all the news that's fit to print (well, maybe)
FILM & TV
|New Russell James book only available in the US||DOROTHY L.SAYERS Convention
5th October 2002
|INSOMNIA - Al Pacino & Robin Williams.
Interview with its director, Christopher Nolan
|SCAREDY CAT - Mark Billingham's follow up to Sleepyhead||The STEEL DAGGER - a new award from the Crime Wrieters' Association||THE SALTON SEA starring Val Kilmer, directed by D J Caruso|
|The Medieval Murderers -Mayhem, murder and medieval magic, thats what is promised by the formation of the Medieval Murderers Writers' Group||DEAD ON DEANSGATE 2002||ROBERT CRAIS at the movies|
|Macavity Award Nominees||HALLE BERRY GETS FOXY|
|BAD COMPANY - thriller with Anthony Hopkins|
|PITCH BLACK 2|
|SIGNS thriller starring Mel Gibson|
DEAD ON DEANGATE
The 2002 Dead on Deansgate crime fiction convention will take place from 1st to 6th October. Events during the week will include workshops for aspiring writers, with the main events featuring visitors authors over the weekend. All events will be held at Waterstone's bookshop, Deansgate, Manchester, and there is no involvement by the Crime Writers' Association this year.
Dorothy L. Sayers conference On 5th October 2002, the University of London Institute of English Studies will be holding a conference on Dorothy L. Sayers in association with the Dorothy L. Sayers Society and Mystery Women. Speakers will include: P. D. James, Barbara Reynolds, Jill Paton Walsh, Susan Rowland, David Doughan and Jasmine Simeone. http://www.chriswillis.freeserve.co.uk/sayers2002.htm
The Crime Writers' Association is to launch a new Dagger award - the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller. The award is the idea of the Ian Fleming Estate, who have donated an annual prize of £2,000 in memory of the creator of James Bond. The first Steel Dagger will be presented during 2002, in conjunction with the Macallan Daggers. Also revived this year is the Dagger in the Library, chosen by librarians for the crime novel most praised by readers.
Mayhem, murder and medieval magic, thats what is promised by the formation of the Medieval Murderers, a group within the Crime Writers Association which has banded together to speak at events up and down the country.
The Medieval Murderers are a mixed team which span probably the most exciting periods of English history, but they also write in very different styles and about the areas which inspired them. All rely on careful plotting and detailed characterisation, but thats only a part of their story.
Susanna Gregory, before taking up the pen, was a police officer. She changed career and took a PhD at Cambridge, which spurred her interest in the universitys history and led to her setting down on paper the Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew, a physician living in Cambridge in the period immediately after the Black Death.
Michael Jecks was a computer salesman until beginning his Templar series. Now he can finance his main interests: walking over Dartmoor, reading about medieval England and daydreaming. His books describe life among the peasants of Devon during the period of almost continual civil war under King Edward II.
A little before him, historically, was Ian Morson, whose Falconer series delighted him because at last instead of lending books to people while he worked in the library service, he was able to earn money from people borrowing his books! Now he lives and works in Cornwall, writing in a variety of genres.
Finally, in the late twelfth century, there is Bernard Knight, a prolific writer of books and who also writes scripts for TV and radio. He has made good use both of his fascination with the medieval system of Coroners, and his own experience as a senior Home Office Pathologist and Professor of Forensic Pathology, in his Crowner John series.
This is the team. All successful writers in their own right, they give talks and sit as panels for libraries, clubs and associations - and speak to writing groups about getting into print and what the life of a modern writers is really like! They can also perform as a reduced, medieval English murder company, spanning two centuries in the space of an hour, including a coffee break!
All are committed to the support of the library service and helping schools motivate children to read and write.
For further information or requests for the Medieval Murderers to appear, please Jecks on 01 email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A taut, compelling noir with liberal dollops of sex and violence," exclaims Publishers Weekly.
Yes, it's time for you to order a copy of the latest shocker from RUSSELL JAMES.
Like to know something about the book?
