Tag: Leonardo DiCaprio

Our First-Look at Tom Wolfe’s ‘The Right Stuff’ Is Here!

Last June 20th was the anniversary of the first moon landing. Would you believe that it happened back in 1969? Were you even alive back then? Well, you get your chance to live through it vicariously or re-live it when National Geographic’s original drama series The Right Stuff comes out.

In the meantime, we have the first look-trailer available below.

 

 

Wow! Can you believe it when retired Navy test pilot Dave Kennedy said, “What we did today is to try to give our actors exposure to the real world of experimental flight test. It’s important when a production understands how important it is to get this kind of exposure”?

Guess Gendry really is going to space!

For those, looking for a bit more context, stick around and scroll down.

Now if you think this story or the title is familiar, don’t worry you’re not going crazy.

Well, maybe you are, I’m not a medical doctor.

Either way, it was confirmed a long time ago that the first season will use Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name as its starting point, meaning the show will begin at the height of the Cold War.

 

Tom Wolfe's 'The Right Stuff'
Image Via Amazon
 

Published in 1979, The Right Stuff follows the United States’ efforts in the early days of the space race, focusing exclusively on the first operational manned space-flight program. Codenamed Project Mercury, the program involved a group known as the “Mercury Seven,” whose members included Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.

See, early space tests actually rarely required humans to be on board, but in order to ‘give the space mission a human face’, it was decided that humans would be on board anyway. This made celebrities out of those who became known as the Mercury Seven.

The book focuses on the astronauts’ personal lives and individual stories as opposed to the more technical aspects of the space race, pondering the question of “Why?”—hence the title The Right Stuff.

 

The Right Stuff
Image Via IMDB
 

The book was adapted into the 1983 film. Directed by Philip Kaufman, the film starred acting giants Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, and Sam Shepard as well as many others. Despite its status as a box office failure, the film received widespread critical acclaim and went on to earn eight Oscar nominations, four of which it won. Those were Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound.

In 2013, the film received the honor of being selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

 

image from 'The Right Stuff' (1983)

Image Via Rodgerebert.com

However, the film adaptation has been criticized for numerous historical inaccuracies, including having Jack Ridley show up in 1963 even though in real life he died in 1957. More humorously, however, the film ends with the narrator stating: “on this glorious day in May 1963 [Gordo Cooper] was the last American to go into space alone,” when, in fact, Joe Walker flew into twice after Cooper in July and August of that same year.

But what film can be completely accurate? Even at 3 hours and 13 minutes, the film does the best it can.

But what if it was a TV show?

This was the question Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way…

… and Warner Horizon Scripted Television asked, and thus they are now the producers behind this new TV show.

 

 

Now we find ourselves here, getting ready to watch the first-look trailer again.

For an extensive look at the cast list and the producers, click here to learn more! Since I wrote the article, however, I will unashamedly steal the closing joke:

Hopeful this show grabs our hearts and takes them to…...to infinity and beyond!

IMAGE VIA WALMART

Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, Florida and is set for a 2020 premiere on National Geographic.

 

 

Featured Image Via Laughing Place

7 Actors Who Were Nearly In Your Favorite Adaptations!

A lot of your favorite adaptations of books and comics could have a lot differently if different people were cast or, even crazier yet, involved.

Maybe these adaptations would have been better, maybe they would have been worse, maybe they would have been so different that you’d be watching a totally different movie!

I’ll leave the opinion on how the film would have turned out to you, but there are seven popular adaptations that would have gone a lot differently, to say the least, if we had these people starred in the film instead.

7. Batman Returns

 

Batman dancing
Image Via SBS

A now infamous event cemented in movie history, Sean Young wanted to play Catwoman, and I mean she REALLY wanted to be Catwoman. Tim Burton’s Batman was an international sensation that brought the caped crusaders back into public consciousness, permanently making him an icon who was, well, not the Adam West version. Tim Burton’s Batman legacy wouldn’t even exist without the weirdness of Batman Forever or the campiness of Batman and Robin!

