We’re writing this a good two weeks
before “The Matrix Reloaded’s” May 15
bow, so we can’t really know how it’s doing
at the multis.
We’re lying. We can see the keystrokes on the mainframe.
Warners has likely just commissioned the construction of
a very large vault to store all the money.
“Reloaded” ends with much unresolved, so the
anticipation surrounding “The Matrix Revolutions,” its
Nov. 5 sequel, should be proving maddening to the faithful.
The “Revolutions” plot was being kept very
hush hush so as not to spoil any “Reloaded” surprises,
but we know it features pretty much all of the creative
elements involved in the first sequel. “Revolutions” returns
from the first two films writer-directors Andy and Larry
Wachowski, as well as leads Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss,
Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving. Others making the
leap from “Reloaded” to “Revolutions” include
Jada Pinkett Smith (“Ali”), Monica Bellucci
(“Irreversible”), Nona Gaye (“Ali”),
Harold Perrineau (“Woman On Top”), Daniel Bernhardt
(“Blood Sport II: The Next Kumite”), Harry
J. Lennix (“Collateral Damage”) and Matt McColm
A month after the “Revolutions” release, Reeves
will go from “The Matrix” to the medical ward.
The actor plays an emergency room doctor in an untitled
Sony comedy written and directed by Nancy Meyers and due
to hit screens Dec. 12. Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton
co-star in the project, which began lensing Feb. 5. The
story concerns a successful man in late midde-age who,
following a heart attack, falls for the mother of his much
younger girlfriend. Reeves plays the doctor who treats
him and also falls in love with the Keaton character. Jon
Favreau (“Daredevil”), Paul Michael Glaser
(TV’s “Starsky and Hutch”), Frances McDormand
(“Laurel Canyon”), Amanda Peet (“Identity”)
and Norwegian movie vet Per Christian Ellefsen co-star.
Reeves will also star in “Thumbsucker,” an
indie adaptation of the Walter Kirn novel about a young
man with a severe oral fixation. Written and directed by
Mike Mills, the film co-stars Elijah Wood (The “Lord
of the Rings” trilogy) in the title role, Tilda Swinton
(“Adaptation”) as his mother and Scarlett Johansson
(“Eight Legged Freaks”) as his girlfriend.
The Good Machine production has to be fingered for U.S.
Constantine” is based on a DC-owned character created
by Alan Moore in the pages of “Swamp Thing,” and
is described as the “Dirty Harry of the occult world.” Reeves
has reportedly signed to play the title character, and
the movie’s story is said to team John Constantine
with a female cop. Music video director Francis Lawrence
(POD’s “Alive,” Shakira’s “Whenever
Wherever”) was reportedly set to make his feature
directorial debut. Warner Bros. plans a Dec. 1, 2004 release.
Carrie-Ann Moss, meanwhile, has already
Zero,” a thriller about an FBI agent who discovers
that another agent is acting as a vigilante, taking out
serial killers. E. Elias Merhige (“Shadow of the
Vampire”) directs from a screenplay by Zak Penn (“PCU,” “Behind
Enemy Lines,” “Reign of Fire”) and Billy
Ray (“Color of Night,” “Hart’s
War”). Moss’ co-stars include Ben Kingsley
(“Tuck Everlasting”), Aaron Eckhart (“The
Core”), Frank Collison (“The Majestic”),
Kevin Chamberlin (“Road to Perdition”), Julian
Reyes (“Mi Vida Loca”), William Mapother and
another Matrixulate, Harry J. Lennix. Paramount expects
to release it next year.
Warner Bros., for its part, intends
to remain firmly entrenched in the Laurence Fishburne
business. Situated between “Reloaded” and “Revolutions” is
the Oct. 3 release “Mystic River,” a crime
drama about three childhood friends who all find themselves
murder suspects when one of their daughters is found slain
in a state park. Based on the novel by Dennis Leanne (“Prayers
For Rain”), the project was directed by Clint Eastwood
(“Space Cowboys,” “Blood Work”)
from a screenplay by Brian Helgeland (“Blood Work”).
Fishburne stars with Kevin Bacon (“Trapped”),
Sean Penn (“I am Sam”), Tim Robbins (“The
Truth About Charlie”), Marcia Gay Harden (“Pollack”),
Laura Linnet (“The Life of David Gale”), and
Emmy Possum (“Songcatcher”). The bow is Oct.
Fishburne is also set to write, direct and star in “The
Alchemist.” It follows the journey of self-discovery
undertaken by a traveler who ventures beyond Spain during
the Inquisition, trying to understand man’s purpose
on the planet. Warner Bros. has yet to plumb the mysteries
of scheduling a release date.
