A Trio of Casting News I’m Excited About: Viola Davis + Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Lee Pace

Now, if only the three of them would actually be starring in ONE film, that’d be an even more spectacular casting news. But hey, I’m just glad that those three are getting more prominent roles and I’m particularly excited about Viola’s news because it involves one of my favorite directors!

Viola Davis & Chris Hemsworth – Michael Mann’s untitled Cyber Thriller

DavisHemsworth_Casting

Now, the concept of the film itself sounds intriguing and it’s something right up Mr. Mann’s alley. He hasn’t done a feature film since Public Enemies back in 2009. That film was sadly quite disappointing, but I still very much regard him as one of my favorite directors. I’ve seen seven out of ten of his feature films, with Heat, The Last of the Mohicans and The Insider being my all time favorites.

According to the Playlist, the film “…will follow a Balkan hacker operating out of South Asia who has an American and Chinese task force on his tail.” Sounds intriguing and with this cast and filmmaker, I’m so game! Not sure which role Chris Hemsworth will play, but I’ve been reading that the Oscar nominee Viola Davis might play an FBI agent. I do hope she’s got the lead role instead of just a supporting character, she’s certainly a charismatic actress with a chameleon-ability to play just about any kind of roles. The hot and in demand Aussie Hemsworth is always watchable in my book, so yeah, I’ll be keeping an eye on this project!


Now, I didn’t mean this to be a THOR reunion of some kind, ahah, but Hemsworth brotherly nemesis in that film is equally in demand. Btw, check out the latest Thor: The Dark World trailer on Tim’s blog.

Tom Hiddleston in The Crow and Robert Capa biopic?

Hiddleston_TheCrow

Looks like Mr. Hiddleston might be clad in skinny leather pants once again, not that I’m complaining ;) Truth be told, I wasn’t really paying attention to all the rumors about The Crow reboot, though I’m surprised it’s taken them so long to do so. Surely it’ll be tough to forget Brandon Lee in that role, who was tragically shot during filming, but the concept of The Crow is an intriguing one and with Hiddleston [possibly] on board, naturally I’m intrigued. I certainly would rather see him than Bradley Cooper as Eric Draven!

According to The Wrap, “Hiddleston recently had dinner with producers and sent them a makeup test that he did on his own in London. He will undergo a proper makeup test in the coming days, as the character’s appearance is important to fans of the franchise…”

Fingers crossed this will actually happen!

Hiddleston_Atwell_CapaBiopic

Now, this one sounds like a done deal and the concept is more grounded in reality. Hiddleston will play renowned war photographer Robert Capa in the pending biopic, with Paul Andrew Williams directing. Interesting that I had just seen the film by Williams, Unfinished Song. Whilst it’s not a bad film, I sure hope this one would be a lot more compelling.

I’m particularly intrigued by the romantic theme of the film, as the story will focus on Capa’s two-year romance with Spanish war photographer Gerda Taro, which will be played by Hayley Atwell. I really like this casting, Atwell certainly looks the part and no doubt the two would have a nice chemistry together. Funny enough, I actually saw Capa being portrayed on screen not too long ago (by Venezuelan actor Santiago Cabrera) in Hemingway & Gellhorn, and I remember thinking how his life deserved a biopic on his own, ahah.


Lee Pace lands the villain role in The Guardians of the Galaxy

LeePace_GuardiansGalaxyI ‘ve mentioned some casting in this film a while back in the Five for the Fifth post. On that post, I said that I’m not exactly interested in that movie yet, but if Lee Pace ends up being cast, now that’s a different story. Well, talk about dreams come true!! I know a fellow blogger who’s just as enthused about this news.

The Playlist reported that the gorgeous Oklahoma native is indeed going to play the main villain of the Marvel superhero series. Now, I still would prefer that he plays The Flash as he’s my top casting choice and he certainly has the look and personality to pull it off, but hey, just seeing him getting prominent role is always good news to me.

Of course I’m also looking forward to more screen time of him as Thranduil the last two Hobbit films: Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again. So there’s at least two movies I’ll be looking forward to from Pace, wahoo! I’m still hoping that he’d also land a real career breakthrough in the future though, I’d love to see him lead a drama or thriller as he’s definitely got screen charisma, talent AND rugged good looks like his peers Bradley Cooper or Ryan Gosling who’ve made it big. In fact, I’d rather see Pace ten times over than those two!!


Well, which one of these casting news intrigue you? Feel free any other recent casting news that make you jump for joy!

About these ads

A trio of casting news I’m excited about: Karl Urban, Rebecca Hall & Alessandro Nivola

Happy Midweek all!

I’ve got another director-related post nearly ready to go, but I thought I’d share a trio of casting news I heard this week that I’m excited about, all involving three talented underrated actors I’d love to see getting more work. So here goes.

Karl Urban’s cast in JJ Abrams’ futuristic drama pilot for FOX

Casting_KarlUrbanThe idea of seeing the ultra hunky Karl Urban on the TV screen is certainly a very enticing prospect. Deadline reported that after a lengthy negotiations, the 40-year-old New Zealander has closed a deal to star opposite Michael Ealy in Fox‘s untitled J.H. Wyman/J.J. Abrams drama pilot (formerly Inhuman). As you know, Abrams directed Urban as Bones in the Star Trek movie franchise, though I wish Urban had been given more screen time this time around. Anyway, though I’m a bit tired of seeing sooo many procedural shows on TV, I quite like the sound of this one. It’s billed an action-packed buddy cop show set in the near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids.

