We’ve got a few casting stories to attend to this evening. Briefly:
- Chris Pine is in talks to lead Disney’s coast guard drama The Finest Hours, which now has a new director in Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl).
- Michael B. Jordan is attached to lead the action thriller Men Who Kill, which is being developed as a star vehicle for the actor at 20th Century Fox.
- X-Men: First Class actor Caleb Landry Jones is in talks to join director Roland Emmerich’s gay rights drama Stonewall.
Hit the jump for much more on the aforementioned casting.
Though we still have no definitive word on what Steven Spielberg’s next project will be, the filmmaker is adding another incredibly promising project to his potential slate. Variety reports that Spielberg plans to direct and produce the religious drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara for The Weinstein Company and DreamWorks, and he has enlisted his Lincoln and Munich scribe—not to mention Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright—Tony Kushner to pen the script. Based on the non-fiction book by David Kertzer, the story concerns an Italian Jew who, in 1858, was forcibly removed from his parents at the age of six by authorities of the Papal States and raised as a Catholic. He later became a priest in the Augustinian order, but the ordeal set off an international controversy.
Though the religious pic certainly sounds like fascinating material for Spielberg and Kushner, Edgardo Mortara will not be Spielberg’s next project. He has now narrowed his Lincoln follow-up down to two choices, one of which is a sci-fi epic and the other a battle of leaders set against the backdrop of the Spanish conquistadors’ interaction with the Aztec peoples. Hit the jump for much more on where we stand with regards to Spielberg’s next film.
This Sunday, April 20th, WGN America premieres Salem, the network’s first venture into original programing, staring Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Madekwe, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Iddo Goldberg, Tazmin Merchant and Elise Eberle. Salem travels back to 17th Century Colonial Massachusetts for an alternate look at one of the darkest chapters in American history, approaching the infamous era from the point of view that witches were not only real, but manipulating the gruesome events of the trials to their will. The pilot kicks the show off on a strong note; a fun and creepy mixture of horror, fantasy and history that sets itself apart with singular imagery, an engaging mythology and a uniquely sensual approach to dark magic. And like any good period piece, the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the set in Shreveport, Louisiana where the town of Salem has been meticulously reconstructed from the ground up. From the gallows to the docks, even the brothel, I got to walk through it all. To say it was impressive would be a massive understatement, so naturally I was excited to sit down with Production Designer Seth Reed and talk about the process of bringing 17th Century Salem to life. The next day I visited the soundstage to tour the interior sets and get an up close look at the costumes. With some of the show’s most impressive pieces on display, I walked through the set of Salem’s eerie forest with Costume Designer Joseph Porro while he told me about his research process, taking historical liberties and which pieces were his favorite to design. Check out both interviews after the jump.
A director has been chosen for the horror sequel Sinister 2. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) co-wrote and directed the first film, which revolved around a true crime writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into the home where a family was previously murdered, only to stumble across Super 8 footage depicting the murders of said family and numerous others. Though Derrickson returned to co-write the sequel with Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill, he opted to step back and let another filmmaker take the helm, and he announced on Twitter this evening that Citadel director Ciaran Foy will be taking the reigns of Sinister 2. Hit the jump for more.
Warner Bros. has released the first Jersey Boys trailer and poster for director Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the popular stage musical. The film tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” and subsequent troubles that came with their success. I was a bit surprised to see that the pic maintains the direct address from the stage musical, with the various characters speaking into the camera to move the story along, but it could be an interesting addition to what’s essentially a rags-to-riches-to-troubles biopic of the Four Seasons. On the stage, the story is a lot of fun and almost plays like a musical version of Goodfellas, so it certainly has strong potential. My main hesitation is Eastwood, whose dreary aesthetic and tone don’t particularly scream “movie musical.” But he’s an avid music fan and a musician himself, so maybe he’ll surprise us with this one.
Hit the jump to watch the Jersey Boys trailer and to check out the pic’s debut poster. The film stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Vincent Piazza, Michael Lomenda, and Christopher Walken. Jersey Boys opens in theaters on June 20th.
We’re less than a month away from new episodes of Louie, and in anticipation of the debut, FX has released the first clip from season four to tide fans over. It’s a brief teaser of what’s sure to be a fantastic batch of episodes, but what’s particularly exciting about this clip is that it reveals a guest presence by the great Charles Grodin. He plays Louis C.K.’s doctor in the clip, and the less said about what transpires the better. We know essentially nothing about what season four of Louie entails, but the writer/director/star/executive producer has excelled in previous episodes with delivering stories that are unexpected, hilarious, dramatic, and at times very dark. Grodin is surely one of many familiar faces that will pop up throughout the new season, as season three’s excellent guest stars ranged from Jerry Seinfeld to Parker Posey to David Lynch.
Hit the jump to watch the new Louie clip. Season four of the series debuts on FX May 5th with back-to-back-episodes, and the network will air the entire season in two-episode chunks through June 16th.
Like the rest of the planet, I’m completely smitten with HBO’s Game of Thrones. Over the course of the first three seasons, the show has broken every conventional rule about what a TV show can do, and has grown in popularity every year. While we’re only half way through the seven seasons that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are aiming for, if they keep the quality at the current level, Game of Thrones will go down as one of the best shows of all time. I know it’s rising up my list of favorite TV shows and it shows no signs of slowing down, especially after watching the first three episodes of season four.
