Two in the hand for Hazanavicius
There will be sound, and plenty of it, in Michel Hazanavicius' upcoming projects. The French filmmaker, who won an Academy Award for Best Director as part of The Artist's international success, is about to shoot an untitled contemporary drama with his partner and frequent star, Berenice Bejo. The outline for the picture has Bejo as an aid worker in Chechnya trying to reunite a child with his family, and once that shoots the French actress will move on to the next film from acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, whose A Separation is a standout from the last 12 months.
Hazanavicius (left) is also looking to shoot a major historical drama. Based on a best selling non-fiction work by Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts is the story of William Dodd, who was America's ambassador to Germany in the 1930s, during the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists. Tom Hanks, who is loosening up his selection of roles, will play Dodd, who soon grew wary of the new regime, while Natalie Portman is up for the role of Dodd's daughter, Martha, who had affairs with both senior Nazis and foreign spies. It doesn't sound like there's a part for Uggie the dog in all that.
Rooftop rendezvous no party
Writer Nick Hornby has supplied the cinema with some worthwhile books to be adapted, including High Fidelity and About a Boy, as well as writing the screenplay for Lone Scherfig's An Education, the 2009 film that single-handedly gave Carey Mulligan a career. Now his 2005 novel A Long Way Down is being prepared for the screen, with French director Pascal Chaumeil (Heartbreaker) telling the story of four people planning suicide who reconsider after they meet atop the building they'd all decided to leap from. Aaron Paul (television's Breaking Bad) will play the failed musician turned pizza guy, ex-007 Pierce Brosnan will play a disgraced talk-show host, Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) will play a worn-out single mother, and Brit Imogen Poots (Solitary Man) will play an unhappy teenager.
Godzilla and Monsters
Hollywood is taking another crack at Godzilla. British filmmaker Gareth Edwards (right), who did wonders with suggestion and home-made digital effects in the 2010 independent release Monsters, has got the job of making what is reportedly a more realistic take on the legendary Japanese creature for 2014. The emphasis on authenticity – which is a relative concept when the subject is a destructive giant lizard – is presumably to reassure everyone who has had to witness Roland Emmerich's rather naff New York-set Godzilla from 1998.
I spy a sequel
Now that the Harry Potter films are finished, who's going to keep Britain's actors in work? Red 2, the sequel to the 2010 movie about ageing American former spies getting back to work, is doing its bit. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker will all be returning for new director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), while the likes of Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), David Thewlis (Naked) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic) will join them.