Robert Evans dies at 89

Poster for Black Sunday, the 1977 movie produced by Robert Evans

Robert Evans, who had a remarkable career as an actor, studio executive and producer, has died at 89, according to Variety.

As an actor, Evans played MGM producer Irving Thalberg (Man of a Thousand Faces); as an executive at Paramount, he helped get The Godfather made; and a producer he made Chinatown, Marathon Man and Black Sunday.

Evans died on Saturday, Oct. 26, according to Variety.

Evans was as colorful, if not more so, than the characters in his various productions. His wives included actress Camilla Sparv (whose credits included the Matt Helm film Murderers’ Row); actress Ali MacGraw; and former beauty contest winner Phyllis George.

His personal life also included arrests of cocaine possession, according to the Variety obituary.

Nevertheless, when Evans was a Hollywood survivor — in a major way.

The Godfather was one of the most important movies of the 1970s. Chinatown had a huge impact on audiences, gathering 11 Oscar nominations, though only writer Robert Towne won. Black Sunday, a movie based on a Thomas Harris novel, dealt with Middle Eastern terrorism brought to the United States at the Super Bowl.

Evans was the ultimate Hollywood survivor. He wrote a memoir, The Kid Stays In the Picture: A Notorious Life. That was later the basis of a 2002 documentary. 

Trailer for Eon’s The Rhythm Section arrives

A trailer for The Rhythm Section, the non-Bond spy film made by Eon Productions, went online today.

The movie is set for a Jan. 31, 2020 release. It has been pushed back twice by Paramount. Star Blake Lively suffered an injury during filming in 2017. The project is part of a move by Eon to diversify from its Bond base.

Here’s a look at the trailer.

Eon’s Rhythm Section gets delayed again

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions’ The Rhythm Section, the company’s non-Bond spy film, has been pushed back a second time to early 2020, Variety reported.

The movie, starring Blake Lively, is now scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020, the entertainment news outlet said.

The Rhythm Section was originally scheduled by Paramount for Feb. 22 of this year. Lively suffered an injury during filming in 2017. The movie’s release was pushed back to Nov. 22.

Lively “underwent two hand surgeries before shooting resumed,” according to Variety.

.The new release date means that Eon will have two movies coming out a little more than two months apart. No Time to Die, Eon’s 25th James Bond film, will be released on April 3, 2020, in the U.K. and April 8 in the U.S.

The Bond film will be will be released by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures, in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

McQuarrie talks about M:I 7-8

Poster for Mission: Impossible-Fallout, directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Christopher McQuarrie, writer-director of the last two Mission: Impossible movies, was interviewed by Empire magazine, which published an excerpt.

Now, McQuarrie will be helming two M:I movies to be filmed back-to-back and released in 2021 and 2022. Cruise will be 60 when the latter comes out.

“I pitched the idea of making two movies, and now I have to justify why it’s two movies,” Empire quotes McQuarrie as saying. “You’ve got to earn that. You’ve got to make something that swallows the last three movies whole. I’m freaked out now. We’ve talked ourselves into something.”

The M:I film series began in 1996. It has had long gaps in between installments. But this decade, the series, produced by star Tom Cruise, has been accelerating its schedule. In the 2010s, it had movies come out in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

The 007 had entries in 2012 and 2015. Bond 25, now in production, is scheduled for release in April 2020.

McQuarrie also tweeted about the Empire interview.

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La-La Land Records to release a Goldsmith rarity

Brian Keith in the main title of an episode of the 1975 series Archer

La-La Land Records this month is bringing out Jerry Goldsmith music to a mostly forgotten 1975 TV show, Archer.

The title Archer is best known for the satiric 2009 cartoon series featuring a spy. The short-lived 1975 Archer was about Lew Archer, the private detective created by Ross Macdonald in a series of books from 1949 to 1976.

Macdonald’s The Moving Target was the basis of the 1966 film Harper with Paul Newman. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the novels had become popular and critical successes.

Paramount moved to get a Lew Archer TV series going. It made a TV movie of The Underground Man in 1974 with Peter Graves as Archer that aired on NBC. It included a score by Marvin Hamlisch.

Things were retooled and work began on a weekly series with Brian Keith in the role. NBC canceled the long-running Ironside and replaced it with Archer in January 1975.

It didn’t take hold. The network canceled the show and only six episodes aired. Jerry Goldsmith scored one of the episodes and did the show’s theme.

Decades later, La-La Land is releasing a CD set of Goldsmith’s music from Archer along with the film Warning Shot. It will become available on Feb. 19, according to a post on Twitter by the music company.

The Rap Sheet blog several years ago posted a copy of an Archer main title with the Goldsmith theme on YouTube. It’s from a beaten up print of an episode dubbed into Spanish. More recently, the entire episode (the show’s finale, in fact) has surfaced.

Eon’s The Rhythm Section Delayed Until November

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions’ non-007 spy movie, The Rhythm Section, has been delayed until November, Variety reported.

The film, starring Blake Lively, was scheduled for a Feb. 22 release by Paramount. The release date is now Nov. 22, according to Variety.

Production was delayed after Lively suffered a hand injury, shutting down filming for months. No change in the release date has been announced. But there has been no advertising or other marketing for the movie even as the original Feb. 22 date approached.

Here’s an excerpt from the Variety story:

Insiders familiar with the studio’s thinking said the new date is attractive for several reasons, including the holiday box office boon. The gritty spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is thought by Paramount insiders to be ideal counter-programming to Disney’s “Frozen 2,” which is opening at the same time.

The development continues the mixed history of Eon’s non-James Bond projects. A spinoff movie feature Halle Berry’s character from Die Another Day never developed. Neither did a proposed film based on the life of Edward Snowden. Meanwhile, Eon’s indie-style movies such as Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and Nancy drew very small audiences.

Eon’s next Bond film, the yet-to-be-named Bond 25, is scheduled to begin production in March.

McQuarrie to direct 2 M:I films back to back, Variety says

Mission: Impossible-Fallout poster

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Christopher McQuarrie has agreed to direct two more Mission: Impossible movies for Paramount, Variety reported and film them back to back,  citing people familiar with the situation it didn’t identify.

McQuarrie wrote and directed the last two installments in the Tom Cruise series, 2015’s Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossibl-Fallout. Both were hits, with the latter addressing loose ends from previous M:I adventures.

The decision to film two films at once, with McQuarrie again writing and directing is  “to take advantage of the popularity of the series,” wrote Variety’s Justin Kroll. The first would be out in 2021, the second the following year, Variety said.

Cruise, who turns 57 in July, also is committed to the two movies, according to Variety.

In 2012, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced John Logan had been hired to write Bond 24 and Bond 25. The announcement occurred after the release of Skyfall, the first 007 film to generate $1 billion in global box office.

Star Daniel Craig vetoed the idea of making two Bond films back to back. Bond 24, later titled SPECTRE, came out in the fall of 2015. Bond 25 is scheduled to be released in February 2020.

Other franchises, though, have done back to back productions. Marvel Studios took that approach with Avengers: Infinity War, released in 2018, and Avengers: Endgame, scheduled for release this spring.

UPDATE Jan. 15: Both McQuarrie and Cruise confirmed the news on social media.

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