Kenneth Branagh could be a busy man in the coming months. The highly regarded actor and director of 'Thor' might be working two shifts in his new gig -- not just as a director, but also as a star.
I don't watch many movies like 'People Like Us.' Weepies, they call 'em. (Okay, they called 'em that in 1940.) (Okay, they called 'em that in 1940 in my mind.) Weepies are basically little bits of soap opera – some family struggle which culminates in tears, hugs and a big fat life lesson. Sometimes we get lucky and they explode with insight and good writing (I mean, what's 'Hannah and Her Sisters' if not soap opera?) and break out of their Lifetime Network ghetto.
'People Like Us' doesn't quite do that, but the card up its sleeve is an extremely likable cast of solid actors who photograph really well. Even though everyone on screen is supposed to be at their emotional breaking points, the movie still deals in wish fulfillment to see how beautiful people cope with (and resolve) sexier problems than we'll ever have.
One of the late, great Elizabeth Taylor's most memorable film roles was that of the sexually-frustrated Maggie in Tennessee Williams' 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.'
Now the 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning play on which the movie was based is getting (yet another) Broadway revival, and Scarlett Johansson has reportedly been tapped to star.
People Like Us' is summer counter-programming, though it has a big-budget summer cast that includes Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Pfeiffer and Jon Favreau. If that's surprising for what looks like a small emotional movie, it's directed by Alex Kurtzman - who wrote the script with writing partner Roberto Orci. And that may be the explanation to the cast: he's worked with most of them before. Check out the trailer...
After director Jack Bender left the project to pursue more television, it looked like Paramount's Chris Pine-starring reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise (with the character previously played Harrison Ford in 'Clear and Present Danger', Alec Baldwin in 'The Hunt for Red October' and Ben Affleck in 'The Sum of All Fears) was on the ropes. Not so, as Kenneth Branagh is now in talks to helm the as yet untitled Ryan adventure, with a script being currently reworked by David Koepp ('Jurassic Park', 'Carlito's Way')
Paramount was hot to trot with Chris Pine post-'Star Trek.' Shortly after that film opened big, he was attached to be the next Jack Ryan as part of the Tom Clancy franchise that has currently spawned four entries and had three previous Ryans. But now the project is in major jeopardy.