The African-American experience, before and during the civil rights era that brought an end to what slavery had begun, is growingly prominent in the American movies. Films such as The Help, the about to be released The Butler and the much praised 12 Years a Slave, due out for Academy Awards consideration later this year, all revolve in varying ways around one of the United States' defining issues. Interestingly, Hollywood still makes few films about contemporary African-Americans, but historical figures are increasingly another (profitable) matter.
The obvious move now is a biopic of revered civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the clergymen who was a leader of the peaceful protest movement from the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott through to his assassination in Memphis in 1968. Now that a deal has been made to combine his estate's permission with key intellectual property such as Dr. King's “I have a dream” speech, the way is clear for a young filmmaker to seize upon a key figure of modern American life. Or they can let Oliver Stone use 27 camera set-ups for a single shot. Actually, it's the latter.
Stone, whose immersion in the 1960s has already given us Platoon, The Doors, JFK, and Nixon, will direct the as yet untitled biopic, with the first choice for the central role being Jamie Foxx, who won an Academy Award for Ray and did himself no favours running around a mock Oval Office in the recent White House Down as a fictional President of the United States. One central question is which private flaws this great public figure possessed might be referenced in the film? Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum, the imminent Captain Phillips) could never secure the cooperation of Dr. King's family because of elements they disliked in his Memphis script.
Kidnapping Freddy Heineken sounds like a gross-out American teen comedy where a European exchange student has a wild night he can't remember the next morning, but it's actually a real life thriller based on the 1983 kidnapping of the Dutch beer scion and his driver, which netted the kidnappers a vast ransom before they were slowly hunted down and, in some cases, extradited, from foreign boltholes. Swedish filmmaker Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) will direct, and the cast includes Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Hitchcock) in the title role, Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas, The Best Offer), Sam Worthingon (Avatar) and young Australian newcomer Thomas Cocquerel.
More Milla, more ways
Apparently the world's most famous Ukrainian, Milla Jovovich, makes movies outside the Resident Evil franchise. The Joan of Arc star will play the lead character in the thriller Survivor, an American anti-terrorism expert dispatched to London to stop an attack who is quickly drawn into a deeper conspiracy; solid English thespians in support include Pierce Brosnan (Goldeneye) and Emma Thompson (Remains of the Day), with expatriate Australian filmmaker James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) directing. Jovovich is also starring in the modern day retelling of Shakespeare's Cymbeline with Ethan Hawke and has a role in The Expendables 3, where she will hopefully demolish some male co-stars. And, yes, Resident Evil 6 is in pre-production.