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Bill Hader has come a long way since his stint on Saturday Night Live, creating many popular characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price and CNN’s Jack Cafferty. He is one of the highlights in such films as Adventureland, Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express, and so it is easy to see why author Mike Sacks interviewed him for his new book Poking A Dead Frog. In it, Hader talks about his career and he also lists 200 essential movies every comedy writer should see. Xo Jane recently published the list for those of us who haven’t had a chance to read the book yet. There are a ton of great recommendations and plenty I haven’t yet seen, but sadly my favourite comedy of all time isn’t mentioned. That would be Some Like It Hot. Still, it really is a great list with a mix of old and new. »
Not so long ago, reality TV promised us that anyone could be a famous singer,
or chef, or alligator wrestler, or Amish craftsman. Now it’s not enough to be onscreen talent: We want to be development execs, too.
We have that chance with Amazon presenting its third round of pilots, which can be found on Amazon Instant Video. Viewers can watch, rate, and review the five new shows, and their feedback will help the streaming site decide which pilots to pick up as original series. (Last time around it ordered six series, including Chris Carter’s The After and Jill Soloway’s Transparent. »
- Melissa Maerz
Based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, the story will focus on the strategies of American political campaigns and how effective they are in the deeply religious, deeply political South.
George Clooney and his business partner Grant Heslov will co-produce alongside Bullock under their Smokehouse Pictures company banner. With the film in early pre-production not much else is known about the project at this time.
Clooney and co. directed and produced fellow political drama The Ides Of March back in 2012. We imagine Our Brand In Crisis will perform along the same lines, but with Gordon Green attached who knows what will happen.
- Jazmine Sky Bradley
Former indie auteur David Gordon Green‘s jump to the big time started off with such promise. Let’s take a little time travel trip! 2008′s Pineapple Express caught Seth Rogen and James Franco just as the weirdo lovefest that is their comedic team-up was really taking off (with Freaks & Geeks behind them and The Interview way out in the future, it was kind of the perfect opportunity to see what these two could do — which is be weird and lovable and funny with the best of them). The follow-up wasn’t quite as glorious, as 2011 marked a low point in Green’s humorous output (this is a sentiment expressed with admiration and respect, as my Dgg fandom has been well-documented in this space), with both Your Highness and The Sitter performing poorly in the domestic market and, uh, also just not being very good. Things have been looking up, however »
- Kate Erbland
Following big success with Gravity last year, plans for Sandra Bullock to return to Warner Bros. are solidifying as the studio has just given a greenlight the political dramedy Our Brand is Crisis. The project has been in development for years at George Clooney's Smokehouse Pictures, and Bullock began circling the project late last year during awards season. Now it seems to be coming together as Variety has learned Pineapple Express and Prince Avalanche director David Gordon Green is set to direct the film based on Rachel Boynton's 2005 documentary of the same name about American political strategies used in Bolivia. The documentary followed real-life consultants James Carville and Stan Greenberg, but it sounds this film will follow fictional political consultants instead. The film is described as a satirical comedy about American spin doctors competing in the same Presidential election in the South American nation. As previously Bullock would play “Calamity” Jane Bodine, »
- Ethan Anderton
As previously reported by my HitFix colleagues, 2014’s fall festivals represent something of a battle royale for various heavyweight Oscar hopefuls. The oldest fest in the big four, venerable Venice, is up against younger North American counterparts Toronto, Telluride and New York in the perennial fight to deliver a truly memorable Competition. Which films will be left standing once the critics have had their way with them? Contenders hoping to emerge victorious from La Biennale’s royal rumble include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s opening nighter "Birdman" starring Michael Keaton, David Gordon Green’s Al Pacino vehicle "Manglehorn" and Andrew Garfield vs Michael Shannon in Ramin Bahrani’s real estate showdown "99 Homes." As far as awards season goes, for me the big hitter to beat from Cannes is "Foxcatcher," an extraordinary and illuminating piece of filmmaking from Bennett Miller, a director I’ve not been personally persuaded by before now. In the documentary category, »
- Catherine Bray
Giovanni Ribisi, Ty Simpkins, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi), Mark Feuerstein, Kevin Corrigan and Juno Temple will join the previously-announced Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, and Natasha Lyonne in Bron Studios drama Meadowland.
