Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe in Noah

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a column about movies and stuff. With a particular focus on “and stuff.” We begin tonight with a shot of Russell Crowe as Noah, in the upcoming vision from director Darren Aronofsky. He’s looking quite grizzled, like an older version of his character from Gladiator. And that’s alright. Because that situation worked out pretty well. Then again, he also looks like a slightly older version of his Robin Hood…

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According to Deadline Hollywood, Warners is going to decide within the next two weeks whether it wants to move forward with the Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman-led adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series. With Javier Bardem out now, the filmmakers are looking to Russell Crowe to play gunslinger Roland Deschain. Crowe could plausibly play the part with the grit, grisel and quiet nuance it deserves, but his potential casting (and, yes, the potential of the project happening at all) almost doesn’t matter. Why? Because it’ll still be a muted Howard/Goldsman project. Both have managed to make interesting movies amongst mediocre ones, but they just aren’t daring enough to make this compelling.

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Though his acting career is seemingly still going along swimmingly (he’s got roles in The Man With the Iron Fists, Les Misérables, Man of Steel, and Noah coming up), Australian (by way of New Zealand) superstar Russell Crowe has decided that the time has finally come for him to dip his toe into the world of directing. Which makes sense, the guy has his own band, did you really think it was going to be long before he started making his own movies? So, what’s the project that’s gotten Crowe’s attention and inspired him to make his debut in the director’s chair? A script about the life of legendary standup comedian Bill Hicks. An exploration of the comedian’s fast-burn life and career already came to the big screen in the form of a 2009 documentary called American: The Bill Hicks Story, but Crowe’s interest in Hicks stems from a treatment he heard all the way back in 2008 by his former classmate and screenwriter Mark Staufer.

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Everyone knows how much the movie-making world relies on trends. If one studio has a superhero movie that hits, suddenly everyone has to have their own superhero movie. If one movie featuring a bow and arrow toting protagonist scores big at the box office, suddenly a flood of Hollywood’s top names find themselves having to take archery lessons. Savvy producers are the ones who are always on the lookout for what the next big trend is going to be. So, now that we’ve gotten through a whole summer of William Tell wannabes, what’s the next big trend that’s going to hit theaters? If Darren Aronofsky or Will Smith are able to bring in the bucks with either of their brewing projects, it might be adaptations of bible stories. The first bit of biblical news floating around today comes from a Tweet sent out directly by Aronofsky himself (via Vulture). Yesterday the Black Swan director took to his Twitter account and sent the following message out to his followers, “I dreamt about this since I was 13. And now it’s a reality. Genesis 6:14 #noah.” Of course, seeing as he’s currently at work making a Russell Crowe-starring adaptation of the story of Noah, it doesn’t take much detective work to figure out that the image of a gigantic wooden structure in mid-construction accompanying his words must be the Ark that’s being built for the film. Yeah, that’s right, CG be damned – Aronofsky is going practical with his giant wooden boat.

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Russell Crowe

It’s sort of fascinating that a vampire craze born from Twilight has shifted back toward Bram Stoker’s original vision: Tom Cruise and Sony are going vampire hunting with Van Helsing; Neil Marshall is boarding The Voyage of the Demeter; and now Russell Crowe might bring his Oscar statue to the set of Harker to play Dracula for Eli Roth. According to Deadline Romania, Roth is currently in talks to take over the chair for the Warners project where Jaume Collet-Serra used to sit. First of all, the prospect of Crowe taking on a classic character like this is pretty damned exciting. Granted, his Robin Hood was hampered by a lame movie, but Crowe would be walking in Bela Lugosi’s and Gary Oldman’s shoes (just to name a few). Secondly, it’s nice to see such a dusty character have so much life left in him – especially since it seems studios are more interested in a return to form (instead of simply sprinkling more glitter on everything).  

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While it’s seeming more and more possible that Darren Aronofsky won’t make the wish of flood enthusiasts everywhere come true by casting someone to play a giant wave or two (or three, or four…) in his Noah, he’s making up for that hideous oversight with a stellar cast that so far includes Russell Crowe, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, and (probably) Jennifer Connolly – a litany of talents that he’s just rounded out with no less than Sir Anthony Hopkins. Aronofsky himself announced the news this morning via his Twitter, in a tweet that reads: “i’m honored to be working with the great sir anthony hopkins. we just added him to the stellar cast of ‪#Noah‬. ‪#methuselahlives‬” Methuselah lives! Hurray! Wait, who is Methuselah again?

