There is a reason movies about contentious public figures generally aren't made until the subject has passed away: the person in question tends to have a strong interest, while their adversaries are roused into battle by proxy. Nonetheless, casting is underway for Rodham, the story of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's time as a 20something lawyer in Washington during the 1970s Watergate scandal, before she married wayward boyfriend Bill Clinton. James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) will direct Young Il Kim's script (that will be Kim Jong-il once Rush Limbaugh finds out) and those up for the role include Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), and Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables). The film should be ready by 2015, when its subject may well be running once more for the U.S. presidency.
Timberlake vs. Hardy
When it's done right, the casting of a famous musician's biopic strikes a perfect note – who can now imagine anyone but Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles? But the decision making is never easy, and that appears to be the case with Rocketman, the musical biography of legendary English singer-songwriter Elton John. The bespectacled musician is producing the movie through his own production company, and had previously expressed a belief that singer and actor Justin Timberlake – who played a John-like superstar in the 1970s-themed video clip for John's 2002 single 'This Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore' – should play the role. Director Michael Gracey has a somewhat different suggestion: the burly Tom Hardy (Bronson, The Dark Knight Rises).
From sailors to pirates
The recent Norwegian film Kon-Tiki, a worthy recreation of adventurer Thor Heyerdahl's epic crossing of the Pacific Ocean on a wooden raft in 1947, enjoyed good reviews and a small international release, but obviously the right people (at least career-wise) saw it. Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg have been approved by star Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to take charge of Pirates of the Caribbean 5, a 2015 Disney blockbuster. The filmmakers obviously know about shooting on water – Kon-Tiki effortlessly conveyed the beautiful but overwhelming physical elements – but it's an entirely different matter when it comes to Captain Jack Sparrow, a once appealing character who has become the merchandising frontman for a tiring franchise.
Greengrass goes to Memphis
English filmmaker Paul Greengrass, who leapt from the Northern Ireland historical drama Bloody Sunday to lean action hits The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, has been quiet since the misguided 2010 Iraq weapons of mass destruction thriller The Green Zone fizzled out, but he now has two films on the way. In the already finished Captain Philips, Tom Hanks will play the skipper of the American container ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, and now Greengrass is return to the docu-drama style of Bloody Sunday for Memphis, the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's final days and assassination in the tumultuous year of 1968. The civil rights icon has been a prominent figure in popular culture in recent years, with Samuel L. Jackson playing him on Broadway in Katori Hall's play The Mountaintop, and Greengrass is looking to Forest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland) to play the role in a film that could well reignite debate over conspiracies surrounding King's shooting.