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Weekend Recap: Zemeckis and Brad Grey Talk ‘Flight,’ John C. Reilly on ‘Wreck-It Ralph,’ and Murdoch Courts Penguin (Updated)

Weekend Recap: Zemeckis and Brad Grey Talk 'Flight,' John C. Reilly on 'Wreck-It Ralph,' and Murdoch Courts Penguin (Updated)

– The New York Times interviews Robert Zemeckis about his return to live-action movies with “Flight,” his first since “Cast Away” in 2000.  “Everyone keeps thinking I haven’t made a movie in 12 years,” the director behind “Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump,” and “The Polar Express” said.  With “Flight” starring Denzel Washington, Zemeckis will continue his mission to utilize the latest technology for the purpose of traditional cinematic structure.  “I can’t see any reason why a dramatic story can’t be in 3-D. I think ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ would have been fabulous in 3-D.”  His upcoming feature premieres November 2.

– Also talking about “Flight,” which cost only $30 million, is Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey during the weekly ‘Lunch with the FT’. “I’ve had the great fortune over the years to work with so many great artists but never had the chance before to work with Denzel,” he says. “This was the first time and he hit it.”

“We made ‘Flight’ with one of the greatest filmmakers of all time ,with one of the greatest actors that we have, and we made it for $30 million. The only way you can do that is if everyone believes and is willing to waive what are well-earned quotes that they’ve had over the years, knowing that, together, as partners, we’ll all share. We did it on ‘True Grit,’ and the picture did a quarter of a billion dollars. It was the biggest payday the Coens ever had.”

– In an interview with NPR, John C. Reilly talks “Wreck-It Ralph,” Disney’s latest animated film.  Reilly voices the character of Ralph, a villain who runs about smashing buildings and pulverizing windows.  Reilly assures NPR’s Weekend Edition host that adult audiences will be drawn to the story, which essentially details a mid-life crisis of sorts, as Ralph abandons his role as wrecker, attempting to seek a new life path.  “Wreck-It Ralph” premieres November 2. (TOH talks to the filmmakers here.) 

– The Telegraph profiles Timothy Spall, who stars in “Ginger & Rosa”, an intimate story of two teenage girls (Elle Fanning and Alice Englert) navigatijng early-1960s London political radicalism.  Spall, a character actor known for “The King’s Speech” and “Harry Potter,” plays one-half of a gay couple who serves as a mentor of sorts to Fanning’s character.  And, Spall reveals, frequent collaborator Mike Leigh may actually be making his long in-the-works biopic on painter William Turner, with Spall in the lead role.

The New York Times reports that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is bidding for Penguin Books, reportedly offering a cash offer of $1.6 billion.  News Corp currently owns HarperCollins, which will soon be made into a separate publicly traded company.  The addition of Penguin to this publishing spin-off would give more power to HarperCollins, a helpful asset in a moment when publishing companies attempt to hold the line against tech giants Amazon, Google and Apple.  MediaDecoder’s Amy Chozick writes: “Analysts have said consolidation of the ‘big six’ publishing houses is inevitable, given the headwinds the industry faces as consumers turn to e-books and brick-and-mortar stores go out of business.”  UPDATE: CNBC reports that UK media publisher Pearson has just agreed to merge with Penguin with Random House, in a snub to Murdoch’s News Corp.

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