Affleck speaks…

Posted on Mar 14, 2000

First of all, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to a friend of mine: Liz Olivera. I would give you her email so that you can all send her a wish…but she would stop being my friend after she gets bombed with all your emails.

There’s more rumblings of casting for Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor project. According to a number of sources, Alec Baldwin is currently in talks to take on the film’s role of the real life Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, a part that Kevin Costner previously negotiated for but chose to pass on when the production could not meet his financial requirements.

Ben Affleck talks on his site ( affleck.com )about “Pearl Harbor.” WARNING, there are some minor spoilers:

“Which brings me to…my next movie and it’s one I’m really thrilled about. In fact, I haven’t been this excited to do a movie in a long time and nobody is as surprised as I am at that. If you had asked me a year ago if I’d be doing Michael Bay’s next movie–and FOR NO MONEY at that–I’d have said you were crazy. And maybe I am, but I don’t think so.

When I got the script I was fully expecting the kind of saccharine, popcorn that was Armageddon. I was shocked, to say the least. Jerry and Michael are working from a script by Randall Wallace (Braveheart) that is uncompromising, true to the accounts of survivors and striving to be the definitive epic on the day that “lived in infamy” and ultimitely proved to be the definitive moment in the greatest conflict of the last century.

Rather than some jingoistic cowboy story about yee-haw Americans getting “snuk-attacked” by cagy “Japs,” this is a much more complex story. It begins with a nation that, according to a gallup poll, is 88% AGAINST getting involved in “the war in Europe” (!!!) It is a place suffering mightily from the hangover of a costly (in suffering) and senseless (in both geo-political and humanistic terms) war where thousands of American boys died in trenches in Europe. It is a place where Henry Ford and Charles Lindburgh lead HUGE rallies where the great applause line goes: “Hitler is our friend!!” The “peace in our time” movement which advocated isolationism in the face of the Axis powers invasions in Europe and Asia–an unimaginable concept in retrospect, but one that had an invincible political currency at the time. In fact, there are many fascinating parallels to the post Vietnam era, where the populace absolutely DID NOT want to send our young men overseas EVER AGAIN.

In the White House, a democratic President is running for his fourth term and facing the fight of his life. His Republic opponent, Willkie, is making great political hay by implying that FDR wants to “Drag America to war.” A fistfight breaks out in the House of Representatives after a vociferous anti-wr, anti-FDR speech–each congressman takes and suffers six blows to the face. FDR publicly aknowledges that “The Axis powers will give anything in the world to have me licked the fifth of November!” and he barely squeaks by in the election but only after repeatedly promising “your boys are not going to be sent into any foriegn wars!”

An advisor to FDR, Mccollum, puts forth an internal memo indicatating that they fully expected that “upon defeat of England, the United States could expect an immediate attack from Germany.” Yet FDR simply did not have the support of the populace to enter the war–just lending the British a few ships had caused a political shitstorm on capital hill and lead FDR to have to employ his famous “garden hose” analogy in a “Fireside Chat” the thrust of which being “If your neighbor’s house is on fire, you lend him your hose…”

At a terrible political crossroad, FDR was stuck. Until that day in 1941, when a fleet of Japanese Battles ships, attack fighters and a group of bombers led a shockingly brazen assualt on the US Naval base at Pearl harbor, leaving 2403 Americans dead and 1178 wounded in less than an hour. The Japanese lost less than two hundred men, and only one was captured.

The movie will capture, using the most advanced special effects, and reproduce the exact events of that terrible day. if there is one thing I am certain of, it is that Michael’s emormous visual storytelling talents will bring the attack sequence a sense of horrifying realism and terrible majesty. The third act of the movie is also culled from true wartime events in the pacific (and I don’t want to give anything away) but it is truly gripping and extremely well executed in the script. the fictional love story that Mr. Wallace crafted (a la Braveheart) is well done and entirely absent false sentimentality. Suffice it to say that there is (I believe) very good reason that Michael, Jerry, the rental houses, and so many crewmembers and actors (including me) have waived our “fees”: we want to make a good movie–and we want every nickel up on the screen to help tell the story. Ultimitely, I’ve found, it’s a lot more satisfying to make a movie you can be proud of than it is to cash a big check. This time, we’re taking the route of the former. I hope you’ll like it. Memorial Day 2001.”

