Dragon ingested a heaping helping of box office the
first weekend of October, swallowing a $36.5 million three-day
gross the largest October opening in cinematic history.
Its stars have a dessert cart-full of projects opening at
years end, and these can be found a little farther
along in this issue. So, as they wait half an hour before
getting back into box office waters, whats on the
2003 menu for those behind the thriller prequel?
Hopkins, fresh off his third outing as the fastidious cannibal,
moves from Lecter to lectern (and from mastication to matriculation)
for The Human Stain. In the drama, he
plays a light-skinned black college professor who has passed
himself off as Jewish all his life, and who endures charges
of racism when he asks about two chronically absent students:
Do they exist or are they spooks? Based on the
best-selling novel by Philip Roth (Goodbye, Columbus,
Portnoys Complaint), it was directed by
Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer, Twilight)
from a screenplay by Roth and Nicholas Meyer (Sommersby).
Hopkins costars include Nicole Kidman (Birthday
Girl, The Hours), Ed Harris (A Beautiful
Mind), Jacinda Barrett (Urban Legends: Final
Cut), Wentworth Miller (TVs Popular),
Anna Deavere Smith (The American President),
Harry J. Lennix (Collateral Damage), Kerry Washington
(Against the Ropes) and Gary Sinise (Impostor).
Miramax enrolls it in moviehouses during the first quarter.
Fiennes takes off the creepy tattoos and climbs inside the
creepy mind of Spider. The psychological
thriller is about a schizophrenic recovering from a stay
at a mental institution and trying to recover his past.
Based on the novel by Patrick McGrath (Asylum),
it was directed by David Cronenberg (Crash,
eXistenZ) from a screenplay by McGrath (Gentlemen
Dont Eat Poets). Fiennes castmates include
Lynn Redgrave (How to Kill Your Neighbors Dog),
Gabriel Byrne (Ghost Ship), Miranda Richardson
(Get Carter), John Neville (Harvard Man)
and Gary Reineke (Millennium). Sony Pictures
Classics says visiting hours begin Feb. 28.
Norton gives up police work to take on The Italian
Job. The action thriller is about a career criminal
whose plan to steal a large gold bullion supply hinges on
creating the largest and most debilitating traffic jam in
the history of Los Angeles. F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator)
directs from a screenplay by Donna & Wayne Powers. Nortons
costars include Mark Wahlberg (Rock Star, The
Truth About Charlie), Charlize Theron ( Waking
Up in Reno), Donald Sutherland (The Art of War),
Seth Green ( Knockaround Guys), Jason Statham
(The Transporter), Franky G. and Mos Def (Showtime,
Brown Sugar). Universal says buon giorno May
Keitel finds time in his always-busy schedule for Beautiful
Country. The drama follows the son of an American
man and a Vietnamese woman as he undertakes a search for
identity. Hans Petter Moland (Aberdeen) directed
from a screenplay by Larry Gross (Prozac Nation)
and Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line). Nick
Nolte (The Golden Bowl) plays the boys
father. Filming was scheduled to begin in mid-October in
Southeast Asia. Sony Pictures Classics has yet to set a
release date, but informed speculation calls for sometime
Seymour Hoffman stars in Owning Mahowny,
a biographical thriller about a Canadian bank manager who
managed to gamble away a huge account, perpetrating the
largest bank fraud in that countrys history. Richard
Kwietniowski (Love and Death on Long Island)
directed from a screenplay by Kwietniowski and Maurice Chauvet.
Minnie Driver (High Heels and Low Lifes), John
Hurt (Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone),
Maury Chaykin (The Art of War), Matthew Ferguson
(The English Patient) and M.J. Kang (PCU)
costar. Sony Pictures Classics bought the rights at the
2002 Cannes Film Festival and plans to open a branch sometime
Hoffman then joins Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man),
Ben Stiller (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Debra
Messing (Hollywood Ending) in an untitled romantic
comedy written and to be directed by John Hamburg. The film,
set to shoot in mid-November, is about a married, repressed
risk analyst whose life is turned upside down when he gets
involved in a risky romance. It collides with cinemas Oct.
Parker trades in her long-suffering-policemans-wife
role in Dragon for a more comic part in Saved.
The dark comedy is about a girl in a Southern Baptist
high school who finds her pregnancy makes her persona non
grata among her increasingly creepy peers. Brian Dannelly
directed from a screenplay by Dannelly and Michael Urban.
Jena Malone (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys)
stars as the teen alongside Parker, Macaulay Culkin (Richie
Rich), Patrick Fugit (White Oleander),
Heather Matarazzo (The Princess Diaries), Mandy
Moore (A Walk to Remember), Eva Amurri (The
Banger Sisters) and Chris Evans (Not Another
Teen Movie). United Artists tentatively plans a 2003
director Brett Ratner segues from cannibalism, repression
and psychological instability to truth, justice and the
American way to direct a new version of Superman.
The actioner reportedly re-imagines the DC Comics
legend, and features a disgruntled CIA scientific investigator
named Lex Luthor and a planet Krypton that doesnt
explode. As the fanboys on the Internet are already having
at it, it will be interesting to see how much of the screenplay
by J.J. Abrams (Armageddon, TVs Alias)
finds its way onto celluloid. Apparently wanting to see
a less aggressive side of Anthony Hopkins, Ratner has reportedly
cast him as Supermans father, Jor-El. Filming is expected
to start in the spring with a planned Warner Bros. release
in summer 2004.
Sometime after he finishes up with the Man of Steel, Ratner
reunites with the Men of Chop-socky. New Lines Rush
Hour 3 brings back Jackie Chan (The Tuxedo)
and Chris Tucker (Rush Hour 2) for more cross-cultural
unintelligibility sometime in 2004.