Sunday, May 07, 2006

Tim Burton Wants Gong Li: "Believe It Or Not"

May 6, 2006

Chinese film actress Gong Li will co-star in Paramount Pictures' upcoming bio-pic "Believe It Or Not", directed by Tim Burton, based on the globe-trotting exploits of cartoonist Robert L. Ripley.

Gong's fluency in English was reportedly a big factor in her winning over the role.

Premise of the film starts with Ripley at the time when he gained celebrity status through his newspaper-syndicated "Believe It Or Not" column, chronicling his search for the world's strangest oddities, many of which he kept in his home.

The film is expected to be released by Paramount for 2007.

Gong rose to stardom over a decade ago with art house hits "Red Sorghum" and "Raise the Red Lantern". She recently appeared in "Memoirs of a Geisha" and director Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" feature.

November 29, 2005

Tim Burton will direct actor Jim Carrey in a Paramount Pictures action-adventure based on the eccentric life of Leroy 'Robert' Ripley, the artist/explorer/newspaper columnist who created the syndicated comic strip "Ripley's Believe It or Not."

"Believe It or Not!, will film in London, UK, October 2006, for a late 2007 release.

Screenplay is by "Ed Wood" writers Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander.

Premise of the film revolves around 'Ripley' (Carrey), previously married to a beauty queen and now a confirmed bachelor, basking in his celebrity status, while chronicling his search for the greatest oddities on the planet.

Ripley sold his first drawing to Life magazine when he was 14, then landed a job as a cartoonist covering sports for the San Francisco Chronicle, changing his name to 'Robert'.

In New York City in 1918, he worked for the New York Globe, creating his first collection of 'odd facts and feats', called "Champs and Chumps". After much editorial deliberation, the title was changed to "Believe It Or Not!".

In 1922 Ripley travelled to South America for the syndicated feature "Rambles Around South America".

In 1925, crossing through Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Ripley embraced Chinese culture and began to sign his cartoons as 'Rip Li!'.

His many houses became crammed with artifacts including wallhangings, totem poles and giant bronze statues.

Although he often used recording equipment for his CBS radio broadcasts, Ripley was afraid to use a telephone for fear he would be electrocuted.

He owned a Chinese sailing junk moored at B.I.O.N. Island, his estate in Mamaroneck, New York.

Throughout the 1930s-40s, Ripley gave lectures in vaudeville theaters.

A self-educated high school drop-out, Ripley received honorary university titles/college degrees and was the first newspaper cartoonist to become a millionaire.