I'd been reading a clutch of those bloodthirsty Jacobean tragedies and in several I came across the old man cuckolded by a virile young blood. One evening in the theatre I saw a particularly sexy rendering of Thomas Middleton's Jacobean shocker, THE CHANGELING, and I realized that here was a twist that would make a great noir story for today. Don't get me wrong: I wasn't writing to impress some college professor - I was sitting down to write a good hot story that you and I would want to read. So I didn't follow academic rules. I gave myself the freedom to play around a little, cutting out some of the more old fashioned coincidences, cutting all the speeches, a good deal of the poetry and some of the minor characters, and concentrating instead on the gripping plot and its three main characters (middle aged husband, his young bride, and their wicked servant). Naturally I threw into the brew the saucy maid, the rival boyfriend and the awful secret - all from the original - and this left me with a plot any author would give his favourite whisky for. From the original play I kept the blood, the sex and above all Middleton's outrageous sexual premise and I did my best to serve it up at the same pounding speed as in the original Jacobean play. The result, I hope, is just the thing to pep up one of your sultry summer evenings.
How to order: THE ANNEX has just been published in America by Five Star Mysteries and is not easily obtainable outside the States. But you can order from www.amazon.com THE ANNEX retails at $25.95 and its ISBN is 0-7862-3931-X. Get your hands on a copy today!
Coming your way 4th July 2002Mark Billingham's second novel explores fear. And the power that this can give people. If you scare someone enough, they'll do anything. Bringing back DI Tom Thorne and his young team, Billingham creates a powerful case where the Serious Crime Group find themsleves on the hunt for not just one serial killer, but for a partnership - two killers working in unison. Impeccably plotted and darkly compelling, Scardey Cat confirms Mark Billingham's place at the forefront of a new generation of cracking good crime writers.
Mark will be launching the book at Crime In Store (contact them for further details).
In the Imperial Valley of Southern California there is a little known body of water 226 feet below sea level, one of the lowest points in the United States. As there is no outlet from this sea, water is being removed only by evaporation, which results in a salinity level more than 25 percent higher than the Pacific Ocean. There is an eerie stillness to this vast sea, and a peculiar density to the water. This lake is the Salton Sea.
Set against this remote and mysterious landscape, an unexpected and brutal crime leaves an innocent woman, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, dead at the hands of masked gunmen. Her husbands life is left in ruins, his every waking moment haunted by the recurring imagery of the murder he witnessed, but was powerless to prevent. He is alive, but lifeless in his despair. The Salton Sea is a character-driven crime thriller about an unlikely hero entangled in a web of deceit and treachery. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this is a compelling and emotionally-charged story about loss and recovery set to the lonely resonant tones of jazz great Miles Davis horn.
Danny Parker (VAL KILMER) is a man in search of redemption, consumed by a sense of loneliness and alienation. Following the death of his wife (CHANDRA WEST), he is set adrift in a seedy underworld inhabited by an eclectic, and often comical, cast of characters united principally by their choice of drug: crystal methamphetamine. An accomplished jazz musician, Danny is now a low-life tweaker in Los Angeles who leads us through a frenzied maze, one from which he must emerge before his tenuous grip on reality snaps for good.
In a bold attempt Danny secretly hatches a plan to serve as middle-man in a lucrative drug deal. With the help of his friend Jimmy The Finn (PETER SARSGAARD), Danny is introduced to Pooh-Bear (VINCENT DONOFRIO), a deranged methamphetamine baron with a penchant for sadistic recreational games, who seals the deal. But in this mad world, nothing is as it seems and no one is who he or she appears to be.
While making this perilous journey through the underbelly of Los Angeles, however, Danny reconnects with a tenderness long thought dead as he reaches out to help his troubled and vulnerable neighbor, Colette (DEBORAH KARA UNGER).
Joining the productions cast are ANTHONY La PAGLIA and DOUG HUTCHISON who portray narcotics agents Garcetti and Morgan respectively; ADAM GOLDBERG as Kujo, a speed freak; LUIS GUZMAN, as Quincy, Colettes violent boyfriend; rock veteran MEAT LOAF makes an appearance as Bo, a shady druggie; GLENN PLUMMER as Bobby, a drug dealer; in his acting debut JOSH TODD, lead singer of the band Buckcherry, as Big Bill, one of Pooh-Bears sidekicks; DANNY TREJO as Little Bill, a member of Pooh-Bears posse and Tony Award-winning B. D. WONG as Bubba, a cowboy with crystal meth connections.
