– It’s no longer Morgan Freeman’s time on the James Patterson murder mystery series (Kiss the Girls, Along Came A Spider). The veteran actor last played the role of Dr. Alex Cross in 2001, but now a new man is taking over the role for Cross, the next cinematic installment in the best-selling series: Idris Elba, of The Wire, The Office, and Obsessed. The 37-year old Brit actor has a long TV and film resume and is due for a meatier lead in a studio feature. Although he’s stepping into a role played by Freeman, he’s reminiscent of Denzel Washington circa 1999’s The Bone Collector. Washington at 43 was in his prime: dignified, sexy, powerful. David Twohy will direct Cross, which follows the character as he tracks a rapist he believes to have murdered his pregnant wife years ago.
– The Playlist picked up on Maggie Gyllenhaal’s drop of news while she was promoting Nanny McPhee Returns; she and husband Peter Sargsgaard will work together on a film about Bill Monroe, the inventor of bluegrass music, who she says had a “kind of Sid and Nancy style affair with this woman Bessie Lee Mauldin.” Gyllenhaal and T-Bone Burnett, who both worked on Crazy Heart, will re-team here for the biopic penned by Callie Khouri (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Something to Talk About and Thelma & Louise). Impressive team.
– Vulture has taken a stab at what they call “The Boring Identity,” i.e. the newly released Fair Game trailer. Based on actual events, Naomi Watts stars as a CIA agent Valerie Plame, married to ambassador Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), whose NYT op-ed article revealed the Bush Administration’s manipulation of weapons-of-mass-destruction intelligence, causing the outing of his wife’s spy status to discredit his reporting. While the trailer (below) does suggest a how-do-we-market-this identity crisis, it’s still Watts and Penn directed by Doug Liman with a political fact-based script. Just because it doesn’t have Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s foreplay, like his Mr. and Mrs. Smith did, doesn’t mean it’s boring. Here are some mixed reviews following its Cannes premiere.
– But if you agree with Vulture, the antithesis of Fair Game (not released until November anyway) is coming out Friday: The Switch, with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman playing familiar characters (but with a baby and reckless masturbation). New York serves up an interview with Bateman (while insisting that it’s not because he used an issue of their magazine with Diane Sawyer on the cover as inspiration for the aforementioned reckless behavior). Mary Kaye Schilling interviews him because he is, “at 41, the most likable male actor in Hollywood,” and because of the reactions when Schilling mentions his name: “women, gay men, lesbians, and straight men, some of whom confess without embarrassment to man-crushes. The glazed, goopy joy his name inspires is rare; even Brad Pitt’s will curl a few lips.” Schilling goes on to show that Bateman’s career can be divided in two: B.A.D. (Before Arrested Development) and A.A.D. (After Arrested Development), and it can all be traced back to him getting kicked out of a few schools for being a “wiseass.” On fame and his past, Bateman says: “I don’t feel sorry for people in the public eye getting eyed by the public…If you’re stumbling out of a bar and people tweet about it, well, don’t be dumb. If you’re going to get falling-down drunk, stay at home—which I did a lot of. I think I was pretty smart about it. Of course, I was drunk at the time.”
Here are the Fair Game and The Switch trailers: