Cate Blanchett won't be singing, not will she be performing as a half-stoned and disdainful rock star, the next time she works with Todd Haynes. The American filmmaker, who cast Blanchett as one of his visions of Bob Dylan in 2007's I'm Not There, is preparing an adaptation of the 1952 pulp romance The Price of Salt, a lesbian-themed work penned under the pseudonym of Claire Morgan by a young Patricia Highsmith, the writer of existential thrillers who would go on to give the movies one of its most fascinating characters in the form of Tom Ripley (see Wim Wenders' The American Friend and Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley).
In Haynes' film Blanchett will play a rich Manhattan wife, Carol Aird, who forms an unusual bond with a young woman she meets when she shops at a department store. The two eventually become lovers, despite the risk to the older woman's marriage and social standing. Another very busy Australian actor, Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, Lawless), was to play the other lead, Therese Belivet, but has been replaced by Rooney Mara (Side Effects, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Blanchett is also currently doing everything from a retelling of Cinderella for Kenneth Branagh, two Terrence Malick movies, and some voice work in How to Train Your Dragon 2.
From The Hunt to Hardy
In the wake of his impressive comeback The Hunt, the Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg is the latest Scandinavian director to venture abroad (the second time in his case, although no-one talks about 2003's It's All About Love). He's directing an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's celebrated 1874 novel of English rural life and thwarted love, Far From the Madding Crowd. John Schlesinger's 1967 version starred Julie Christie and Terence Stamp in the story of a woman and her three disparate suitors, while Vinterberg has cast Carey Mulligan (Drive, The Great Gatsby), Michael Sheen (The Queen), Tom Sturridge (On the Road) and the Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead, Rust and Bone).
Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) joins the third and fourth Hunger Games films as the manipulative politician Alma Coin; Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) will drive a car in Fast & Furious 7 (with planning underway for the eighth and ninth installments); Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand) replaces Nicolas Cage in The Expendables 3.
Red Dog director gets dirty
Kriv Stenders follows up Red Dog with Kill Me Three Times, a crime thriller currently shooting in Perth and rural Western Australia with an eclectic international cast stretched across three interlocking stories that involve a contract killer, a singer and a husband (Simon Pegg, Alica Braga and Callan Mulvey), a broke gambler undertaking an insurance scam for a manipulative woman (Sullivan Stapleton and Teresa Palmer), and a noble surfer and a corrupt police officer (Luke Hemsworth and Bryan Brown). If that sound like one of those post-Tarantino crime thrillers from the mid-'90s, hopefully Stenders can give it a decisive twist or a particularly Australian bent.