DAN’S MOVIE DIGEST 141

Dan Owen reviews

DAN’S MOVIE DIGEST
I s s u e # 1 4 11 3 J u l y 2 0 0 5

CoverMOVIE NEWS X-MEN IIINick Stahl (Terminator 3) is rumoured to be close to signing on as a mutantin X-Men 3 called Warrant Worthington III (a.k.a Archangel). CHRONICLES OF NARNIA – THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBEThe mighty lion Aslan from C.S Lewis’ series of books will be voiced by LiamNeeson, according to a recent rumour. FAST & FURIOUS 3 – TOKYOThe second sequel to The Fast & The Furious will focus on an obsessivestreet racer named Shaun who is exiled to Tokyo after annoying the localpolice once too often.

Shaun is treated like an outsider and mocked for being a “gai-jin”. He isdrawn to the subculture of drift racing, a dangerous and sometimes deadlysport that he masters with startling speed. In the process, Shaun makes adeadly enemy and meets the love of his life, Tani.

Tani is a stunning Japanese girl who attends the same school as Shaun inTokyo. When they interact at first, she dismisses him until she realizesthat he is an obsessive street racer as well. Chaos arises when Shaun findsout that she is in fact D.K.’s girlfriend (the “Drift King” of Tokyo). Shaunenrages D.K. by challenging him to a drift race, while at the same timeforming a friendship with Tani, which eventually evolves into a forbiddenromance.

Reevise (Aka Twinkie) is a fellow classmate of Shaun, who is the first tobefriend him in Tokyo. He too is car-crazy and drives a Nissan S15 Silvia.Initially Shaun is rude to Reevise, claiming “he doesn’t need friends”, butsoon they develop a friendship as Reevise tutors Shaun on Japanese cultureas well drift racing.

The third instalment, to be directed by Justin Lin, starts filming in Tokyoand Los Angeles on 12 September. The script was written by Chris Morgan andKario Salem.

THE LADY IN THE WATERWriter-director M. Night Shyamalan, relatively fresh from mixed reviews ofThe Village last year, is planning his next outing into supernaturalterritory.

The Lady In The Water will revolve around the superintendent of an apartmentbuilding who discovers a rare sea nymph living in the apartment’s pool.Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village) is being touted to star alongside as thenymph alongside Paul Giamatti as the superintendent.

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RUSH HOUR 3’The Associated Press’ caught up with Jackie Chan, who says that Rush Hour 3is not moving forward because his co-star of the first two films, ChrisTucker, is making too many demands.

Chan: “He wants too much power. [New Line Cinema] hasn’t obliged. He wantsfinal editing rights and the final look at the movie and so on. He’s still anew actor. How many movies has he made? Two movies have already made himvery famous and made him a lot of money. He needs to learn slowly.”

MEET THE LITTLE FOCKER’HSX.com’ reports that a second sequel to Meet The Parents is happening -entitled Meet The Little Focker – which “will introduce the newest additionto the Focker clan”. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3Tom Cruise started shooting scenes for M:I-3 in Rome on Tuesday by whizzingpast the camera in a speedboat on the river Tiber near Castel Sant’Angelo,reports the ‘Associated Press’.

Several scenes in the movie are set in Rome. After filming a motorboat chaseon the Tiber, shooting will move near St. Peter’s Square and in the areaaround the Trevi Fountain.

NACHO LIBRE’Filmjerk’ has announcement that said Jack Black had signed on to play aMexican priest who secretly moonlights as a masked wrestler in order to savean orphanage from closure. Here’s a clip:

Director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) will direct from a script by MikeWhite (School Of Rock).

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INTERVIEW

Tim Burton spoke to ‘Coming Soon’ about his latest movie, Charlie & TheChocolate Factory.

CS!: What’s the attraction or appeal of doing a remake or adapting amuch-loved book like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, rather than workingfrom an original idea?

