12 items from 2015
Johnny Depp really needs a hit. After the failings of Transcendence and the more recent Mortdecai, the world’s number one actor (Tm) has a couple of potentials coming up, including a return to the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the fifth Pirates Of The Carribean movie, and a possible awards contender in Black Mass, for which a first trailer has just hit the web.
The trailer has a very big Goodfellas vibe to it, not just because of the gangster speak, but for the uncomfortable ‘funny how’ speech that greets us as the trailer starts up. Depp looks absolutely amazing in this.
Here’s the plot.
In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. Black Mass tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, »
- Paul Heath
Domhnall Gleeson is reportedly in talks to join Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in Doug Liman's "Mena" at Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Cross Creek. Gary Spinelli penned the script and Brian Grazer, Brian Oliver, Doug Davidson and Tyler Thompson will produce.
The story follows a Twa pilot recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America. Seal finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the U.S., one that spawned the birth of the Medellin cartel and the Iran Contra scandal. [Source: Variety]
Fred Armisen is set to join the cast of the "Zoolander" sequel, the actor announcing the news on his social media accounts which the film's director Ben Stiller later confirmed in a video announcement. No word as yet regarding Armisen's role in the comedy. [Source: THR]
- Garth Franklin
AMC’s upcoming Preacher pilot continues to round out its cast, with Deadline reporting that W. Earl Brown (Deadwood) has signed on for a regular role as Sheriff Hugo Root, whose character is described as “the mean-hearted father of Eugene Root aka Arseface, a flinty-eyed, conspiracy-credulous redneck who is not a fool and has a vulnerability to him.”
Preacher is set to star Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter) as Rev. Jesse Custer, a conflicted preacher who finds himself bonded to a supernatural creature called Genesis and sets out on a journey to find God. Joining him in the cast are Ruth Negga (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Tulip, Ian Colletti (Rake) as Arseface, Joseph Gilgun (This Is England) as Cassidy, Elizabeth Perkins (Big, Weeds) as Vyla Quinncannon and Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) as the original character Emily Woodrow.
- Gary Collinson
Press Release -- "An Office Space meets Shaun of the Dead action-packed horror comedy, Bloodsucking Bastards stars Fran Kranz as Evan Sanders, a low-level, dutiful employee stuck in a boring job at a soul-killing every corporation. Evan’s the kind of guy who does all the work and gets none of the credit, but at least he gets to spend his days with his beautiful co-worker/girlfriend Amanda (Emma Fitzpatrick) and his slacker best friend Tim (Joey Kern).
Unfortunately, it all falls apart in one fell swoop when Amanda breaks up with him and Evan’s boss Ted (Joel Murray) hands »
- Derek Anderson
AMC’s next comic book adaptation is quickly assembling a solid cast. News of the latest addition to Preacher hails from Deadline, who report that W. Earl Brown (Deadwood, Scream) has signed on to appear as one of the titular chappie’s most reviled enemies.
Known in the comics as Jesse Custer’s biggest adversary, Sheriff Hugo Root comes to fisticuffs with the preacher on more than one occasion, even roping in his son Eugene Root (aka Arseface) into his agenda of hate. While it’s his grisly fate that spurs his bumbling son into action, his earlier run-ins with Custer ought to be granted a substantial chunk of screentime.
In the initial rundown from Deadline, his character description suggests he may undergo somewhat of a transformation from page to screen. He’s dubbed “a flinty-eyed, conspiracy-credulous redneck who is not a fool,” which sounds about right, but he also “has a vulnerability to him. »
- Gem Seddon
W. Earl Brown (who played the formidable Dan Dority on HBO's western drama Deadwood) has joined the expanding cast of AMC's Preacher. He'll be playing Sheriff Root, who in the Vertigo comic series was just about the most vile piece of garbage you'd ever be unfortunate enough to meet. It sounds like they might be giving him a bit more humanity in the show though, as this is how Deadline describes the character: "The mean-hearted father of Eugene Root aka Arseface (Ian Colletti), a flinty-eyed, conspiracy-credulous redneck who is not a fool and has a vulnerability to him." Brown joins Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip, Joe Gilgun as Cassidy, Lucy Griffiths as Emily, Ian Colletti as Arseface, and Elizabeth Perkins as Vyla Quinncannon. »
Exhibitors got their first look at Johnny Depp’s gangster drama “Black Mass” at the Warner Bros. panel at CinemaCon on Tuesday, drawing notable reactions that could build up momentum ahead of the film’s Sept. 18 release.
