Morning 5

Murphy, Ruffalo and Roberts to HBO, Soderbergh's Liberace Biopic is 'Too Gay' and del Toro Declines 'Star Wars'

Plus, Guillermo del Toro approached for 'Star Wars'

Texas Chainsaw 3D1.) With Texas Chainsaw 3D sitting atop the domestic box-office charts this week, it's only natural for sequel talk to begin. And according to Bloody Disgusting, the producers have the rights to make six more films in the franchise. These slashers are relatively low-risk, so you have to figure Lionsgate will keep churning them out.

2.) I haven't done one of these Star Wars stories in a while, but honestly, news is pretty slow today so I don't have much of a choice to pass this one along. Early fan favorite for the Episode VII director's chair Guillermo del Toro says he was approached about the gig, but had do decline due to his busy schedule. He did offer his take on who he'd like to see at the helm: "I think the fans deserve somebody that is just going to immerse themselves completely. As a geek, I would have loved to see Brad Bird take it." Unfortunately, we already know that isn't going to happen as Bird is instead focusing on his own original sci-fi project 1952, which has George Clooney in the lead. [The Playlist]

3.) While director Ryan Murphy (Eat Pray Love) originally intended for his film The Normal Heart to be a theatrical release, HBO announced they'll premiere the film in 2014. The film stars Julia Roberts and Mark Ruffalo and tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Roberts will play a paraplegic physician who treated some of the earliest victims of the disease, while Ruffalo's character begins to seek answers and spread word of the disease after it claims the lives of several members of his gay community. Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Matt Bomer (Magic Mike) round out the cast, with the latter playing the boyfriend of Ruffalo's character. [THR]

Michael Douglas in Behind the Candelabra4.) Speaking of HBO, Steven Soderbergh has spoken out about how his Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra wound up on the network. "Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town," he told The Wrap. "We needed $5 million. Nobody would do it."

Yes, this is the same Liberace movie you're probably thinking of with Michael Douglas as the legendary pianist and Matt Damon as his lover. $5 million. A reputable filmmaker like Soderbergh couldn't get $5 million to finance a movie with those A-listers. Why, you ask? "They said it was too gay," he explained. It's hard to believe studios still think that way after the success of films like Brokeback Mountain and Milk, but Soderbergh says he's happy about where the film ended up. "Ultimately I think more people will see it, and that's all you care about." Behind the Candelabra is expected to debut this spring.

5.) Rick Smith of the electronic music group Underworld will score Danny Boyle's thriller Trance. Boyle has previously used Underworld's songs in his movies Trainspotting, The Beach and Sunshine, while the group also served as musical directors of the Boyle-directed London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. This is Smith's first full film as a solo composer, although he previously scored the 2006 feature Breaking and Entering with Underworld. There's no word on why he's working without long-time creative partner Karl Hyde on this project. [Film Music Reporter]

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  • The Jackal

    I must say I'm very disappointed to here that two of my favorite directors, both familiar with how to successfully bring sci-fi and fantasy wonderfully to life, J.J. Abrams and now, Guillermo Del Toro, have both declined to bring Star Wars to a new generation of fans. Brad Bird won't do Episode VII either...I'm starting to get a little discouraged. However, perhaps a young filmmaker with a vision, or Christopher Nolan (please, God) is out there ready to say yes.

    Thems the facts

    • Chris138

      I love Nolan but I hope he stays far, far away from Star Wars. He needs to do something else besides another franchise.

  • Dranderz

    I hadn't heard Brad Bird was out of the running for Star Wars. Damn. He immediately came to mind for me.

  • Scott

    Amazing how some people in the media are saying how directors are clamoring to helm the new Star Wars movie, when the reality is no one will touch it with a ten foot pole. Weird that the only obstacle to a new Star Wars movie is that nobody wants to do it.

    Oh, and RoS, please stop sighing and rolling your eyes whenever you deign to report on something so plebeian as Star Wars. Either send along reports or don't, but please refrain from reporting, then acting like it's beneath you. It's getting to be silly. Movies as a whole are just people playing make-believe. Movie news is just for fun -- not life or death news reports -- so why groan when sending stuff along? Relax.

  • dslacker

    Amazing how the wacko right haters continue to scare major media no matter how often their views are repudiated by the majority. Thankfully, we have HBO and a few other outlets with some measure of courage.