Gus van Sant’s PROMISED LAND, which stars Matt Damon as a natural gas salesman looking to exploit the resources in a small American town, is heading to Berlin, where it will have its international premiere in competition at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival.

The drama, which also stars Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook, will be the fourth Van Sant’s film to feature in Berlin’s line-up.

The screenplay is written by Damon and Krasinski based on a story by Dave Eggers, known for the best-selling memoir A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS.

One of his book ZEITOUN has been optioned by Jonathan Demme, who is working on a screenplay for an animated film-rendition of the work. The story is of a Syrian immigrant in New Orleans who was helping neighbors after Hurricane Katrina when he was arrested, imprisoned and suffered abuse.

Eggers published his most recent novel, A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING, in July 2012. In October of that year, the novel was announced as a finalist for the National Book Award.


Announced as Festival de Cannes 2013 opening night…

Baz Luhrman’s screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire, as narrator Nick Carraway, is based on the 1925 F. Scott Fitzerald novel.

In France, the famous publisher Gallimard will publish a comic novel, transposition of the novel in Shanghai in the early twenty-first century.


The Israeli film maker Ari Folman next film, The Congress. is loosely based on a story by Stanislaw Lem, THE FUTUROLOGICAL CONGRESS, a 1971 black humour science fiction novel detailing the exploits of the hero of a number of his books, Ijon Tichy, as he visits the Eighth World Futurological Congress at a Hilton Hotel in Costa Rica. The book is Lem’s take on the common sci-fi trope of an apparently Utopian future that turns out to be an illusion.

Folman first gained attention with his animated film Waltz With Bashir. The Congress has Robin Wright, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Paul Giamatti, and Danny Huston set to star. The story follows an “actress who makes a deal that changes her future in ways she could never predict.”

What makes The Congress stand out is that it will feature some live-action mixed in with the animation.

Stanislaw Lem was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is known as the author of the 1961 novel SOLARIS, which has been made into a feature film three times.


The movie, due to be released on June 2013, is based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks. Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a worker at the United Nations, as he searches the globe for information that can stop the zombie outbreak that is bringing down nations.

Brooks’ book WORLD WAR Z : AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ZOMBIE WAR, which deals with the war between the human race and zombies, was released in 2006. Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights with Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B Entertainment producing the film. Brooks was not willing to write the screenplay for the motion picture, as he feels he is not an accomplished enough screenwriter to “do it right”.


Saving Mr. Banks is an upcoming biographical drama film about the production of the popular 1964 Walt Disney Studios film Mary Poppins. The film will star Tom Hanks as filmmaker Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers, directed by John Lee Hancock from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. Walt Disney Pictures will release the film on December 20, 2013.

It took Disney 14 years to persuade a reluctant Travers to relinquish the rights. The resulting film, released in 1964, won five Academy Awards including best actress for Dame Julie Andrews.

But Travers was so horrified by the film that she wept through the world premiere. From that day until her death in 1996 she railed against Disney for “betraying” the character and producing a film that was “all fantasy and no magic”.

The new film is titled Saving Mr Banks, a reference to the Disney scriptwriters’ attempts to write the character out of the story as they drifted from Travers’s original plot.

Travers, who died in 1996, became a rich woman thanks to the film royalties but refused to work with Disney again. The new film is a Disney production.

Her experience with Hollywood executives was so bruising that she agreed to a Mary Poppins stage musical by Sir Cameron Mackintosh on the proviso that “no Americans” be involved in its creation.


You will hear also of Kelly Marcel (the one who wrote the script « Saving Mr Banks) as she has also been hired by Universal and Focus to write the script of the international best-seller 50 SHADES OF GREY by E.L. James. Apparently E.L James received $ 3 million, something not seen since the DA VINCI CODE.

The books (there are three in total) deal with the relationship between billionaire Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, a college student who meets him when she steps in for a friend to conduct an interview with him.  It literally began as “Twilight” fan fiction that then got tweaked and rewritten by author E.L. James so it could stand alone.  Whoever they hire for director is going to have a very tough gig, because the MPAA is notoriously skittish about sexually-themed material, and this is going to be one of the biggest mainstream treatments of a bondage-and-domination based relationship that anyone’s ever attempted.  There’s pretty much no way to approach this without getting an R, and there’s no way Universal is going to want this to end up with an NC-17….

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