Robert Zemeckis’ WWII Romance Starts Filming in January, Says Steven Knight

From Collider: “Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis took a bit of a sabbatical from live-action films to work on his motion-capture pics The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol, but the director behind Back to the Future and Forest Gump looks like he’s back in the live-action fold for the time being. Flight got his feet wet with a character drama, and the upcoming The Walk looks to be Zemeckis’ blend of drama and thrill ride, but it’s Zemeckis’ next project that has people mighty interested.

We learned earlier this year that the director would be helming a “sweeping romantic thriller” starring Brad Pitt, scripted by Steven Knight (Locke), and set against the backdrop of World War II. Further details arose this summer when Marion Cotillard was cast opposite Pitt, with the two in line to play assassins who fall in love during a mission in Casablanca to kill a German ambassador. A game of espionage ensues as matters are further complicated, but the root of the story is grounded in the romance between the two characters.

Pitt, Cotillard, Zemeckis, and Knight is a formidable filmmaking team, so when Steve recently spoke with Knight in anticipation of the release of Pawn Sacrifice, which he wrote, Steve asked the screenwriter about the Zemeckis project:

“It starts shooting in January… It’s based on a story that was told to me personally when I was about 21 years old. It’s set in Britain during the war and [is] the story of a relationship that involves espionage.”

Given Zemeckis’ penchant for ambition when it comes to technology, Steve asked Knight if we could expect similar boundary pushing in this untitled thriller, but the screenwriter said the crux of the story is very much a relationship drama:

“It’s more of a drama. It’s more of a story and a love story, but with surprising elements to it.”

And as for the basis of the film, Knight recounted how the true story came to him when he was young:

“This is a very odd story. I was in Texas working as a dishwasher and doing all sorts of weird things. I was going out with an English girl at the time and her auntie lived in Texas, and she got talking about her brother who had been in the S.O.E., the British Secret Service if you like, and she told me this story that just stayed with me. I’ve always known it would be a film, and now it’s gonna be the ultimate. I can’t believe the cast we’ve got, I can’t believe the director we’ve got, it’s just a dream.””

Brad Pitt sets pulses racing in sleepy Greyabbey village as filming picks up pace

From Belfast Live: “Brad Pitt and his movie making team will be filming in Northern Ireland for an other three weeks.

The locations are top secret right now but fans all over the country are on the look-out for the give-away sight of crew vans in the hope of glimpsing Pitt and Robert Pattinson.

They have been filming for The Lost City of Z over the last two weeks in Co Down and finished on Friday morning as the heavens opened once more.

A source said: “The filming has been a huge success in Ireland although the weather has been a slight challenge, especially with some of the costumes.

“Wet wool doesn’t give off the best aroma – but the actors have just carried on. They’re real pros and they get on with it without complaint. No one expects brilliant weather when filming in Ireland, but there were times the rains gods really took the biscuit.

“They crew have about an other 15 to 18 days of filming to sort in Ireland and then they’ll be moving on to Colombia. If it rains there, at least it will be warm.”

The huge team arrived into Grayabbey this week under cover of darkness, a rumbling crowd of anonymous white vans, interspersed with Land Rovers, jeeps and catering trucks, packed with riggers, runners and security guards.

The cavalcade made its way along the winding country roads from Belfast to Greyabbey on beautiful Strangford Lough.

They edged along Newtownards Rd, too heavy for the little village and a bad bend at quaint Orange Tree House.

And finally parked up military fashion on farm land.

It was only as daylight broke that they could see the stunning surroundings of a piece of land rising out of the mist – they were at an island, or as locals call it, T’Island.

And bang in the middle of this remote beauty spot they could see a little white washed cottage with no electric or running water.

But it was here that Hollywood A-list Brad Pitt had agreed to film scenes for his movie, The Lost City of Z.

And for more than three days they camped out, enduring wind, rain, hail and just a little sunshine until filming came to an end on Friday morning.

Wellies, fleeces, overcoats and even overalls, they were donned by everyone from the actors, producers and director to the security team anxious to keep the location a secret.

The Lost City of Z is dotted with big names, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Charlie Hunnam, and young Tom Holland.

Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kliener have joined forces to produce the movie version of David Grann’s best seller.

