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"What I was
trying to do with
those films was to
make three student
films in order to
try and set a new
trajectory and try to
say, 'Well, what
happens if I have no
resources?' Now, having
done that, my new
work is going to be
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but now building on a
new confidence or
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little films were very
useful. I'm glad I did
it. I hope George Lucas
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people haven't seen
for a while."

Sean Penn to
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Keith Gordon
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he will write
and direct

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-De Palma's new
project with
Said Ben Said

-De Palma to team
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for Paterno film
Happy Valley

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De Palma interviewed
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010
KOPPELMAN & LEVIEN TALK CAPONE RISING
KOPPELMAN DISSES DE PALMA'S "LEGENDARY" STATUS
During an interview with Coming Soon's Edward Douglas, Brian Koppelman has dissed Brian De Palma with some surprisingly uncalled-for remarks about what he perceives as De Palma's status as a "legendary" director. Koppelman and his writing partner, David Levien, who are currently making the rounds as co-directors of the new film Solitary Man, wrote the Untouchables prequel Capone Rising for producer Art Linson, who originally had Antoine Fuqua attached to direct before De Palma decided to jump on board. After all, De Palma did direct the first film, which was one of his biggest hits and remains a critical favorite. Douglas made a point to ask Koppelman and Levien about Capone Rising, which has been in development for quite some time. Here is what went down:

Levien: "The Untouchables" is a situation where Art Linson is the producer and like right in the beginning, before we finished a second draft, he attached Brian De Palma to direct it, and as De Palma's fortunes have gone in Hollywood over his last couple of movies, that's the future of where "The Untouchables" has gone.

Koppelman: On the list of legendary directors, I don't think Brian De Palma has a legitimate place... so most guys who are considered masters I love and admire, and I think De Palma has had a long free ride that's deservedly coming to an end.

[Douglas]: Really? So you're saying that as long he's attached to it, it will never get made?

Koppelman: I don't think it will. Hopefully he'll drop off the movie though, and then they can find a great director for it.

Levien: Mamet says that Hollywood is the most obvious place in the world, so [De Palma's] movies have done so badly lately that the studios [don't] want to hire him right now. If he finds a way to make a movie that is well-received and a big hit, then it's an obvious place, they'll probably think it's a great idea. It's just not something we can affect right now.

Koppelman: Linson is a true impresario and an awesome movie producer and if anyone can figure out how to revive that, he'll do it.

Levien: Or maybe at some point, De Palma will let it go or Linson will decide that he wants to take it to somebody else. Art's a really loyal guy to the guys he's worked with, so it's likely they're fine the way it is and they'll just make it one day. They play like a long game.

[Douglas]: At this point, it's doubtful you could get anyone from the original movie back.

Levien: That was never the intention, because it's the prequel, so it would have been weird.

"A GREAT SCRIPT"
I understand that De Palma's two most recent films have mostly been considered disappointments (even though his latest, Redacted, won him the silver lion at Venice), but for crying out loud, these films are promoted as being "from the director of The Untouchables." Why on earth would those involved want anyone but De Palma, if he is willing, to direct a prequel to his own hit movie? In any case, after De Palma came aboard the prequel, he hired David Rabe to do a rewrite, and everyone involved, from star Gerard Butler to De Palma himself, seems to feel it is "a great script." Hopefully it will get made.

Aint It Cool's Mr. Beaks also interviewed Koppelman and Levien recently. Mentioning that he is a huge De Palma fan, Mr. Beaks also asked the pair about Capone Rising. This time, Mr. Koppelman was considerably more cordial:

Levien: Art Linson's the producer, and he had the concept that it should be a prequel. Even though there's sort of a huge fudging of time. If you think about the length of Capone's reign, it's very short. There's no way that there could've been a young Malone at the same time that there was a young Capone; there was too much of an age gap. So we just fudged that reality, and it was going to be a young cop crossing swords with a young mobster on the rise. Yeah, so we wrote a script, and think it's a good Chicago gangland story. And De Palma, as far as we know, is the director of it still. He was attached a while back.

Koppelman: There are so many things... because Art is a strong producer, it's so far out of our hands that it's hard to tell. You can't find two guys who are bigger fans of the early David Mamet, so I think the idea of getting to play around in his backyard in that way was very appealing.

Beaks: Writing a prequel to a David Mamet script must've been daunting.

Koppelman: It was daunting, but it was also sort of exciting. We both know the original movie by heart, before we got the assignment to go do that.