Michael Bay Talks ‘Pearl Harbor’

Posted on Mar 11, 2000

Recently, InLinefirst.com asked Michael Bay About “Pearl Harbor,” and surprisingly about a sequel to “The Rock.”

We all know ‘Pearl Harbor’ is the highest-budgeted film of all time. We may or may not know that it was originally called ‘Tennessee’ before the film-makers decided to name it directly after the event. But what can director Michael Bay tell us about his ambitious project?

At a public appearance supporting Buena Vista’s ‘Mission to Mars,’ Bay talked about ‘Pearl Harbor.’

There’s a lot of work ahead,” Bay said. “We’ve been researching for the past year.” Even though there is a lot of effort being put into historical accuracy, Bay assured InLineFirst readers that it will be a film about people.

“It’s all character, and it’s a very different movie than I’ve ever done before. It’s all history, but not everything’s based in fact.”

‘Mission to Mars’ distributor Buena Vista will also finance and distribute ‘Pearl Harbor.’ While we had Bay’s attention, we asked about the possibility of a sequel to ‘The Rock.’ He simply replied, “Not for me.”

Disney stations Hartnett at ‘Pearl Harbor’

Posted on Mar 10, 2000

Josh Hartnett will star along with Ben Affelck in “Pearl Harbor.” Read On…

Disney stations Hartnett at ‘Pearl Harbor’

By Zorianna Kit

Josh Hartnett is set to star alongside Ben Affleck in Disney’s megabudgeted World War II drama “Pearl Harbor” for filmmakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay. The six-month project is expected to go before cameras in the spring.

Hartnett’s star is fast rising, as the young actor has roles in five films that are due out this year: Fox 2000’s “Here on Earth,” New Line Cinema’s “Town and Country,” Paramount Classics release “The Virgin Suicides” and Miramax’s “O” and “Never Better.”

The signing of Hartnett and Affleck ends months of searching for the two Army Air Corps pilots and best friends who fall in love with the same Navy nurse. The deal for Affleck pays him no money upfront to star in the $135 million project.

Bruckheimer and Bay reduced their own fees to make the film and have only a small budget to cast even the lead roles because of the project’s production costs .

Though the female lead has not yet been cast, roles of the supporting nurses are beginning to fill, with newcomer and model James King being the first selected.

King, a former Cosmopolitan cover girl, recently wrapped a role in her first feature, New Line’s “Happy Campers,” and is now shooting the studio’s “Blow,” in which she portrays one of the daughters of a couple played by Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.

The Randall Wallace-penned “Harbor,” to be produced by Bruckheimer and Bay, the latter of whom will direct, is moving full steam ahead. Cuba Gooding Jr. was the first actor to sign last month as a 3rd Class mess attendant who served on the U.S.S. West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Hartnett has been seen on the big screen in the horror films “The Faculty” and “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” and starred in the short-lived television series “Cracker.” He is repped by the Iris Burton Agency and manager Nancy Kremer.

King, repped by ICM and manager Robert Flutie, made her acting debut in the short “Four Faces of God.” She is slated to appear on the cover of Details magazine’s May issue.

It’s official…

Posted on Mar 6, 2000

It’s official now, as previously reported, Ben Affleck will join Michael again for “Pearl Harbor.”

Affleck serves ‘Harbor’ duty for no upfront

By Anita M. Busch

Ben Affleck is the second high-profile actor to jump aboard Disney’s “Pearl Harbor” for filmmakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, despite the project’s budgetary restrictions on casting. Negotiations were completed late Friday night on a deal by which Affleck will take no money upfront for the lead role.

“Harbor” is emerging as a case of talent rallying around talent. Cuba Gooding Jr. was first to come aboard for Bruckheimer and Bay. The involvement of Affleck and Gooding Jr. comes after the filmmakers’ very public, very bumpy negotiations with the studio to get the project greenlit. Adding to the interest from A-listers is Randall Wallace’s gritty, engaging script, several sources said.

Both actors are friends of the filmmakers. Affleck was cast in the Bruckheimer-produced, Bay-directed “Armageddon” before winning a best original screenplay Oscar for “Good Will Hunting”; Gooding Jr. plays in Bruckheimer’s hockey league.

