Mark Romanek

Overlook Hotel in The Shining

With conspiracy theorists and devotees to the history and mysteries within room 237 making virtually nothing about The Shining a secret anymore, you would think that the existence of a prequel detailing the origins of the world’s worst winter getaway would be deemed unnecessary. And yet, Overlook Hotel, the companion film to Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 classic, is moving forward with Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go; One Hour Photo) at the helm, according to Variety. Know any terrifying little twin sisters in need of their very first SAG cards? The premise for the prequel does seem intriguing. The film, scripted by former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara, will be based on the original prologue to Stephen King’s 1977 novel, which was cut before the book went to production. But how did Mazzara get the unpublished prologue? Was it sent to him by hotel ghosts? Oh, Stephen King probably published it later? No ghosts? Right. Many years before Jack Torrance drags Wendy and Danny and his finger through a hellscape of writer’s block and cabin fever, the Overlook Hotel was, at the turn of the 20th century, the prize jewel of robber baron Bob T. Watson. If we retained nothing but this from US History class in high school, it is that robber barons all look like Mr. Monopoly, so keep that in mind whenever you think about this film and its premise. Watson scaled the Rocky Mountains of Colorado looking for only the finest location to build the most spectacular resort in all of the United States of […]

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romanek

Sy is a photo technician at a SavMart development center who has a fierce, almost reverent passion for what cameras can do. They can provide a window into someone else’s life. They can preserve everything we hold dear in two dimensions. They can capture a person. Played in One Hour Photo as a quiet force of nature by Robin Williams, Sy worships photography almost as fervently as he does the blissful life of the textbook suburban family that he plans on getting closer to. With a filmmaker as visually florid as Mark Romanek, you’d expect a more bombastic debut, but the acclaimed director approached his first feature with a simple, colorful elegance that suited its precise protagonist. Sy the photo guy would approve. A little over a decade later, the film is now available on Blu-ray — giving us a new opportunity to hold it up to the light box and try to find some sympathy for the devil on the other side of the camera. I spoke with Romanek to discuss that power, his education under Brian De Palma, and the rarest thing that happens when making a movie.

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romanek

I would love to meet the executives at Disney who ever said, “Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo? This guy Mark Romanek reeks of Disney goodness!” Nobody at the studio probably said that, sadly, but I’m sure more than a few Disney folks were conscious of what they were getting with the director. It looks everyone was just now hit with the realization that he’s not an atypical Disney protégé, as the director has left the high-profile Cinderella project. According to Deadline Hollywood, Romanek’s intentions were a tad too dark for Disney’s taste. This isn’t the first time this situation has gone down with him. If you recall, Romanek also dodged a big silver bullet by dropping The Wolfman right before shooting began. Let’s hope Cinderella isn’t met with the same quality fate as The Wolfman, but thankfully for Disney, they have more time to find a replacement before the possible summer start date than Universal did getting Joe Johnston to take Romanek’s place. The question is who it will be.

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Saoirse Ronan

What is Casting Couch? It’s just trying to cram its foot into this shoe. Just last week, we learned that Cate Blanchett was likely to be Mark Romanek’s wicked stepmother in the new Cinderella movie that he’s doing for Disney, and now Variety gives us word that the project is closing in on its Cinderella as well. According to the trade, Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan, Anna Karenina actress Alicia Vikander, and The Three Musketeers’ Gabriella Wilde have all been in to see Romanek for screen tests. So, clearly, the sweet spot for getting this role is to have an interesting accent and some period work under your belt. Keira Knightley better watch her back, because it looks like there’s a whole upcoming generation of ladies gunning for her roles.

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Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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The Lost Symbol is the third book in a series of them written by Dan Brown. Already the first two books in the series, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, have been made into big time film adaptations starring Tom Hanks, and the longtime plan has been for this third book to become a movie as well. But recent events have show that it’s going to be made by a different creative team than the people who were behind the first two.

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The new trend in Hollywood seems to be live action adaptations of tales starring Disney princesses. First Disney hit it big themselves with their Tim Burton directed 3D version of Alice in Wonderland. Then, a couple of other studios got the jump on them for the next round by announcing several different Snow White projects. Eventually Disney threw their hat into that ring with their own take on the tale, The Order of the Seven, and not one to be outdone for long, they’ve become to first one out of the gate for the next wave of princess movies as well. If one of those other studios wants to put a Cinderella project in the works, well they’re just going to have to get in line behind the mouse. Work on a live action Cinderella started last year when Disney paid The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna big money for her treatment on the material. That pitch seems to have come together nicely, because word from Deadline Fantasyland is that Disney is courting director Mark Romanek to helm the project. Romanek has directed films like One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go before, and his work has always gotten a fair amount of critical acclaim, but it should be remembered that the last time he was attached to a big studio property it resulted in him walking out on Universal’s The Wolfman not long before shooting was scheduled to start. Seeing as nothing has been officially signed, […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Usually it’s a pretty straightforward look at what’s happening in the world of film. But sometimes, mostly on Friday nights when we’ve run out of actual news, it becomes an eclectic mix of notes and links that will tickle your cinema-loving fancy. It’s full of things you might want to read after heading out to see this week’s new releases. So read it, before you fall asleep and dream of what’s in Super 8‘s mystery box… Roger Ebert has extended the reach of his ever-growing empire. He will now be on your iPad, should you choose to download him. Ebert’s Greatest Movies app has hit iOS devices, recommending to you all the greatest that cinema has to offer. Think of it as a Cliff’s Notes version of his books, and a great cheat-sheet for filling up your Netflix queue.

