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Bill Murray Dropped Out of Wes Anderson’s ‘Asteroid City’ Due to COVID

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Bill Murray’s mysterious absence from Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City” didn’t go unnoticed this week after Focus Features boarded the project and revealed new details about the film.

The actor — an Anderson regular who elevated movies such as “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” — was one of the first to be attached to the Spain-shot film, which went into production last September. On Wednesday, however, Murray was conspicuously missing from the pic’s heaving cast, which includes Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Carell, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton and Adrien Brody, among many others.

A source close to the production tells Variety that Murray contracted COVID-19 shortly before the movie began shooting last September, and the project was forced to recast his role. He’s not believed to have shot any scenes before dropping out.

It’s understood that “Morning Show” star Carell replaced Murray in the film.

Speculation has been rife that Murray was potentially sidelined after it emerged that Searchlight Pictures halted production on Aziz Ansari’s “Being Mortal” this past April after a complaint of inappropriate behavior was made against the 71-year-old actor. Sources indicate, however, that the allegations don’t have anything to do with Murray’s absence from “Asteroid City.”

Back in April, Murray was quick to offer up his version of events, telling CNBC that he “had a difference of opinion with a woman I’m working with.”

“I did something I thought was funny and it wasn’t taken that way,” Murray told CNBC. “The movie studio wanted to do the right thing, so they wanted to check it all out and investigate it and so they stopped the production.

“As of now we’re talking and we’re trying to make peace with each other,” Murray continued. “We’re both professionals. We like each other’s work — we like each other, I think. If we can’t get along and trust each other, there’s no point in going further working together or making a movie… It’s been quite an education for me. I’ve been doing not much else but thinking about her for the last week or two.”

The exact nature of the complaint against Murray was never disclosed.

Searchlight Pictures released the last three Anderson movies, but parted ways with the filmmaker for “Asteroid City,” which is with Focus Features for domestic and parent company Universal Pictures for international. Focus Features boarded the pic in post-production.

Co-written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, the film is described as a “poetic meditation on the meaning of life.” Set in a fictional American desert town circa 1955 and its Junior Stargazer convention, the film brings together students and parents from across the country for scholarly competition, rest and recreation, comedy, drama, romance and more.

“Asteroid City” is produced by Anderson and longtime collaborators Steven Rales, founder of production company Indian Paintbrush, and Jeremy Dawson.



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Bullet Train Movie Vs. Book Comparison: Biggest Changes Explained

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Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Bullet Train.

Bullet Train movie vs. book comparison — here are the biggest changes from the novel. Directed by David Leitch from a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz, Bullet Train’s story is adapted to the big screen. A slick action thriller featuring plenty of comedic moments and a star-studded cast, Bullet Train is like any other film adaptation, changing certain aspects of the source material in its move to a different medium.

Bullet Train is based on Kōtarō Isaka’s incredibly successful novel. First published in 2010, the book was first translated to English in 2021 by Sam Malissa, and has gone on to receive mostly positive reviews from fans and critics alike. Film adaptations of novels must always walk a fine line. Too similar and the film risks being a too-loyal adaptation without its own personality and style; too different and the movie might put off book readers. While it’s difficult to find a balance, movie adaptations tend to make alterations to the source material when bringing it to the big screen.

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Such is the case with Bullet Train. While the action film — which stars Brad Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, among several others — stays true to many aspects of Isaka’s book, there are plenty of key story and character tweaks made specifically for the Hollywood adaptation of Bullet Train. Here is every major change made from book to movie, including the Prince’s identity and backstory.

Bullet Train’s Novel Is Called Maria Bītoru

Typically, film adaptations of novels maintain the same title as their source material. Bullet Train, on the other hand, is unique in that the movie’s title is actually lifted from the novel’s translation. Originally titled Maria Bītoru, which translates to Maria Beetle, Isaka’s novel was given a new name, Bullet Train, for the English-language version of the book. When Bullet Train was first translated to English, the title was likely changed to highlight the fact that the action of the story and the characters’ interactions all take place inside a bullet train. In the story, Maria is the name of Ladybug’s handler, who is portrayed by Sandra Bullock and tasks the assassin with retrieving the briefcase full of money.