Apparently Urban will play a human cop John Kennex and his partner Dorian (Ealy) is an android cop. Kennex is described as a respected police officer who has shut down emotionally after a tragic mission left him critically injured. The cast of the pilot also includes Lili Taylor and Minka Kelly (meh). Urban’s played a bad ass futuristic cop before in Dredd 3D, I’m just thrilled that this time we could actually see his entire face :D The show’ll be produced by Warner Bros TV and Abram’s production company Bad Robot. Let’s hope this one won’t tank like Abrams’ once-promising show Alcatraz.

Rebecca Hall joins Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence

Casting_RebeccaHall
Oh man, this film’s quickly become one of my most-anticipated for 2014!

Last week I heard that Johnny Depp nabbed the lead role in Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s first film, which already has Paul Bettany as well. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s films are certainly familiar with the Chicago native Pfister as he’s the cinematographer in seven of his films, including the Batman trilogy. Last year he was also nominated for his work in Moneyball. This time Nolan lends his support as an executive producer, along with his wife Emma Thomas and Aaron Ryder.

Now they’ve cast Rebecca Hall in the female lead as Depp’s wife in this sci-fi drama. Apparently she beat out Rooney Mara and Emily Blunt for the role (per Collider). Now, what’s this film about? According to IMDb, here’s the premise:

A story centered on a scientist whose brain is uploaded into his creation — a supercomputer with the potential to think for itself — after he is assassinated by anti-technology terrorists.

Hall has worked with Nolan before in The Prestige. I quite like her in that one, and also her work in The Town, Everything Must Go and Starter for 10 with James McAvoy. I personally would rather see her than the other two actresses. I like Blunt but I’m not too fond of Mara, plus those two have been getting more steady work than Hall anyways.

I have high hopes for this one, though it also has a first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen penning the script. For sure it’ll look amazing, but whether or not Wfister’s career as a director will take off or not remains to be seen. It’s set to open on April 25, 2014.
///

Alessandro Nivola joins a stellar cast for David O. Russell’s ABSCAM film

Casting_NivolaNow, last but not least. Nice to see Alessandro Nivola’s name being mentioned in this all-star cast. It’s still in the negotiation stage but I sure hope it would materialize! Per Deadline, Nivola is negotiating to join, get this, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams AND Jennifer Lawrence in the David O Russell-directed drama on the ABSCAM scandal. WOW, what a cast!! I don’t know if all of the cast are confirmed, four of them have gotten accolades (including Oscar) under Russell’s direction before. One interesting cast member is comedian Louis C.K.

Nivola will play Reggio, the federal prosecutor who tried the case in court. The Eric Singer-scripted drama is about the ’70s FBI sting operation Abscam that took down a bunch of U.S. congressmen.

The article also mentions Nivola other project he’s just wrapped that also sounds intriguing: Atom Egoyan-directed Devil’s Knot, a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth. He plays Terry Hobbs, a stepfather of one of the three murdered children, who later became a focus of suspicion though he has denied any part in the triple murder and has not been brought up on charges. Glad to see Nivola getting more work, I mean people seems to only know him as Pollux Troy in Face/Off! He’s actually quite versatile, he was very good in Laurel Canyon, Mansfield Park, Junebug, and Coco Before Chanel. Those are pretty diverse roles and he pulled off every single one convincingly. He even sang in Junebug and he has a nice voice!


Well, what do you think about any of these actors and/or projects? Any one of them appeal to you?

Musings on Hollywood Relentless Miscasting

I read the other day that Tom Hardy was being considered for lead role in the Jack Ryan spinoff Without Remorse, which prompts me to write this piece.

Filmmakers and studio executives tend to cast the wrong actor/actress for a certain role many times. Some times it works out well, but other times, not so much. For this post, I’m going to start out with my rant about Hollywood miscasting and then ask you, dear readers, some questions about casting.

With the upcoming film Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise, many fans of the books have been complaining about how Cruise looks nothing like the character from the books.

Now I’ve never read any of Reacher’s novels, but apparently he’s 6’5 and weighs well over 200lbs. (per stats on author Lee Child’s website), while Mr. Cruise is merely 5’7 and weights maybe 170lbs.? That’s definitely a miscast, but I’m still looking forward to seeing Jack Reacher this Winter. Why you ask? Well Tom Cruise is my favorite actor and I dug the teaser trailer they showed us a few weeks back.

Another book adaptation that’s coming to the big screen is Without Remorse written by Tom Clancy. I used to read a lot of Clancy’s novels and many of them were very good but my absolute favorite is Without Remorse. The book’s about a character named John Kelly who later became sort of a super spy for the CIA named John Clark; it’s basically a prequel. It tells the story of how Kelly became known as Clark, think of it as a Casino Royale type of story, instead of James Bond, it’s John Clark. His character appeared in two films, first he’s played by William Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger and then later in The Sum of all Fears, which was portrayed by Liev Schreiber. None of the actors captured the true essence of the character.

