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Spy spies footage from AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS! Wait till you hear about Ahnuldt!

Hey folks, Harry here... Personally there would be a certain level of beautiful coolness if next summer gets stolen by WORLD OF TOMORROW and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS... if only because like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - they defy "studio logic" in many ways. Both existing in traditionally (read - the last 5 years of film history... yeesh) unpopular genres... However, I hold that the difference is inspired non-traditional casting... Johnny Depp as an action hero will prove to be a stroke of genius for not just Pirates, but the upcoming ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO... and next year... I feel Jude Law as a lead and Steve Coogan as leads will strike audiences as a breath of wonderful fresh air. We'll see, here ya go...

Harry,

Props on the site - Been reading it forever, now I finally have something to write about:

A buddy of mine works over at a _____________ in LA. Last week I got to see some touch up work he was doing for Around the World in 80 Days. I didn't know much about the movie, except Jackie Chan was in it. That didn't excite me too much. Yeah, the Rush Hour and Shanghai movies were great, but the Tuxedo was garbage, and let's not even talk about the Medallion. So needless to say I wasn't expecting a whole lot.

I was shocked, because what I saw blew me away. Chan plays a character named Passerpartout and heads in a completely different direction with his action, with a lot of homage to silent film comedy ? probably the closest stunts to Keaton or Chaplin he's ever done. But there were a lot of other reasons I got pumped about 80 Days - and the first is Steve Coogan.

"Who the hell is Steve Coogan?" Come back to me in a couple of years and see if there?s anyone who can?t answer that. He's a comic genius from the UK who made a name for himself on a TV show called "I'm Alan Partridge" and was absolutely brilliant as Tony Wilson in the incredible, but too often missed 24 Hour Party People. Watching Coogan is like watching a genetic hybrid of Peter Sellers and a young John Cleese. He plays Philleas Fogg, an idealistic Inventor in a verry closed-minded 1890's London.

The reel I saw was huge, spanning over four continents. I've only seen parts of the original film from the 50s, but given all the action and stuntwork I'm figuring this is a whole new take on the material. The sense of humor is kind of Shrek-ish - redefining the genre with a lot of slapstick and irony. There's a crazy bit where Fogg straps Passerpartout into an experimental jet pack that goes haywire, rocketing Passerpartout through London. There's a sequence in Paris, where Passerpartout fights a team of Swordsmen at an art gallery with paintbrushes, buckets and canvases while Fogg steals a hot air balloon. Passerpartout hangs off the side of the basket from a rope, still fighting off the art gallery thugs as the balloon drags him through the streets of Paris, slamming him into buildings left and right. Passerpartout falls through a window, sprints through the building and dives out the other side, grabbing the rope - one of the coolest Chan stunts I've ever seen.

Fogg and Passerpartout meet up with an artist named Monique. I didn't recognize the actress playing her and couldn't really tell what she was saying because of her accent, but she was cute as hell, so I won't complain. The three get kidnapped by a band of Turks, who bring them to their ruler, played by none other than the Terminator himself, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Sporting perhaps the craziest haircut in film history - remember Marge Simpson's sister, Selma?). I won't spoil the details of his role, but no question, aside from those prank calls that hit the internet a couple of years ago, this is the funniest thing he's ever done. The hot tub sequence alone is worth the price of admission.

The movie has a ridiculously jacked cast. Aside from Coogan, Chan and Schwarzenegger, there were a ton of other suprises: Jim Broadbent as the villain, John Cleese, Ewan Bremner from Trainspotting, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider and Owen & Luke Wilson at the Wright Brothers.

I was a pretty surprised when I found out Frank Coraci, the director of The Wedding singer was behind all this. Yeah, that was easily one of Sandler's best movies, (with a Brilliant Billy Idol cameo), but I didn't figure a smaller-scale comedy director could make the leap to something this huge. This is like the jump Steven Sommers took from directing crap like Deep Rising to directing big stuff like The Mummy. From what I saw he totally hits it out of the park, with action that's juxtaposed better than any of Chan's previous American directors - particularly this sequence where Chan takes on an entire legion of warriors atop a Chinese mountain range. Coraci makes Brett Ratner look like a punk.

As far as I know, the movie doesn't have a distributor yet. My friend said some select studios are seriously pursuing the project. It figures that no Hollywood outfit was involved in making of the movie, since they never would have put Coogan in the lead. 2003's "Summer of the Crap Sequel" (aka Charlie?s Angels, Tomb Raider) proves what happens when you play it safe. I'm just hoping whoever picks this up doesn't try to turn it into The Tuxedo 2. No BS, if the rest of the movie is anything like what I saw, 80 Days will kick ass.

From the rugged lands of Shaolin - this is Method Man signing off - Peace

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 3, 2003, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Oh God...

    by redtom

    Virgin. Talkback. Cherry. *** Its mine, I tells, you, all mine!!! *** come on jackie, I don't wanna see another Tuxedo or Medallion!!!

