Despatches - movie news from Alan Jones From Film Review
April 2000
Film Review Hotline

Dungeons Dragons & Irons
• Jeremy Irons finds Solomon’s wisdom
In this issue, Alan Jones reports from the set of the blockbuster movie version of the world’s most popular role playing game – Dungeons & Dragons.

Justin Whalin in Dungeons & Dragons Shot on location in Prague, the $30 million fantasy adventure stars Justin Whalin (Jimmy Olsen in Lois & Clark), Thora Birch (from American Beauty), Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien, Doctor Who’s Tom Baker and Jeremy Irons. The Oscar-winning actor for Reversal of Fortune plays Profion, an evil mage plotting to depose the Empress Savina...

“I wasn’t supposed to be working as I’ve been overseeing the renovation of a castle I bought in Ireland,” Irons told Film Review. “But the script was so good, and the book of production sketches that (director Courtney Solomon) sent along with it so intriguing, that we worked out a way of fitting all my shots into a short time span at the end of production."

When Joel Silver came on board as executive producer, the money men felt secure enough to let Solomon realize his Spielbergian dream. That impressed Irons too as he revealed. “Because I’d made Die Hard With a Vengeance for Joel, it was he who persuaded me to read the script in the first place. Frankly, I like a gamble and I like working with new directors. I was impressed that Courtney had stuck with this script for so long against all the odds. The ones you win in this business are the ones you don’t give up on."

In many ways, keeping the Star Wars analogy going, Irons is the Alec Guinness of Dungeons & Dragons – the one adding the acting gravitas to the proceedings. “You could be right,” he said, “If that’s the case, fine. I wanted to do something to widen my audience base beyond movies perceived as art-house ones like Stealing Beauty and Lolita and I’ve done it. Let’s hope I earn as much money as Sir Alec did from Star Wars and all the merchandising!”

Oscar Preview • Who deserves to win? Vote in our poll
Annette Bening with an American BeautyExcitement is building over this year’s Oscar ceremony to be held on March 19 and this year’s list of Oscar nominees (printed in full in the issue) has been particularly well-received over here due to its large British contingent - including director Sam Mendes for American Beauty, one of that film's eight nominations (it's also up for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score and Film Editing).

Chief amongst Blighty’s other hopefuls is Jude Law who has been nominated for a Supporting Actor statuette for his mesmerizing performance opposite Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley, battling it out with the legendary Michael Caine - nominated for his role in The Cider House Rules. Golden Globe winner Janet McTeer is now in line for a Best Actress Oscar too for her performance in the comedy Tumbleweeds. Another of our most versatile actresses, Samantha Morton is nominated for her supporting role in Dreaming of Joseph Lees while British directors Anthony Minghella and Mike Leigh, though not themselves honoured in the list, have seen their pictures – The Talented Mr Ripley and Topsy-Turvy – nominated in several categories. Film Review will, as ever, bring you all the gossip and glitz from the Oscar ceremony itself in our next issue, available March 30.

007 Switches Sides
• Bond star defects!
Pierce Brosnan is moving from Her Majesty’s Secret Service to the CIA. The James Bond actor will star in and produce Burnt Sienna, based on an upcoming novel from David Morrell, whose novel First Blood hatched the Rambo movies.

MGM, for whom Brosnan has starred in three 007 films as well as the hit remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, picked up the rights exclusively for the Irish star who will play a former Marine pilot leaving the service to become an artist in Mexico. When he turns down a commission to paint the portrait of the wife of a top arms dealer, the painter finds his quiet life turned upside down by the scorned criminal. He soon joins a CIA mission to bring down the villain in a thriller MGM describe as being a mix of Bond and Rambo.

Brosnan was particularly drawn to the project because he’s an accomplished painter and art collector himself and will make the movie as soon as he finishes shooting director John Boorman’s The Tailor of Panama based on the John Le Carré best-seller.

Just a taste of Alan Jones' extensive news section.
Read the full news pages every month in Film Review.

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