LOS ANGELES, Oct 17, (Agencies): With actors not turning up on set, crew sicknesses, equipment going missing and unpredictable weather, the filming of war drama “Beasts of No Nation” is fast becoming a captivating tale in itself. “There were distinct, daily moments where I sat there completely demoralized, thinking this is going to be a complete failure,” filmmaker Cary Fukunaga told Reuters ahead of the film’s simultaneous release on Friday in US theaters and online streaming platform Netflix Inc.
“Beasts,” written, directed and produced by Emmy-winning Fukunaga, follows a pre-teen boy named Agu, whose happy, simple life with his family is suddenly and violently torn apart as a civil war breaks out in the unnamed West African country.
Agu, played by newcomer Ghanaian actor Abraham Attah, escapes death but is captured and recruited by the mercenary Commandant (Idris Elba) and his rag-tag army of child soldiers.
Sitting at an upscale hotel in Los Angeles earlier this week, Fukunaga laughed a little as he reflected on the strenuous film shoot in Ghana.
He credited British actor Elba, the only professional actor in the cast and of half-Ghanaian descent, from helping to get approval for the shoot, to portraying a conflicted villain on screen.
“He brought humanity in a way that was unexpected for that role,” the director said.
While the story is fictional, Fukunaga said he channeled the real brutality of war in scenes of jarring violence — in one moment, Agu swings a machete into a man’s skull.
“Maybe it’s too much for some people, but I think it’s necessary to not sugarcoat the brutality, to not sugarcoat the actions of these children,” he said.
“Even then, I think I could have been more severe sometimes.”
“Beasts” was independently financed with a budget around $6 million, before being acquired by Netflix as the platform’s first original film.
Fukunaga said he wasn’t worried about the film finding its audience given Netflix’s 65 million subscribers, and while “it was always going to be a struggle to get people to go to the cinema,” he hoped that audiences would opt to see it on big screens.
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos told Reuters this week that he was not concerned about the violence in “Beasts” limiting its audience — the film was “already a success in terms of the amount of coverage and excitement around it.”
Colin Hanks’ directorial debut, “All Things Must Pass,” turned Sunset Boulevard into memory lane Thursday night for its Los Angeles premiere at Harmony Gold.
For seven years, Hanks worked on the documentary that laments and celebrates the Sacramento-based record chain that grew from his hometown into an American retail powerhouse.
“I remember buying ‘Blood Sugar’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was the formative record for me on my musical path, which I bought at Tower Records,” he said.
After closing all of its domestic locations in 2006, the record store reopened for one night only for “All Things Must Pass” at LA’s iconic Tower Records location on Sunset Boulevard.
James McAvoy is set to join Charlize Theron in the Focus Features’ spy thriller “The Coldest City,” sources tell Variety.
“John Wick” director David Leitch recently announced he would be helming the pic rather than “John Wick 2,” which will be helmed by his partner Chad Stahelski.
Kurt Johnstad penned the pic about an undercover MI6 officer turns up dead on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and a female super spy by the name of Lorraine Broughton (Theron) must find the list he was smuggling into the West — a log containing the names of every espionage agent working undercover in Berlin. Broughton delves into an underground world of counter-intelligence, defections gone awry and secret assassinations to recover the list, risking her own life to save the lives of the British agents. But, in this world of deceit and double-crossing, one never knows who is working for whom or can really be trusted.
Focus acquired the film at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Production is set for a November shoot in Budapest and Berlin.
The pic will be produced by Denver and Delilah Productions, Oni Press and Sierra Pictures
Martin Scorsese is planning a fresh chapter in his four-decade partnership with Robert De Niro with a new movie called “The Irishman”, the veteran US director said Friday.
The pair have collaborated since the early 1970s on some of Hollywood’s best-loved and most influential movies, including “Goodfellas” and “Raging Bull”, which won De Niro his second best actor Oscar.
Speaking at the Lumiere film festival in the eastern French city of Lyon, 72-year-old Scorsese confirmed they were planning to team up again for their first feature-length film since gangster and gambling epic “Casino” in 1995.
“It’s a film called ‘The Irishman’ — we’re still working on all the details,” Scorsese said. “Bob and I are trying to work on our schedules and the finance.”
But before starting work on the film he has two other projects in the works — “Silence”, a film about Christian missionaries in 17th-century Japan and “Vinyl”, a series for HBO about the record industry in the 1970s.
Scorsese is set to co-produce the TV series with legendary Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. The pair have been mulling the project since the late 1990s and had originally envisaged it as a movie.
The director, known for gritty crime movies liberally spiced with swearing and graphic violence but also original, imaginative cinematography, says he has no plans to stop work.
“I don’t know, as many as I could make,” he said when asked how many more movies he planned to make.