Olivier Assayas is getting the hang of these Hollywood stars. Having just debuted the drama Clouds of Sils Maria, which put Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz alongside Juliette Binoche, at the Cannes Film Festival, the leading French director is preparing a heist thriller titled Idol’s Eye. In what sounds like more of a straight genre piece for the filmmaker, whose previous work include Something in the Air, Carlos and Demonlover, the cast will include recovering teen idol Robert Pattinson (Twilight, The Rover), who has already recently worked with David Cronenberg, Werner Herzog and David Michod, and Robert De Niro.
De Niro may actually be slowing down. Prolific, to a worrying degree over the last 15 years, the now 70-year-old legend has just one other picture in the wings, the boxing biopic Hands of Stone. De Niro will play boxing coach Ray Arcel, whose partnership with world champion Panamanian lightweight Roberto Duran changed the lives of both men. The versatile Edgar Ramirez (Zero Dark Thirty) plays Duran, in a performance that will hopefully distract from his decision to replace Gerard Butler as Bodhi in the Point Break remake. Hands of Stone is directed by Ramirez’s Venezuelan compatriot Jonathan Jakubowicz (Secuestro Express).
Marvel Universe update
Now that English filmmaker Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) has removed his mercurial sense of humour and director’s credit from 2015’s Ant-Man, which presumably would have been a more idiosyncratic superhero effort than Thor: The Dark World or Captain America: The Winter Soldier, those in line to direct Paul Rudd as the brilliant scientist who changes his size include Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) and Will Ferrell’s regular collaborator, Adam McKay (the Anchorman movies, The Other Guys). Meanwhile, Thanos – large bad guy, seen brooding mid-credit sequence in The Avengers – will be voiced by Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) when the character talks in the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and next year’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I will go out on a limb and predict will enjoy some box-office success.
A touch of Oz
Having received international acclaim for the searing A Touch of Sin (though not permission to release the drama in his homeland), Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke will next make Shan He Gu Ren (roughly Mountain River Old Friend). The story moves through periods in both the recent past and near future, following the relationship between a man and woman, which breaks down, and the subsequent life in Australia of the woman’s son. Jia will shoot in China and Australia, with his wife Zhao Tao (The World, A Touch of Sin) confirmed as the female lead.
Baron Cohen clocks into Alice 2
Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, is starting to add new members alongside Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska’s Alice, and Helena Bonham-Carter’s Red Queen. New director James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted) has recruited Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spider-Man) to play the Mad Hatter’s father, and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) as the vaguely named Time.