Angelina Jolie is heading to the top shelf for her next directorial effort. Jolie signed on to helm Universal’s adaptation of author Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction bestseller Unbroken in December, and after a prolonged search to put a writer on the project, Jolie has roped in none other than Joel and Ethan Coen to rewrite the script. The book tells the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943. Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer.
Hit the jump for more, including a full synopsis for the book.
The long-gestating biopic Cleopatra may have finally found a director, and it’s a good ‘un. The project has been in development for a number of years with Angelina Jolie attached to star as the Egyptian queen. Both James Cameron and Paul Greengrass flirted with the idea of directing before ultimately moving on, and most recently David Fincher was attached to the project before dropping off last summer. The pic has a script by Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), based on Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life, and now another top-tier filmmaker is eyeing the gig: Ang Lee. Hit the jump for more details.
A feature film adaptation of author Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption has been a coveted property essentially since the book hit shelves, and now it looks like the pic may finally be moving forward. Universal Pictures acquired the book rights back in January of 2011 for Francis Lawrence to direct and Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) set to write the script. The studio subsequently brought on Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You) to take over scripting duties the following March, but movement has been quiet ever since.
The book tells the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943. Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer. The project has now gained some strong momentum, as Angelina Jolie is being targeted to take the helm. Hit the jump for more.
Though word on the project has been mum for some time now, it appears that Columbia Pictures is still bullish on a sequel to the 2010 spy thriller Salt. Back in June of last year, the studio hired the first film’s scribe, Kurt Wimmer, to start working on a follow-up to the Phillip Noyce-helmed thriller. After reports that star Angelina Jolie wasn’t too keen on the existing script for the sequel and thus had yet to sign on, THR now reports that Becky Johnston has been brought in to reconceive the script.
Johnston is probably best known for penning the 1991 romantic drama The Prince of Tides as well as the 1997 Brad Pitt-starrer Seven Years in Tibet. There’s no firm word on what the follow-up will entail, but the first film involved a CIA officer played by Jolie who discovered that she was actually a Russian sleeper cell agent. Noyce has already declined to return for the sequel, and Jolie’s involvement will hinge on how Johnston’s script turns out. It’s clear, though, that Columbia is keen on getting this follow-up going.
It appears we’ll never get to see David Fincher’s iteration of Cleopatra. The director began eyeing the project back in March of 2011, but now it appears that talks between Fincher and Sony have broken off and he’s no longer involved. Angelina Jolie has long been attached to star in the film based on Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life. Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button scribe Eric Roth entered talks to pen the screenplay late last year, but the last update about the project came from Fincher himself last December:
“Cleopatra, I haven’t even begun. I’ve just spoken with Angie [Angelina Jolie] and Eric [Roth] and I’m trying to figure out how to weigh in. It’s just a discussion about what can it be, what are people expecting, what do we need to do to destroy that?”
Hit the jump for more on the future of Cleopatra and what other projects Fincher is circling for his feature film follow-up to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
We’ve got a couple of casting stories concerning relative newcomers to share this afternoon. First up, Disney announced today that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter Vivienne will appear in a minor role in the big-budget fantasy pic Maleficent. Jolie stars in the film as the titular Disney villain, and the film focuses on “the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora. Vivienne will be playing the child version of Princess Aurora, as Elle Fanning stars as the older version of the heroine. Vivienne turned four years old this past July.
Hit the jump for casting news concerning Charlotte Riley, who was a contender for the Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Rises.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share this afternoon. Briefly:
- Angelina Jolie will cameo in director Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty.
- Aasif Mandvi joins Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship.
- Comedians Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo have landed roles in Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s untitled comedy alongside Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
Hit the jump for more details.
A few set photos from the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS have surfaced, giving us a look at Ashton Kutcher doing his best “Steve Jobs on acid” impression. The Apple visionary made no secret of his past experimentation with LSD, and it appears that director Joshua Michael Stern’s indie biopic has at least one scene in which Kutcher’s Jobs goes tripping in a field. Noah Wyle did a hell of a job portraying Jobs and tackling his fascination with LSD in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, so Kutcher has his work cut out for him.
Additionally, a couple more images of Angelina Jolie in character in Disney’s Maleficent have surfaced. The story centers on the Sleeping Beauty villain and “reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” Yesterday some set photos landed online that gave us a look at Jolie performing some flying stunts, but this batch is much less death-defying. Hit the jump to check out the set photos from both jOBS and Maleficent.