Meadowland will be the directorial debut of award-winning cinematographer Reed Morano from a screenplay by Chris Rossi. Morano, a member of the A.S.C. is previously known for her work on The Skeleton Twins, Kill Your Darlings, HBO's Looking and Frozen River. The film begins principal photography in New York City today, August 18th.
Meadowland is a Bron Studios production in association with Creative Wealth Media Finance. Matt Tauber and Olivia Wilde serve as producers with Bron's Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand. Executive producers on the project are Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth. Richard Hicks C.S.A. is the casting director.
In Meadowland a couple, Sarah and David, deal with the unthinkable in »
Despite his success, and love for comedy, James Franco (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is slowly making a name for himself as a director of book adaptation, notably the work of Cormac McCarthy and William Faulker, the latter of which is the subject of his latest film, The Sound and The Fury, adapted from the novel by the author.
In addition, and what is becoming a signature of Franco’s directorial efforts, he has called upon his plethora of famous friends, namely Seth Rogen (This Is the End), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou) and Joey King (Oz The Great and Powerful), to help him realise his latest ambitions.
Here’s the official press release, followed by some first look images…
- Scott Davis
Big news today: We’re excited to announce Amazon Studios’ third pilot season, beginning August 28th and featuring three half hour comedies The Cosmopolitans, Really and Red Oaks, and two hour-long dramatic thrillers Hand of God and Hysteria. For one month, it will be up to you to watch, rate and comment – ultimately helping us decide which of them get the greenlight.
“There is something for everyone in this season,” says Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. The glamorous life of modern day expats in Paris. The hijinks of a summer job at a country club in 1980s New Jersey. The visions of a vigilante judge who appears to be channeling God. The complexities of marriage and friendship among a circle of friends in suburban Chicago. And the mysteries behind a psycho-physiological illness spreading through a small town in Texas.
You can help choose which of these stories should get “picked up” to become shows. »
Normally when we see Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride get together, it's for outrageous comedies like Pineapple Express or the makeshift sequel from the apocalyptic hit This is The End. However, at the Venice Film Festival, we'll see the trio in a whole new light as they all have roles in Franco's adaptation of William Falkner's classic novel The Sound and the Fury. Franco is directing and starring in the film about the tragic crumbling of the Compson family decades ago. It's so odd seeing Rogen and McBride in period wardrobe like this, and we're very curious to see how they do in this kind of film. Look! Here's the first images from James Franco's The Sound and the Fury (via The Playlist): The Sound and the Fury is directed by James Franco (Child of God) and written by Matt Rager (As I Lay Dying), based »
- Ethan Anderton
David Gordon Green is that rarest of directors - unpredictable and eclectic. He's directed gripping arthouse dramas like his debut George Washington (2000), stoner comedies like Pineapple Express (2008) and the historical spoof Your Highness (2011) - which America's Salon Magazine somewhat hastily suggested might be the worst film ever made. In time, the latter may be remembered as a poor film made by one of America's true talents, a director who was once compared to Terrence Malick - who now seems to be inspiring others (see the films of Jeff Nichols and David Lowery). Wanting a change from broad comedy, he made the low-key but well-liked Prince Avalanche (2013) under the radar but now returns to his early form with Joe (2013), a Southern noir set in deepest darkest Mississippi.
- CineVue UK
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that The Interview is no longer opening on October 10th and that it has been pushed back by about ten weeks. The good news it that it’s now opening on December 25th. While it may be a bit harder (or easier, depending on your family’s holiday schedule) for you to catch the movie on that date (or wait the extra two months), this is still a good thing. It means Sony’s confidence in the Seth Rogen and James Franco-starring movie is extremely high. And I’m not surprised. Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg have an amazing track record with films like This is the End, Pineapple Express and Superbad. Even The Green Hornet wasn’t all that bad. Even better, they directed it this new film as well (the incredibly funny This is the End »
- Evan Dickson
Nothing puts moviegoers in the Christmas spirit like political assassination.
The film, which Sony is billing as an action-comedy, reunites “Pineapple Express” and “This Is the End” stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. In the film, the producer and anchor of a celebrity tabloid TV show land an interview with North Korean despot Kim Jong-un. Hoping to score ratings and legitimacy, they book a ticket for Pyongyang, only to be recruited by the CIA, who want the pair to assassinate the third world country’s leader.
