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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 5, 2011 at 11:25 AM

The morning news: “Cleopatra,” “X-Men” and more

Let’s start off 2011 (sorry, I’m a little late; took a few days off to lie low and read books — btw, anyone else read the Benjamin Black crime series? That’s the pen name for the Irish novelist John Banville, under which he writes elegant noirish mysteries set in 1950s Dublin — great stuff) with some movie news. (OK, I just made a parenthetical way longer than the sentence itself. 2011 is not starting off well. Onward.)
— Deadline.com reports that a director will soon be announced for “Cleopatra,” the 3D epic based on Stacy Schiff’s acclaimed biography “Cleopatra: A Life,” and starring Angelina Jolie. The film — for which Deadline speculates that Paul Greengrass might be helming — will be done in grand style; Sony co-chair Amy Pascal is calling it her “Gone with the Wind” epic. It’ll begin production sometime this year.
— Also on Deadline: George Clooney will star in “The Monster of Florence,” based on the nonfiction bestseller about a series of murders in Italy. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander will write the screenplay. Clooney will next direct and star in the political drama “The Ides of March.”
— January Jones, a.k.a. Betty Draper on “Mad Men,” spoke to the Los Angeles Times this week about playing Emma Frost in “X-Men: First Class,” currently shooting in London. The movie is a Kennedy-era (just like “Mad Men”!) prequel to the three previous “X-Men” installments. The costumes for Frost are “insane,” said Jones. “If you look at the comic book, she’s barely dressed.” Frost, a mutant who can change into a diamond, was “a bespectacled, mousy child who had this power when she was young that she couldn’t quite harness, the telepathy, the mind-twisting stuff,” Jones said. “She had a falling out with her father and went her own direction.” James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) also star in the film, which will arrive in theaters in June. And Rose Byrne will play the very well-named Dr. Moira MacTaggert, a character of whom I am inexplicably fond.
— And Gareth Edwards, who made the indie sci-fi movie “Monsters,” has signed to develop and direct a new “Godzilla” movie. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Legendary Pictures (co-producer of “Inception” and “The Dark Knight”) acquired the rights to Godzilla from Japan’s Toho Co. last March, and hopes to take the monster “into the 21st century.” Some of us remember what happened when a big studio tried to take Godzilla into the very late 20th century (in 1998), but presumably Legendary is not thinking about that.

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