Cannes: Simon Baker on Life After ‘The Mentalist,’ His Directorial Debut and French Celebrity

HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM – Simon Baker is looking tired. The Australian-born star of CBS’ global hit The Mentalist is still recovering from jet lag and a lack of sleep since hopping a plane to Cannes. So he fits in with the crowd of sleep-deprived producers, stars, journalists and critics that stumble along the Croisette.

“Everyone looks horrible!” he jokes.

The Mentalist ended its successful seven-season run in February. Suddenly finding himself with time on his hands, Baker is in Cannes pitching his directorial debut, an adaptation of the 2008 novel Breath by Australian writer Tim Winton.

Baker helped co-write the script and is producing the film, which is set in a small coastal town in West Australia in the 1970s. It looks at two daredevil teenage surfers who bond with a reclusive surfer — played by Baker — who challenges them to go to new levels of recklessness. It’s a story that immediately spoke to Baker, who grew up in a costal Australian town much like the fictional Sawyer depicted in Winton’s novel. After helming several episodes of The Mentalist, the actor, 45, thought it was time to make the leap to feature films. “I enjoy being the control freak, having that influence,” he tells THR. “Often when you are acting, you do your thing and then you hand it over to someone else. This is all mine.”

But though he’s in Cannes as a producer and director, Baker is still enjoying the celebrity double-takes he gets, particularly here in France, where The Mentalist is the top-rated show on television. “I got into the elevator at my hotel a few hours ago and the bellboy looked up. When he saw it was me he turned bright red,” says Baker, “then he broke out laughing. He didn’t even say a word.”

What’s its been like doing the dirty work of financing and producing Breath?
All this time trying to figure out and organizing the financing has been a real eye opener and not the most pleasurable experience for me. It’s been hard to disconnect creatively from the piece and talk about it like a product. That’s obviously a necessary evil, but that’s been challenging.

What’s the appeal of Tim Winton for you?
The exported idea of Australians is more like me: blond, outdoorsy guy who drinks too much and is a bit brash. Tim Winton manages to combine that traditional, rugged Australian view of things with a more deep and sensitive side. … I spent some time with him and we really identified on a certain level. He grew up in a coastal area too, he’s into fishing, surfing and all that stuff. He’s really a man’s man, but he has been interested in literature and writing from a very young age. I grew up in this environment where there were six guys to one girl, very male-dominated, but I secretly wanted to become an actor. I understand where he is coming from, how difficult it is in that environment to become your own person.

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‘The Mentalist’ Star Simon Baker to Make Directorial Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

VARIETY.COM – Simon Baker, star of CBS’ “The Mentalist,” will make his debut as a movie director with dramatic thriller “Breath.” Baker will also star in the movie, which shoots in the second half of the year.

The picture is the bigscreen adaptation of the novel of the same title by celebrated Australian novelist Tim Winton. The story follows two thrill-seeking teenage boys who form an unlikely bond with a reclusive older surfer – Baker – and his mysterious wife. The script is penned by “Top of the Lake” screenwriter Gerard Lee.

“When I first read ‘Breath,’ I knew I had to somehow make the film,” said Baker. “The gathering storm of the story, detailed and intimate against the power and scope of the rugged setting, struck me as incredibly cinematic. I’m beyond excited to be back in Australia realizing this dream.”

Baker made his first steps into directing through episodes of “The Mentalist,” which he also produced. Baker also directed some episodes of TV’s “The Guardian,” which Johnson produced.

Sydney and Los Angeles-based Arclight Films is handling sales of the movie. Pic is produced by Mark Johnson, Baker and Australian producer Jamie Hilton.

“Breath” is being developed and financed with the assistance of principal investor Screen Australia. The film is also being financed with the assistance of regional film support agency ScreenWest.

REDDIT RUMOR: Doctor Strange Cast Possibly Revealed, Future Plans for Scarlet Witch?

COMICBOOKMOVIE.COM – One Reddit user has taken to the web to report a (possibly dubious) cast of Doctor Strange, as well as detailing how the Scarlet Avenger may factor in to future sequels.

One ForbiddenOne01 reported this today on the Marvel Studios reddit:

Okay, so filming starts in May, so I feel comfortable revealing this info since Marvel’s bound to release it soon (I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to be honest).

Marvel has been taking advantage of the Spider-Man and Civil War news to keep attention on them assembling the cast of Doctor Strange. That’s not why they made that deal obviously, but they certainly are taking advantage of the opportunity to get the news outlets like Latino Review off their back.

Essentially it works like this:

Chiwetel Ejiofor is Jericho Drumm (aka Brother Voodoo)
Juliet Rylance (who worked with Derrickson on Sinister) is reportedly Clea
Ancient One hasn’t been cast yet, but it’s down to the previously reported Freeman and Watanabe.
Baron Mordo, the primary villain, is Simon Baker
Wong is John Cho

The villain of the first film is Baron Mordo, with references to Dormammu ala Thanos in Guardians. The film will deal with either the Time or Soul Gem (with Guardians 2 around the corner, I presume they are using the Soul Gem, so it’s likely the Time Gem but that’s just me), which will tie it into Avengers.

There is also another female role, Umar, that has not been cast, though apparently Marvel instated an executive mandate of a minimum of two plot-important female characters per film, which has been in place since the start of Phase 2.

Apparently the plan is that during Infinity War, Strange will meet Scarlet Witch, and from there Marvel will incorporate her into the Doctor Strange franchise in future sequels as Strange’s apprentice so they have something for her to do. (I guess Quicksilver will be with Captain America)

So what do you believe? Do you take it with a grain of salt, or do you think it seems plausible enough to be accurate? There is a lot of very specific information here, and not all (or even any) of it may be accurate. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough, with the way this sort of thing works.

The Mentalist – “Finale” Recap

Jane agrees to once again pretend to be a renowned psychic and be used as bait in an attempt to lure out a serial killer and give the FBI a chance to apprehend him. Lisbon accepts Jane’s surprise marriage proposal, but a killer’s quest for revenge may cost them the happy ending they’ve worked so hard to achieve.

‘The Mentalist’ Season 7 Spoilers: Series Finale Synopsis Released; What Will Happen In Episodes 12 and 13?

ibtimes.com – It all comes to an end for “The Mentalist” next week. Wednesday, Feb. 18, will bring the two-hour double-episode finale of the long-running CBS series, which promises to be a bittersweet affair. Fans will have to say goodbye to Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) and Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), but, on the plus side, wedding bells are ringing! How will it all go down in last two episodes?

Episode 12, “Brown Shag Carpet,” will feature a blast from the past for Jane and fans as the FBI consultant gives an old trick a new look. According to the synopsis, Jane will agree to pretend to be a prominent psychic again to lure a bad guy out of hiding for the FBI. The plot brings the series full circle as viewers were introduced to Jane as a psychic before it was revealed he was just gifted with keen skills of observation.

However, all fans will be talking about when the show comes to an end will be the wedding! The synopsis for episode 13, “White Orchids,” reveals Jane will surprise Lisbon with a marriage proposal in the show’s finale and that she, of course, will accept. The two lead characters have been in a romantic relationship since the finale of Season 6 — after six seasons of romantic tension — and they will end the show by tying the knot. Apparently, a killer out for revenge will try to ruin the much-anticipated wedding. However, recently released pictures of the episode, like the one above, suggest nothing will stop the happy couple from exchanging their vows before they say their goodbyes to fans.