HIDDEN GEMS: 17. THE DARK KNIGHT

Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. This week The Dark Knight. You’re welcome.

I’ll never forget the day Chris Nolan came into my office and said to me ‘Exec!’ he was informal like that ‘Exec! I’ve got an idea for a movie: the Dark Knight’. Of course, I thought it was going to be a historical epic. King Arthur perhaps. Or Ivanhoe. Still the kid was hot and floppy blond hair and an adorable British accent so I said okay and validated his parking. It wasn’t until a year later that I saw the finished product. The Dark Knight made no sense. ‘Where’s Batman’s origin story?’ I asked. ‘There’s a gaping hole where his parent’s funeral should be.’ ‘But we covered that in Batman Begins,’ Chris countered but I cut him off. ‘I want facts, not excuses.’ The film was dark and exciting. The action sequences were terrific and the pace kept on going. Even without the funeral, there was a chance we might make it.

However, audiences rejected it wholesale and it sank without a trace. With all the postmortems, it became clear that there was one major component that simply hadn’t worked. The villain of the piece was called the Joker, played by a young Australian actor Heath Ledger, but he was hopeless. I don’t want to sat it was his fault – the script gave him nothing – but the fact was he was not funny. A joker who doesn’t tell jokes? I mean screenwriting 101 guys. Maybe it also lagged a bit at the end and the part when Batman lies to protect Harvey Dent’s reputation made zero sense.

The film tanked and unfortunately so did Ledger’s career. At least, I haven’t seen him in anything recently. Nolan went back to England with his tail between his legs and is now directing the odd episode of Coronation Street – a soap opera set in Manchester, UK. If you can find a copy of the Dark Knight it still holds an odd ball charm and will make you wonder what the same material would have been like in the hands of someone a little more competent. A Zack Snyder perhaps.

For more Hidden Gems CLICK HERE.

JACK NICHOLSON TO RETURN AS THE JOKER

GOTHAM – Jack Nicholson is set to reprise his iconic performance as the Joker in the new DC Comics film Suicide Squad.

News broke over Gotham late last night, putting paid to the notion that Jay Leno and Jared Leto had both been approached about the role, simply because they had the same initials.

David Ayers, the director of the super villains team movie said that he was  delighted to have Jack Nicholson on board:

Nicholson is, was and will be a great Joker. This is going to make things really interesting, because he will bring with him the memories of the Tim Burton Batman films, but at the same time, now he’s a little longer in the tooth, there’s also the sense that this is a maturer Joker, a Joker who has perhaps learned a few lessons, a Joker who… Who am I kidding? This is Jack Nicholson, right? He’s going to be crazy!

Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to Studio Exec, Jack Nicholson explained his thinking behind his decision:

At first I didn’t want to play the same part. I thought Heath Ledger did a splendid job, truly splendid. But then when David came and showed me the script, I thought this is truly wonderful. But still I can’t do it, I’m too old for this. Then I called Jennifer Lawrence and she said she loved comic book movies and next day I was in costume.

Suicide Squad will be released in 2016.

MY FAVORITE FILM: VLADIMIR PUTIN

MOSCOW – Hi Everybody! It’s me Vladimir Putin, Judo/Action star, best friends with Gerard Depardieu and … oh I run this little country called Russia, ha ha ha! No, seriously, it is actually very big.

We’re having this Winter Olympics thing with the skiing, the luge, the figure skating I don’t like so much. So to help drum up publicity my friend the Studio Exec said I could talk about my favorite film. So here goes.

Brokeback Mountain is a fantastic movie. First of all I love Westerns. Men in the wilderness being men. Looking after sheep (in this case) and spending Man time together, looking at the Manscape. They’re both married so that’s fine, but they are so manly they don’t really have much interest in their wives. As we say in Russia, “Only gays kiss girls!”

I love the actors. Jake Gyllenhaal is great, I really loved Donnie Darko as well, but in this he is better. He has such dark eyes. You really feel you could swim in them and I don’t know… sink beneath the surface of their moist sadness into a soft dream. And Heath Ledger is great! Wow, he can act. I liked him as the Joker as well. What happened to him? He’s so talented. Why isn’t he in more films?

