John Le Carre

Ray Liotta

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that lives on because Kate Erbland was goodly enough to step in and keep it going for a couple days. Let’s all thank Kate. Thanks, Kate. Usually when movies are already filmed it means that their casting process has been completed. Not so for a Robert Rodriguez film, though. This guy does pretty much every job on his sets and relies on studio assistance for very little, which allows him to play by his own rules and march to the beat of his own drummer. Sometimes that opportunity for flexibility can result in movies that feel like they’ve been slapped together by a madman, but sometimes it leads to a movie being able to make amazing last minute additions, like how his in-production Sin City sequel just added Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, and Jeremy Piven to its already-stacked cast. Indiewire isn’t sure which characters they’re going to be playing, but probably that doesn’t matter much. Liotta and Piven always just play themselves, and Temple, well…she can do anything she wants.

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George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? The day’s casting news, all in one place, because you’re a very busy person. At this point we don’t know anything concrete about the secret project Brad Bird is directing over at Disney. It’s largely being developed under the code name 1952, but for a minute it was being called Tesla. It’s rumored to be a science fiction film involving aliens, but in what regard isn’t clear. It’s said that Disney is thinking of it as a major tentpole release, but why it would have such mass appeal is being kept under wraps. All we have is rumors. And the latest rumor for the pile, courtesy of Variety, is that The Facts of Life star George Clooney is currently negotiating to star. If this proves to be true and Bird lands Clooney, that would be a pretty big step toward making this the blockbuster sort of feature that Disney wants it to be. And, generally, what Disney wants, Disney gets.

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A Man Most Wanted

Back in February it was reported that there was a new adaptation of a John le Carré novel being developed, and that it was looking to put Philip Seymour Hoffman in a leading role. It all sounded very exciting, but Hoffman’s involvement wasn’t official. Well, some time has passed since then, details on the project are starting to solidify, and the crew has even started to put together a cast of familiar faces to join Hoffman in supporting roles. But first, let’s recap exactly what this project is. A Most Wanted Man is a story about a half-Russian, half-Czech immigrant who comes to Germany—scarred and starved—looking for his father’s lost fortune. His past is mysterious, his motives are suspect, and eventually his pursuits get the attentions of a British banker and a young female lawyer, who both try to help them in their own way, and who end up forming a strange love triangle in the process. There’s no time for romance, however, as the man’s arrival also gets the attention of a group of spies from three different nations, and soon all of the players converge in ways that are likely steeped in intrigue and double crossings.

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A sweet couple! A Russian traitor! A defection! John Le Carre is a fairly hot writer right now. After one of his novels was adapted every few years, the rate is growing exponentially since Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. There’s also A Most Wanted Man in the works, and now Our Kind Of Traitor. The script comes from Drive screenwriter Hoss Amini, and according to THR, Justin Kurzel has been hired to direct. Independent filmmakers have keyed into the fact that we as an audience are definitely into dark, interesting, complex material. Thus, it makes sense that the spymaster Le Carre is en vogue. The other trend at work here? Australians are invading. If we’re not careful, we’ll all be watching crime dramas and eating Vegemite. Nothing to complain about, really. Now what other Le Carre work should see the big screen?

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Now that John le Carré’s spy novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” has been adapted into a highly acclaimed film of the same name that made a bunch of money on a worldwide level, we can probably expect to see a flood of his other works suddenly making their way to the big screen. And at the head of that pack is director Anton Corbijn, who plans to make an adaptation of Le Carré’s “A Most Wanted Man” the followup to his 2010 film The American. The screenplay has been adapted by Edge of Darkness writer Drew Bovell, and tells the story of a mysterious Russian immigrant in Germany. Or, as the book’s Amazon description puts it: “A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse round his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa. Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client’s survival becomes more important to her than her own career. In pursuit of Issa’s mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Freres, a failing British bank based in Hamburg. A triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents.” The big news about this film is that the […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy hasn’t been seen by very many people here in my home of the U.S. of A, but it premiered at the Venice Film Festival to a whole lot of acclaim, and it’s already been released in the UK where it has been dominating the box office, so it’s probably time for the rest of the world to start getting geared up for its roll out to other countries over the next couple of months. If you haven’t seen the trailer for the movie yet, it’s a Cold War-Era espionage story based off of a book by John le Carré starring Gary Oldman as a spy named George Smiley. The film is directed by Tomas Alfedson (Let the Right One In), and it’s got a supporting cast that boasts names like Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Benedict Cumberbatch, among others. Given all of that pedigree put together in one place, I’m kind of feeling like I don’t even need to see the movie to already be excited for a sequel. And according to a story in The Guardian, one might soon be on its way.

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You know what former MI6 operative writes ridiculously great spy thrillers? John Le Carré. Did you know his real name is David John Moore Cornwell? Can you see why he’d change it to sound more spy-like? Of course you do. His seminal novel “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold” allowed him to start writing full time, stands as an icon of the genre, and was adapted into a wickedly good film starring Richard Burton. Now, another one of the author’s books will see the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anton Corbijn will live a bit longer in the world of secretive killers by directing A Most Wanted Man with a script from Edge of Darkness writer Andrew Bovell. Corbijn last directed George Clooney in The American, but unless Clooney can become a convincing Chechian Muslim man, it’s unlikely that he’ll star here. The story follows said Chechian Muslim, named Issa, who illegally enters Hamburg with a mysterious mission and falls under the eye of the German intelligence service. This pairing is fantastic, because even though there will be similarities in tone compared to other Corbijn films, the story sounds like something completely different. With one foot in the wheelhouse and another outside of it, he sounds like the perfect choice for the job. The book has received healthy praise since its publication in 2008, and you can watch a trailer for it here:

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While the question of whether Let Me In is going to live up to Let the Right One In, the more important question is when we’ll get to see Tomas Alfredson’s new project – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The easy answer is: next year. The right answer is: not soon enough. Now, the inspired cast of Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy is being added onto by Mark Strong (who will also be appearing as Sinestro in next year’s Green Lantern). It’s also been confirmed that the story will stay firmly in the Cold War era, as novelist John Le Carre intended it. Has there ever been a more highly-anticipated film with so many commas in the title? [The Playlist]

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alfredson-tinker

The director of ‘Let The Right One In’ has already shown his skill at handling children, but will he have the same touch with cantankerous old men?

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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