Weekly Ketchup: Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

Hollywood’s weekly news cycles have been very slow through most of August, and the buzz only got quieter this week before the Labor Day weekend. Things are so slow, that it was even difficult for this writer to figure out which story deserves to be the Top Story. There were only a total of 14 news stories (at all) to choose from for the week’s Top 10, which meant that a story had to be really obscure not to be included. This week’s hum drum announcements include new projects for Josh Brolin, Anne Hathaway, Ed Helms, Dwayne Johnson, Taylor Lautner, Zoe Saldana and director Martin Scorsese.

Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment

Ever since their duet at the Oscars in 2009, there has been speculation about whether Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman will ever do a movie musical together. This week, that question was answered with the news that Anne Hathaway is set to join the cast of Les Miserables as Fantine, the doomed mother of Cosette. Les Miserables is of course an adaptation of the stage musical set during the French Revolution, based upon the novel by Victor Hugo. Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, The Damned United) is lining up a star studded cast that is rumored to include Russell Crowe (replacing the earlier reported Paul Bettany) as Inspector Javert, and Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. Geoffrey Rush previously played Javert in the 1998 film Les Miserables which also costarred Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes. The casting of Cosette and Eponine is the next step, with Miranda Cosgrove (Nickelodeon’s iCarly), Lucy Hale (NBC’s Bionic Woman), Hayden Panettiere (NBC’s Heroes) and Emma Watson (Hermione of the Harry Potter films) being considered for either role. Filming of Les Miserables is expected to start in February, 2012 in England before Hugh Jackman proceeds to Canada for filming of The Wolverine. Les Miserables is a coproduction between Universal Pictures and Working Title Films.

Director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan (Body of Lies, Kingdom of Heaven) previously worked together on 2006′s The Departed. This week, both Scorsese and Monahan signed with Paramount Pictures to develop a remake of the 1974 James Caan addiction drama The Gambler, which was itself based upon a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Gambler told the story of a college professor struggling with an addiction to gambling on basketball scores. That movie, by the way, should not be confused with the series of TV movies starring Kenny Rogers that started in 1980. Paramount hopes that frequent Scorsese collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio will star, but negotiations with DiCaprio haven’t yet started. This week, William Monahan was also revealed to be working with Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez on the script for Sin City 2.

Josh Brolin has signed with Mandate Pictures (Whip It, The Switch, Drag Me to Hell) to star in the English language remake of Park Chan-wook’s Korean action thriller Oldboy, which will be directed by Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Inside Man). Josh Brolin will play a man who is kidnapped and kept hostage for 15 years until he is finally released and sets out to take his revenge. The screenplay was adapted by Mark Protosevich, whose past work includes Poseidon and cowriting duties on I Am Legend. Back when Steven Spielberg was attached to direct this remake a few years ago, Will Smith was to have been the star.

Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are young actresses currently best known for supporting roles in Twilight, Up in the Air, Scott Pilgrim Vs the World, and Bridesmaids. Anna Kendrick was in those first three films, and Rebel Wilson played Kristen Wiig’s British roommate in the last. Kendrick and Wilson are now signed with Universal Pictures to costar in the romantic comedy Pitch Perfect, set in the world of college a capella singing groups. Kendrick will be playing a rebellious goth girl who surprisingly becomes the singing group’s secret weapon in competitions. Since Pitch Perfect is also described as a romantic comedy, she presumably falls in love with someone too. Director Jason Moore, who directed the stage musical Avenue Q as well as episodes of Dawson’s Creek, Everwood and Brothers & Sisters, will be making his feature film debut with Pitch Perfect. Filming of Pitch Perfect is scheduled to start this fall in New Orleans.

Avatar and Star Trek star Zoe Saldana marked the first week of release for her new action film Colombiana by signing with Paramount Pictures to star in a supernatural thriller called Dominion. Although the premise is mostly being kept secret for now, what is known is that Zoe Saldana will play a woman who is half human and half angel. Saldana will also produce Dominion, which is based on a spec pitch by newcomer screenwriters Dean McCreary and Chester Hastings, who cowrote the short film Fanboy featuring Sam Raimi and J.K. Simmons as themselves. Dominion is one of the week’s Rotten Ideas mostly because of its status as yet another movie about angels.

Following delays for the studio’s planned remake of Fantastic Voyage, 20th Century Fox has signed director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Date Night, Real Steel) for their entry in Hollywood’s race to see who can get a new Frankenstein movie made first. Fox’s Frankenstein is being written by Max Landis (John Landis’ son), who has a few other projects in the works but has not yet had a feature film produced and released. Landis’ script is described as being a “sci fi take” on Mary Shelley’s novel which “focuses on themes of friendship and redemption.” The other Frankenstein projects that Fox’s version is competing with include Guillermo del Toro’s long gestating project at Universal, Sony’s contemporary version, adaptations of The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein and Wake the Dead, starring Haley Joel Osment (which currently seems likely to be the first movie actually filmed and produced). This is one of the Rotten Ideas this week because Frankenstein and Night at the Museum really don’t belong in the same sentence together.

