Samuel L. Jackson, Keke Palmer Drama Gives Harlin Dream Come True
Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eva Mendes and Keke Palmer have given Renny Harlin a dream come true with their forthcoming "Cleaner" film, according to the director known for such fare as "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Cliffhanger." "After all these years of big action movies, I got to do a drama -- kind of a mystery thriller -- that centers on these characters and their relationships.
I was telling Sam, you can't imagine what a difference it is for me to go to work and think about how to get the best performances from great actors instead of thinking about a huge stunt sequence. It's almost like two different professions," says Harlin.
Jackson plays a specialist in cleaning crime scenes, and Palmer, the 13-year-old acting phenom of "Akeelah and the Bee" fame, plays his daughter in the film, due this fall. "Keke's character is hitting puberty and has a lot of issues. They have a strained relationship that's very much in the center of the whole movie. And, oh my God, she is so good," extols Harlin.
MEANWHILE: Harlin took time out to provide commentary about the extreme experience of directing Bruce Willis' "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" for the film's June 19 DVD release as part of the "Die Hard" collection, leading up to the release of the new "Live Hard, Die Harder."
"I was a young director and it was my first big movie," he recounts. "We needed a lot of snow, and it was one of the warmest winters in history. We had scouts looking all over America and Canada, and were packing up and flying our equipment to shoot wherever there was snow." They also used white blankets and firefighters' foam. "In once instance, we spent half a day covering this giant field next to a church with foam, and then, two minutes before the shoot, Bruce Willis decided to take a snowmobile out in it and drive around, and completely ruined the field. He was having fun. That's what stars sometimes do. He'd been brought in late and didn't know there was a problem."
THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Rockmond Dunbar is gearing up to play a NASCAR driver in the big-screen indie film "Black Flag," set to start shooting the end of July.
However, he says, his hero "is not like the Tiger Woods of NASCAR. He's more like the Dennis Rodman of NASCAR … he can get some rebounds, but actually running down the court with the ball? That's a different story." The actor also plays a heart surgeon on TNT's new "Heartland" medical drama, debuting June 18, as well as escaped convict C-Note on Fox's "Prison Break."
Dunbar admits he knows nothing about racing cars, but "I'm being trained, baby! It's going to be great. The stunt drivers we have are amazing, a couple of them have been boxcar racers and I race a lot of go-carts. I'm really competitive. I finished racing with a really high intense go-cart team in Bergen, Norway (a couple of months back)." As the "Black Flag" story goes, Dunbar says, "In the beginning, our hero was part of the Air Force and transports high government officials through the most dangerous roads through Baghdad. There are a lot of people coming on board. The Air Force is already supporting us."
THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: With the gigantic expectations for the 4th of July release of "Transformers" -- the alien robot war extravaganza with humans including Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Bernie Mac, Jon Voight and Tyrese Gibson -- producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura confesses that he's already thinking ahead to a sequel with yet more of the characters from the popular toy line. "After the main robots were established (for the film), we took a poll among the filmmakers, and then asked the fans which were their favorites to also include. We couldn't fit all of the robots into one film," he admits, "but if we're lucky enough to do a second movie, we already have our next cast waiting!"
DANGLING CARROTS: "Stargate SG-1" regular Michael Shanks reveals that in the June 22 finale of the long-running Sci-Fi show, things will at long last heat up between his Dr. Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black). "There's been an ongoing push-pull in the relationship with Vala, and in the very final episode they dangle a carrot. The audience gets sort of a fast-forward button and they demonstrate what would happen if that relationship worked out." But don't expect that relationship to be carried over to the two upcoming "Stargate SG-1" films, "Ark of Truth" and "Continuum" the troupe is currently shooting for DVD release, says Shanks. "We're just playing with them. The relationship is the kind that we'll have the ability to go back and say 'Ah, ah, ah, we didn't mean that.'"
Got an opinion? Share your thoughts now.