And with their Plan B Entertainment production company, they have joined Anthony Katagas and Dale Johnson and MadRiver Pictures’ Marc Butan, who is executive producer alongside Julie B May and Glenn Murray.

They may be names no one had taken much notice of in the past, but they are tripping off the tongue around Greyabbey right now.

A local source said: “The big wigs were apparently invited to stay with the Montgomerys in the big house.

“There wasn’t much talk of the filming until the names Brad Pitt, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson were mentioned. Then suddenly everyone became very excited.

“To have those Hollywood names right here in our village is amazing and we’re very proud of our heritage and our lough.

“I don’t know how Brad Pitt copes with it. Every time his name is mentioned, the women all go a bit mad. They all squeal and start giggling. He must be some fella.

“The film crew drove in under darkness, a whole cavalcade of them along the Newtownards Rd until they got to the big farm house.

“And the locals have been walking over the coast for a nosey. Some of it’s National Trust land and it’s all open to the public so they couldn’t say very much.

“People were doing a bit of star spotting but the weather put paid to that and everyone cleared off.

“But fair play to all the people working on the film. They worked through rain and wind and it was pretty fresh too. They worked late into the night on Tuesday with big spotlights keeping the wee cottage alight.

“We’re used to the changing weather here but I’m sure some of those London ones or the Americans wondered what they’d come to, especially because it’s August.

“A lot of the riggers and the lads looking after the equipment were from Northern Ireland and they just got stuck in.

“But they all had to be careful about the tide so that the actors and equipment didn’t get stuck on the island.

“It’s a causeway until the water comes in and when it comes in, it’s fast. I think the speed of it took them by surprise on the first day although they’d been given advice by locals about the tidal times.”

The Lost City of Z – pronounced zee – follows Percy Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, who is one of the last great Victorian explorers.

He has developed an obsession with the Amazon and is convinced he has lost a forgotten civilisation in the jungles of Brazil.

Fawcett vanished in the 1920s during a search for the lost city.”

Hitting the Apex Movie Set for UK Release – MotoGP Film

From Ultimate Motorcycling: “Mark Neale has released a new MotoGP documentary – “Hitting the Apex” – that’s narrated by one of the world’s most known actors, Brad Pitt.

The documentary, released by Universal, follows the careers of the most iconic names in MotoGP over the past decade – nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and the late Marco Simoncelli.

The Hitting the Apex movie hits theaters Sept. 2 – but unfortunately for stateside MotoGP fans, the release is only for the UK. The MotoGP movie will be available September 7 on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital – but again, only in the UK. It is currently available for pre-order on the United Kingdom’s

We have no word when “Hitting the Apex” will hit the American market, but it should be soon. For now, here’s the official Hitting the Apex Movie Trailer.

In 2015 MotoGP, the battle for the title as of 11 of 18 rounds is between three of these riders – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilots Rossi and Lorenzo, and the two-time reigning MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marquez. Rossi and Lorenzo are tied with 211 points, and after an unsually slow start to the season, Marquez is up into third, 52 points behind.”

Steven Knight Says He Just Turned in a Draft for ‘World War Z 2’

From Collider: “As evidenced by 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four, sometimes reports of a tumultuous production can indeed be indicative of a disappointing final product. But one of the best examples of the opposite is Paramount’s World War Z, which battled rumors of issues on set and word of extensive reshoots and reworking of the film’s third act. When the movie finally hit theaters, however, it actually wasn’t that bad. Moreover, the finale—the part of the film that was causing Paramount so much trouble—ended up being the most compelling and satisfying portion of the film.

And the movie was a financial success to boot. So much so that Paramount and Brad Pitt started moving forward with a sequel, signing The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona to take the helm and Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises) to pen the screenplay. Bayona had to tackle A Monster Calls first and Pitt has his own busy schedule to accommodate, but Paramount has dated World War Z 2 for release on June 9, 2017, and it now appears that things are coming together for production to get underway next year.

Steve recently spoke with Knight in anticipation of the release of Pawn Sacrifice, and the filmmaker revealed that he just recently turned in a draft of the World War Z sequel, saying he was essentially given a blank slate when he initially came onboard:

“I was approached with the idea of, ‘How do we move this along?’ so who could resist?”

