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‘House of Cards’ Actress Kate Lyn Sheil Joins Sci-Fier Opposite Guy Pearce, Kristen Stewart

4 hours ago

Kate Lyn Sheil (“House of Cards”) will join Guy Pearce, Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult in the sci-fi movie “Equals.”

Producers are Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Ann Ruark, and Jay Stern and Chip Diggins of Route One, which is also financing. Exec producers are Mike Pruss, Lee Jea Woo, Choi Pyung Ho and Russell Levine.

Drake Doremus (“Like Crazy”) is directing from a script by Nathan Parker (“Moon”).

The story is set in a world where there is no greed, no poverty, no violence, and no emotion. But a new disease is threatening everyone by activating depression, sensitivity, fear, love.

Mister Smith Entertainment is handling international sales on the film and launched the project to buyers at the recent Cannes Film Market, selling the film in over 35 territories.

UTA Independent Film Group arranged financing and will sell the North American rights to the film.

Sheil will appear in “The Heart Machine” and “Listen Up Philip, »

- Dave McNary

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Watch: Marvel Releases Extended Look for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

5 hours ago

Continuing with the film’s barrage of promotional clips and trailers, Marvel Studios has released an extended look at “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

The video reuses much of the same scenes and lines as previous trailers, though it provides some new shots of the cast in action. It concludes with an extended scene from the recent U.K. trailer of Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) laughing at Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) inability to come up with a solid plan for action.

Along with Pratt and Cooper, “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel voicing Groot and Benicio Del Toro as the villainous Collector. The film follows the five Guardians as they go from being criminal misfits to a team of heroes that have to save the galaxy.

Directed by James Gunn, who has recently announced his completion of the project, »

- Sebastian Torrelio

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‘Lego Movie’ Blocks ‘300’ From Top Spot in Home Video Sales

6 hours ago

Warner’s “The Lego Movie” reclaimed the top spot on both national home video sales charts the week ending July 6, bumping the historical actioner “300: Rise of an Empire” – which debuted at No. 1 the previous week – to the No. 2 spot.

In its third week in stores, “The Lego Movie” still managed to outsell the followup to 2007’s “300” by a healthy margin. “300: Rise of an Empire,” with a domestic gross of $106.6 million (barely more than half what the original earned), in its second week of release sold 70% as many copies as the animated comedy based on the popular building toy. Both films are distributed by Warner.

Walt Disney Studios’ “Frozen,” meanwhile, ended its 16th week of release by bouncing back up to No. 3 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales, DVD and Blu-ray Disc combined.

Universal Studios’ “Lone Survivor” finished the week at No. 4, while »

- Thomas K. Arnold

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Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’: Why It’s the Story of Our Lives

6 hours ago

I suppose it’s not surprising that I had such a visceral reaction to Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” since I remember deeply identifying with “Dazed and Confused,” whose stoner ’70s teenagers were the exact same age as me in the year it was set.

I’m the same age as Linklater, and though many of his films have a queso-drenched Texas patina that’s alien to me, clearly we’ve lived through many of the same cultural references.

But I related to “Boyhood” on a whole new level. The kids in the movie are the same age as my kids, and watching them grow up through the 2000s was a wrenching three-hour tour through our lives. It was as if someone had been filming us the whole time — all the bad along with the good — not just the Christmas present-unwrapping or Halloween costume parades that usually get taped, but the day dad moved out, »

- Pat Saperstein

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Penelope Cruz Joins Sacha Baron Cohen in Sony’s ‘Grimsby’

6 hours ago

Penelope Cruz is joining Sacha Baron Cohen in the Sony comedy “Grimsby.”

Pic also stars Rebel Wilson and Mark Strong.

The film is directed by Louis Leterrier with a story by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston and a screenplay by Baron Cohen, Johnston and Peter Baynham.

Story follows a British black ops spy, played by Strong, who’s forced to team up with his idiotic English football hooligan brother, played by Baron Cohen.

Baron Cohen and Nira Park will produce with Johnston, Baynham, Louise Rosner, Todd Schulman, James Biddle, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Ant Hines and Adam McKay exec producing.

Production is set to start sometime this summer.

Cruz was most recently seen in Fox’s “The Counselor.” She is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Kuranda Management.

News was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.


