Rupert Wyatt

larson

Though she’s still a spectacularly young lady, Brie Larson has been a presence in the acting world for quite a while now. If you look back at her filmography, her earliest work came in the late 90s, when she must have still been knee-high to a grasshopper. Still, it’s only been in recent years—let’s say since her reoccurring role on TV’s United States of Tara ended—that her career has started to show signs of giving off sparks that are bound to start a fire. Since 2011 Larson has shown potential in head-turning but small roles in things like Rampart, The Spectacular Now, and most recently Don Jon, she proved herself to be likable on a mainstream level by killing it as the main romantic interest in 21 Jump Street, and she proved herself to have the dramatic chops necessary to anchor a film as its star with the small scale drama Short Term 12. Brie Larson isn’t yet a name that many people know, but she’s starting to become a “that girl” that people recognize, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before she gets that one important role that takes her to the next level and establishes her as one of the hot new faces of young Hollywood. It’s said that cream always rises to the top, after all.

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news wahlberg gambler

It’s been hard for Mark Wahlberg these last few years. He’s starred in both of Michael Bay’s most recent movies: this year’s Pain & Gain and next year’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. Standing near explosions, day in and and day out, and all he gets in return is more money than you or I could possibly dream of? It’s a tough life. But things might just be on the up and up for the former Funky Buncher. Variety is reporting that Wahlberg is in talks to star in The Gambler, an update on the 1974 film The Gambler (which, in turn, was based off a Dostoyevsky novel called – you guessed it- “The Gambler”). As well, Rupert Wyatt, last seen directing Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is in talks to direct.

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Rupert Wyatt

After rising with Planet of the Apes, Rupert Wyatt is now setting his sights on noir. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director will helm an adaptation of “Night Film,” the forthcoming novel from “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” author Marisha Pessl. So, really, the second bit of good news is that there’s a new book from Marisha Pessl coming out. Her new story focuses on the suicide of a young woman who was the daughter of an enigmatic horror filmmaker. A journalist investigates whether or not suicide was really the cause of death and finds himself, unsurprisingly, down the rabbit hole of intrigue. Chernin Entertainment has picked it up, and they have a first-look deal with Fox, but there’s currently no writer or studio deal as of yet. All of this sounds excellent. Pessl is a unique voice that blends quirk and encyclopedic  information into her descriptions, and that tone is especially suited for noir. Now the only question is where our “Calamity Physics” adaptation is. Get it together, producers.

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Rupert Wyatt

Briefly: Despite reportedly being in talks with Sony to helm their long-gestating The Equalizer feature, director Rupert Wyatt will not take on the project, which still has Denzel Washington set to star. Deadline Hollywood reports that scheduling conflicts have kept Wyatt from the project, though the outlet also vows that the studio “will lock in a helmer shortly.” Stay tuned.

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news_denzel washington

The Equalizer was originally one of those cheesy action shows from the ’80s: think MacGyver or The A-Team. It starred Edward Woodward as an ex-CIA operative who had quit the company and was living out his retirement as a sort of pro bono operative for hire who would find people in need of help by posting a classified ad in the paper that read, “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer. 212-555-4200.” Seeing as this show is a fairly cheesy thing from the ’80s that very few people actually remember, of course Hollywood wants to bring it back as a big screen adaptation. The only problem is, Sony has been working to put the project together, and they’ve been having some trouble finding a director. According to a new report from Heat Vision, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was originally attached to helm the film, but he eventually dropped off of the project after butting heads with its attached star, Denzel Washington. Apparently getting an acting nomination for Flight must have Washington riding high, because you’d think the guy would realize that his career has been less than stellar lately and maybe allowing a hot director like Refn to come on board one of his projects and do his thing would be a smart move. All of this spilt milk might not matter though, because the new news is that, after going through a short list of directors over the past few weeks, Sony has decided that they […]

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Star Wars

You know the story. At this point it’s basically the new shot heard ‘round the world: Disney has bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion, George Lucas is retiring from the Star Wars game, and three more Star Wars films are planned for production starting in 2015. Lucas and the new Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, have stated that they have archives of story treatments for more books, TV shows, and films… but with Lucas stepping back from the property, who are they going to get to direct these next three episodes in the ongoing Star Wars adventure? Let’s take a look at some candidates, whether they be likely, unlikely, or long shots.