Indeed, Knight previously said the follow-up begins with a clean slate, but nothing else is known story-wise for what befalls Pitt’s character in the zombie-infested sequel. A clue may be gathered by what Knight most liked about the first film:

“I think the beauty of the first film was the way that it never paused for breath. It never spent a moment thinking, ‘Hang on a minute, we’d better tell the audience what this is all about.’ It stayed in the moment, it stayed with that person.”

So if Knight was a fan of the single POV of World War Z, one could reasonably assume he’ll be keeping that aspect of the franchise intact for the sequel. But again, we don’t know anything about the story for the follow-up at this point, so it’s unclear where the film will be going.

In the originally shot third act for Marc Forster’s film, there was a time jump that saw Pitt’s character leading a team of zombie-clearers in Russia, discovering that cold is their weakness, then setting out to rescue his wife from the clutches of Matthew Fox’s military character in the planned follow-up. It’s unclear if Pitt, Bayona, and Knight will be drawing from any of that original story for this sequel, or if they’re charting new territory. Regardless, that’s a formidable filmmaking trio and I look forward to seeing what they put together.”

Angelina Jolie’s ‘By The Sea’ To Open AFI Fest 2015

From Deadline: “The American Film Institute has made the Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt drama By The Sea the opening-night film of AFI Fest 2015, the annual festival that kicks off November 5. The Universal Pictures pic, which Jolie Pitt wrote and directed and stars in with husband Pitt, will bow in theaters November 13 as part of an Oscar push.

Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup and Richard Bohringer co-star. The fest runs November 5-12 around LA including at the Dolby Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian Theatre and the Roosevelt Hotel. The full lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.”

‘Animal Kingdom’ Actor Anthony Hayes Joins ‘War Machine’ With Brad Pitt

From Variety: “Australian actor Anthony Hayes is the latest to join Brad Pitt in Netflix’s “War Machine.”

Topher Grace, Scoot McNairy, Emory Cohen, John Magaro and Anthony Michael Hall are also on board, with “Animal Kingdom” helmer David Michod directing and writing. Netflix will open the film in select theaters next year as well as stream the film on its online service.

Pitt and his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing with Ian Bryce.

Based on Michael Hastings’ book “The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” the story follows a general, played by Pitt, whose track record lands him the commanding job in the American conflict in Afghanistan.

Principal photography is scheduled to start this fall.

Hayes and Michod previously worked together on the 2010 Australian crime drama “Animal Kingdom.” Hayes is also known for his work in “The Slap” and “The Rover.” He will appear next in Derek Cianfrance’s “Light Between Oceans” to be released later this year.”

Venice Film Festival: Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Audition’ Premiere Canceled

From The Hollywood Reporter: “One of the more anticipated screenings of the Venice Film Festival has been canceled this year. Martin Scorsese’s short film The Audition will not debut at the festival, as previously planned.

The festival said in a statement: “We have just been informed by the production that due to unexpected technical problems the film could not be here in time.”

Scorsese stars in the film, which has him pitting his frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro against each other for a leading role in an upcoming film. Brad Pitt also makes an appearance. Oscar-nominated writer Terence Winter penned the script.

Venice festivalgoers were looking forward to potential appearances by the Academy Award-winning director and actors.

The film’s inclusion in the world’s oldest film festival had been seen as controversial by some, as it was produced to promote the opening of Melco-Crown’s $2.3 billion Macau Studio City and the existing Manila City of Dreams resorts and casinos.

However, Venice director Alberto Barbera had told THR earlier in an interview, “It’s a Scorsese film, not a commercial. The casino paid for the film, but it’s not in the film at all.”

No expense was spared on The Audition. The short film has been rumored to have cost $70 million, with each actor taking home $13 million for the two-day shoot according to Page Six. The casino has denied these figures.

Teasers for the film were released in January this year, one with the actors on location in Manila and one in Macau, but they were quickly taken down.

A rep for the film told THR that, while the producers had hoped that the film would be ready in time for Venice, unfortunately the film is still in postproduction and could not be completed in time.”

By the Sea

From People: “It’s been 10 years since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt fell for each other on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith – beginning their love story and later cementing them as one of Hollywood’s most powerful couples – but now the stars are reuniting on screen in the new romantic drama By the Sea.

