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  • The Playlist
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    'Eastern Promises' & 'Dirty Pretty Things' Writer Steven Knight Preps Directing Debut 'Hummingbird'

    It didn't take long for writer Steven Knight to make a big splash in Hollywood, penning scripts that wound up being directed by Stephen Frears ("Dirty Pretty Things"), Michael Apted ("Amazing Grace") and David Cronenberg ("Eastern Promises"). And from there, he quickly found himself writing some very buzzworth projects recently, including the next Dan Brown flick "The Lost Symbol," a Robert Kennedy biopic with Matt Damon attached, a remake of the classic "Le Cercle Rouge" and an "Eastern Promises" sequel (he's also scribed, less promisingly, the sequel to "Clash Of The Titans"). But rather than await around for any of those get made, Knight is pressing forward on his own directorial debut.

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  • The Playlist
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    Matt Reeves To Direct Sci-Fi Film Based On Short Story '8 O’Clock In The Morning'

    Matt Reeves came into his own last year with his sophomore effort "Let Me In." A remake of the cherished 2008 Swedish film "Let The Right One In," it was hard for fans of the original to let down their guard and admit that Reeves had crafted a film that was just as powerful if not, in many ways, more successful than Tomas Alfredson's admittedly strong picture. While it didn't do much at the box office, it still impressed studio types and he was on the list for "Man Of Steel" before Zack Snyder landed the gig. But Reeves has decided on his next film, and it will be a return to sci-fi, though this time without POV monsters.

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  • The Playlist
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    Carter Burwell's Score For Todd Haynes' 'Mildred Pierce' Gets An Official Release

    Sure, we'll be happy to agree to disagree with people on most movies, but we honestly just can't vibe with folks who didn't dig Todd Haynes' "Mildred Pierce." It's the kind of story and filmmaking that just isn't being made at studios big or small. Haynes recently told IndieWire's Eric Kohn, "...not that material in 'Mildred' would be too racy or challenging for the indie film world, but just that it’s increasingly harder to find financing these days for serious dramas, domestic stories, female-driven narratives—everything we already know. The recent record profits of studio productions one would hope would have the effect of broadening, not narrowing, the possibilities—since they can afford it—but, unfortunately, it’s having the reverse effect, and that anxiety impacts independent financing as well." So we hope people voted with their television and tuned in. There is a lot to love in Haynes film, from the sumptuous period detail to the ace acting across the board from Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, Evan Rachel Wood, Melissa Leo and Mare Winningham, so it's probably no surprise that the series' film score is aces too. And it's getting an official release.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Live from Wellywood: WETA Digital Hosts Rise of the Planet of the Apes Livestream

    Peter Jackson has long been ahead of the curve where doling out info directly to fans is concerned. Thus, live from Wellywood, New Zealand, Jackson's VFX house WETA Digital (The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, District 9, Tintin) will reveal cool stuff from Rise of the Planet of the Apes via Fox's Facebook fan page for James Cameron's Avatar, which has 14.2 million followers. This is basically a maneuver to grab those fans and lure them to also follow this movie via a five-second preview of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5, 2011) on its official Facebook page. What will they see on April 13 at 2:30 PM Pacific time (player is below)? WETA's VFX masters Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon will give a behind-the-scenes look at how they created photo-real intelligently emotive CG ape Caesar (although their last ape, Jackson's King Kong, also acted by Gollum's Andy Serkis, will be hard to top). Jackson's King Kong earned WETA the coveted Avatar gig, which won them the VFX Oscar.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Anna Faris and Women at the Movies: Not a Pretty Picture

    In last week's issue of The New Yorker, Tad Friend cleverly uses a profile of comedienne Anna Faris ("Funny Like a Guy") as a way to examine the woeful state of women's roles in Hollywood today. He interviews Stacey Snider, Amy Pascal, Judd Apatow and others as he attempts to understand why Hollywood, dominated by men, so demeans and discourages smart movies by and about women.

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  • The Playlist
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    John Swihart Hired To Score David O. Russell's 'Nailed'; No More Squeak E. Clean Music?

    The saga continues for David O. Russell's "Nailed," his aborted, troubled farce that he walked away from last year, but is still in the hands of financiers who are trying to get some kind of finished product released. Shooting on the film — written by O. Russell and Kristin Gore, daughter of Al — began in 2008 but was plagued by multiples delays and financial struggles on account of David Bergstein's shady dealings. Despite all that, production was noted to be only days away from completion with formerly silent partner Ron Tutor coming out from the shadows last year in an attempt to make something of the "$26 million just sitting on a shelf." And while O. Russell has officially walked from the film, about a month ago, a screening of an extremely rough cut of the film played for an early test audience (you read reader feedback here) and at the time, it was noted the film was presented with an oldies soundtrack that we surmised was a temp track. Looks like we were right.

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Mexican Documentary Presumed Guilty One Screening Only

    Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF)'s free monthly screening this April 13 at UCLA's James Bridges Theater at 7:30 pm. One time only: Presumed Guilty (Presunto Culpable), the award winning documentary about Mexico’s legal system was briefly banned in Mexico until its producers showed it on You Tube and it showed recently at Guadalajara Film Festival. International sales are by Films Transit. One day after a Mexican judge ordered theaters to halt screening a hit documentary about Mexico’s system of justice, an appeals court has reversed the order, saying that it violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of information. The documentary examines Mexico’s trial system that presumes defendants to be guilty until proved innocent. It focuses on the retrial of 26-year-old Antonio Zúñiga, a street vendor who was wrongly convicted of a murder in 2005 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. His lawyers had filmed the proceedings with permission of the trial judge, but a key witness who testified against Zúñiga complained that his right to privacy was violated when the filmmakers featured him in their film. Distributor Cinépolis opened the film on Feb. 18, and it quickly became the country’s biggest box-office hit for a documentary, earning $3.5 million. Last weekend, it was still No. 2 at the Mexican box office, behind Rango. The censorship of the film proved to be a boon for pirates. One street vendor told Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “I can’t remember anything like this. … Maybe Spider-Man 3 did as well, but I’m not even sure about that.”

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Alec Baldwin vs. John Krasinski Argue Yankees vs. Red Sox for New Era Ad

    Check out 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin as he argues baseball with The Office's John Krasinski in this New Era ad:

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Cannes to Honor Bernardo Bertolucci with Honorary Palme d'Or Award

    Cannes to Honor Bernardo Bertolucci with Honorary Palme d'Or Award

    The 64th Cannes Film Festival will award its 2011 Honorary Palme d'Or award to Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films include Prima della Revoluzione (1964), Novecento (1976), The Conformist (1970), The Last Emperor (1987), Stealing Beauty (1996) (which elicited boos and flapping chairs when it and young Liv Tyler debuted at Cannes) and The Dreamers (2003, pictured with Bertolucci). Bertolucci joins the likes of Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood, who have both received the award within the past decade.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Jeff Buckley Biopic On Its Way: A Selection of His Music and Interview

    Jeff Buckley will get his biopic, and it will come via director Jake Scott (director of Welcome to the Rileys, and many rock music videos, including U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, REM & Radiohead). Michelle Sy and Orian Williams are serving as producers, and Buckley's mother, Mary Guilbert, is executive producing, with financing coming from financier Amy Vaughan King. Buckley was an influential musician and son of folk singer Tim Buckley, though he only released one studio album, Grace (1994), before he tragically died in 1997 when he accidentally drowned in the Wolf River Harbour channel of the Mississippi River. At the time, he had been working on his second album. This production has the rights to Buckley's music and has optioned David Browne's book Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley. The plan is to kick off production this fall.

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