This column has a bad news first policy, so we have to inform you that Michael Bay is making a 'small' movie. Pain and Gain is about two Florida bodybuilders who become caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping that goes wrong. Yes, this sounds like Bay – the maker of blockbusters such as the Transformers trilogy and Armageddon – is working on a pecs-heavy version of the Coen Brothers' Fargo, although instead of Steve Buscemi and Frances McDormand, he's looking at Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Mark Wahlberg. Bay has his place, and it's where giant digital robots that eat skyscrapers live. If you've seen his last detour from this prescription, the wan 2005 thriller The Island, you'll remember why.
My Week with Marilyn doesn't arrive in Australian cinemas until February 16, but advance notices are strong for Michelle Williams' performance as iconic film siren Marilyn Monroe during the 1956 production of The Prince and the Showgirl. Now a new behind-the-scenes tale from a vintage production is underway with The Girl, which explores the troubled relationship between Alfred Hitchcock (pictured) and the last of his icy blonde leading ladies, Tippi Hedren. Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane) will direct the story, with Sienna Miller (Layer Cake, the Leveson Inquiry into U.K. phone hacking) as the former model and Toby Jones (W., the forthcoming Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as the master director who cast her in 1963's The Birds and 1964's Marnie. Hedren, who fell out with Hitchcock, was interviewed at length by screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes.
Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum, whose recent adaptation of the bestselling Jo Nesbo novel Headhunters is now the most successful local release in the Scandinavian country's history, has found his next project. Tyldum will direct the dystopic thriller What Happened to Monday?, an international production set in an overpopulated future where identical septuplets have to survive in a world where it is a crime to have more than one child. Headhunters, meanwhile, has been acquired for an American remake.
Diablo Cody is best known as the writer whose distinctive voice has been brought to life by director Jason Reitman in Juno and the soon-to-be-released Young Adult. As is the case with many successful screenwriters, she'll be directing her next script, the tale of a religious young woman who has a crisis of faith and flees to Las Vegas to experience temptation. The untitled film has an eclectic cast, with Julianne Hough (the Footloose remake) in the main role, Holly Hunter as her worried conservative mother, and Russell Brand as a source of aforesaid temptation. Quick query: Is Las Vegas the most overused location Hollywood has? It needs Michael Bay to blow it up.