Set in France during the 1970s, By the Sea tells the story of a struggling marriage between Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), a former dancer, and her writer husband, Roland (Pitt). “It focuses on three couples, all at different stages in their lives,” the 40-year-old mom of six tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And at its center are the questions of what happened to Roland and Vanessa and why they are in the place they are now.”

Now Jolie Pitt is sharing behind-the-scenes photos from the set, and opening up about what it’s like to work with her husband again after all these years.

The couple, who are coming up on their one-year wedding anniversary, traded in a typical newlywed celebration of private vacation time for an “unconventional” honeymoon, as Jolie Pitt describes it. The whole family, including their six children, jetted off to the Mediterranean nation of Malta to begin filming the ’70s drama.

Jolie Pitt wore numerous hats while working on set, acting as the writer, director and star of the film. “It was difficult to be both inside and outside of the scenes, to be able to give directions,” she explains.

The couple have no problem working together as parents and philanthropic partners, but for Jolie Pitt, taking on the role of director and giving Pitt, 51, instructions was not an easy task.

“It was hardest [when] I was directing our fight scenes,” she says.

But finding new ways to overcome this challenge only brought the couple closer together.

“I understand and appreciate his creative process and his work ethic even more than before,” she adds.

By the Sea hits theaters Nov. 13.”

See the new By the Sea photos at

Brad Pitt: ‘I feel fantastic’ about Make It Right

From “The origin story of the collection of angular, brightly painted homes called Make It Right has become a piece of New Orleans lore. The Lower 9th Ward neighborhood near the Claiborne Avenue bridge was more or less wiped out by floodwater surging through a gap in the levee wall in 2005. Then, as if by Hollywood magic, Brad Pitt appeared to attempt to rebuild it. At the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the flood, 109 homes stand where there once was only mud and wreckage. More homes are on the way.

“I’ll tell you, every time I drive over the Claiborne bridge, no matter what frustration I might be dealing with at the moment, I get this well of pride when I see this little oasis of color and the solar panels,” Pitt said in a telephone conversation Friday (Aug. 15) from Los Angeles.

An ecologist, architecture enthusiast and part-time New Orleans resident, Pitt called on the top building designers of the region, nation and world to draw up houses with striking appearances that married advanced environmental practices with affordable building methods. He also founded a nonprofit organization to see that those design gems rose on the empty landscape.

“I drive into the neighborhood and I see people on their porch,” Pitt said, “and I ask them how is their house treating them? And they say, ‘Good.’ And I say what’s your utility bill? And they’ll throw something out like, ’24 bucks’ or something, and I feel fantastic. It’s a reminder of why we’re there. It’s a reminder of why we push like we push. It makes it all worthwhile.”

Over the past seven years, Tennessee Street and the surrounding blocks have become New Orleans’ newest tourist destination, and no wonder. Pitt’s “oasis of color and solar panels” includes futuristic homes designed by architectural legends Shigeru Ban, Thom Mayne, and even Frank Gehry, arguably the most famous designer in the world. All three architects have won the Oscar of their field, the Prizker Prize.

“Listen, we were very fortunate that they would come in, but they felt the need as well,” Pitt said of his stellar team of volunteer architects. “Actually, this is the definition of architecture: It is solving problems through design. And, again, we’re not talking about aesthetics; we’re talking about function, and that is the holy grail of architecture. So I was grateful, but it wasn’t surprising to me for them to jump in and want to tackle this and find solutions for this. Especially with everything we were witnessing on the news and the suffering of the people.”

But, Pitt pointed out, the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood had become a tourist draw even before the arrival of the first Make It Right house.

“I think it first became a 21st-century disaster attraction, unfortunately,” Pitt said. “This became the icon of the place that was hit the hardest and suffered the most, certainly in one condensed area. It certainly seemed to illustrate man’s failure in this particular area.”

“The message (of Make It Right) was to take this spot that was emblematic of such human failure and to make it a human success story on how we can build in the future, how we can build for families, how we can build with quality, and how we can build with the community under their guidelines.”

Seven years after the project began, Make It Right also is an icon of inventive recovery. But getting to this point has been a complicated process for Pitt and his organization.

