Film Review Hotline
Despatches

Leo and the Beach
While it became big news that director Danny Boyle ‘gently suggested’ to Leonardo DiCaprio he take off 20 pounds for their upcoming movie The Beach because of all the planned bathing suit and shorts shots, the Thailand government were causing other problems for the 20th Century Fox production. The Thais were considering claims by environmentalists that filming would harm the ecology of Phi Phi island, the setting for the movie. Boyle and producer Andrew MacDonald's detailed plans were approved by the Thai Royal Forestry Department and permits issued, but suddenly all that changed and filming delayed. “We never expected to be faced with the criticism in Thailand that we have received over the last few weeks,” said Boyle and MacDonald. Strangely enough, the Thai government also caused problems for Fox’s planned remake of Anna and the King which they said “contained cultural and historical mistakes and showed disrespect to the monarchy”. Fox shifted that production to Malaysia instead.


Rocket Woman
Helena Bonham Carter has signed to co-star in the first film to be made by Rocket Films, Elton John’s production company. The $5-million film, Women Talking Dirty, will be co-produced by David Furnish, who made the documentary, Tantrums and Tiaras, about John. Bonham Carter will play the lead role of Cora in the comic story of an unlikely friendship between two Scottish women who help each other through life’s ups and downs. Shooting is set to begin next March in Edinburgh. Based on a novel by Isla Dewar, who also wrote the screenplay, it will be directed by Coky Giedroyc who made her début with Stella Does Tricks. John will act as executive producer and will also supervise the soundtrack.


Jackson and the Exorcist
Samuel L Jackson will star alongside Tommy Lee Jones in Rules of Engagement to be directed by William (The Exorcist) Friedkin for Paramount Pictures. Based on a script by former Navy secretary James Webb, the story is about a soldier whose career hopes are dashed when he’s wounded in Vietnam. But when he becomes a lawyer, he must defend the same man who saved his life in combat but who is now accused of inciting a riot that has left many demonstrators dead. Jackson, who has just finished making the 1999 summer blockbuster Deep Blue Sea, plays the court-martialled soldier.


About a Director
Iain Softley will direct the film version of British author Nick (Fever Pitch) Hornby’s best-selling novel About a Boy. The romantic comedy is about a bored, aimless and terminally hip single man, who pretends to have a child so he can woo women. However, he falls in love with one of his targets and becomes a father figure to her 12-year-old son. Peter (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) Hedges wrote the adaptation for Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Films who are producing the project with New Line Cinema. Though the character of Will is a North Londoner in the novel, he’s been made American to attract a major star. Softley has three other pictures in development: The Boathouse (a mystical thriller with Milla Jovovich), Marlowe (a biopic of the 16th Century playwright) and a feature version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.

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