Seattle Weekly Goes to Hollywood

We’d like to thank the Academy…

Ripped from the headlines: It's an old Hollywood tradition. Think of All the President's Men, Saturday Night Fever, or, more recently, American Gangster, all of which were derived from some unsung reporter's original drudge work. But it's not just from The Washington Post or Outside magazine. We alt-weeklies have our industry connections, too, you know. In fact, when we heard that our sister paper L.A. Weekly had gotten a story about a jailhouse singing contest optioned by Disney, we had to snort, "Is that all?" Below is just a sampling of the blockbusters being adapted from our recent pages. The Pickup Artist Trash-hauling hunk Chris Martin, the handsomest guy ever to pose in short shorts while sitting on a garbage can, was profiled in September by Nina Shapiro, who detailed his ecologically minded efforts to rid our streets of litter and better dispose of our debris. In this "green" romantic comedy, single journalist Shapiro (Sarah Jessica Parker) is, yes, swept off her feet by the charismatic clean freak (Colin Farrell), a man of refuse whom women can't refuse. But here's the catch in their burgeoning relationship: Will he, the compulsive cleaner and Casanova, mistakenly throw away the treasure that is...her heart? Xbox: Revolutions Last spring, Karla Starr risked legal prosecution—and extreme exposure to Magic: The Gathering references—when she went undercover to investigate the grim netherworld of video game testers: pallid young tech drones employed in near servitude by wealthy Eastside software cartels. Starr's exposé made her a real-life heroine to the oppressed contract workers who are lured by the promise of fun, then sent to the cyber–salt mine to press on/off switches for hours at a stretch. The dramatic potential did not go unnoticed by the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix), who have already cast Jessica Alba as the über-hot former Navy SEAL who secretly infiltrates vid game test giant GloboSoft (led by a sneering John Malkovich), where young nerds are engorged with mind-altering cans of RockStar that, yes, erase the line between fantasy and reality. To Starr's horror, she discovers that these employees—Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl), Masi Oka (Heroes), and Jorge Garcia (Lost)—only believe they go home at night to their regular lives. In fact, they're still inside the game they're testing! The bosomy Starr manages to conceal her hotness with spectacles and baggy clothing until the final showdown, when she dons Lycra and bandoliers, her automatic pistols blasting the testers' way off central campus and to the Overlake Applebee's! Gotz 2 B Nickels! Mike Seely lifted the lid on our mayor's predilection for smooth jazz last year, and the city still hasn't stopped buzzing about a city-funded music club that may, or may not, be located in West Seattle. Now, director Rob Marshall (Chicago) has turned Seely's story into cinema's first all-contemporary-jazz adaptation—a smooth-ical, if you will—in which Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (a bulked up Harry Connick Jr.) advances his agenda by entrancing political opponents and skeptical media alike with retro 1970s production techniques and diabolically catchy saxophone riffs. Those squares on the City Council soon find themselves soulfully nodding their heads in assent to his pro-growth, developer-friendly policies. Musical numbers will include "Baby, If You Only Knew (What a Height Exemption Feels Like)," "Chillaxin' on the Trolley," "Growth Cap Bustin'," and "Song for Paul (Allen)." Score by Fourplay. Guest appearances by Michael MacDonald (as Tim Ceis) and Christopher Cross (as Marty McOmber). Seely himself will appear in a cameo credited as Other Drunk Guy at Bar. Allentown This gritty film noir is set in a formerly working-class Cascade neighborhood newly dubbed South Lake Union by corrupt pols and greedy billionaires who have betrayed the public trust and made the hood their personal piggy bank. Newfangled biotech companies, condos, and trolleys threaten to displace the salt-of-the-earth residents and blue-collar laborers who give the district its authentic feel. Only crusading journalist Rick Anderson (Nick Nolte) stands in the way of the scheme to evict the commercial printers, plumbing-supply wholesalers, furniture upholsterers, blacksmiths, fishmongers, stevedores, cobblers, and tavern owners. But will Anderson's speaking truth to power mean that his last byline is signed in blood? On the Rocks More than one eyebrow was raised when City Council member Richard McIver was arrested for drunken misbehavior, just hours after sharing drinks with ace reporter Aimee Curl. In the adaptation, an R-rated thriller to be directed by Paul Verhoeven, Curl becomes a predatory femme fatale (Uma Thurman), who brings down a series of powerful Seattle politicos with her sultry wiles and hard-drinking ways. Is she merely a seductive sociopath, or could her campaign of seduce-and-destroy—which might extend to murder!