OH, NO YOU DIDN’T! Things already started crazy this week!
IN THIS WEEK’s “Pot…kettle…” story, Asia Argento…Like, like WTF?
The New York Times reports that documents obtained show that Asia Argento, who is one of the many women that came out with sexual assault stories against Harvey Weinstein, settled a claim with a young actor in 2013 about a sexual encounter both had in a California hotel room. The young actor, Jimmy Bennett, claims that the sexual assault happened when he was 17 years old. He sued Argento for $3.5 million, but before the suit was public, he and the actress settled for $380,000.
In documents obtained by NYT, the lawyer who presided over the settlement said, “We hope nothing like this ever happens to you again. You are a powerful and inspiring creator and it is a miserable condition of life that you live among shitty individuals who’ve preyed on both your strengths and your weaknesses,” said Carrie Goldberg.
It’s unclear how the incident took place, but as mentioned, Bennett and Argento shared a hotel room when he was just two months past his 17th birthday and the actress was 37. The age of consent in California is 18. Included in the documents is a selfie taken, showing both parties in bed together. And the New York Times has confirmed through multiple sources involved in the case that the documents and selfie are real.
The original suit that Bennett was to file back in 2013 claimed that due to the trauma inflicted by Argento, the young actor lost work and saw his yearly income drop dramatically. Before the alleged incident, Bennett had starred in a variety of films, including 2009’s Star Trek reboot, where he played a young James Kirk. In an interesting, if not very strange given the future encounter, role Bennett played Argento’s son in the 2004 film The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, which she directed.
Bennett says he has left the film industry altogether and is now focusing on his music. Argento has yet to comment on this new development.
UPDATE: Argento released a statement to journalist Yashar Ali, who posted it on Twitter on Tuesday morning (August 21).
“I strongly deny and oppose the contents of the New York Times article dated 20 August 2018, as circulated also in national and international news,” said Argento in the statement.
“I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false. I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.
“I was linked to him during several years by friendship only, which ended when, subsequent to my exposure in the Weinstein case, Bennett – who was then undergoing severe economic problems and who had previously undertaken legal actions against his own family requesting millions in damages – unexpectedly made an exorbitant request from me. Bennett knew my boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, was a man of perceived wealth and had his own reputation as a beloved public figure to protect.
“Anthony insisted the matter be handled privately and this was also what Bennett wanted. Anthony was afraid of the possible negative publicity that such person, whom he considered dangerous, could have brought upon us. We decided to deal compassionately with Bennett’s demand for help and give it to him. Anthony personally undertook to help Bennett economically, upon the condition that we would no longer suffer any further intrusions on our life.
“This is, therefore, the umpteenth development of a sequence of events that brings me great sadness and that constitute a long-standing persecution. I have therefore no other choice but to oppose such false allegations and will assume in the short term all necessary initiatives for my protection before all competent venues.”
IN THIS WEEK’S “Spacey doesn’t sell” story, this past weekend, Spacey’s latest film, Billionaire Boys Club, was released in a scattered 11 theaters across the country and opened with a historically-low box office total.
According to estimates, Billionaire Boys Club pulled in a total of $618 in its first three days of release, with a remarkably low $126 in its first day.
No, there are no zeros following that. Some quick math will really put this all into perspective. If you take the per-theater-average for the weekend, Spacey’s film earned just over $56 at each location. Take the nationwide average ticket price of just over $9, and you see that just about 6 people went to see the film at each theater over the entire weekend. Of course, there’s no way of knowing how many screenings were done at each location, but it’s fair to say that there were some empty theaters showing ‘BBC.’
For those not familiar with the film, Spacey starred as a crooked businessman who becomes entangled with some upstart financial hotshots that created the titular group. The film is based on a true story and starred Taron Egerton, Ansel Elgort, and Spacey. Billionaire Boys Club was expected to be a fairly major release when it was in production, but the controversy surrounding one of its stars quickly shelved the film and forced the under-the-radar release.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Top Gun 2 additions” story, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris and Lewis Pullman have been set to join the cast of Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the iconic original that is in the works at Paramount Pictures. They join a cast toplined by Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Glen Powell, Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller in the pic, which Joseph Kosinski is directing.
