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There’s a time-honored tradition of the Academy honoring A-list actors who put themselves through the mill with harrowing, stripped-down performances. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto took home trophies last year for playing individuals afflicted with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, James Franco cut off his arm and got a nod for 127 Hours, and Naomi Watts took on a tsunami and came out with a nomination for The Impossible, to give some recent examples. I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice to say, Reese Witherspoon is undoubtedly gunning for some attention this year with Wild, in which she plays a woman who embarks on a 1,100-mile journey of self-discovery across America.
It’s perhaps a little cynical to dismiss this venture, based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, as purely an awards hopeful, but the trailer certainly paints it in that light. However, whether Fox Searchlight and Witherspoon »
- Isaac Feldberg
Crash and Iron Man 3 actor Don Cheadle is making his directorial film debut with Miles Ahead, a crowdfunded biopic about famous jazz musician Miles Davis’ transition back into music after a five year hiatus, and the tumultuous relationship with his first wife, Frances Taylor Davis.
Cheadle will also star as Davis in the film, and thanks to Entertainment Weekly we now have our first look of him in character, complete with Davis’ beloved trumpet and iconic jheri-curled mullet…
Miles Ahead also stars Ewan McGregor (The Impossible), Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire), and Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), and begins shooting in Cincinnati later this week. Cheadle, who also co-wrote the film and has been trying to develop it for nearly a decade, did an extensive interview with EW that is definitely worth reading. Makes sure to read that here.
At this time, Miles Ahead has no release date, but expect »
- James Garcia
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
new to stream
Carrie: a story four decades old about religious misogyny and basic feminism and the perniciousness of bullying still feels fresh and relevant [my review] [at Netflix] Le Week-end: a marvelous little unpacking of the meaning of happiness, precisely what constitutes it, and how to know whether you’ve found it [my review] [at Netflix]
streaming now, while it’s still in theaters
Mistaken for Strangers: perhaps the least bullshitting, most unostentatious rock doc ever, often as hilarious as This Is Spinal Tap, though with a different aim in mind in the end [my review] [at Amazon UK Instant Video]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
Beyond the Edge: through gorgeous archival footage and new re-creations, thrillingly places us amidst the first successful summit of Everest in 1953 [my review] [at Amazon UK Instant Video] The Grand Budapest Hotel: the most Wes Anderson-y film ever, a delightful concoction that’s like »
- MaryAnn Johanson
• The Fault in Our Stars lead Ansel Elgort will play the title role in Van Cliburn. The film tells the story of the Texan piano prodigy who has been credited as bridging the Cold War gap between America and Russia when, at age 23, he won the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. Andrew Stern (Disconnect) is penning the script, and Elgort, a graduate of Laguardia High School of the Performing Arts, will perform the piano playing himself. [Deadline]
- Jake Perlman
The story follows Seymour “Swede” Levov, a legendary high school athlete who has a seemingly perfect life after he marries a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business. His life shatters when his daughter commits a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.
“Phillip Noyce is an exceptionally talented filmmaker and we’re excited to see him »
- Dave McNary
For 11 years now, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral has been trying to get off the ground, thanks to the efforts of Salt director Phillip Noyce (who has the sci-fi adaptation of The Giver coming later this year). One iteration was said to have included Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly, but that never came to fruition and floated around as a rumor for years. Now Noyce seems to be on the right track as he tells ComingSoon that American Pastoral will be his next project, and it will be Ewan McGregor (August: Osage County, The Impossible) starring in the lead role. More below! McGregor (who has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in A Million Ways to Die in the West), has taken a wide variety of interesting roles, and this one is no different. The actor will play Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, »
- Ethan Anderton
McGregor will take on the starring role of Seymour 'Swede' Levov, a blonde Jewish businessman living in Newark, New Jersey, whose ordinary life is disturbed by the chaos of the 1960s under the presidency of JFK's successor Lyndon B Johnson.
The Lincoln Lawyer writer John Romero wrote the script for the long-gestating project.
Noyce's The Giver will be released in the summer.
American Pastoral will begin shooting in early 2015. »
Renewing relations with Spain’s two most preeminent heavyweight auteurs, Spanish production and promotion powerhouse Telecinco Cinema has boarded both Juan Antonio Bayona’s fantasy-actioner “A Monster Calls” and Alejandro Amenabar’s thriller “Regression.”
Focus Features, River Road, Participant Media and Lionsgate have teamed to finance and distribute “Monster,” which, repped by Lionsgate, reportedly sold nearly all major international territories at Cannes.
- John Hopewell
In a major step-up in scale, Telefonica Studios, the production division of Spanish telco giant Telefonica, has boarded Academy Award winning Alejandro Amenabar’s upcoming “Regression,” starring Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, which has just wrapped principal photography, having filmed on location in Toronto.
“Regression” is a The Weinstein Co.-Dimension release in the U.S.; FilmNation handles all world sales outside the U.S. Canada and Spain.
TWC-Dimension will open “Regression” in the U.S. on August 28, 2015.
Telefonica Studios will co-produce “Regression,” the new thriller from writer-director Alejandro Amenabar (“The Sea Inside,” “The Others”) headlined by a stellar cast including Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson.
“Regression” is also backed by Telefilm Canada.