According to some reports, Paramount Pictures is trying to sign Tom Hardy for the John Kelly/Clark role. Now I like Hardy as an actor but he’s totally wrong for this part. Clark is described as lean and stands about 6’0″ to 6’4″ tall. Hardy on the other hand, is about 5’10” and rather stocky-looking. If Hardy accepts the role then I’m sure he’ll lose some weight and look leaner; but I still don’t believe he fits the character. To me the right actor for the role would be a younger version of Bruce Willis or Clive Owen, these actors are way too old for the role now though; in the book Clark’s in his 30s. The only actor I believe fits the role right now is Michael Fassbender. He’s the right age and of course he looks the part. Back in the mid 1990s, Keanu Reeves was actually cast as Clark and John McTiernan was going to direct. Fortunately the studio that owns the rights to the book went bankrupt and the film never happened. I like McTiernan as the director but Reeves would’ve been a disaster.

This kind of bone-headed decision really tick me off as a fan, I was too young to remember but apparently there was uproar by fans of the comic books when Michael Keaton was cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman back in the late 80s. My opinion, this was one of the worst castings ever, I like Burton’s two Batman films but Keaton’s no Bruce Wayne/Batman. In fact, I thought Keaton looked kind of silly when he’s in the Batman suit, with his big head and tiny body, he did not look intimating at all. Another awful casting was Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and Angel and Demons. Hanks a great actor but he’s no Langdon, what a idiotic decision by Ron Howard and Sony Pictures.

Howard again made an awful decision by casting Javier Bardem as Roland in The Dark Tower film adaption of Stephen King’s epic novels. Thankfully the project never took off, Bardem’s a great actor but he would’ve been awful as Roland The Gunslinger. Currently they’re having trouble getting the project green lighted and Russell Crowe is now the front runner for the part of Roland, a better choice but to me the perfect actor to play Roland is Clive Owen. Take a look this drawing of Roland, to me the only actor who fits that photo is Owen. Now I know King said he wrote the part with Clint Eastwood in mind but if you’ve read the 6th book then you know that’s not true, I won’t go into it but I’m still mad about it.

Now here’s my question to you.

Say you’ve written a great script and then you’re lucky enough to have gotten a meeting with executives at one of the big movie studios. They love your script and want to make it into a film. They even agree to let you direct your own script (it’s a dream of mine and many other film maker wannabes out there), so you’re now super excited and can’t wait to get going. But before the executives signed off on the project, they give you a list of actors they want to play the lead. Unfortunately none of the actors fit what you had in mind when you wrote the script. So what would you do? Do you tell the executives that you want a certain actor for the role and risk losing the deal? Or do you suck it up and go with one of the actors they gave you?

I’m going to use myself as an example here, I’m currently finishing up a script and the actor I want to play the lead role is Clive Owen (yes I have a man-crush on Owen), so when I look at the list of actors the executives showed me, Owen isn’t on there. What I would do is tell them I want Clive Owen for this role and not only that, my agent and I have sent the script to his people and that he wants to be in the film for a very cheap price. Of course Owen is not an A-list actor, I think he’s in the C-list category now since he hasn’t starred in any big budgeted films for a while; the studio people will for certain reject him.

So what shall I do? Well it depends, I’ve spent many years writing this script and now I’m finally close to make it into a film; I will have to think hard before agreeing to the deal. Say the list of actors were Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Leo Di Caprio and Will Smith. If I agree to cast one of these actors, I will have the budget that I need to make the film the way I envisioned. If I keep insist on casting Owen then I’ll probably lose the deal with the studio. I could shop the script around and hope one of the smaller studios would bite but I won’t have the big money to spend and I won’t be able to shoot what I wrote in the script. So in the end, I will cave and go with Mr. Cruise as my lead actor.

– post by Ted S.


So what do you think of studio keep mis-casting roles? And would have cast an actor the studio insisted or do you keep your principal and tell the executives to f-off?

Flix News of the Week: Ridley Scott possibly teaming up w/ Gerry Butler for an African thriller

Ok yes I know, given how prolific Ridley Scott is (just check out this long list even from a year ago), who knows when we’ll see this project off the ground. But one can hope, right? I love Ridley’s work and you know how I feel about Butler, and so I’ve been hoping one day these two would work together! In fact, in my first Fantasy Movie Pitch I did called Hearts Want, I had both of them teaming up in romance thriller set in London.

So anyway, here’s the gist per Deadline: Sir Scott is reportedly attached to direct and produce this African thriller through his Scott Free banner, with Gerard Butler to star as the protagonist Simon Man, and Robert Edwards (The Bomb In My Garden) to write the script.

What’s the story about?

Simon Mann is a former British army officer who in 2004 put together a band of mercenaries to attempt a coup against the president of Equatorial Guinea. The coup attempt was thwarted in Zimbabwe, where Mann went to pick up weapons. He spent five years in a harsh prison there before being taken to Equatorial Guinea where he was sentenced to 34 years–but spared that sentence when he received a presidential pardon in 2009. His backers –Mann said one was Mark Thatcher, son of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—disavowed involvement with Mann after the coup failed. Both Mann and his wife Amanda have been making the rounds at studios the past several days along with Edwards, and insiders say there are high hopes this will end in a deal.

