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Domino is
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work that "pushes
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De Palma on Domino
"It was not recut.
I was not involved
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mix or the color
timing of the
final print."

Listen to
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De Palma/Lehman
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Washington Post
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Thursday, April 27, 2017
In a video posted yesterday to Facebook and Instagram, Brussels actor Mourade Zeguendi stated that he had been offered a role as a "Molenbeek terrorist" in an upcoming film being made by Brian De Palma, but turned it down. "Never in my life could I think I would refuse a role in a Brian De Palma film," Zeguendi says in the video. "Imagine: something that you only encounter once in your life, and you say no. De Palma makes a movie in Brussels and the role they present to me: a terrorist from Molenbeek. So I said no."

Two more actors then commented on Zeguendi's Instagram post, saying that they also refused the role in De Palma's upcoming, unnamed film. After Nasrdin Dchar commented, "Me too!", Fouad Hajji chimed in, commenting, "Happy to know that I was not the only one. After refusing, although I know I made the right choice. I was still hanging a few days .... :( ."

Cinematographer Mounir Ben Bachir asked in the comments if Zeguendi was told what the movie is about. "I can just tell you that Arabs will kill whites lol," replied Zeguendi.

Later, speaking by phone to De Standaard's Jeroen Struys, Zeguendi said, "I've got my belly full of this kind of typecasting." Sounding indignant, Zeguendi added, "I am fed up. Apparently, someone with a darker skin always has to play someone with only one characteristic: his skin color. That hurts me. There is a difference between playing a Mafioso and a terrorist. And when I heard that phrase: 'terrorist from Molenbeek', I said stop. This is not Afghanistan here, huh. As a father, a Belgian and an inhabitant of Brussels, I say: stop. Stop with that simplistic view of the world."

Struys' article continues:

More than a criminal with Moroccan accent

Zeguendi broke in 2009 with Les Barons, about four friends in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Their philosophy is that everyone in the world has a limited number of steps available. However, Zeguendi seems to be awarded a limited number of steps in his career. "After the success of Les Barons, I received offers enough for starring. I have to refuse that one by one because they were all stereotyped portraits of the immigrant."

Over the past few years he has had to take pleasure in supporting roles, in which he often excels. "Little roles, but at least characters that were more than a criminal with Moroccan accents."

An article posted Friday by Anealla Safdar at Al Jazeera quotes Zeguendi's original video and then the Standaard interview, adding that the actor was thanking his fans for their support of his stance. Following all of that, here is the rest of the Al Jazeera article:

By the time of publishing, De Palma's representative had not responded to Al Jazeera's request for further comment.

Zeguendi, a 36-year-old actor, has appeared in more than 20 films and television series, and performs in theatre.

Joseph Fahim, a film critic, programmer and a lecturer based in Cairo, told Al Jazeera that Zeguendi's stance was "commendable".

"[But] does it herald a possible future resistance on part of Arab actors for these kind of roles? I doubt it," he said. "For every Zeguendi, there will be dozens of other actors willing to snatch the chance to work with someone like De Palma and justify their decision."

He said that several other artists had refused similar roles on account of being typecast, but not all decisions are made public "because actors usually refuse to sever their relationships with directors".

"So maybe it is actually brave of him to publicise this," said Fahim.

Posted by Geoff at 5:25 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 6:04 PM CDT
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brian De Palma's Carrie will be the Late Night Grindhouse feature this Friday and Saturday (April 28 and 29) at the Moolah Theatre & Lounge in St. Louis. The film will begin at midnight both nights, with a Psychotronic Pre-Show at 11:30, including a "Horror Prom Photo Booth." Tickets are $7.

Posted by Geoff at 12:00 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Clifton James, who had appeared in two Brian De Palma films-- The Untouchables (1987) and The Bonfire Of The Vanities (1990), passed away Saturday at the age of 96. His daughter, Lynn James, told the Associated Press, "He was the most outgoing person, beloved by everybody. I don't think the man had an enemy. We were incredibly blessed to have had him in our lives."