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When word first broke that Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt wouldn’t be returning to direct the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, there was a moment of panic. But now that they’ve announced that Let Me In director Matt Reeves has stepped in to take the job, things have calmed down a bit, and it’s become time for work on the sequel to move forward. So, what’s the next step? It seems Fox has decided that it’s taking another pass at the script. While a first draft for the film was written by Rise writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and a second draft was written for Wyatt by Scott Burns (Contagion), now that Wyatt is off of the picture the studio wants to tweak it once again, this time to tailor it to the strengths of Reeves. In order to get the job done, THR reports that they’ve brought on Mark Bomback, the screenwriter who collaborated with Len Wiseman on Live Free or Die Hard and Total Recall; who wrote Tony Scott’s last film, Unstoppable; and who co-wrote Fox’s upcoming super hero sequel The Wolverine.  Of course, what Bomback knows about tailoring a movie to Matt Reeves’ strengths is something of a mystery, but it should be noted that, given his placement on two big Fox properties, the studio must see him as being something of a golden boy these days.

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Matt Reeves Directing

When it was first announced that 20th Century Fox was making a prequel to Planet of the Apes that would star James Franco and a CG ape, not too many people welcomed the news with a whole lot of optimism. But once Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters, it ended up blowing most everyone who saw it away. Director Rupert Wyatt took a less than appealing idea for a movie and ended up telling the sort of affecting, personal story that tentpole blockbusters rarely end up pulling off. So it was kind of heartbreaking to learn that Wyatt wasn’t going to be returning for the sequel and Fox was looking at a shortlist of directors to replace him. It turns out things might not be as bad as they originally looked though, because ComingSoon is reporting that the studio has found their Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, and at first glance he appears to be a perfect replacement. The guy is Matt Reeves.

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Rupert Wyatt

While 20th Century Fox has yet to make an official announcement regarding the rumors that Rise of the Planet of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt will not be returning for the film’s sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, chatter continues to abound when it comes to the state of the project. The next level of such chatter now appears to lead directly to Hollywood’s version of letter to Santa: the “short list.” Deadline Hollywood reports that the studio has cooked up a short list of filmmakers they’d potentially like to see direct the next installment of their critical and commercial darling. That list supposedly contains names like Matt Reeves (interesting, considering that it was only yesterday that news got out that Reeves had to drop out of the Twilight Zone film due to scheduling conflicts), J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and the real head-scratcher of the bunch), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Jeff Nichols (a personal favorite), Guillermo del Toro, Juan Antonio Bayona, and Rian Johnson (though the outlet also reports that Johnson’s reps deny that he’s “in the hunt” for the gig). Talk about a mixed bag.

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After working with hairy primates, director Rupert Wyatt is using the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes to move up the food chain. According to Variety, he’s cast Charlize Theron in his latest sci-fi flick, Agent 13. There are no details about the story, written by T.S. Nolan, but it’s unlikely that it will be made any time soon. Wyatt is attached to more than a handful of projects, but more Apes are on the way with him locked in for at least one more go. Plus, this particular movie is more like a script with two well known players stapled to it. It still needs to find a home. At the very least, the spy thriller nature of the title and the promise of science fiction with Theron in the lead and Wyatt calling the shots is not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all. As long as the title isn’t the codename for Aeon Flux 2.  