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Man with the Iron Fists

RZA punches someone’s eyeball out of its socket. That should be all you need to know to skip all this drivel and watch the red band trailer for the rapper’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. Presented by Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Eli Roth, this kung fu flick looks bloody, ridiculous, and wonderful. It stars Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, Jamie Chung, Rick Yune, Daniel Wu and a host of others in a plot that seems more like an excuse for constant on-screen melees and an empty weapons rack. Seven warring clans…a shipment of gold…yeah, yeah, yeah. Just keep kicking metric tons of ass and turning your body into bronze. Check it out for yourself (and click to change the setting to HD while you’re at it):

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With casting news for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah slowly trickling out like a leaky faucet, we’ve long joked about the continued rumors that Russell Crowe’s Noah was going to be getting a nemesis that wasn’t just the giant, world-destroying flood that history has taught us is his main nemesis. Proving that a flood of Biblical proportions just isn’t enough to even possibly sink Crowe, Deadline Aspen reports that Ray Winstone has been offered the role of Noah’s human villain. Little is known about the part beyond the basic description that he will somehow come up against Crowe, and that Aronofsky was gunning for actors who possess “grit and size” for the role. He was also reportedly looking at Val Kilmer, which might signal that the filmmaker was also looking for that indefinable batshit lunacy that Kilmer can pull off so well. Winstone does certainly have grit and size on his side, coupled with raw talent and what some people like to refer to as gravitas. He was last seen in Snow White and the Huntsman, but for pure Winstone-ness, look no further than something like the gloriously unhinged 44 Inch Chest (or The Departed, The Proposition, or Edge of Darkness – the dude is a badass everywhere).

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Darren Aronofsky‘s epic Noah continues to fill out, with Deadline Woodland Hills now reporting that Emma Watson is in talks to come on board the project as the love interest, Ila, of one of Noah’s (Russell Crowe) sons. The outlet reports that Ila will develop “a close relationship” with Douglas Booth‘s character, Shem. There’s a bit of confusion here, as Deadline’s post about the casting (which we reported earlier this week) indicated that Logan Lerman‘s Ham would be the one receiving a love interest, and this news says that it will in fact be Booth who will get the girl. Weirdly enough, this might not be a case of Deadline screwing up which son is which – different versions of the Noah story actually mix up the order of the sons (there’s even another one, Japheth), and that could certainly be a part of the problem. And that’s about as far as my lapsed Catholicism can take me on this one. The film is still in need of both a wife and a nemesis for Noah.

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Les Miserables Anne Hathaway Shaved

Most trailers are anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes, but very few pack as much grandiose power as the new teaser for Les Miserables manages in just a minute and a half. To be fair, director Tom Hooper is utilizing time-honored music that swells and soars, but there’s also a power in the shots, the set design, and in Anne Hathaway‘s voice as she laments the death of a dream. With a shaved head. The scale looks nasty, brutish and epic. Check it out for yourself:

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There have been reports about director Darren Aronofsky trying to get a movie about the biblical tale of Noah off the ground for a while now. At one point he even had Christian Bale interested in taking on the title role of the boat building messenger of God, but his schedule didn’t allow for that to ever happen. The movie itself looks like it’s ready to get off the ground though, only instead of Batman as Noah, Aronofsky is going to have to settle for a gladiator. Deadline Daberath reports that the deals are done, and this movie is ready to set sail with Russell Crowe as its star. This will be the first film Aronofsky has directed since his seriously well received movie about killer ballerinas (or at least that’s what Billy Crystal told me), Black Swan. When talking about his interest in this project, Aronofsky said, ”Since I was a kid, I have been moved and inspired by the story of Noah and his family’s journey. The imaginations of countless generations have sparked to this epic story of faith. It’s my hope that I can present a window into Noah’s passion and perseverance for the silver screen.” Reportedly, Aronofsky sees this as epic in scope and wants to spend somewhere around $130m on it. It’s going to be the first project stemming from Arnon Milchan’s new vision for New Regency, which entails a return to making edgy movies like L.A. Confidential, Heat, and Fight Club. That all sounds […]