Most of the articles about James' passing highlight his role as a redneck sheriff in two James Bond films starring Roger Moore: Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man With the Golden Gun (1974). "His daughter noted that her father sometimes said actors get remembered for one particular role out of hundreds," states the Associated Press article. "His is the sheriff's, but he said he would have never picked that one," said Lynn James. During the prime of his career, the article states, James "loved working on the stage in New York."

Here's part of an obituary written by Meagan Navarro at ScreenRant:

James was born May 29, 1920 in Spokane, Washington as the oldest of five siblings, and the only son. His mother was a teacher and his father a journalist. He was raised near Portland, Oregon during the height of the Great Depression. A decorated World War II veteran, James served nearly five years in the South Pacific and has earned numerous decorations for his service including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

After leaving the Army, James took classes and acted in plays at the University of Oregon before moving to New York to launch his acting career. His first stage appearance was The Time of Your Life, and he continued to perform in numerous stage plays on Broadway.

Despite being a northerner with a love of theater, his most famous role came on film as the tobacco spitting southern sheriff from Louisiana in 1973’s Live and Let Die. The stark comedic contrast to Roger Moore’s cool, sophisticated James Bond proved to be so popular with audiences that the writers wrote the comic-relief character into the next James Bond film, 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. This entry saw the popular character bringing even more comedic relief to the film as it took the southern sheriff out of the south and into Thailand. His knack for portraying a cigar-chomping, tobacco chewing southerners carried over in many other film roles, as in his role of Carr in Cool Hand Luke. James also acted opposite to Bruce Willis in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Robert De Niro in an uncredited role as a district attorney who prosecuted Al Capone in The Untouchables.

On television, James had appeared in Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Dukes of Hazard, Lewis & Clark, The A-Team, Dallas, and more. As a lover of celebrating holidays with his wife, Laurie, James once played Kris Kringle in a 1996 episode of long-running soap opera All My Children. Perhaps his most notable television role, however, is that of powerful Houston lawyer Striker Bellman in the soap opera Texas, from 1981 to 1982.

James leaves behind his wife, his five children, 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, as well his two younger sisters Cicely and Beverley. He will be missed.

Posted by Geoff at 3:21 AM CDT
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A lean and mean weeklong series of films starring Robert De Niro begins tomorrow at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Titled "NO BULLS**T: Starring Robert De Niro", the series, which runs April 12-19, "is all killer and no filler DeNiro," writes The Interro Bang's Earl Douglas, "showing why he is one of the most decorated and beloved actors of our time." Two Brian De Palma films are included: Hi, Mom! (April 13 and 15) and The Untouchables (April 13 and 16). The bulk of the series is made up of De Niro's collaborations with Martin Scorsese. Here's the rundown from Douglas:
On May 8th, Robert DeNiro will be honored at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s 44th Annual Chaplin Award Gala. As a primer to this vital fundraiser, The Film Society will host a one week retrospective featuring his best performances. It will include his seminal work with director Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King Of Comedy, Goodfellas, Casino, Cape Fear), Michael Mann (Heat), Brian DePalma (Hi Mom!, The Untouchables), and the late Sergio Leone (Once Upon A Time In America). Seeing any of these films are essential, but the real treat in the series is DePalma’s black comedy, ‘Hi Mom’, which featured DeNiro in one of his earliest starring roles; and Once Upon A Time In America, Leone’s 1984 epic which has been restored to its original 3 hour-plus cut.

The other two films in the series are Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter, and Martin Brest's Midnight Run.

Posted by Geoff at 1:35 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 1:38 AM CDT
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Monday, April 10, 2017
Laurent Bouzereau, who wrote The De Palma Cut (1988) and went on to produce special feature documentaries for several Brian De Palma films (as well as for Steven Spielberg and others), is the director of the new three-part Netflix mini-series Five Came Back, which is based on Mark Harris' book about five legendary filmmakers who applied their filmmaking skills to documentaries about World War II, and how their war experiences effected the films they made upon returning to Hollywood. In the Netflix series, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, Paul Greengrass and Lawrence Kasdan discuss the directors of Harris' book: Frank Kapra, John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler and John Huston.