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 4:36 a.m. CST

    by redtom

    "This is like the jump Steven Sommers took from directing crap like Deep Rising to directing big stuff like The Mummy" - geez, i hope you don't mean that, especially when that sentence should swap the terms "crap" and "big stuff"...

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 4:41 a.m. CST

    Bag O Shite

    by Phoenix Club

    Dunno bout this. Coogan's humour can be very hit and miss and his big screen outings have been pretty pethetic so far. Plus Arnie and Jackiieeee Chan in the same film??? Fucking scary biscuits.......

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Tsk tsk - jet pack?

    by Heleno

    Now there was no need for that to happen. I can go with the balloon stuff, and a museum fight, I really can. But the jet pack is just an excuse for some dodgy CGI shots of ye olde Londone and is not even slightly necessary. Why blow things up if you don't need to? OK, stupid question given current hollywood wisdom, but you've got a good cast here, a classic story and gorgeous locations so WHY INTRODUCE DISTRACTIONS?? Structure, people, structure!

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Steve Coogan...

    by Mrs Danvers

    ...perfect casting as Phileas Fogg! And Cathy Bates as Victoria Regina? Looks like someone's finally got it pretty right -- IF she can do the accent. Bravo all involved, another lesson in creativity for the bloody banks (studios).

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:42 a.m. CST

    damn you, redtom, ya beat me to it!

    by tommy5tone

    this dipshit lost me when he claimed 'the mummy' was a step-up from 'deep rising'. the fuck's up with that, FOOL? by the way, as much as i dig coogan and admire chan, i get the feeling this '80 days' is going to be a major POS. just a gut reaction.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:57 a.m. CST

    this could go either way

    by metaluna

    Coogan is a comic genius here in the UK. Easily one of our best and smartest and is making the transition to film in the best way. From the look of it this film is either gonna be very good or very, very bad. I have to congratulate the producers for having the balls to do it and from what it looks take risks. I bet the studios are falling over themselves to snap this one up. I hope it's a success as it sounds like a ton of fun. At least it's not another hackneyed superhero franchise which are becoming very boring.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 11 a.m. CST

    Okay, that's it! THAT'S FUCKING IT!

    by WarDog

    EVERY GOD-DAMNED THING I've read about this piece of petrified whale shit tells me to stay far, FAR away, but this last CONVINCES me that it's utter, unredeemable sacrilege. Schwarzenegger as a Turkish ruler/chieftain/hetman? WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THAT? Does ANYONE remember _The Conqueror_, starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan? Goddammit, Hollywood is sucking Chan's dick every time he proposes a new movie, and I'm getting SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF IT!!!!!

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Dan!

    by Shandy

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Dan

    by Shandy

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Dan, Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!

    by Shandy

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Next Year's Big Stinker?

    by Moodswing

    First of Harry: the name's Passepartout, not Passerpartout. I suggest you read the book by Jules Verne. You won't find any Jackie Chan-Shit in there. Jackie as Passepartout is as rediculous as Mr. Schwarzenegger in any role of this movie. By the way: they shot some parts of it here in Berlin or just outside at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam. The reason is that we have sites here that look exactly "like old London". I ask you: what the F*** happened to REAL London? Doesn't it exist any more? Next time, we might as well do Rome in Paris, just because it's cheaper. However, thank you for the little economic boost we just needed (the re-unification of East and West-Germany costs a little more than we expected). I won't go and see that movie that is destined to be next year's (or whenever it's going to be released) "LXG".

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Jules Verne isn

    by docemonos

    Jules Verne requiescat in pace (rest in peace for all of you that didn

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Piece of crap

    by traumatized

    Saw much of the same footage last week. SAMPLE DIALOGUE - Rob Schneider as "Hobo" -- "Give me money or I'll poop my pants." I'm not making this up. Ugh.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Wow

    by Ribbons

    You showed him. Whether or not you liked 'The Mummy,' it was truly a step up from the god-awful 'Deep Rising.'

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 1:39 p.m. CST

    steve coogan is a genius.

    by BEARison Ford

    he consistently puts out brilliant performances, the comparison to sellers and cleese is right on the money. someone get this guy some more work.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 1:39 p.m. CST

    He'll do this and not King Conan? Geez.

    by Drath

    Sorry, I'm in a "give me another Conan movie" mood this week. Watched the movie, can't stop fuming. Hey, I said nothing for years until this governor of CA shit came along, now I'm entitled to say I'm pissed.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Shi-HITE!

    by MrInsidious

    It does make sense why American studios havent picked up on this. They are busy with quality films like "From Justin to Kelly 2 : Who Gives a Rats Ass" and the not to be underestimated "Charlies Angels 3 : Who Greenlit This P.O.S." Chan rules in the right roles and I hope Arnold works in this. Where is my full length BMW film with Clive "The Man" Owen?

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Moodswing - you seen London recently?

    by badboymason

    It doesnt look much like it did in Fogg's era. Sure maybe some of the landmarks could be filmed at, but every other part of London has changed drastically with the passage of time and would better be shot on sets or in another country... Modern London / Fogg's London are two different places...

