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Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges in Talks to Star in Drew Goddard’s ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’

33 minutes ago

Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges are in negotiations to star in the Fox thriller “Bad Times at the El Royale,” with Drew Goddard directing from his own script.

Should the deals close, the actors would be the first attached to the project, which is expected to begin shooting early next year. Fox has kept details about “Bad Times” under wraps other than it being set in the 196os at a dilapidated hotel in California’s Lake Tahoe region. Bridges would play a down-on-his-luck priest.

Goddard is also set to produce the movie. He co-wrote the screenplay for “Deadpool 2” with star Ryan Reynolds and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. Goddard received an Academy Award nomination last year for best adapted screenplay for “The Martian,” which was adapted from the Andy Weir novel.

Goddard directed Hemsworth in 2012’s “The Cabin in the Woods” from a script he co-wrote with Joss Whedon. He »


- Dave McNary

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10 Most Anticipated New Films of Oscar Season

1 hour ago

Oscar season is officially on our doorstep as the 74th annual Venice Film Festival is set to take flight a week from today with the world premiere of Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.” Recent contenders like “Birdman,” “Spotlight,” and “La La Land” have begun their journeys on the Lido before taking the season by storm.

Commencing in the Colorado mountains next Friday will be the Telluride Film Festival’s 44th Labor Day sprint, where major players like “Moonlight,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “Argo” all unspooled. Other awards season launchpads in Toronto, New York, and Hollywood (AFI Fest) will follow soon after.

Many new films will plant their flags throughout this circuit, while plenty more will aim for strategic exposure after the festival dust settles. The six-month season will be long — longer than usual, thanks to the Winter Olympics — but the reward will (hopefully) be a string of quality prestige films from many of the finest filmmakers in the »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Box Office: Will ‘Hitman’s Bodyguard’ Protect No. 1 From Newcomers?

1 hour ago

A sluggish summer at the box office appears to have almost reached a standstill.

Last weekend, “Hitman’s Bodyguard” won the domestic box office with $21.4 million. That was a solid opening for a film without a superhero, well-known source material, or a franchise to back it up. But now, in week two, it seems the movie could retain its spot on top, even if it sees a 50% to 60% drop.

The fresh releases don’t post much of a threat, starting with “Leap!” from the Weinstein Company. The animated film, which has already picked up $58.2 million from foreign markets, is looking at an opening around $5 million from 2,500 locations. Éric Summer and Éric Warin directed the movie, titled “Ballerina” in all territories outside the U.S. It’s billed as a musical adventure comedy about an orphan girl who aspires to become a dancer. The voice cast is led by Elle Fanning, and also includes Maddie Ziegler, »


- Seth Kelley

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Will Ferrell to Star in ‘The 100 Year-Old Man’

2 hours ago

Will Ferrell is producing and starring in the CBS Films comedy “The 100 Year-Old Man.”

The project is based on bestselling author Jonas Jonasson’s “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.”

Ferrell is producing the film with partners Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum via their Gary Sanchez shingle alongside Andy Licht and NiceFLX Pictures’ Pontus Edgren and Mikael Wallen. Felix Herngren and Henrik Jansson-Schweizer will serve as executive producers, and Joshua Mehr will co-produce.

Jason George (“Narcos”) is set to write the screenplay. No director is yet attached. »


- Dave McNary

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Netflix to Release Gay Talese, Joan Didion Documentaries

4 hours ago

Netflix has unveiled a pair of documentaries — Gay Talese’s “Voyeur” and “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold” — and plans to release both later this year.

Both titles are due to premiere first at the 55th New York Film Festival in October.

“Voyeur” follows Talese as he reports one of the most controversial stories of his career: a portrait of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos. For decades, Foos secretly watched his guests with the aid of specially designed ceiling vents, peering down from an “observation platform” he built in the motel’s attic and kept detailed journals.

Talese had originally published the story about Foos in the New Yorker, then set up the project at Amblin with Sam Mendes attached to direct, but the “Voyeur’s Motel” project was dropped from development after questions emerged about the veracity of some of the details of the story.

“It’s an incredible honor to be able to »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Daniel Radcliffe in ‘Jungle’

4 hours ago

There doesn’t outwardly appear to be a psychotic killer on the loose in “Jungle,” the fifth feature from slash-happy Aussie horror specialist Greg McLean, but it turns out Mother Nature is more than happy to do the honors. A booby-trapped backpacker survival saga set in deepest Bolivia, based on a memoir by Israeli explorer Yossi Ghinsberg, “Jungle” may ostensibly be a nobler departure from the exuberantly grisly genre fare on which McLean has made his name — but structurally and atmospherically, it has more in common with his smashing 2005 breakout “Wolf Creek” than you might guess. Taut and rattling in setup, before losing its bearings in more ways than one as no end of jungle fever seizes Daniel Radcliffe’s agonized protagonist, this Melbourne festival premiere should enjoy somewhat safer travels on the strength of its name appeal and handsome National Geographic veneer.

