As distributors save up their biggest releases until after Eid, the past few weeks have given us the dusty dregs of Dubai’s film-can cupboard, and one film this week defies belief more than most. Dead Man Running is a Brit gangster caper starring the mismatched trio of 50 Cent, Danny Dyer and Brenda Blethyn. And if that’s not odd enough for you, the film’s executive producers are Premier League footballers Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole. This unnerving alignment of the galaxies got us thinking about our favourite ill-conceived coalitions, and inspired us to search out a few upcoming ones, too.
Cybill Shepherd and Burt Reynolds
Evidence that miscasting begets bad movies can be found in At Long Last Love (1975), a musical featuring the songs of Cole Porter and perhaps cinema’s worst-ever romantic pairing, Cybill and Burt. The film was so bad that director Peter Bogdanovich wrote an open letter to US newspapers apologising for the quality of his film, something we’d like to see more of (come on Michael Bay, be a man).
Fact So confident was, well, everyone that nobody would ever desire to own At Long Last Love, it has never been released on home video or DVD.
Whoopi Goldberg and a T-Rex
Brilliant – a buddy cop movie that teams Whoopi Goldberg with a dinosaur. Would you believe that Goldberg tried to back out of Theodore Rex (1995) before filming started, initiating a lawsuit against her? Still, the Whoopster is one shrewd lady, eventually agreeing to star for US$7 million – US$2 million more than was originally agreed.
Fact Theodore Rex wound up being the most expensive straight-to-video flick ever at the time of its release, with a budget of US$33.5 million.
Harvey Keitel and Kate Winslet
This creepy on-screen love match actually works in Jane Campion’s 1999 Golden Lion nominee, Holy Smoke. Keitel tries to rescue Winslet from a religious cult and they fall in love. Not as gross as you’d think.
Fact In the scene where Winslet wets herself, there was a bag taped to her leg to create the effect. We hear Winslet got frustrated with the device and asked Campion if she could do it for real. But the actress found it, ahem, harder to control than she thought, and the take didn’t make the final cut.
We might be in for more strange alliances if a wider trend creeping into Hollywood continues: cramming as many stars into a film as possible. Think Valentine’s Day (Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, etc), Grown Ups (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi) and The Expendables (every cheesy action star, ever). The more people you put in a film, the more mismatched they become. At least that’s true of these soon-to-be releases.
The Son of No One (2011)
Hyperactive comic sidekick Tracy Morgan starring with classy French lady Juliette Binoche, tiny gangster Al Pacino and Tom’s missus, Katie Holmes? That’d be this oddly cast cop drama, due next year.
We find the idea of respectable ‘ac-tor’ Dame Helen Mirren sharing screen time with John McClane, aka ageing hard man Bruce Willis, a bit weird. But it’ll happen in action comedy Red, also starring Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker and Richard Dreyfuss. Hopefully Bruce will have at least managed to put on a clean vest.
Transformers 3 (2011)
Acting big league heavy-hitters John Malkovich and Frances McDormand are teaming up with tosh-churner Michael Bay, Shia LaBeouf, Patrick Dempsey, Hugo Weaving and, er, a bunch of Transformers for the third go-round. Eh?
Dead Man Running is in UAE cinemas now