14 items from 2016
Cole Sprouse has joined the CW’s Archie pilot, Riverdale — and no, diehard Suite Life of Zack & Cody fans, this won’t be an "Olsen twins in Full House" situation. Cole, and Cole alone (sorry, Dylan), will play Jughead in the pilot, which comes from superproducer Greg Berlanti, of Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl fame. Riverdale has also cast Lili Reinhart (Fox’s short-lived Surviving Jack) as Betty, while the roles of Archie and Veronica are still up for grabs. The Archie comics just revealed that Jughead is asexual, but did the CW get the memo? Apparently not! The pilot will present a “subversive” take on the idyllic town of Riverdale, with Jughead as a "heartthrob with a philosophical bent" who has just gotten into a big fight with Archie. This could be Cody Martin’s Vanessa Hudgens in Spring Breakers moment. Congrats, if that was something you wanted. »
- Jackson McHenry
Sometimes, it's all about the pitch, and "Zola" has a pretty good one. In his article for Rolling Stone, "Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted," journalist David Kusher describes the tale spun by Aziah "Zola" Wells as "'Spring Breakers' meets 'Pulp Fiction,' as told by Nicki Minaj." And who wouldn't be interested in that? Certainly not James Franco. Read More: James Franco Is Everywhere: New Trailers For '11/22/63,' 'Yosemite,' And 'Every Thing Will Be Fine' The polymath has signed up to direct an adaptation of Kushner's article that will be simply titled, "Zola." It tells the wild true story, that was shared and trended on Twitter last fall, about Zola from suburban Detroit, her friend Jessica, Jessica's boyfriend, and Jessica's pimp, who all take a wild road trip to Florida that results in murder and more. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
James Franco has signed up to direct a potentially controversial true-life drama based on a wild and unsavoury stripper road trip to Florida that went viral on Twitter.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Franco’s film will be based on the Rolling Stone article Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted, which was published in November. The piece related the story of stripper Aziah “Zola” Wells’ 148-tweet splurge, described as “like Spring Breakers meets Pulp Fiction, as told by Nicki Minaj”, in which she claimed she narrowly avoiding being tricked into prostitution by a fellow stripper and her violent Nigerian pimp.
Continue reading »
- Ben Child
Stripper Aziah "Zola" Wells' story captivated the Internet when her tale of a Florida road trip in October gone horribly wrong unfolded on Twitter. It inspired a more detailed account in David Kushner's exclusive story, "Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted" for Rolling Stone, and now a movie based on the Rolling Stone article is in the works. According to Variety, James Franco, Andrew Neel and Killer Films are developing the film version of the account.
Zola's saga began with her first tweet, »
Franco will direct from a script by Neel and Mike Roberts. Franco and Vince Jolivette are producing through their Rabbit Bandini Productions with Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa, and Gigi Films’ Gia Walsh and Kara Baker.
Kushner’s story was billed as an exclusive account of Wells’ 148-tweet about her October road trip to Florida with her friend Jessica, Jessica’s boyfriend Jarrett, and Jessica’s violent Nigerian pimp “Z.”
The first tweet read, “Okay listen up. This story long. So I met this white bitch at Hooters…” The tweets »
- Dave McNary
In just two weeks, Alamo Drafthouses nationwide will host screenings of A24's The Witch. More details on that story after the jump. Also in this round-up: a trailer for Night Terrors, Angelica release details, a new clip from The Final Project, and four images from The Terrible Two.
The Witch: Press Release: "Austin, TX - Feb 3, 2016 - The Alamo Drafthouse is excited to announce A24's chilling new horror film The Witch as the latest Drafthouse Recommends title. The film will open at Alamo Drafthouse locations nationwide with "sneak preview" screenings on the night of Feb. 18th, 2016. In the lead up to that opening date, select Alamo locations will also host free retrospective screenings of witchcraft horror classics to get audiences in the, er, spirit and to set the stage for director Robert Eggers' debut feature and groundbreaking new take on the genre.
And, for a limited time this month, »
- Tamika Jones
In his review from last year's Sundance Film Festival, HitFix's own Drew McWeeny had this to say about director Robert Eggers' upcoming period horror film The Witch: "Eggers manages to create a sense of mood and dread that is so suffocating at times that it feels like we're watching something genuinely transgressive, something we should not be seeing." For horror fans in particular, that's a promising sentence. We are, after all, lovers of the genre for its very ability to transgress boundaries, and we're always looking out for the next film that will take us to genuinely unexpected and terrifying places. In that vein, The Witch seems destined to be this year's It Follows or The Babadook: an under-the-radar, word-of-mouth sleeper that gives us something new and compelling to chew on and introduces the world to a fresh and unique talent in the horror arena. Here's the latest trailer, »
- Chris Eggertsen
After “Spring Breakers” and a cameo in “The Big Short,” former Disney star Selena Gomez continues to expand her movie career with the Sundance indie “The Fundamentals of Caring,” in which she plays a hitchhiker. Netflix has landed the worldwide streaming rights to the road trip comedy starring Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts (as a teenager with muscular dystrophy) for $7 million. Gomez will head to Park City later this week for the film’s premiere, but first she spoke to Variety about the role, the pressures young women face in Hollywood and wanting to direct.
