Lick­ing Hitler the Scot­tish way

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - 36 NEWS/CHARTS - Michael Dwyer md­wyer@ir­ish-times.ie

IR­ISH pro­ducer Frank Man­nion has lined up Alan Cum­ming to play Adolf Hitler and Ti­mothy Spall as Win­ston Churchill in the wartime com­edy Jack­boots on White­hall, which be­gan shoot­ing this month and also fea­tures Rosamund Pike, Richard E Grant and Tom Wilkin­son. Based on the premise that Ger­many won the Bat­tle of Bri­tain but was de­feated by the Scots, the film marks the di­rect­ing de­but of Ed­ward McHenry, who wrote the orig­i­nal screen­play with his brother, Rory.

“It’s one of the fun­ni­est scripts I’ve ever read in a long time, with a de­light­ful twist in the end,” says Man­nion. “It’s bound to amuse au­di­ences with its re­vi­sion­ist view of his­tory.”

Man­nion, who is from Car­low, worked as an en­ter­tain­ment lawyer be­fore pro­duc­ing Grand Theft Par­sons, star­ring Johnny Knoxville, and runs his own Lon­don­based dis­tri­bu­tion com­pany, Swipe Films.

Austen ma­nia set for 2007

Jane Austen wrote just six nov­els, but there have been 10 cin­ema or TV adap­ta­tions of her work since 1995 alone, in­clud­ing four ver­sions of Pride and Prej­u­dice. Five more Austen adap­ta­tions are due in 2007, with new TV pro­duc­tions of Northanger Abbey (which was shot in Ire­land), Mansfield Park (with Bil­lie Piper as Fanny Price) and Per­sua­sion, and two ver­sions of Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity, one for Bri­tish TV and the other the Latino cin­ema adap­ta­tion, Sense and Sen­si­bil­i­dad.

That’s not all. Anne Hath­away plays the young Austen in the Ir­ish-shot Be­com­ing Jane, which opens in March. And Maria Bello, Kevin Zegers, Jimmy Smits, Emily Blunt, Ellen Burstyn and Hugh Dancy fea­ture in an­other 2007 re­lease, The Jane Austen Book Club, in which six Cal­i­for­nian Austen ad­mir­ers find that their re­la­tion­ships re­sem­ble 21st-cen­tury ver­sions of sit­u­a­tions in her nov­els.

We­in­steins cover all bases

Hav­ing re­cently an­nounced their plans for a new com­pany to dis­trib­ute faith-based movies, for­mer Mi­ra­max own­ers Bob and Har­vey We­in­stein have sched- uled a slasher movie, Black Christ­mas (which opens in Ire­land to­day and is re­viewed on page 14) for a Christ­mas Day re­lease in the US. This prompted LA Weekly colum­nist Nikki Finke to re­mark: “And the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try won­ders why it con­tin­ues to have a huge PR prob­lem as pro­mot­ers of garbage? Show­biz mar­ket­ing calls this counter-pro­gram­ming. Still, I don’t un­der­stand: just how many dis­turbed hu­man be­ings does The We­in­stein Com­pany think ac­tu­ally want to go see a gory movie on De­cem­ber 25th?”

Best feet for­ward

The team re­spon­si­ble for char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment in Happy Feet, the an­i­mated eco-com­edy-mu­si­cal, in­cludes Eoin Mur­phy, a DCU grad­u­ate in com­puter science who is from Dun­drum. Hav­ing worked at Dublin’s Wind­mill Lane Stu­dios and as an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant in Spain and Italy, Mur­phy was head­hunted by di­rec­tor Ge­orge Miller’s Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion team on Happy Feet, which has been one of the most suc­cess­ful an­i­ma­tion re­leases of 2006.

An­jel­ica at jour­ney’s end

In a pub­lic in­ter­view at the Na­tional Film Theatre in Lon­don last week, An­jel­ica Hus­ton said that her next role will be her third for writer-di­rec­tor Wes An­der­son, fol­low­ing The Royal Te­nen­baums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zis­sou.

“I’m go­ing to work with him again in Fe­bru­ary,” Hus­ton said. “I’m go­ing out to In­dia. He’s got a movie called The Dar­jeel­ing Lim­ited, about three brothers on a train in search of spir­i­tual en­light­en­ment. I come on at the end of the movie. He tells me I’m the Cap­tain Kurtz of the movie. He’s send­ing me small bronze casts of nuns like Mother Teresa, so I’m a lit­tle wor­ried, but we’ll see.”

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