    Tim Burton: This project had been floating around for a while when thestudio offered it to me. It seemed like it was a project that I wasinterested in. When I first read the book as a child, [Dahl] was like anadult writer for children. He didn’t speak down to them, and it’s kind of abook that you can read at any age and get something out of it. He was veryclever at kind of being both specific and kind of subversive and off-kilterand leaving you guessing a little bit. We did try to keep that feeling inwhat we were trying to do.

CS!: Were you worried how fans of the first movie might feel about you doinga new version of the book?

    Burton: I didn’t feel as daunted by the [first] movie, just because itdidn’t have quite the same impact for me as other movies. Even though wechanged things, the intent for me was to try to be what I felt was more trueto the spirit of the book.

CS!: What did you think of the Gene Wilder portrayal in the original film?

    Burton: I think he was great. None of us on the production were ever tryingto top it. Our goal, except for the little bit of back story, was to try tobe a bit more true to the spirit of the book, and instead of having a goldengoose and an egg, to have the squirrels and the Nut Room.

CS!: This film has been in development for many years, but John August isthe only credited screenwriter. Was anything kept from the previousincarnations of the movie?

    Burton: The studio developed it a lot, and they did things like make Charliemore proactive or take out the father figure and make Willy Wonka the fatherfigure. Willy Wonka is not a father figure, I’ll tell you right now. Therewere some good things in some of the other scripts, but we just decided tostart fresh so with John, we just said let’s go to the book. The book is thebook, so obviously, all the stuff was in there to some degree.

CS!: Did you deliberately try to design the look of the movie so that itwould be different from the first movie or from anything else you’ve done?

    Burton: It’s all organic. I never think about it. Like I said, the blueprintof the book was there, but the great thing about [Dahl’s] writing is that heleaves a lot open for interpretation, so we had complete freedom to devisewhat each of the rooms looked like, the Bucket House, the town, and all ofthat. We didn’t feel like we were constrained by anything, and it had quitean experimental feel as we were making it to me, and that was fun. I enjoyednot quite knowing exactly what kind of plants we were going to make or if wewere going to find the right consistency for the chocolate, so it didn’tlook like a brown water. The beauty of film is that it’s very collaborative,so with the designers, the costume designers, the actors, it all kind ofcomes together. It’s a big dysfunctional family.

CS!: Was there ever any doubt in your mind that Johnny Depp was your WillyWonka?

    Burton: No, but it was the first time that I didn’t have to talk anybodyinto it. Before I could even open my mouth, it’s like the studio goes “Whatabout Johnny Depp?” And I go, “Well, okay if you’re going to force him onme.” (laughs)

CS!: You’ve worked with Johnny so much now that you two have becomeintrinsically linked. What would you consider his main appeal as an actor?

    Burton: Well, it’s because he’s a character actor in a leading man’s body.He’s ready to do anything. He’s probably more like Lon Chaney than he is aleading man. He wants to transform, and he likes to be different charactersin different movies. He’s an actor that you would think about, perhaps evenfor female roles. He can do it all. He’s very versatile that way.

CS!: What is it about your relationship that keeps you two coming back toeach other?

    Burton: Well, I mean I love working with him, but I don’t think either he orI would just make a movie just to make a movie together. I think we’refriends enough that if the part was right and he was into it, of course we’dalways [do it].

CS!: How did the two of you come up with Wonka’s look and mannerisms?

    Burton: You know, Johnny and I have this process where we kind of speak inthe abstract to each other, and yet, can still somehow understand eachother. But we never like to use one reference. I mean, I never say toJohnny, make it like this. I remember we did have conversations, and one ofthe things we did talk about was that in our childhood, in every city,there’s some weird children’s show host that’s got a weird name and usuallyhas a funny haircut. Then, as you got older and think back on him, you golike “That guy was f’in weird, man! What was that guy all about?” It’s likeCaptain Kangaroo and Mr. GreenJeans… who are these people? Each city hadtheir own kind regional one that kind of spooked you out a little bit, so wewere kind of using that sort of reference point. I think the great thingabout Dahl’s writing is that he left that character kind of ambiguous.There’s sort of a mysterious nature to that character that even though wegave him a little bit of a back story that was not in the book, still thatweird, mysterious nature of the character felt important.