“We went into it incredibly naïve,” he said, ” just thinking we can build homes — how hard is that? — and not understanding forgivable loan structures and family financial counseling and getting the rights to lots and HUD grants and so on and so forth. So it’s been a big learning curve.”

Pitt said that he and the Make It Right staff have taken the lessons learned in the Lower 9th Ward and used them in other affordable housing developments in Missouri, Montana and New Jersey, with more sites on the way.

“What we have learned, which was the original premise, is that you do not have to build low-income housing with the cheapest materials that keep families in a poverty trap,” he said. “Whether that be running up high utility bills or with toxic materials that run up your doctor bills. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

According to figures provided by Make It Right, Pitt’s visionary recovery neighborhood has cost $26.8 million. The houses have been sold at a loss, as was always part of the plan, for an average of roughly $150,000 each, with financial assistance to make the mortgages affordable. In exact terms, Make It Right reports that it has provided $5.2 million in supplementary loans that needn’t be repaid and another half-million to cover up-front mortgage costs (closing costs).

The cash to fuel the project has come mainly from donations and federal grants. In the first year of the project, $12.3 million came in. In 2011, when the banking crisis deadened the economy, donations dropped to one-sixth that much. Last year, the figure was back up to roughly $6 million, a respectable amount considering that time has naturally dimmed the public’s interest in New Orleans’ ongoing recovery.

Critics complain that the attention-grabbing project was too costly for what it accomplished. Pitt said that perhaps more recovery housing could have been built for less, but the sheer quantity of homes built was never a Make It Right priority. In the beginning, he said, everyone involved knew the experimental prototypes would cost more than future duplicate houses. In long run, Pitt said, he hopes that efficient building methods will make Make It Right homes no more expensive than conventional homes.

“With each house we build we’re getting closer and closer to what I believe will be a dollar for dollar scenario,” he said, “and then there’s no excuse to build any other way.”

Pitt said that calling on big-name architects to design artistic homes was part of how Make It Right became fixed in the public imagination, but he’s come to feel that the appearance of the homes is less important. At the start, the public was less aware of the energy and resource-saving aspects of home building. Today, he said, onlookers better understand the ecological imperatives.

“I think we came at a time when people were just getting their arms around this idea of high-performance building.”

“We made aesthetics one of our mandates, which I feel today is less important because of the fact that now, as more time has passed, more people do understand high-performance building, are drawn to it and want to learn more from it. And so the calling card of the aesthetics is less vital to me than it was at that time.”

To the Crescent City eye, accustomed to clapboard residential construction and neoclassical, Victorian, or Arts and Crafts flourishes, the futuristic Make It Right homes seemed to be alien upstarts. But over time, gardens, flags, garland, and touches of wear and tear have mellowed their rakish appearance.

Pitt pointed out that the appearance of Make It Right was, from the beginning, guided in part by the returning residents who selected the house designs they preferred, the height the individual houses were raised above the ground, the exterior colors and interior amenities.

“The inhabitants, the families are the ones who designed the neighborhood,” Pitt said. “They had choices in front of them. They picked the houses to suit their needs. They picked the colors. They picked how it would work for their family. And, now, to start seeing the neighborhood take shape, to see the topography that has formed because of these individual choices (that have) now become the community’s choices is really exciting. Because it’s something we could have never planned for.”

Fundamentally, Pitt said, his vision would have never taken root if the returning residents hadn’t “taken a gamble” on Make It Right.

“The fact that we’ve been able to do it is because of the tenacity of the families that were determined to return and rebuild their lives.”

Considering the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood and the other Make It Right programs springing up around the country, Pitt said: “That something that big, (such) a big idea, can come out of something so horrible is a story that I will tell over and over and over again.”

Pitt said he surely will be returning to New Orleans sometime in the future to film.

“We bring a lot of films down there, our production company. New Orleans is such a great place to shoot and the rebates are phenomenal, so it’s not a big fight with the studios. They’re more than happy for us to get back down there. It’s a very rich place to shoot. It’s my excuse to get back there.”

But, he said, he will not be in New Orleans for the 10th anniversary of the 2005 storm and flood. He said that he’ll be off to film a movie, the details of which he kept vague.

“We’re doing a satirical piece on war, a satirical piece on the decisions that bring about war. That’s the best I can do at the moment,” he said.