White Death’s Character Is An Addition To Bullet Train

The character who brings everyone together in the end is the criminal leader White Death, who came up with a plan that would bring all of the assassins together on the bullet train in the hopes that they would all kill each other. This plot began as revenge for the assassins’ involvement — directly or otherwise — in the murder of the White Death’s wife. However, the White Death is not a character in Isaka’s novel. Rather, the central mob boss in the book is Yoshio Minegishi, who has a reputation for being ruthless. In Bullet Train, Minegishi is more of a minor character, who is betrayed and killed by the White Death in his rise to power. The White Death ultimately replaces Minegishi as the cold-blooded crime boss who is not to be crossed, striking fear in the hearts of nearly everyone on the train. White Death’s addition to Bullet Train completely changes the ending, which now sees Kimura’s father exact his own revenge on Michael Shannon’s character for killing his wife and Minegishi.


The Prince Is A Teenage Boy In The Bullet Train Novel

In the novel, the Prince is Satoshi Oji, a teenage boy who manipulates everyone around him. He’s lethal, cruel, and capable of outsmarting others to get what he wants because he poses as a schoolboy. In the movie, the Prince is a gender-swapped version of the original character, though Joey King’s iteration maintains the same deadly traits, though the book version of the character is far more of a sociopath. Naturally, the Prince being a teenage girl in Bullet Train changes the backstory of her character, who is angry with the White Death for favoring his son (played by Logan Lerman) over her despite the Prince being the more worthy choice as successor to her father’s criminal organization. The Prince plots her revenge on the White Death, which alters the character’s journey in important ways. The vengeance here is personal as the character’s book counterpart simply wants to have a chance to find and fight the mob boss just because. The Prince’s plot in the film is also rooted in sexism — specifically, the underestimation of a young woman who was overlooked by her father in favor of her brother. The change makes for an intriguing and somewhat more nuanced addition, especially considering the majority of the cast is comprised of men.


Ladybug Is A Young Assassin Who’s Not As Experienced

In Bullet Train, Ladybug is a seasoned assassin. He’s been on several jobs, but considers his luck to be some of the worst in the world. Ladybug has been around long enough to know that if he’s somehow involved in the case, something will go wrong, be it an accidental stabbing or death. He always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he’s hyper-aware of that because Ladybug has loads of experience in the field. In Isaka’s novel, however, Ladybug is younger in age (Brad Pitt is 58 years old) and, while the bullet train job isn’t his first, he’s less of a seasoned professional assassin. That said, the remainder of Ladybug’s personality traits remain intact, with the trained killer constantly bringing up his bad luck and opening up discussions on moral philosophy regarding murder and life. Ladybug proved himself a capable operative in the field, fighting the other assassins with finesse.


The Wolf Gets An Expanded Story In The Film

In the film, the Wolf heads all the way to Japan to find Ladybug, the assassin he believes had a hand in the death of his wife and the rest of the guests at his wedding. While Hornet is the one who killed the Wolf’s wife, he’s intent on seeking revenge on Ladybug as well because he also holds him responsible. In the novel, the Wolf has a smaller role. While he also prevents Ladybug from leaving the train at the stop he’s meant to get off, the book version of the Wolf only recognizes the assassin because Ladybug once fought him outside a bar.

The Bullet Train Book Characters Are Japanese

While the film includes a largely American cast, the source material is made up of Japanese characters in the primary roles, including Ladybug, whose real name is Nanao. To that end, Leitch’s film has been accused of whitewashing, the practice of casting white actors in previously non-white roles. The film itself is still set in Japan, but there is only one primary character who is of Japanese descent: Andrew Koji, who plays Kimura. The majority of the bullet train’s passengers, including Channing Tatum, who makes a cameo, are also white. David Innoue, the executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League, and others have criticized the film for not taking the opportunity to cast Japanese actors in the main roles.


The Bullet Train Has A Different Final Destination In The Book

In the movie, Ladybug boards the bullet train in Tokyo, with the final destination being Kyoto. However, Isaka’s novel sees the train traveling from Tokyo to Morioka. It’s unclear why this particular change was made, though perhaps Kyoto is more recognizable to general audiences. Interestingly, the change in Bullet Train means the characters in the action movie are traveling south versus north to Morioka like in the book.




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Kamila Andini’s ‘Before Now & Then’ Picked up by Film Movement for North American Release  (EXCLUSIVE)

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“Before Now & Then,” a period drama film about Indonesian women battling the traumas of war and patriarchal society, has been picked up for North American distribution by Film Movement. The film is directed by Kamila Andini.

The film had its premiere earlier this year at the Berlin festival, where it was rewarded with a Silver Bear for Laura Basuki’s supporting performance. It also recently captured the jury prize at the Brussels International Film Festival.