The success and ongoing cult popularity of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl and Twilight continue to buoy the career of Taylor Lautner. Taylor Lautner and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are reportedly in negotiations to star in the ancient Hebrew war epic Goliath based upon the Biblical tale of the future King David (Lautner) and his struggles with the philistine warrior Goliath (Johnson). Director Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) signed on earlier this year to helm Goliath, which is being produced by two of the people behind The Twilight Saga. Lautner stands at a height of 5′ 10″, which makes him seem tall in comparison to most of his costars, but Dwayne Johnson will appropriately tower over Lautner too at a height of 6′ 5″. Although Johnson might indeed make a pretty great Goliath, the idea of Shark Boy playing the young King David earns this story its Rotten Idea tag.

20th Century Fox continued to keep the 5th entry in the Die Hard franchise on the fast track this week with the hiring of the film’s director. Irish director John Moore has made all of his movies to date for the studio, with an emphasis on remakes (The Omen, Flight of the Phoenix) that also included the video game adaptation Max Payne. Die Hard 5 will mostly be filmed in Russia, with Fox hoping that it can be wrapped before Bruce Willis moves on to star in the planned sequel to last year’s Red. Die Hard 5 is described as a father-son action adventure, and was written by screenwriter Skip Woods, who wrote the video game adaptation Hitman, as well as Swordfish, and shared cowriting duties on The A-Team and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. John Moore’s RT Tomatometer record is what earns Die Hard 5 its Most Rotten Idea of the Week status, though the idea of that limping franchise getting a fifth movie was most likely enough by itself.

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Posthumous glory for the last but not least

IN all the tributes to Googie Withers I saw no mention of her appearance in Shine, Scott Hicks& 039;s film about the pianist David Helfgott.

Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment

It was to be her last film, though Hicks went on to direct bigger things in Hollywood, including Hearts in Atlantis (Wednesday, 8.30pm, Movie Greats), adapted from a Stephen King novel and starring Anthony Hopkins.

This strange, unashamedly sentimental tale is about a boy befriended by a mysterious stranger, who becomes a father figure to him. As in many a King novel, the characters have psychic powers, which does nothing for the story’s charm or credibility. But the film is redeemed by a central performance from Hopkins of compelling strength and dignity, and I recommend it for troubled teenagers and their fathers.

Actors’ last films often look more significant in retrospect, but Rebel Without a Cause (Monday, 8.30pm, Fox Classics) stands out in its own right. A powerful study of juvenile lawlessness, it starred James Dean (in his last appearance) as another teenager groping for love in a society he finds alien and oppressive. Among the high points is a game of chicken between Dean’s character and his hot-rodding high-school rival (Corey Allen). Who will be the first to jump from his car as they race towards the cliff edge? Soon after the film’s release Dean died in what looked like a replay of the chicken-run scene, prompting a world-wide outburst of necrophilic grief.

His co-star, Natalie Wood, drowned in a mysterious accident, and another of the film’s stars, Sal Mineo, was murdered in Hollywood. I can assure readers that the film is perfectly safe to watch. Dean’s intensely moody performance, reminiscent of Marlon Brando in The Wild One, defined a whole generation of restless 1950s youth.

The Misfits (Tuesday, 11.55pm, Movie Greats) was completed eight days after Clark Gable’s death from a heart attack. His co-star, Marilyn Monroe, died of an overdose two years later. It’s a sad and disturbing story about modern cowboys, lost in a world that has drained the old west of its meaning and purpose. Gable’s last performance — tough, macho, muscular — was worthy of his memory, but Monroe seemed less happy under John Huston’s direction.

Ten years earlier, Huston directed one of the classic Hollywood crime stories, The Asphalt Jungle (Sunday, 4.30pm, TCM), unequalled in its meticulous depiction of a jewel heist, planned by a master criminal (Sam Joffe) in a prison cell. Monroe’s cameo appearance, like her bit part in All About Eve the same year, was a harbinger of greater things to come.

When Stanley Kubrick died in 1999 his last, unfinished project was passed to Steven Spielberg, who spent two years completing A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Saturday, 8.30pm, Movie Greats). In an ecologically devastated future, childbirth is strictly controlled, but artificial children can be programmed to simulate real emotions and build what appear to be loving relationships with their adoptive parents. Haley Joel Osment is wonderfully affecting as the boy robot eventually parted from his mother (Frances O’Connor). Everything is rounded off with a spectacular Spielbergian light show, and I doubt if Kubrick would have approved. Even so, the film has many passages of haunting beauty.

