Nicole Kidman has departed from her role starring in the next, presently untitled, Woody Allen project.
She was due to star alongside Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts and Freida Pinto with shooting reportedly due to commence in the summer in Allen’s most frequent new city muse, London.
Variety says nothing has yet been said as to who will replace Kidman in the role.
It seems like an interesting move for an actress who seems to be struggling somewhat to maintain any kind of box-office power. Australia was a complete flop and, prior to this, she was in the debacle that is The Golden Compass, the mean-spirited and somewhat irratating Margot at the Wedding and the truly terrible The Invasion.
Allen, on the other hand, seems in upward swing. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was his most universally liked work since Sweet and Lowdown and Whatever Works, starring Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood, looks an even stronger creation.
I suppose we’ll see if Kidman can manage to find something to suit her talents in the future, rather than continuing this stream of dreck.
Nicole Kidman has reportedly joined the cast of Woody Allen’s latest, as-yet-untitled project set for 2010. She joins the likes of Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Naomi Watts and rising Slumdog-star Freida Pinto.
Little is known about the project thus far, just that it’s set in London and that Woody still has the juice to attract a pretty darn special cast to his work.
I haven’t been entirely kind to his last few works, in fact I would suggest he hasn’t done anything truly good since 1999’s Sweet and Lowdown, an underrated work if ever I saw one. The likes of Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona seems to have grabbed praise, but I’m of the school of thought that this is mostly based on happiness from fans that they aren’t as awful as Scoop, Anything Else or the truly, truly terrible Hollywood Ending.
His upcoming project for this year is Whatever Works, headed by Evan Rachel Wood and Larry David.
Freida Pinto has joined Miral, the next film from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schabel.
Jon Hamm has joined the cast of the James Franco-starring Allen Ginsberg biopic Howl.
Bryan Singer is considering an adaptation of Freedom Formula, the Radical Comics series.
Someone, somewhere, is planning to make a biopic of the very-recently-decased reality television star Jade Goody.
Cameron Diaz is in final negotiations to star in Swingles, some sort of rom-com about a woman who becomes a wingman to a guy and other stuff and blah blah blah.
Lasse Hallstrom is planning to make a sequel to his My Life as a Dog debut film.
Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal
Director: Danny Boyle (Loveleen Tandan, co-director)
Writer: Simon Beaufoy, from the novel by Vikas Swarup
Lauded prior to release on our side of the pond, Slumdog Millionaire is a pretty outstanding piece of British filmmaking, one of the fine times when Danny Boyle’s stylistic ability converges with a sense of powerful emotion. Not only that, it’s one of the first mainstream attempts by a movie in the UK to engage with the cultural melting pot which exists, primarily made from Asian and English personage.
We follow Jamal, a young kid from the slums of Mumbai, then Bombay, as he stands on the verge of winning the top prize on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. As he gets to the last question, Jamal is carted off by authorities who accuse him of cheating. The film then structures out to explore a series of events in Jamal’s life which have given provided him with all the answers to be able to win the quiz.
Promoted as a feel-good movie, it’s one of the strangest forms of such a sub-genre. The vast majority of Slumdog Millionaire sees the horrific life of a slum child in India across the poverty of his early life and his witnessing of the building up of the new India. Some scenes of the film are truly horrific and the tenor of that part of his life seems hopeless, only pulled back from the edge of depressing by Danny Boyle’s kinetic direction and a sense of hope that the movie plumbs constantly to remind us of the adage that true love will eventually prevail. If this subtracts from the film’s ability to surprise, making it relatively predictable in terms of getting from A to C, the B section is where we, and Jamal, earn the happy ending.
The events that occur in Jamal’s life are horrendous, frightening and deeply troubling; from his life working in a harem of beggars for a master willing to do anything to make them more likely to solicit sympathetic donations to his constant battles and ventures into the darkest parts of town to continually find his love, Latika. But they begin by the close for form a semi-biblical trial that Jamal must go through, reconciling his relationship with his brother and, with the gameshow, giving himself a sense of closure on that part of his life and a new beginning to look forward to. The relationship with his brother, the wayward Salim, is maybe the strongest part of the film. The two are not diametrically opposed and manage to capture the anger and forgiveness balance that is necessary within a brotherly relationship.
Boyle’s direction is constantly outstanding, visually superlative and infusing what could be a slog of a film with a vitality and energy that drags it through any of the more disturbing elements of the story. The performance match this well with both Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, as Jamal and Latika respectively, are wide-eyed and naïve filled with the possibilities of love and drawing the audience into their relationship enough to mean that few will begrudge Boyle his climactic moments. Also outstanding are Anil Kapoor as the host of Millionaire, just smarmy enough to be entertaining during the show, and the always-excellent Irrfan Khan as the police inspector questioning Jamal.
I would struggle to entirely characterise this as feel-good given the journey needed prior to any real feeling good. But this is a superb film, hugely enjoyable and brilliantly made and will surely be making year-end lists across the UK.
MOD Rating: ♦♦♦♦