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Meg Ryan to be Honoured With 2018 Leopard Club Award at #Locarno71

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The witty character with that unique ability to combine beauty with irony. For years she has been the undisputed queen of romantic comedy but has also been able, over time, to take on other genres such as dramas and thrillers.

The fact that Meg Ryan occupies a central position in the popular collective imagination is demonstrated by the gallery of characters who have enlivened films and have become – in their field – cult films. Just think of the triptych of films that were born from Meg Ryan’s meeting with Nora Ephron, the screenwriter and director who has built three film career-cornerstones on her: When Harry Met Sally (1989), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998). These are films in which her talent was also enhanced by the ability to co-star in complete harmony with actors such as Billy Crystal or Tom Hanks.

All performances to which the Locarno Festival wishes to pay tribute through one of its most prestigious awards: The Leopard Club. So, following Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Andy Garcia, Stefania Sandrelli and Adrien Brody, this year Piazza Grande will be completely hers, for the award ceremony on Friday, August 3.

Her presence will be accompanied by a double screening of films during the Festival. And if, with In the Cut, a side of Meg Ryan will be shown that, under the direction of Jane Campion, is capable of trying her hand at an erotic thriller, instead with the comedy Sleepless in Seattle (1993) there will be a completely natural connection with the Retrospettiva dedicated to Leo McCarey: Nora Ephron’s film, in fact, is a homage-re-reading of a masterpiece such as Love Affair (1994) by the great American filmmaker. A live dialogue between the present and the past for a much-loved female icon, one whose destiny seemed to have already been marked by her debut film: Rich and Famous (1981), the last film by a “ladies’ director” like George Cukor, coincidentally, another classic filmmaker to whom Locarno dedicated a retrospective in 2013.

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?

Casting News

Ana de Armas Joins Daniel Craig In Rian Johnson’s Knives Out

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Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049) has officially signed on to join actors Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Michael Shannon in Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

The film, which Johnson also wrote, is scheduled to start shooting next month. Knives Out has been described as a contemporary whodunit, with Craig portraying an archetypal grizzled detective, tasked with getting to the bottom of a classic locked-room murder mystery.

Johnson is set to produce with his creative partner Ram Bergman, and studios are expected to bid fiercely for the rights to distribute the feature in the coming months. Craig was previously pencilled in to begin shooting Bond 25 for director Danny Boyle at the tail end of this year, but when Boyle departed that project following creative differences it freed up the Casino Royale actor’s schedule to join Knives Out.

Somewhat ironically, Ana de Armas can next be seen in an untitled project from Danny Boyle, which is likely to release prior to Johnson’s crime thriller.

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Box Office News

The Grinch Eyeing $50m+ Opening Weekend

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Illumination Animation’s forthcoming The Grinch, with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the green grouch, has landed on early tracking – and Universal could be looking at quite the Christmas present.

Yes, by all accounts, The Grinch is looking at a minimum $50m opening weekend, with that number potentially ballooning as the weeks roll on and the film’s marketing pushes deeper into the public consciousness.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the franchise (and character) has proven itself before to have both presence and staying power; 2000’s live-action version, starring Jim Carrey in the title role, opened to $55 million and went on to score $260 million total, not adjusted for inflation.

The Grinch is due out in UK cinemas on the 9th November, rated PG.

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Venom Producer Gives Weak Excuse For Carnage Not Being The Film’s Villain

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When a Venom movie sans-wallcrawler was first announced, many assumed that the smart move would be pitting the black symbiote against well-known comic antagonist Carnage; a red palette-swap of the film’s titular antihero, inhabited by serial-killer Cletus Kasady.

However, that turned out to not be the case. Sony still went with the age-old classic superhero movie villain formula (exactly like the hero, but, y’know, evil – see also; Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, etc etc.) but eschewed the better-known Carnage for, of all characters, Riot – a silver-coloured symbiote inhabited by Carlton Drake, head of the LIFE Foundation, and birthed from an oft-forgotten 90s comic book arc.

When asked the reasoning behind the decision to scrape through the bottom of the Marvel barrel and to drudge up a Z-lister like Riot for their initial, flagship Spidey-cinematic-universe-minus-Spidey feature, producer Matt Tolmach gave an almost unbelievably pathetic excuse:

“[If you have Carnage] you have two origins, and it really limits. We thought about it long and hard. It limits what you can do with the origin of Venom. So, what do you do with that? Well, then the movie itself becomes the origin of Venom, and then Carnage enters the equation. That was always the idea, that you would be setting it up, from the very beginning.”

Now, putting aside that the movie gives an origin to Riot as part of its structure, and the fact that the movie’s post-credits scene gives a pretty complete set-up for Cletus Kasady (portrayed by Woody Harrelson, donning an incredibly cheap-looking ginger wig), it’s still a staggeringly weak reason. Complaining that a villain also needs setting up – something that most superhero origin films manage to pull off quite neatly – smacks of an almost impressive level of laziness. Granted, once you’ve done ‘Venom vs. Carnage’, there’s not a tremendous amount of places left to take a webslinger-less Venom franchise, but it’s still going to feel deliriously samey when/if Venom 2 rolls around.

Venom stars Tom Hardy and is in cinemas now, rated 12A.

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