Between last year’s disappointing, James Gunn-scripted gorefest “The Belko Experiment” and the »


- Guy Lodge

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Joshua Satine Joins Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in Thriller ‘A Simple Favor’ (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Six-year-old Joshua Satine has been cast in Lionsgate’s thriller “A Simple Favor” opposite Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding, Variety has learned exclusively.

Satine will play the son of Kendrick’s mommy blogger character, who tries to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her best friend, portrayed by Lively. Golding plays the husband of Lively’s character. The story is described as being a post-modern film noir with twists, betrayals, secrets, revelations, murder, and revenge

Paul Feig is directing the film. Feig and Jessie Henderson are producing through their Feigco production company. Jessica Sharzer wrote the script based on Darcey Bell’s book of the same name.

Fox 2000 was originally developing the project after buying the movie rights to “A Simple Favor” in a preemptive deal. The story is in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel “Gone Girl” and Paula Hawkins’ 2015 debut “The Girl on the Train” — two best-selling thrillers in which a »


- Dave McNary

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‘Entourage’ Star Emmanuelle Chriqui to Star in Thriller ‘Hospitality’ (Exclusive)

5 hours ago

Emmanuelle Chriqui has joined the cast of the crime thriller “Hospitality” opposite “True Blood” star Sam Trammell.

Chriqui plays Donna, a woman with a checkered past who must protect her son when a man brings trouble to her isolated bed and breakfast. Jr Bourne (“Teen Wolf”), Jim Beaver (“Supernatural”), and Conner McVicker (“Vice Principals”) have also joined the cast.

The film is written and directed by David Guglielmo and Nick Chakwin (“No Way to Live”) and is produced by Howard Barish (“13th”) through his Kandoo Films production banner.

This film is the third in a slate of eight indie films being produced by Barish and Kandoo Films. Barish began this initiative last year to provide opportunities to emerging artists, up and coming directors, and passionate storytellers.

Chriqui was most recently seen in the Hulu series “Shut Eye” starring Jeffrey Donovan and can be seen next in “Super Troopers 2” which bows April 20, 2018. She is repped by Management 360 »


- Justin Kroll

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Palme d’Or Winner ‘The Square’ Is Sweden’s Pick for Foreign-Language Oscar

5 hours ago

Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or-winning “The Square” will represent Sweden in the foreign-language Oscar race at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

A satirical drama weaving dark comedy, “The Square” takes place in the contemporary art world. Written by Ostlund, the film stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West.

The Square” world premiered in competition at Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or. It will next play at Toronto, in the Special Presentations section. Magnolia pre-bought U.S. rights to “The Square” a year ago.

Commenting on the selection of “The Square,” Ostlund, who spoke about his despair over missing out on an Oscar nomination for his 2015 “Force Majeure” in a YouTube clip, said he “really hope it’s less painful this time round.”

Although it missed out on an Oscar nomination, “Force Majeure” was a critical hit. It took home six Swedish Guldbagge Awards and won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard »


- Elsa Keslassy

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France, Britain Lead Europe’s Foray Into Vr Content Creation

5 hours ago

They’re already home to two of Europe’s most vibrant film industries. Now France and Britain are leading the way in the region in creating Vr content.

Between them, the two countries have eight of the 22 titles competing in the upcoming Venice Film Festival’s new virtual-reality section — the world’s first competitive Vr strand at a film festival. Add in an entrant apiece from Italy and Denmark, and the number of European titles in the competition exceeds that of the U.S.

“The Vr industry is booming in Europe, which is great for all of us,” said Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of Rewind, the British creator of “Ghost in the Shell Vr,” with U.S. banner Here Be Dragons, and “Home: A Vr Spacewalk,” which just picked up an award at Cannes Lions.

A report in August identified 487 virtual-reality companies operating in Europe, up from the 300 recorded in February.

But »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Vanessa Redgrave, Alex Gibney, Griffin Dunne Documentaries Join New York Film Festival Slate (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

The 2017 New York Film Festival’s Spotlight on Documentary lineup includes work by a number of notable directors, with world premieres by Vanessa Redgrave (“Sea Sorrow”), Alex Gibney (“No Stone Unturned”), and Griffin Dunne (“Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”), among others.