How did you land this part?
My manager sent me the script and I completely fell in love with the script and said I want to audition. She said, “I mentioned your name and I’m trying to do this surprise situation, so you can go in and nobody knows that it’s you.” So »
- Ramin Setoodeh
The show stars Julianne Hough (“Safe Haven,” “Rock of Ages”) as Sandy; Aaron Tveit (“Graceland,” “Les Miserables”) as Danny Zuko; and Vanessa Hudgens (“Spring Breakers”) as Rizzo. Marc Platt (“Wicked,” “Into the Woods”) is the executive producer; Thomas Kail (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights”) is the director overseeing the stage direction; and Alex Rudzinski (“Dancing With the Stars”) serves as the live television director.
Earlier this month, ITV announced that it had acquired U.S. talk-show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which started airing on ITV2 on Jan. 18, and the channel recently became the U.K. home for the Seth MacFarlane family of shows: “American Dad,” “The Cleveland Show” and “Bordertown.” Its other U.S. »
- Leo Barraclough
Launching the careers of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and more, the teen musical rom-com spawned two sequels, including a theatrical release for the third film, which brought in over $250 million worldwide at the box office. An additional spinoff, “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” starring Tisdale, was released straight-to-dvd.
At the time of its premiere on this day in 2006, “High School Musical” marked Disney Channel’s highest-rated telecast with 7.7 million viewers in the states. That record was later broken by the sequel “High School Musical 2,” which brought in 17.3 million viewers in August 2007, topping the original by almost 10 million more viewers, becoming the most-watched TV movie of all time. The film “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” marked the biggest opening day for any musical film at the box office, holding the »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
The highest-grossing live-action film of Seth Rogen's career, 2014's Neighbors introduced audiences to Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne), first-time parents who went to war when Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) and the rest of his wild fraternity moved in to the house next door. Now, Universal has just dropped the first trailer for the comedy's sequel, this summer's Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.
Picking up where the original left off, Sorority Rising flips the script by proving that Greek life doesn't discriminate when it comes to disturbing the peace. »
Chris here to celebrate our favorite indie distributor. A24 has been steadily been building their reputation since launching about 3 years ago, and yesterday they finally landed their first Oscar nominations. They've previously housed longshot candidates like Spring Breakers and A Most Violent Year, but this year saw three of their films break through: Room, Ex Machina, and Amy.
A24 started 2015 proving that they could compete with the larger indie outfits by delivering at the box office. Ex Machina was a surprise hit and became their highest grosser, with Amy and Noah Baumbach's While We're Young also breaking out. Room could pass all of them with the help of its four major nominations and The Witch looks primed to be late-winter mini-hit, as well.
- Chris Feil
In a pre-Berlin Film Festival move, A24 has brought on investment banking veteran Sasha Lloyd to head up international operations for the four-year-old company.
She will oversee all film and television distribution and business development in the international marketplace.
The move comes with A24 seeing strong awards-season response to Brie Larson’s “Room,” Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” and solid box office for Alicia Vikander’s “Ex Machina” at $36 million. A24’s previous best performer came in 2013 with James Franco’s “Spring Breakers.”
Lloyd previously worked at Goldman Sachs, where her clients included Lionsgate, the Weinstein Company and DNA Films. She was also a founding partner of boutique investment banking firm Ghl & Company (rebranded as Solar Entertainment Hlb in 2012), where she led the $750 million recapitalization of Summit Entertainment and advised on the acquisition of the Miramax library from Disney by Colony Capital.
“Sasha is a very exciting addition to the A24 family, »
- Dave McNary
An avid student of the depiction of youth in movies, I’ve taken to calling the twenties, as we live them nowadays, the benties, after the British word “bent,” for messed up. And, while I realize not everyone will have found this decade of late adolescence / imposed maturity as disconcerting as all that, I know for a fact that most Millennials will be hard-pressed to argue this point. It’s why we’re called the Me-Me-Me Generation after all: for us, the top-down pressure to grow up, move out and settle down rarely takes before the big 3-0 starts looming large. Perhaps, with a little less “luck” on our side, we too might look to the extraordinary lives of, say, Kelly Reichardt’s young female characters, and strive to fight adversity to heroic results. But, for the purposes of this list, we’ll concern ourselves with the simpler, not necessarily brighter, »
14 items from 2016
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