Producers of Amenabar’s “Agora,” and many »
- John Hopewell
• Rosa Salazar (Parenthood) has joined the cast of Insurgent as Lynn. Currently filming in Atlanta, the Divergent follow-up from director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) will again star Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening), Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now), Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars), Kate Winslet (Labor Day), Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher), and Zoe Kravitz (After Earth), as well as newcomers to the series Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), and Octavia Spencer (The Help). In the book, Lynn is described as a bitter Dauntless-born initiate with a shaved head, eyebrow piercing, a tough attitude, »
- Jake Perlman
Naomi Watts (The Impossible) has been confirmed that she will be starring in the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, as well as the final book's adaptation (split over two movies). Naomi will play Evelyn who leads the Factionless. She will jump right into the action, Insurgent began shooting last week and is expected to continue through the end of September. Insurgent is about the fallout/looming war following the events which transpire in Divergent. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cole the Kid Critic)
We're torn about Naomi Watts in this roomy jean-made sundress. On the one hand, every gal needs a comfy sack to throw on when running errands or lunching with a Bff. On the other hand, there have got to be styles slightly chicer than this one! But doesn't that defeat the point of a "Saturday" style? Should it be whatever the wearer damn well pleases? If we're going to support women of the world taking a day off from the pursuit of fashion perfection (which we obviously are), then we have to compliment whatever we can about The Impossible star's choice. Here goes: 1. This indigo shade looks absolutely lovely on the fair-skinned beauty. It makes her blonde 'do pop and gives off a »
All the way back in December, we reported that Marc Forster wouldn’t be returning to helm the sequel to World War Z, an adaptation of the Max Brooks novel of the same name. Instead, The Impossible’s Juan Antonio Bayona would be helming it, and since then it’s been rather quiet as to the direction of the project.
However, we can expect to see Brad Pitt return to our screens in the near zombie-infested future, as Locke’s Steven Knight, oscar-nominee for Dirty Pretty Things, has been brought on board by Paramount and Skydance to pen the sequel.
World War Z surprised most critics back in 2013, when it earned more than $540 million worldwide, solidifying it as one of Pitt’s most financially successful ventures yet.
Source: Variety »
- Matthew Ceo
Get it? Because the zombies in this one are runners? Ahem. Thanks to box office muscle to the tune of $500-plus million worldwide, Brad Pitt will be back fightin’ zombies to save his family and the planet in a sequel to last year’s “World War Z.” Besides Pitt returning as the former Un badass turned unflappable zombie fighter, the sequel previously swapped out director Marc Forster, who had a dickens of a time on the first film, with “The Impossible’s” J.A. Bayona. Moving forward, the studio has now tapped “Eastern Promises” writer Steven Knight to take a crack at the script. The 2013 movie was notorious for its many behind-the-scenes problems, including an entire rewritten third act that drastically changed the ending of the movie. The last we saw of Pitt’s character, he, along with the world, seemed to have the zombie plague well in hand. Apparently not »
Brad Pitt's "World War Z" was always envisioned as a franchise. So after the first film grossed over $540 million worldwide, a sequel was immediately announced. Now comes word that Oscar-nominated writer Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Dirty Pretty Things) has been hired to write the second installment, which will bring back Pitt and will be directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible). Meanwhile, Carter Blanchard (Spyhunter) has been set to re-write the script for "Independence Day 2," which will once again be directed by Roland Emmerich. Blanchard's job will be to take Will Smith out of the first script since the actor will not be reprising his role. »
Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Impossible") is already slated to direct and will work closely with Knight on the script. Details of the sequel are being kept under wraps, how much of it will come from the Max Brooks book is also uncertain at this time.
Emmerich and Dean Devlin worked on the earliest draft which Jamie Vanderbilt then took a crack at. Emmerich is prepping the film at the same time he shoots his Stonewall riots drama starring Jeremy Irvine.
Source: Heat Vision & Variety »
- Garth Franklin
Pitt will return in the starring role, although no details are known of the plot at this time.
Knight won an Oscar in 2004 for his Dirty Pretty Things screenplay.
Plan B most recently produced the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave.
Watch the trailer for Locke below: »
World War Z took a few people by surprise last year. After countless delays, several last minute re-writes and a complete lack of use of the source material, it turned a lot better than it should have been. It impressively also pulled in over $500 million dollars at the box office, so they were quick to announce a sequel which will again star Brad Pitt, who will also serve as producer.
And now Variety is reporting that Steven Knight (Locke) is to write the script. His other upcoming screenplays include fantasy Seventh Son, the comedy drama The Hundred-Foot Journey and the Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice.
World War Z 2 will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) who replaces original movie director Marc Foster. There are no plot details yet, but Pitt has said in interviews that it will expand upon the universe they created in World War Z. »
- Luke Owen
Marc Forster’s World War Z surprised a lot of people last year by picking up some decent reviews and a big box office total, despite a publically troubled production with noteworthy departures from the source material.
As well as this good form in claustrophobia and close-quarters character study, Knight also penned the scripts for Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises and Jason Statham’s Hummingbird, which seems a promising sign for this zombie sequel.
The Oscar-nominated scribe (for 2002′s Dirty Pretty Things) will be working closely with director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) in developing the screenplay, which finds Brad Pitt returning to reprise his role as United Nations worker and dad of the year Gerry Lane. Plot details for the zombie thriller are being kept under wraps, but it is expected to remain in the world of author Max Brooks’ original vision. Variety first reported the news.
Knight is also a director. His well-received thriller Locke, »
- Lindsey Bahr
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