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For the past few months on Oscar Beat, we’ve been taking a detailed look at the Oscar race to come. We saw frontrunners emerge out of the fall film festival circuit, and now we’re starting to see each category come together. However, for this holiday weekend we thought it’d be fun to take a look at awards seasons past; specifically, films that were considered strong Oscar hopefuls until for one reason or another they dropped out of the race entirely. This year we’ve already seen a couple of potential Oscar contenders fade from the race once critics got their first look—namely The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which now feels destined to be more of a commercial hit than a serious Oscar contender. After the jump, we examine five films from the past decade that looked like they had the goods for Oscar glory but »
- Adam Chitwood
When one of Dracula‘s old, undead pals shows up in this week’s episode of the NBC drama (Friday, 10/9c), Lady Jayne Wetherby wastes no time picking up the visiting vampire’s trail.
Will the huntress’ efforts lead her to discover the true, sunlight-shunning nature of her lover, Alexander Grayson? And why does the independent Lady Wetherby keep coming back to Grayson when he doesn’t always treat her so well?
TVLine talked all of this — as well as injury-inducing sex scenes, belief-suspending bathtubs and the elusive Lord Wetherby — with series star Victoria Smurfit. Read on for the bloodsucking good time. »
- Kimberly Roots
The highlight of the 22nd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (Sliff), held Nov. 14- 24, (aside from the Ray Harryhausen Tribute November 15th) is an appearance by famed writer/director Oliver Stone. A three-time Academy Award® winner, Stone has written and directed more than 20 feature films, among them some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades. Stone will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at the Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd. Directors who have previously been honored with a Sliff Lifetime Achievement Award include Paul Schrader, John Sayles, Michael Apted, and Joe Dante.
Held on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the program will feature a screening of the director’s cut of Stone’s “JFK.” The evening will begin with a clip reel surveying Stone’s career, the presentation of the award, and a conversation between Stone and St. »
- Tom Stockman
It’s been almost 20 years since we first encountered Jared Leto as the emotionally vacant high school boyfriend that all of us fell in love with in My So-Called Life. Since then the seemingly never aging performer has had memorable turns in such films as Alexander, Requiem For a Dream and Panic Room, but more recently Leto has chosen to focus on his musical career as the frontman for rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. Lucky for us he returns to the screen as “Rayon” in Dallas Buyers Club. His performance as a transgender woman battling AIDS has been garnering lots of well-deserved buzz. We had the opportunity to talk to Leto about the movie, his Skype audition process, the character amalgamation that was Rayon, and how he never broke character until the film was over.
Dallas Buyers Club opens nationwide today
- Dino-Ray Ramos
One thing is clear - if you're going to do Dracula, you damn better make sure you're bringing something new to the table. Bram Stoker's original novel has been adapted so many times in so many different ways that it's impossible to even count the clichés. Would this new take on the classic - a co-production between NBC and Sky Living - give us a fresh look on the tale that feels as old as time?
The answer is, well, sort of. Certainly, the show introduced some welcome departures, turning things on their heads by having Dracula and his traditional nemesis Van Helsing working together to bring down the shady Order of the Dragon. That's a twist that could bring some interesting twists, and it's by no means an easy alliance - best friends don't tend to throttle each other.
Other smaller touches worked reasonably well; beheading vampire victims »
Los Angeles, Oct 30: Actor Liev Schreiber says that he doesn't see himself as just a film star and would rather describe himself first and foremost as a parent.
- Amith Ostwal
Are you compelled to watch more of NBC’s ‘Dracula’? Read our review of the series premiere, then give us yours!
NBC’s Dracula premiered Oct. 25, introducing a new generation of viewers to one of the most iconic names in terror. In many ways, the peacock network’s take on the classic character is a welcome throwback; it’s a true period piece that, unlike many vampire shows today, doesn’t sacrifice story or scares for smolder. That’s not to say this Dracula isn’t attractive — it’s Jonathan Rhys Meyers for crying out loud — but there’s so much more to enjoy.
In some ways, NBC’s Dracula feels like a vampire version of Revenge – only with, pun intended, more bite. The color red is similarly employed, but rather than it being the ink from Emily Thorne’s infamous Sharpie pen, it’s the blood drawn from Dracula’s enemies. »
- Andy Swift
An imperfect man fights for survival during an uncertain time in America. Inspired by true events, Ron Woodroof’s story of strength is told in Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from an original screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack. Spirit Award winner Matthew McConaughey portrays the real-life character, whose self-interest is galvanized into something much more.