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Culture Warrior

Usually I’m quite cynical about end-of-year lists, as they demand a forced encapsulation of an arbitrary block of time that is not yet over into something simplified. I typically find end-of-year lists fun, but rarely useful. But 2011 is different. As Scott Tobias pointed out, while “quiet,” this was a surprisingly strong year for interesting and risk-taking films. What’s most interesting has been the variety: barely anything has emerged as a leading contender that tops either critics’ lists or dominates awards buzz. Quite honestly, at the end of 2010 I struggled to find compelling topics, trends, and events to define the year in cinema. The final days of 2011 brought a quite opposite struggle, for this year’s surprising glut of interesting and disparate films spoke to one another in a way that makes it difficult to isolate any of the year’s significant works. Arguments in the critical community actually led to insightful points as they addressed essential questions of what it means to be a filmgoer and a cinephile. Mainstream Hollywood machine-work and limited release arthouse fare defied expectations in several directions. New stars arose. Tired Hollywood rituals and ostensibly reliable technologies both met new breaking points. “2011” hangs over this year in cinema, and the interaction between the films – and the events and conversations that surrounded them – makes this year’s offerings particular to their time and subject to their context. This is what I took away from this surprising year:

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I walked out of Rupert Wyatt‘s now wildly successful Planet of the Apes prequel thinking that it was a focused, satisfying film that concentrated on a very small, very personal story; but also that it worked well as an introduction to a sci-fi world that is ripe for further exploration. Sure, since this is a prequel we all know where it’s going to eventually end up: with apes wearing clothes, speaking English, and being in control of the whole planet; but there’s a whole big history between the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and when that space shuttle to Mars crashes back down in Planet of the Apes that can still be explored. I walked out of Rise of the Planet of the Apes wondering how long it would be before film geeks started salivating over the idea of getting an Ape War movie, just like they salivated over the idea of getting a Machine War movie for years after The Terminator. It turns out as I was wondering, it had already been happening, and that geek doing all of the salivating was Rupert Wyatt himself.

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Tim Burton‘s failed reboot/remake/whatever it is lacked everything that made the Apes series fun and interesting. His cheesy actioner was all about Mark Wahlberg running through empty set-pieces. The Apes franchise isn’t just the Statue of Liberty and Charleton Heston doing his awesome Charleton Heston shtick; they were morality tales loaded with social commentary. They were cynical films that declared human beings to be monsters, with exceptions being far and few between. For awhile, it seemed the franchise was dead in the water, and had nothing left to say. Fortunately, Rupert Wyatt has come along and made a real Planet of the Apes film. There’s a real darkness and cynicism to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I spoke to Wyatt a few ago months about Rise, and he labeled the film as being “hopeful.” That’s a questionable idea for a film that doesn’t close on the brightest of notes and is, basically, a symbolic horror film at times. There’s certainly some hope, but it’s still inherently bleak. But in a world of forced happy endings, you have to admire a summer tentpole that willingly sets out to wipe away and/or enslave humanity.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads into a lab to liberate some apes, but they rise up, beat him down and fling their poo all over him. He washes up and heads home to his family, secretly longing for the swinging lifestyle of fellow FSR staffers like Neil Miller, Robert Fure and Rob Hunter. But since he doesn’t get a chance to pee in a fountain with any of them, he doesn’t get a chance to switch bodies with them, a la The Change-Up. This is probably a good thing because few people can take the awesomessness of his body.

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I’ve never been much of a fan of prequels. The idea of exploring in depth a series of events which we’re already at least loosely familiar with has always seemed superfluous. Give me an original story, show me what happens next, take the story someplace new… And then 20th Century Fox released X-Men: First Class, which for all its flaws remains a fantastic film and the best comic-book movie of the summer (with Captain America a very close second). It took characters and events whose detailed destinies were already known to us and made them feel fresh, alive, and interesting again. It succeeded so well in fact that I’d prefer to see further X-Men stories with those characters/actors than see a return to the ones who made up the original trilogy. But surely that was a fluke, a rare case of synergy between director, writers, and cast that would not happen again anytime soon. Especially from a studio like Fox. And yet I’m happy to say I was wrong, again. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel of sorts to the classic 1968 Charlton Heston original and gets right just about everything Tim Burton’s 2001 reboot got wrong. It’s smart, thrilling, and challenging entertainment that takes the familiar trope of man’s hubris paired with a story whose outcome is all but inevitable and manages to create an engaging, visually spectacular tale with a very strong human heart… that just happens to be beating beneath one incredibly hairy […]