A few days ago, Independent's Chris Evans posted a profile piece on Bouzereau in which the latter explains how he came to work on docs for and about De Palma, Spielberg, Lucas, Roman Polanski, and more. Here's an excerpt:
“I remember the first time I sat in a movie theatre, I spent more time staring back at where the image was coming from than at the film itself,” Laurent says with excitement. “So my dad arranged for me to go into the projection room after it was over. I was fascinating with the projector and the circle at the top that meant you had to change reels. That started my love of looking behind the scenes.”

Laurent recalls one incredible chance encounter a few years later in 1981 with his film hero. “I used to go to this small movie store in Paris every Saturday at 11am. One time, I was chatting to the owner - this creepy guy who gave me a good deal on posters – telling him how great Francois Truffaut was when in walked the famous director himself. This was a few days before The Last Metro was coming out. I was freaking out. He bought two books, one by Andre Bazin, the famous critic. I went over and talked to him. He was slight with an old fashioned tie and suit on. I was surprised as I imagined him as being tall, big and super hip. I said I was such a big fan and couldn’t wait for The Last Metro. But he responded that he was really scared because all his recent films were flops and that it would be a disaster. I was so floored that someone who I idolised had zero confidence. Interestingly, it went on to be the movie that put him back on the map.”

Not too long after this encounter, and after finishing his baccalaureate in France, Laurent decided to pack his bags and head for the US determined to get into the film world somehow. With no connections or film qualifications, little money, and only hope, his chances looked slim. His first port of call was the Big Apple.

Bizarrely his dad, who had nothing to do with the film world, had met a film producer from New York on a plane a short while before, and had told her that his son was an obsessive film fan desperate to move to the US. She had said Laurent could get in touch, probably not expecting him to do so. He did.

“Her name was Sally Faile. She had produced this pretty terrible horror film called The Returning (1983). I worked with her for a few months, which was great,” explains Laurent. But he had his sights set a little higher. Fortunately the omens were good.

At a film screening, two new actor friends, Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter) and her husband, Richard Bright (Looking for Mr Goodbar) introduced Laurent to Scarface director Mr Brian De Palma. Laurent found it hard to contain his excitement. He was a huge fan.

“We talked at length about his movies, and although nothing happened then, I would go on to do making of documentaries for pretty much all of his movies,” says Laurent excitedly.

However, this was the 1980s and the independent film sector was dying in New York. So after six years, Laurent decided to move to the home of Hollywood, LA. He managed to get a job working with another Hollywood great, Bette Midler for her company All Girl Productions, based in the Walt Disney Studios on Dopey Drive.

“I was a feature film development executive. It was an exciting time and she was a big star. But one of the most important things was they had a production deal with Steven Spielberg’s company Amblin Entertainment,” enthuses Laurent. This proved to be a huge turning point in Laurent’s career trajectory.

“I had written a book about De Palma by this point, and one abut Hitchcock, so I was starting to make a bit of a name for myself, which helped encourage Amblin to decide to bring me on board to do a retrospective film about Steven’s movie 1941,” he explains.

Laurent’s first encounter with the Close Encounters director was an amusing one. “He couldn’t believe I knew so much about 1941, one of his smaller and obscure films, which was not a box office success. I had a huge number of memorabilia from the film, including posters and lobby cards. That started us geeking out and we just clicked.”

This was the start of a beautiful friendship. Soon after he was asked to do a retrospective of Jaws. Laurent recalls one particularly interesting and enlightening conversation with Spielberg about the famous shark. “At the end of Jaws, the shark explodes and you have a shot of it falling to the bottom of the ocean and you hear a strange sound, like an eeeeerrrrrrr. I said to him that in his movie Duel when the truck goes over the hill at the end, it has the same sound. He said ‘Oh my god! You’re the first person to notice this. It was a dinosaur sound from an old Universal movie that I really liked, so I put it in both movies.’”

