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Cannes 2011. Weekend News Roundup

Cannes 2011

No other time, no other place sees a greater concentration of the world's film journalists than the Cannes Film Festival. If you've got an announcement to make, Cannes is the when and where to make it. Before what looks like a pretty raucous week gets rolling tomorrow, I thought I'd gather notes on a few of the most interesting made so far.

The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Roxborough goes to work on the story that's probably made the biggest noise so far: "The creator of Antichrist and the helmer of Taxi Driver will collaborate on their next project. Danish director Lars von Trier and Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese are teaming up for a remake of The Five Obstructions, von Trier's 2003 documentary deconstructing the filmmaking process…. It's unclear which of Scorcese's films will form the basis of the Five Obstructions remake."

Jason Guerrasio for Filmmaker: "This news got me thinking about another project Scorsese has on the back burner — he and De Niro making a Fellini-like film that looks back on the tandem's incredible collaboration. The idea, created by screenwriter Eric Roth, goes like this: While making their next film The Irishman — an adaptation of the book I Hear You Paint Houses, which looks at the life of alleged Jimmy Hoffa murderer, Frank Sheeran and also stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci — Scorsese would shoot a side project that meshes footage from the film with a story based on he and De Niro's experiences in Hollywood that would be in the style of an or La Dolce Vita." He spoke with De Niro about the project while the actor and current Cannes jury president was making the rounds for Limitless, and "he said he still wants to do it and it still might happen."

One of the most legendary films that never happened was surely Alejandro Jodorowsky's Dune. Now Frank Pavich is putting together a documentary on the project that fell apart in the mid-70s. Straightforward title: Jodorowsky's Dune. Twitch has a promo video (above) and the press release: "Jodorowsky's team of then relatively unknown concept artists continued exploring the themes and styles started on the project and ended up changing modern science fiction forever: HR Giger went on to Ridley Scott's masterpiece Alien, Dan O'Bannon wrote Alien and Total Recall, Jean 'Moebius' Giraud created artwork and futuristic worlds for The Empire Strikes Back, Tron, and The Fifth Element and Chris Foss would go on to work on Alien and Superman." More on the Dune that never was here and here.

Tom Tykwer, Lana and Andy Wachowski and James Schamus were in town to present their $100 million adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas featuring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving and Ben Whishaw. Dana Harris reports for indieWIRE.

Endgame Entertainment and FilmDistrict are partnering to release Rian Johnson's Looper, "a time-travel action thriller that involves a killer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who works for the mob of the future," reports FirstShowing's Alex Billington. Also cast: Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels.

IFC Films has picked up North American rights to Olivier Assayas's Something in the Air, described as "the story of a young high school student in Paris, torn between his artistic ambitions and the politics of the times." Which would be the 1970s. Peter Knegt has the press release at indieWIRE.

Claude Brodesser-Akner for Vulture: "Scott Rudin has just optioned 'The Terrorist Search Engine,' a recent New York Magazine profile of controversial counterterrorism expert witness Evan Kohlmann — and what's more, the Oscar-magnet producer is interested in adapting the piece as a possible starring vehicle for The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg."

Stuart Kemp for THR: "Jack Black is to star in Michael Winterbottom's Bailout, a comedy based on Jess Walter's novel, The Financial Lives of The Poets."

Gabe Toro for the Playlist: "Colin Farrell will be reuniting with his In Bruges writer-director Martin McDonagh on Seven Psychopaths. He plays a screenwriter who runs into a block and ends up getting involved in his friends' dog-kidnapping scheme. The friends? Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, who we're stunned haven't worked together onscreen before, though they have logged time with McDonagh's prose: both thesps were featured in the Broadway run of McDonagh's most recent play, A Behanding In Spokane."

"Tim League of Drafthouse Films announced Friday that he'll team up with Timpson Films and Magnet Releasing to produce a 26-chapter feature film showcasing different directorial visions of death," reports Charles Ealy at the Austin Movie Blog. The ABCs of Death "will begin production in June and is expected to be completed in January 2012." And he's got the impressive list of directors, too, of course.

Mark Duplass's next will be Black Rock, "an all-girl thriller," according to FirstShowing's Ethan Anderton. "The Freebie director Katie Aselton is set to be at the helm of the feature which has Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell attached to star in the story of three childhood friends who embark on a weekend getaway to the isolated island of Black Rock, only to discover that they are not alone."

Meryl Streep's made headlines in Cannes twice — so far. The Weinstein Company's picked up The Iron Lady, in which she plays Margaret Thatcher. "Streep reunites with her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd in the Abi Morgan-scripted film that also stars Harry Lloyd, Richard E Grant and Jim Broadbent," reports Deadline's Mike Fleming, who also has the story on the other acquisition: Sony Pictures has nabbed Great Hope Springs, in which Streep and Tommy Lee Jones hope therapist Steve Carell can "rekindle their loveless relationship after 31 years of marriage." Screenplay's by Vanessa Taylor and David Frankel directs.

On that note: "Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried will star in the indie comedy Gently Down the Stream." Andy Propst for TheaterMania: "De Niro and Keaton will play a long-divorced couple who, for the sake of their adopted son's wedding and his biological mother, pretend they are still married." Justin Zackham is writing and directing.


Neil LaBute's planning an adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Crooked House and tells the Guardian's Charlotte Higgins that it'll be "a good romp and a cracking yarn."

Ramin Bahrani's next project will feature Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler's Killer Films is producing. Wendy Mitchell reports for Screen.

Zhang Yimou's epic The Heroes of Nanking features Christian Bale; Steven Zeitchik listened in on the team's presentation for the Los Angeles Times.

Good Vibrations "will tell the story of Terri Hooley, Belfast's godfather of punk," reports Geoffrey Macnab for Screen. "Richard Dormer will play Hooley and other actors attached are Michael Fassbender, Steve Coogan, Robert Sheehan and Bronagh Gallagher. Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D'Sa (Cherrybomb) direct from a script by Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry." Bit of background from Brandon Kim at IFC: "Hooley's tale centers around the record store he founded in the early 70's called Good Vibrations, which naturally became a record label. The bands Hooley signed are now largely forgotten — The Moondogs, Victim, The Outcasts, and The Shapes. But one night the highly influential John Peel got his hands on one of Hooley's acts and played their single on his infinitely popular radio show. The band was The Undertones, the song was 'Teenage Kicks,' and the rest is punk history."

Naturally, I can't wrap this roundup without pointing to Naman Ramachandran's report for Cineuropa, "MUBI signs slew of deals."

Cannes 2011. Index: Reviews, interviews, coverage of the coverage. For news and tips throughout the day every day, follow @thedailyMUBI on Twitter and/or the RSS feed.

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