—be payback for their having paved over her favorite running trail? Josh Hartnett plays the cop who tries to stop her, then falls for the temptress—unaware that he could be her next victim! Slow Food Confidential Restaurant critic Jonathan Kauffman shows up at a Vietnamese eatery where, suspiciously, nothing on the menu is available and the staff sits around smoking and nervously loading and reloading their Glocks. Oh, no! He's stumbled into the den of a murderous Vietnamese triad! And a gang war has begun! John Woo directs this action-packed, lead-slinging, shoot-'em-up (mostly in slow motion), as Kauffman's character (James Franco) must transform himself from highbrow gourmand to two-fisted gunslinger. Caught in the crossfire, Maggie Q is the warlord's daughter, who makes a savory lemongrass-catfish stew (three out of four stars, $7.85 plus tax and gratuity). Cougar Hunt Huan Hsu's definitive exposé of predatory Northwest women who pounce on handsome younger men became an Internet sensation back in August. The handsome young Hsu (currently writing a book in Shanghai) will be played by Daniel Dae Kim from Lost in this only slightly embellished story of how a rookie writer lets his research get dangerously out of hand. In the bars of Belltown and South Lake Union, the cub reporter fancies himself the story hunter, but discovers himself the prey! Juliette Lewis plays the chain-smoking barfly at a rival alt-weekly whose claws aren't sharp enough to snag the lithesome Hsu, who's catnip to every cougar. Expected to co-star are Demi Moore, Heather Locklear, Michelle Pfeiffer, Amy Sedaris, and Cher. Mr. Ned Never did reporter John Metcalfe imagine that his investigation of Seattle's mini-goat craze would lead him into contact with so many four-legged dwarf ruminants, most of whom were calmer than their owners and critics. In the Hollywood spin on his September urban-livestock feature, however, the reporter's best source will turn out to be a talking dwarf goat, whom he dubs Mr. Ned. Turns out that Mr. Ned—to be equipped with CGI lips and voiced by Eddie Murphy—can not only talk, but he doesn't know when to shut up! This means trouble for Metcalfe (John Cusack) when he brings the loquacious goat back to the newsroom to help put out the paper. Wacky complications ensue as he attempts to conceal the talking goat from his clueless editor, Mark D. Fefer (John C. Reilly). Oh, Mr. Ned, you say the darnedest things! Rack Focus In this Charlie Kaufman–scripted conspiracy movie, a lone film critic must stop a political assassination amid the oppressive crowds and chaos of the Seattle International Film Festival. But how can Brian Miller (Philip Seymour Hoffman) manage to halt the hit when there's only a short break between the Mongolian yak-herding documentary and the four gay Israeli coming-of-age dramas? It's Sherlock Jr. meets The Parallax View meets Alice in Wonderland as the erudite, socially withdrawn critic is forced to step inside the movies, playing a game of intellectual cat and mouse with a host of disaffected indie romantics, Vietnamese softcore stars, and self-serious pop-culture talking heads in his quest to determine which will-call window holds the final clue to the murder schedule. In the finale, Miller and the conspirators face off from within a Bollywood musical, which is being screened for the closing-night gala with a high-ranking political target sitting in the audience. Meanwhile, up in the projection booth, a gunman prepares a surprise reel change.... A Lutefisk for Daphne Dategirl makes her screen debut in the serial dating adventures inspired by Judy McGuire's column. Jennifer Garner stars as the Ms. Lonelyhearts heroine who proves all too incapable of following her own sensible advice. And at the end of the bad-boy dating queue—including Rob Schneider, Jeremy Piven, and Matthew McConaughey—there awaits Ben Affleck as a sensitive Ballard fisherman and single parent who lives on board his vessel at the scenic docks. You'll never guess the ending. Uptight Seattleite: The Movie Yes, our favorite P.C. curmudgeon is now the star of his own animated feature! Kind of like Death Wish crossed with The Simpsons, the film has Mr. Uptight (voiced by Harry Shearer) do battle with the forces of incivility everywhere. On a road trip from Fremont to Vegas for an important diversity conference, he picks up a wisecracking runaway teen (Justin Long) being pursued by the mob (Pesci, Liotta, Palminteri, et al.). Our duo can't agree on anything during the drive! Not the radio station, where to eat, seat belts, or whether it's OK to pass on the right. Yet somehow these mismatched buddies learn to get along—and "off" some slimeballs in the process. In a turnabout from the Uptight's usually nonconfrontational style, the trailer already in theaters features his new catchphrase: "I don't judge. But in your case [sound of gun cocking], I'll make an exception." bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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