This week in Hollywood: "Godzilla"'s inspirations and "Angela's Ashes" casting

A PIECE OF THE PI Critics have hailed Darren Aronofsky‘s indie thriller [Pi] as one of the most original films of the year. But could [Pi]—the story of Max, a math whiz who studies numbers in an overheated Manhattan apartment crammed with computers—be a little less original than it looks? In 1992 The New Yorker published a piece by Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone, called “The Mountains of Pi,” a profile of two math whizzes who study numbers in an overheated Manhattan apartment crammed with computers. Aronofsky doesn’t credit the article in his film, but he admits that he read it—”That was sort of an influence for Max’s character,” he says—and that he interviewed the Chudnovsky brothers, the duo at the heart of Preston’s piece. “I basically took a little bit of that reality and fantasized it as much as possible,” the filmmaker says. “None of their lives are really in it…. I took reality and turned it into cyberpunk.” So far, Preston hasn’t seen [Pi] and declines to comment.

LEAPIN’ (OVER THE) LIZARD It seems like every summer flick “borrows” something—a line, an image—from a Steven Spielberg movie, be it Jaws or Jurassic Park. Godzilla, for example, had more cribs than a maternity ward. (Watch how those baby Godzillas dent steel doors, raptor-style.) But just because Godzilla director Roland Emmerich saw Jurassic Park, don’t expect Spielberg to return the favor. “The only Godzilla I saw was the one with Raymond Burr cut into the Japanese version,” Spielberg says. “I purposely stayed away from seeing Godzilla, because I didn’t want to get anything between me and my memory of my favorite Godzilla movie of all time.”

FURTHERMORE The lead in Paramount’s adaptation of Frank McCourt‘s memoir, Angela’s Ashes—which was to be Liam Neeson until he dropped out—may be filled by The Full Monty‘s Robert Carlyle.

Angela's Ashes
  • Movie
  • 145 minutes