The next Australian actor positioned for a major international profile? Come on down Jason Clarke, whose casually menacing turn as CIA officer and interrogator Dan opens Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (pictured) with such disconcertingly amoral force. Clarke has been working on American television and in feature supporting roles for more than a few years, including Michael Mann's Public Enemies and John Hillcoat's Lawless, but he's now won the lead role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the agile blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The film will pick up in a world where smart apes are proliferating and mankind is fighting a deadly virus.
Clarke also has a major part in White House Down (a.k.a. Presidential Die Hard), the Roland Emmerich film where Channing Tatum and Maggie Gyllenhaal's Secret Service agents have to save Jamie Foxx's U.S. President after a paramilitary group takes over the White House. Clarke plays a character named Stenz, and based on too many years of bad action flicks I have deduced that mysterious European name = sneering villain who will die in final showdown. Clarke has also got a plum role in Baz Luhrmann's take on The Great Gatsby, playing the mechanic George Wilson whose jealousy is turned into a weapon by the privileged 1920s elite who pass through his family's life.
Polanski seeks solace with Venus
Critical appraisal and the application of public belief tend to follow a filmmaker's passing, but Roman Polanski has never been one to wait, so even as he's continued to make films the Polish-born filmmaker's past, including fleeing the United States for France in 1978 before sentencing on his guilty plea of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, has been repeatedly scrutinised. The conversational documentary Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (pictured), which becomes increasingly partisan, is currently in cinemas, while Polanski is preparing a French-language version of the hit Broadway play Venus in Furs.
David Ives' theatrical two-hander charts the change in power between a director who is trying to cast an adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's 1870 novel of the same name (which inspired the term masochism) and the unknown actress who auditions for him. The Broadway production made a star of its leading lady Nina Arianda, but for Polanski's French version the role of the actress Vanda will be played by the filmmaker's wife, Emmanuelle Seigner (Frantic, La Vie en Rose), with Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Cosmopolis) as Thomas the director. Similarities to Polanski's own life will of course only add to his divisive reputation.
House break-out for Hugh
Hugh Laurie, one-time comic English twit and more recently the misanthropic television doctor at the centre of television's House, obviously wants to break bad. The actor almost took on the role of the villain in the Robocop remake being made by Brazilian director Jose Padilha (Elite Squad), and now he's signed on for science-fiction thriller Tomorrowland, where he will get in the way of George Clooney for Brad Bird, the director The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.