- Justin Kroll

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Rosemary Murphy, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Actress, Dies at 87

7 hours ago

Rosemary Murphy, who appeared as the neighbor Maudie Atkinson in the classic 1962 film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starring Gregory Peck, died Saturday in New York City. She was 87 and had recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Murphy, who won her Emmy for portraying the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, died Saturday at her home in New York City, her longtime agent, Alan Willig, told The Hollywood Reporter. She recently was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. – See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rosemary-murphy-dead-kill-mockingbird-717521#sthash.BzHqOdBQ.dpuf Murphy, who won her Emmy for portraying the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, died Saturday at her home in New York City, her longtime agent, Alan Willig, told The Hollywood Reporter. She recently was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. – See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rosemary-murphy-dead-kill-mockingbird-717521#sthash. »

- Carmel Dagan

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Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson Nearing Offer for Female Lead in ‘Mission: Impossible 5′ (Exclusive)

8 hours ago

“White Queen” Rebecca Ferguson is the choice for the female lead in Paramount and Skydance’s “Mission: Impossible 5.”

No formal offer has been presented to Ferguson yet, but sources say she is the choice of Cruise, director Chris McQuarrie and the studio.

Cruise, Skydance’s David Ellison and J.J. Abrams are producing.

Plot details are being kept under wraps but sources say Ferguson’s character would be some sort of assassin. Drew Pearce penned the script.

The studio had originally looked at Jessica Chastain for the part but the actress could not commit to enough time for the shoot. Sources tell Variety that the studio wants Ferguson to begin training for the role sometime in June and work all the way through filming, which would go till the end of January.

Ferguson provides the type of athletic look Cruise and company are looking for, while her schedule will allow »

- Justin Kroll

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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ to Boost Summer Box Office

9 hours ago

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is looking to reignite a summer box office that flamed out spectacularly over the July 4th holiday.

The sequel to the well-received 2011 reboot will benefit from a lack of competition at the multiplexes en route to an opening in the $60 million range when it debuts across 3,966 locations this weekend.  Twentieth Century Fox, which is producing the $170 million picture along with Chernin Entertainment,  is being more conservative and pegging a debut in the mid to high $50 million zone.

Its predecessor, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” bowed to $54.8 million when it debuted in 2011, a figure the new film seems likely to pass. Fandango reports that “Dawn” is outpacing the earlier apes picture at a similar point in its sales cycle and is responsible for 70% of weekend pre-sales.

The apes sequel is being bolstered by superb reviews and residual good will for its predecessor. »

- Brent Lang

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Alec Baldwin in Talks to Join Tom Cruise in ‘Mission: Impossible 5′

9 hours ago

Alec Baldwin is in negotiations to join Tom Cruise in Paramount and Skydance’s next installment in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.

Jack Reacher” helmer Chris McQuarrie is directing this installment. Cruise, Skydance’s David Ellison and J.J. Abrams are producing.

Plot details are being kept under wraps but sources say Baldwin’s character would be a high-ranking CIA officer who oversee Cruise’s division, similar to the role Laurence Fishburne had in “Mission: Impossible III.” Drew Pearce penned the script.

The studio is still looking to find the female lead after Jessica Chastain passed on the part. The pic is set to bow on Christmas Day 2015.

Baldwin shouldn’t have a problem filling a position of authority after receiving strong reviews as Matt Damon’s commanding officer in “The Departed.”

He is repped by CAA and N2N Entertainment and can be seen next in Cameron Crowe’s untitled film »

- Justin Kroll

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Shailene Woodley’s ‘Allegiant’ Draws Screenwriter

9 hours ago

Lionsgate has tapped Noah Oppenheim (“The Maze Runner”) to adapt Veronica Roth’s  “Allegiant” for its third film in the “Divergent” franchise.

Lionsgate decided in April to make two films from “Allegiant,” the final book in Roth’s trilogy, with the films opening in March 2016 and March 2017.

Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James, launched March 21 and  has generated a cumulative $151 million domestically and $118 million more from international markets.

The second film, “Insurgent,” opens on March 20, 2015. Shooting began in May in Atlanta.

Divergent” was produced for $85 million and greenlit in December 2012 with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon producing with Pouya Shabazian. Neil Burger directed the tale of a dystopian Chicago in the 22nd century; “Red” director Robert Schwentke is directing “Insurgent.”

Lionsgate has not yet selected directors for the third and fourth films.

Oppenheim has worked extensively in TV on “The Buried Life” and as a senior »

- Dave McNary

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Robert Redford to Play Dan Rather in CBS Scandal Movie ‘Truth’

9 hours ago

Robert Redford has come on board to play Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett will portray producer Mary Mapes in political drama “Truth.”

