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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

A life out of the ordinary

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 08:00 AM PST

Ben Stiller plays a man who steps out of his comfort zone in The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

Struck by the notion presented in James Thurber's 1939 short story – that everyone is a hero inside who goes unnoticed – Ben Stiller decided to make The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Directing and starring in the film, Stiller described it as one of the most challenging and meaningful films of his career.

In a transcript provided by the film distributor, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Stiller theorised why the classic tale about a daydreamer who escapes his unremarkable life by entering a world filled with fantastic adventures still resonates with people. "It is the idea that we all have so much inside that nobody knows about. Walter sees so much but nobody really sees him. I thought that was a beautiful idea."

For the film, Stiller expanded the idea a little bit. "This film is not just about a guy who has crazy daydreams. It is about a guy who is trying to get in touch with himself. I liked the idea of the guy stepping out into the world and actually trying to make a change."

Walter (Stiller), a photo editor at Life magazine, took on the responsibility of being the man of the house after his father died when he was just a teenager. While he enjoys his current job, Walter longs for something more, especially a relationship with a colleague, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). So he dreams about a life in which he is the greatest hero Cheryl would know.

However, his comfortable bubble faces real jeopardy when the magazine is bought over and is going digital. Walter is tasked with developing the negative of the photo taken by the magazine's most famous photographer (Sean Penn) who thinks it should be the cover of the last issue of Life.

Only problem is, the negative is missing, leaving him with no other option but to travel to the ends of the world to find the photographer and get the negative. Hence, begins Walter's amazing journey for real.

The clear message in the film is to live in the moment and appreciate it – something 48-year-old Stiller has come to realise is true. "It's one of life's biggest challenges. First of all it's challenging to become aware of it. I think most of us go through our lives not even aware that we're not in the moment.

"I think maybe I relate to Walter's story at this point in my life because I'm getting to an age where I'm becoming more aware of those things. As you get older you start to think more about time and how short life is and you start wanting to take advantage of the moment." 

  • The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty opens in cinemas nationwide tomorrow.

A rewrite for 'The Magnificent Seven' remake

Posted: 25 Dec 2013 06:45 PM PST

John Lee Hancock, director of Saving Mr Banks, has taken up the tast of rewriting the script.

Saving Mr Banks director John Lee Hancock has come on to rewrite MGM's remake of The Magnificent Seven, which Tom Cruise is no longer involved with, TheWrap has learned.

True Detective scribe Nic Pizzolatto wrote the initial draft of the script. John Sturges directed the original 1960 Western, which itself was based on Akira Kurosawa's 1954 classic Seven Samurai.

Magnificent Seven starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz as a group of American gunmen hired to protect a small Mexican village from a group of savage bandits led by Calvera (Eli Wallach). The film was followed by three sequels and remade as a CBS series in 1998-2000.

Cruise first became interested in Magnificent Seven back in May 2012, when MGM began developing a remake of its library title, though with his busy schedule, the project was never in his immediate plans. Pizzolatto was hired in August 2012 thanks to heat generated by HBO's upcoming miniseries True Detective, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

MGM remains focused on mining its library titles to generate new profits. In addition to upcoming reboots of the RoboCop and Poltergeist franchises, the studio is also developing remakes of Death Wish and WarGames.

Hancock is no stranger to the Western genre, having co-written and directed The Alamo for Disney, which has maintained faith in the filmmaker despite that film's disappointing box office performance. Not only did the studio entrust him with its own Walt Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks, which is currently in the awards conversation, but it also turned to Hancock to fix its upcoming tentpole Maleficent. Hancock wrote several new scenes and helped oversee reshoots on the US$200mil-budgeted Angelina Jolie movie.

Hancock directed Sandra Bullock to an Oscar nomination for The Blind Side, which was a surprise Best Picture nominee. His other feature writing credits include Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, and Hancock was also among a trio of scribes credited on Snow White And The Huntsman. — Reuters

Martin Scorsese lambasted for his film

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 07:50 PM PST

The director's Wolf Of Wall Street is definitely not for everyone.

Martin Scorsese knows that The Wolf Of Wall Street is not for everyone, but he probably didn't expect to be lambasted by an Academy Of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS) member when he arrived for the official members screening of his film last weekend.

But according to a Facebook post from actress Hope Holiday, that's what happened.

Referring to the graphic three-hour film about the sex-and-drug-filled lifestyle of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, and then to the arrival of Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Los Angeles, she wrote: "Last night was torture at the Academy – The Wolf Of Wall Street – three hours of torture – same disgusting crap over and over again – after the film they had a discussion which a lot of us did not stay for – the elevator doors opened and Leonardo D. Martin S. and a few others got out then a screen writer ran over to them and started screaming – shame on you – disgusting..."

Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street is getting mixed reactions from viewers. 

A Paramount rep who was with Scorsese said that no one screamed at the director, but admitted that one person offered "a negative comment". The film's talent didn't stop to respond, because they were hurrying into the theatre for a post-screening Q&A with Scorsese, DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and writer Terrence Winter.

When asked for additional details by TheWrap, Holiday declined to identify the screenwriter who confronted Scorsese as he exited the elevator on the second floor. But she said that the screenwriter's criticism of Scorsese was "a shocker", and "very awkward and embarrassing" for others waiting for the elevator. Some people at the screening, she added, did applaud the film, while others ("including myself") hated it.

Others report healthy applause for the film, and for the panelists at the Q&A. The screening was reportedly very well attended, despite it being a three-hour film screening on the Saturday night before Christmas. "It's brutal," admitted Scorsese in a conversation with TheWrap last week. "I've seen it with audiences, and I think it plays. I don't know if it will be to everyone's taste – I don't think it will. It's not made for 14 year olds."

To be fair, the Facebook post and its subsequent comments showed that Holiday and her friends clearly aren't the target audience for Scorsese's film, either. The 75-year-old actress, who appeared in The Apartment and Irma la Douce, among others, and her friends bashed current films, including Inside Llewyn Davis, and praised White Christmas, When Harry Met Sally, As Good As It Gets and The Wizard Of Oz.

Holiday did say that she "liked" David O. Russell's American Hustle, but found it "confusing". Saturday's incident was not the first time that a Scorsese film has been rudely greeted by someone in an AMPAS audience. One longtime Academy member told TheWrap that at the members' screening of Scorsese's Casino in 1995, one man stood up in the middle of the film and screamed, "Disgusting! Pornography! Crap!" at the screen. That film received one Oscar nomination for Sharon Stone's lead performance. — Reuters

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