CS!: So was being able to add that back story what made this projectattractive?

    Burton: We just felt that if you have an eccentric character–and it worksfine in the book–I just felt in the movie, that if you got this guy actingthat strange, you kind you some traumatic experiences in your life.

CS!: Are you concerned that Wonka might come across as being slightlypsychotic?

    Burton: No, I just think he comes across as emotionally repressed andstunted. When people get traumatized, they just sort of shut down. Relatedto that, I’ve met people that are kind of geniuses in one area, but arecompletely deficient in every other area of their life. The mixture of thosethings was what I sort of thought him as.

CS!: Some people have already been making a connection between Willy Wonkainviting kids into his factory with recent allegations about a certain popstar and his California ranch. Are you worried people might have thatperception?

    Burton: See, here’s the big difference. Michael Jackson likes children.Willy Wonka can’t stand them. (laughter) To me, that’s a huge difference inthe whole persona thing. Honestly, the truth is I never made that connectionfor the very reason I just mentioned. We never talked about that at all. Iguess you could say that they both have problems, but we all have problems.It says more about the people making that reference, because I can’t thinkof any larger difference. It’s almost like night and day.

CS!: Like some of your other films, Willy Wonka has father issues. Is thissome reflection of your own relationship with your parents?

    Burton: Yeah, I got some problems. You’ve seen me enough to realize that bynow, haven’t you? My parents are dead so the answers will remain unanswered.Those kind of things in your life. In movies, you try to work out yourissues, and then you realize, those kind of traumatic issues just stay withyou forever, so somehow, they kind of keep reoccurring. No matter how hard Itry to get them out of my head, they sort of stay there.

CS!: And what made Freddie Highmore the best candidate to play Charlie?

    Burton: I was lucky to get Freddie. The physicality of [Charlie] wasimportant, and I wanted Freddie to look undernourished. The grandparents arereally old and they didn’t have much to eat, and if a strong wind blew,Freddie might just blow away. Those were all important elements and thesimplicity of that character, to me, was important. That’s why I was luckyto get him because he’s just got that gravity and that was really importantto it.

CS!: Could you talk about how you found the four other kids and were theyable to deliver what you wanted?

    Burton: Yeah, well casting kids is harder than casting adults. The good newswas Freddie. I hadn’t seen Finding Neverland, but when he walked into theroom, I just knew he was right. I was glad that I hadn’t seen the othermovie, because you like to have more of an instinct, and it was with thatwith all the kids. You see a lot of kids that could be good, but it wasalmost like if you were doing a television movie. These kids all had what Iwould call a cinematic quality. When they walked in, there was justsomething that I said you could see them on the big screen, and they werethe more cinema version of those characters. Even though they’re all goodkids, there had to be a seed of what they are [in the characters],especially the ones that hadn’t acted before. It was important that they hadsomething of their character in them as people.

CS!: This is the most extensively you’ve worked with children. Did thiscoincidentally align with your own fatherhood?

    Burton: No, I don’t think it has anything to do with that. It’s not like allof a sudden I’m going to be making the Teletubbies movie or the Wigglesfeature film debut any time soon. I don’t think it has altered my thinking.In fact I’m more inclined to think about making porno movies or somethingthen I am to make children’s films.

CS!: Did you ever consider casting Helena [Bonham Carter] as VioletBeauregard’s mother rather than Charlie’s?

    Burton: (laughs) Yeah, but then I described how many days she’d have to beon the set doing that. Nah, she had other things to do.

CS!: Can you talk about the decision to use actor Deep Roy to play all ofthe Oompa Loompas?

    Burton: Well, to me there were three options. You either hire a cast ofOompa Loompas, or the more modern approach would be to make them all CG.I’ve worked with Deep before, and to me, he’s just an Oompa Loompa. You knowwhat I mean? There was no question in my mind. To have the human element,not be all CG special effect, was of want to get a flavour of why he’s theway he is. Otherwise, he’s just a weirdo, and you want to at least have asense of why he’s acting strangely, and why’s he got some problems. If yourfather were a dentist and Christopher Lee, you could see where that mightcause problems. It felt kind of Dahlesque and surreal to make him beeverybody, just because something felt right about that. Also, on thetechnical term, it was more cost effective, then doing all special effectsshots because we could actually use him in certain shots, certain lenses andcamera angles so that he could interact with Johnny and the kids on occasionso he wasn’t always having to be added in later. There were lots of reasonswhy that felt right to me.

