Shane Salerno

Salinger

Shane Salerno’s much-hyped J.D. Salinger documentary Salinger starts off promisingly enough – a man sits in his car staring at a small post office with a long-lens camera in his hand, narrating a story about the last time he sat in his car staring at a small post office with a long-lens camera in his hand (well, presumably it’s the last time he did this). Photographer Michael McDermott leads off the film with a story about how, in 1979, he traveled to New Hampshire with one aim and one assignment – photograph the elusive Salinger for Newsweek. His only tip? The author receives his mail at a local post office, just across the state line, in tiny Windsor, Vermont. McDermott waited outside the post office for hours, days, until he finally saw the man, ultimately capturing one of the first known photographs of the extremely private writer in the latter portion of his life. For the last half of his life, Salinger lived in Cornish, New Hampshire, a somewhat remote, somewhat isolated area of the state, just across the Connecticut River from Vermont. His choice of residence should have made it plain – don’t come here, I don’t want you here – but his decision was never fully honored by both his adoring public and newshounds looking for a story. The film is rife with arguments about whether or not Salinger was a true recluse – one talking head compares him to Howard Hughes while another refutes the claim simply […]

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avatar16

Not content simply making a sequel to a successful film, James Cameron has tacked on a third Avatar sequel to the two he already has in development. Deadline reports that all three films will be shot simultaneously in 2014, to be released in December 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Either because of the monumental task ahead of him or because he’s finally learned that screenwriting is not his strong suit, Cameron will be teaming with different writers for each sequel script. Avatar 2 will be co-written by Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Avatar 3 by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Avatar 3 by Shane Salerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem). While this makes Cameron seem a little like a crazy person, remember that the Lord of the Rings series was filmed the same way, and Cameron was already planning to do two Avatars back-to-back in the first place. But at the same time, this Avatar-stravaganza is likely to be one of the riskiest moves Hollywood has ever taken. The first Avatar was one of the most expensive films ever made. Presumably shooting three at a time will demolish that record like a bulldozer composed entirely of other people’s money. There’s no doubt that the sequels will pull in lots of cash, but if the public was to suddenly lose their Avatar fever with future Avatars not yet released, this could be disastrous. Of course, that very thing was what analysts said right before […]

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Salinger

A superstar author who goes into hiding, a vault of unpublished work, a military past filled with haunting images. This is the suspense thriller of Shane Salerno‘s J.D. Salinger documentary. Making his directorial debut, the writer with credits on (no kidding) Savages and Shaft (2000) has conducted interviews with hundreds of people — including those who knew the iconic writer of “Catcher in the Rye” and creative minds like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman who were influenced by his work. There’s no doubt that the author left behind plenty of mysteries, and Salinger purports to solve (or at least explore) them. At the very least, it should provide a well-anticipated look into the life and career of a man who was responsible for millions of worn out paperbacks. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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JD Salinger

According to Deadline Hollywood, The Weinstein Company has acquired the rights to release Salinger into theaters. No word yet on when they plan to release the documentary about the famously reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Franny and Zooey,” and others. The deal is a testament to the quality of the work from director Shane Salerno (the writer of Savages and, no kidding, Shaft). He and his team first showed it to American Masters who made a deal to show it as part of their programming early next year. They then showed it to publisher Simon & Schuster who made a deal to publish a biography written by Salerno with David Shields. They then showed it to The Weinstein Company who made a deal to put it in theaters. Basically, everyone they show it to wants to take out their checkbooks and put a lot of zeroes on the line. In other news, we’re getting a thorough documentary of a genius. A glimpse into a world he kept hidden for most of his life. That raises a lot of interesting ethical issues regarding privacy and how we truly value an artist’s wishes, but the appeal of a fascinating story is close to overwhelming.  

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Warner Bros. has just picked up the next great Leonardo-DiCaprio-will-so-totally-kill-you thriller, an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel Satori. The studio isn’t wasting much time, setting DiCaprio to star as genius assassin Nicholai Hel in the film, which will be adapted by both screenwriter Shane Salerno and Winslow himself. The two recently paired up to write the script with Oliver Stone for the director’s upcoming adaptation of another Winslow novel, Savages. The character of Nicholai Hel was first created by author Trevanian in 1979’s Shibumi, with Winslow crafting his own work as a prequel to Hel’s adventures in Shibumi, with Satori expanding on both the man and his sprawling backstory by way of exploring his earlier years. Hel is a renaissance man to the most terrifying degree – born of a Russian mother and a German father, he was brought up by a Japanese martial expert and former general who taught him everything he knows (from fighting skills to the strategic pursuit of Go, a “complex, chess-like Japanese game”). Further research on Hel reveals another fun tidbit, he’s apparently “the world’s most artful lover.” So…that’s cool for Leo.

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Fantastic Voyage is going to be huge. There’s no word yet on whether James Cameron is building a special ship to go inside the human body for production design research, but the promise of a massive budget should take the 1966 sci-fi flick into the big leagues of action not seen since the “Disney Body Wars” attraction. In order to deliver that, Cameron apparently wants Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier to take the reigns on the project – which is all but ready to roll in 2011 with a near-finished script (from Armageddon and Alien vs Predator: Requiem writer Shane Salerno) and heavy design work from Cameron’s Avatar team. Instead of calling up the production designers on Honey I Shrunk the Kids, they’ll be going totally CGI once the team is inside the body. That prospect means that instead of re-casting Raquel Welch’s role, the least they could do is spend the money to digitally drop the younger version of her into the new movie. If they refuse, they should cast Christina Hendricks. [Deadline Tampa]

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