Film News

Scott Rudin's Texas bent brings Kimberly Peirce's 'Stop-Loss,' even though it's 'No Country for Old Men' and 'There Will Be Blood'

What Makes Rudin Run (to Texas)?

Looks like Stop-Loss, a sure-to-be controversial war-in-Iraq tale from Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) is almost certain to film in Austin as early as May, and we can thank power player Scott Rudin, a New Yawker who seems suddenly to have a jones for Texas. That's "jones" as in Tommy Lee Jones, who is reportedly in talks to star in No Country for Old Men, the Cormac McCarthy novel adaptation that Joel and Ethan Coen are expected to direct in Texas and New Mexico, also in May. Rudin, famously known for tossing telephones at a long line of nervous assistants, is producing both projects, as well as There Will Be Blood, a look inside the oil industry loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and looking likely for a Marfa shoot. All three films are jointly being produced by Paramount and Miramax with the cement being Rudin, who has a Texas history producing films by both Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson. Stop-Loss is about a soldier returned to Texas after a tour in Iraq, but then promptly called back under the Pentagon's stop-loss program of involuntarily extending military service commitments. Peirce, whose Boys shot in Dallas, got the plot idea from the experiences of her own enlisted brother.

These Zombies Don't Dance

Robert Rodriguez's joint project with Quentin Tarantino, Grind (shortened from Grind House), includes a zombie flick from Mr. R. called "Planet Terror" (does Robert pay homage to the once-upon-a-time late-night San Antonio monster show Project Terror?) and a slasher film from Mr. Q titled "Death Proof," according to Variety. The report also tantalizingly suggests Rodriguez will be the cinematographer for both segments. Grind is two separate hour-long films with coming attractions for imaginary exploitation films running between them. Rodriguez is not expected to begin Austin production on "Planet Terror" until next month.

We're No. 2! We're No. 2!

As our News section reported last week, MovieMaker Magazine likes us, it really likes us. In its current issue, the indie film mag ranks Austin second only to New York City among the best places to be a moviemaker, citing the Austin Film Society, its Austin Studios, great locations, and some Hollywood-connected local filmmakers who shall remain infamous. In the six years the list has been compiled, Austin has always been in the Top 5, taking the top spot two years ago, and the article says, "Unlike what you may heard about those laidback Texans, popularity has not led to complacency." San Antonio also gets props as one of the "cities on the rise" for a flurry of indie activity highlighted by UTSA student Pablo Veliz's recent Sundance Film Festival feature, La Tragedia de Macario.

And the Rest ...

Casting is under way for Peter Berg's Friday Night Lights television pilot... The release date for Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly has been pushed back again, this time from March to July, Science Fiction Weekly reports... Gary Busey starrer Hallettsville has begun shooting and is the first Texas film to use the high-definition Viper FilmStream Camera also used in Collateral. Andrew Pozza is directing and his fellow native Texans Logan Brown and Derek Nixon are producing. Line producer Damon Chang says the film lives in cyberspace at New York-based Rooftop Films has awarded a post-production grant to P.J. Raval and Jay Hodges' Best Kept Secret, a documentary about Trinidad, Colo., aka the sex-change capital of the world.

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Scott Rudin, Kimberly Peirce, Stop-Loss, Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men, Coen Bros., Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Grind, There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson, Moviemaker Magazine, Andrew Pozza, Damon Chang, P.J. Raval, Jay Hodges, Best Kept Secret, Pablo Veliz, La Tragedia de Macario

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