "Win Win" starring Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan, coming out hopefully wide enough to reach my little corner of the world March 18.

OK, to keep it on movies, here are two rather obvious examples of Oscar bait, one for this year and one for next. First up comes next, and the first photo of Meryl Streep as "The Iron Lady," Margaret Thatcher. The appearance is admittedly uncanny, and I have no doubt that Streep will be great in this biopic, being directed by "Mamma Mia" director Phyllida Lloyd (say anything snarky about that you may want to .. not having seen that movie, I really can't.) The movie has a great supporting cast with James Broadbent as hubby Dennis and Richard E. Grant as Michael Heseltine. Here's the photo, and keep an eye out for the movie sometime later this year.

And getting back to this year's Oscars, former "Homicide" star Melissa Leo is up for a Best Supporting Actress award for her work in "The Fighter," and certainly should be. If I had a vote, however, I'd vote for young Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit," who should really be in the Best Actress category, but that's not really her fault. Anyways, apparently wanting to win (and why not?), Leo has taken it upon herself to mount her own ad campaign, which is very effective in its simplicity. Enjoy, and "consider" ...

Though this has certainly gone on long enough already today, I'll leave you with two videos that caught my eye. The first is the first trailer I know of for "Elektra Luxx," which beyond the obvious allure of starring Carla Gugino playing a porn star who dresses up occasionally as a nun, has the promise to be a pretty oddly solid little comedy. From director Sebastian Gutierrez, it's a sequel of sorts to his 2009 movie "Women in Trouble," which I enjoyed quite a bit. As you'll see from the trailer, it also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adrianne Palicki of "Friday Night Lights" and many other beautiful women, so enjoy, and keep an eye out for this in at least some corners of the world in March.

And finally, saving quite possibly the best for last, here's the first trailer I know of for the Sundance comedy "Submarine," a British coming-of-age tale from first-time director Richard Ayaode. The plot (15-year-old desperate to lose his virginity and keep his parents together) sounds terribly familiar, but as you'll see from the trailer, it has more than a little "Rushmore" spirit to it, and it also stars Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins as the parents, so bully. Not sure when this will come out in America, but enjoy the trailer anyway, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Peace out.


Jake Mabe said...

Bit off topic, but -- I watched the final episode of "Friday Night Lights." Hope you are still planning to watch the series. All I will say is "Wow." Will anticipate reading your thoughts when you get to see the final season.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't wait to see it, Jake ... I'm not sure when it will finally come to NBC, but I'm hoping no later than NBC .. and in the meantime, thanks for not spoiling anything for me, except that it's great, which is no surprise at all!

Justin said...

Carla Gugino. Sigh.

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