Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Xavier Goes to Xanadu

What does one make of Stephan Elliott?

I haven't seen his debut feature, Frauds, but I have meant to. I mean, it stars Phil Collins and Hugo Weaving! He even inserted the poster into his followup, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Personally, I would rank Priscilla as not only one of the absolute greatest Australian films of all time, but would also rank as probably the second funniest movie I have ever seen (the best being, obviously, Flying High!) Naturally, he had lofty heights to reach after that one, but unfortunately he followed it up with Welcome to Woop Woop. Even more unfortunate was that he followed that car crash of a movie with, well, a crash on the ski slopes that nearly killed him.

He returned with Easy Virtue a couple of years ago that was a mildly pleasing effort made better by Jessica Biel's best performance yet. I, along with everyone I know who fell privy to knowing of its existence, his next project was supposed to be Black Oasis and it's eventual production hell status remains of the most bitterly disappointing film developments of the last several years. Oh how amazing Black Oasis would have been.

He's back now prepping a new Australian film titled A Few Best Men that sounds more than little bit like The Hangover Down Under, but with today's casting announcements, my enthusiasm - as well as having some remaining faith that Elliott is able to make a ball-busting hilarious film again - has gone through the roof. The roof of a roller disco, that is! From Encore Magazine

The cast of Stephan Elliott’s A Few Best Men will include Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Olivia Newton-John as the mother of the bride.

“I’m thrilled Olivia Newton-John is part of the cast; Dean Craig has written a fantastically entertaining script, and it’s especially exciting to partner Stephan Elliott with Olivia who is a true music and film icon. Olivia will be playing a role that will show her in a light she’s never been seen before and it’s going to turn heads and win new fans,” said producer Gary Hamilton.

Holy shitballs, folks!

"I thought we were filming this is the outback, not the mystical Mt Olympus!"

I have been known to find Xavier Samuel, ahem, a nice screen presence and it will be nice to see him in a comedy that's not Twilight: Eclipse. But, of course, the real news here is Olivia Newton-John. I trust she won't be shooting ping pong balls out of her hoo haa like Julia Cortez in Priscilla. Still, the prospect of seeing Livvy on screen is quite an exciting prospect. Sure, she's never been the best actress, but hopefully Stephan Elliott - a director not adverse to musical sequences - gives her a song to sing and we can all stop caring.

"Ping pong balls out of my what now?"

I can't say I'm familiar with Kevin Bishop or Kris Marshall outside of a few roles they've been in that I, obviously, didn't take much notice. I hear Bishop, especially, has his fans. We'll see whether it all goes down a treat some time in 2012. Let's revisit two of my absolute favourite Olivia tracks, shall we? Yes, we shall!

"Xanadu (film version)" | "Twist of Fate"


Janice said...

//"Ping pong balls out of my what now?"//

The pairing of that photo with THAT caption is splendid, Glenn. Best laugh (first laugh, actually) I've had all day.

Given that we've seen her go from sweet to sassy in Grease, and in Xanadu, come to think on it: I'm innocent! No, I'm a sex-kitten! But you can safely take me home to meet the folks!), and as a thief who spouts a naughty word in Two of a Kind, then she played a blue-collar, gum-chewing, maybe-maybe-not-lesbian honky-tonk singer in Sordid Lives, then this film better REALLY bring it in terms of "seeing ONJ as we're never seen her before":

Which at this point means - naked? I'd go for that actually. She seems to take care pretty good care of herself.

Janice said...

Oh, lest you think me a hater, Glenn - yes, that Twist of Fate track was (and probably still is) a pleasure for me back in the day, when I was a teenage girl with everything Olivia I could get my hands on (back when records were still vinyl. Ah, the big, fold-out covers, the graphics, lyrics and notes you could read without a magnifying glass...) I still get a giggle out of the old lady who clasps that pic of Travolta to her bosom.

No guilt at all about the Xanadu track (the title track at least) as well as "Magic" - most of that soundtrack is legitimately terrific pop music, no apologies. If only the film had been scrapped and the whole thing conceived as an ONJ-ELO album, it probably would have snagged all sorts of Grammies. And, watching that clip actually made me want to visit the film. It seems both faintly antiquated and so in love with it's own "now-ness", it's "muchness" that it nearly
makes Baz Luhrmann look like a slacker. Or at least, the template for Baz's nightclub is there, even if Xanadu didn't get a mention on the commentary tracks. (Why he went on and on about "Meet Me in St Louis" when he ought to have been mentioning Xanadu as a predecessor I have no idea.)