With disasters in Africa and Asia, torrential rains in southern California and soon-to-come bitter cold in the East, poisoned pols in the Ukraine, corporate greed throughout the industrialized world, the specter of four more years of Bush, and the reality that I am damn near destitution, I can say one thing with depressing assurance: Life sucks. Knowing this, one NEEDS release. My solution, my oasis: keeping up with the doings of gifted artists I happen to find ridiculously attractive. Sue me.
This takes me to one of my favorite ports in the storm, the amazing Australian actor Hugh Jackman. Fresh from his Broadway triumph in last year's The Boy from Oz, the gorgeous triple-threat is set to take his song-and-dance abilities to the big screen. Jackman has inked a deal with Disney to produce and star in as many as three movie musicals. Most terrific news! In addition, Hugh, through his new production company, will help produce the third X-Men film, which will bring the fine, feral Wolverine back to the big screen. And he's filming The Fountain in Montreal. As if I needed more motivation to head to the Great White North...
More reason to sing and dance in '05: Multitalented and muy bonito Japanese actor Kaga Takeshi will be busy this year. He's returning to the stage, playing West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in the Tokyo production of the sure-to-be-hot play Democracy (a Broadway version is on the boards at the Brooks Atkinson in NYC). (The first link leads to a page written in Japanese, but the search engine Excite allows you to see the page translated into English at this page. It is way cool.)
And in June, Japanese cinephiles will get to enjoy the erstwhile "Iron Chef" Chairman as well — Takefumi is one of the stars of Sengoku Jieitai 1549 (Civil Wars Self Defense Forces 1549), an anti-war film (a remake of the 1979 flick) that boasts, well, lots of action-war scenes. Kaga-san takes on two roles, present-day scientist Matoba Tsuyoshi and old-school warrior Ota Nobunaga, and contrasts how people of different eras dealt with the idea and the reality of war and what its fallout means to future generations. Speaking with the Japanese press about the film last September, Kaga said (this is translated, kids; did my best with it): "Because it is revisiting a film made a long time ago, I am enjoying the work of paying tribute to the Kakugawa movie. ... Warring States became a stage and showed how the Japanese changed over hundreds of years. It shows the warring Heisei era, and, then, it shows you how a more modern man named Matoba, whom I perform, copes with the realities of war. ... Moreover, this movie is a story of man who has imagined war and man who has gripped the chance to make war. The scale of the movie is large, and I want to perform it so that — and this is no lie — so war will not end my existence." Oooh, Kaga's an anti-war-nick. (Sigh...) Wish I could see it. Bring the film to America, dammit!