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Week in Review: RIP ‘LOTR’ cinematographer Andrew Lesnie

74th Annual Academy Awards - Pressroom

This week saw a number of sad losses in the entertainment industry. The singers of both “Louie Louie” and “Stand by Me” passed away this week, as well as Oscar-nominated screenwriter Don Mankiewicz, who was nominated for I Want to Live! Mankiewicz was the son of Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane) and the nephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve), and the father of John Mankiewicz (House of Cards). He was 93.

But perhaps most shocking was the loss of cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who died suddenly this week at just 59 years old. Lesnie won an Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and he subsequently filmed all five of the remaining LOTR films and Peter Jackson’s King Kong and The Lovely Bones. Some of his more interesting credits are his work on Babe and Babe: Pig in the City. Lesnie’s last film however would be the just released The Water Diviner. The director and star of that film, Russell Crowe, tweeted out this when he heard the news:

Film School Rejects put together a terrific round-up of some of Lesnie’s finest work across his filmography, including the iconic overhead shot of The Ring falling onto Frodo’s finger.

Oliver Stone and Paul Greengrass had since the ’90s been circling The Deep Blue Goodbye, a mystery-adventure series based on a book by John D. MacDonald. Leonardo DiCaprio was at one point even attached to star. It looked like the project would finally go through, with James Mangold to direct and Christian Bale to star. But THR reported this week that just prior to beginning shooting on The Big Short, Bale tore his ACL, and has been sidelined from this project. While the financial drama The Big Short is far less strenuous, Bale won’t be performing any stunts any time soon, and it now looks as though Fox has delayed the project, if not planning to cancel it entirely. Shooting was expected to begin in May, and if they wish to continue the project, Fox will have to find a new star.

Following a bidding war late last night, the sci-fi adaptation of the acclaimed novel The Forever War has landed at Warner Bros., and Channing Tatum is attached to star. Joe Haldeman’s book, a classic from 1974, is a parable about the seemingly endless campaign of the Vietnam War. Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange) has adapted the novel, which has been delayed for so long because the owner to the book’s rights, Richard Edlund, has held on to them for decades. Edlund scrubbed a project that originally had Ridley Scott attached to direct, but now with this star, Deadline is predicting that Warner will attract “an A-list director.”

We recently reported about Damien Chazelle’s potential new film, La La Land, which at the time was rumored to star Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. That news this week has been confirmed, and the film has received an official synopsis:

In this modern take on the Hollywood musical from Damien Chazelle, the Academy Award-nominated writer and director of Whiplash, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

Also following up his work on Whiplash is J.K. Simmons, who is now attached to star in The Runaround. Simmons will play a “workaholic father” alongside Emile Hirsch, who stars as an awkward ex-boyfriend to Simmons’s daughter. According to THRThe Runaround is a comedy in which the two travel around L.A. looking for Simmons’s daughter, who has disappeared. Gavin Wiesen (The Art of Getting By) will direct from a script by Seth W. Owen (Peepers).

In casting news, Justin Bieber will make a cameo in Zoolander 2. Jeff Daniels has joined Allegiant Parts 1 and 2, the sequels to Insurgent and Divergent. And Aubrey Plaza has joined Zac Efron, Adam Devine, and Anna Kendrick in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

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