- The InSneider
- Brad Pitt's F1 Movie Still on Track; Who Should Play Elon Musk?; 'Napoleon' Review; Best Actor Power Rankings
Brad Pitt's F1 Movie Still on Track; Who Should Play Elon Musk?; 'Napoleon' Review; Best Actor Power Rankings
Plus, more 'Fargo' seasons and 'Frozen' movies are on the way. Get excited!
Brad Pitt’s F1 Movie Is Still On Track for 2025
“First rule of racing, kid: If you see Vin Diesel, get the hell out of there!”
There was a report that originated in the UK tabloid The Sun the other day about Joseph Kosinski’s untitled Formula 1 racing movie starring Brad Pitt, Damson Idris, Javier Bardem, Kerry Condon, and real-life racer Lewis Hamilton, who is also producing the movie alongside Jerry Bruckheimer.
The report claimed that there was an issue regarding the sponsors seen in the film and that hundreds of hours of racing footage that was shot earlier this year in the UK and Hungary — and no doubt cost millions of dollars — would have to be “scrapped.”
Thankfully for Kosinski — and especially Apple — the report wasn’t true. In fact, I’m told it was “as far from accurate as possible.” The streamer left Formula 1 to handle the denial, in case you’re wondering who’s really in the driver’s seat on this project, though I suppose F1 has much more at stake. If this movie doesn’t live up to the hype, it’s F1’s brand that suffers, whereas Apple will be just fine no matter what.
Anyway, I was told that all the footage is usable, largely because the story itself takes place during the 2023 season, so while F1’s own sponsors may be changing in 2024, steps will be taken in post-production to ensure continuity regarding the racing team’s sponsors in the film. All of those sponsors are said to be committed for the duration of the project, which isn’t expected to hit theaters until 2025 before it begins streaming on Apple TV+.
Kosinski has long planned to continue shooting into the new year — with Pitt and Idris driving real F1 cars on Grand Prix tracks, mind you — so the SAG-AFTRA strike didn’t affect the schedule nearly as much as other big-budget productions, though the director still has a significant chunk of the movie left to shoot.
What’s interesting is how many media outlets covered this story, which drew attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated, a publication that doesn’t cover a ton of movie news. I’m sensing genuine excitement for this one, and expect this movie to fare much better in theaters than Killers of the Flower Moon, though whether Kosinski has another Top Gun: Maverick on his hands remains to be seen.
All I know is that if this movie is a hit, Damson Idris has a very bright future ahead of himself, as everyone wanted this role opposite Pitt.
Review Corner: Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Soars on the Battlefield and Stumbles Away From It
Did you know that the guy who owns Bustle bought this hat for $1.4 million?
You can add Ridley Scott’s Napoleon to the list of disappointing movies this awards season.
It’s not a complete bust, as there’s no question that Scott knows what he’s doing on the battlefield — the film’s three brutal battle scenes are fantastic, and they make this slog of a movie worth the watch. But when Scott, who has never had a deft hand when it comes to romance, tries to make a complex marital drama between Joaquin Phoenix’s emperor and Vanessa Kirby’s Josephine, Napoleon sinks like a cannonball.
In that sense, it’s actually the opposite of Michael Mann’s Ferrari, which hits top speed when it’s focused on the complex marriage between Adam Driver’s Enzo and Penelope Cruz’s Laura. When the two of them have sex in that film — on a dining table, no less — there’s genuine passion behind it. The sex scenes in Napoleon will have you laughing, which may very well be the intended effect — to make this short king look even smaller, and certainly more recognizably human than his larger-than-life legacy would suggest. However, they aren’t a fit with the rest of the film, which is more respectful of his fierce reputation.
Phoenix is fine as Napoleon but I wouldn’t rank this among his best performances. I just didn’t buy that this brilliant man, a master military strategist, didn’t see Josephine’s betrayal coming, but I suppose that’s the twisted irony here. Kirby, likewise, does her best with what little she’s given to work with, but she didn’t stand out in the way I was expecting. I might even argue that both were outshone by supporting players Tahar Rahim and Rupert Everett.
Again, I must give Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski credit for those battle sequences, which feature the best use of cannons and cannonballs that I’ve possibly ever seen. When there are cannons around, this movie rules. And I appreciated how you could actually see what’s going on in that opening battle at night.
However, at two hours and 38 minutes, Napoleon is both far too long and way too short, which explains why Scott is already talking about a four-hour director’s cut that will stream on Apple TV+ next year. As far as this cut goes, it could’ve and should’ve lost a good 20 minutes, especially if an indulgent director’s cut was part of Scott’s plan all along.
Like Ferrari, this film ends with onscreen text, with screenwriter David Scarpa informing us of Napoleon’s last words — the last of which was supposedly “Josephine.” Why we don’t see that moment in which those words pass from Phoenix’s lips, I don’t know.
