Matt Damon is committed to participating in a eight-part documentary series for Showtime from James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, The Hollywood Reporter confirms.
Weintraub and Showtime declined to comment and Cameron did not return a call. However, sources say there is a deal with the pay TV service, but it is in the early stages, with financing and delivery date still to be determined.
The documentary, which is meant to show the human element of climate change, will be produced by David Gelber and Joel Bach, both of whom have worked at the CBS magazine show 60 Minutes. It is a timely subject in the wake of hurricane Sandy.
In addition to being a movie star and an Oscar winning screenwriter, Damon is also an active environmentalist and philanthropist. He is one of the founders of the Not On Our Watch Project, along with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, David Pressman and Weintraub. The group brings global attention and resources to prevent mass atrocities.
Damon has a range of charitable efforts. He’s a founder of what is now Water.org, a charitable group that works to provide clean water in Africa, and is a supporter of the One Campaign, aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty in the third world. He is also an ambassador for OneXOne, a non-profit that works to improve the lives of children. He’s been a spokesperson for Feeding America, a hunger relief organization. Additionally, he hosted and narrated the PBS Special Journey to Planet Earth, about the work of Lester Brown and other thoughtful environmentalists.
Damon’s upcoming movies include HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, which stars Michael Douglas as Liberace; and Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant, which he co-wrote with John Krasinski, Once again dealing with a controversial environmental subject, Promised Land, is about using “fracking” to produce oil. It is expected to get a limited release in late December.
Weintraub is a well-known Hollywood producer whose credits include Nashville, Diner and the Ocean’s 11 movies. He is also a philanthropist and in 2010, published a memoir written with Rich Cohen, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man.It was also the basis of a 2011 HBO documentary, His Way.
When Avatar became a hit in 2009, Cameron came under fire from some on the right who claimed the movie was actually about the environment. The movie tells the story of an indigenous tribe whose land is taken by a big company that wants to exploit the resources. For the film’s home video release, Cameron partnered with Twentieth Century Fox, the environmental group Earth Day Network and others to promote the movie’s DVD release by planting a million trees.
Cameron has also done documentaries in the past that have explored the environmental impact of climate change in the oceans, and has lobbied governments including Canada to take the issue of climate change seriously.
Matt Damon, David O. Russell and Jeff Skoll have been chosen by the Independent Filmmaker Project to receive career tributes at the 2012 Gotham Independent Film Awards on November 26.
“It is with pride and great pleasure that we give tribute to these three luminaries, each of whom plays an amazing role in expanding the language of film, breaking boundaries along the way,” said IFP executive director Joana Vicente. “Each has a unique voice and clearly defined vision of cinema for today’s generation, bringing perspective and relevance to the film world today.”
The honors will be presented along with seven competitive awards at the organization’s 22nd annual event, which will take place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
Damon, Russell and Skoll, the philanthropist and social entrepreneur who founded Participant Media, were chosen because of their independent film roots and support for independent visions. Damon has the socially conscious drama “Promised Land,” which was produced by Participant, hitting theaters in January through Focus Features, while Russell’s latest, “Silver Linings Playbook,” opens in November through the Weinstein Co.
Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace biopic being produced by HBO. Set to be released in 2013.
Steven Soderbergh is directing Behind the Candelabra from a screenplay by Richard LaGravenese. The story follows Liberace’s relationship with Scott Thorson, that lasted from 1977 to 1982. Liberace consistently denied allegations that he was homosexual throughout his career. He died of AIDS in 1987.
Behind the Candelabra comes to theaters in 2013 and stars Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Debbie Reynolds, Boyd Holbrook, Cheyenne Jackson. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh.
From Vanity Fair and the photo by Norman Jean Roy:
As Gordon “Greed is good” Gekko in Wall Street, Michael Douglas personified and immortalized money on the make. Now, improbably, inspiringly cast as the capering prince of the piano Liberace—!—in the upcoming HBO original film Behind the Candelabra (produced by the legendary Jerry Weintraub and directed by Steven Soderbergh, hot off the beefcake sizzle of Magic Mike), Douglas plays money dolled up for an eternal night on the town. Like Elvis Presley, another poor boy and social outcast who was glory-bound (each had a twin who died at birth!), Wladziu Valentino Liberace, born in 1919, rocketed through the gray flannel of the 50s in a riot of color, pomade, and mascara. Elvis’s gold lamé suit and Liberace’s sequined jackets could be spotted from outer space—“I’m glad you like it,” he would say after modeling his latest outfit onstage. “You paid for it”—and exploded out of the postwar closet of Puritan repression. Only, in Liberace’s case the closet held more than his wardrobe. Lee (as his friends called him) was a camping, vamping gay man who never “came out,” inhabiting pop culture’s original glass closet. As Dave Hickey writes in his essay “A Rhinestone As Big as the Ritz,” “Liberace’s closet was as democratically invisible as the emperor’s new clothes…. Everybody ‘got it.’ But nobody said it.” Until the shattering came. In 1982, Liberace’s former live-in chauffeur, bodyguard, secretary, and boy toy, Scott Thorson (portrayed by Matt Damon under a sandy thatch of 70s hair), sued for “palimony” and later wrote the memoir on which this movie is based. Liberace would die of aids in 1987, but his extravagant legacy lives on through Elton John, Lady Gaga, and the diamond skull of Damien Hirst.