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Cashback!

    by Fitzcarraldo

    Even when Coogan is off-form (as in the James Bond monologue in last night's I'm Alan Partridge)he's merely very funny instead of a genius. Moodswing, Nope, old London doesn't exist anymore as it was destroyed by bombing in the second world war. We lovingly re-built it using grey, rust-streaked concrete.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 3:45 p.m. CST

    nothing new cept the casting news

    by StoneMonkey

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:28 p.m. CST

    this movie will be a hit...

    by McLuvin

    ...maybe the biggest hit of the summer. It's taking a fun story that parents will remember loving when they were kids, and has the special effects and popular cast that would attract a younger crowd. If a remake of Freaky Friday can do well, how could this not? and i can't freakin' wait for World of Tomorrow. the more i hear about it, the more excited i get.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 5:56 p.m. CST

    I hated that Slapstick crap in Shanghai Knights...turned off the

    by aceattorney

    I didn't bother go seeing the Medallion because I'm still annoyed at "Knights."

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Secret to a succesful US Jackie Chan film

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    Give the fucker all the time he needs to set up his action pieces, instead of trying to shove him into cookie cutter Ratner, er, Hollywood action scenes.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Now take look at the FULL CAST for '80 Days'....

    by workshed

    ...find it at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327437/fullcredits ... with Jim Broadbent it's got to be good for that reason alone. Still, just take a look at the cast of the original... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048960/fullcredits ....one of THE best casts ever. One last thing - STEVE COOGAN IS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATS - and I should know... I worked with him many moons ago though I'm not telling when. And it's HIS(Fogg's) movie NOT Jackie Chan's. You can rest assured, Steve is too smart to drop the ball on this chance.

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Owen & Luke Wilson at the Wright Brothers.

    by JAGUART

    I am so there. Does it get any better than this?

  • Sept. 3, 2003, 7:59 p.m. CST

    IMITATION OF LIFE

    by TomVee

    I had a few words to say on this subject yesterday but they seem not to have been posted, or perhaps they were removed. So let me reiterate: jackie Chan as a French valet? Sounds positively BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF-ish, as in Hawaiian-born, Filipino-American Mark Dacascos playing an American Indian traipsing around France. And now, having brought up BOTW, I trust you are all aware that the always-marvelous Dacascos is re-teaming with BOTW director Gans for THE ADVENTURER, which by the way stars the one and only Billy Crudup! Nothing against the French actor who starred in BOTW, but I kind of like the idea of two Americans starring in a (hopefully) big-budget production from the director of BOTW.

  • He only mentions the American films when discussing Chan, which is like mentioning only "The Electric Company" and "Hard Rain" when discussing Morgan Freeman's work, for instance. Chan has done MANY films that are more in the vein of the silent comedy of his heroes, Keaton and Chaplin, and I doubt this film has the amount and brilliance of that kind of comedy that Miracles or Project A II does...

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 4:20 a.m. CST

    Seems to me that last 80 DAYS post gave someone in production a

    by TheGinger Twit

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 4:50 a.m. CST

    Looks good

    by Lucas_Pallesano

    The tuxedo was crap, haven't seen madallion, probably wont now. But this looks good, Having Arny in it will be a crack up and good to see John Cleese and the Wilson brothers there. And fuck you guys are pricks, always giving Harry shit about any review or preview. Lucas

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Brett Ratner IS a punk.

    by gertrude perkins

    And steve coogan is brilliant

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 11:16 a.m. CST

    "Deep Rising" = CRAP????? FUCK OFF!!!!

    by Smilin'Jack Ruby

    Rat bastard. "Deep Rising" is 1,000 times better than "The Mummy."

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Medallion = passing of a legend

    by digdig

    He might as well stop making movies if he's gonna resort to stunt doubles and wire/cg work in his movies. pathetic. shanghai knights was horrid even tho i loved shanghai noon. tuxedo was even worse than rush hour 2 which also sucked. time to retire jacko

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Why is everyone posting as if this another Chan flick a la Shagh

    by earthworm_

    ...as far as I'm aware this is a Steve Coogan flick, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

  • Sept. 4, 2003, 3:11 p.m. CST

    I thought Shanghai Knights was great

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    Surprised to see such a backlash against it actually, thought it was better directed and thought the fight scenes were a blast, though it wasn't as funny as the first, still smiled my way through it though.

  • Sept. 6, 2003, 12:25 p.m. CST

    If Jackie Chan and The Blob from Xmen had a pigout challenge at

    by FredDukesRules

    Fred J. Dukes as a major villain in X3 for 2005! (Mike D. and Dan H. are you listening)?

  • Sept. 6, 2003, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Nobody seems to have said it yet but...

    by wmorris99

    Plant time for that story, much too well written for a real post and the 'make it real' spelling mistakes were a bit too twee to be convincing. This one had studio pr written all over it, apart from the totally non-critical aspect it also even provided a little biog of steve coogan and a full cast run down. it might be a great flick but I don't trust anything from this 'spy'.