A son of Texas, Ron Woodroof is an electrician and rodeo cowboy. In 1985, he is well into an unexamined existence with a devil-may-care lifestyle. Suddenly, Ron is blindsided by being diagnosed as H.I.V.-positive and given 30 days to live. Yet he will not, and does not, accept a death sentence.
His crash course of research reveals a lack of approved treatments and medications in the U.S., so Ron crosses the border into Mexico. There, he learns about alternative treatments and begins smuggling them into the U.S., challenging the »
- Movie Geeks
Out on Blu-ray this week is Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States. The twelve part documentary series, co-created with American University professor Peter Kuznick, offers an alternative historical narrative by drawing focus to the scarcely remembered moments, forces, and figures that shaped the course of post-World War II America. In celebration of the release I recently participated in a small group interview with Stone. Over the course of sixty minutes he talked about the documentary series, the upcoming re-release of JFK, his past projects, and a whole lot more. In this second segment Stone talks about the controversy associated with his name, differentiating between skepticism and conspiracy, his hopes for the JFK re-release, the upcoming fourth cut of Alexander, reflecting on Salvador and Savages, thoughts on digital media, and more. Find out what he had to say after the jump and check back this week for the final installment of the interview. »
- Haleigh Foutch
For the last 18 months, the ardent fans of “50 Shades of Grey” have engaged in a parlor game of trying to cast Christian Grey. As far as the online groupies are concerned, the frontrunners were, and still are, Matt Bomer and Ian Somerhalder, who may never have actually been in the running with the studio. According to various reports, the role was supposedly offered to Robert Pattinson, Ryan Gosling and Garrett Hedlund, before “Sons of Anarchy” heartthrob Charlie Hunnam reluctantly agreed last month, only to back out of the project this week.
But the real loser in this never-ending casting scrimmage isn’t Focus Features, which is getting the kind of free pre-release publicity heaped on “Avatar.” It’s Hollywood. Even after a ridiculously long casting window, “Fifty Shades of Grey” can’t secure a star because, in part, there is a shortage of young leading men in the industry.
- Ramin Setoodeh
Sir Anthony Hopkins may be the world’s biggest Breaking Bad fan out there – and he only started watching the show two weeks ago. He actually sent Bryan Cranston a fan letter. “Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen – ever. I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I’ve sort of lost belief in anything really. But this work of yours is spectacular – absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers…. every department – casting etc. managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is (that over used word) awesome. »
- Ed Kennedy
This weekend saw Charlie Hunnam pull out of Fifty Shades Of Grey, leaving a gaping hole where a leading man should snugly fit. Given how quickly Universal and Focus want to bring the adaptation of E.L. James’ Bdsm-filled novel to completion, the race is on to find a replacement. Sitting on the list currently? Such names as Alexander Skarsgard and The Fall’s Jamie Dornan.They’re just two of the people now being considered, with the studio and director Sam Taylor-Johnson also considering others who were previously candidates, including Divergent’s Theo James and Romeo And Juliet’s Christian Cooke. According to The Hollywood Reporter, an early favourite, Garrett Hedlund, is out of consideration because he’s now working on Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken.Skarsgard can certainly handle the kinkier aspects of the role given what True Blood usually asks of him. And Dornan brought a conflicted energy to crime drama The Fall, »
Over the weekend, we reported that Charlie Hunnam has backed out of starring in Fifty Shades of Grey, citing his intense TV shooting schedule as the reason for his departure. Universal Studios is currently seeking a replacement, in hopes of getting production started next month. Today, we have word that Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) and Jamie Dornan (The Fall) are two of the contenders for this coveted role.
Universal Pictures is also re-considering its initial list of front runners, including Theo James (Divergent) and Christian Cooke (Magic City). Garrett Hedlund (Inside Llewyn Davis) was another top contender during the original casting sessions, but he is currently shooting Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, and he is no longer available.
In addition, the studio has brought on screenwriter Patrick Marber to perform a polish of the screenplay, written by Kelly Marcel. There was speculation that Charlie Hunnam left because he wasn't satisfied with the script. »
Hunnam left the project just several weeks before it was slated to begin filming, so a replacement will have to be inserted quicker than the producers and director Sam Taylor-Johnson are likely comfortable with.
