Weekly Round Up: Nicolas Roeg, Birds Of Prey, Chris Pratt

Nicolas Roeg

The biggest news this week is actually some rather upsetting news, so I’ll get it out the way first. Acclaimed filmmaker Nicolas Roeg died at the ripe old age of 90, leaving behind a masterful back catalogue of classic cinema.

For those who don’t know, Roeg was the man behind many a nightmare, his films Don’t Look Now, starring Donald Sutherland, and The Witches, based on the book by Roald Dahl, have been terrifying audiences since their releases, albeit in slightly different ways. While his iconic movie The Man Who Fell To Earth gave us one of David Bowie’s most memorable appearances on film.

It’s a testament to Roeg as a filmmaker that his most famous works are also so drastically different, he spent a career genre hopping and experimenting with film, inspiring countless young filmmakers in the process, and his presence will be sorely missed.

Now, some stupid news.

I’m a fan of old British TV shows. Don’t ask me why, I just am. I love Randal and Hopkirk, Deceased, I’m currently working my way through Brian Clemen’s excellent and underseen ITV anthology show Thriller (seriously, watch it), but one of my all-time favourites has got to be Leslie Charteris’ The Saint.

Starring a pre-Bond Roger Moore, The Saint follows the exploits of one Simon Templar, a Robin Hood type criminal who helps those traditional law enforcement are unable to. Moore’s role in the show has often been cited as one of the key reasons he landed Bond later in his career. Since then there have been several attempts to breath life back into the franchise, perhaps most notably with a 1997 movie starring Val Kilmer, which was met with… mixed reviews.

Well, it looks like Paramount are keen to bring this one back to the fore, and are hoping to cast Chris Pratt in the title role. Despite not resembling Moore or Charteris’ original character, it seems Pratt is eager, what with his own new franchise starter, Cowboy Ninja Viking, now indefinitely on hold, and the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise uncertain.

Look, I don’t mind Chris Pratt, but this is an appalling idea in every conceivable way. If you’re going to reboot The Saint for modern audiences then I’m game, but at least try. Why bother even calling it The Saint if it isn’t going to be, y’know, The Saint. It’s hardly like the title brings in any audience recognition here in 2018, is it?

In other news, DC and Warner Bros’ Harley Quinn movie that isn’t a Harley Quinn movie but so blatantly is a Harley Quinn movie just became even more of a Harley Quinn movie (maybe).

The full title for Birds of Prey was announced this week with an Instagram update from Margot Robbie herself. It would appear that Warner Bros. are going for a Dr Strangelove type of thing here, with the full title being – Birds of Prey (and the Fabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn).

Other than Robbie, who will return to the role she made her own in Suicide Squad (remember that disaster?), Birds of Prey (etc.) will also feature Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jurnee-Smollett-Bell. But I guess they don’t count as much anymore? Hmmmm…

Someone who I might expect a strange and unusual title from is writer/director Wes Anderson (did you like my connect there? I’m quite proud of that one). With a filmography as wonderfully varied and odd as Anderson’s, you can never quite be sure what might be coming next – after all, his last film was a stop-motion animation featuring an all star cast of Hollywood names as talking stray dogs in Japan, so…

Anyway, it would seem Anderson isn’t eager to buck the trend. His new movie will be a French musical set during World War Two. Quite what that means, I’m sure I don’t know. Is it French language? Is it just set in France? Is the dialogue English but the musical part French? I don’t know, I just simply don’t have all the answers. I’m sorry, but we’ll find out soon enough, I’m sure.

Until then, though, we’ll have to make do with the news that Bill Murray will be reuniting with Anderson on this one, alongside other Anderson regulars Adrian Brody and Owen Wilson. Tilda Swinton, who worked with Anderson on The Grand Budapest Hotel, is also rumoured to be starring in the film along with Natalie Portman, who featured briefly in The Darjeeling Limited, and possibly Lea Seydoux. But perhaps the most interesting casting rumour is in the form of Brad Pitt. I, for one, would quite like see Pitt in an Anderson film, he has an Anderson quality. But maybe all of this is a load of bollocks, it is unconfirmed, after all.

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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.


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