Thursday, April 9, 2009

Benicio del Toro meets Venezuela's Chavez (AP)

CARACAS, Venezuela – Socialist President Hugo Chavez met with a 21st-century incarnation of one of the world's biggest revolutionary icons Wednesday: actor Benicio del Toro, who stars in the new film chronicling the life of Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Del Toro met with Chavez during a visit in which he also was mobbed by adoring fans and attended a screening of Steven Soderbergh's two-part, 4 1/2-hour film biography "Che."

The Puerto Rican-born, Oscar-winning actor said he sought the lead role in "Che" because he wanted to be part of a "totally Latin American" movie.

Del Toro did not speak in detail about his meeting with Chavez, but said he had "a good time with the president."

"He's nice," the actor told journalists following the encounter at the presidential palace.

After his arrival on Tuesday, Del Toro attended the screening of the film at a bull-fighting ring-turned cultural center. Young women mobbed the 42-year-old actor when he entered, some of them pushing past bodyguards to give him a hug or kiss on the cheek.

He also visited the state-run Cinema Town, a film production facility that Chavez inaugurated in 2006 with $13 million in government funding. It was launched to help Venezuela produce its own films as an alternative to what Chavez calls Hollywood's "cultural imperialism."

Chavez has hosted visits by various Hollywood stars including Sean Penn, Danny Glover and Kevin Spacey.

Del Toro visited Venezuela along with Mexican actor Demian Bichir, who plays Fidel Castro in the film. "Che" chronicles the life of Guevara, an Argentine doctor who became a hero of the Cuban revolution and a global icon.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tyler Perry shooting next film later this month (Reuters)

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Hot on the heels of the success of "Madea Goes to Jail," the top movie in North America for the past two weekends, prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry is about to begin work on his next project.

"I Can Do Bad All By Myself," based on Perry's play of the same name, will start shooting on March 16 at his studio in Atlanta. As usual, Perry will write, direct and star in the film. Taraji P. Henson, Oscar nominated for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," will also star.

Perry's signature character, the indomitable pistol-packing granny Madea, will be featured in the film, which is scheduled for release on September 11 via Lionsgate, the studio with which he signed a three-year, first-look deal in the summer.

Perry will then start work on "Why Did I Get Married Too," a sequel to 2007's "Why Did I Get Married?" It will be released on Easter weekend next April. Perry has already demonstrated an affinity for Easter holiday openings since his "Meet the Browns" opened in that slot last year to $20 million. "Madea Goes to Jail" set a record for Perry with a $41 million opening, and has grossed $66 million to date.

Perry has released seven films through Lionsgate since "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" in 2005, and they have collectively grossed nearly $350 million at the North American box office.

(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)

Actors sue movie distributor for unauthorized ad (AP)

NEW YORK – Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are teaming up in a lawsuit against a movie distributor and a watch company they say used their likenesses without permission.

The actors said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Wednesday that they never authorized a commercial tie-in between Tutima watches and the movie "Righteous Kill." They sought unspecified damages.

The actors recently starred in the movie distributed by Overture Films LLC. The lawsuit names Overture and Tutima USA Inc. as defendants.

In a statement, Overture said: "We are surprised by this action as Overture Films has not received any communication on this matter for months from Pacino, De Niro or their representatives. We take lawsuits very seriously and our legal team is addressing the issue."

Tutima did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

The lawsuit said Overture entered into a commercial tie-in with Tutima and advertised Tutima's watches using De Niro's and Pacino's names, voices and likenesses without their consent.

"Had their permission been sought, both De Niro and Pacino would have flatly refused to consent to the use of their names, voices and/or likenesses in connection with the tie-in," the lawsuit said.

It said De Niro has only commercially endorsed a product or service in the United States under very "specific and compelling circumstances."

It said Pacino in his career has never commercially endorsed any product or service in the United States.

Super Friends! DiCaprio Teams With Dark Knight Director Nolan (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) – Any Batfans ticked off that they have to wait a while for the next installment in the Caped Crusader saga can blame Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Hollywood hottie is in final talks to come aboard Christopher Nolan's Inception, per Variety. The Dark Knight auteur has lined up the sci-fi action flick as his next directing gig instead of doing another Batsequel right away.