Castle Rock Entertainment presents A Darkwoods/Humble Journey Films Production, The Salton Sea, directed by D. J. CARUSO (HBOs Black Cat Run) from a screenplay by TONY GAYTON (Murder by Numbers). The film is produced by Academy Award® nominated filmmaker FRANK DARABONT (The Majestic, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) along with ERIQ La SALLE (E.R.), KEN AGUADO (Ticker) and BUTCH ROBINSON (The Original Kings of Comedy). The film is executive produced by JIM BEHNKE (The Majestic, Zero Effect).
The behind-the-scenes team is led by director of photography AMIR MOKRI (Coyote Ugly), production designer TOM SOUTHWELL (HBOs Black Cat Run), editor JIM PAGE (The Majestic), costume designer KARYN WAGNER (The Green Mile, Eves Bayou, HBOs Black Cat Run) and Academy Award® nominated composer THOMAS NEWMAN (Erin Brockovich, The Shawshank Redemption). The Salton Sea is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company.
Castle Rock Entertainment is an AOL Time Warner Company.
ABOUT THE STORY
In the opening scene of The Salton Sea, we are introduced to Danny Parker sitting alone on a bed in a dilapidated rooming house with a duffel bag full of money. Around him the room is ablaze with fire, but he seems unaware, quietly playing his trumpet. In voice-over against this distressing image Danny speaks to us, seeking to define who and what he has become. This opening confessional reveals him to be a man in crisis, struggling with his identity and haunted by his past. His probing questions propel us backwards into the story and we begin to travel through the recent events of his life that lead him to this critical point.
Suspenseful, intriguing and moody, Tony Gaytons screenplay caught the eye of producer Ken Aguado. Gaytons original screenplay unfolds in a very deliberate and measured way, never revealing too much at one time. Just when you feel you have come to understand whats at play, another layer is unveiled and your perspective shifts. Aguado explains, Character revelations and plot twists are introduced throughout the entire piece, which is one of the reasons its such a fascinating movie. A lot of scripts are boring after the thirtieth page because everything has been revealed. This film is not about the immediate moment. Its about the future, the past, and it requires two hours to figure out.
Aguado passed the script on to D. J. Caruso and insisted he read it immediately. Aguado remembers, He really responded to the material for the same reasons I had. You find yourself trying to understand the hero, what his agenda is and what his and the other characters motives are and where they will end up. Youre surprised all the way through and there are some really funny moments.
D. J. Caruso recalls his thoughts after reading the script, I loved it. I flipped out because I had been waiting for the right opportunity to direct my first feature film. Ive had a couple opportunities before, but I really wanted my first film to be something that meant something to me. Im obsessed with character journeys, whether that growth is a positive or negative growth. I was really compelled by the dilemma the lead character Danny Parker experiences.
Producing partner Eriq La Salle, widely known as the uncompromising doctor on the hit television series E.R., was equally compelled by The Salton Sea. It was one of the best scripts we had ever read. The opening is so powerful - a man sitting in a burning room, his life about to end, while he plays his trumpet and asks the audience who am I? But, he also asks the viewer to listen to his story before making any judgments because nothing is, as it seems. The whole movie then delivers on that promise and reveals what led him to this place, this burning room. The narrative unfolds so gradually over the course of the film and it has you constantly guessing. Its involving and very rewarding in that way, says La Salle.
Aguado adds, This is a movie that survives 100% on the quality of the writing and the story. Its challenging material that requires you to use your brain while also being emotionally engaged. And all the characters are interesting and richly-drawn.
Frank Darabont, with whom Caruso had collaborated on the HBO film Black Cat Run, with Darabont executive producing and Caruso directing, was sent the script by the Humble Journey Films partners.
Im an enormous fan of D. J. Caruso, says Darabont. D. J. was really excited about the script for The Salton Sea. I have enormous faith and confidence in his instincts, so I took it home that night and read it. I thought the script was really terrific.
Darabont elaborates, The script for The Salton Sea was not like any other script I had read and consequently not really like too many other movies I see. Its definitely got its own unique texture and thats rooted in the script. D. J. is a director who respects the screenplay as hes shooting the movie. The result is a director doing justice to a good script.
Intrigued by the project, Darabont lent his support and joined the producing team to help the filmmakers bring Tony Gaytons story to the big screen.
