In this week’s News From the Lake: Updates on a few biopics and a remake; a new series being presented by the UCLA Film and Television Archive; and what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray.
Everybody’s favorite person, John Goodman, has been tapped to join the ever increasing A-list cast of Trumbo, director Jay Roach’s biopic about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. The film’s already attracted Bryan Cranston for the lead while Helen Mirren is slated to play gossip maven, Hedda Hopper. Goodman, who’s been offered the role but hasn’t confirmed, is eyeing the role of Hollywood producer Frank King. Old Hollywood is certainly being embraced with the latest crop of films out there – I haven’t even covered the Coen Brothers upcoming Hail Caesar which I’m adoring, so far. If Cranston brings a smidge of the Emmy-award winning goodness he presented in Breaking Bad, then Trumbo could be a major awards contender.
A few months ago I reported on plans for a biopic focused on the romance between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Well, prepare for dueling works because Hepburn’s receiving another Hollywood film in her honor. According to Women and Hollywood, an independent studio is producing a biopic entitled Kate, contrasting Hepburn at ages 25 and 80. I’m not sure if that means two concurrent storylines with an older actress playing Hepburn and a younger one, but Clare Bevan’s been tapped to direct; Bevan recently directed a biopic about Rebecca author, Daphne Du Maurier. The concept sounds intriguing and it certainly would cast an eye on Hepburn herself, as opposed to her relationship with Tracy. The question is how they plan on pulling off two diverging plotlines?
Actress/director/Hollywood legend Barbra Streisand’s attempted to get a remake of Gypsy off the ground for years, and according to a recent report from Nikki Finke, watching Streisand wear the mantle of Mama Rose might be a reality soon. Richard LaGravenese has written a new draft and Streisand is still in talks to direct. Right now they’re waiting on approval from rights holder Stephen Sondheim, himself prepping for the big-screen debut of Into the Woods. There’s a lot of back and forth on the Hollywood version of Gypsy from 1962. I’ve heard many say Natalie Wood is the weak link in the film whereas I found Rosalind Russell too acerbic. I’m interested in seeing Streisand play the role of Mama Rose, barring there’s an equally compelling Louise. What do you all think about this? Is Streisand good enough to tackle the role? Who do you think should be our Gypsy Rose Lee?
For all you Los Angeles residents, the UCLA Film and Television Archive starts a new series I really wish I could see. Throughout August and September they’re honoring Hollywood costumer Edith Head with a variety of films and special guests, including Carl Reiner and John Landis. The event runs from August 8th to September 27th with showings of several movies Head designed costumes for such as The Lady Eve (1941), Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Sweet Charity (1969). Screenings start at 7:30pm at the Billy Wilder Theater. You can purchase tickets, see showtimes and special guest appearances at the event website.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Olive Films: Olive is releasing John Wayne’s Academy Award-winning Sands of Iwo Jima (1950) on November 11th. They’re prepping a restored DVD as well as a Blu-ray debut. Bonus content on either disc hasn’t been announced.
Warner Archive: As part of their Warner Archive series, the studio is releasing the fantastic film noir, Out of the Past, on Blu-ray, August 19th. The only bonus feature is the audio commentary with historian Jim Ursini that was on the 2004 DVD.
Also out from Warner Archive this week is a tribute to comedian Joe E. Brown. Five of his features are debuting on DVD: Broad Minded, Local Boy Makes Good (both 1931), You Said a Mouthful starring Ginger Rogers (1932), Elmer the Great (1933), and A Very Honorable Guy (1934). You can purchase these all, manufactured on-demand, from Warner Archive direct.
A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.