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Noyce returning to South Africa / Portman Set to Star in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan / Sean Penn Taking a Break From Hollywood.


Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, Rabbit-Proof Fence) is set to return to South Africa with a new thriller entitled Mixed Blood.  Not a shocking choice for the Australian filmmaker considering his last directorial effort Catch a Fire.  Based off the Roger Smith novel of the same name, the film will center on an American fugitive trying to protect his family while drawing the attention of kidnapers, murderers and crooked cops.  Samuel L Jackson is reportedly on board in a supporting role and Kelly Masterson (Before the Devil Knows your Dead) adapted the screenplay.  Noyce is currently helming the Angelina Jolie vehicle Salt, set for a 2010 release.       


darrenaronofskyDarren Aronofsky appears to be moving back and fourth between two major projects: the highly anticipated Robocop remake and Black Swan.  The later film has been described as a supernatural thriller set around the competitive world of New York ballet.  The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Natalie Portman is in talks to star.  She will be playing a veteran ballerina who finds herself in a seemingly dangerous competition with a rival dancer before a big performance.  But it is not made clear whether this competition is real or imagined by the young ballerina.  The unusual project has been floating around Universal since early 2007 with the script by Charles McLaughlin.  The project may finally get off the ground after The Wrestler’s critical and commercial success along with an extensive rewrite from Mark Heyman, a development executive at Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures.   Robocop looks to be put on the back burner for now.    


penn_oscarTwo time Oscar winner Sean Penn has suddenly abandoned all developing film projects including the Three Stooges film and the Italian remake Cartel.  He looks to be taking a year leave from Hollywood.  And at this point the Farley brothers’ film may be in jeopardy now with Jim Carry and Benico Del Toro left hanging.  But don’t fret Penn fans; he has major two films in the can set for a (hopefully) 2009 release: Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life (the most anticipated film for me this year or next) and Doug Limon’s Valarie Plame drama, Fair Game alongside frequent costar Naomi Watts.