Gene Hackman, who has worked with Bruckheimer on “Enemy of the State” and “Crimson Tide,” might also come aboard, but no decision has yet been made.

Bruckheimer and Bay experienced a rough review at the studio for “Harbor” after the departure of former chairman Joe Roth, who championed the project and gave it its first greenlight. After Roth left, Eisner re-evaluated Roth’s decision to make the film at a price tag of $145 million and had the filmmakers make further cuts to bring it down another $10 million.

Bruckheimer and Bay reduced their own fees and then, because the bulk of the project cost is being applied toward its massive production, were left with only a small budget to cast even the lead roles. The filmmakers plan to re-create fully the Dec. 7, 1941, early-morning bombing by the Japanese of the Hawaiian naval base, a pivotal moment that pulled the United States into World War II. Any budgetary overages must be shouldered by the filmmakers.

Affleck began talking seriously last week about joining the project (HR 3/2). He will play the lead fighter pilot in the story that follows two brothers who fall in love with the same woman. A lead actress has yet to be cast.

“Harbor” is expected to go before cameras in April or May and shoot for six months.

Affleck’s agreement to join “Harbor” delays two other projects: “Cinderella Man,” a Universal Pictures/Miramax Films co-production in which he was expected to star, and Warner Bros.’ “The Ugly Truth,” in which he was negotiating to star with Gwyneth Paltrow. The latter project is seeking a director after Barry Sonnenfeld exited last month to direct “Big Trouble” at Disney.

Stuff

Posted on Mar 3, 2000

Thank you to all those who sent a birthday email to Michael. He actually was very pleased and got a kick out of it.

Well, there might be a possibility that that Michael could be reunited with one of the stars of “Armageddon” for the up and coming “Pear Harbor.” Hollywoodreporter mentions the follwing:

“In the latest rounds of casting surrounding Disney’s megabudgeted “Pearl Harbor,” Ben Affleck is in talks to come aboard. “Pearl” would reteam the actor with director-producer Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who cast Affleck in their asteroid pic “Armageddon” two years ago, before Affleck became Hollywood’s golden boy after winning an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting.” Affleck is repped by CAA.”

Happy Birthday Mike

Posted on Feb 17, 2000

Happy Birthday Michael! Enjoy it where ever you are.

Bombs Away Bombs Away Charlize Theron says no to ”Pearl Harbor” — The actress explains why she’s passing up a star-making role in Disney’s high-priced epic ‘SWEET’ TALK Theron will star in the smaller ”November” instead of the big-budget ”Harbor” by Craig Seymour Industry buzz had it that Charlize Theron would likely become a female lead in ”Pearl Harbor,” Disney’s WWII epic whose $135 million preshooting budget makes it the most expensive film ever greenlit. But the increasingly hot Theron, who next stars opposite Ben Affleck in John Frankheimer’s ”Reindeer Games” (opening Feb. 25), tells EW Online that she’s passing on the project. Instead she’ll join Keanu Reeves in a remake of the ’68 romantic drama ”Sweet November,” which starts shooting at the same time as ”Harbor.” ”Whomever is in it [”Harbor”] will probably become a huge star and the movie will do extremely well,” says Theron. ”But I know I’m here [in my career] because I’ve always made decisions based on what felt right to me and what felt challenging to me.” Theron denies that her choice was influenced by the negative hype surrounding ”Harbor”’s initial price tag, which dwarfs the greenlighted budgets of both ”Titanic” (less than $100 million) and ”Waterworld ($65 million). ”I made my decision based on the character in ‘Sweet November,”’ she says. (We can see why: In the original version, Sandy Dennis plays a woman who takes a new lover every month.) So while ”Pearl Harbor” still has ”Armageddon” director Michael Bay at the helm, and lots of stunt people, pyrotechnics, and ”Titanic”’s water tank to re-create the infamous Dec. 7, 1941, attack, it’s now short one soon-to-be A-list actress. But, then again, with a $135 million budget the producers can surely afford a new one. RenŽe Zellweger, perhaps?