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Variety has gotten its hands on the director shortlist for The Wolverine, and it, mostly, consists of fairly safe and obvious choices. But, like many of these lists, a great and head scratching question is posed: Does Hugh Jackman and company actually know what type of movie they want to make? When a list of favored directors features the likes of Mark Romanek and the director of Tokyo Drift, it boggles the mind. Here’s the apparent list of favored options that, per usual, you should take with a slight grain of salt:

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. A hospital full of doctors, nurses and patients looks out on a city under siege by the deadly force of a category 5 hurricane. The water level is rising, the electricity will give out eventually, and a group of medical practitioners that are exhausted by 40+ hours of work without sleep have to make the crucial decisions about who has a chance of living and who doesn’t. Sound dramatic enough? Of course it does. Because it happened. The hurricane is Hurricane Katrina, the hospital is Memorial in New Orleans, and the decisions were impossible. Yes, it would make one hell of a movie.

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The Week That Was

We made it! As birds fall dead from the sky, fish show up dead around the world, politicians are being shot while picking up the produce, you and I have made it, dear reader. What a wild week it has been around the world — the apocalypse could very well be right around the corner. So if we’re all going to go out in a blaze of glory, lets take a moment for some delightful diversion. My suggestion — read the work of the FSR staff as we continue our ongoing coverage of the world of film. It may not be a homeless guy with the perfect radio voice, but it’s worth a look either way.

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Never Let Me Go, upon its initial release, was met with mixed reactions. It’s a polarizing type of film, never quite fitting the standard sci-fi mold. In truth, it’s more of a love story, which may have surprised some not familiar with the source material. This isn’t Logan’s Run or The Island, although, based on the core storyline, it could be mistaken for as much. Romanek’s adaptation doesn’t end with an uprising from the clones, but a realistic and truthful ending instead. And though some have trouble getting past Kathy and Tommy not running, Romanek’s passionate about his film’s take on the material and open about the torn critical response.

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Since we already have a stellar review of Never Let Me Go from Lauren, and since it’s a film that demands a bit more investigation, there’s nothing like a list of things liked and things not liked in order to get all the thoughts straight. The film saw a limited release (and was one of the Secret Screenings at Fantastic Fest), but it never made it beyond the coastal markets. Still, it promises to have at least some sort of presence during awards season and DVD and Blu-ray will give even more people the opportunity to see it. Without further ado, here are the 10 things I liked about it, and the 5 I didn’t.

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The Week That Was

Fantastic Fest. Perhaps one of the busiest times of the year here on Film School Rejects. In which we cover a bunch of films from around the world, all of which are more likely to fade into the ether before they ever make it to your local cineplex. In fact, so many of the films that we’ve reviewed (with more to come) here in Austin won’t see distribution at all. It’s sad, but true. However, that won’t deter us from covering Fantastic Fest every single year. Why? Because it’s an amazing festival — perhaps the most unique and fan-driven in the entire world — and we’ve got a passion for these movies. The best of them are more than worth the time and effort it will take for you to seek them out. Trust us, we know what we’re talking about. Especially that Rob Hunter guy… And so begins the story of The Week That Was here on FSR….

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Jack Giroux

Features By Jack Giroux on September 29, 2010 | Be the First To Comment

Never Let Me Go isn’t Logan’s Run. With its concept, you’d imagine its setting being futuristic and dystopian. Instead, director Mark Romanek has made an alternate universe period piece. The film feels timeless, as if the universe got stuck in the 1950′s. There’s nothing overtly sci-fi about it. Being the character piece that it is, it never really focuses on the ethics of cloning; a word not once mentioned in the film. No character gives a rousing speech about how wrong this concept is and that they need to, “Fight back!” Romanek doesn’t think the film argues the ethical side of cloning, because it’s unquestionably wrong and that it doesn’t need to be argued in the first place. And while I could have asked Romanek a thousand questions about his return to the big screen, we mainly covered the two topics discussed above as well as the film’s commentary on art and the style of the film. Here’s what Mark Romanek had to say.

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Never Let Me Go is many things. It’s a tale of young love; it’s a dystopian sci-fi nightmare; it’s an existentialist drama, and it’s a disturbing social commentary that looks deeply into the notion of what it means to be human.

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Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go continues to prove that it’s a contender for Awards Season. The trailer showed exactly how calm and desperate the entire thing might be, and Romanek’s history points to the movie being soul-crushingly depressing. Fortunately, that depression comes with a British accent, so it’s not quite so hard to take. Scratch that. Any sentiment of sweetness is blown out of the water by this clip featuring Kiera Knightley, a not-at-all-veiled threat against Carey Mulligan’s character, and what looks like the creepiest time possible to kiss another girl on the lips. Check it out after the jump.

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Never Let Me Go

At first glance, with its sweeping score and broody listing of talented young actors, the first trailer for Mark Romanek’s upcoming drama Never Let Me Go looks targeted for a run at awards season. But as anyone who has read Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel upon which the film is based knows, there’s a lot more here than what you can see at first glance. The fact that it start Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield and is in the sure hands of Romanek only makes it that much more interesting.

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The first image from Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life has emerged online, featuring Jessica Chastain. And so begins today’s rundown of entertainment news on The B-Roll.

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Now that Mark Romanek is off the project, Uni is stalking directors left and right.

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