Film News

Austin picks up a 'Hitcher'; Linklater's Cannes deux attitude; and the rest

'Hitcher' remakes rides into Austin

Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, the company that puts the re- in horror remake, is in preproduction for an Austin shoot of The Hitcher. Remember the Eighties flick in which driver C. Thomas Howell is terrorized by creepy Rutger Hauer? Well, at least you remember the two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films that Platinum Dunes has shot in the Austin area in recent years. Bob Hudgins, now Texas Film Commission head, was still in Illinois when The Amityville Horror remake shot there. He remembers producer Andrew Form admitting he'd rather be shooting it in Austin. "Andrew is the guy who brings things back to Texas," Hudgins says. "He loves it here." Indeed. Last I saw Form, he was sporting a Hutto Lady Hippos T-shirt. Somebody quickly give Form a Taylor Ducks shirt. Word on the street is Platinum Dunes fancies a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.

Linklater does the Cannes two step

Yes, Richard Linklater can, can make it into the Cannes Film Festival with both A Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation. The latter, a fictional adaptation of Eric Schlosser's book, has been chosen for competition. Meanwhile, Link's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel is slated for the Un Certain Regard section. Austin's auteur, you will recall, also had two films – Waking Life and Tape – screen at Sundance in 2001.

How not to promote your film

Teeth, the film that aims to make vagina dentata the new Austin catchphrase, recently had to fight off neighbors' fears that kiddie porn had come to town. Said neighbors called television and radio reporters, who jumped on the story. However, Teeth is actually a horror film about a woman who, er, takes a bite out of bad guys. Need I say more? Bob Hudgins of the Film Commission, who was called into action to deter the media onslaught, said it best of the film: "It's in incredibly bad taste, but it's not pornography."

Chop, chop; Tao's there

Tao Video quietly opened a few months ago on the frontage road of North I-35 (and within walking distance of "the store for lovers," aka Dreamers). Chronicle film guru Marc Savlov already has his membership and sees it as taking up some of the slack left by Pedazo Chunk's closing. Tao is a one-stop store for the true chopsocky fanatic. Where else can you buy a sword, a box set of animé, and rent DVDs of the finest Asian action films and obscure television shows? Did I mention they have 30-day rentals and sell remote control Panzer tanks?

And the rest

Fresh from a role in Robert Rodriguez's section of Grind House, Josh Brolin joins Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem in the cast of No Country for Old Men, the Cormac McCarthy novel adaptation that the Coen brothers are set to film partly in Marfa... Corpus Christi native Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) is attached to Deep in the Heart of Texas, a romantic comedy that is set in San Antonio and expected to at least partially film there... Austin native J.M. Logan's first film, a psychological thriller titled Family, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival... Amy Grappell's doc Light From the East, which played SXSW 05, is set to premiere May 11 in New York City at the Pioneer Theater. It follows a U.S. acting troupe visiting the Ukraine in 1991 as the Soviet Union crumbled... Chalk, Austin writer/director Mike Akel's look at public schools from a teacher's perspective, recently won the audience award for Best Feature Comedy at the Cinequest Film Festival and a special jury award for Best Ensemble at the Florida Film Festival. Akel knows his subject well; he's a former Travis High School film teacher... Check out Dano Johnson's short comedic film "In Defense of Definitions" at

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Hitcher, Platinum Dunes, Richard Linklater, Fast Food Nation, A Scanner Darkly, Michael Bay, Teeth, Andrew Form, Bob Hudgins, Tao Video, Josh Brolin, Mike Akel, Chalk, J.M. Logan, No Country for Old Men, Amy Grappell, Light From the East, Family

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