Posted on Feb 11, 2000

My suspicions have been confirmed…Charlize Theron won’t play nurse. EW has reported she decided to pass on this project. Why? My opinion? She either didn’t like the money or her character in the plot. Then again, this is the same woman who came out in “Mighty Joe Young,” and “The Astronaut’s Wife” Am I missing something here??? Anyway, got this from EW online:

Bombs Away

Charlize Theron says no to ”Pearl Harbor” — The actress explains why she’s passing up a star-making role in Disney’s high-priced epic ‘SWEET’ TALK Theron will star in the smaller ”November” instead of the big-budget ”Harbor”

by Craig Seymour

Industry buzz had it that Charlize Theron would likely become a female lead in ”Pearl Harbor,” Disney’s WWII epic whose $135 million preshooting budget makes it the most expensive film ever greenlit. But the increasingly hot Theron, who next stars opposite Ben Affleck in John Frankheimer’s ”Reindeer Games” (opening Feb. 25), tells EW Online that she’s passing on the project. Instead she’ll join Keanu Reeves in a remake of the ’68 romantic drama ”Sweet November,” which starts shooting at the same time as ”Harbor.” ”Whomever is in it [”Harbor”] will probably become a huge star and the movie will do extremely well,” says Theron. ”But I know I’m here [in my career] because I’ve always made decisions based on what felt right to me and what felt challenging to me.”

Theron denies that her choice was influenced by the negative hype surrounding ”Harbor”’s initial price tag, which dwarfs the greenlighted budgets of both ”Titanic” (less than $100 million) and ”Waterworld ($65 million). ”I made my decision based on the character in ‘Sweet November,”’ she says. (We can see why: In the original version, Sandy Dennis plays a woman who takes a new lover every month.) So while ”Pearl Harbor” still has ”Armageddon” director Michael Bay at the helm, and lots of stunt people, pyrotechnics, and ”Titanic”’s water tank to re-create the infamous Dec. 7, 1941, attack, it’s now short one soon-to-be A-list actress. But, then again, with a $135 million budget the producers can surely afford a new one. RenŽe Zellweger, perhaps?

Brad Pitt eying Pearl Harbor

Posted on Feb 9, 2000

The HollywoodReporter says the following regarding Brad Pitt:

“…He’s also eying “Pearl Harbor…’The Mexican’ is likely to be Pitt’s first project of the millennium. However, that all could change if Pitt goes aboard “Pearl Harbor” for Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.

Pearl Bucks

Posted on Feb 7, 2000

There’s an article in this week’s Entertainment Weekly regarding a general overview of the negotiations and casting notes. Click here to read it.

Gooding is all decked out for ‘Pearl Harbor’

Posted on Feb 5, 2000

Cuba Gooding Jr. just can’t escape the Navy.

In the first casting for Disney’s “Pearl Harbor,” Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. — who next stars in Fox 2000’s “Navy Diver” — is in final negotiations to come aboard the Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay megabudgeted project.

The project has also garnered the interest of Kevin Costner, who is due to begin shooting the indie pic “3,000 Miles to Graceland” next month. The actor was expected to segue into Mandalay Pictures’ “Beyond Borders” for director Oliver Stone. However, “Borders” co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones fell out of the project last month, and the producers have not yet secured a female lead, thus pushing back the planned start date.

The Bruckheimer-produced “Pearl Harbor” will be directed by Bay from a script by Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”). The project will go before the cameras in April or May and shoot for about six months.

With “Harbor” proceeding full steam ahead, Gooding will take the smaller but pivotal role of the ship’s Dorie Miller, a mess attendant third class who was serving on the U.S.S. West Virginia when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Like many sailors in the segregated U.S. Navy of World War II, Miller was assigned to kitchen duty. Navy archives say the powerfully built Texan was collecting laundry when the Sunday morning attack began.

Historical accounts show that two bombs hit the West Virginia deck, and the battleship suffered below-deck flooding as her crew endured five torpedo hits to the port side. During this, Miller carried wounded sailors to safety, helped the ship’s fatally wounded captain and then fired an anti-aircraft machine gun at Japanese planes for some 15 minutes until the gun’s ammunition was spent and abandon ship orders were given.

Surviving the attack, Miller’s unbridled courage earned him the Navy Cross in 1942. The war hero died in 1943 when the escort carrier he was serving on was torpedoed during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands. In 1973, a Navy frigate was named the U.S.S. Miller.

Gooding Jr., repped by CAA, won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role in “Jerry Maguire.”

(Hollywood Reporter)