Granted, many (myself included) blame the camp of the Joel Schumacher follow-ups on the fact that Batman Returns was so bloody dark, which led the studio to freak out and making Val Kilmer say the line, “I’ll take drive through.” Before Batman Returns, hit theaters, it had quite an interesting production process. Batman Returns. It starts with Tim Burton’s Batman, believe it or not.

 

Sean Young
Image Via Gazette Review

Sean Young was cast as Vicki Vale, but was forced to drop out after breaking her arm during rehearsals for 1989 film. As a result, she really wanted to be in Batman Returns, and I mean she REALLY wanted to be a part of the movie. So much so that she visited the production offices dressed in a homemade Catwoman costume, demanding an audition. Reportedly, Tim Burton wasn’t on set.

Michelle Pfeiffer ended up getting the role.

Sorry Sean Young. At least she’s a good sport about it. Recently she’s quoted as saying:

If these Warner Bros. executives now were really good businessmen, they’d let me play Catwoman today, and I’d make a smash amount of money

If you want a look at Sean Young as Catwoman, she also appeared on the Joan Rivers Show in costume.

 

 

6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie poster
Image Via Amazon

Johnny Depp has been accused of basing his performance as Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s remake of the Roald Dahl story, on Michael Jackson. In response, Depp said the similarities to Jackson never occurred to him, but instead compared Wonka to Howard Hughes due to his “reclusive, germaphobe, controlling” nature. Regardless, it’s fitting that Michael Jackson almost played the eccentric character.

In Randall Sullivan’s Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson, the author recounts how Jackson “recorded an original soundtrack for the film at a small studio in Los Angeles” and showed Warner Brothers the soundtrack.

They loved it, agreed to pay anything for it, but he said he would give it to them for free as long as he was cast as Willy Wonka.

The book quotes Marc Schaffel, Jackson’s executive producer:

I think Tim Burton wanted Johnny Depp all along, but the reason Warner Brothers gave, when I pressed them, was ‘We can’t have this guy starring in what would be a children’s movie. As a marketable idea, it doesn’t work’

Jackson refused to give them the soundtrack unless he was Willy Wonka. Not a background character, not a supporting character, not one of those Oompa Loompas…

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Oompa Loompas
Image Via Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Wiki – Fandom

…just Willy Wonka.

Warner Brothers refused, and Jackson shelved the soundtrack. This is unfortunate, especially since Marc latter notes that he’s sure that the soundtrack “would have won [Jackson] an Academy Award”

5. American Psycho

American Psycho

Image Via Amazon

The movie based on Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial book spent years in development in hell, after once Mary Harron was brought on board everything seemed like it was fine. Mary Harron would be the director and word around the street was Christian Bale would star as Patrick Bateman.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio

Image Via IMDB

Behind closed doors, however, Lionsgate was interested in pursuing Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role, arguing Bale was not famous enough.

 

 

However, Harron was refusing to meet with DiCaprio and told the studio she thought DiCaprio was too boyish and wouldn’t fit because the actor had become a full blown teen idol following Titanic and Romeo + Juliet.

 

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman
Image Via Amazon

Going forward with DiCaprio, the actor drafted a shortlist of replacement directors, including Oliver Stone, Danny Boyle, and Martin Scorsese. Stone was brought aboard, but could not agree on the film’s direction. Luckily, Harron and Bale came back under the agreement that the budget would not exceed $10 million and DiCaprio departed at the behest of his agent to, you know, not play a probable serial killer.

4. X-Men

X Men movie poster
Image Via IMDB

Let’s cleanse our palates by going back to the first X-Men. Comic book adaptations weren’t taken seriously at the time, but with the smash hit of Blade, a rated R comic book movie staring a black man, Fox was aching just to make bank on a Marvel property they had newly acquired.

They had to get the casting just right, but Michael Jackson once again danced his way and wanted a part in this movie too. As who? you might be wondering?

