Film Bits: RIP ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Director Jonathan Demme (1944-2017)

Academy Award Winning Director Jonathan Demme Dies at 73

Filmmaker Jonathan Demme died this morning of unknown causes. He was 73. Demme got his start in the 70s, helming the exploitation classic, Caged Heat. His big break came in 1984 when he filmed the now legendary concert documentary Stop Making Sense for the Talking Heads. Widely considered one of the greatest concert docs of all time, he rode its success to glory, culminating in directing the Oscar award winning film, Silence of the Lambs, which earned Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Two years later, he would direct Tom Hanks in the groundbreaking Philadelphia, the film most largely credited with turning Hanks into the serious actor he is today. In 2006 he returned to concert documentaries for Neil Young: Heart of Gold, which presented a stark and intimate portrayal of the Americana legend, also recorded as one of the great concert docs ever made. Demme’s career was long and fruitful, and through it all he consistently pushed the boundaries of the cinematic arts. His legacy will be felt for years.

Watch First Trailer for ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

The first trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released, showcasing all the absurd, high octane superspy action of its predecessor. Set to the dulcet sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” the film looks to take us deeper into the explosive world of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbon’s comic book series. Along for the ride this time are Halle Berry, Julianne Moore, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges, any one of whom would be an amazing addition to the cast but, together, form a wall of excellence that’s sure to bring this sequel to great heights. We’ll know for sure when The Golden Circle hits theaters on September 22.

(20th Century Fox)

Jeff Goldblum Confirmed for ‘Jurassic World’ Sequel

Jeff Goldblum has officially been confirmed for the sequel to Jurassic World, reprising his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park and its sequel, The Lost World. He’s joining stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in the J.A. Boyana directed sequel to 2015’s worldwide box office smash. Plot details are being kept firmly under wraps at this point, though there has been speculation that the film will explore the weaponization of dinosaurs themes introduced in the previous movie. Dr. Malcolm will surely have a thing or two to say about that, which makes his presence all the more exciting. Jurassic World 2 is currently slated for release on July 22, 2018.


Madonna Biopic Optioned; Singer Unhappy

Universal has optioned the screenplay for Blond Ambition, which was number one on 2016’s Black List, highlighting the best unmade scripts circulating Hollywood. The film, written by Elyse Hollander, chronicles the rise of singer Madonna in the 1980s as she makes her first record deal and adjusts to a life in the spotlight. Shortly after the announcement was made, the singer took to social media to dismiss the production of the film, saying, “Only I can tell my story.” Whether or not that hampers production remains to be seen, but the Madonna story is certainly rife with details befitting a cinematic experience. As of yet, no one is attached to star or direct.

(Deadline, Instagram)

‘The Lion King’ Remake Adds Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen

The live action remake of The Lion King seems to have found its Timon and Pumbaa. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are in final negotiations to join the cast as the memorable meerkat and warthog, respectively. They join director Jon Favreau and stars Donald Glover, as Simba, and James Earl Jones, who reprises his role as Mufasa from the 1994 animated hit, widely credited with ushering in Disney’s last golden age. Disney remakes have proved profitable for the studio; their latest, Beauty and the Beast, has surpassed a billion dollars at the global box office and shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, live action, in this case, seems a bit of a misnomer as the remake will essentially be an advanced CGI production. Favreau also directed The Jungle Book, which was a mixture of live action and CGI techniques.


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