It's no secret that the controversial American filmmaker Michael Moore is shooting a project that investigates Wall Street and the current financial crisis. The project, to be financed by the Viacom-owned studio Paramout Pictures, was announced at the Cannes Film Festival last year. More alarming for the finance industry was Moore's move last week to post an open letter on his website calling for volunteers from the beleaguered New York hub to "help expose the biggest swindle in American history".
In the letter, Moore states that "a few good people" have already come forward to assist with the project, but implores more to do so: "The important thing here is for you to step up as an American and do your duty of shedding some light on this financial collapse." Moore claims that the project will reveal "the greatest crime story ever told" but the New York-based public relations firm Temin & Co has advised interested bankers to be cautious. "When you're in a firestorm, you don't stand up," Bloomberg reported the CEO Davia Temin as warning last week. "I'm sure Moore will keep names confidential, but these things have a way of boomeranging when you tell a friend because you're excited about being on a movie set."
The filmmaker's past documentaries include a damning indictment of American foreign policy in Fahrenheit 9/11 and, more recently, an examination of the American healthcare system in Sicko. Julia Roberts set to Eat, Pray, Love Rumour has it that Columbia Pictures, a subsidiary of Sony, is closing in on the rights to the best-selling self-help novel Eat, Pray, Love. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Julia Roberts is ready to step into the leading role, with the Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy in the director's seat and Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, involved too.
The story charts the path of the American author Elizabeth Gilbert, who gives up a comfortable life in New York after a divorce and travels from Italy to Indonesia and then to India, where she finds love. The paperback, which just spent 100 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, has been translated into 31 languages and has sold 7.5 million copies worldwide. It marks another step back into the spotlight for Roberts, whose acting career has slowed down in recent years after she married the cameraman Daniel Moder and had three children with him. She has also recently undertaken a whirlwind of publicity engagements in the US ahead of next month's release of Duplicity, a spy thriller in which she stars opposite the British actor Clive Owen.
Cate Blanchett's in the Hood According to Variety, Cate Blanchett is likely to play Maid Marian in Ridley Scott's take on Robin Hood, titled Nottingham. It was a vacancy that became open last month after Sienna Miller was somewhat mysteriously dropped from the role. Rumours said that she had scheduling conflicts and had been deemed too thin and too young to star opposite Russell Crowe, who is set to play dual roles in the film as Robin Hood and his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Miller's departure had marked another setback for the film, which had to delay shooting in the UK last summer after producers realised that the leaves on location in Sherwood Forest would turn brown before filming finished. News that the widely admired Blanchett is on board should cheer up Universal, the studio backing the project for an estimated $71 million (Dh261m). Filming is due to start in April.
No stopping the Woody juggernaut It seems that Woody Allen isn't content to sit idle ahead of the June release of his next feature film, Whatever Works. Instead, he's plunging himself into preparations for his latest project. The as-yet-untitled film is due to start shooting in London this summer, and Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin have been confirmed as lead cast members. It will also reunite Allen with Mediapro, the Spanish financing company that funded his film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, for which Penélope Cruz has been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.
Peter Gabriel won't sing at Oscar ceremony The British musician Peter Gabriel has pulled out of performing at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony after learning that schedulers had cut his slot to 65 seconds. The singer is co-nominated for his first Oscar for writing and producing the song Down to Earth, which featured in the Disney film Wall-E. After he was told of the cut this week, Gabriel announced his intention to pull out of the performance on his website. "The songwriters are a very small part of the filmmaking process," he said, "but we still work hard." He added, however, that he would still be attending the ceremony.