REEL DEALS Even Jedi knight Ewan McGregor thought ”Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace” could have been better. ”One of the things about ‘Episode I’ [that] I was slightly disappointed by was, I thought it was… kind of flat,” he said Monday in an interview on UK movie cable channel FilmFour. The Obi-Wan Kenobi portrayer said that will be much more like the original ”Star Wars” trilogy. ”I think there is much more humor and there is much more color in ‘Episode II,”’ he said. Let’s hope he’s not talking about Jar Jar Binks….
Variety reports that Russell Crowe may reteam with Ridley Scott, who directed his Oscar-winning performance in ”Gladiator,” for the movie ”Tripoli.” Scott is set to direct the tale of American military involvement in North Africa in the early 1800s. Crowe is shooting another period drama, the Patrick O’Brian sea story ”Master and Commander,” this summer, so he could conceivably join Scott for ”Tripoli” in the fall. However, Crowe still has a lot on his plate, including commitments to make the boxing biopic ”Cinderella Man” for Miramax and Universal, and to make his directing debut on the World War II drama ”The Long Green Shore” for Intermedia….
Looks like will be re-membered after all. Nine weeks after MGM refused to let call July’s spy spoof sequel ”Austin Powers in Goldmember” because the title allegedly infringed on the copyright of its James Bond classic ”Goldfinger,” the Bond studio is ready to relent. MGM had also objected three years ago to the title ”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” but New Line filed a proper appeal with the Motion Picture Association of America, which it failed to do with ”Goldmember.” New Line did, however, get MPAA approval for such possible new titles as ”Live and Let Shag,” ”You Only Shag Thrice,” ”Never Say Member Again” and ”License to Shag.” Since the MPAA was going to let New Line parody 007 one way or another, MGM has relented, on the condition that New Line splice trailers for ”Die Another Day” (the upcoming Bond film) and other MGM movies to prints of ”Goldmember” and New Line’s still-popular ”The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” All this is assuming that the Broccoli family, which produces the Bond movies, approves the deal….
It seems ”Gangs of New York” just can’t win against Dreamworks and Tom Hanks. One of the reasons Miramax decided last weekend to push the long-delayed Martin Scorsese epic from July 12 back to December was to avoid opening on the same day as ”Road to Perdition,” DreamWorks own period gangster drama; it stars Hanks and Paul Newman and is director Sam Mendes’ follow-up to ”American Beauty,” so it’s also a possible Oscar contender. But now that ”Gangs” is opening Christmas week, its star Leonardo DiCaprio will be facing off against himself, in Dreamworks’ ”Catch Me If You Can,” a crime drama directed by Steven Spielberg and co-starring DiCaprio and Hanks. At least DiCaprio is used to competing against himself; his ”Man in the Iron Mask” opened in the spring of 1998, only to be sunk by his three-month-old ”Titanic.”…
He spent years playing a guy investigating his sister’s disappearance. Now, ”X-Files” star David Duchovny will play a man investigating his mother’s murder. He’ll star as hard-boiled crime novelist James Ellroy in ”My Dark Places,” an adaptation of the ”L.A. Confidential” author’s memoir about his effort to solve the mystery of his mother’s 1958 slaying, some four decades after the fact. ”I was 46 when I reinvestigated my mother’s murder, and it’s odd to see someone who doesn’t resemble me physically in the least playing me,” Ellroy tells Variety. ”But I met David for the first time… on Saturday, and he impressed me as a sharp and alert guy. I’ve no doubt he can pull it off.” Director Robert Greenwald (”Steal This Movie”) will shoot the film in Los Angeles in June….
For the first time since ”The Postman” five years ago, Kevin Costner is returning to the director’s chair. He’s shooting and starring in ”Open Range,” a western co-starring Robert Duvall. Shooting begins in June in Calgary. Let’s hope he’s learned the lesson of ”Postman” and ”Wyatt Earp”: keep it under three hours, please.