Maybe they’ll be in the director’s cut…
And now, here are my latest Oscars Power Rankings, which forecast who’s up and who’s down each week…
Oscars Power Rankings: Could Zac Efron Crash the Party With His Turn in The Iron Claw?
Zac Efron is coming in off the top rope this Oscar season.
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Bradley Cooper, Maestro (+4)
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction (+1)
Colman Domingo, Rustin (-3)
Zac Efron, The Iron Claw (NEW)
Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (-3)
Barry Keoghan, Saltburn (NEW)
Andrew Scott, All of Us Strangers (+1)
Gael Garcia Bernal, Cassandro (-2)
Analysis: This race is fairly wide open, as there are legitimately four people I could see winning the Oscar. Most pundits will likely deem Bradley Cooper the frontrunner for Maestro, but as good as BCoops is in that film, it’s an academic portrayal. He studied Leonard Bernstein’s voice and his mannerisms, yes, but can you honestly say he became Bernstein, wearing the conductor like a second skin? I, for one, cannot. Bradley did not disappear into the character and lose himself within Bernstein, in my opinion.
Giamatti, on the other hand, creates a character from the ground up, to the point where we can almost smell Paul Hunham. Giamatti is a great actor who doesn’t always get the best choice of roles, but makes a meal out of the great characters he’s given to play, from Private Parts to American Splendor to Sideways, for which he was snubbed. This is the Academy’s chance to make it up to him.
Then again, Oppenheimer has stood tall this year, and as much credit as Christopher Nolan deserves for its success, you can’t discount his dramatic anchor, Cillian Murphy, who does a great job with a tricky role as a man with a conscience. Like Giamatti and Cooper, the Irish actor has amassed a strong body of work and some may feel he’s due.
The same narrative applies to Jeffrey Wright, who is lovely in American Fiction, though I fear that he’s overshadowed a bit by Sterling K. Brown and that Cord Jefferson’s screenplay will be considered the real star here. Still, he absolutely has a shot at Best Actor, and if he manages to pick up some early wins on the awards circuit and deliver a great acceptance speech or two, he could ride the film’s momentum all the way to the Dolby stage.
As for that fifth and final slot, I still think Leonardo DiCaprio is on the outside looking in. I know people appreciated his performance in Killers of the Flower Moon, but I, for one, thought he was a bit miscast (not as miscast as Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon), and besides, he’s done better work in the past.
That leaves Colman Domingo and Zac Efron battling for that last slot, and if you read that sentence aloud, you probably know who you’d give the edge to, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about Efron’s performance, and clearly, he’s an actor who is finally coming into his own, judging by his acclaimed recent turn as Ted Bundy. Since I haven’t seen The Iron Claw yet, I’m going to leave him at the top of my honorable mentions and give the final slot to Domingo, who has been coming on strong the last few years and is dynamite in Netflix’s Rustin as civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.
I still don’t think Saltburn is much of an awards film, but everyone who sees it comes away impressed with Barry Keoghan, so I threw him back on the list along with Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) and Gael Garcia Bernal (Cassandro). Who knew there would be two wrestlers in contention this year?
And speaking of Barry…
Who Should Play Elon Musk in A24’s Biopic From Director Darren Aronofsky?
I spent way too long looking for photos of these two. This was the best I could do.
Last week, it was announced that A24 had acquired the rights to Walter Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography and tapped Darren Aronofsky (The Whale) to direct a movie about the founder of SpaceX and Tesla.
Immediately, there was speculation about who could play the brilliant billionaire, with Variety throwing out “helpful” suggestions such as Kathy Bates and John Barrowman, and citing random Reddit commenters.
Granted, we don’t know how old Musk will be in Aronofsky’s film since we don’t know what timeframe it covers, but if Variety had waited more than three hours before ordering a second article for SEO purposes, someone over there might have had time to think of the right actor, who was hiding in plain sight:
Yes, the same actor who broke out in A24’s thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and who also worked with the studio on The Green Knight and Trespass Against Us. Get him a nose prosthetic and some color contacts and you’re good to go, plus, both of them are trained fighters.
Barry is coming off an Oscar nomination for The Banshees of Inisherin and a buzzy cameo as the Joker in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, plus, he’s currently on the awards circuit for Saltburn, so he’s red-hot right now. Oh, and he stars in Apple’s big-budget miniseries Masters of the Air, and appeared in the single best piece of television of the last five years — HBO’s Chernobyl.