This interest in cinema language, sounds and techniques is what drives Laurent when directing his ‘making of’ movies. Whether he’s doing retrospectives of films like Jaws, The Exorcist or Lawrence of Arabia, which require lengthy research of archives, or actually being on the sets of movies and uncovering behind the scenes little gems for the DVD or Blu-Ray extras.

“I have a good relationship with all the heads of departments on the movies I work on, so I know exactly what went into creating every aspect of the films,” explains Laurent. “If it’s a big movie with large sets, I’m usually there early on to witness everything. If it’s a more modest movie or doesn’t require much pre-production, then I’ll join a little later. But the important thing is I have to be invisible. Everyone is working hard and so I don’t want to get in their way. Fortunately, Steven has pretty much the same crews for all his films, and they know and trust me, telling me ‘you should come and see this’.”

Posted by Geoff at 4:06 AM CDT
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The anthology TV series Dark/Web, which explores themes related to our connected world, is still shopping for a home, but plans to be released sometime this year. The series was developed by brothers Michael and Tim Nardelli. Michael has written and directed an episode titled "Viral", and states in a Facebook post today that the style of the episode "was partially inspired by classic Brian De Palma films. As such, DP Sheldon Chau and I got a wee bit crazy with a split diopter to establish the visual language of a psychologically tormented young gal." The post, pictured above, is accompanied by a still from the episode that uses a split diopter.

The DARK/WEB Facebook page outlines the plot of the first season:
When Ethan (Brian Elerding), Sam (Lana McKissack) and James (Michael Nardelli) find themselves the target of cryptic emails from someone posing as their childhood friend Molly (Noemi Gonzales), they assume she’s been the victim of an all-too-common hack. After they reach out to alert her, however, they discover that Molly’s been missing for months and no one has any idea what happened to her. As the emails keep coming, each containing a tale written by Molly, her friends realize that this may be more than just a sick joke. Someone has hidden information in the stories, details pulled from real life that point them to people and places from Molly’s past; clues that may lead them to their missing friend, or something far sinister. DARK/WEB’s unique structure combines the classic, standalone stories traditionally found in an anthology with an overarching, season-long mystery.

Posted by Geoff at 7:34 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 5, 2017 7:42 PM CDT
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Friday, March 31, 2017
U.K. magazine Little White Lies recently posted its list of the 100 best films of the 1990s, and included Brian De Palma's Carlito's Way at number 37. "The running order of this list was formulated by committee rather than a drawn-out ballot process," explains the introduction, "and the choices represent a tiny clutch of the films adored by the LWLies team. For the most part we’ve limited it to one great film per director, so if a personal favourite of yours is missing, that’s probably the reason why."

The magazine's Manuela Lazic wrote the following about Carlito's Way:
Al Pacino’s big, kind eyes say more about Carlito than his explanatory voiceover: the ex-conman, fresh out of prison, wants to believe again in the beauty of life. Director Brian de Palma employs his trademark voluptuous filmmaking to translate the hopeful passion that Carlito manages to bring back to his girlfriend, making this his most tender and romantic film. Yet the director’s pessimistic view of humanity hasn’t left him as Carlito can’t simply forget the code of the streets, nor can he rely on the law to protect him, corrupted as it is by selfish greed and rampant distrust. Even the most genuine and overwhelming love can’t survive when redemption remains but a dashed dream.

Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, April 1, 2017 12:12 AM CDT
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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway posted an excerpt from his upcoming biography of former Paramount CEO Sherry Lansing (Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker, due April 25th). The excerpt covers a period of time in the 1980s, when Lansing was an up-and-coming producer, and the development of what turned into Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction. Prior to Lyne, however, it was Brian De Palma's involvement that got the project a green light. Although De Palma would eventually drop out because he did not think audiences would sympathize with Michael Douglas in the lead, the excerpt below provides intriguing details about what De Palma's film might have been like. For instance, James Deardon, who wrote and directed the short film that Fatal Attraction was based on, notes that with De Palma on board, "We even had a Halloween scene, with Alex running around in a Kabuki mask, terrorizing the household." Of course, years later, we see a killer running around in a Kabuki mask in De Palma's Passion.

