Given the success of Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, it's not surprising that a new generation of Mexican filmmakers is attracting international attention. The latest to make the leap and take to English-language cinema is Gerardo Neranjo, whose previous features include 2008's Voy a Explotar and 2011's outstanding narco-thriller Miss Bala. Neranjo will direct a remake of the vigilante revenge tale Death Wish, possibly with Bruce Willis (The Fifth Element) as the replacement for Charles Bronson in Michael Winner's 1974 original, while in an untitled 1980s period drama former child star Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Runaways) will play a roadie for a punk band who has a coming of age experience while on the road.
Firth fights for life
What is it with distinguished actors of a certain age and pulpy thrillers? Liam Neeson has remade his career with the likes of Taken, Sean Penn is currently making The Gunman in Europe and now Colin Firth (The King's Speech, Bridget Jones' Diary) will star in Three to Kill, an adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's French novel. The normally urbane Firth will play a businessman who witnesses two contract killers at work, and has to go on the run when they come after him. It will be directed by screenwriter (The Usual Suspects) turned filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), who is also reteaming with Cruise for Mission: Impossible 5 and – most importantly to a 40something generation of cartoon fans – writing a live-action version of Star Blazers (a.k.a. Space Battleship Yamato).
Poots to have Field day in Rome
Like compatriots Jim Jarmusch or Todd Haynes, the American filmmaker Todd Field works carefully and quietly. He's made two strong features, 2001's In the Bedroom and 2006's Little Children, and now he's preparing to shoot Beautiful Ruins, an adaptation of Jess Walter's novel about a young British woman who finds herself working on the shambolic 1962 Rome set of Cleopatra. Other roles will include a young Italian hotelier, a World War II veteran writing a novel and Richard Burton (also meant to be a supporting character in Rush recently, until Ron Howard changed his mind), who tempestuously co-starred with twice future wife Elizabeth Taylor in the studio-breaking blockbuster. As his ingénue lead Field has cast the very busy Imogen Poots, who recently starred in The Look of Love and Filth, and has already shot the video game adaptation The Need for Speed and – depending on what happens in the editing room – Terrence Malick's The Knight of Cups.
Pegg to find love with Lake
The most amusing British actor Simon Pegg, who somehow has made it into the ensemble supporting casts for the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises, will continue his work upsetting genre films when he stars in the romantic comedy Man Up, which casts him opposite the imposing comedienne Lake Bell (No Strings Attached, In A World…) Pegg was recently in Perth to shoot the thriller Kill Me Three Times for Red Dog director Kriv Stenders, and will star in Peter Chelsom's Hector and the Search for Happiness, where he plays a psychiatrist scouring the globe to find the secret of happiness opposite Toni Collette (Mental), Jean Reno (The Professional) and Rosamund Pike (Wrath of the Titans).