ABOUT THE CASTING
At break-neck speed, the casting process was then underway. The lead role required an actor to project a sense of humanity and vulnerability while pulling the audience through his dark and difficult journey. As the story unfolds, you find yourself feeling sympathy for a character that normally you wouldnt be very sympathetic towards. We needed someone with the acting chops who could pull that off, explains Aguado. At the top of Caruso and the producers list was Val Kilmer.
Aguado explains, This is a very dark role for an actor and it required someone who would throw himself entirely into the part. Val was our first choice. They were not disappointed, and in fact the actors commitment to the role greatly surpassed their expectations. Aguado beams, Val completely submerged himself in the character. He is very dedicated and serious about his craft, and I think this is one of his best performances.
Caruso adds, I wanted Val Kilmer from the start. I enjoyed watching Val in Tombstone because I thought his portrayal of Doc Holliday was just fantastic. In the The Doors, he embodied and became Jim Morrison in the film. Val is the most passionate person Ive ever met. You can only hope to have someone like him on your team wanting the movie to be just as good, if not better than you want it to be.
Tackling a character of such complexity was of immediate appeal to the actor, and he signed on to play Danny Parker without hesitation. Kilmer explains, It was a very challenging role, one of the hardest Ive ever done. This character is wonderfully tragic and beautiful. I was very affected personally by the character.
In summarizing his role, Kilmer continues, Danny is a jazz musician whos really in love with his wife. They get lost one day near the Salton Sea, and his whole life changes. Shes murdered and he survives. He blames himself and becomes locked in that period of time.
By infusing what could have been an unsympathetic character with humor and sensitivity, Kilmer fleshed out a multi-dimensioned portrayal of a man lost in a bleak and sordid subculture of drug users and dealers. I had played a couple of alcoholics before - Doc Holliday and Jim Morrison - and other similar characters in theater, so I had a pretty good idea about addiction and those arenas of characters who become suicidal.
Adding to this experience, however, Kilmer sought real-life inspiration for his portrayal and spent time with police informants. Kilmer says, Rats are really desperate people. Its the end of the line and, as all rats know, eventually they get caught. Theres no place to exist as an informant. Its tough - both sides are against you and youre always getting squeezed. The amalgamation of these experiences brought a depth of understanding and reality to Danny Parker. Kilmer concludes, I put the pieces together in a non-intellectual way, watching how hard it is for some people just to survive.
Anthony La Paglia and Doug Hutchison portray undercover narcotics agents Garcetti and Morgan respectively. Their area of focus is crystal methamphetamine. Initially, they present a classic good cop/bad cop front.
Hutchison reveals, As the story unfolds, all of the boundaries get blurred. Its refreshing not to see the same old stereotypical relationship. I like that youre never sure whats real or whats an illusion in the film.
La Paglia couldnt resist the role of Garcetti when he read the script, even though he had decided hed had his fill of playing cop roles. La Paglia recalls, It felt different from a lot of things I had read - its an interesting story with a hard edge. My character is described as a man who doesnt like dolphins. Who doesnt like dolphins?
Hutchison spent time with actual narcotics agents in Riverside to help flesh out his character, during which time he accompanied them on a drug raid. The officer that I rode with had an informant who provided the tip responsible for the bust. I grilled the officer about his relationship with the informant - it was really valuable information that perfectly applied to my character, remembers Hutchison.
Although the film is set in this harsh world, and centered around a man whose life has been destroyed in many ways, it is not a film without hope. The film introduces you to a world of characters that most people will never meet in their lifetime - and thank god, Aguado says. But you discover that people from all walks of life and in all kinds of different situations have their own sense of dignity, their own hopes, dreams and aspirations. This is not a film about pure and clean people. These are people who have been to a place most of us will never go, but they come out the other end changed, and hopefully better. All the characters are flawed, but loaded with humanity and reality.
It was these multifaceted characterizations that attracted Deborah Kara Unger to the story of The Salton Sea and to the role of Colette, Dannys neighbor in a down-and-out boarding house/hotel. Unger recalls, I was struck by the extraordinary writing, and the storys emotional pace. This film does not insult the intelligence of an audience; the plot is rich and complex. Its a very dark world, but there are alarming flashes of humor and light, and the characters are unpredictable and colorful.
