What do you do after directing an epic version of Les Misérables? Make a biopic about one of the first people to ever undergo a sex change procedure; maybe there’s room for a reprise of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’? English filmmaker Tom Hooper is currently preparing The Danish Girl, the story of Einar Mogens Wegener, a successful married Danish artist who in 1930 underwent a series of experimental sex reassignment surgeries in Germany, becoming a public sensation in Europe under the legally acquired name of Lili Elbe. Hooper’s choice for the lead role is an actor he’s familiar with: Eddie Redmayne, a member of the Les Misérables cast, who’s also in Andy and Lana Wachowski’s forthcoming science-fiction adventure Jupiter Ascending.
Joaquin joins Woody
Woody Allen’s 2014 film, Magic in the Moonlight, opens in Australia on August 28, which means that 2015’s project is getting underway. Plot details and even a title are unknown, but the 78-year-old Allen has acquired a leading man in Joaquin Phoenix. The actor, on a rare roll since his return to screen acting in 2012, may appear to be an unlikely choice for Allen, but startling, soulful performances for Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) and Spike Jonze (Her) would be highly persuasive. Phoenix also has the lead in Anderson’s next movie, the Thomas Pynchon adaptation Inherent Vice.
Mother of God – The Movie
The career of Australian director Simon Grierson continues to find new avenues. His 2006 debut Kokoda was a grueling World War II story of Australian troops in New Guinea, while 2011’s Sanctum was an underwater 3-D action thriller, which was made with mentoring from a post-Avatar James Cameron. Mary will examine the life of a young woman in ancient Judea at the age of 8, 15, 19 and 27 – of course she’s the mother of Jesus Christ, a character who’ll be aged 12 by the film’s close. The title role isn’t officially cast yet, but one of the turbulent era’s key figures, Herod, will be played by Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island).
Denys Arcand does 7th
French ingénue Melanie Thierry, who starred in Babylon A.D., The Princess of Montpensier and Terry Gilliam’s imminent The Zero Theorem, is part of the ensemble cast in what is a rare cinematic event: a Denys Arcand picture. The Quebec filmmaker has made just six films in the previous 25 years, but they include Jesus of Montreal and the magisterial The Barbarian Invasions. La regne de la beaute (The Reign of Beauty) will feature Thierry, Marie-Josee Croze (Tell No One) and Eric Bruneau (Laurence Anyways) in a story of love and infidelity.
Swanberg can't stop
Anyone attempting to keep up with the output of American independent filmmaker Joe Swanberg should just give up – he makes Michael Winterbottom look like Terrence Malick. We’ve yet to see Happy Christmas and 24 Exposures in the country, having only received the sublime Drinking Buddies six months ago, but Swanberg has now finished Digging for Fire, an unknown feature with an ensemble cast that includes Drinking Buddies stars Jake Johnson (who co-wrote the new film with Swanberg) and Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), as well as Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Rosemarie DeWitt (Your Sister’s Sister), Sam Rockwell (Moon), Brie Larson (Short Term 12).