I’m not quite sure what the story is really about. To be perfectly frank, I’m often so tired from running a police state, abusing human rights and wrestling other men while wearing what could be described as pyjamas until we’re all sweaty and spent, I often nod off during a film and Brokeback Mountain does have this soothing music. Randy Quaid is in it as well. He’s fantastic though he looks like he didn’t get paid enough. 

All I know is that Brokeback Mountain is a healthy invigorating film, about life in the great outdoors. It has two fine young men in it, who stand boldly erect as models of pure virtuous manliness. And there’s also a sadness because, naturally, one of them dies and life is hard. I can never watch this film without being deeply moved in a manly way. Anyway, those minorities are not going to repress themselves. I’ve enjoyed talking about ‘My Favorite Film’. 

Do Svidaniya! 

For more Favorite Films, Click HERE.

MICHAEL CERA IS THE JOKER!

HOLLYWOOD  – Holy Insipid, Batman! Michael Cera is joining Batman Vs. Superman to play the clown prince of crime himself: The Joker.

With the internet still reeling from the Studio Exec exclusive that Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg will be Lex Luthor (CLICK HERE for more), now we can confirm that Arrested Development and Scott Pilgrim ‘star’ Michael Cera is to take over from the defunct Heath Ledger as Batman’s arch-nemesis. Cera himself called to give us his first reaction:

Well, it’s rad if you don’t mind me cussing. I’m gonna play my xylophone during the interview if that’s okay? It’s got, I don’t know, a sweet tone. Jason Bateman just said do it.

 Jason Bateman told you to take the role?

No, he told me to play the xylophone. This one as a matter of fact.

Go ahead, so where were you when you got the call?

I was wearing a tweed waistcoat, that’s for sure, possibly a vintage Thundercats t-shirt, I wanna say? Maybe.Do you know how many jokes we got out of that one word in Arrested Development? 31. I counted ’em. Kept a note book, matter of fact.

Given how iconic the late Heath Ledger’s performance was in the seminal Dark Knight movie, do you feel any pressure taking on this role?

I love pop tarts, okay. And I once met Jack Nicholson who once played the role, right? And I said, do you think the Joker would like pop tarts? And do you know what he said to me.

 No.

He said get this f*cking kid out of here. So that was like ‘an answer’.

So you’re not nervous about taking it on?

No, I think I’ve got range. I mean did you see that film when I was like the nice guy and the nasty guy? Youth in Revolt?

No.

No, no one did. That was a problem actually. But I got range. I can play this ukulele, okay? I am so multi-talented. I wrote this song about Mary Elizabeth Winstead. It’s called ‘I’m Gonna Break You in Two’.

The Man of Steel Vs. the Dark Knight Vs the Social network Vs Argo Vs Scott Pilgrim’s Ball Sack by the Pale Moonlight is currently filming in Detroit.  

ANG LEE TALKS POSSIBLE BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN 2

HOLLYWOOD – Brokeback Mountain was a breakthrough film for its two young leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, an Oscar winner and an immediate seminal film for the gay community and now Ang Lee – talking to French cultural magazine Chapeau – has hinted that he might be interested in filming Brokeback Mountain 2.

When asked about future projects, Mr. Lee first told the interviewer about his project based on the Little Book of Calm starring Joe Pesci (for more on that story CLICK HERE), but pushed to look further ahead, the Hulk director said the following:

I’ve always wanted to go back to the world that Annie Proulx and Larry McMurty created for Brokeback and revisit those characters. It’s especially fitting that we should see how Jake’s character responds to Ennis’ death, seeing how Heath is no longer with us.

 Je ne comprends pas! C’est ridicule! It is the Ennis character who is alive at the end of the film and Jack Twist who dies.

Was it? Jesus. Really? 

Ma oui! 

I suppose I’ve always wanted to revisit the world of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I wanted to find out what happened to Chow Yun Fat’s character, having to deal with Michelle Yeoh’s death.   

Brokeback Mountain 2 will be released in 2015.