Disney wisely released the first image of Angelina Jolie in character for the Sleeping Beauty re-imagining Maleficent merely one day before the first set photos surfaced, and now some new set photos have landed online that give us a look at Jolie in stunt mode. The film tells “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain” and “reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” I’m not really sure why Maleficent is getting her britches in a twist because she looks to be having a damn good time flying around and being evil in this batch of images. We also get a look at a small band of soldiers on horses that’s a tad reminiscent of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Hit the jump to check out the set photos. Directed by Robert Stromberg, the film also stars Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Maleficent opens in 3D on March 14th, 2014.
A mere 24 hours after the first official photo of Angelina Jolie as Disney villainess Maleficent first came to light, a few shots from the film’s set have surfaced. In them we see Jolie, in her sorceress costume, chatting with crew members and milling around with some of her horned brethren.
Disney has described the film as “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain, Maleficent, from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. The film reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” For more on the project as well as the pics, hit the jump.
Principal photography has begun on the Sleeping Beauty re-imagining Maleficent, and Disney has released the first shot of Angelina Jolie as the eponymous horned sorceress. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, here’s the brief logline: “This is the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain, Maleficent, from the 1959 classic “Sleeping Beauty.” The film reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.“ I assume what hardened her heart what high cholesterol. That stuff is a killer, and 9 out of 10 doctors-I-made-up agree that it causes you to hate babies.
Hit the jump to check out the full image. The film also stars Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Maleficent is due out in 3D on March 14, 2014.
There’s a wicked rumor going around that Angelina Jolie (In the Land of Blood and Honey) may be in the director’s chair for the Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation, the Twilight fan-fiction turned bestseller (with over 10-million copies purchased) written by British author E. L. James and noted for its explicit sex scenes involved BDSM. Keep in mind that the feature has yet to land a producer or a writer. Add to it the fact that Universal (who bid a seven-figure sum for rights to the three novels) denies any conversations have been had. Jolie is reportedly focused on Maleficent at this time and isn’t entertaining other offers. But, hey, stranger things have happened right? Hit the jump for more on Fifty Shades of Grey.
Here are some casting tidbits for you to enjoy today:
- Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) is set to topline Long Nights Short Mornings, an erotic indie for director Chadd Harbold (Revenge for Jolly!).
- AMC’s The Killing star, Mireille Enos will join Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, a drama about the West Memphis Three.
- Disney’s Maleficent has crowned Brenton Thwaites (Home and Away) to play the prince in the Robert Stromberg-directed adaptation.
Hit the jump for more on each project.
The casting reports on The Counselor have been a cavalcade of stars, from Michael Fassbender to Brad Pitt to Javier Bardem and many more. The “many more” notably includes Angelina Jolie, who was either looking at the female lead or a smaller role to fit around her Maleficent schedule, depending on which report you read. The latest from Twitch says dark horse candidate Cameron Diaz swooped in and landed the role of Malkina that Jolie was after. The script by Cormac McCarthy (author of The Road and No Country for Old Men) centers on an attorney (Fassbender) who teams with Reiner (Bardem) to sell $20 million worth of cocaine. The Playlist describes Malkina as “a hyper-sexualized Argentinean woman who’s hooked up with Reiner… a meaty part.” If director Ridley Scott was willing to consider Jolie and Diaz, he may be flexible on that Argentinean part. But Diaz is still far from the obvious choice for this type of role, so for now, I’ll give the 40-year veteran the benefit of the doubt and assume Scott knows what he’s doing. Production on The Counselor is scheduled to begin in June.
Though production is set to begin soon, director Ridley Scott isn’t finished adding top-shelf talent to his next film, The Counselor. So far, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie are in varying stages of signing on to the drama, and now Oscar winner Penelope Cruz is apparently eyeing a role. Fassbender is set as the lead in the Cormac McCarthy-scripted project that centers on a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip his toe in the cocaine business without getting sucked down. He teams up with a rich acquaintance (Bardem) for the new business that also brings in the shady type (Pitt).
Per THR, Cruz would play Fassbender’s love interest in the pic. There was talk that Jolie was also circling the female lead, but other reports had her pegged for a smaller role given her tight schedule (she shoots Maleficent in June). No official offer has been extended to Cruz, but she’s already entered talks to the part. Whatever the case, Scott has already put together a stellar ensemble and I can’t wait to see the finished product.