Well, it’s not exactly a romance thriller I was hoping for (seriously Hollywood, we need more of that genre!!), and after Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus, I’m kind of hoping he’d do a drama without weapons involved for a change. But still I’m excited for this. The real-life story is intriguing and I know Butler is perfect for such a role.

For sure I’d rather see him do this than Thunder Run, yet another action thriller starring Sam Worthington and Matthew McConaughey that Castor talked about last month on his blog. It’s to be made with motion-capture 3D, bla, bla, bla… I’m just not crazy about that one. Well, I hope this African thriller will materialize, I’ll keep you posted as soon as I hear more about this. Oh and I’ll also be posting about Butler’s upcoming soccer comedy Playing the Field this weekend. Stay tuned!


Well, what do you think of this casting news, folks? Let’s hear it!

Flix Casting News: Rufus Sewell, Christian Bale & James McAvoy

It’s been ages since I posted a news post but today I learned three exciting casting news of three of my favorite actors I’d like to share with you all.

Rufus Sewell cast in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Thanks to my pal Castor who tipped me about this news yesterday. This is awesome news! My pal Becky who’s a die-hard Rufus fan has been dismayed about the demise of the Aurelio Zen detective series and there’s been no news on an upcoming project. I’ve actually heard about this bizarre-plotted project when they were still casting the lead role of the 16th US president, which went to someone I’ve never heard of, Benjamin Walker. [On a side note: Interestingly, Walker had been performing in the rock musical on stage called Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson as another US president]

Anyway, the plot certainly gives you a pause… “President Lincoln’s mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers.” Huh?? Yep, and it’s based on a historical fiction of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, the same author of the equally wacky Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. According to various tweets on the movie, Sewell has been cast as Adam, the lead vampire villain that’ll be hunted down by the prez.

Oo-kay.It’s really not my cup of tea but it’s one of those things that’s so outlandish it’s bound to get you at least curious enough to check it out, and with Sewell’s involvement is certainly a big plus. Sewell’s done all kinds of roles under the sun but most people identify him with playing bad boy roles, so as my guest blogger Becky said, ‘he’s back to his old tricks again’ But hopefully a pretty high profile role like this would open more doors to bigger roles in the future!

I’m also curious to see Russian director Timur Bekmambetov’s second Hollywood movie since Wanted. One thing for sure, this guy knows how to create an exhilarating thriller with plenty of ridiculously fun action sequences. This time with fangs :) Anyway, according to Variety, this movie is set to be shot in 3D starting in March, is scheduled for a June 22, 2012 release.


Christian Bale in Zack Snyder’s side project The Last Photograph


I’ve also heard about Christian Bale possibly doing this movie for quite a while, but I had no idea the idea of the story came from Zack Snyder around the time he made 300 and had been written by his 300‘s co-screenwriter Kurt Johnstad. Per Playlist, “…the plot revolves a photograph that becomes the catalyst for a journey two men undertake through war-torn Afghanistan”.

Bale would play a journalist and the sole witness and survivor of an attack on a group of Americans in that region. I’m not usually not a war movie fan, but something about the story intrigues me. I’m not too keen on the rumor that Sean Penn is being considered for a role of an ex-special ops soldier who’s on a quest to free a kidnapped family member. Hey may be a good actor but I just can’t stand the guy and he just comes across so darn smug and grouchy.

If only Bale had been the one Rachel McAdams' nuzzling up to

Anyway, back to Bale, considering he’s busy shooting for the third Batman movie, I’d imagine this one won’t even begin to shoot until 2012. I’m still bummed out that he dropped out of the still-untitled Terrence Malick romance drama and got replaced by Ben Affleck. Heh, no offence to Affleck but he’s no Christian Bale! And I’ve been longing to see the recent Oscar winner in a romantic role, especially since the last time he’s all lovey dovey was in a Malick film The New World.

Even just reading the description of the movie… ‘a powerful and moving love story‘ makes me want to see it real bad! I hope Bale would get tired of doing all that intensely serious stuff soon and do something that appeals to the more sunny and tender side of him [fingers crossed]


James McAvoy cast in Welcome to the Punch

Last but not least, one of my fave Scots has also been quite a busy bee with Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator out this weekend and of course, my highly-anticipated X-Men: First Class out on June 3. He’s also on high demand. On my HANNA review, I mentioned that he’s being courted by his Atonement director Joe Wright to re-team with Saiorse Ronan in Anna Karenina. Not sure if he has accepted the role or not but apparently he’s signed on to this crime thriller called Welcome to the Punch. The Playlist said the movie is in the vein of Michael Mann’s Heat meets The Last Boy Scout (well I hope it’s more like the first).

Here’s what the article says about the project: “It involves a London detective, Max Lewinsky (the role we imagine is earmarked for McAvoy), whose old nemesis, an armed robber known as Red Diesel, reappears after five years away—but it’s only the tip of a massive conspiracy.

McAvoy doing his best DEXTER pose

The script’s mostly very strong, a gripping cop thriller with a scope and a level of action that’s quite uncommon for the British film industry…” I’ve never heard of the filmmaker Eran Creevy, but he was nominated for a BAFTA for his directorial debut Shifty. Ridley Scott with his Scott Free Production Company is also co-producing this project.

