The beloved Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is not among the directors shortlisted to represent the country in this year's foreign Oscar race. Fernando Trueba's The Dancer and the Thief, Daniel Sánchez-Arévalo's Gordos and Isabel Coixet's Map of the Sounds of Tokyo are the three films in contention. Spain has won the prize four times, with Almodóvar winning in 1999 for All About My Mother. His latest film, Broken Embraces, showed in competition at Cannes and stars the Almodóvar regular Penélope Cruz.
Clint Eastwood will direct Matt Damon in the supernatural thriller Hereafter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. DreamWorks is producing the film, which is based on a script by the Oscar-nominated writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). Filming is set to begin this autumn. Damon and Eastwood recently worked together on the South African rugby drama Invictus.
While this year's Toronto International Film Festival lived up to its reputation as a launch pad for Oscar movies such as Jane Campion's Bright Star and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, deal-making remained slow. Halfway through the festival, just three films had been sold for US distribution: Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising sold to IFC Films; The Weinstein Co landed Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man; and Sony Pictures picked up the US and select international rights to Defendor starring Woody Harrelson. There was a persistent feeling that no title would match the discovery of Slumdog Millionaire last year.
Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway, is planning to adapt her grandfather's autobiography, A Moveable Feast, for the big screen, Variety reports. She has secured the rights to the book from the late author's estate and has teamed with John Goldstone to find potential producers. A Moveable Feast was published in 1964 and covered Hemingway's young life in Paris in the 1920s. It has never been turned into a film.
Despite recent reports suggesting it may be withdrawn, The 10 Conditions of Love, an Australian documentary about the Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, will show at an upcoming film festival in Taipei, Taiwan, according to the Central News Agency. The film became the subject of a diplomatic spat between Australia and China earlier this year when it was programmed to play at the Melbourne International Film Festival. China has accused Kadeer of inciting major riots in China this summer; she has denied the charges.
Gael García Bernal is in talks to join Kate Hudson in the independent film Earthbound, Variety reports. The story follows a terminally ill woman who falls for her doctor. The film will be directed by Nicole Kassell (The Woodsman), and be financed by Neil Sacker and the former Warner Independent producer Mark Gill's company, The Film Department.
In a seven-figure deal, the action producer Jerry Bruckheimer has acquired the rights to Shake, which Derek Haas will adapt from his own short story, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Shake follows an FBI agent as he chases a killer - but the agent is losing control of his body. Bruckheimer found the story on the website Popcorn Fiction, which was launched to help screenwriters sell their work.
Universal Pictures has acquired screen rights to Wicked Lovely, the bestselling first book in a fantasy series by Melissa Marr, Variety reports. (Harper Collins will publish the fourth instalment next year.) Caroline Thompson is adapting the story for Wild West Picture Show.
The British producer Simon Brooks has optioned the rights to the story of a much-decorated Labrador who looked after a disabled Gulf War veteran, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Calendar Girls scribe Juliette Towhidi has been hired to write the screenplay about Endal and his master, the Royal Navy chief officer Allen Parton, who suffered major head injuries during the war. Endal assisted Parton with everyday tasks from picking items off a supermarket shelf to operating an ATM. He once even saved his life.
Paul Giamatti is joining James Purefoy in Ironclad, a medieval action film that starts filming in Wales next month. Giamatti will play the tyrant king in the film, directed by Jonathan English. Rick Benattar and Andrew Curtis are producing. Giamatti is currently filming Barney's Version based on the Mordecai Richler novel. * Liza Foreman