 

 

Well, unless you already know you’re not going to guess it. Let’s just hear what screenwriter David Hayter – a key component of Fox’s early X-Men movie franchise –has to say:

Michael Jackson came in because he wanted to play Professor X. It was amazing.

 

Would it? I have no idea how that would have played out.

All in all, Professor X owns a school of mutants and Michael Jackson wanted to play him.

 

3. Twilight

Twilight
Image Via Amazon

While not as dramatic as the other two, Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for a role in Twilight. As a young actress, she was going around Hollywood trying to get roles. Of her experiences auditioning before she made it big, she says “You just get like five pages [at the audition] and they’re like, ‘Act monkey.’”

 

Jennifer Lawrence
Image Via Boston Magazine

Lawrence also admitted that she hadn’t the slightest idea that Twilight would turn into such a big deal, adding back in December 2012 in an interview with The Guardian that:

I remember when the movie first came out, seeing Kristen Stewart on the red carpet and getting papped wherever she went…I had no idea Twilight would be such a big deal. For me, and I’m assuming for her, it was just another audition. Then it turned into this whole other thing.

If Jennifer Lawrence was cast, does that mean that Kristen Stewart could have been Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games?

 

2. Spider-Man

Spider-Man movie poster

Image Via Amazon

? Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a Spider can

Spins a web, and he’s lots of fun

Hold up, he was almost Michael Jackson?

Yep, before Tobey was cast, Michael Jackson wanted to be the man whose playing a high school student behind the mask.

 

 

Stan Lee himself revealed that Jackson had met with him “a number of times“.

In fact, he (Jackson) came to my house once with his son, and I remember my wife took care of his son for about an hour while Michael and I were talking.

Here’s a clip below.

 

 

Jackson wanted to be Spider-Man, but upon learning that Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man along with Steve Ditko, didn’t own the rights to the character, he wanted to buy Marvel. Obviously that deal never went through, but there’s a universe out there where Jackson doesn’t own the rights to the Beetles songs but instead owns Marvel.

 

1. Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

Image Via LOTR Wiki – Fandom

Lord of the Rings has been adaptation twice with Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 cartoon adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson’s award-winning trilogy, but we also got another adaptation. Do you know by who?

Well, speaking of the Beatles…

 

The Beatles

Image Via Grammy

In 1963, the Beatles accepted a three-movie deal offered by the United Artists production company, however only made two movies: the mockumentary A Hard Day’s Night and the adventurous James Bond parody Help!

Their third film was never made, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have some wacky ideas, and when I say ‘ideas’ I mean one idea.

They wanted to make an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on Tolkien’s work, which they would honor “by creating an epic psychedelic adaptation that would feature their original songs“.

 

Stanley Kubrick

Image Via Zocalo Public Square

The Beetles dream of having the director SpartacusLolita, and Dr. Strangelove Stanley Kubrick. He said ‘no’, believing it was too complex for the silver screen, and opted to focus on 2001: A Space Odyssey.Meanwhile, the Beetles didn’t even have the rights to make the movie. They were confident, however, when they spoke to J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

J R R Tolkien

Image Via Variety

He declined, and the project was dead in the water.

 

Now I know I said before that “I’ll leave the opinion on how the film would have turned out to you,” but I don’t care. This would have been awesome.

 

 

Featured Image Via Time Magazine

Gendry from ‘GoT’ Is Going to Space in ‘The Right Stuff’!

Gendry in Game of Thrones has been cast in the TV adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling nonfiction book The Right Stuff!

 

Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff

Image Via Goodreads

 

This 1979 nonfiction book follows the United States’ efforts in the early days of the space race, focusing exclusively on the first operational manned space-flight program. Codenamed Project Mercury, the program involved a group known as the “Mercury Seven,” whose members included Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.

 

 

The book details how the Mercury Seven became the faces of early space tests which rarely required humans to be on board before, adding a more human element to the missions, and making celebrities of a handful of military test pilots.