Posted by Geoff at 7:20 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 2:21 AM CDT
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Monday, August 3, 2009
BUTLER TALKS MALONE
BUT HAS 'NO IDEA' ON STATUS OF CAPONE
Gerard Butler, who had been set to play Jimmy Malone in Brian De Palma's planned prequel to The Untouchables, was asked about the status of Capone Rising in an interview in the August 2009 issue of Total Film. Butler replied, "I've no idea. It's on the backburner somewhere - it fell by the wayside when we lost our Al Capone. It was actually one of the best scripts I've read in a long time, so it's kind of sad." (The article is edited to suggest that Butler was definitely referring to Nicolas Cage when he spoke of losing "our Al Capone," but he is not quoted as saying anything about Cage, so he could have been referring to another unnamed actor.) Butler then said something we've been hearing him repeat since he signed on to the project: "It was actually one of the best scripts I've read in a long time, so it's kind of sad." The screenplay was written originally by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, and then revised by David Rabe. Butler was also asked by Total Film is he had been practicing his Sean Connery impersonation. "Nah," Butler replied. "It's a very different entity, this film. It is the Connery role, but the guy was completely different."

DID PUBLIC ENEMIES PROVIDE BOOSTER TO CAPONE RISING?
A couple of weeks ago, Paul Heath wrote a story on his blog, The Hollywood News, stating that the success of Michael Mann's Public Enemies had "seemingly boosted two other high profile productions" in development. This included a "shot in the arm" to Capone Rising, according to Heath, as well as to the graphic novel adaptation Pretty Baby Machine. Heath wrote:

We had interviewed PBM Creator and Development Producer, Clark Westerman, last year at the time of the announced deal and he stated it was quite likley the project would not be shopped until results of [Public] Enemies was in. Capone Rising looks like it took a wait and see as well to see what the public's appetite for the period ganster genere is 20+ years after the smash success of De Palma's Untouchables.

I sent Heath an e-mail asking if he could shed light on any of his sources for this story, but he never replied...

Also just in: Kevin Costner escapes injury after severe thunderstorm causes stage to collapse.


Posted by Geoff at 12:37 AM CDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2009 1:37 AM CDT
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Thursday, December 4, 2008
FINCHER UP FOR CITIZEN NESS
BUT PARAMOUNT PREFERS HIS KEANU CHEF
David Fincher has apparently been quietly preparing to shoot his Eliot Ness film, which is based on the graphic novel Torso by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andrey-ko. Fincher's project is now titled Ness. Fincher explained to MTV's Kurt Loder last year that he is not so much interested in the torso killings as he is in "the de-mythologizing of Eliot Ness. Because, you know, The Untouchables was only two or three years of the Eliot Ness story. There's a whole other, much more sinister downside to it. And so that's of interest to me. We want to make it the Citizen Kane of cop movies." Don Murphy, who with Todd McFarlane is producing Ness, told Robert Sanchez in 2006 that Fincher's film would begin with Ness immersed in mayoral elections, and then flashbacks would delve into the torso murders.

MATT DAMON COMES ABOARD
This past September, it was reported that Matt Damon had come aboard to play Ness. Yesterday, it was reported in the Akron Beacon Journal that Fincher would begin scouting locations in Ohio "in the next few weeks" for his $100 million film about Ness and the torso murders. However, Entertainment Weekly's Christine Spines also reported yesterday that Hollywood is buzzing about why Paramount has yet to greenlight the Ness project, as the studio's rights to the project are due to expire on December 15th. Spines states that Casey Affleck has joined Damon in the cast, with Rachel McAdams also in negotiations. Paramount, the studio that would also distribute Brian De Palma's Untouchables prequel that has stalled over questions about who owns the rights, told Spines that Ehren Kruger's finalized screenplay had only just arrived, and that they were working on making a decision. This led Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeffrey Wells to check in with his own sources. Wells posted the following on his site yesterday:

A source close to team Fincher has told me that Fincher is ready to make the picture immediately but can't get an answer out of Paramount because -- ready?-- production execs prefer that Fincher make a Keanu Reeves chef comedy instead.

That "Keanu Reeves chef comedy" could very well be related to Fincher's long in development project previously klnown as Seared, which is a fictional take on CIA-trained Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. IGN's Stax reviewed the script for Fincher's film back in 2001, when Brad Pitt was set to play the lead. Late last month, Production Weekly reported that Reeves had indeed signed on to star in a film called Chef, to be directed by Fincher.


Posted by Geoff at 11:55 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, December 4, 2008 11:59 PM CST
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008
CAPONE ON BACK BURNER
BUT BUTLER SEES "CLASSIC" SCRIPT COMING BACK
We had figured that since winter had passed, the Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, would have to wait until at least late this year to begin shooting. However, Gerard Butler tells the U.K.'s Total Film that the project is stalled for now, although he keeps up hope that it will happen sometime in the future. You can read the entire interview at Gerard Butler dot Net. Here is Butler's reply when asked if he is working on the Untouchables "sequel" with Brian De Palma:

Sadly, that is very much on the back burner. It’s actually an incredible script but like many projects you get involved with and then aren’t, I think there was issues with who had the rights to the script and casting and Capone - who was going to do that. So it’s taken its place in one of the dusty cupboards at the moment. But I can totally see that coming back, the script is such a classic, I mean it’s great, but no, it’s not happening tomorrow.


Posted by Geoff at 11:35 PM CDT
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