Film Movement plans a theatrical release in the first quarter of 2023, followed by a wide release on home entertainment and digital platforms.

Rights sales are handled by Wild Bunch International and CAA Media Finance.

The film is set in the late 1960s, where Nana (played by Happy Salma) cannot escape her past. Poverty-stricken, having lost her family to the war in West Java, she marries again and begins a new life. Her new husband is wealthy, but her place in the home is menial, and he is unfaithful. Nana suffers in silence until the day she meets one of her husband’s mistresses and everything changes. Ino (played by Basuki) is someone she can trust, someone who offers her comfort and to whom she can confide her secrets, past and present. Together, the two women find the hope of new freedom.

“Set against the backdrop of growing anti-Communist sentiments of 1960s Indonesia, ‘Before, Now & Then’ focuses on the particular hardships that women are forced to endure in the face of political unrest. Andini and her collaborators, specifically Happy Salma’s mesmerizing lead performance, have crafted a rich portrait of dignity in the face of loss and violence,” said Michael Rosenberg, president of Film Movement. “[Andini is] one of the most promising Indonesian directors to emerge in recent years.”

The film is Andini’s fourth feature. She has previously directed: “The Mirror Never Lies” in 2011; “The Seen and Unseen” in 2017; and “Yuni” in 2021.

“ ‘Before, Now & Then’ is a recollective memory of my Sundanese mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. It is a journey through my own roots and history,” said Andini.

New York-based Film Movement is a North American distributor which has released some 250 U.S. independent and foreign-language films in its twenty-year history. Its recent Asian titles include Kawase Naomi’s “True Mothers,” acclaimed Korean debut film “Aloners” and Korean horror “Seire.”



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Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Gets Key Holiday 2024 Release Date

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Paramount has scheduled its Sonic threequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, for a Christmas 2024 release, making for a two-year gap between installments.

Paramount has officially revealed the release date for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Based on Sega’s wildly popular action-adventure game series of the same name, the Sonic film franchise has so far produced two successful installments. Most recently, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 came out in April 2022, surpassing its predecessor’s box office earnings and winning praise for its pleasing visuals, blending of humor and action, and charming performances – especially the one turned in by newcomer Idris Elba, who voiced Knuckles. The movie also saw the returns of Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, as well as Jim Carrey, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, and James Marsden. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was announced by Sega and Paramount Pictures a month before the sequel premiered.

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Currently, plot and character details for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 are slim. However, the movie is expected to pick up from the cliffhanger ending of the sequel and introduce a new villain in the form of the notorious Shadow. Since Carrey has retired from acting, he is not expected to return as Dr. Robotnik, although the filmmakers have decided not to recast his character. Schwartz previously teased that the film is “going to be bananas,” with subsequent details indicating that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 will include elements from the video games Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog. Details on Sonic the Hedgehog 3 have been scant since, although now there is a major update.


As confirmed by Sonic the Hedgehog‘s official social media, the threequel has been scheduled to premiere on December 20, 2024. No further details have been revealed, but it’s nevertheless reassuring to know that the movie has managed to secure an auspicious holiday release window. Take a look at the tweet below.

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The new release date for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 continues the trend of leaving two years between movies in the franchise, so all installments will hopefully feel evenly spaced out. Right now, the date confirmation doesn’t give much of an idea about the movie’s story, although it indicates that a similar announcement could arrive soon for the Knuckles spinoff, which will see Elba reprising his red echidna role. The Knuckles show will set up Sonic 3, so it seems likely that the project will start to move forward now that the movie has a release date. There is plenty of room for both over the next two years.


Now the question of how Sonic the Hedgehog 3 will resolve some of its most pressing dilemmas remains. The immediate task the movie needs to take care of is addressing Carrey’s potential exit and explaining how the threequel will handle Dr. Robotnik’s absence. In the games, Dr. Robotnik had a crucial role in bringing his grandfather’s Project Shadow to life and provoking the conflict between Sonic and Shadow. However, with Robotnik presumably not returning for Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the movie might choose to tweak Shadow’s backstory, associating him with Guardian Units of Nations (G.U.N.) instead of Robotnik. Additionally, with a premiere date set, Sonic 3 could also reveal other game characters that might show up in the film. That said, with a release in sight, audiences can expectmore exciting updates from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in the coming months.


Source: Sonic the Hedgehog




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