x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rahman scores first Hollywood film

No matter the global financial crisis, the movie industry stays on track with new projects coming out of the woodwork.

Following his double Oscar win for Slumdog Millionaire in February, the composer AR Rahman has been tapped for Universal Pictures' romantic comedy Couples Retreat, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It will be his first composition for a Hollywood film. Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau and Kristen Bell have been cast in the film, which the actor-director Peter Billingsley (Iron Man) will direct from a screenplay by Favreau.

The story follows four Midwestern couples journeying to a tropical island, where they discover that the therapy sessions included in their holiday are not optional. Rahman previously composed the original music, along with Craig Armstrong, for the British film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Javier Bardem is in negotiations to co-star with Julia Roberts in the big-screen adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling novel, Eat, Pray, Love, Variety reports. Bardem will play a man that Gilbert (Roberts) meets and falls in love with on the final part of her journey of self discovery. Ryan Murphy directs from his own screenplay. Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner are producing though Plan B Entertainment.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are in negotiations to top-line Ed Zwick's Love and Other Drugs for Fox 2000/New Regency, The Hollywood Reporter writes. The film is an adaptation of Jamie Reidy's book, which is based on his time as a representative for the pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer. Gyllenhaal will play a salesman who begins a relationship with a woman (Hathaway) who has Parkinson's disease.

The Hong Kong movie producer Raymond Wong is to play a leading role in a $100 million (Dh367m) fund being launched by First Vanguard, Reuters reports. The fund will invest in movies and TV programs targeting the China market, and Wong will act as its investment adviser and executive producer.

The French cinema icon Jean-Luc Godard, 79, is eyeing a film adaptation of The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, a Holocaust-themed investigative memoir by The New York Times writer Daniel Mendelsohn, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Published three years ago, the best-seller traces Mendelsohn's quest to find out what happened to his relatives in a small town in Poland during the Second World War. The book won the National Book Critics Circle prize in the US and the Prix Medicis in France.

Emile Hirsch has been cast as Hamlet in a new big-screen version of the Shakespeare play to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Variety reports. The Philadelphia scribe Ron Nyswaner is writing the script for Overture Films. This version of Hamlet will be set in contemporary America and follow the original story of a young man who must decide whether to kill his uncle to avenge the death of his father. The Weinstein Company responded with a statement: "As a matter of practice, we have always worked with financial institutions to explore our options with respect to equity and possible investments and this is something we will continue to do."

Online media took to speculating over the financial health of the independent film giant The Weinstein Company, this week, after the The Wall Street Journal reported that The Weinstein Company had hired the financial advisers Miller Buckfire & Co to explore "possible restructuring or refinancing". The Hollywood insider Nikki Finke reported on her Deadline Hollywood Daily website: "One of my sources confirms and notes, 'You don't hire Miller Buckfire to raise money. You hire Miller Buckfire because they are one of the top restructuring experts in the country. They currently represent several top institutions going through bankruptcy.'"

Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave, Amanda Seyfried and Franco Nero have been cast in Summit Entertainment's Italian road movie Letters to Juliet, which is based on the book of the same name by Lise and Ceil Friedman. Jose Riviera and Tim Sullivan wrote the script based on the book about Shakespeare's best-loved heroine, Juliet. Mark Canton is producing with Ellen Barkin and Caroline Kaplan. Meanwhile, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, and Chris Cooper have been cast in Summit's drama, Remember Me. Allen Coulter directs the picture, which begins production in New York next week. Nick Osborne and Trevor Engelson are producing.