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Newsbites: Atlas! Arabs! Evil! Rex! Immortalist!

Newsbites: Atlas! Arabs! Evil! Rex! Immortalist! September 21, 2006

Might as well get these items off my plate for now.

1. Variety says Angelina Jolie is set to star in a film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.

2. Reuters reports that investors from six Arab countries plan to put up $200 million to produce over a dozen major Arabic movies in English:

Malek Akkad said the project is aimed at promoting the nascent Arab film industry to the world and showcasing the region’s history and culture.

“They’re nothing political. They are not propaganda. They are purely themed stories — a few of them would be historical films along the lines of ‘Lawrence of Arabia,”‘ said Akkad, referring to the 1962 Academy Award-winning film.

3. The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, reports that Deliver Us from Evil, a documentary about a pedophilic Catholic priest, will be released October 13 without a rating after the MPAA gave its trailer “a redband rating — a label that effectively excludes the trailer from playing in many commercial theaters.”

4. The Los Angeles Times reports that Johnny Depp’s production company has hired Jim Uhls to adapt Rex Mundi, a series of graphic novels by Arvid Nelson and Eric Johnson:

“Rex Mundi” (King of the World) posits an alternate present of 1933 in which the Reformation never happened, the Inquisition is still in full swing, Europe remains dominated by the Catholic Church and the rest of the world consists of colonies. Depp, who became the biggest movie star in the world this summer by reprising his Keith Richards-inspired swashbuckler, would play a pathologist investigating the mysterious death of the priest who found him as an orphan.

“It’s a noir-ish ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ ” Uhls says. “There are murders and a mystery, and the lead character discovers a massive conspiracy, biblical in its origin.”

5. The Hollywood Reporter, via Reuters, reports that Capote director Bennett Miller is now developing The Immortalist:

The project, which has yet to be written, is a “character-driven drama set in the emerging world of life extension,” he said.

Details of the plot are still under wraps, but Miller described it as “not a science fiction film … (but) a drama set in the very real world of those pursuing biological immortality.”

6. Rich Tatum, a Pentecostal himself, objects to the documentary Jesus Camp on a number of levels in an article at CT Movies — though some of his criticisms are directed not so much at the filmmakers as at the people depicted in their film.

7. Killer Pickton director Ulli Lommel tells the Globe and Mail that his horror films, which are usually based on true events, are “committed to showing violence as a most gruesome act and not as pleasant and entertaining.” Uh-huh.

8. The Nativity Story: Sacred Songs will be released on CD on Halloween, almost exactly one month before The Nativity Story comes to theatres. Whether this disc will be an actual soundtrack or a mere “music inspired by” songtrack is not yet clear.

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