The documentaries on tap encompass a wide range of subjects, including the global refugee crisis (“Sea Sorrow”), male bodybuilding (Denis Côté’s “A Skin So Soft”), small-town racism and misogyny (Travis Wilkerson’s “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?”), Rome’s biggest public square (Abel Ferrara’s “Piazza Vittorio”), and a 1994 Irish massacre (“No Stone Unturned”).

Related

New York Film Festival 2017 Slate Dominated by Amazon, Netflix (Full List)

There are also a number of works focused on individuals, including Rebecca Miller’s movie about her playwright father, “Arthur Miller: Writer,” as well as docs about the writer Joan Didion (“The Center Will Not Hold”), artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Sara Driver’s “Boom for »


- Gordon Cox

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Maya Rudolph to Reunite With Melissa McCarthy in ‘Happytime Murders’

6 hours ago

Maya Rudolph has joined Melissa McCarthy in the dark comedy “The Happytime Murders.”

The casting represents a reunion for longtime friends McCarthy and Rudolph, who first shared the big screen in 2011’s comedy blockbuster “Bridesmaids” and will next be seen together in Warner Bros.’ “Life of the Party.” McCarthy was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “Bridesmaids.”

STXfilms’ “The Happytime Murders” is centered on two clashing detectives, one human and the other a puppet, who are forced to work together to find the killer who’s murdering the former cast of “The Happytime Gang,” a classic puppet show.

The production companies are Henson Alternative, On the Day Productions, and STXfilms. McCarthy is producing with partner Ben Falcone, along with Brian Henson and Jeffrey Hayes. Executive producers are Lisa Henson, Dee Robertson, and John W. Hyde.

Brian Henson is directing from a script by Todd Berger, Dee Robertson, »


- Dave McNary

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Film News Roundup: Jamie Luner Joins Romantic Comedy ‘Honeymoon in Paradise’ (Exclusive)

6 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, “Melrose Place” star Jamie Luner joins “Honeymoon in Paradise,” Abramorama and Gravitas acquire documentaries and Sony Pictures gets to work on the thriller “Nightlight.”

Casting

Jamie Luner is starring in Odyssey Media’s romantic comedy “Honeymoon in Paradise” with shooting starting in October in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia, Variety has learned exclusively.

The producer is Kirk Shaw, who has producing credits on “Life and Death of John Gotti” and “Papa Hemingway in Cuba.” David DeCoteau is directing from a script by Julia Holdway, in which two exes are contestants on a new romantic reality TV series filming at Saint Lucia’s Coconut Bay Resort and Spa.

The one-time couple soon realize the flame of love continues to burn but find that the only way to get time together, to sort out the past and plan a future, is to feign mutual anger during the daily contestant challenges so »


- Dave McNary

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David Oyelowo Joins Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley in Doug Liman’s ‘Chaos Walking’

6 hours ago

David Oyelowo has joined Lionsgate’s science-fiction adventure “Chaos Walking,” starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

Doug Liman is directing while Allison Shearmur and Doug Davison are producers. The screenplay will be written by Patrick Ness, Charlie Kaufman, and John Lee Hancock.

The film is based on Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go,” a book that was published in 2008 as the first in a trilogy. It’s set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts with Holland’s character playing the only boy in a town of men who’s forced to flee with only his dog.

Oyelowo will play the antagonist, Aaron, in the movie.

Holland is coming off of playing the title role in Sony’s summer hit, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” He is currently tied to Shawn Levy’s adaptation of “Uncharted,” “The Current War” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and »


- Dave McNary

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‘Student’ Director Kirill Serebrennikov Put Under House Arrest in Russia

6 hours ago

Acclaimed Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov has been put under house arrest in Russia pending trial on charges of embezzling state funds. The filmmaker, whose 2016 film “The Student” won the Francois Chalais award in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, was arrested in St. Peterburg on Tuesday where he was shooting a new movie about Soviet singer-songwriter Viktor Tsoi.

Appearing in a Moscow court Wednesday, Serebrennikov found his request to be freed on bail rejected despite character-witness statements on his behalf from a number of Russian actors and directors, including Fedor Bondarchuk. Serebrennikov pleaded innocent to the charges and told the court he needed to “finish filming a movie.”

The decision means he will not be able to return to work on his biopic of rock star Tsoi and is banned from communicating with anyone aside from close relatives and his legal team without investigators’ approval. »


- Robert Mitchell

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LevelK Climbs ‘The Butterfly Tree’ With Melissa George Ahead of Toronto (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

LevelK has acquired world sales rights to Priscilla Cameron’s feature debut “The Butterfly Tree,” an Australian drama starring Melissa George (“The Slap”) and Ewen Leslie (“Top of the Lake”) in the run-up to Toronto, where the movie will play in the Discovery section.

