The Day the Earth Stood Still — the trailer!

A few months ago, I got to visit the set of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was being shot here in the Vancouver area. Not for the first time, I marvelled at how it took hours and hours to produce maybe a few seconds of actual movie. A few of those seconds — showing military vehicles moving into position, in what I think is supposed to be Central Park — appear in the trailer below, which is reportedly playing before Hancock in some theatres right now, at least on the American side of the border:

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

JUL 4 UPDATE: The trailer has now been officially posted here.

Gods, Titans, and hundreds of Greek warriors.

Some interesting developments on the ancient-Greek movie front.

Variety and the Hollywood Reporter say Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton, the producers of 300 (2006), are now collaborating on War of Gods, “a mythological tale set in war-torn ancient Greece, as the young warrior prince Theseus leads his men in a battle against evil that will see the gods fighting with soldiers against demons and titans.” The film will be directed by Tarsem Singh, director of The Cell (2000), The Fall (2006) and the music video for R.E.M.’s ‘Losing My Religion’ (1991).

As it happens, there is another Greek-mythological epic in the works right now, over at Warner Brothers, namely the remake of Clash of the Titans (1981) — and, thankfully, I think, this film has a new director since I last mentioned it here. The old director was Stephen Norrington, who brought Sean Connery’s career to a less-than-glorious end with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003); the new director is Louis Leterrier, whose last job was this summer’s okay but basically unremarkable reboot of The Incredible Hulk. This Greek-mythic movie concerns Perseus, who “must overcome a series of obstacles to save his beloved Princess Andromeda, including cutting off the serpent-tressed head of Medusa, who can turn a man to stone with a single glance.”

Meanwhile, the folks at Collider got the producers of 300 to reveal last week that they are actually talking to writer Frank Miller and director Zack Snyder about making a sequel, or prequel, or something, to that movie. This could be difficult, since nearly everybody who mattered was dead by the end of that film, but who knows. My friend Paul Christian Glenn has some fun thoughts on the possible directions a sequel might take.

Sci-fi writers and their toys.

Arthur C. Clarke passed away a few months ago, but that’s no reason new interviews with him can’t keep popping up. posted one yesterday that was conducted in various installments eight or nine years ago, in which Clarke talks a fair bit about the people he has known and counted among his friends and influences. My favorite anecdote is this one:

Walter Cronkite is a man I’ve always admired, since we started working together in the 1960s, I think, when I joined him and Wally Schirra on the Apollo coverage. Walter is, I think, exactly as he appears to be, a real thoroughly nice man. I’ve had the pleasure of showing him around Sri Lanka and taking him for a ride in my hovercraft. He once took me for a trip in his sailboat, off Martha’s Vineyard, and when we got back to land I said, “Walter, I now understand the feelings of the man who said why should you go to all this trouble when you can get exactly the same sensation by standing in a cold shower and tearing up hundred dollar bills.” Today, thousand dollar bills! I was happy to meet him in the Hotel Chelsea in October of 1999—he hasn’t changed a bit!

I had no idea Clarke had a hovercraft — though a bit of Googling turns up the fact that Clarke acquired one because he “was so convinced wheels were on the way out.” Somehow the image of a British intellectual riding around in one of those things strikes me as a bit funny, but in the case of a scientifically and technologically minded person such as Clark, also very appopriate.

BC Christian News — July 2008

The newest issue of BC Christian News is now online, and with it, my film column, which looks at the films of M. Night Shyamalan en route to a brief comment or two on The Happening.

Click on the following titles for my longer reviews or comments on Wide Awake (1998), The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000), Signs (2002) and Lady in the Water (2006).

I have never seen Praying with Anger (1992) and I don’t appear to have written any reviews, per se, of The Village (2004).

Canadian box-office stats — June 29

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

Cruising Bar 2 — CDN $623,946 — N.AM $623,946 — 100%
The Love Guru CDN $2,700,000 — N.AM $25,322,000 — 10.7%
Sex and the City — CDN $14,810,000 — N.AM $140,132,000 — 10.6%

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $25,500,000 — N.AM $299,936,000 — 8.5%
The Happening — CDN $4,360,000 — N.AM $59,063,000 — 7.4%
Get Smart — CDN $5,560,000 — N.AM $77,266,000 — 7.2%
Kung Fu Panda — CDN $12,820,000 — N.AM $179,330,000 — 7.1%
The Incredible Hulk — CDN $8,080,000 — N.AM $115,508,000 — 7.0%
Wanted — CDN $3,100,000 — N.AM $51,118,000 — 6.1%
WALL*E — CDN $3,090,000 — N.AM $62,500,000 — 4.9%

A couple of discrepancies: Cruising Bar 2 was #6 on the Canadian chart (it does not appear on the North American chart at all), while You Don’t Mess with the Zohan was #10 on the North American chart (it was #11 in Canada).

Helena Bonham Carter joins Terminator 4!

The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, is spreading the news:

The British actress is in talks to board “Terminator Salvation,” the fourth installment in the franchise kicked off by James Cameron in 1984. Roles in the new film have been kept under wraps, but insiders described the Bonham Carter role as small but pivotal.

This brings the number of Terminator 4 actors that I have interviewed up to two, now.

I met Christian Bale, who plays John Connor in T4, on the junket for The New World (2005).

And I interviewed Helena Bonham Carter for the student newspaper The Ubyssey when she came to Vancouver to promote Margaret’s Museum (1995); see page 3 of this PDF file.

I have very fond memories of her cradling my tape recorder in her lap — most interviewees tend to ignore the thing — and at one point, I believe she took it with her into her bedroom while she went to fetch something, talking and continuing to answer one of my questions all the way.

I also recall the sympathetic look she gave me when I tried to take her picture and something went wrong with my camera. Oh well, with any luck, I can try it again, one of these days.