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Coheed & Cambria Frontman’s Comics To Be Made Into Movie

Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, producers of “Boardwalk Empire” and “Entourage,” have obtained the rights to the graphic novel series The Amory Wars by Claudio Sanchez, singer, guitarist, and mastermind of the prog-rock concept band Coheed & Cambria. According to Variety.com, the team will be turning the futuristic sci-fi fantasy saga into a live-action feature film.

Sanchez’s comics are an ongoing series about a family in an alternate universe and their battle to end the reign of Wilhelm Ryan, a superhuman dictator with ruthless power. These comics were originally written to accompany the parallel on-going story of Coheed & Cambria’s concept albums, but have clearly developed into much more. They have garnered attention and respect from Comic-Con fans and famous comic book writers such as Peter David (The Incredible Hulk, Aquaman), who penned 2010′s The Year of the Black Rainbow, an origin story to accompany the band’s fifth full-length album with the same name.

Whether or not Sanchez or his band are to be involved with the scoring of the film has yet to be announced, but one can only assume that there must be some talk of this involvement, considering the albums and the graphic novels are practically one in the same.

Coheed and Cambria have a new album coming out this fall and a North American tour with Iron Maiden starting on July 24th.

 

Mark Wahlberg’s Celebrity Challenge: Making Justin Bieber a Movie Star

If anyone can do it, it would be the pop artist formerly known as Marky Mark. The task at hand: transforming Justin Bieber from Canadian teen-pop idol into Hollywood matinee idol

Mark Wahlberg already knows a thing or three about reinvention. When he first burst onto the entertainment scene in 1991 as the leader of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunk—a two-hit wonder from whom nobody expected any kind of longevity, and afterwards as a Calvin Klein underwear model—few probably thought he’d be likely to succeed past the mid-decade mark.

Yet two decades later, he’s still here. He’s a movie star and a respected actor, a successful producer (of the TV series Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, and of last year’s Best Picture Oscar contender, The Fighter) and an Academy Award acting nominee (Best Supporting Actor for 2006′s The Departed).

His next project: making Justin Bieber a film star. “I see the guy and spent time with him, and you see what he does and how he does it,” Wahlberg told MTV News last year, “and then you actually have a conversation with him, and it’s there.”

Picture this (because Wahlberg already has): Bieber in a The Color of Money-type film, which Wahlberg is developing for Paramount Pictures, with basketball replacing pool. Bieber would take the Tom Cruise role, and Wahlberg would cast a formidable screen legend like Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall or Jack Nicholson as the grizzled vet, the Color of Money archetype that finally won Paul Newman an Oscar in 1987.

It sounds like a dream job—for someone else. If Will Smith, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, Tim McGraw and Wahlberg himself have taught us anything, when making the transition from music to movies, it’s best to start small. Both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera tried to fulfill their film-star fantasy by starring above the title the first time out (in Crossroads and Burlesque, respectively), and thus far, neither one’s Hollywood dream has come true.

Enimen has yet to find a follow-up worthy of his debut starring role in 2002′s 8 Mile; the Hollywood heat surrounding The Bodyguard star Whitney Houston, set to test the acting waters again in a 2012 remake of Sparkle, quickly cooled after three films; Beyoncé has gotten plenty of acting work, but her Hollywood career has yet to generate any kind of major excitement; and Evita aside, Madonna has been most successful onscreen in supporting roles (Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own). Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar her first time out for Dreamgirls, but what has she done for us lately?

That Bieber’s 2011 documentary/concert film, Never Say Never, was a major box-office success ($73 million in North America) indicates that movie-ticket buyers will shell out bucks to see him on the big screen. And he’s already had a guest-starring role in C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation. But pop stars are always booking cameos and story arcs in hit TV shows, and in Never Say Never, Bieber was literally playing himself. If Wahlberg is going to guide him through the Hollywood jungle, he’d be wise to pull out the map that he himself used.

For now, let somebody else drive. Don’t even let him ride shotgun just yet. Bieber would be better off in the backseat, cast in an ensemble movie where he doesn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting (see Taylor Swift in Valentine’s Day—on second thought, don’t).

When Wahlberg landed his first major starring role, in 1997′s Boogie Nights, he was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and surrounded by highly esteemed talents like Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly and a soon-to-be-briefly resurgent (and Oscar-nominated for the first time) Burt Reynolds.

Even after Boogie Nights, Wahlberg’s most notable films—I Heart Huckabees, The Departed, The Fighter—have featured plenty of Oscar-caliber talent. And in The Departed, it was Wahlberg, not costars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon or Jack Nicholson who walked away with the Oscar nod.

But Wahlberg seems to have other ideas for Bieber, whom he calls “really talented.” And if he exhibits no discernible talent for film acting once the cameras roll? “I will extract it,” Wahlberg said.

Good luck to them both. They’ll need it. Wahlberg may have proven that he’s a miracle worker by going from rapper to underwear hunk to Oscar nominee, but Bieber holding his own with a DeNiro or a Duvall or a Nicholson sounds like an almost-impossible dream.

10 Music Stars Who Deserve a Hollywood Big-Screen Test

1. Lady Gaga

Best Performance in a Video: “Paparazzi”

2. John Mayer

Best Performance in a Video: “Who Says”

3. Ke$ha

Best Performance in a Video: “Blow”

4. Mary J. Blige

Best Performance in a Video: “Be Without You”

5. Pink

Best Performance in a Video: “Glitter in the Air” (live at the 2010 GRAMMY Awards)

6. Duffy

Best Performance in a Video: “Warwick Avenue”

7. Fiona Apple

Best Performance in a Video: “Fast As You Can”

8. Richard Ashcroft

Best Performance in a Video: “Break the Night with Colour”

9. Roisin Murphy

Best Performance in a Video: “Overpowered”

10. Brandon Flowers

Best Performance in a Video: The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”

Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!