CS!: Do you think the squirrel sequence might make the movie too scary ordark for younger kids?

    Burton: No, and that’s the thing, I go back and look at the book and theoriginal film, we’re probably even lighter in a certain way. There’ssomething when you read about it in the book, it almost seems almost moretraumatic and horrible, and yet, this is a children’s classic. I thinkadults forget sometimes what it’s like to be a kid. That’s why I like thebook and why I think it remains a classic. He kind of explored those edgieraspects of childhood.

CS!: You’re once again using Danny Elfman to do the music for this one, butwas it a conscious effort to have him revisit his Oingo Boingo days with theOompa Loompa tunes?

    Burton: Yeah, exactly. That was fun, because I used to see Oingo Boingo inclubs as a student, never even knowing that I’d ever be able to make movies.It did kind of remind me of going back to those sleezy clubs and hearingthem play. I enjoy working with him, and he’s my friend, but I always feellike he’s another character in the film.

CS!: Did this film alter your relationship with chocolate in any way?

    Burton: (laughs) If you’d been in the chocolate river room like in the lastweek we were shooting there, it started to smell so bad. Literally, youwould open up the stage doors and people were complaining. It smells kind oflike parts of this hotel.but worse.

CS!: What would you like audiences to take away from this film?

    Burton: What was good about [Dahl’s] writing was that he laid his messagesin there, and in a weird way, it’s kind of a spiritual journey. Charlie isthe toughest character, because it’s the simplest. All the other bad kidsget their just desserts, so to speak, and the purity and simplicity floatsto the top, and to me, at least in my life, what you want to do is try toreach a place where you can find that simple purity in a perverted world.

CS!: You proceeded this movie with Big Fish, which was a much more personalpiece. Is it important for you to break things up and do smaller movies likethat in between the larger ones?

    Burton: No, I try to treat it, so that each time it’s a personal thing. Ithas to be, because you spend so much time on it, you have to personalize it.After doing a big one, you do kind of get traumatized by it, and maybe thenext time, you do think about maybe not doing that again. It’s notnecessarily a hardcore rule, but I can certainly understand that.

CS!: What’s going on with Corpse Bride and was it hard to keep the twomovies separate?

    Burton: We’re still finishing that, but it was good, because we could onlywork with the kids so much during the day so sometimes, we’d work a day andthen go over to sound booth and do some voice work on the other. It was kindof a chaotic situation, but I’m excited about that one. The animation issuch a slow-motion process; it would only be a few seconds a week to lookat. In fact, it was good in a certain way, because I was obviously hardcoveron Charlie, but since Corpse Bride is slower, I can have a bit more of anobject feel for it.

CS!: If this film does well enough, would you be interested in directingCharlie and the Great Glass Elevator?

    Burton: No, and you can count on that.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory opens in the US on 15 July.


CoverUS TOP 10 (CINEMA)

All figures are weekend box-office gross.

  • 1. Fantastic Four (2005) ($56.1m)
  • 2. War of the Worlds (2005) ($30.5m) (total to date: $165m)
  • 3. Batman Begins ($10.0m) (total to date: $172m)
  • 4. Dark Water (2005) ($9.94m)
  • 5. Mr & Mrs Smith ($7.87m) (total to date: $159m)
  • 6. Herbie: Fully Loaded ($6.06m)
  • 7. Bewitched (2005) ($5.58m)
  • 8. Madagascar ($4.01m) (total to date: $179m)
  • 9. Rebound ($3.02m)
  • 10. Star Wars Episode III: Return of the Sith ($2.60m) (total to date: $371m)

UK TOP 10 (CINEMA)