This sounds intriguing and I can see McAvoy in the role, the 31-year old Glasgow native hasn’t made a bad move so far. I’ve seen him in five movies so far and he’s always been excellent in all of them. Just a bit of trivia, McAvoy has technically been in the same movie as Sewell. They both were part of the BBC miniseries ShakespeaRe-Told, a modern retelling of four of the Bard’s stories. Sewell was in the Taming of the Shrew episode (you can see a clip of it here) and McAvoy in the Macbeth one.


Well, what are your thoughts on any of the news listed above? What particular casting news caught your eye this week?

Casting and Misc. News: FlixChatter’s Highlights

Happy Friday, everyone! I haven’t done a news post in a while and there have been some interesting developments of late, so let’s get to ‘em, shall we?

  • Terrence Malick’s Untitled Love Story
    The notoriously reclusive and meticulous director Terrence Malick is reportedly been gathering up a cast for his yet untitled love drama. And what an impressive cast that is. So far Christian Bale, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko have signed on to star in what’s been described as a “powerful and moving love story.” Malick is perhaps the opposite of the workaholic Ridley Scott, as he often goes for years in between films. He’s only got eleven movies under his belt, and was nominated for best director and adapted screenplay for The Thin Red Line.

    I confess I have never watched Bardem in anything, for some reason none of his movies interest me, yet, nothing against him personally. I’m most excited to see Bale here, as the first time he’s in a romantic drama under Malick’s direction was in the Pocahontas story The New World, it turns out to be one of my favorite role ever. He might be famous for his bad-ass roles where he’s either heroic or deranged, but his quieter, more vulnerable side is just as compelling, if not more so. He was great in the indie drama Metroland with Emily Watson, so a return to such a genre is definitely welcomed in my book.
    …….

  • Solaris meets Wall-E starring Keanu Reeves?
    That combo description is courtesy of /Film, which is the impression they got about this sci-fi project called Passengers and its potential director. Here’s the synopsis: Passengers is set in the future on a spacecraft making a centuries-long interstellar voyage to a new planet. Due to a computer glitch, a single passenger (Reeves) awakens from cryogenic sleep 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he, in turn, awakens a beautiful woman.

    Italian director Gabriele Muccino directed Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds, and was known for directing romance and family dramas in the home country. The first time I heard of Muccino was when there’s news circulating that Gerard Butler is interested in working with him in a baseball drama Slide. Not sure if that’d happen now that Butler’s signed to do Machine Gun Preacher. As for Passengers, the role of the beautiful woman hasn’t been cast, and the casting agent in me thinks someone like Eva Green, Romola Garai, Olivia Wilde or Emily Mortimer would be nice, instead of going with more famous faces.

  • Did you know that John Malkovich – yes, that John Malkovich – has his own fashion label?
    I read about it a long while ago in CNN, in which he says “I’ve always had an interest in it and always loved doing it. I like design, I like details, to me it is just another form of self-expression.” His brand of eccentricity apparently also carries over to his fashion design, as this article by someone who knew him revealed “… [he] produce an elegant line in men’s clothing and also to name the collection after political tyrants or psychopaths. There is, for instance, the mini mullah coat, an ironic tribute to the former Taliban spokesman Abdul Salam Zaeef.” He was in Florence last month to promote his Technobohemian (say what?) fashion line in his Autumn/Winter 2010-11 collection. ”Technobohemian is a clothing line dedicated to the modern man,” he said to LifeinItaly.com. O-kay. If you’re curious what the heck his clothes look like, you can take a peek here, or as worn by Halle Berry’s gorgeous model partner Gabriel Aubrey.

    The 56-year old actor doesn’t stop there, he also owns a budget hotel called The Big Sleep Hotel in Eastbourne UK, because his friends and neighbor in Provence who’s a chocolate-heir-turned hotelier. Wow, I’d never guess that about Mr. Malkovich, but that’s cool!.
    …….

  • Carrie Underwood’s film debut in Soul Surfer
    The country singer is joining other singer-turned-actress in her film debut in an inspirational biopic about Bethany Hamilton. According to NY Daily News, the movie will tell the tale of how the Hawaiian native Hamilton, now 19, returned to professional surfing just months after losing her arm in a shark attack six years ago. Underwood plays Sarah Hill, a youth counselor at Hamilton’s church whose friendship and support played a huge role in the surfer’s unlikely comeback. Anna Sophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain) will play the devout Christian teen surfer, with Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents, and Jack Nicholson’s daughter Lorraine will play Hamilton’s best friend, who was with her at the time of the attack. Underwood will begin the shoot in the Hawaiian island of Oahu following her scheduled gig to sing the national anthem in this year’s Superbowl.
  • Johnny Depp back in the directing chair
    It’s well-known that Johnny Depp’s performance as pirate Jack Sparrow was inspired by the rock legend, and now he’s going to chronicle his life in a documentary. In the Fandango blog, he was quoted as saying: “Now that I’m wiser, and that enough time has passed, I can experience directing again. Already next week I’ll start working on a Keith Richards documentary. While I’m in Drvengrad, my editor is already working on kilometers of archive footage and footage of his concerts. I’m very touched that Keith agreed to show up in front of my cameras.”I didn’t know Depp directed a movie before, but according that blog, he not only directed but also wrote and starred (alongside Marlon Brando!) in The Brave, about an American Indian who is released from jail and given the opportunity to star in a snuff film. I’d be curious to see his directing skills, and how honest the documentary will be about the Rolling Stones’ guitarist’s drug abuse and other shenanigans.