Casting Unger was a real coup for the director as she, like Kilmer, had been his first choice for the role. As Carusos producing partner Butch Robinson explains, D. J. wanted the film to be hyper-realistic, and he wanted someone who was attractive, but approachable, sympathetic and appealing. For everyone involved, Unger embodied all these characteristics.
Caruso explains, I felt Deborah was right for the role of Colette because I found her to be sexy, intriguing and real, qualities that were essential for the character. Deborahs character Colette is really vital because she reawakens passion in Danny, something that he thought he had lost forever.
Kilmer states admiringly, Deborah comes to work almost exclusively from an emotional connection, which lends a certain power to her acting.
Haunted by her own demons, Colette is a single mother who finds herself in an abusive relationship and is barely hanging on. Her despair and vulnerability mirror that of Danny Parker, and their friendship and compassion provide respite from the horrors of their lives. My character is exceedingly fractured, Unger begins. Both Colette and Danny are burdened by a past from which theyre both trying to escape, to make sense of. Theyre both seeking retribution. And Colette feels a lot of empathy for the deep pain Vals character is enduring.
Kilmer further comments, Our characters have a generosity of spirit and sensitivity in common. We also have a motive in our life that is different than survival, pleasure or greed. Were both seemingly lost and feel as though weve failed to help those we love. But were also tough and neither one of us is revealing everything we know.
Caruso provided an opportunity for spontaneity in certain scenes, a flexibility and collaboration that reaped rich rewards. Caruso explains, I like to be visually prepared but I also wanted to give the actors the freedom and make them comfortable enough so they felt free to do what they felt.
Kilmer responded strongly to the approach, but cautioned, Improvisation must be in the same spirit as the writers vision. Time is running out in our story, so the structure is very tight and dependent on a rhythm and pace. But there were moments when we were given room to really fly. All the actors in the film were well suited to that freedom.
D. J. inspires trust and excitement in an actor, Unger reveals. He allowed us to embrace the chaos of the characters lives through an improvisation that helped feed the tensions needed in particular scenes. Imbalance is central to this storys world and a lack of certainty is intrinsic to the activities of most of the characters.
The filmmakers believe that the compatible acting styles of Kilmer and Unger elevated their respective performances, and indeed the film. Val and Deborah have a very similar energy level. Theyre both intense, internal and thoughtful as actors, Aguado observes.
Unger, however, credits her co-star for heightening the stakes and enriching her portrayal. Val was committed to the story and the characters. Without a doubt, I knew from the beginning that he would be able to embrace the films world almost flawlessly, certainly fearlessly. He made every effort to let me know that whatever cliff I might want to jump off, hed be there with a net. Im thankful for his confidence to go places that I might not have gone.
The storys many richly drawn characters attracted a top-notch roster of gifted actors, including Vincent DOnofrio in the sinister role of Pooh-Bear, a twisted and menacing speed dealer. As soon as I read the script for The Salton Sea, I immediately thought of Vincent DOnofrio for the role of Pooh Bear, Caruso explains. Pooh Bear is a character that I thought Vincent would be perfect to play. Vincent is the type of actor who becomes the character and hides behind the character so brilliantly that you forget that its Vincent.
DOnofrio describes his character as a dealer who sits around with his buddies cooking methamphetamines. Hes a sort of bandit whos out for the money and will screw with people and rob them along the way. He also has a strange way of communicating and dealing with situations - I dont want to give anything away, but its weird stuff !
DOnofrios versatility and unquestionable talent have spurned many memorable characters, but perhaps hes most widely remembered for his disturbing portrayal of a young cadet in Stanley Kubricks brilliant Vietnam drama Full Metal Jacket. The actor brings a similar intensity to The Salton Sea, and will undoubtedly leave another indelible impression on audiences with Pooh-Bear. DOnofrio explains, I felt there was a lot I could do with Pooh-Bear when I first read the script. Hes a foil character who really helps move the story along. I always try to avoid making typical choices with a character, and villains are particularly fun and interesting for me because I try to humanize them and give them heart. I have a very short attention span, so I pick the most interesting and complex characters I can find to keep from getting bored.
DOnofrio often transforms himself physically for his roles, and Pooh-Bear is no exception. I gained 40 pounds for the part. This will be the last time I ever put on weight for a film because Im getting older and its becoming harder to take off, says DOnofrio.