No specifics have emerged on the plot or DiCaprio's role, except that he'll play the lead. Shooting starts later this year for a summer 2010 release.

Meanwhile, in other Hollywood movie action, Megan Fox is looking to double her pleasure,  Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan are buddying up and Mickey Rourke continues to cash in on his comeback...

•  Fresh off work on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (and a possible breakup with Brian Austin Green), Fox has scored two new comic book-based films: Fathom, a comic about an orphan who owes her superhuman swimming skills to a secret underwater race, and the western Jonah Hex, opposite Josh Brolin and John Malkovich.

•  Willis and Morgan are joining forces in Warner Bros.' mismatched detective comedy A Couple of Cops, which will mark Clerks helmer Kevin Smith's first big-studio directing gig.

•  Rourke has signed on to star opposite Alice Braga and Vincent Cassel in 11 Minutes, the story of a scorned woman who becomes a high-priced hooker. Rourke will play her boss at a gentleman's club.

•  Alexander Payne is eyeing Paul Giamatti, Reese Witherspoon and Sacha Baron Cohen for the offbeat comedy Downsizing, Payne's first helming job since his Oscar-winning Sideways. Giamatti plays a guy low on cash who decides to shrink himself.  Along the way, he meets fellow little people Witherspoon and Baron Cohen.

•  Alfred Molina, better known as Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, is conjuring up evil spirits as baddie magician Horvath in Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice opposite Nicolas Cage. National Treasure's Jon Turteltaub is directing, and Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the flick.

•  John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan and Ginnifer Goodwin are set to star in Beezus and Ramona, a feature film version of Beverly Cleary's classic children's book series. Corbett and Moynahan will play 10-year-old Ramona's parents, Dorothy and Bob Quimby, while Goodwin will play beloved Aunt Bea. Cameras roll in Vancouver in April.


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The Five Things You Gotta Know About Watchmen (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) – It's a murder mystery! It's got superheroes you've never heard of! It's totally deep and way metaphysical! It's an '80s period piece, with Richard Nixon and a giant blue naked guy!

Graphic novel adaptation Watchmen opens this week to big buzz, even though you may know nothing about it. But don't worry. We sat down with the oddly familiar cast and director Zack Snyder to decode this antihero epic, and gather the five essentials:

1. Watchmen Is the Utimate Geek Comic: Want street cred at Comic-Con? Talk Watchmen. Anyone can go on about the X-Men, but aficionados obsess over Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' 1986 series—about how very twisted masked men and women in tights would really be.

2. The Dark Knight Was Lightweight: This isn't just a romp about beating up bad guys. Watchmen dwells on questions about the role of superheroes and the toll crimefighting takes on the psyche. Like The Dark Knight, only...darker. "You accept that Batman can walk around in a real world and that a bad guy can dress like a Joker," Snyder tells E! News. "Watchmen blows that up again. "It's time to take [those ideas] apart," he says, "and re-examine—without a smile or a wink—what the f--k this mythology is about."

3. Denny Duquette Is a Real A-hole: Izzy, don't accept any marriage proposals from The Comedian, played by Grey's Anatomy's Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He may be one of the heroes, but he's a bad dude. Seriously. "I may lose a couple of Grey's Anatomy fans," Morgan tells us, "but I'll gain some Watchmen fans, so it's an even trade."

4. You Know These Characters, But You Don't: Watchmen doesn't have a Christian Bale or Heath Ledger or even a Wolverine or Spidey. What it has are heroes you'll find familiar, but with names like Nite Owl, Rorschach, Moloch the Mystic—and Silk Spectre, actually Malin Akerman in tight yellow synthetics. "I don't know if anyone in here has a latex fetish," Akerman (maybe you know her from Entourage?) tells us. "I certainly do not after this film."

5. The Giant Blue Penis Is a Fake: Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) is the movie's only hero with actual superpowers, an energy force who looks like a big buff guy. He's too busy analyzing particles to put on pants, but don't get too excited. "I like being nude in front of people as much as the next guy," Crudup tells us, "but no, they insisted that I remain clothed, and they do all the work in postproduction."

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