I don’t know when Aronofsky and A24 are planning to shoot this Elon Musk biopic — presumably, a script still needs to be written — but Keoghan’s schedule is starting to open up a bit. Rest assured, it won’t stay open for long…
[h/t The Williams Brothers]
Bits and Bobs (A Daily News Roundup)
More Fargo on the Way - THR has a good interview up with Fargo creator Noah Hawley, who also promised more seasons of the FX show, which could tackle the ‘90s soon. Additionally, Hawley revealed that his FX series Alien will resume filming early next year in Thailand. This will be the first season of Fargo that I watch week-to-week due to an unfortunate beef with FX that has cost me my coveted screener access, so pour one out for ya boy. I now have to spend the rest of my life watching FX shows like a schnook.
Speaking of FX… - The network has also picked up the comedy series English Teacher starring Brian Jordan Alvarez, who made a decent impression on me in this year’s hit horror movie M3GAN. Paul Simms (Atlanta), Jonathan Krisel (Portlandia), and Dave King (The Good Place) will serve as EPs alongside Alvarez.
TMZ-Ya Later - THR had another interesting piece up today, though it didn’t quite nail it down. It was about TMZ and the website’s (well-paid) network of informants across Los Angeles (among elsewhere) who race to inform Harvey Levin and Co. of celebrity deaths. It’s sad how the loved ones of celebrities aren’t given any time to grieve these days given the lightning-quick pace of news, but I’m not sure what to do about it. Should TMZ wait to report a celebrity’s death until their family is notified? Of course not. It isn’t their responsibility to keep quiet. If anything, the problem is the cops and 911 operators, and the paramedics and ambulance dispatchers, who take TMZ’s money to betray the privacy of these celebs. I’m told that TMZ has a staffer who is known as “The Angel of Death,” and they’re the main point of contact for this sprawling network of loose-lipped spies. If I had a budget, I might engage in a little “checkbook journalism” myself, having learned a thing or two about how the publishing business really works, but without the backing of a venture capital firm, I don’t have the money to pay for hot tips… yet. But I’ll leave the death beat to TMZ’s “Angel.”
Sounds Like a Rental - Japanese helmer Hikari, who directed episodes of Beef and Tokyo Vice, has signed on to direct the dramedy Rental Family, which Searchlight has acquired in a competitive situation. THR reports that Hikari and Stephen Blahut co-wrote the script, which follows a down-and-out actor living in Tokyo who finds himself on a journey of self-discovery when he agrees to be hired out as a token American guy for a Japanese rental family company. Hikari has been developing the film since 2019, and she’ll produce alongside Shin Yamaguchi, as well as Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedev of Sight Unseen. The director is repped by WME and Brillstein.
Disney Won’t Let It Go - Frozen 4 is in the works. I guess that means Frozen 3 is a hit in the future!
The Boy Who Lived - Watch the trailer for HBO’s documentary about Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter stunt double, David Holmes, who was left paralyzed following an on-set accident. Radcliffe attempted to direct the film himself before realizing he wasn’t up to the task, and handing the reins to Dan Hartley. The reviews I’ve read have been respectful, but hardly raves, though I plan to check it out for myself, as the trailer made me cry this morning.
Condolences - My heart goes out to Dana Carvey, who lost his son, Dex, to an accidental drug overdose at the age of 32. What an awful tragedy. Dana has brought me countless laughs over the years, and I’m thinking of him and his family tonight, as I’m terribly sorry for their loss.
Film Twitter’s Main Character of the Day
Your 15 minutes start now…
This is where I shine a light on the good, the bad, and the ugly tweets that Film Twitter is, well, already shining a light on. Whether you’re being hailed as a hero or a villain in this space, I hope all recipients of this esteemed award take it in the good nature with which it is intended.
With that disclaimer out of the way, today’s Main Character is @EmpireCityBO, an anonymous account that made some enemies with its blunt talk during the double strike, but whose industry observations have caught my eye.
Today, ECBO notes the lack of release dates on Sony’s trailers for Anyone But You and Madame Web, both of which are advertised as “Coming Soon.” They think Sony should move the rom-com Anyone But You to Valentine’s Day, thereby taking the place of Madame Web, and you know what? I’m inclined to agree!
Led by rising stars Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney, that film simply makes more sense as a date movie over V-Day Weekend. Meanwhile, with so many big movies changing release dates next year, can’t Sony find a better weekend for Madame Web? And will it have to, given that, as ECBO notes, Madame Web is rumored to require significant reshoots, making it extremely unlikely that it’ll be ready for release by February?
Is ECBO onto something here, or should he relax and trust the schedulers at Sony? You be the judge!
Another day, another Sony trailer with "Coming Soon" instead of a date. If @SonyPictures has a brain in their head they will move this to Valentine's Day. It's not needed this December and will get swallowed up if they release it when they currently have planned.
— EmpireCity Box Office (@EmpireCityBO)
Nov 16, 2023
Got a hot tip, or an interesting pitch? Want to buy an ad or ask a provocative question for future mailbag installments? Email me at [email protected].