  • 1. War of the Worlds (2005) (£4.21m)
  • 2. Batman Begins (£0.78m)
  • 3. The Descent (£0.57m)
  • 4. Mr & Mrs Smith (£0.47m)
  • 5. Star Wars Episode III: Return of the Sith (£0.16m) (total to date: £38.8m)
  • 6. A Lot Like Love (£0.12m)
  • 7. Dus (£0.10m)
  • 8. Gong Fu (£0.08m)
  • 9. Sin City (£0.06m)
  • 10. Paheli (£0.04m)

Cover** IN THE PIPELINE **

All the following are U.K. release dates, and are subject to change.

  • 15th July 2005: EMR, The Wedding Crashers, One Love, Madagascar, The Debutantes
  • 22nd July 2005: Fantastic Four (2005), No Entry, Silver City, Dark Water
  • 29th July 2005: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), 29 Palms, Shallow Ground, Whisky
  • 5th August 2005: Herbie: Fully Loaded, Stealth, Because of Winn-Dixie, Stealth, The Devil’s Rejects, Beautiful Boxer, Yes, Dear Wendy, The Last Days, Wolf Creek
  • 12th August 2005: The Island, Fever Pitch (2005), The Rising, Supercross, Crash (2004), Primer
  • 19th August 2005: The Skeleton Key, Bewitched, Paradise Now, R-Point, Danny the Dog, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Bewitched (2005),
  • 26th August 2005: Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Bad News Bears, Intruder, The Cave
  • 2nd September 2005: The Business, The Honeymooners (2005), Red-Eye, On a Clear Day, Vital
  • 9th September 2005: Cinderella Man, Land of the Dead, Rock School, The Man, The Longest Yard
  • 16th September 2005: Four Brothers, Must Love Dogs, Pride and Prejudice (2005)
  • 23rd September 2005: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Revolver
  • 30th September 2005: Goal!, Corpse Bride, A History of Violence, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Aeon Flux, The Perfect Man, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, The History of Violence
  • 7th October 2005: Night Watch, Oliver Twist (2005), The Constant Gardener, Serenity, The Kinky Boot Factory
  • 14th October 2005: Wallace & Gromit Movie: Curse of the Wererabbit, Lord of War, The Dark
  • 21st October 2005: Nanny McPhee, Murderball, Elizabeth Town, Syriana, Sky High, Broken Flowers
  • 28th October 2005: Doom, Flightplan, The Legend of Zorro
  • 4th November 2005: V for Vendetta, The Exorcism of Emily Rhodes,
  • 11th November 2005: Everything is Illuminated, The New World, Hustle & Flow, In Her Shoes
  • 18th November 2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • 2nd December 2005: Tickets
  • 9th December 2005: Hey Mr DJ, Just Like Heaven, The Chronicles of Narnia: Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Shopgirl, Brokeback Mountain
  • 14th December 2005: King Kong (2005)
  • 16th December 2005: The Hawk is Dying
  • 30th December 2005: Stray Dogs
  • TBA: The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3D, Domino, The Pink Panther (2005), Halloween 9, Final Destination 3D, Noel, The Tiger and the Snow, Underworld: Evolution, Walk the Line

All the following are U.S. release dates, and are subject to change.

  • JULY: Fantastic Four (1), Bewitched (8), Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (15), The Island (22), The Dukes Of Hazzard (29)
  • AUGUST: 3001 (5), Doom (5), Deuce Bigelow European Gigolo (12),
  • SEPTEMBER: Birth Of The Pink Panther (23), Legend Of Zorro (23), Serenity (30), Spy Hunter (30)
  • OCTOBER: Wallace & Gromit (7), The Fog (14), Land Of The Dead (21)
  • NOVEMBER: Cars (4), Harry Potter 4 (18), Brother Grimm (23)
  • DECEMBER: Chronicles Of Narnia (9), Underworld 2 (9), King Kong (14), The Producers (24), Zathura (21), Mad Max Fury Road (31), Die Hard 4 (31)

Page Content copyright © Dan Owen, 2005.

Email Dan Owen

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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