With some big events happening last Sunday night, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Game of Thrones director Alex Graves. Not only did he direct last week’s episode, The Lion and the Rose, which included the “Purple Wedding,” he’s directing this weeks, as well as two more episodes this season, including the finale. Graves talked about how he got involved in the show, shooting the wedding and the moment fans have been waiting for, how GOT production schedule is different than other shows, what kinds of cameras they use (including how he used a GoPro for a few shots), how they’re always working on the VFX until the last minute, how the fourth season finale has a massive battle, why he won’t be back for season 5, and so much more. In addition, since Graves worked on NBC’s short lived series, Journeyman (which is also worth watching), we talked about that show and what else he’s developing. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’ll learn a lot about how the show is made without spoilers.
From show creator Michael Hirst, the History series Vikings follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel), an actual historical figure and the greatest hero of his age, who leads his band of Viking brothers and his family on his rise as King of the Viking tribes. As well as being a fearless warrior, Ragnar embodies the Norse traditions of devotion to the gods, both on the battlefield and off.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, executive producer Michael Hirst, who has also written every episode of the series, talked about what compelled him to tackle Vikings, how he found his story’s hero, how challenging it can be to write every episode and have multiple scripts in various stages of production, why the “Blood Eagle” episode stands out in television history, whether he’d ever considered another outcome for that character, where things will go from there, how far along he is in the writing of Season 3, and that they will be branching out to Paris next season. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
Though a new iteration of Space Jam featuring Lebron James turned out to be a silly rumor (probably for the best), the “classic” 1996 film has been resurrected in live-read form. A reading of the screenplay recently took place, and the folks at Funny or Die were there to record the entire event. The eclectic group of participants ranged from comedians like Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, and Ben Schwartz to voice talents like Seth Green and Ralph Garman, and even Boy Meets World’s Danielle Fishel was thrown in for good measure. Of course someone had to fill Michael Jordan’s shoes, and who better than Los Angeles Clippers star (and University of Oklahoma alum—Boomer Sooner) Blake Griffin? Additionally, teammate DeAndre Jordan also participated, debuting a mean Charles Barkley impression.
Hit the jump to watch the very funny highlights from the Space Jam live-read event.
So a couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I was happy to give away passes to Oculus because it had been too long since we’d seen a horror film this year. Thankfully, we’re not going to have another long wait since a new scary movie is right around the corner. The Quiet Ones looks incredibly creepy plus it has a cool 1970s setting, which I thought was one of the stronger points of last year’s incredibly popular horror film, The Conjuring. The Quiet Ones went into production before The Conjuring was released, so you can’t accuse it of being a rip-off, and hopefully it will deliver the on the promising footage from the trailers.
I’m pleased to announce we’re giving away 20 pairs of passes to the Atlanta screening of Transcendence. Hit the jump to find out how you can see the movie early and for free. The film stars Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, and Rory Fleck-Byrne. The Quiet Ones opens April 25th.
Steven Bernstein’s drama Decoding Annie Parker recently made its debut at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and now the film’s first trailer and clip are available online. The film stars Samantha Morton as the title character, a woman stricken with breast cancer who works with oncologist Dr. Mary-Claire King (Helen Hunt) in order to explore the theory of a genetic inheritance of cancer. While the trailer gives a good suggestion of the surprisingly light-hearted tone of this true-to-life cancer-themed picture, the first clip (courtesy of Aaron Paul) is just downright strange out of context from the rest of the film, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Decoding Annie Parker also stars Rashida Jones, Alice Eve, Maggie Grace, Corey Stoll, and Ben McKenzie, and opens in limited release on May 2nd. Take a look at our interviews with Paul and Grace about the picture here. Hit the jump to watch the Decoding Annie Parker trailer and the film’s first clip.
One surefire way to get the creepy message of your horror story across: use children speaking rhymes while nightmarish imagery flashes in the background. That’s the method that this new The Quiet Ones trailer employs, and it sure does the trick. The John Pogue-directed picture follows a university professor and his students as they attempt to perform psychological experiments on a disturbed young girl. Of course, it turns out that they’ve meddled with things they ought to have left alone, and the Quiet Ones become quiet no more.
Starring Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards, and Rory Fleck-Byrne, The Quiet Ones opens April 25th. Be sure to read up on this interview with Cooke, and check out the two previously released trailers and creepy motion posters. Hit the jump to watch the new The Quiet Ones trailer.
With its international box office easily climbing past $400 million, there’s no doubt that The LEGO Movie struck a chord with audiences. Now fans can bring the frenetic fun home with them when The LEGO Movie Blu-ray becomes available on June 17th. Not only will the animated family-friendly film come in a Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD 2-Disc Special Edition, and Digital varieties, but there will also be an “Everything Is Awesome” Edition with exclusive LEGO Minifigure and more. Click here to pre-order either version on Amazon.
The film features the voice talents of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Alison Brie. Hit the jump for more on The LEGO Movie Blu-ray.
Much like its digitized main character, Transcendence has a cold, distant personality that might understand how humans act but can’t comprehend how they feel. It’s not too difficult to explore the dangers of a man being consumed by technology. That story goes all the way back to the tale of Icarus. It may feel relevant due to our investment in the Internet and the distance we create every day by putting our lives online rather than forging real personal connections, but Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut sticks to a path where other films have gone before. The movie still asks worthwhile questions, but they’re never elevated beyond dorm-room level philosophy. Additionally, these questions overshadow the characters, who are reduced to pieces of a conversation we’ve already had before.
TV ratings for Wednesday, April 16th are in. Here’s a brief rundown:
- The CW’s Arrow fell 13% from last week’s 0.8 rating to a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 2.36 million total viewers. That rating ties the show’s series low, which it previous hit in early March. Read Dave’s recap of last night’s episode here.
- Elsewhere on The CW, new drama series The 100 saw a rise of 20% to a 0.6 rating and 2.02 million viewers, improving on last week’s series low 0.5 rating.
- Over on ABC, the new comedy series Mixology was even with last week’s 1.2 rating and garnered 3.7 million viewers.