First it was competing asteroid apocalypse movies, then it was terrorists taking over the White House, and now it is Beat-era writers that have two similar films circulating. With John Krokidas' Kill Your Darlings, a drama about the murkily infatuated relationship between a young Allen Ginsberg (Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe) and fellow writer Lucien Carr (Chronicle's Dane De Haan) already on the festival circuit, it's now been joined by Big Sur, a film from American director Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho) that adapts the autobiographical 1962 Jack Kerouac novel.
Kerouac's seminal work On the Road only recently received a star-studded adaptation from Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles 18 months ago, and now many of the same characters, or at least their fictional proxies, will feature in Polish's movie. The German actor Jean-Marc Barr (Breaking the Waves, Dogville) will play Kerouac, with Australian Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland, The Crazies) as Carolyn Cassady, Josh Lucas (Red Dog, Stealth) as her wandering husband Neale, and Anthony Edwards (Miracle Mile, television's ER) as fellow writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti, whose cabin at the titular coastal locale Kerouac repeatedly visited.
McKellen mixes it up again
It's easy to forget that before he became the grand old man of the blockbuster, starring in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the X-Men trilogy and now The Hobbit trilogy, Sir Ian McKellen was a celebrated stage actor and an intriguing presence in often unexpected movies (from Michael Mann's The Keep to The Last Action Hero). His latest non-trilogy role is playing an elderly and somewhat unreliable Sherlock Holmes in an adaptation of the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, which will be directed by Bill Condon, who previously worked with McKellen on the impeccable Gods and Monsters.
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) and Taylor Swift (Valentine's Day, some pretty great pop songs) have joined the cast of Phil Noyce's The Giver, the latest dystopic young adult novel adaptation (and aren't they working well aside from The Hunger Games) that already stars Jeff Bridges (True Grit) and Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada); Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) will cameo in the Dumb and Dumber sequel as a young version of a character played by Kathleen Turner. If Lawrence wants a challenge she should check out Turner in Lawrence Kasdan's Body Heat.
Having somewhat disappointed admirers of District 9 with his recent futuristic action flick Elysium, South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp is pushing ahead with his third feature, Chappie. Based on a 2003 short of his Tetra Vaal, which was about robots designed and built to assist police in impoverished countries, the film will feature regular Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley as the voice of a robot, Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), South African hip-hop duo Die Antwoord and now, it appears, Australian star Hugh Jackman, who has also reportedly committed to playing circus impresario P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Show on Earth.