On Set pictures:
In August, Focus Features surprised many Oscar prognosticators by setting “Promised Land” for release on Dec. 28. The decision could make the new drama a major awards player, if only because of its pedigree: Matt Damon and John Krasinski wrote the screenplay (from a story by Dave Eggers) and Gus Van Sant directs. The first film co-written by Damon and a fellow actor that Van Sant directed was “Good Will Hunting.” (The pair, along with Casey Affleck, also collaborated on “Gerry,” but you can forget about that one for now.)
For those still not convinced of “Promised Land’s” Oscar bona fides, Focus has released a new trailer for the film that manages to both highlight the human drama and timeliness of its story. Damon stars as a natural gas company salesman who tries to convince the denizens of a rural town to sell their farms for the purposes of fracking. Some agree, but not Krasinski, playing a well-meaning farmer, nor Hal Holbrook’s wizened town elder, a role that many are marking for an Oscar nomination.
Whether “Promised Land” makes a big push for Oscar is obviously to be determined, but the film — which combines elements of “Good Will Hunting,” “Michael Clayton” and “Erin Brockovich” — should certainly be an audience favorite, especially if this new trailer is any indication. Watch above, or head over to Apple to check out “Promised Land” in HD.
Matt’s new movie project is “Promised Land” could be hitting theaters this year! Here’s the article from IndieWire:
Could Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon be headed back to the Oscars? That could be the case if word on their latest collaboration, “Promised Land,” bears out.
The folks over at The Film Stage picked up on a recent feature article on the film in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that dropped a handful of interesting nuggets about the upcoming movie, which was co-written by and co-stars John Krasinksi alongside a cast that includes Frances McDormand, Hal Hobrook, Rosemarie Dewitt, Scoot McNairy and Titus Welliver. Perhaps the biggest bit of info is that Krasinski reveals the movie could be in “a small number of theaters” by the end of the year. Van Sant had already put together an assembly cut during filming, and “is editing the movie and will huddle with his fellow producers and others at summer’s end and tweak the movie through the fall.” Putting those small clues together, our guess is that “Promised Land” will have some kind of awards consideration run, before a wider release in 2013. As for a festival appearance in the fall? We reckon it’s a possibility.
As for the film itself, it will find Damon playing Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by economic decline in recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. As you might guess from that logline, there is an environmental angle at play, and early on, there was one word around the interwebs that the movie was an “anti-fracking” screed (fracking is essentially the process by which water and chemicals are blasted to separate rock layers to extract gas and oil). But not so, says Krasinski.
“Fracking for us became a backdrop. The original script was about wind power,” he explains adding about the rumors, “The idea of fracking or natural gas was just a very apropos news story that was beginning to grow a year and a half ago. I just chose that as the background and, of course, that has grown into something quite wild in and of itself.”
So what will the film address thematically? “I don’t want to give too much away, but the situation people are in financially is very, very real. And what they’re protecting is a community and a lifestyle that they believe very, very strongly in,” he explains. “So, for some of the characters in the movie, it’s a choice to give up everything that they are and everything that they have come from, in order for a quick paycheck, which I think is in keeping with a lot of the different opportunities that are going on in the country today, whether it’s the derivative market or anything else.”
In short, the film is more about the values of America today and how they’ve shifted from our parents’ generation, something that Krasinski remembers his father recollecting. The “way he described his upbringing and the country and the community that he grew up in, and how everything was incredibly honorable and loyal and incredibly rather simple in the best way — going to work, having family, having friends, and taking care of what you needed to take care of, and there wasn’t really much else. And someone’s word was as valuable as anything else,” he shares.
Sounds like the kind of big, broad ideas that Oscar loves and with Van Sant at the helm, a script from Damon and Kraskinski and a pretty compelling cast, this one is inching up our list of anticipated movies for 2012. Hopefully we’ll know more soon, but this could be a dark horse for the end of the year.