Casting & Misc. News: FlixChatter’s Highlights

Happy Friday, folks! Let me start off with some updates to a couple of news items I’ve mentioned in the past, so let’s get on ‘em, shall we?

  • Back in November, I talked about Danny Boyle’s mountaineering-gone-wrong tale 127 Hours about an American adventurer who had to amputate his own arm stuck under a boulder in order to survive. James Franco is reportedly set to portray Aron Ralston (I still think Ryan Gosling would be a great fit in the role), and the film begins shooting sometime in March. The British director is re-teaming with his Slumdog Millionaire‘s writer Simon Beaufoy. Not sure how they’ll will handle the flick though, I imagine it’s pretty challenging to do a ‘one man show’ type a la Tom Hanks’ Castaway, and it remains to be seen if Franco can hold our interest being the only screen presence.
    ….
  • Contrary to circulating rumors amongst movie sites (according mine :)), James McAvoy apparently is NOT going going to be playing Ian Flemming after all. CinemaBlend recently interviewed the actor whilst promoting his new movie The Last Station, where he dispelled the rumor about his involvement in movies such as The Hobbit). The one project he is set to do is a cancer-themed drama formerly titled I’m With Cancer along with Seth Rogen about a young guy who finds out he has cancer. Fresh out of the positive buzz on Up in the Air, Anna Kendrick has joined the cast as well. Sounds like a decent project for McAvoy, not sure about Rogen though, what’s with him and cancer flick?? Back to the The Last Station, the movie centers on War and Peace author Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife Sophia (Helen Mirren). McAvoy’s real-life wife Anne-Marie Duff also has a small part in the movie.
  • Speaking of dame Helen, her upcoming movie Red recently nabbed John Malkovich to join the already eclectic cast that include Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon, Mary Louis Parker and Richard Dreyfuss. According to EMPIRE, Malkovich replaced John C. Reilly in the retired CIA agent role. He and Bruce Willis are former black ops agent who discovers that a group of younger, better-equipped assassins are out to off them both.
  • Not to be outdone by The A-Team’s feature film adaptation, 21 Jump Street will soon get its own big-screen treatment. Jonah Hill is said in this EMPIRE article that the film is expected to start shooting this year yet. He also revealed that “.. this version won’t be a parody. It’s a John Hughes movie with Bad Boys style action. I really love the Back to the Future aspect of getting to relive a certain period of your life. But we’re not doing something serious like Miami Vice! It’s a funny movie, [but] with a real story. I wouldn’t make it if it wouldn’t be awesome.” He neither confirmed nor deny Johnny Depp’s involvement, as I mentioned a long while ago, director Edgar Wright has written a cameo role for the popular actor. But one thing for sure, Hill WON’T be playing Tom Hanson (thank goodness!)
  • Now, even if you haven’t seen the movie, some of you might’ve heard the racism debate surrounding Avatar that centers on its depiction of the Na’vi and how they are saved from extinction. You can read more about it here. Well, as a non-white person myself, I find that whole notion ridiculous. I mean, when you think about it, you can find faults in just about any movie, but since Avatar is such a massive success, it just becomes an easy target. I found this blog post through wordpress which I thought summed up my thoughts about the whole racism accusation better than I ever could. He looked at three other possible options to depict the two races in the movie, and basically concluded “… that whatever depiction Cameron chose, he would still have been skewered. The PC brigade would have been out to get him no matter what. So, unless he had made Avatar with robots as characters, or as an animated film with tigers and lambs, these people would have found it racist, no matter what.” My point exactly! Read the whole amusing article at the source.
  • Poster pic courtesy of FusedFilmIt seems like Hollywood movie news won’t be complete without a superhero-related project being announced. Besides Green Lantern‘s villain casting rumors (with the latest involving Peter Sarsgaard & Watchmen‘s Rorshach’s Jackie Earle Haley), the biggest ‘shocker’ to fanboys everywhere is Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 4‘s cancellation. But it doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing Peter Parker and his alter ego for a while, as Sony has already been planning a reboot to the franchise. Deadline Hollywood reported that the (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb just might be the man for the job, despite the studio’s wish list that include ‘king of the world’ James Cameron, David Fincher and Wes Anderson. But like the article mention, despite his lack of action hero experience, Webb might do just fine as Raimi had no prior experience in superhero stuff before Spiderman, and neither did Christopher Nolan before Batman Begins. It’s planned for a Summer 2012 release, which gives ample time for it to jump into the 3-D bandwagon.

FlixChatter’s Casting & Misc News

Well, well, well, I haven’t done a news post in a while and lots of interesting stuff are swirling. Here’s some of the highlights you might’ve missed.