For his part, last year, De Palma told Business Insider's Jason Guerrasio, "I think Adrian did a very good job with Fatal Attraction." Coincidentally, it was Lyne who ended up directing Flashdance after De Palma left that project to make Scarface. Here's an excerpt from Galloway's excerpt:
With the screenplay in place, there remained the question of casting. On a flight with [Stanley] Jaffe, Lansing ran into Michael Douglas, who read the script. "It was the perfect what-if, the ultimate quickie nightmare," he said.

The actor was no longer the B-list star Lansing had met when she served as an executive on 1979's The China Syndrome. But he still did not have the heft to get a film greenlighted on his name alone, and Paramount, where Lansing and Jaffe were based, passed on the project, as did every other studio. Its head of production, Dawn Steel, was so outraged by the script, she hurled it across the room.

"She yelled, 'How can you give me this? I'm a newlywed!' " recalled Lansing. "She said, 'Why should we care about a guy who cheats on his wife, especially when he doesn't have a reason?' But the fact there was no reason was the whole point. Things like that happen, and knowing it adds to the feeling of, 'This could happen to me.' "

She failed to persuade Steel, however, just as she failed to persuade numerous directors to sign on. "Everyone passed," she said. "I begged John Carpenter [Halloween]. And it wasn't just him. I begged everyone."

The movie was in trouble. Studio readers were sick of seeing the same old script recycled, making its way again and again through their story departments. And the agencies were bored with Lansing's repeated requests to show it to clients.

Everything changed when Brian De Palma (The Untouchables) said yes. The director was at the top of Hollywood's A-list, and Steel could not have been more excited. Suddenly it became her favorite project. Red flags might have been visible if Lansing had cared to look: De Palma did not share her sympathy for the jilted woman and wanted to make changes that seemed close to turning the story into a horror film.

"We even had a Halloween scene, with Alex running around in a Kabuki mask, terrorizing the household," noted Dearden.

But De Palma had Steel's support, and that meant Fatal was a go. Gearing up for the shoot, Lansing rented an apartment in New York, where the movie was going to be filmed, while Jaffe set to work finding locations and staff. Then De Palma had second thoughts.

"We were just a few weeks away from the shoot," recalled Lansing, "and he said, 'I can't make the movie with Douglas. Michael's completely unsympathetic. No one will ever like him.' " De Palma gave an ultimatum: "It's either him or me."

"It was one of those come-to-Jesus moments," Lansing continued. "De Palma was the element that got us a green light, but Michael had been on the movie for two years, when everybody else rejected us. We said, 'We're sticking with Michael.' "

With De Palma out, the film was dead. It had an actor nobody wanted and a script in which no one believed. Then ICM agent Diane Cairns sent it to her client Adrian Lyne. The British director was at home in the South of France when he received the package and sat down on the stone steps of his farmhouse to read it. He finished the whole thing without moving.

"I woke my wife up," he remembered. "I fell in the bed and said, 'Listen, if I don't f— this up, I know this is a huge movie.' "

A key piece of the puzzle lingered: finding Alex. "The role was critical because she had to be sexy but vulnerable, a career woman who had her act together but could still completely collapse," said Lansing. Her first choice, Barbara Hershey, was unavailable. Another possibility, French actress Isabelle Adjani, did not speak enough English. Debra Winger, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange were all considered or turned the role down. Melanie Griffith was also in contention, but the filmmakers feared that what she had in sexuality, she might lack in gravitas.