The film is slated for release July 12, 2019. Teller plays the son of Maverick’s former partner Goose (played by Anthony Edwards), in the 1986 original. The plot is mostly under wraps but it follows Cruise’s Pete Mitchell who is now an instructor at the Top Gun school and taking Teller under his wing.
The script was written by Peter Craig, Justin Marks and Eric Warren Singer. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing with Cruise and Skydance’s David Ellison.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Who dat?” story, Nicole Kidman is transforming for her new film.
Destroyer, the new film from The Invitation director Karyn Kusama, stars Nicole Kidman as a cop haunted by her past. Kidman underwent a surprising transformation for the part, and the first official Destroyer image has the actress appearing almost unrecognizable. Check out the Destroyer first look below, and learn more about the film.
If you saw Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation, I’m going to guess you’re pretty excited for her next film. The Invitation is a slow-burn wonder – a creepy, unsettling and masterfully directed thriller that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. After watching The Invitation, I had one thought: “Let Karyn Kusama make all the movies.” Kusama’s latest is Destroyer, a drama described by the TIFF synopsis as “a contemporary and gritty noir in a verité Los Angeles.”
“We always knew that what we wanted her to look like was a real middle-aged woman with a past that she wears on her face,” Kusama told Vanity Fair. “With sun damage and sleep deprivation and stress and rage, just in her whole physical body.” Kusama goes on to describe Destroyer as “a character study in disguise as a cop thriller,” adding:
“We’ve all loved bank robbery stories as a place to start, because they almost never go well…There’s a kind of particular American madness to thinking you’ll be the one who gets away clean. We were really focusing on characters who weren’t criminal masterminds, but fringe dwellers of American society. Yet they still hold out the hope that they’d beat the system.”
Kusama is once again working with the Invitation writers Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (who is also Kusama’s husband). “[Matt and I] had some of the basic ideas for Destroyer over 10 years ago,” Hay tells VF. “At some point, we have a critical mass and realize that’s a story we want to tell. Karyn, obviously we really want her to do it, and she always knows what we’re up to in an increasingly specific way. We write and we give it to her, and then we start the collaborative process with the three of us.”
The synopsis: “We first meet [Erin] Bell (Kidman) as she arrives at a murder scene, the type of place you sense she’s been many times before. She’s beaten down by the job — rough around the edges would be an understatement. This current case recalls a previous one, and a previous life too painful to remember. In an attempt to thwart violent bank robberies, Erin and her then partner, Chris, spent months undercover with a young gang of criminals, reminiscent of Bigelow’s Bodhi and his band of surfers. Though still haunted — her daughter would say numbed — by her past, reconnecting with it is the only way for Bell to right old wrongs and find a way forward… or at least a way out.”
I really want to see this one. The Invitation is such a great film, so I’m look forward to this for sure.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Movie tidbits” story, Hans Zimmer will be scoring the Wonder Woman sequel, Wonder Woman 1984.
– Crazy Rich Asians is getting a sequel – obviously.
– Michael Pena is cast as Dora’s father in the live action Dora the Explorer. Eva Longoria is playing Dora’s mother.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Whether we like it or not” story, director Adam Wingard says Netflix is prepared for a sequel to Death Note. But, is anyone else?
Mixed reviews which the first film received indicates that many felt like, ‘no’, but that isn’t about to stop the streaming service from moving forward with a sequel to the film.
Buried in a THR report about Netflix’s movie division was the news that they’re developing a sequel to DEATH NOTE, which Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos called a “sizable” success. Greg Russo, an up-and-coming writer attached to the reboot of RESIDENT EVIL and MORTAL KOMBAT, is said to be writing the script.
Based upon the popular manga series by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows Light Turner (Nat Wolff), a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook which grants him the power to kill any person simply by writing down their name on the pages. Helping him uncover the mysteries of the Death Note is Ryuk (Willem Dafoe), the bored demon who dropped the Death Note into the human realm in the first place. Of course, you can’t just kill scores of people without someone trying to stop you, and in Death Note, that person is L (Lakeith Stanfield), a highly intelligent and skilled detective who is determined to capture Light and end his reign of terror. The first film was helmed by Adam Wingard, who will be directing the upcoming GODZILLA VS. KONG, and he’s previously said that he pitched the project to Netflix as a potential franchise.
