Posted on 12 September 2012 by Rich Drees
I am not much of a fan of director Lee Daniels. I hated his debut film Shadowboxer so much that I have had trouble sitting down to pursue his subsequent films. But I am interested in his upcoming film The Butler, based on a newspaper article by Wil Haygood, which tells the story of the head servant (Forest Whitaker) at the White House who looked after its chief residences for over three decades.
Daniels has managed to line up a stellar cast for the project (see below) and one of them, a certain Oprah Winfrey, managed to tweet out a picture of her, Daniels and Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda in their make up for their roles as Ron and Nancy Reagan. While Rickman and Fonda are not the first that would come to mind to play this particular First Couple, I have a feeling that they are going to surprise a lot of people with their performances. (Though I honestly think that the best depiction ever of Nancy Reagan was the scathing version performed by Saturday Night Live cast member Terry Sweeney.)
Additional cast includes John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Robin Williams as Dwight Eisenhower, James Mrsden as John F. Kennedy, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson, Alex Pettyfer, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Jesse Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Vanessa Redgrave, Melissa Leo and David Oyelowo.
Posted on 15 May 2012 by Rich Drees
Is Alan Rickman the new go-to character actor to portray real-life characters from recent history? Yesterday we learned that he will be playing Hilly Kristal, owner of the famous New York City rock club CBGBs for a film about the history of that famed venue. Today we’re learning that for another project, he will be heading down the East Coast a bit to Washington, DC where he’ll be playing former President Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniel’s The Butler.
Daniels’s film will tell of the decades-long career of a White House servant to the President. Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey are set to star while Matthew McConaughey, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard are currently circling the project. The casting of former Vietnam War-protestor Jane Fonda as First Lady Nancy Reagan has spurred protest from some conservative commentators, many of whom never served, or even purposely evaded, active military service.
I know, Kristal and Reagan are pretty far apart from each other as far the types of people they are and the lives they lived. But if there is anyone who can somehow inhabit both roles in such a way that we lose track of the actor himself, I think it could very well be Rickman.
Posted on 14 May 2012 by Rich Drees
Alan Rickman has signed to play Hilly Kristal, the owner of the legendary New York City rock club CBGB’s for a film that will chronicle the venue’s storied history. The film, titled appropriately enough CBGB, is set to be directed by Bottle Shock helmer Randall Miller working from a script he has co-written with Jody Savin.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kristal’s daughter Lisa Kristal Burgman is involved as a co-producer and Miller is hoping to start shooting next month.
If for some reason you’ve never heard of CBGBs, then you should know that shortly after it opened on the Bowery in 1973 it became ground zero for the punk movement in America where such bands as The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Television, the Patti Smith Group and the Cramps first rose to prominence. The club would continue to serve as an incubator for acts up until its closing in October 2006.
Posted on 27 October 2008 by Rich Drees
Alan Rickman is adding his name to the growing list of actors who will be travelling to director Tim Burton’s undoubtedly twisted new interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice In Wonderland. According to an unconfirmed report at MarketSaw, Rickman will be joining the cast as the Caterpillar in Burton’s part-live action, part-motion capture computer animation fantasy.
Rickman will be joining the recently announced Christopher Lee in an unnamed role, Eleanor Tomlinson and Little Britain’s Matt Lucas as twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Composer and longtime Burton collaborator Danny Elfman has announced that he will contributing the music to the film.
Ever since he made his film debut sneering his way through the original Die Hard (1988), Rickman has been an actor whose performances I look forward to seeing. He still remains the gold standard by which all other villains in the Die Hard series fall short of meeting and he is the one good thing in the otherwise deplorable Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (“You. My room. 10:30 tonight. You. 10:45… And bring a friend.”) Even when he is playing against type in films such as The January Man (1989), he manages to be a screen presence that demands attention. His addition makes another strong argument that Burton’s film is going to be a must-see.