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On the heels of the news that director Tom Hooper will likely make the cast of his upcoming Les Miserables adaptation sing “live” on camera (versus inserting vocals after they’ve been polished up in a traditional recording studio), comes news that The King’s Speech helmer may have two other vocal talents to add to his production. Twitch reports, thanks to two different exclusive scoops, that offers are out to Amanda Seyfried and Taylor Swift for a pair of key parts (and both angles on a looooove triangle!). Seyfried (who actually has a background in opera, fun trivia!) has been offered the essential role of Cosette. Cosette is the daughter of Anne Hathaway‘s Fantine (yes, Hathaway is just three years older than Seyfried), the ruined and tragic prostitute. Fantine gives baby Cosette to the rich Thénardiers, thinking they will care for her, though they mistreat her until she is eventually saved by adoptive papa Jean Valjean. And just why do the Thénardiers abuse her? Well, they’re really evil, and they’re also busy lavishing treats on their real daughters, including eldest Eponine. Swift has reportedly been offered the role of Eponine, rich girl turned street urchin. Both Cosette and Eponine are in love with second-generation baron Marius Pontmercy (to be played by Eddie Redmayne) in Victor Hugo’s classic story. The addition of Seyfried is a bit of a no-brainer, she’s well on her way to an established film career (despite some missteps like Red Riding Hood and Dear John), and her actual background in and talent for […]

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Let it never be said that director Tom Hooper doesn’t make some interesting choices when it comes to filming his projects for maximum veracity. His Oscar-winning hit The King’s Speech was shot on a former porno set (grit!), he used Colonial Williamsburg for a number of sets for his John Adams (gritty, in a different way!), and now it looks like he’s going full-hilt on his first musical feature. Hooper’s next film is a full-scale musical feature version of the done-to-starving-death Les Miserables, and while a new take on Victor Hugo’s classic material doesn’t strike most people as necessary, Hooper is going to give the project its own spin to liven it up. No, no, he’s not going to make it some sort of bizarre “reimagining,” he’s going to make its stars actually sing. No, no, it’s much more interesting than that – he’s going to make them sing live. A “source close to the production” has told the Sun UK that “the director is determined to make the project as authentic as possible.” As such, “the cast will record their vocals live on camera rather than go into a studio first then mime on film to the pre-recorded vocal…First they have to learn the complex songs, then they’ll have to get it right on set in front of the other stars and crew.” This does provide a look inside Hooper’s vision for the film, which may be much more classically theatrical than first suspected. Hooper has already lined up […]

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Last month, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe officially signed on for Tom Hooper’s take on the classic Les Miserables, set to face off as dashing criminal Jean Valjean and Police Inspector Javert, respectively. At the time, we didn’t yet know who would be taking on the female leads in the musical, but it looks like Hooper has rounded out at least one role with that rare beast – a Hollywood starlet with a predilection for belting out tunes. No, not Barbra Streisand. No, not Cher. Oh, guys, no, not Christina Aguilera. It’s Anne Hathaway! Hathaway will play eventual prostitute Fantine, who gives up quite literally everything (including her teeth) to provide for her daughter Cosette (who comes under Valjean’s wing). She also sings her way through a number of big numbers, the most famous of which is unfortunate Glee fodder “I Dreamed a Dream.” Hathaway has sung in a few features (including Rio and Ella Enchanted), and she’s broken out her pipes during her duties as Oscar co-host and two-time Saturday Night Live host, but she’s yet to bring those talents to a full-scale musical. Hathaway has also been long attached to (and quite personally involved with) a Judy Garland biopic. Should her performance in Les Miz establish her as a singing force to be reckoned with (toothless and all), maybe we’ll see that Garland film yet.

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It’s not a feature film about Ayrton Senna, but it will do. Ron Howard has been slowly putting the pieces of his true-life Formula 1 film Rush together, with scarce word about casting beyond the principal roles of Niki Lauda and James Hunt, but with the film recently starting production, that’s changing quickly. Olivia Wilde is reportedly joining the film, and she may not be alone, as Howard is apparently hoping to add Russell Crowe in a somewhat amusing and pretty spot-on role. Wilde’s role is a plum one – she’ll play 1970s supermodel Suzy Miller, who Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) married in 1974. Though the two were in love, Hunt was a bit of a womanizer (okay, fine, he reportedly slept with thirty-three British Airways flight attendants during a two-week period alone). Needless to say, Hunt and Miller’s marriage was short-lived, and not just because of Hunt’s catting around, but because Miller subsequently fell in love with Richard Burton (the role that Howard would like to see Crowe take on). As if the romantic entanglements of the three didn’t sound complicated enough, Burton was still married to Elizabeth Taylor when he fell in love with Miller in 1975, and the actor was no less than twice the former model’s age. Yet, in a weird twist of fate, Hunt was reportedly already trying to get rid of Miller, so when she fell so quickly in love with Burton, they all agreed to get divorces, and Burton agreed to pay Miller the […]

