By Sarah Skilton
Based on a True Story
Hollywood loves a good biopic. Not only can real life provide more drama than an original screenplay, the finished products are usually Oscar bait (think Helen Mirren in The Queen and Jamie Foxx in Ray, to name a few). Now comes casting news for FOX Searchlight’s Notorious, a film about the life and times of Christopher Wallace aka Notorious B.I.G.
The film is set to star a mixture of veteran performers and relative newcomers. Angela Bassett (Meet the Browns, What’s Love Got to Do With It) will play Biggie’s religious mom Voletta and Derek Luke (Lions For Lambs) is set to portray Biggie’s mentor Puff Daddy, who, in real life, is producing the movie through his Bad Boy Entertainment label. Brooklyn rapper Jamal Woolard has been tapped for the title role and Anthony Mackie is cast as Tupac Shakur. Expect Notorious to hit theaters in early 2009. Not to be outdone, Oliver Stone (JFK, World Trade Center) also has a handful of potentially-controversial biographical films in the pipeline. The first depicts the life of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the second is all about George W. Bush (to be played by Josh Brolin, hot off No Country For Old Men). The acclaimed director is also in pre-production on Pinkville (starring Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Michael Pitt and Woody Harrelson), which chronicles the real-life massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War.
In somewhat lighter fare, Hilary Swank is starring in and executive producing Amelia, a movie about (can you guess?) Amelia Earhart and her famed attempt to fly around the world. Last but not least, Johnny Deep and Christian Bale are starring in Michael Mann’s 1930s period piece Public Enemies, all about the real John Dillinger and his bank-robbing, jail-escaping pals. Marion Cotillard (who just won Best Actress for her work in La Vie En Rose) has been cast as Dillinger’s favorite gi
rlfriend, Billie Frechette.
What’s next for Juno’s Ellen Page?
Fresh from hosting Saturday Night Live (not to mention an Oscar nomination for her work in Juno), 21-year-old Ellen Page is proving to be an extremely versatile performer. Besides extensive credits in Canadian television (she hails from Nova Scotia), Page cut her teeth on small indies (the squirm-inducing psychological drama Hard Candy) and popcorn action flicks (X-Men 3: The Last Stand). Now she’s set her sights on… roller derby! Whip it!, directed by Drew Barrymore and based on the novel “Derby Girl”, tells the story of a Texas teen named Bliss (Page) who rejects her beauty pageant upbringing to enter the rough-and-tumble, occasionally violent and competitive world of derby skaters. The flick shoots this summer. In the meantime, you can get your Page fix next month with Smart People, a comedy / relationship drama that premiered to positive buzz at Sundance and co-stars Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker. Despite Page’s newfound (and deserved) fame, she’ll always be the kickass superheroine Kitty Pryde to me.
April Showers us with TV
So the WGA Strike is over and TV is slowly shaking off its re-runs and beginning to air new episodes of our favorite shows. But a lot of programs have been cut short, postponed, or even cancelled because of the 100-day strike (see you in the fall, Private Practice!) Here’s a quick guide to some of the networks’ biggest comebacks in April. Mark your calendar...
First, some comedies:
Did you miss these dramas?
What about all the doctors?
And last, for a taste of somethin’ spooky:
Ghost Whisperer – Returns April 4th for 6 new episodes
Happy viewing! .
© Melt Magazine 2007