Adam Wingard said that the goal was for there to be two or three Death Note movies, and as the first film ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, I suppose there are some who will be excited that the story will continue. “We kept it open as a sequel. When I went to Netflix initially, I pitched it as at least a two-film series, maybe three, knowing this was the origin story,” Wingard continued. “We definitely designed the film so it plays a closed loop. Sequels are never guaranteed. They have to be earned…”
Maybe remind Netflix of that? Thanks.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Robots vs Zombies?” story, Kornél Mundruczó has been tapped to direct Inherit the Earth, Variety has learned. The science-fiction film has been in development for several years at Sony Pictures in different iterations.
At one point, Ouija: Origin of Evil director Mike Flanagan had been attached to write and direct the film. Inherit the Earth was initially picked up as a spec script by the studio in 2011. Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes was heavily involved in the project.
At the time, the film was described as centering on Earth’s last survivor, a young girl, and the group of robots who protect her from a pack of highly evolved zombies. It was inspired by a graphic novel. The project is described by insiders as being in very early stages, so it is unlikely to get a greenlight any time soon. It’s also unclear if the plot outlines will change dramatically. The initial deal was made as the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Sony’s own Zombieland had spurred intense interest in all things undead.
Mundruczó’s wife, Kata Weber, will write the new screenplay. The Hungarian actor and director’s credits include Jupiter’s Moon, White God, and Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project. Weber wrote the screenplays for Jupiter’s Moon and White God, and has acted in several films.
Hey, if robots fight zombies in this movie, I’m in.
IN THIS WEEK’S ” Bond Exit” story, in an unexpected move, Danny Boyle has left James Bond 25 as director, citing the ever so common ‘creative differences’.
“Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig today announced that due to creative differences Danny Boyle has decided to no longer direct Bond 25, the 007 Twitter account posted on Tuesday.
MGM and Annapurna Pictures had dated the film for Nov. 8, 2019, with Universal handling international rights. It is unknown whether Boyle’s exit will have any effect on the release date or production, which was expected to begin in December.
Universal was set to release the film in the U.K. on Oct 25, 2019.
Sources tell Variety Eon and Boyle were in the early stages of casting the new Bond girl and villain prior to the December production start. Producers will now look to act quickly to find Boyle’s replacement.
Prior to Boyle’s hiring, Eon and MGM had looked at directors that included David Mackenzie, Denis Villeneuve, and “White Boy Rick helmer Yann Demange were in contention for the job and it is unknown if producers would turn back to one them for the job.
Sam Mendes directed the previous two installments, which became the highest-grossing movies in the series, with “Skyfall hauling $1.1 billion globally and “Spectre” earning $880.7 million at the worldwide box office. Mendes said after the most recent Bond movie that he would not continue directing films in the 007 series.
Back to square one, then.
UPDATE: On the directors list now that Danny Boyle is out: Sources have told Deadline that one of the directors the producers are looking at is Jean-Marc Vallee to take on the latest Bond adventure. The director is most known for his Oscar-nominated movies Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, while his HBO shows Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects have received mountains of praise. Deadline notes that even though he’s someone on the list, Vallee may not be available to direct due to scheduling.
Another name on the list is reportedly Edgar Wright, who has expressed an interest in directing a Bond movie in the past. He’s currently riding a wave after last year’s Baby Driver was one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, cracking $100 million at the box office. He still has yet to solidify his next project, although a sequel to Baby Driver has been mentioned here and there.
IN THIS WEEK’S “Shitty news about Guardians of the Galaxy 3″ story, Production for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has been put on a temporary hold, with Marvel and Disney dismissing the handful of crew members who had assembled in Atlanta for pre-production.
Those crew members, numbering less than 20, have been told that they are free to look for other work, a source told Variety on Friday.
Disney and Marvel had no comment on the latest development, which comes a month after James Gunn was fired due to dozens of years-old tweets
The film was expected to go into production at the start of 2019, but the project has never been dated for a release. Gunn’s original script is still expected to used for the next film.
IN THIS WEEK’S “More color, please” story, Jennifer Esposito is to star alongside Gary Oldman in supernatural thriller Mary.