As a result of this decision, the book focuses on the astronauts’ personal lives and individual stories as opposed to the more technical aspects of the space race, pondering the question of “Why?”—hence the title The Right Stuff.

 

The Right Stuff 1983

Image Via Rotten Tomatoes

 

The book was adapted into the 1983 film of the same name, directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Sam Shepard, and many others. The film was a box office failure, but it received widespread critical acclaim and went on to earn eight Oscar nominations, four of which it won: Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound.

In 2013, the film received the honor of being selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Despite this, the 1983 film has been criticized for numerous historical inaccuracies, including having Jack Ridley show up in 1963 even though in real life he died in 1957. More humorously, however, the film ends with the narrator stating: “on this glorious day in May 1963 [Gordo Cooper] was the last American to go into space alone,” when, in fact, Joe Walker flew into twice after Cooper in July and August of that same year.

 

Appian Way

Image Via MrOwl

 

To be honest: Of course the film would have inaccuracies. No film can be completely accurate, and at 3 hours and 13 minutes, the film does the best it can.

“Maybe it should be a TV series instead?” Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television seemed to have asked and, lo and behold, it shall become one.

 

Mark Lafferty

Image Via Zimbio

 

Here’s the behind the scenes: Mark Lafferty, producer on Castle Rockwill also serve as showrunner with DiCaprio, Jennifer Davvisson, producer of The Revenant, and Will Staples serving as executive producers. Shout out to Michael Hampton, who shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way. Thank God for him!

 

 

And now Deadline is reporting that Joe Dempsie, who was Gendry in Game of Thrones, and Jake McDorman from the horror-comedy What We Do in the Shadows, have been cast, completing the Mercury Seven.

Here’s the people who will make their way on the small screen:

 

Jake McDorman

Image Via IMDB

 

Jake McDorman, from What We Do in the Shadows fame, will portray one of the best test pilots in Navy history: the furiously competitive Alan Shepard.

 

Joe Dempsie

Image Via Newsweek

 

Joe Dempsie, our own Gendry from Game of Thrones, will portray the youngest of the seven: Lieutenant. Gordon Cooper.

 

Patrick J Adams

Image Via TV Guide

 

Patrick J. Adams, who played Rex Tyler/Hourman in Legends of Tomorrow and Mike Ross in Suits, will portray revered test pilot and committed family man: Major John Glenn.

 

Aaron Staton

Image Via Mad Men Wiki – Fandom

 

Aaron Staton, from Narcos: Mexico, will portray the competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks: Wally Schirra.

 

James Lafferty

Image Via Heightline

 

James Lafferty, from The Haunting of Hill House, will portray the soulful Scott ‘The Poet’ Carpenter.

 

Micah Stock

Image Via Zimbio

 

Micah Stock, from Escape at Dannemora, will portray the quiet but incredibly intelligent pilot and engineer: Deke Slayton.

 

Michael Trotter

Image Via IMDB

 

Michael Trotter, from Underground, will portray Gus Grissom, a no-nonsense test pilot who eventually becomes the second man in space.

 

 

Hopefully this series will give each of the seven their due respect in sharing their respective stories. Are you excited? I know I am, because not only will this series adapt The Right Stuff, but word is that subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the epochal Apollo Space Program, from Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon and beyond.

Hopeful this show grabs our hearts and takes them to…

...to infinity and beyond!

Image Via Walmart

Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, Florida and is set for a 2020 premiere on National Geographic.

 

 

Featured Image Via Navy Medicine Live

‘Akira’ Adaptation Gets Release Date!

Taika Waititi’s adaptation of the classic manga, Akira, is set to open May 21st, 2021.