Two favourites at present are Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood," "Battleship") and Jamie Dornan ("The Fall," "Once Upon a Time"), while both Theo James ("Divergent," "Bedlam") and Christian Cooke ("Magic City," "Romeo and Juliet") are also said to be getting another look over.
- Garth Franklin
While Paul Greengrass’ Memphis continues to languish—stalled by objections from Martin Luther King Jr.’s family, who worry it could tarnish whatever small corner they’ve yet to already ruin of his reputation—another Mlk biopic is moving forward at DreamWorks, with a man whose name is synonymous with reverential treatment of history: Oliver Stone. Of course, though we may implicitly scoff at the idea of the man who made JFK, Nixon, The Doors, and Alexander getting the authorization of the King family (with all the copyrighted speeches that it comes with) to tell the civil rights leader’s »
Filmmaker Oliver Stone has his sights set on tackling the life of another historical figure. The Alexander and W. filmmaker is in early talks to direct a biopic about the life of Martin Luther King Jr., with his Any Given Sunday star Jamie Foxx in talks to star. The project is set up at DreamWorks and is expected to have the support of King’s family, unlike director Paul Greengrass’ long-developing Mlk film Memphis, which provides a three-dimensional warts-and-all look at Dr. King on his final days. Hit the jump for more on this new project, including how it might affect Greengrass’ film. News of Stone and Foxx’s involvement in an Mlk biopic comes courtesy of The Wrap, which reports that the DreamWorks film has a screenplay by Kario Salem. There’s no word on whether this will be a cradle-to-grave biopic like Foxx’s Ray or if it »
- Adam Chitwood
Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, announced today that Jared Leto of Focus Features’ “Dallas Buyers Club” will be honored with the Hollywood Breakout Performance Award. The honor will be bestowed at the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21st, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. “Jared’s portrayal of Rayon in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is infused with humanity and bravery, and is nothing short of a revelation. This is an exceptional tour-de-force of acting,” said de Abreu. The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers, and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance. Past Hollywood Breakout Performance Award honorees have included Jamie Foxx, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, and Naomi Watts. Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, »
- Josh Abraham
• Michael B. Jordan, who broke out this year with his role in the critical favorite Fruitvale Station, is reportedly being eyed for a role in the sequel to 1996′s Independence Day, ID Forever Part 1, which takes place 20 years after the first film. Currently on the schedule for a July 3, 2015 release, the Roland Emmerich-directed sequel will likely find Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman reprising their roles from the original. [The Wrap]
- Lindsey Bahr
Here's today's latest casting news: Katie Holmes (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) will join Phillip Noyce's adaptation of Lois Lowry's novel, The Giver, starring Jess Bridges, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard and Brenton Thwaites. Rosario Dawson (Trance) is in talks to join Aaron Eckhart in Brad Peyton's micro-budget horror picture, Incarnate, from Blumhouse Productions. Saxon Sharbino (I Spit on Your Grave) has joined Gil Kenan's Poltergeist film, starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. [Update: Jane Adams (Hung) has also joined the film.] Natalie Martinez (Under the Dome) has landed a lead role in Sean Parker's thriller, Home Invasion. Hit the jump for more on each announcement. First up from Heat Vision is word that Holmes will join The Giver, a story in which a young boy (Thwaites) is selected to be the receiver of memories from the title character (Bridges), memories from a time before society's dedication to "sameness". "Holmes will play Thwaites’ mother, a »
- Dave Trumbore
Long-gestating videogame adaptation under stewardship of Duncan Jones looking to pin down lead roles
Actors Colin Farrell and Paula Patton are reportedly under active consideration for the lead roles in Warcraft, the film adaptation of the Warcraft videogames to be directed by Source Code's Duncan Jones.
According to Deadline, Patton "is negotiating for a lead role" and "another lead has been offered to" Farrell. Patton, who played Imf agent Jane Carter in successful action film Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol alongside Tom Cruise, is seen as a Hollywood up and comer, while Farrell, the Irish actor best known for cult films such as In Bruges and Intermission, has attempted to find success with a string of mainstream roles in films such as Total Recall, Miami Vice and Alexander.
Warcraft – the movie – has been in the works since at least 2006, when Blizzard, the company behind World of Warcraft, announced it had »
- Andrew Pulver
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