Fabulous Italian import Monica Bellucci
is set for a couple of films where she’ll play famous historical women. “Asterix
And Obelix: Mission Cleopatra” finds her playing
the title temptress in this French-language comedy about
the Egyptian queen, who bets Caesar she can have a palace
built in three months. It’s a sequel to the international
hit “Asterix and Obelix Vs. Caesar” and based
on the 1965 comic book by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.
Actor Alain Chabat (“The Taste of Others”)
makes both his feature directorial and screenwriting debuts.
Gerard Depardieu (“C.Q.,” “City of Ghosts”),
Christian Clavier (“Astérix & Obélix,” “Two
Brothers”), Gerard Darmon (“For Sasha,” “The
Good Thief”), Jamel Debbouze (“Amelie”),
Claude Rich (“Season’s Beatings”), Edouard
Baer (“Terror Firmer,” “Alias Betty”)
and Chabat co-star. Miramax has rescheduled this one repeatedly,
but did not at press time have a release date for it.
Bellucci then plays a prostitute reformed
by Jesus Christ, no less, in “The Passion,” directed by Mel
Gibson (“Braveheart”) from a screenplay by
Benedict Fitzgerald (“Wise Blood”). The Aramaic-
and Latin-language film details the final hours and crucifixion
of the religious figure. James Caviezel (“The Count
of Monte Cristo,” “High Crimes”) stars
as Jesus, Maia Morgenstern (“Nostradamus”)
as Mary and Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The film has yet
to secure a domestic distributor.
Hugo Weaving has been working like
mad on two multi-part franchises in Australia and New
Zealand. The other one, “The
Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King,” is the
final installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord
of the Rings” trilogy and reveals the identity of
the true King of the West, the outcome of the Great War,
and the fate of Frodo and Sam in the dungeons of Mordor,
and takes the One Ring to the Crack of Doom. For more details,
kindly consult last month’s Next!
Co-starring in “The
Human Stain” with “The
Matrix Reloaded’s” Harry J. Lennix are Anthony
Hopkins (“Bad Company,” “Red Dragon”),
Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”), Ed Harris (“A
Beautiful Mind,” “The Hours”), Jacinda
Barrett (“Urban Legends: Final Cut”), Wentworth
Miller (TV’s “Popular”), Anna Deavere
Smith (“The American President”), Kerry Washington
(“Bad Company”) and Gary Sinise (“Impostor”).
It’s a drama about 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 novel by Philip Roth
(“Goodbye, Columbus,” “Portnoy’s
Complaint”), it was directed by Robert Benton (“Kramer
vs. Kramer,” “Twilight”) from a screenplay
by Nicholas Meyer (“Sommersby”) and Roth. Miramax
hopes to leave a mark Sept. 26.
“Reloaded’s” Lambert Wilson appears
as Lord Arnaut in “Timeline.” The contemporary
science fiction thriller is about an amusement park entrepreneur
who becomes trapped in time while visiting 14th-century
France. Based on the 1999 novel by Michael Crichton (“The
Lost World,” “The 13th Warrior”), it’s
directed by Richard Donner (“Lethal Weapon 4”)
from a screenplay by George Nolfi, Frank Capello and Jeff
Maguire (“In the Line of Fire”). Wilson’s
co-stars include Paul Walker (“Joy Ride,” “2
Fast 2 Furious”), Gerard Butler (“Reign of
Fire,” “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle
of Life”), Frances O’Connor (“Windtalkers”),
Neal McDonough (“Minority Report”), Ethan Embry
(“Sweet Home Alabama,” “They”),
Billy Connolly (“White Oleander”), Matt Craven
(“Dragonfly,” “The Life of David Gale”),
Anna Friel (“Me Without You”), David Thewlis
(“Gangster No. 1”), Marton Csokas (“Kangaroo
Jack,” “Garage Days”) and Michael Sheen
(“Wilde,” “The Four Feathers,” “Heartlands”).
Paramount finds time for it November 26.
“On_Line” co-stars “Reloaded” player
Harold Perrineau. Learn more of it here.
“Matrix” fight choreographer Woo-ping Yuen
is set to make his English-language directorial debut – from
a screenplay by Bruce McKenna (the HBO mini-series “Band
of Brothers”) – on “The
Hands of Shang Chi,” a Marvel Comics-based
project at DreamWorks. Set in China, the story revolves
around a young kung fu
master who discovers his father is a criminal mastermind,
and resists joining the family business. No cast or release
date is set.