Contrary to the depraved Pooh-Bear is Jimmy the Finn, Dannys naïve but loyal drug-buddy. Peter Sarsgaard, who garnered attention in the critically acclaimed film Boys Dont Cry, brought a sincerity and affability to the role. My character is involved in this whole crystal meth scene. No one is quite what they seem in the film, but Jimmy is transparent - he could never lie believably, for example. Hes really honest and trusting, so Danny turns to him in this world of people who are foreign to him, explains Sarsgaard. Although unaware, Jimmy becomes more and more involved in Dannys struggle and conflict.
The Salton Sea characterizes a very specific branch of the crime underworld: the world of crystal methamphetamine. Like crack is to cocaine, crystal meth - crank or gack as it is often called on the streets - is the crystal form of methamphetamine. Cheaply made and easily accessible, meth is powerfully addictive and, arguably, the hardest drug to kick. Highly combustible meth labs litter the landscape of the United States in unsuspecting trailers, run-down shacks or in the kitchens of peoples homes. Made largely from household products, law enforcement agencies have had a difficult time controlling the traffic of meth due to its surreptitious production.
Meths speedy high keeps its addicts, also known as tweakers, awake for days at a time. Extreme sleep deprivation not only devastates a persons body, but it amplifies the craziness of the high and can cause hallucinations and insanity. With too much time on their hands, tweakers are predisposed to manic and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Its a lunatic world, Kilmer concludes.
Not unlike a lot of Americans, the cast knew very little about meth and its ravaging effects. The director provided them with endless research material in the form of documentary video reports and articles, but they were also encouraged to visit drug recovery centers on their own. In visiting one such center in Riverside, California, Unger met former addicts who candidly shared their experiences. I need to thank that center and those individuals with whom I spoke for really illuminating me and enabling me to feel intimate with a world that thankfully Ive never journeyed through. She continues, I had no idea meth was so common and was shocked to discover how pervasive it is. Theres no one type of individual that becomes hooked - its indiscriminate in that way.
Kilmer adds, Its a really rough, hard drug, and unfortunately its very popular now. Its cheap and easy to make, and youre high for a long time. It seems that being a tweaker is a vocation - the drug will grip you, and your life becomes an endless pursuit of getting it, using it for as long as possible, sleeping a little, and getting some more.
Told with humor and pathos, The Salton Sea provides a glimpse into a particular world of fringe-dwelling tweakers. Although tragically in the clutches of this drug, the camaraderie of this group and their absurdly funny antics provide comic relief from the darkness of Dannys journey and his more sinister dealings with Pooh-Bear and others. Central to this dark comedy is Jimmy and the character Kujo, played by Adam Goldberg. Kujo is a motor mouth speed freak with grand designs, says Goldberg.
In summary, Val Kilmer says of the film, Its a tragic and beautiful love story in many ways, but also a wild ride. You step into an unusual and unique world, both strange and dynamic.
Producer Ken Aguado says, Everything about this movie will make you appreciate your life. People can lose their way in life and find themselves in a place they never thought theyd be. I think audiences will take away a sense of this characters quest for redemption. The films journey is about his reemergence as a person into the world of the true and the honest. Its a cautiously hopeful tale with a tremendous amount of humor.
Producer Frank Darabont says, What I loved about the script was that it took me into a world that I was quite unfamiliar with, but did so in a way that made it tremendously accessible to me as a reader and to me as a viewer. The story delves into a real underbelly kind of existence. It has an absurdist kind of reality where anything can happen and at the same time the script has its other foot in this very intense, real crime drama that you can take seriously.
Caruso says of the film, Id love for the audience to connect with the soul of the piece, the theme of redemption.
|It looks like 24's Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland)
will go on to face another stressful day. Despite a slow start out of
the ratings gate, Fox is set to renew 24 for a second season, according
to the New York Daily News. Fans might be unhappy to hear, however, that
the show's real-time format will be changed for season two. Currently,
24 covers a day in the life of agent Bauer - an hour at a time - as he
tries to prevent a presidential candidate's assassination while saving
his own wife and daughter from kidnappers. For next season, executive
producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran are considering single episodes
that would cover a 24-hour period each week. With that format, viewers
wouldn't have to watch every single week to know what's going on. This
new format would also help the network capitalize on reruns. At the
moment, Fox has no plans to rerun the show this summer because the
storyline unfolds over 24 episodes. Reruns of the drama currently air on
the FX channel.