Finally we have a synopsis of what Elysium is about! Here’s the report from Collider:
Though he spent a few years developing the high profile Halo film that never came to be, director Neill Blomkamp burst onto the film scene in a big way with his stellar 2009 sci-fi pic District 9. Not only did the film include some truly killer effects work, but it was actually about something and tackled social issues like segregation and xenophobia on a sci-fi platform. It’s been three long years since District 9 opened, and fans are eagerly awaiting Blomkamp’s follow-up, the futuristic thriller Elysium. Plot details have been firmly under wraps, but we know that it fits squarely into the sci-fi genre and stars Matt Damon, Jodi Foster, Wagner Moura, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner and Diego Luna.
A full synopsis for Elysium has been brought to our attention, giving us a much better idea of what to expect. The film is apparently screening for preview audiences tonight and the ticket includes a fairly detailed logline for the pic. As with District 9, it appears that Elysium will also be dealing with grander issues than space guns and aliens. Hit the jump to read the synopsis. Elysium is slated to open on March 1st, 2013.
Here’s the synopsis:
In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard the government ofﬁcial, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
The Candelabra was formely known as just “Liberace”, now has a new title and more actors:
Dan Aykroyd’s acting appearances have been pretty randomly spaced out lately, with his recent appearances on-camera including a couple of episodes of The Defenders, which put him opposite fellow former SNL star Jim Belushi. This latest bit of TV casting involving Aykroyd sounds like it might be a more serious role for the actor.
Variety is reporting that Aykroyd is set to join the upcoming HBO TV movie centered on musician Liberace, titled Behind the Candelabra. He joins previously cast Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. Douglas is set to play Liberace, while Damon is set to play his domestic partner, Scott Thorson. And now Aykroyd has been brought on board to play the role of Seymour Heller, “Liberace’s long-time manager who disapproved of his relationship with Thorson.”
I haven’t read Thorson’s memoir, My Life with Liberace, which is the basis for this film, but it sounds like Heller might not be the most likable character. Aykroyd is great at roles that portray him as the friendly guy (see Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters or Elwood Blues in The Blues Brothers), but he’s just as good, if not better, at characters that are meant to intentionally rub you the wrong way (see Roman Craig in The Great Outdoors, Zalinski in Tommy Boy and/or the governor in Evolution). But that’s all based on his comedic work. He’s done drama before (Pearl Harbor, Chaplin), but this sounds like it could be a heavier role. So it should be interesting to see what he does with the part. He’s certainly in good company, and another reason to anticipate this project.
Production is set to begin on Behind the Candelabra this summer.
John Sturges‘ 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven featured an iconic cast that included Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, Horst Buchholz, and Eli Wallach, so it’s only appropriate that the new remake brewing at MGM seems to be collecting some top-level talent as well.
The project’s off to a good start on that front already with Tom Cruise attached to star, and if this new report is to be believed, Cruise is about to get some other high-profile company in the form of Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Costner. However, considering the notoriously unreliable source, that’s a very big fat if.
The U.K. Sun (via Screen Crush) is reporting that Damon’s already boarded the project, while Costner and Freeman are only circling at this point. According to the paper, Damon is set for the role of Vin, the character played McQueen in the original, while Costner is up for the part of Britt, who was previously played by Coburn. Along with Cruise, who’s taking over Brynner’s character Chris, Damon and Costner will comprise part of the titular seven heroes. The group is hired to protect a poor village from a gang of bandits led by the villainous Calvera (Freeman).
The publication quotes a source who says, “MGM are throwing big money at the film and wanted some top names to fill the main parts… You can’t get much bigger than Cruise and Damon.” It’s certainly true that a studio looking for well-known stars couldn’t do better than this roster, but as the Sun‘s record is far from spotless when it comes to this kind of news, I’ll caution you again not to take it as gospel until we get more outside confirmation.
News of MGM’s remake hit last month, when Variety learned that Cruise was the driving force behind this film. While a do-over of such a beloved classic is bound to annoy some fans, it’s worth remembering that The Magnificent Seven is itself a remake, of Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece The Seven Samurai.
Granted, Sturges made the story his own by moving the events from feudal Japan to the Wild West, whereas Cruise’s version will be a more straightforward adaptation that keeps the frontier setting. But if the project really is attracting such noteworthy actors, it’ll be interesting to see what they can do with the material. Though we may be waiting a while — the project doesn’t have a director or screenwriter yet, and with Cruise’s busy schedule it may be some time before he can even find a window to concentrate on this one.
We Bought a Zoo is set to come out on Blu-ray and DVD on April 3rd! You can pre-order your copy at Amazon.com
Matt Damon and his wife Luciana attended the Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Pictures, here are pictures, thanks Olivia from Seth-Gabel.org.