  • Entourage movie is inevitable
    Mark Wahlberg, the executive producer and occasional contributor of the HBO hit Entourage, confirmed a movie version is in the works. “We’d like to follow in the Sex and the City footsteps and do a movie,” he said according to MTV blog. He’s not talking about doing it any time soon though. The show which is now in its sixth season might continue for a couple more and then the finale will leave open some story lines that could set up a feature film. “I can’t tell you [which story lines we'd leave unresolved],” Wahlberg said. “I’m sworn to secrecy.” The dude himself will be seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones and next year in The Fighter with Christian Bale.
    ….
  • Terry Gilliam lost Depp, gained Duvall for Don Quixote
    Funding may still be an issue, but at least Terry Gilliam has found his Don Quixote. Robert Duvall was quoted as saying to Collider, “I may work with Terry Gilliam next – if they get the money – to play Don Quixote de la Mancha.” He also said that “[Gilliam] saw him play a Cuban barber one time with Richard Harris and that’s what gave him the idea to cast me as Don Quixote.”
    …..
    As you may have heard, Gilliam originally wanted Johnny Depp to play the role, but “[Depp]‘s too busy doing swashing and buckling and Tonto-ing,” as Gilliam put it, referring to both the Pirates sequel and the Lone Ranger movie that Depp has committed to. Depp instead opts to do, get this, Seven Friends of Pancho Villa and the Woman With Six Finger, which Cinematical reported as a biopic about a Mexican Revolution hero, whom he would reportedly portray entirely with Spanish dialogue.
    ….
  • Romancing the Stone remake?
    Another day hour, another remake in Hollywood. This time it’s the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner comedy adventure directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1984. For younger readers out there who aren’t familiar with this movie, it’s about a romance writer (Turner) who sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds a myriad of unexpected adventure — and romance — with a rouge-ish explorer (Douglas). Another Robert (Luketic) has reportedly been asked to helm the project according to Empire. I love the original and that’ll be hard to top. Besides, I doubt the Aussie director — who’s known for sub par rom-coms like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and The Ugly Truth — can do it. I sure hope he’s not going to pair Gerry Butler with Katie Heigl again for this, ugh!
    ….
  • My Fair Lady Update
    Since Joe Wright apparently has never been attached to this project after all, other big name directors have reportedly been circling this one. SlashFilm mentioned the likes of Baz Luhrman (trying to crawl up from his Australia flop), Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot), even Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire). But Variety reported that John Madden is in talks to direct this one. Perhaps they’re looking to bring back his Oscar glory when his 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture, as well as nabbed Best Actress for Gwyneth Paltrow. Despite the rumors, Keira Knightley hasn’t signed on the dotted line to play Eliza Doolitle just yet, but I think she’d be perfect to play Eliza.
    ….
    I’ll keep an eye on further development on this one. Currently, the English director is filming The Debt, a remake of a 2007 Israeli film about three Mossad agents who captured a Nazi criminal in 1965. It’s got an intriguing cast that includes Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Ciarán Hinds, Tom Wilkinson, and Marton Csokas. WOW, this sounds interesting just on the casting alone!
    ….
  • Personal directing project for former Friends star
    David Schwimmer is one of the TV’s mega hit alums that’s had quite an interesting career as a film director. His last movie Run Fatboy Run with Simon Pegg was actually pretty good and funny. Now he’s looking to tackle a totally different genre. Yahoo reported that last week Schwimmer was in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the set of his next film Trust, starring Clive Owen and Catherine Keener as the parents of a 14-year-old girl who is raped by an online predator. The movie is apparently a personal one for the 43-year-old actor who serves on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation of Santa Monica (CA) and has been working on bringing a story of this kind to the big screen for some time. Kudos for him for bringing such an important subject to light, and for nabbing such a great cast that also include Viola Davis.
    …..
  • Hugh Jackman will play the ‘Don King’ of robots
    Steven Spielberg is looking to produce Real Steel, a story that centers on a fighter who has to reinvent himself when human boxers are replaced by robots. According to Variety, Jackman will play a struggling Robot Boxing promoter who finds a discarded robot that always seems to win. He also discovers he has a 11-year-old son, and they bond as the robot brawls its way toward the top. This won’t be the first time Spielberg dabble in human-robot storyline, as he’s been involved in various roles as director/producer/executive in the similarly-themed flicks like A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Transformers and Eagle Eye. Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) is set to direct.

    Meh, for some reason this doesn’t pique my interest in the slightest.
    …….

  • Last but not least, Keanu Reeves is to star in 47 Ronin, what Variety reported as an epic period film for Universal Pictures based on the true tale of a band of samurai swordsmen who avenged the death of their master in 18th century Japan. Not sure what role Keanu is playing, but most likely it’ll be one of the swordsmen. Being part Asian — his dad is Chinese-Hawaiian — Reeves seems tailored-fit for the role. The film will tell a stylized version of the story, mixing fantasy elements of a la The Lord of the Rings trilogy, with gritty battle scenes akin to films such as Gladiator. Cinematical said commercial director Carl Rinsch has been set to direct, the site even had a few of his renowned commercial clips if you’re interested.