Witness (Tuesday, 6.30pm, Showtime Drama) was Peter Weir’s first Hollywood film, a superb thriller about a boy who accidentally witnesses a gangland murder, and the tough, cynical cop (Harrison Ford) who has to protect him.

And brief mentions for Random Harvest (Saturday, 9.25pm, Fox Classics), one of the imperishable Hollywood tear-jerkers, about a war veteran (Ronald Colman) who loses his memory and the wife (Greer Garson) who waits for him; Of Mice and Men (Tuesday, 6.30pm, Starpics), an underrated 1992 version of John Steinbeck’s novel, with Gary Sinise and John Malkovich; Unforgiven (Tuesday, 8.30pm, Fox Classics), the Oscar-winning Clint Eastwood western that did much to revive and redefine the genre, and is shown regularly on cable; and our old friend Casablanca (Sunday, 8.30pm, TCM).

Robert Connolly’s The Bank (Monday, 4.20pm, Showtime Drama) is worth seeing again. It’s a smart Australian thriller about a maverick mathematician (David Wenham) who discovers a formula for predicting stock market fluctuations. We could use him now.

CRITIC’S CHOICERebel Without a Cause (M) 4 stars Monday, 8.30pm, Fox ClassicsA.I. Artificial Intelligence (M) 3-1/2 stars Saturday, 8.30pm, Movie GreatsWitness (M) 4 stars Tuesday, 6.30pm, Showtime DramaThe Bank (M) 3-1/2 stars Monday, 4.20pm, Showtime Drama

TROPICAL storm Irene lashed New York overnight, shutting down America’s largest city but sparing it serious damage after killing 18 people elsewhere.

AN elderly homeless man who died from a beating on an inter-city train was taking refuge from the winter cold when he was attacked, police believe.

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Haley Joel Osment Will ‘Wake the Dead’ in Return to Acting

Haley Joel Osment, who earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense, is set to return to acting after an 8-year break for school. The now 23-year-old actor was last seen in 2003 s Secondhand Lions.

Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment

Variety reports Osment will star in Wake the Dead, an adaptation of 30 Days of Night author Stephen Niles s graphic novel that takes the Frankenstein story and sets it in the present day. Osment will play a college student named Victor Franklin who, in his studies, experiments with reversing death.

Wake the Dead is being produces through the guitarist Slash s horror banner, Slasher Films. Jay Russell (Ladder 49) is set to direct. Says Slasher Films producer Rob Eric of Osment’s casting, This role allows him to break out of his shell and he will have no problem handling it.

So far, Wake the Dead looks like the most promising of the numerous upcoming Frankenstein films. This Dark Endeavor, based on a young adult novel by Kenneth Oppel, picked up by Summit, the Twilight studio, and produced by Karen Rosenfelt, tells the angsty story of the apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein. As /Film reports, the book comes out in August, and Hollywood wants to be ready to ride the tween horror wave to money beach again.

Meanwhile, Lakeshore Entertainment is working on an adaptation of Kevin Grevioux s graphic novel, I, Frankenstein, about a modern world protected from the supernatural by a Hellboy-esque Frankenstein’s Monster.

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Haley Joel Osment Acting With Dead People Again In “Wake The Dead”

It’s been twelve years since Haley Joel Osment saw dead people in The Sixth Sense and now he’s returning to the screen with the sole intention of bringing the dead to life.

Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment

The movie is based on Steven Niles’ Frankenstein-theme graphic novels and directed by Ladder 49 director Jay Russell. Osment will play Victor Franklin, a college student who experiments with the limits of human death.

Osment hasn’t disappeared completely over the last eight years, he has been doing voice work for the Kingdom Hearts video game series, while working towards a film degree at NYU which he earned before making his return to big budget films.

The last blockbuster we saw Osment appear in was Steven Spielberg’s AI which grossed hundreds of millions of dollars, it looks like Hollywood is ready to take their chances on that type of draw again now that Osment has aged with a good head on his shoulders.

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Haley Joel Osment Wants To See More Dead People

A contemporary retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is in the works, based on Steven Niles’s graphic novel Wake the Dead. The flick is being produced by Slash (you read that right) and directed by Jay Russell and as of today, the picture has landed its lead: Haley Joel Osment.

Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment

Haley will play Victor Franklin, a college student who wants to try his hand and bringing people back from the dead. He succeeds, but he’s not too happy with the results, if you know what we mean! With its star in place, the movie will go into production this fall. No release date has been announced yet.

Hahaha.. frrf.. that’s funny!! Yeah.. he’s definitely got a look.. but i’m not feeling it’s all that great.. cute little boy didn’t morph into even close good lookin man!! SCARY!!

Kelly Clarkson – Perfect (Alanis Morissette Cover)

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