By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — The Frankenstein monster rises again! A screen staple since the l930s when he was brought to life by Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr., Frankenstein fans have turned out for every film produced, even one with Robert DeNiro as the monster. Now acclaimed director Stuart Beattie, director of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), “Collateral” (2004), “Derailed” (2005), “Australia” (2008) and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra” (2009) is going to resurrect the monster in modern times.
The handsome and capable Aaron Eckhart, no stranger to monsters after playing Two-Face in “The Dark Knight,” will play Adam Frankenstein, who has survived to present day due to a genetic quirk in his creation, and finds himself in the middle of a war between two immortal clans. It starts shooting in Australia in January for an early 2013 release. If that’s not bizarre enough for you, over in England, BBC3 recently had a live telecast of “Frankenstein’s Wedding: Live in Leeds” with David Harewood, a black man, portraying the Frankenstein monster.
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Oscar-winning superstar Shirley MacLaine will finally get hers when The American Film Institute honors her with its 40th Life Achievement Award in June. Among her arsenal of classic films are “Can-Can” (1959), the film that shocked Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev when he visited the set, and two directed by Billy Wilder, “The Apartment” (1960) and “Irma La Douce” (1963), both co-starring Jack Lemmon.
Her fairy-tale career began in l955 when Carol Haney, star of the Broadway hit musical “The Pajama Game,” broke her leg and Shirley, as understudy, had to sub for her. One night, Paramount producer Hal Wallis saw her in the show and signed her to a contract. Her first film was Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Trouble with Harry,” with “Dynasty” star John Forsythe.
Shirley was Oscar nominated five times before she received the award for “Terms of Endearment” in l983. And let’s not forget her baby brother is Oscar-winning director/actor Warren Beatty. Talk about a lot of talent in one family! The 77-year-old MacLaine will be seen in the upcoming Matthew McConaughey/Jack Black film “Bernie,” being released in March.
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Get ready for “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” starring Jeremy Renner as Hansel, and no less than three more films based on the fairy tale, including “Black Forest: Hansel and Gretel and the 420 Witch,” about a witch living in Pasadena, Calif., who lures teen-agers into her house with a special blend of marijuana. Seems eating them helps the witch maintain her youth. Some teen’s junk-food diet could give her a deadly case of indigestion!
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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.