The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director Lee Daniels’ (Precious, The Paperboy) historical drama The Butler. Based on a true story, the film stars Forrest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. The trailer plays up the film’s awards prospects as we see a flash of famous faces playing the many notable persons who walked the halls of the White House throughout this period (Alan Rickman is particularly striking as President Reagan), and that’s balanced with an overview of Gaines’ life in a racially tense America. While the film certainly looks like it has the potential to be powerful, cautious optimism is key whenever Lee Daniels is involved.
Hit the jump to watch the debut trailer. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams. The Butler opens on October 18th.
Langston Hughes conceived of Black Nativity in the 1960s as a euphoric stage musical version of the birth of Jesus with a black cast. The show is still regularly performed as written, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) chose to add material to create a more traditional narrative throughline for the feature adaptation. In the movie, a single Baltimore mother (Jennifer Hudson) sends her son Langston (newcomer Jacob Latimore) to stay with her estranged parents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in New York City during the holidays. While there, Langston falls asleep in the Chistmas Eve sermon and dreams of a “Times Square Bethlehem.” Latimore says the songbook has something for everyone: “The music is just like the music nowadays. Some R&B, soulful gospel and a little rap before I go through my spiritual journey.”
To give you an idea of the tone: Mary J. Blige, sporting electrified blonde curls, plays a mysterious guardian angel character named “Platinum Fro.” That alone should compel you to check out the first images from Black Nativity after the jump.
Several years ago, Bill Condon was set to direct a biopic about comedian Richard Pryor with Marlon Wayans in the lead role. However, when Condon jumped to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—a move that will give him power in the long-run to get more personal projects made—the Pryor biopic languished. According to Deadline, the project has found new life with Forest Whitaker taking over to co-produce with Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Pryor. Forest will develop a new script in an attempt to finally bring Pryor’s story to the big screen. A biopic of the comedian has been attempted for years with black comedians such as Damon Wayans, Eddie Griffin, Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, and Chris Rock all circling the role.
Hit the jump for why Whitaker’s film may finally get Pryor’s biopic in front of cameras, and the unlikely actor who could be a possibility for the juicy role.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 19th, 2013 at 3:01 pm
This time last week I was two movies into the triple feature I teased the last time we met. While I can’t say I was overly impressed by Gangster Squad, both Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained made their respective cases as qualified Best Picture nominees. Of the two, Zero Dark‘s unrelenting final act not only made it my top pick of the day but also provided some of the most sustained tension I can remember experiencing in a movie theater. Having now seen it for myself, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with those who have voiced their disbelief at Kathryn Bigelow‘s Best Director Oscar snub.
Zero Dark Thirty praise aside, on tap in this week’s Top 5 are The Last Stand interviews with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, and more, a live-action remake of Toy Story, a new trailer for Primer writer/director/star/almost literally everything else Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color, Mama interviews with Guillermo del Toro and more, and all of our Sundance 2013 coverage to date. For your reading pleasure, a recap and link to each awaits after the jump.
Though they don’t have a lot of screen time together, Rodrigo Santoro and Forest Whitaker play two characters on opposite sides of the law who band together to fight a common evil in The Last Stand. The Kim Jee-woon action picture sees a rag-tag bunch of sheriff’s deputies go up against a ruthless drug lord and his well-armed militia bent on crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In a recent video interview, Santoro and Whitaker talked about their approach to playing their characters, what it was like to work with action star Arnold Schwarzenegger and teased a little about The Butler and 300: Rise of an Empire.
Also starring Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Eduardo Noriega, Peter Stormare and Zach Gilford, The Last Stand opens on January 18th. Hit the jump to watch our video interview with Santoro and Whitaker.
We have a couple of quick casting stories for you this morning. First up, I’m pleased to report that Kasi Lemmons‘ gospel musical Black Nativity has finally found a lead actor by casting Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker. As we previously reported, both Samuel L. Jackson and Lawrence Fishburne passed on the movie, which follows a young black teen who spends Christmas with his estranged grandparents. Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family. According to Blackfilm, “Whitaker is expected to play multiple characters during the Nativity sequence.” Angela Bassett will play the boy’s grandmother, and Jennifer Hudson will play the mother. As a big fan of Lemmons’ last film, Talk to Me, I’m glad that production is set to begin in January 2013.
Hit the jump for casting news on McG‘s action film starring Kevin Costner.
The sheriff of a small border town stands in front of a notorious drug cartel leader, blocking his path across the bridge that will take him safely out of the country. Wanting to avoid a physical confrontation with the much larger man, the cartel leader attempts to buy him off. The sheriff responds by discarding his gun belt and shedding his jacket, dropping it to the ground. The men rush each other. They trade blows, neither getting the upper hand until the sheriff lifts the man into the air and prepares to slam him to the asphalt. Director Kim Jee-Woon calls cut and sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) slowly lowers cartel leader Gabriel Cortes (Eduardo Noriega) to the ground with the assistance of the actor’s stunt wires.