Cooper said the movie takes a look at abuse of power and the bonds of brotherhood. In the clip shown, Depp looked somewhat unrecognizable, with piercing blue eyes, combed-back blonde hair and a fearsome intensity — mostly in a dinner scene with David Harbour, who plays FBI supervisor John Morris.
The footage showed a few glimpses of Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays Billy Bulger, Whitey Bulger’s law-abiding brother and a Massachusetts state senator. Joel Edgerton is playing disgraced FBI agent John Connolly, who aided Bulger and »
- Dave McNary
ABC did well with How to Get Away with Murder on Thursdays at 10pm. Now that Murder's first season is over, they've replaced it with American Crime, an anthology series that will focus on a new crime each season -- presuming the ratings are strong enough for it to be renewed. Will it be cancelled or renewed for a second season? Stay tuned to find out.
On the first season of American Crime, a home invasion in Modesto, California results in the murder of war veteran Matt Skokie and a horrific assault on his wife Gwen. Four suspects are brought into custody for the crimes. Though the suspects and the victims fit a profile, they and their situations are far more complicated than anyone would have initially believed. The cast includes Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, W. Earl Brown, Richard Cabral, Caitlin Gerard, Benito Martinez, Penelope Ann Miller, Elvis »
If you know the film, you are correct about your estimation of what you’re going to get from the show, generally speaking, except insofar as the scope of the subjects up for analysis. This could be a turn off for some viewers, just based on the “everything can’t happen to this one set of people,” theory of non-watchability.
If you don’t know the film, you probably aren’t any more moved to see the show than you were the movie, and you should really try your best to overcome that, because the show is gripping, powerful, and engaging, almost in spite of itself.
The show kicks off with Russ (Timothy Hutton) having to identify the body of his son, Matt Skokie. »
- Marc Eastman
Even before he won an Academy Award for "12 Years a Slave," John Ridley had an interesting, eclectic career. He's written for sitcoms ("The John Larroquette Show") and dramas ("Third Watch") and even produced Wanda Sykes' talk show. A decade before "Empire," he created a hip-hop industry drama for Upn called "Platinum." As a novelist, he's written science-fiction ("Those Who Walk in Darkness"), pulp ("Everybody Smokes in Hell") and historical fiction ("A Conversation with the Mann"), among other genres. Whether by design, opportunity, or simply a sense of restlessness — one of the most vivid characters in any of his books is Brain Nigger Charlie from "The Drift," a hobo who can no longer relate to the anchored middle-class existence from which he descended — Ridley has avoided being pigeonholed in a business that tries to do that with everyone, and particularly with artists of color. That sense of ambition and motion »
- Alan Sepinwall
Already described as a broadcast-tv stab at doing a prestige-cable series, “American Crime” is produced with a stark sense of realism, from the unglamorous look of the actors to the near-absence of music. Telling the story from multiple perspectives, a la “Crash,” intersecting around a murder, writer-director John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) works to challenge perceptions and preconceived notions, as the evolving facts of the case sweep up the characters, but seldom shake their prejudices and convictions. This is, in any venue, ambitious storytelling, although the rarefied air it inhabits could wind up thinning the ratings as well.
Certainly, marketing a series this downbeat and low-key — with uncomfortable issues about race woven into the fabric — asks a lot of an audience that’s been marinating in the bombast of Shonda Rhimes’ melodramas, with lead-in “Scandal” growing loopier by the moment.
Ridley (who wrote the first three episodes, and directed the »
- Brian Lowry
In March, ABC will debut “American Crime,” a taut, incisive drama from “12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley, which promises to “examine preconceptions on faith, family, gender, race, class and other aspects of our social experience through an approach and perspectives historically underserved in media.”
Above, Variety has an exclusive sneak peek from the pilot, which sees a typical family dynamic between an overprotective father and rebellious son take a darker turn, after the police question Tony Gutiérrez (Johnny Ortiz) about his involvement in a seemingly innocuous case that has far-ranging implications for both himself and his father Alonzo (Benito Martinez).
Ridley recently told Variety that he’s most drawn to stories that allow him “an opportunity to offer something up… something that moves or uncovers a bit of history that maybe [viewers] were unfamiliar with; those things are interesting to me. And those things I feel like I have some kind of connection to. »
- Laura Prudom
12 items from 2015
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