James Vanderbilt, who wrote Zodiac” and both “The Amazing Spider-Man” scripts, will make his directorial debut along with writing and producing through his Mythology Entertainment banner along with Brad Fischer, William Sherak and Mikkel Bondesen.

The film will center on Rather’s 2004 report on CBS’ “60 Minutes Wednesday”about a  series of memos critical of President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service record that had been discovered in the files of the president’s former commanding officer. The authenticity of those documents was called into question, which led to claims that the memos were forgeries.

Rather and CBS initially defended the story — released during the height of Bush’s re-election campaign — but wound up retracting it 12 days after the initial broadcast. “If I knew then what I know now, »

- Dave McNary

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Guillermo del Toro to Direct B&W Film Before ‘Pacific Rim 2′

9 hours ago

Guillermo del Toro is getting behind the camera one more time before returning to direct “Pacific Rim 2,” a sequel to last summer’s monster pic. Del Toro told Collider he will shoot a small black and white film beginning in either February or March.

The helmer has not yet tapped a cast, but he said he’s interested in having “V for Vendetta” actor John Hurt and an actress whom he didn’t name, but has said has appeared in a short and a feature.

Known for his supernatural characters, del Toro said there will be “one great creature in it.” He has not released the title of the film.

Del Toro is in post-production for Legendary Pictures’ “Crimson Peak.” Similarly, in 2012, Joss Whedon shot the low-budget “Much Ado About Nothing” also in black and white, stretching his wings beyond comicbook fare.

Pre-production for “Pacific Rim 2” is slated »

- Jordyn Holman

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Scarlett Johansson in Talks for Coen Brothers’ ‘Hail Caesar!’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

Scarlett Johansson is in talks to join the Coen brothers’ drama “Hail Caesar.”

Jonah Hill is also in talks to join the cast.

She would join Josh Brolin and George Clooney. Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes are also in negotiations to co-star.

Universal will distribute with the Coens producing, along with Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title Films.

The story follows a Hollywood fixer in the 1950s who is working to keep a studio’s stars in line.

Johansson will play an actress who suddenly becomes pregnant as her film is about to go into production. It’s a good fit, since Johansson announced in March that she was pregnant. She is engaged to Romain Dauriac.

The plan is to go into production this fall and given the size of the cast, Johansson’s role is not expected to take very long to shoot.

She can »

- Justin Kroll

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7 Crazy ‘Planet of the Apes’ Moments You Won’t Believe

11 hours ago

When a film franchise lasts for more than four decades, it’s bound to collect a few odd moments along the way, and the “Planet of the Apes” series is no exception. As the eighth film in the popular saga arrives in theaters July 11, here’s a look at some of the strangest riffs on simian cinema.

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Animal acts were a staple of Johnny Carson’s 32 years on The Tonight Show, and none were more memorable than when singer Paul Williams took the stage in full orangutan makeup and crooned a bluesy ballad to promote his role as Virgil in “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.” The lit cigarette in his hairy hand helped add to the surrealism.

The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour

During the second season of this CBS variety show, Cher dressed in a loincloth and appeared with a group »

- Matthew Chernov

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Sony Buys Melissa Rauch Comedy ‘The Bronze’

12 hours ago

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions is going for “The Bronze,” acquiring the comedy starring Melissa Rauch (“The Big Bang Theory”).

Stephanie Langhoff is producing and Jay and Mark Duplass are exec producing for Duplass Brothers Prods. Bryan Buckley is directing from a script by Melissa Rauch and her husband, Winston Rauch.

The film, currently shooting in Ohio, also stars Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong and Haley Lu Richardson. Rauch plays a foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist who must fight for her local celebrity status when a young athlete’s star rises in town.

Rauch’s television credits include “True Blood” and “The Office.” Buckley is best known as a commercials director and is attached to direct the Lionsgate comedy “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” starring Reese Witherspoon.

Melissa and Winston Rauch are represented by Wme and Brillstein Entertainment Partners; Bryan Buckley is represented »

- Dave McNary

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Hungary’s Movie Renaissance Continues as Pix Win Laurels, Incentives Rise, and Hungarian Film Week Returns

12 hours ago

The Hungarian film biz is on a roll, and keen to maintain its momentum. Variety spoke to Agnes Havas, head of the Hungarian National Film Fund, who is attending the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival this week, about the three Hungarian features playing in Karlovy Vary, the imminent rise of the production incentive to 25%, and the return of the national movie kudofest, the Hungarian Film Week.

