Are you ready to see Warren Beatty as the next Jackie Chan?
Well, get ready my friends.
Warren, who's in great condition for a man turning 65 at the end of March, will be getting into the best shape of his life shortly for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
Tarantino told me over the weekend that the entire cast of Kill Bill — including Warren, Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu and Michael Madsen — will be required to go into training to learn martial arts.
Quentin said the movie is now in pre-production. He's been waiting for Uma to give birth to her second child with Ethan Hawke. Good news: The baby boy was born last week, and now Tarantino is counting the minutes until Uma can join the training sessions.
In the meantime, Tarantino told me he's hired a female foil for Uma in this tale of a prostitute who seeks revenge on her enemies. None other than Daryl Hannah will be kicking and cussing with Uma in battle scenes.
Woo-ping Yuen — acclaimed for his work on The Matrix and Crouching Tiger — is choreographing the fight scenes.
Hannah actually told me a little bit of her plot but it wouldn't seem fair to give it away.
Meanwhile, Daryl — whose career should get quite a jolt from this new role — was spotted on Monday afternoon getting into her beaten up Chevy Impala convertible outside the Ivy restaurant in Santa Monica. It looked like she'd just been in a heavy business meeting. Maybe she was signing her Kill Bill contracts.
James Franco, the hot-as-a-pistol actor who won a Golden Globe on Sunday night for his role as tortured icon James Dean, has hit the big time.
Franco, with blackened hair, is down in Texas shooting a feature film called Sonny. The movie marks the directing debut of Oscar winner Nicolas Cage, who's following in the footsteps of his famous director uncle Francis Ford Coppola.
Nevertheless, Franco tells me he still doesn't get the girl in this movie. "I play a male prostitute," he informed me, kind of sheepishly.
Cage is also producing Sonny, which will be an independent feature.
The Directors Guild of America announced its nominees last night for best director, and there were some shockers. Robert Altman, who won the Golden Globe and the New York Film Critics Circle award for Gosford Park, was cut out of the running.
Indeed, only one American director, Ron Howard, was on the DGA short list, for A Beautiful Mind. The group also passed over In the Bedroom director Todd Field. Instead, they picked Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge), Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down) and Christopher Nolan (Memento).
Of course, I'm thrilled about Nolan, who deserves every award he can muster for his extremely fine film. But Altman and Field not making this cut is, as Joaquin Phoenix might have said in Gladiator, a bit vexing.
Altman is no stranger to controversy, and he does speak his mind. It's hard to imagine that that's why his career crowning achievement in Gosford Park wasn't recognized by the DGA, but I do think the Academy Award voters will rectify this error. I also believe that Oscar voters will rally around Field, whose film continues to grow and grow in estimation among audiences.
Ron Howard's nomination is certainly charged with controversy also. He's deserved to win in the past for Apollo 13 — of that there is no question. But in the last few days I've read and seen countless reports about the judgment calls made in A Beautiful Mind.
It seems that a huge spin campaign is going on to explain why the makers of this biography left out salient points concerning its subject, mathematician John Forbes Nash. What's interesting is that this problem is not going away, and I wonder over the next few weeks how much more will come to light. At question not only is Nash's sexuality, but the so-called love story offered between him and his wife Alicia. Apparently, Nash fathered another child with another woman, was divorced by Alicia, only to remarry her later. Both of his children have the same name, John, which you have to admit might have been an interesting point in the movie.
According to a Web site maintained by the University of St. Andrews, Scotland: "One of Nash's students at MIT, Alicia Larde, became friendly with him and by the summer of 1955 they were seeing each other regularly. In 1956 Nash's parents found out about his continuing affair with Eleanor Stier and about his son John David Stier. The shock may have contributed to the death of Nash's father soon after, but even if it did not, Nash may have blamed himself. In February of 1957 Nash married Alicia; by the autumn of 1958 she was pregnant but, a couple of months later near the end of 1958, Nash's mental state became very disturbed."
This Web site also states: "In the summer of 1954, while working for RAND, Nash was arrested in a police operation to trap homosexuals. He was dismissed from RAND."
Even though I defer to Ron Howard about how he made his movie, I guess some of this information might have been useful — and certainly possible to include in the movie rather than the many visits by Nash's imaginary friends. If Nash indeed lost his job at RAND — where we see him working in the movie anyway — because of this police raid, you'd think that might be more than just a little point.