 

AKIRA

Image Via Mycomicshop.com

Set in post-apocalyptic Tokyo, this cyberpunk story revolves around teenage biker gang leader Kaneda, militant revolutionary Kei, a trio of Espers, and Neo-Tokyo’s military leader Colonel Shikishima to prevent Tetsuo, Kaneda’s mentally-imbalanced childhood friend, from using his unstable telekinetic abilities to ravage the city and awaken a mysterious individual with similar psychic abilities named “Akira”.

Initially serialized in the pages of Young Magazine from 1982 until 1990, Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira was collected into six volumes by its publisher Kodansha before Marvel Comics published the book in the United States under their Epic Comics imprint, becoming one of the first manga works to be translated in its entirety into English.

 

AKIRA 1988

Image Via Akira Wiki – Fandom.com

Katsuhiro Otomo adapted his own work, directing the film adaptation in 1988. Akira had a production budget of $9 million, making it the most expensive anime film of its time, but the expense proved to be worth it. The film gained an international cult following following its theatrical and VHS releases, eventually earning over $80 million worldwide from home video sales.

The film paved the way for Japanese popular culture to influence Western culture from animation to comics to film to music to television to video games.

Perhaps it was only inevitable that a live-action adaptation would be made. According to Hollywood Reporter, the film has been in development hell. “Back in 2012, a version that would have starred Garrett Hedlund was shelved, with various filmmakers coming and going on the project that would have been an Americanized version of the story.”

I’m getting Ghost in the Shell flashbacks.

 

Appian Way

Image Via MrOwl

Now Leonardo DiCaprio and Andrew Lazar, through DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, are producing the film with Taika Waititi as director, who “is expected to go a more authentic route, stating back in 2017 that he would want to cast Asian actors in the roles.”

 

Taika Waititi

Image Via Stuff.co.nz

Taika Waititi is known for his Academy Award nominated short film Two Cars, One Night and his masterpieces Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, as well as this little film called Thor: Ragnarok.

Back in 2017, when Thor: Ragnarok was in full swing, Taika Waititi told IGN:

“Yeah. actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent.”

He also told them that:

I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books

Now, according to Empire, Warner Bros. has dated the film for May 21st, 2021, which puts it up against John Wick 4. Given that John Wick 3: Parabellum has already passed $180 million at the box office, this might be a tough fight.

But as Vulture reports, this could be “an excellent idea for a potential crossover sequel if we’ve ever heard one”.

 

 

Featured Image Via IndieWire

Happy Anniversary to ‘The Great Gatsby’!

Happy anniversary to The Great Gatsby! Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, this seminal work was published on this day (April 10th) in 1925, at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald’s novel takes place in the fictional towns of West and East Egg in Long Island, centering around the mysterious billionaire Jay Gatsby as told from the point of view of character Nick Carraway. The novel’s themes harshly critique the decadence of the American lifestyle, deconstructing idealism, social upheaval, hedonism, and resistance to change to reveal Gatsby’s story to be more tragic than aspirational, a cautionary tale about the American Dream itself. Masterfully written, the novel is considered a classic today for its themes, intimate portrait of the characters, and flowing prose.

 

Cover of the Great Gatsby, featuring a pair of eyes and lips over a glowing neon city

Image Via Wikipedia

 

But the American dream was as elusive for Fitzergald as it is for Gatsby: initially, the author’s master work looked like more of a mistake. The book sold poorly upon its release and received mix to negative reviews. Fitzgerald himself died young in 1940, sadly believing that his book was a failure. Of course, the story wasn’t over, even if Fitzgerald’s was. The Great Gatsby received a resurgence in popularity during World War II and today is considered a contender for the Great American Novel. Doubtless you’ve read it in high school, and hopefully, you liked it.

Gatsby has been adapted several times, its most famous ones being two big screen movies in 1974 and 2013. The former starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow while the latter starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire. Although both received mixed reviews, the latter was a massive box office success. Cheers to that!

Happy birthday, The Great Gatsby. We’ll send you off with an appropriate GIF…

 


Gif Via Giphy

Featured Image Via Deadline.