The movie rights for both DEMOLITION ANGEL and HOSTAGE have been purchased; DEMOLITION ANGEL by producer Laurence Mark (AS GOOD AS IT GETS, JERRY MAGUIRE) and HOSTAGE by Bruce Willis. Both projects are currently in pre-production. Although Robert has received numerous offers from Hollywood to buy the screen rights to the Elvis Cole novels, he has no intention of selling them.
Bruce Willis takes HOSTAGE!
Bruce Willis, producer Arnold Rifkin, and MGM have snatched up the film rights to Robert's new novel, HOSTAGE, with a pre-emptive move that shut out competing studios. The project, concerning a former LAPD SWAT negotiator caught between a family held hostage and the mob, will be a starring vehicle for Willis, with Rifkin producing and Robert drafting the screenplay.
Marks shows Crais the money!
Producer Laurence Mark and Columbia/TriStar have bought the film rights to Robert's new novel, DEMOLITION ANGEL. Laurence Mark is well known as one of Hollywood's 'A' list producers, having produced such major hits as JERRY MAGUIRE, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, and BICENTENNIAL MAN. Robert has also been hired to write the screenplay.
Out UK/Ireland: 19 July 2002
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Gabriel Macht, John Slattery, Peter Stormare Director: Joel Schumacher Academy Award®-winner Anthony Hopkins portrays Gaylord Oakes, a veteran CIA agent who must transform sarcastic, street-wise punk Jake Hayes (Chris Rock) into a sophisticated and savvy spy to replace his murdered identical twin brother. He only has nine days to accomplish this "mission: improbable," before having to negotiate a sensitive nuclear weapons deal.
Out UK/Ireland: 13 September 2002
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Patricia Kalember, Cherry Jones, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer/Director M. Night Shymalan follows up "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" with his new feature film, "Signs", a thriller set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania focusing on the mysterious appearance of a five-hundred-foot design of circles and lines carved into a family's crops. Mel Gibson stars as Graham Hess, the family patriarch, who is tested in his journey to find the truth behind the unfolding mystery. Joaquin Phoenix is Merrill Hess, brother to Graham and a former minor league baseball star. Shyamalan re-teams with producers Sam Mercer, Frank Marshall, and Kathleen Kennedy, and produces the project under his Blinding Edge Pictures banner along with Touchstone Pictures.
Plot: (From official press release) "Signs is a thriller set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania focusing on the mysterious appearance of crop circles carved into a family farm. Mel Gibson stars as Graham Hess, the family patriarch and town reverend, whose faith is tested in the journey to find the truth behind the circles. Joaquin Phoenix is Merrill Hess, brother to Graham and a former minor league baseball star."
Director/Writer: M Night Shyamalan Executive Producer: Kathleen Kennedy Producers: Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer Cast: Mel Gibson (Graham Hess), Joaquin Phoenix (Merrill Hess), Patricia Kalember (Colleen Hess), Rory Culkin (Morgan Hess), Abby Breslin (Bo Hess), Cherry Jones (Officer Caroline Paski), Jose L. Rodriguez (Radio Host), Michael Showalter, Lanny Flaherty, Nelson Machado
Oscar winner Halle Berry (left)- who is currently filming the latest James Bond movie "Die Another Day" - has signed on to star in a remake of 70s blaxploitation movie "Foxy Brown." In the remake she will take over from Pam Grier (pictured right) as the title character, a woman who avenges the death of her boyfriend at the hands of criminals.
PITCH BLACK 2Following last week's news that Vin Diesel is to be paid $12.5M to reprise his starring role from "Pitch Black" in the sequel "Pitch Black 2: Chronicles of Riddick" comes news that the producers have brought Oscar-winning "A Beautiful Mind" screenwriter Akiva Goldsman on board to rewrite the script. However just because he's an Oscar winner doesn't guarantee that Goldsman will come up with the goods: he previously wrote three other other big budget, special effects heavy, action movies: "Lost In Space" "Batman Forever" and "Batman And Robin."