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A significant portion of the 20th Century Fox Panel was dedicated to the upcoming August release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the popular Apes franchise that focuses on Caesar, a laboratory animal that first gets smart and then gets revenge. The panel started with a “research clip” that showed rebel soldiers in Africa teasing a chimpanzee by mocking it. Aping it, if you will. The chimpanzee got the last laugh, and most of the laughs in between, when he picked up an AK-47 assault rifle and within seconds figured out that pulling the trigger made it go bang, and the bang sound made all the mean men run away like little girls. After the clip played, director Rupert Wyatt came out and discussed animal rights before Caesar himself stole the show.

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Everybody knows Andy Serkis as being the man who provides the motion capture performances for the revolutionary CG characters in Peter Jackson’s films. He was responsible for Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, he was the guy that made King Kong possible, and he’s playing the super smart ape Caesar in the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which Jackson’s company WETA did the effects work on. So news that he is being looked at to bring another computer animated character to life should come as no surprise. In the most recent issue of “Empire”, which includes a lengthy feature on Apes, they talked to the film’s director Rupert Wyatt about what he was planning on doing next. He says that he’s looking to work with Serkis again to bring a classic work of literature to the big screen. The two want to make an adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”; the story set on an English farm that details the overthrow of the farmers by the animals and the subsequent corruption of the pig Napoleon when he becomes mad with power. You see, the animals are proletariat, the farmers are bourgeoisie, and the pig is like Stalin… you know what I’m talking about, you probably read this in high school English and remember it better than I do. The potential project is a ways off still and will probably hinge largely on the success or failure of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But as […]

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While everyone else on the web continues to lose their marbles over the new Harry Potter trailer, which I still haven’t seen, a far more surprising and interesting trailer has hit the web: a 60-second international ad for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What’s so damn cool about this trailer is that it mostly focuses on Caesar’s perspective. You’d think Fox would stick to James Franco‘s point of view, but thankfully they’ve put out something a little more ambitious.

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If you’re interested in seeing veteran actor Brian Cox slit a few throats and chop off a few heads, then Ironclad is definitely the film for you. It’s got fantastically gory kills, Paul Giamatti looking angry in every frame and chewing apart every inch of scenery with each glare, and blood hitting every inch of the screen imaginable. Sound promising? Director Jonathan English has captured a tone that revels in both gore and laughs. Brian Cox, thankfully, gets to partake in English’s bloodbath. I knew within the first few seconds of speaking with Cox that I was going to enjoy the chat. Cox got a hearty laugh from the site’s name right from the start and had a few questions about its origin, a part I desperately wish I recorded. It was a nice icebreaker, to say the least. Calm and thoughtful, the actor made for a quick and pleasant interview. We discussed the fun tone of Ironclad and, mainly, the different directors he’s collaborated with, including the likes of Bryan Singer, Doug Liman, and Rupert Wyatt.

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The Week That Was

What is The Week That Was? Nothing much, just a recap of all that was great and wonderful here on Film School Rejects over the course of the last week. And in a week such as this, when we reviewed controversial and conversation-worthy films from the minds of Ayn Rand, Wes Craven and Robert Redford, it’s important to take a look back at the best of what was written. That, and we interviewed Takashi Miike, so we’ve got that going for us. Also, I have access to the traffic stats. I know that all of you did not read every one of our best articles. What’s the deal with that, beloved readers? Lets right those wrongs on a pantsless Sunday afternoon. Start with the articles listed in this compilation and work your way back. Do it now.

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