A coming-of-age tale, “The Butterfly Tree” centers on a widowed father, Al, and his teenage son, Finn, who fall for the same woman, Evelyn, a former burlesque queen-turned-florist. As father and son eventually discover that they are competing for the affections of the same woman, old wounds are reopened over the death of Finn’s mother.

The Butterfly Tree” just had its Australian premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival. It previously participated in the Berlinale Project Talent Market and was developed through the Binger International Film Lab. The film’s script won the Australian Writers Guild award.

The movie was produced by Bridget Callow-Wright and financed by Screen Queensland, Cowlick »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Marshall,’ ‘Queen Sugar’ Set for 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival

8 hours ago

The 21st Annual Urbanworld Film Festival has announced its 2017 slate, with the likes of Ava DuVernay and Chadwick Boseman making appearances at the festival that aims to represent a broad lens of diversity and expand the definition of urban beyond ethnicity.

Highlights of the festival include the U.S. premiere of “Marshall,” the Thurgood Marshall bio starring Boseman, with a screening followed by a Q&A with Boseman, co-stars Sterling K. Brown and Josh Gad and director Reginald Hudlin, moderated by journalist Tamron Hall. Also on the roster is the debut of the midseason premiere of DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” followed by a conversation between series stars Rutina WesleyDawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe with DuVernay and director Julie Dash.

The lineup also includes “Baltimore Rising,” the documentary directed by “The Wire” actor Sonja Sohn, following activists, police officers, community leaders and gang affiliates who struggle to hold Baltimore together in the wake of Freddie Gray’s »


- Erin Nyren

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Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini Join Virginia Woolf Biopic ‘Vita & Virginia’

10 hours ago

Elizabeth Debicki and Isabella Rossellini have joined the cast of Virginia Woolf biopic “Vita & Virginia” for Protagonist Pictures, it was announced Wednesday by Protagonist CEO Dave Bishop. The finance, production and sales company has also closed a deal with distributor Thunderbird Releasing to take all U.K. rights on the film.

The Night Manager” star Debicki, who recently appeared in James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” will play Virginia Woolf opposite Gemma Arterton in the period drama, which tells the true story of the unconventional love affair between socialite Vita Sackville-West (Arterton) and Woolf. Rossellini’s role has not been announced.

“‘Vita & Virginia’ is the true story of two of the most fascinating and progressive women of their time, who end up in the throes of a passionate affair which shapes their work and changes their lives forever,” said Vanessa Saal, managing director of sales and distribution for Protagonist. »


- Robert Mitchell

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Cornerstone Films Takes Worldwide Sales on Jehovah’s Witness Film ‘Apostasy’

11 hours ago

Cornerstone Films has boarded Daniel Kokotajlo’s directorial debut feature “Apostasy” ahead of its world premiere at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. The sales company will introduce the film to buyers in Toronto.

Apostasy” is based on Kokotajlo’s own experiences as a former Jehovah’s Witness, telling a story of the complex nature of faith, family, duty and love. It follows the story of two sisters (Sacha Parkinson and Molly Wright) in the English city of Manchester’s Jehovah’s Witness community, whose faith and family ties are tested when one is condemned for fornication with a non-believer and the other is pressured to shun her sibling. Siobhan Finneran plays the girls’ mother. Robert Emms also stars.

“Daniel has sensitively questioned the notion of unconditional familial love [and] while doing so created three powerful roles for strong and complex women struggling to find their place in their community and in their relationships with one another,” said »


- Robert Mitchell

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Content Media Boards ‘Bees Make Honey’ for Worldwide Sales

12 hours ago

Content Media was acquired worldwide sales rights to British murder mystery comedy “Bees Make Honey,” the company said Wednesday. The film, which stars Alice Eve, is set to make its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London on Sept. 23. Content will introduce the film to buyers in Toronto next month.

The sophomore feature of Eve’s younger brother Jack Eve, who wrote, directed and produced the film, “Bees Make Honey” is set in England in 1934. It sees Alice Eve’s high-society widow, hosting her annual Halloween costume party for her friends, secretly employ a police inspector to solve the crime of the murder of her husband that took place at the same event one year earlier.

“Jack has taken a traditional whodunit format, infused it with a Baz Luhrmann-like energy, and combined it with a wonderful old school British comedy,” said Jamie Carmichael, president of film at Content.

Bees Make Honey »


- Robert Mitchell

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