Though Susan Boyle helped make music’s mainstream safer for the mature crowd, her chart-life-begins-at-nearly fifty success story remains a rarity. But perhaps in the case of Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar for playing an alcoholic country singer in Crazy Heart, a music star could have been born at the ripe old age of 61. Alas, it was not to be. His debut album, Jeff Bridges, entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 25 the week after its August 16 release and then tumbled to No. 58.

Thankfully, Bridges is in no danger of losing his day job.

These are hard times for actors and actresses moonlighting as recording artists. Back in the ’80s, the biggest movie stars usually were guaranteed at least one big pop hit if they bothered to try. Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze all did, and each managed one trip to the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. But that was then. By the ’90s, mega-stars like Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves and Russell Crowe were forming rock bands that went nowhere on the charts.

More recently, Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars has approached a level of heat commensurate with that of his acting career (which, considering his overall filmography, isn’t as impressive as it might sound), but there hasn’t been a movie star who’s been able to consistently score on the music charts since Jennifer Lopez made her seamless transition to pop diva in 1999 with the No. 1 hit “If You Had My Love.”

A handful of TV stars have done slightly better. Just in time for the September 18 Emmys, House star Hugh Laurie, an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominee, sees his debut album, Let Them Talk (produced by Joe Henry, Madonna’s talented brother-in-law, and released in the U.S. on September 6, months after its successful spring launch in Europe), enter the Billboard Top 200 album chart at No. 16. Meanwhile, the single “Police Dog Blues” debuts at No. 58 on the Hot 100 — respectable, if not spectacular. But does his chart career have long-term potential? At first, Hilary Duff‘s seemed to, but her music career stalled nearly a half-decade ago (her one-time nemesis Lindsay Lohan‘s never really took off), and Miley Cyrus, who had to make her initial cross-over to pop as her small-screen alter-ego Hannah Montana, is in flux after tanking last year with Can’t Be Tamed.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!’

The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor

Once you’re a hugely successful musician, with lots of people telling you how awesome you are, making the leap into acting (or painting, or politics, or baseball, or aviation, or molecular biology) must seem like a piece of cake. There are so many object lessons to teach us how untrue that is (Britney Spears’ Crossroads, anyone?). But there are a few double-threats out there who have successfully made the leap.

 

10. Queen Latifah

It’s pretty aggravating to see a talented actor take an opportunity to do quality work, wipe their ass with that opportunity and flush it down the toilet. Queen Latifah has done this a couple of times. She could have had a solid career as a supporting actress after The Bone Collector and Bringing Out The Dead, but then she kicked America in the crotch by being part of The Country Bears, among other debacles. She was then lucky enough to be cast in Chicago, and it was inarguably a star-making performance. Finding herself in that enviable position, she accepted roles in a bunch of utter garbage, including Taxi and The Perfect Holiday. Sigh. But dammit, she’s always fun to watch on screen, whether it’s comedy or drama, and I suspect she’ll continue to appear in quality movies from time to time. Just don’t expect consistency.

Continue reading ‘The EditoriaList: Top Ten Singers-Turned-Actor’

Pop Stars on Film

What do Cher, Diana Ross, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Mark Wahlberg, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah and Will Smith have in common? All pop stars-turned-actors, they each mined gold and platinum or scored chart hits in music before landing Oscar nominations. This fall, Christina Aguilera, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake will launch campaigns to join their company.

Unlikely, you say? You’re probably right, but early word is that Justin Timberlake just might be needing a tux come Oscar night next February 27th, thanks to his performance as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in the Facebook drama The Social Network, which opens today. A friend of mine who has seen the film says no way, but Popeater writer Jett Wells, who presumably saw the same movie, thinks it’s a distinct possibility, if not quite a probability: “Timberlake, who appears to have finally shaken the awkward pop star-making-movie-cameos phase of his career, seems poised to become a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.”

And his 2003 Justified/Stripped Tour co-headliner? Considering what has become of Christina Aguilera’s music career—her current album, Bionic, is a certified flop that likely won’t even go gold—Burlesque, her film debut (November 24th), would have Showgirls written all over it were it not for her above-the-title costar. Say what you will about her strangely immovable face, but she will forever be known as “Oscar winner Cher.” As for Aguilera, she wisely chose a role —wannabe American idol — in which she doesn’t have to completely give up her day job. In the trailer, Cher and 2010 Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci do most of the talking (words by director Steve Antin along with Juno writer Diablo Cody and Erin Brockovich scribe Susannah Grant, an Oscar winner and nominee, respectively), while Christina Aguilera does what she does best: She sings.

I’m still not 100 per cent sure what Timberlake’s Nipplegate partner at the 2004 Super Bowl, Janet Jackson, is doing in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (opening November 5th), or why her eyes are that unnatural shade of light brown on the film’s poster. She plays Jo, one of seven women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in the film adaptation of the 1975 Tony Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She’s lucky to be top billed in an ensemble that’s embarrassingly rich with talent: Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine and Thandie Newton, who, interestingly, was cast after Mariah Carey had to bail for medical reasons. If Jackson doesn’t bring it and more, she’ll rue the day that Beyoncé didn’t get the job.

By Jeremy Helligar

Jeremy Helligar is a former staff writer for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly, who now writes about celebrities and pop culture from his couch in Buenos Aires.

 


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