With $80 million
in the domestic till after three short weeks of release, Panic
Room marks a return to box office form for its two main draws,
Jodie Foster and director David Fincher. The last films for each
of them Anna and the King and Fight Club,
respectively had scarcely recouped half of their $60 million-plus
budgets at the domestic box office, and their careers were not bursting
with the sort of in-development projects players of their caliber
things are heating up, particularly for Fincher. The director, who
once stated hed never work on another sequel in the wake of
his trying experience on Alien3, has reportedly signed
up for more misery with Mission: Impossible III.
Producer/star Tom Cruise is apparently aiming to make the M:I
franchise a haven for directors with distinctive visual sensibilities,
having previously hired Brian De Palma and John Woo to put their
very different stamps on the billion-dollar series. No word yet
on plot or whether Ving Rhames or Anthony Hopkins will reprise their
respective roles as Luther Stickell and Mission Commander Swanbeck.
career, meanwhile, is disturbingly dependent on injured Australians.
Her directing project, Flora Plum, set in the world
of circus performers and starring Claire Danes, was sidelined when
costar Russell Crowe injured his knee. She got the Panic Room
role when Aussie Nicole Kidman was similarly afflicted. Barring
perhaps some sort of Cate Blanchett hunting mishap, the only confirmed
project on the actress to-do list is the third computer-generated
animated feature from Pacific Data Images and DreamWorks. Tusker
follows the adventures of a small team of elephants as they cross
Southeast Asia on a mission to save their herd from marauding poachers.
Besides Foster, those adding their voices to the herd include Gary
Shandling, Dana Carvey and Morgan Freeman. Tim Johnson (Antz)
directs from a screenplay by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Small
Soldiers, The Road to El Dorado, Shrek).
DreamWorks expects to take it out of the trunk sometime in 2003.
In the meantime, Foster is slated to return to the big screen June
14 in the long-completed Thinkfilm release The Dangerous Lives
of Altar Boys. One can read more about the Foster-produced
film in the preview
section of last months In Focus.
plays the least odious of the home invaders in Panic Room.
Hes also the only one getting any work. He answers a law enforcement
calling in Phone Booth. He plays police captain
Rayme in the thriller, set in New York, about a womanizing media
consultant chosen as an assassins target: he is told that
if he hangs up the payphone hes talking into, a sniper rifle
will put a bullet in his brain. Joel Schumacher (Tigerland,
Bad Company) directed from a screenplay by Larry Cohen
(Body Snatchers). Colin Farrell (Harts War,
Minority Report) stars as the man in the booth; aside
from Whitaker, Farrells costars include Ron Eldard (Black
Hawk Down, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood),
Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black) and Katie Holmes (Wonder
Boys). Fox rings it up Nov. 15.
Whitaker goes to work for British Intelligence in The Fourth
Angel. Based on the novel by Robin Hunter (True
Story of the Paras: The Red Devils at War), the thriller follows
a man seeking vengeance against the terrorists who murdered his
family. John Irvin (City of Industry) directed from
a screenplay by Allan Scott (The Preachers Wife).
Whitakers castmates include Jeremy Irons (The Time Machine),
Elizabeth McGovern (The House of Mirth, Twice
Upon a Yesterday), Jason Priestly (Eye of the Beholder),
Charlotte Rampling (The Cherry Orchard), Kal Weber (the
TV miniseries Painted Lady), Lois Maxwell (A View
to a Kill), Brionny Glassco (A Kiss Before Dying)
and Garrick Hagon (Mission: Impossible). Though it opened
across Europe in 2001, Artisan has yet to set a U.S. release date.
David Koepp will have to add a directors chair to the furniture
in his personal panic room. After the success of Panic
and the Koepp-scripted Spider-Man, he will write and
direct The Secret Window, based on a Stephen
King novella. This third Koepp-directed feature (the previous being
The Trigger Effect and Stir of Echoes) is
a thriller about a writer stalked by a stranger who claims the writer
stole his story. Sony has yet to divulge any casting or release
is in Panic Room (as Fosters ex-husband) just
long enough to get severly beaten. He can repair himself with his
next role in Secretary. He plays Dr. Twardon
in the unorthodox romantic comedy about a man who involves his secretary
in increasingly twisted games of bondage and domination. Steven
Shainberg (Hit Me) directed this adaptation of a Mary
Gaitskill short story from a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson.
James Spader (The Watcher) stars as the domineering
man, Maggie Gyllenhaal (40 Days and 40 Nights) as the
secretary. Bauchaus other costars include Jeremy Davies (Up
at the Villa), Stephen McHattie (BASEketball),
Oz Perkins (Not Another Teen Movie), Jessica Tuck (The
Devils Advocate), Amy Locane (Going All the Way),
Lesley Ann Warren (Trixie), Mary Joy (Girls Town),
Michael Mantell (A.I. Artificial Intelligence), Sabrina
Grdevich (A.I. Artificial Intelligence), Lily Knight
(The Amati Girls), Lacey Kohl (How the Grinch
Stole Christmas) and Julene Renee (Titanic). It
won the special jury prize for originality at this years Sundance
festival. Lions Gate sends it to work in New York and L.A. Sept.
Magnuson, who plays real estate agent Lydia Lynch in Panic Room,
is also onscreen currently in Night at the Golden Eagle.
Next, she takes up residence in The United States of Leland.
Its a drama about a teacher (Don Cheadle) at a juvenile detention
facility who must untangle the mystery of 15-year-old Leland, who
murdered an autistic child and claims that he committed the act out
of sadness. Matthew Ryan Hoge makes his feature directorial debut
from his own screenplay. Magnusons costars include Ryan Gossling
(Remember the Titans), Kevin Spacey (The Shipping
News), Lena Olin (Queen of the Damned), Jena Malone
(Life as a House), Maria Arcé (Next Friday),
Michelle Williams (Dick), Chris Klein (We Were Soldiers),
Martin Donovan (Insomnia) and Sherilyn Fenn (Just
Write). Its produced by Spaceys Trigger Street Productions
and has yet to line up a distributor.