Cheers star Kirstie Alley read for the role and contributed a unique element to the film. "Her husband [Parker Stevenson] had been stalked by a woman who camped outside their house and made their lives hell," said Lansing. "Kirstie had saved a tape of the woman's calls and gave it to Adrian. You could hear the woman crying as she begged to be part of this man's life. Adrian ended up using it verbatim."

Posted by Geoff at 8:15 AM CDT
Updated: Thursday, March 30, 2017 6:32 PM CDT
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Birth. Movies. Death.'s Jacob Knight, excited that Sony has moved the release date up six weeks to June 28th, writes the following about Edgar Wright's Baby Driver:

"Baby Driver is unlike anything you’ve ever seen – a rip-roaring Walter Hill homage that takes 40 years’ worth of action picture grammar, places it in a blender, and then adds a healthy spike of pop music bliss. If Busby Berkeley were obsessed with crashing cars (for real – the driving stunts are 100% practical and mind-blowing), this is the motion picture he’d make. It’s the most revolutionary take on the movie musical since Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, and melted the faces of all who attended its SXSW World Premiere."

Deadline's Brian Brooks filed a report from SXSW on March 11. Here's an excerpt:

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver hit the ground with tires squealing this evening at its world premiere at SXSW, with the writer-director and key cast along for the ride for the packed screening at the Paramount Theater. “That is going to make a lot of money,” was among the comments overheard as the revved-up audience left the screening and a boisterous post-movie Q&A that climaxed Day 2 at the festival.

Wright took the stage for the Q&A joined by stars Jon Hamm, Eiza González and Ansel Elgort, who plays the young innocent Baby, an unlikely maestro behind the wheel of a getaway car. The music-fueled actioner is the first film Wright wrote by himself (he previously co-wrote features he also directed including Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and The World’s End), and said tonight that Baby Driver had “existed” in his head for 22 years...

...“I was just listening through my record collection and I’d envision scenes,” Wright said tonight of how his movie came together. “I wouldn’t write scenes until I found the right track.” Music is central to the film. Gunshots, dialogue and action sequences are choreographed to the mostly high-energy soundtrack. Elgort’s Baby is the getaway driver for a crime boss (Spacey) who taps various criminals to pull off high-stakes heists. Each job becomes more intense than the last, and the chases more outlandish. Baby Driver is an homage to the ’70s car chase movies of Walter Hill, whose voice can be heard in the movie.

In 2012, Wright did the first read-through of a draft screenplay with Hamm, the only actor from that year who remained on the project. “This is a departure from the films I’ve done in the past,” said Wright. “It definitely took the longest [of my projects] to write.”

Edgar Wright influenced by De Palma for Baby Driver

Posted by Geoff at 9:05 PM CDT
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Deadline's Anita Busch reported today that Paul Greengrass is in negotiations with Paramount to direct Ness, an adaptation of Torso, a graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko that fictionalizes Eliot Ness' time in Cleveland, hunting down a serial killer. Brian Helgeland is named as the screenwriter. The project, which, according to Busch, Paramount is eyeing as a potential franchise, had obsessed David Fincher for a while about a decade ago. Fincher's version had a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, and in December of 2008, without yet getting the greenlight from Paramount, Fincher was nevertheless quietly preparing to begin shooting with Matt Damon in the title role. Casey Affleck had also been cast, with Rachel McAdams also in negotiations for a role. Paramount pulled the plug on the project soon after. (Meanwhile, De Palma's Untouchables prequel, Capone Rising, had been stalled over questions about who owns the rights.)

If Greengrass does indeed go forward as director, it does not seem far-fetched in the least to expect that his Bourne franchise star Damon will hop back on board to play Ness. Paramount is probably salivating over the ads already: "From the director of Jason Bourne," while Matt Damon's face is plastered all over the screen. Although Fincher's interests are probably seen as too dark, bold, and risky to build a potential police franchise around, he had told MTV's Kurt Loder in 2007 that it wasn't the torso killings that interested him so much, but rather "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."

Posted by Geoff at 11:33 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017 11:38 PM CDT
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