It’s fair to say that Jason Reitman got it wrong with Labor Day, a coming of age tale that just couldn’t get past the three-day romance between an agoraphobic single mother and the escaped murderer who kidnapped her and her son. The director of Juno and Up in the Air is now at work on Men, Women and Children, an adaptation of Chad Kultgen’s sexually frank novel about the sexual mores of a group of teenagers and their parents in a supposedly average American suburb. Reitman’s ensemble cast is definitely eclectic: Adam Sandler (Punch-Drunk Love), Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister) and Reitman perennial J.K. Simmons (Contraband). Can’t say he’s playing it safe with that group.
Craig courts Bond-free role
Daniel Craig must devote 18 month-sized pieces of his career to playing – and promoting – James Bond, and after a handful of promising roles during his previous sabbatical, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Cowboys & Aliens (of Dream House we shall say nothing), he’s been slow to step outside 007’s aura this time. But with the Sam Mendes directed Bond 24 due in October 2015, he’s now squeezing in at least one outside project. The Whole Truth has been described as a court room drama and a legal thriller, but while the plot details remain unknown, what’s interesting is the director: Courtney Hunt. The filmmaker doesn’t make blockbusters, with her lone previous feature being 2008’s Frozen River, a considered independent drama about a people smuggler that started out at the Sundance Film Festival and ended up with Academy Award nominations for Hunt (Best Original Screenplay) and star Melissa Leo (Best Actress). Expect Daniel Craig to be something more than shaken or stirred.
McCarthy, Statham – together at last
Speaking of secret agents, Melissa McCarthy will be playing one. The comedic star whose ascent has been rapid with Bridesmaids, Identity Thief and The Heat, will star as Susan Cooper, a spy who will probably make use of McCarthy’s knack for inappropriate physical comedy and flashes of humourous spleen. Paul Feig, who worked with McCarthy on Bridesmaids and The Heat, will direct, and along with Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class), the supporting cast features a loopily unexpected pair of male foils: Jason Statham (The Expendables) and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes). I foresee a scene where McCarthy and Statham’s characters compare scars.
Bernal boards border drama
The son also rises: in the wake of Gravity’s success, co-writer Jonas Cuaron will direct his second feature, Desierto. The young Mexican filmmaker, with father Alfonso as a producer, will tell the story of the clash between two adversaries on either side of the border between Mexico and America. Gael Garcia Bernal (No) will play the young Mexican immigrant trying to illegally cross it, while Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) stars as the American vigilante determined to stop him. With immigration reform remaining a vexatious political issue in America, Cuaron could be headed for controversy.
Photo source (top): 2013 Getty Images.