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If you spent yesterday ruminating on whether or not Hollywood needed yet another Anna Karenina, you can now use those brain muscles to ponder the existence of yet another big-scale adaptation of a classic work – now with 100% more Russell Crowe! We’ve known for awhile that Hugh Jackman would star in Tom Hooper‘s take on Les Miserables, but it’s been unclear just who he would play and, conversely, who would play opposite him. Dream no more dreams, mon amies, all of our questions have now been answered. Jackman will star as prisoner 24601 himself, criminal Jean Valjean (but a dashing criminal who stole bread to save his family, a thief with a heart of gold!), with Crowe set as his long-time nemesis, Police Inspector Javert (who is essentially the Officer Krupke of the entire production). Jackman and Crowe round out the essential male roles of the film, with casting still up in the air for the female leads Fantine and Cosette, along with the entire Thénardier family. This new Les Miz is viewed as a “live-action adaptation” of the famous stage musical and an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. You know what that means! Singing! It’s no secret that Jackman loves to belt out tunes, and the actor is pretty skilled when it comes to doing the big showy stuff (hell, he’s even done it on Broadway in The Boy from Oz). But Crowe is no singing slouch either, as he likes to put his gravelly voice to more rock tunes, […]

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What great news. Considering his entire body of work (but especially L.A. Confidential), Russell Crowe signing on to a film about a private investigator delving deeper than he was hired to is a thrilling prospect. This time around, Mark Walhberg will be the private dick, and Crowe will play the Mayor of New York City who believes his wife is tickling someone else’s fancy. According to Deadline Harlem, Crowe is locked for the Allen Hughes-directed, Brian Tucker-scripted Broken City. Since he’s been working on Man of Steel and The Man With the Iron Fists, this will be the first non-metal-based movie for Crowe in a while. But more to the point, it’s great to see hard-boiled films like this being made. Of course, it’s being independently financed by Emmett/Furla Films to the tune of an estimated $60m. More and more it seems like those larger independent houses are making a mark on the landscape while the studios focus on their tentpoles. Getting Crowe for this role will certainly help put a stamp on this film. Hopefully there’s greatness here.

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There’s no reason to list them all, but there are a lot of similarities between Marlon Brando and Russell Crowe. According to Variety, there’s about to be one more. The trade is reporting that he’s taking the role of Superman’s father, Jor-El, for Man of Steel. With another origin story, it gives Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan an opportunity to bring Kal-El’s parents into the mix, but they will most likely have relatively small parts. However, as Brando proved, it doesn’t take a large part to make an impact. Oddly enough, Latino Review is also reporting that Connie Nielsen has been offered the role of Superman’s mother, Lara, meaning that if she accepts, she’ll reunite with her Gladiator co-star Crowe. The pairing will make more than a subtle nod to that film, which of course was more than a subtle nod to the film Witness (or just a massive love letter to wheat fields). Thus, the new Superman reboot is a giant, long-form tribute to Harrison Ford and Peter Weir. Layers! But, seriously, all of this casting sounds phenomenal. It also means that an Australian is siring a British alien that becomes a symbol for the American way.

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If nothing else, The Next Three Days deserves credit for finding suspense in a story with no bad guys or antagonists for the audience to root against. It’s an uncommon feat in a Hollywood thriller, and along with last week’s Unstoppable may just be part of a mini revolution. Even better, for at least two-thirds of the running time the movie manages to be a tense, engaging, and unpredictable thriller. The strong build-up loses a bit of its edge though in the final third with the introduction of a brand new, out of the blue character who shall henceforth be known as Super Psychic Cop.

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Neil Miller isn’t a fan of Ridley Scott’s new film. At all. Robert Fure and I disagree, and while neither of us love the movie we both think it deserves a fairer shake than the D+ grade Miller awarded it. And here’s why…

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