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Rob Marshall says Johnny Depp’s “The Thin Man” isn’t a remake, movie version of “Wicked” would pull from stage and book

Rob Marshall says Johnny Depp’s “The Thin Man” isn’t a remake, movie version of “Wicked” would pull from stage and book (photo)

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Nick still needs a Nora.

A new version of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man” is moving forward, and director Rob Marshall has made key decisions about what the film will be like — but some questions remain, such as who will play Johnny Depp’s wife?

“I think anticipation [for the film] must be high,” Marshall said while attending the Princess Grace Awards gala last week in New York. “People are even asking me, ‘Are you going to write it?'”

Marshall won’t be handling those duties — screenwriter Billy Ray (“The Hunger Games,” “Shattered Glass”) is now aboard, after Jerry Stahl (“Permanent Midnight”) and David Koepp (“Premium Rush,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”). “It’s funny that those writers were even announced,” Marshall said, “because we hadn’t really started with either of them, with Jerry or David. Neither had written a word. Billy is the first writer who’s actually writing a draft.”

Ray’s draft is not a remake of “The Thin Man,” Marshall said, but “a reimagination.” Hammett’s novel, published in 1934, has been transformed into television shows, radio programs, stage plays, Broadway musicals, and movies, taking place in eras from the original 1930s to the 1950s.

“We’ll be setting it in the ’30s,” Marshall said, “because it is of that world. It’s an era that we have a great affinity for. I think both [producer and partner] Johnny DeLuca and I feel like we were born in the wrong era, and Johnny really feels like he lives in the ’30s. So we’re going to be able to inhabit a world that we really, truly love … in the time of speakeasies, one of those rich, beautiful times in America.”

The story centers on “these incredible characters, these iconic characters that have been with us for many years,” as Marshall called them: Nick and Nora Charles, a married, wealthy, and witty detective duo, who inspired later sleuthing couples in Moonlighting, Remington Steele, and Hart to Hart, among others. In a series of six films, Nick and Nora Charles were “brilliantly played” by William Powell and Myrna Loy, as Marshall put it. In his version, Nick would be Johnny Depp — but who would be Nora?

Marshall said Nora remains to be cast, but whoever plays her needs to have “humor and an effortlessness,” as well as “elegance.” That’s not something that’s easy to find!” Marshall said. “It’s about this relationship. The core of all these wonderful thrillers is always that great relationship with each other. That’s what drew us to it, and what drew Johnny to it.”

A nightclub scene might bring a musical number to the film, but the film itself will not be a musical, Marshall said. “I don’t know if Johnny will be part of the music part of it,” he said, “because it has to be organic to the story.”

Marshall plans to start shooting next year, with a targeted 2013 release. Meanwhile, the director is still in the running for the screen adaptation of “Wicked,” for which he says there is “no rush,” despite Brett Ratner’s recent entreaties that he get to take it on instead.

“They’re looking to establish the rights from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ which is complicated, so they have the flexibility to do everything they need to do with the film,” Marshall said. “[Producer] Marc Platt is a great, dear friend of ours, and I’ve met with the writers, and they’re incredible. They want to do it right.”

The film version would pull from both the stage production as well as Gregory Maguire’s book, he said. “There’s a lot of material to work from,” he said. “It’s a film! So you’ve got to approach it differently, from a different angle. It’s what gives you so much more flexibility, and what makes it scary, too! That’s the tricky part.”

Let us know what you’re hoping to see from “The Thin Man” and “Wicked” movies in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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