The screenplay is by Dan Sterling, with a story by Evan Goldberg, Rogen and Sterling. Rogen and Goldberg direct the picture, which Jong-un apparently doesn’t find funny. A spokesman for the country described the film as an “act of war” and said »
- Brent Lang
In summers past, Hollywood used to give audiences a break from all the action-packed sequels targeted to teenage boys. Usually, that came in the form of counterprogramming known as the romantic comedy. For most of the late ’90s, Julia Roberts carried the genre: she opened 1997’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” which grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, against the disastrous “Batman and Robin.” She was also the star of such summertime hits as 1999’s “Notting Hill” ($364 million worldwide), “Runaway Bride” ($309 million) and 2001’s “America’s Sweethearts” ($138 million), which marked the end of her reign as the queen of romantic comedies.
One of the reasons that the summer of 2014 has been so catastrophic, with box office grosses down 18 percent, is the glut of indistinguishable product. Every movie, from “Transformers 4” to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” feels like a photocopy of something that came before it. But the biggest profit margins aren’t »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Howdy ladies and gentleman For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to go ahead and take a look at a rather unique A-lister. Someone who vacillates between humongous Hollywood blockbusters and odd little independent films, always doing his own thing. The A-lister in question? None other than James Franco. He’s many things to many people, but he’s unquestionably a star. He’s given a few incredibly good performances, but he’s never a boring actor to watch. He’s easily one of Tinseltown’s most interesting actors to follow. Almost constantly engaging in some form of art, Franco is at his core, just that…an artist. He may be a bit of a weirdo to some, but he’s an A-lister regardless and deserves this tribute. Franco wasn’t always considered a “weird” star. He got his start basically as a heartthrob. He first came on to »
- Joey Magidson
James Franco stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to celebrate his recently wrapped performance in the Broadway run for Of Mice and Men — which became a midsummer hit and earned more than a million dollars at the box office last week. The guys played a lightning-fast game called Five-Second Summaries, in which they had just a few seconds to summarize the plots to various movies and make each other guess the titles. After dropping a few F bombs and changing the rules about five times, Franco finally got into the swing of things. Fallon’s one-word clue to the actor about Pineapple Express — Franco’s beloved stoner comedy with Seth Rogen — is pretty great. Play along with Franco and Fallon, below. [via Vulture...
- Alison Nastasi
James Franco stopped by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to celebrate his recently wrapped performance in the Broadway run for Of Mice and Men — which became a midsummer hit and earned more than a million dollars at the box office last week. The guys played a lightning-fast game called 5-Second Summaries, in which they had just a few seconds to summarize the plots to various movies and make each other guess the titles. After dropping a few F bombs and changing the rules about five times, Franco finally got into the swing of things. Fallon’s one-word clue to the actor about Pineapple Express — Franco’s beloved stoner comedy with Seth Rogen — is pretty great. Play along with Franco and Fallon, below. [via Vulture]
- Alison Nastasi
The Killing was an American remake from AMC based on the nordic noir show popularised over here by showings on BBC 4. The Us version moved things to Seattle where it rained constantly and revolved around the murder of Rosie Larson. Unfairly compared to Twin Peaks when it debuted, it was nonetheless something of a hit on Channel 4 for at least two seasons. I lost track of it around the mid-point of season two, not because I didn’t like it, I enjoyed it lots despite its grimness but it became impossible to keep up with the weekly scheduled showings and 4Od was, and still is not very good. From what I hear season two wrapped up the murder of Larson and season three moved on to a new mystery which was just as gripping.
The reason I mention this anyway is that like Arrested Development, Netflix has picked up »
- Chris Holt
James Franco dropped by The Tonight Show to brush up on his movie knowledge — and things got heated. In the new game "5-Second Summaries," Franco and Jimmy Fallon had only five seconds (or less) to explain the plot of any given film. Even before they began, Franco was noticeably — albeit jokingly — upset. It proved to be a much tougher game than the two had envisioned, with them struggling to sufficiently describe American Pie, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and even Franco's very own feature film, Pineapple Express. When Franco is forced to explain Cast
- Philiana Ng
While his brother Dave was cruising for Tinder meet-ups in a brown van with Conan, James Franco settled for a slightly more low-key talk-show activity, joining Jimmy Fallon in a game called Five-Second Summaries (a.k.a. Catchphrase with movie titles). And frankly, for someone who has been in a lot of movies, James Franco is pretty bad at guessing movie titles. He only barely got Pineapple Express, and he was in that one. »
- Anna Silman
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