The renaissance of Hungary’s film biz continues a year on from the Crystal Globe victory at Karlovy Vary for Janos Szasz’s “The Notebook,” the first film to receive coin from Hungary’s new movie support org, the Hungarian National Film Fund, which launched in late 2011. The film went on to be selected as Hungary’s Oscar entry and reached the Academy’s short-list of nine films. It was acquired in North America by Sony Pictures Classics. At Cannes this year, another Hungarian film, »

- Leo Barraclough

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Richard ‘Dickie’ Jones, Voice of Disney’s Pinocchio, Dies at 87

12 hours ago

Voice actor Richard Percy “Dickie” Jones has died at the age of 87.

Jones began as a child actor and maintained his career into his 30s, becoming a familiar face in TV and low-budget westerns. As “Dickie” Jones, the native Texan landed small parts in films like the Laurel and Hardy classic “Babes In Toyland” (1934) as well as “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” (1939) and “The Adventures of Mark Twain” (1944), where he played a young Samuel Clemens.

Still, Jones is probably best remembered for, at the age of 12, voicing the title role in Walt Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio” — a film that Variety dubbed its 1939 review to be “a substantial piece of entertainment for young and old.”

Jones’ final screen appearance was in the 1965 western “Requiem For A Gunfighter,” after which he retired from acting to pursue a career in real estate.

Jones passed away at his Northridge, Calif. home of apparent natural causes. »

- Shelli Weinstein

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‘Hunger Games’ Teaser: The Mockingjay Lives

13 hours ago

The latest teaser trailer for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1″ has an important message for the citizens of Panem: unity.

While President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) latest propaganda campaign — which features captured victors Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) — is again meant to instill conformity for fear of retaliation, it doesn’t go as well as his first. Instead, the rebels of District 13 break through the telecast to give the citizens a dose of what is perhaps Snow’s biggest fear: hope.

The first half of the “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” premieres Nov. 21 and is directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Danny Strong and Peter Craig. Jennifer Lawrence stars as the fearless Katniss Everdeen in the story based on the popular Suzanne Collins novels.


- Whitney Friedlander

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Paco Torres Moves Ahead With ‘Blue Guitar’

15 hours ago

Paris– Paco Torres’ “Blue Guitar,” one of the standout projects pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful co-production/distribution meet (pictured above), is coming together.

“Guitar” turns on Elias, a 30-year-old Palestinian music teacher whose wife and child were killed in a car accident. Crippled with grief, Elias is barely holding on when he meets Leon, an Israeli teenager whose parents died in a terrorist attack and who lives in exile. Without knowing Leon is responsible for the death of his family, Elias bonds with the young man who becomes like his son.

Torres, whose credits include the well-reviewed short “The Rattle of Benghazi,” has locked an international cast comprising Kais Nashif (“Big Bad Wolves”), Sareh Bayat (“A Separation”), Elaine Cassidy (“The Others”) and Lauryn Canny (“A Thousand Times Good Night”). Script was penned by Torres, Shane Perez and Johnny Fergusson.

“”Blue Guitar’ is not politically engaged but rather focused on »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Jerusalem Film Fest Postpones Opening Night in Wake of Israeli-Palestinian Hostilities

15 hours ago

Tel Aviv — As rocket alert sirens continued to ring out throughout Israel on Wednesday, staffers at the Jerusalem Film Festival made a last-minute call to postpone the festival’s opening night events, originally scheduled for Thursday evening at Jerusalem’s outdoor Sultan’s Pool.

With tensions between Israelis and Palestinians at their highest point in years following the deaths of four teenagers — three Israeli boys who were kidnapped in the West Bank, and one Palestinian boy snatched by Jewish extremists — Israel launched an air offensive in Gaza and Palestinian militants pummeled Israeli cities, including Jerusalem, with rocket fire.

The Jerusalem Film Festival was originally scheduled to kick off Thursday with the world premiere of Eran Riklis’s “Dancing Arabs” (pictured) which was lensed entirely in Jerusalem and written by Israeli-Arab journalist and author Sayed Kashua. The gala screening at Sultan’s Pool, an open-air venue located below the Old City Ramparts, »

- Debra Kamin

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