The NCIS and Blue Bloods actress will play a character named Lydia in the independent feature, according to sources close to the production.
The cast includes Oscar-winner Oldman and Emily Mortimer, with Michael Goi (American Horror Story) directing from a screenplay by Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows).
The story centers on a a struggling family that buys an old ship at auction with high hopes of starting a charter business, only to discover her horrifying secrets once in isolated open waters.
It is set for release in 2019.
Esposito has raised issues of discrimination in recent weeks, claiming she has been overlooked for roles because she is Italian-American.
In a Facebook post, the actress said: “Have a question for my actor friends — ever get totally blocked by casting directors?
“In the last month, I was told I was not white enough for five different jobs… Not getting a job is one thing, but not even being allowed in a room to have an opportunity is another.”
Esposito is also set to co-star with David Arquette in Apalachin, a story about the famed meeting of the heads of the mafia in 1957 in New York state. Currently filming, a release is planned for 2019.
It’s insane that this is still a problem in 2018. “Not white enough”? WTF?
IN THIS WEEK’S “Now THAT’S method” story, Francis Ford Coppola has backed a theory by Winona Ryder that she and Keanu Reeves might be married.
The director of the film, which starred Ryder and Reeves, corroborated Ryder’s story that a wedding scene involving the pair could be legally binding.
After filming concluded, Coppola said he was unhappy with a stylised version of the scene and decided that “having the real wedding ceremony as it might be in that religion [Greek Orthodox Christianity] would be beautiful”.
He then filmed a ceremony in a Greek Orthodox church in Los Angeles with a real priest. “This is pretty authentic and I think very beautiful, because we actually did the ceremony and had the priest do the ceremony.,” Coppola said. “So in a sense, when we were all done, we realised that Keanu and Winona really are married as a result of this scene and this ceremony.”
Ryder first suggested the idea at the weekend to Entertainment Weekly, : “We actually got married in Dracula. No, I swear to God, I think we’re married in real life. In that scene, Francis [Ford Coppola] used a real Romanian priest. We shot the master and he did the whole thing. So I think we’re married.”
Footage of the ceremony is spliced in the film with the death of a friend, who has been turned into a vampire. Ryder and Reeves drink from a goblet and are blessed with a wreath of white roses before kissing energetically.
Neither is seen speaking, and it is unknown whether the priest is using the pair’s real names or their characters’.
Well, ain’t that a kick in the head?
And IN THIS WEEK’S “Johnny is back” story, Johnny Depp has claimed he punched a film crew member on the set of City of Lies in self-defense in a new lawsuit filed last week.
In the documents obtained by TheWrap, Depp said his actions were “provoked” by Gregg “Rocky” Brooks.
“The acts complained of by Plaintiff were provoked by Plaintiff’s unlawful and wrongful conduct in that Plaintiff willfully and maliciously acted out and conducted his activities in such a manner as to cause, Defendant Depp to fear for his safety, and according to Defendant Depp’s observations, Defendant Brad Furman for his safety,” read the lawsuit.
Moreover, the documents read, “the Complaint and each of its causes of action are barred, or recovery reduced, by Plaintiff’s own carelessness, recklessness and/or negligence.”
Brooks, who said he was working as a location manager on the film, filed a suit in July that claimed things got ugly during a shoot at the Barclay Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the suit, permits for the shoot initially allowed for exterior shooting at the hotel until 7 p.m. and inside the hotel until 10 p.m. An extension was granted, and at 10:50 p.m. they were asked to make the current shot the last exterior shot of the night. Brooks said that he was told to instruct Depp of the request, but wanted an on-set LAPD officer to assist him in doing so because he knew Depp “may become upset.” Before he could enlist the officer’s help, however, Brooks’ suit said that Depp accosted Plaintiff and began attacking him, angrily screaming in his face ‘WHO THE F— ARE YOU? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO!’”
According to the complaint, Depp also “angrily and forcefully punched Plaintiff twice in the lower left side of his rib cage and causing pain.”
When Brooks maintained his composure, the suit said, Depp yelled that he would give Brooks $100,000 to punch him in the face. According to the suit, Brooks still didn’t react, and Depp’s bodyguards physically removed the actor from the scene.
LOL. Depp is still insane.
What a week. But hey, there’s another one next week!