Film News

Villa Muse down but not out (not just yet, at least), plus new (and old) developments for Veronica Mars' Rob Thomas

Villa Muse E-Mail Campaign Targets Council

It's likely Mayor Will Wynn's e-mail box is full this week, as a self-described "grassroots" effort has arisen in the film community to get the Austin City Council to reconsider Villa Muse's request to have its proposed site for a film production and postproduction facility released from the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. Other "no" votes on the issue came from Lee Leffingwell, Betty Dunkerley, and Jennifer Kim, who are also being targeted by the e-mail campaign. "Denying Austin a much needed space will cause many motion picture workers and businesses to relocate to where the business thrives and soon Austin will only be hosting motion picture projects that have no budgets," the suggested e-mail reads. In a written statement sent out after the vote (which was coincidentally taken the night before the South by Southwest Film Festival commenced), Villa Muse founder Jay Podolnick said he still hopes to break ground in 2008 but admits the studio is now unlikely to be operational before 2010. Where it breaks ground is the question, with Bastrop and Fort Worth now said to be in the mix. "The city of Austin is basically shooting themselves in the foot," says Angela Lee, whose Yahoo group, FilmAustin, is spreading word of the e-mail campaign.

A Nineties Twofer for Rob Thomas

Former Reagan High journalism teacher and Hey Zeus band member Rob Thomas is proving there is life after Veronica Mars, and it's all about retreads, including one that plows his own past ground. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC has pulled Thomas' 1998 show Cupid from the grave and ordered a new pilot. The original show starred Jeremy Piven as a man sent to earth by Zeus – a hidden reference to Thomas' old band? – to help out people desperately seeking a romance and was a quirky hit with reviewers but lasted a scant 15 episodes. Thomas is also talking with the CW about penning a modern take on Beverly Hills 90210. The original show brought sideburns back into style. I'm betting on Thomas to revive the mustache.

And the Rest ...

Look for The Wildman of the Navidad, Duane Graves and Justin Meeks' horror film about the Texas version of bigfoot, to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. A DVD distribution deal is likely soon. Check out the trailer at www.wildmanofthenavidad.com... A new episode of Bob Ray's subversively funny cartoon, Ape Sh!t, is up at www.apeshitcartoon.com... The Texas-set comedy The Undeniable Charm of Sloppy Unruh looks likely to shoot somewhere (New Mexico or Louisiana, perhaps?) soon with Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) attached to star as a Fifties-era drifter who comes home to the Lone Star State and causes trouble. Also signed on are Seann William Scott, Zooey Deschanel, Amy Ryan, and John Doe... The Austin-shot Eve of Understanding from writer/director Alyson Shelton and producer Jen Prince will be released on DVD March 25 by Vanguard Cinema. Find it at the usual spots, and add it to your Netflix queue.


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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Villa Muse, Will Wynn, Jay Podolnick, Angela Lee, Rob Thomas, Cupid, The Wildman of the Navidad, Duane Graves, Justin Meeks, Bob Ray, Ape Sh!t, The Undeniable Charm of Sloppy Unruh, Patrick Wilson

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