It’s late October 2011 and we’re on set of The Last Stand, Schwarzenegger’s first starring role since leaving the governorship of California and his triumphant return to the big screen. While we’ll have interviews with the cast and crew of the film later on this week, you can hit the jump right now to view our “20 Things to Know” for The Last Stand. Also starring Forest Whitaker, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford and Genesis Rodriguez, The Last Stand opens January 18th, 2013.
A new full-length trailer for director Kim Jee-Woon‘s actioner The Last Stand has been released. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the old sheriff of a sleepy border town who’s called to action when a drug kingpin flees an FBI prisoner convoy, and tries to make his way to Mexico. This trailer gives us a better look at the action outside of the border town involving Forest Whitaker‘s law enforcement character and also highlights some of the lighter aspects of the pic.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford, and Genesis Rodriguez. The Last Stand opens January 18, 2013.
Direct from the ongoing shoot in New Orleans comes the first look at Forest Whitaker in costume as Eugene Allen, the man behind the title role in director Lee Daniels’ The Butler. We also have some new set photos of James Marsden and Minka Kelly in costume as John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie Kennedy. The ensemble drama about the life of the White House servant who looked after eight first families was based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post article about Allen. The picture also stars Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alex Pettyfer, Aml Ameen, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda and Robin Williams. Hit the jump to check out the images. [Update: The set photos have been removed at the request of the pictures' owners.]
The first trailer for Kim Jee-Woon‘s The Last Stand has gone online. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the old sheriff of a sleepy border town who’s called to action when a drug kingpin flees an FBI prisoner convoy, and tries to make his way to Mexico. It’s a good premise for nice little action-thriller, but Schwarzenegger seems totally miscast. He’s just not really meant for small movies because he’s a big persona. There’s nothing subdued about him. So when a huge guy with a thick Austrian accent is wandering around a small town like it’s no big deal, he seems horribly out of place. Maybe it will work better in context, and I really like the action on display from Kim Jee-Woon. It’s a nice break from the shaky-cam antics other directors may have brought to the picture.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford, and Genesis Rodriguez. The Last Stand opens January 18, 2013.
Disney has taken on the task of bringing the Studio Ghibli filmography to a broad American audience with an English dub, but that still leaves so much foreign animation on the table that the young ones never get a chance to see. Consider In the Attic: Who Has a Birthday Today?, the Czech stop-motion film by Jiří Barta. We Americans have bestowed a billion dollars on a ceratin animated franchise about toys that come to life, so there is clearly a market. Hannover House has stepped up and recruited Forest Whitaker, Joan Cusack, Cary Elwes, Vivian Schilling, and more for an English-language limited release of the movie—now titled Toys in the Attic—on September 7.
It feels a bit wrong to hear Cusack vocally cheating on Toy Story, but I guarantee these will be some of the most interesting visuals you see all day. Watch the trailer after the jump.
You’ll see a little bit more of Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 than you did in the first film, but once The Last Stand rolls in next January, the whole screen belongs to the former Governor. We previously brought you the first image from the film, but now we’re happy to share an official synopsis and poster. The actioner from director Ji-woon Kim stars Schwarzenegger as the aging sheriff of a border town, which happens to be the last hope of keeping a drug cartel leader from fleeing the country. The Last Stand, also starring Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Jaimie Alexander, Peter Stormare, Genesis Rodriguez and Zach Gilford, opens January 18th. Hit the jump for the official synopsis and poster.
You’re driving down the street, and it’s suddenly blocked off. You notice these weird yellow signs with nonsensical letters or numbers. There’s unusual glow lighting up a neighborhood you can’t usually see from your house. What you might have here is a film company shooting in your town. It happens a lot, and you never know where they might pop up…until now.
The following is a semi-comprehensive list of films currently shooting, what they’re shooting, and where they’re shooting. We’ll be telling you where you might get to see the very famous, the kinda famous and (if all goes well) the soon-to-be famous. While we can’t list every single movie, television show, or student film in production, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what the heck is going on where all those people are buzzing about. Want to know where in the world are Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Woody Harrelson, and Leonardo DiCaprio? Hit the jump for more.
Two bits of casting news today for some lovely leading ladies (although only one of the roles is actually a lead). Here are the headlines:
- Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) is set to join Tracks for director John Curran (The Painted Veil). The Australian-set picture is based on Robyn Davidson’s trek across the heart of the island continent.
- Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) will join Precious director Lee Daniels‘ historical drama, The Butler, based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served on the White House staff from 1952 to 1986.
Hit the jump for more.
Some big name casting news for you today. Here are the headlines:
- Willem Dafoe will join Christian Bale and Casey Affleck in the dramatic thriller, Out of the Furnace, written and directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).
- Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) will star in the 1950s period piece, Brooklyn, adapted from Colm Toibin’s best-selling novel about a woman torn between her family in Ireland and her new found love for an American.
Hit the jump for more on both projects.