Casting & Misc. News: FlixChatter’s Highlights

A myriad of casting news have been popping up in the last few days. Here are a few that caught my attention:

  • Dame Helen Mirren has joined a comic book-based thriller Red, alongside Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. According to Empire, Willis will play a legendary assassin — he’s freakin’ John McClane, of course he’s legendary — who must come out of retirement when Freeman’s CIA director decides that he knows too much, and decides to rub him out. Mirren will apparently play one of Willis’ old colleagues, to whom he turns for assistance. Filming will begin in January in Toronto and Louisiana, and set to be released November 19, 2010.
    …..
  • DeppJolieTouristThe Tourist is certainly hitting one bumpy ride after another. First it was supposed to be a project by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) starring Tom Cruise and Charlize Theron, then Cruise walked off and was replaced by Sam Worthington. Soon Naluri left, followed by Theron who’s then replaced by Angelina Jolie. You’d think that Worthington would jump for joy at the chance to work with Jolie, but he’s now off the project as well. Rope of Silicon reported that Worthington might be replaced by none other than Johnny Depp — much to the dismay of my friend Corinne who immediately theorized that he’d soon hit marital trouble with Jolie as his co-star. Not that far-fetched an idea given her track record but regardless, I think having the two on-screen would be quite electrifying. If he’s indeed on board, Depp would play an American tourist drawn into a web of intrigue and danger by a female Interpol agent (Jolie) as she attempts to locate a criminal who was once her lover. Several directors are still circling the project, including Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men). Well, with a topsy-turvy pre-production like this, the movie better be good.
    …..
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins has agreed to star as Ernest Hemingway. According to EMPIRE, actor/director Andy Garcia has been working with Hemingway’s granddaughter Hilary to get the project off the ground. The project titled Hemingway and Fuentes is a drama that chronicles the two decades in Cuba that led to Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1952 novel The Old Man and The Sea. Garcia himself will play the role of Gregoria Fuentes, Hemingway’s closest friend. Rounding out the cast is Annette Benning, who’s committed to star as Hemingway’s third wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway.
    …..
  • Ralston with his new 'arm'

    British director Danny Boyle apparently likes projects with numbers in them. He’s done the horror flick 28 Days Later, and now he’s set to direct a mountaineering-gone-wrong tale called 127 Hours. Even the writer at EMPIRE noted the squirm-inducing, shudder-prompting factor of the movie that’s clearly not for the faint of heart. This could be a movie I’m likely too chicken to watch. Get this: American adventurer Aron Ralston was climbing in Utah in 2003 when a boulder dislodged itself and pinned his lower right arm. He was stuck there for five days, and had to amputate his own arm in order to survive. He’s got a blog of his own if you’d like to read more about his amazing story. No news on the casting front, but one commenter suggested Michael Fassbender (300, Hunger, Inglorious Basterds) whom I think is not be a bad choice at all. Ryan Gossling could fit the bill as well IMO.

Keira Knightley is Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” Remake

Keira Knightley, Joe Wright, Emma Thompson in My Fair Lady remake

Keira Knightley, Joe Wright, Emma Thompson in My Fair Lady remake

Edit: As of  mid January 2010, it turns out that miss Knightley has withdrawn from this project even, and according to AceShowbiz, Carey Mulligan is said to be in the running for the role of Eliza. That’s too bad as she’d have been a terrific choice!

Wow, I must’ve been living under a rock as I had no idea they’re doing a remake of one of my beloved classics. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise, what else are they NOT remaking these days?

The UK Telegraph reported that Keira will re-team with Joe Wright, who has directed her twice before in Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. Emma Thompson will pen the script, which is great news indeed given that she won an Oscar for writing the screenplay of my all-time favorite drama, Sense & Sensibility.

On the casting front, apparently Keira has been fighting to get the role that she eventually won. Guess who she’s competing against? I immediately thought it’d be Natalie Portman, who shares her gamine figure, but it’s actually Scarlett Johansson! Huh? I’d never picture her in that role at all. I’m not saying whoever plays Eliza must resemble waif princess Audrey Hepburn, but she should at least look physically believable to portray a destitute, Cockney flower girl. No offense, Scarlett, but you might be better off vying to play Marilyn Monroe if they’re doing her biopic.

I think Keira is a pretty good choice, but the big question for me is whether she’s whimsical enough as Eliza. What I love about Hepburn is that she’s as genial and funny as she is elegantly beautiful, and her comic timing is what makes Eliza so wonderful to watch. I’m also curious if she’d be doing her own singing in the movie, as 90% of Hepburn’s singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon, despite her lengthy preparation for the role. I haven’t heard of Keira’s singing before, but she actually played a singer in the WWII drama based on poet Dylan Thomas, The Edge of Love. Here’s a clip of her singing, she actually doesn’t sound too bad.

What’s questionable however, is the rumor about Daniel Craig as Professor Henry Higgins. Though the 41-year-old Brit is the right age opposite Keira who’s 23 (the age difference between Eliza and Henry is about 20 years old), I don’t know if he’s the right choice for the role. I’d pick someone like Kenneth Branagh or Alan Rickman, even if they’re much older than Keira. Or perhaps even Hugh Jackman or Jason Isaac?

In any case, I definitely hope they do a good job with this version. Wonder if they’d include the horse-race scene where Eliza yells, ‘Come on, Dover! Move your bloomin’ arse!’ That scene never fails to amuse me!