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.
A bit of a casting change is being made for the sequel to the 2010 comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. Unfortunately John Cusack—the star of the first film—is not returning for follow-up, but on the plus side the very funny Adam Scott is in talks to take over the leading role in the sequel. The Parks and Recreation star is in early negotiations to play an entirely new leading man in the film, as it appears that Cusack’s character will be written out. Original cast members Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke are all nearing deals to return, as is director Steve Pink. Hit the jump for more.
The cast is finally coming together for director David Cronenberg’s next film. Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis star Robert Pattinson has long been attached to appear in Maps to the Stars, and now THR reports that Julianne Moore, John Cusack, and Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method) are set to round out the cast. Written by Bruce Wagner (Wild Palms), the film is described as a ghost story that “offers a critique of celebrity-obsessed society in Los Angeles,” the latter of which is quite a popular topic in film culture at the moment with Sofia Coppola’s similarly-themed film The Bling Ring set to hit theaters this summer.
There’s no word on the characters that the aforementioned actors will play, but production is set to begin in July in Toronto and Los Angeles with Entertainment One Films onboard to finance and distribute the indie. Cronenberg previously stated that he was hoping to nab Viggo Mortensen to star in Maps to the Stars as well, but one assumes Cusack ended up taking that role instead.
Check out the latest casting news below:
Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.
As Brendan said last month, Hot Tub Time Machine had the reputation of being a flop based on a mediocre $14 million opening weekend, but the movie had legs, reaching $50 million domestic and it is exactly the kind of R-rated comedy that finds a second life on DVD and cable reruns. This explains why MGM has been developing a sequel with director Steve Pink. While we previously reported that Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke were set to reprise their roles in the sequel, the big story was that John Cusack might not be coming back.
However, when I spoke to Robinson earlier today at WonderCon for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s This Is The End, he told me “negotiations are still going” with the cast and he made it sound like Cusack might be coming back. In addition, he said filming begins this June and he’s seen an early version of the script. Since the first film featured a tremendous amount of improv, I’d imagine whatever script he’s seen will have a lot of changes on set. Hit the jump to see what Robinson had to say about the sequel and to watch the trailer for the first film. Look for more of my interview with Robinson soon.
Check out new images and synopses for the following films from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival:
- Adult World – Scott Coffey’s comedy starring Emma Roberts (Celeste and Jesse Forever) and John Cusack (The Raven) that centers on a recent college graduate with dreams of becoming a famous poet who ends up working at an adult book store instead.
- Almost Christmas – Phil Morrison’s comedy features Paul Rudd (This Is 40) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways) as two French Canadian Christmas tree salesmen who travel to New York to sell trees.
- Bottled Up – Previously titled Something in the Water, the Enid Zentelis’ film starring Josh Hamilton (Dark Skies) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter) centers on struggles with addiction.
Hit the jump for the images and synopses.
The first trailer is now available for director Kasper Barfoed’s The Numbers Station. The thriller stars John Cusack as an ex-CIA Black Ops agent tasked with protecting a code operator (Malin Akerman). When a highly organized assault threatens their lives and the security of the communication center, the two must work together to prevent the attackers from accomplishing their deadly mission. While it looks to be a by-the-numbers thriller, Cusack is definitely an interesting choice as you would expect Nicolas Cage to take this one and run with it. This is one of seven movies Cusack has coming out this year so let’s hope this doesn’t represent his best work of 2013. The Numbers Station is expected to open on April 26th. Hit the jump to watch the trailer and see the full synopsis.
As AFM rolls on, so do plenty of casting stories. While the casting is in place, it’s still unknown if any of these movies will actually make it in front of cameras, but they’re being packaged for potential international buyers. First up, Screen Daily [via The Playlist] reports on the interesting pairing of Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen for The Last Knights. Written by Michael Konyves (Barney’s Version) and directed by Kazuaki Kiriya (The Legend of Goemon), the film is about a “a band of warriors who seek to avenge the loss of their master at the hands of a corrupt emperor.” I have no idea where Freeman and Owen fit into a story that sounds like it takes place in Feudal Japan, but I’m interested. Filming will take place in the Czech Republic, although that’s likely for tax incentives and the production could use soundstages.
Hit the jump for some John Cusack casting news.
We have a couple of casting stories for you today. First up, Screen Daily [via The Playlist] reports that John Cusack will star in the horror film Cell based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The story takes place in a world where cell phones emit a signal that turns people into aggressive killers. I have no idea how this will differ from the great 2007 film The Signal other than famous people are attached to Cell. King will co-write the script with Adam Alleca (Last House On The Left remake). The project is still looking to attach a director.
Before doing Cell, Cusack will star in the financial thriller Due Process. The film, written by Anthony Derrico and directed by Paul Currie (One Perfect Day), centers on a farmer (Cusack) who goes up against some big city bankers who have come to foreclose on his farm. I’m having trouble envision a farm thriller that doesn’t involve murderous children, but we’ll see how it goes. Filming begins in January. Hit the jump for some Benedict Cumberbatch casting news.
Four Canadian character posters have been released for Lee Daniels‘ The Paperboy. The film is about a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother (Zac Efron) working with a nymphomaniac (Nicole Kidman) to free her beloved felon (John Cusack). It’s pretty terrible. However, I can’t argue with the pull quote that describes the movie as “sweaty”. I would add that the flick is also sticky, rancid, and pungent. But it does have famous people in it, and these posters convey that fact perfectly.
Hit the jump to check out the posters. The Paperboy opens October 5th in the U.S. It opens October 19th in Canada.
Lee Daniels‘ The Paperboy technically has a plot. It’s an idiotic, rambling plot that has no level of cohesion or momentum whatsoever, but it’s a story that chronologically follows from “A” to “B”. Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy has characters. They’re gross, idiotic people whose actions are repulsive and ambitions are bizarre, but their repulsive behavior and bizarre ambition are consistent. Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy doesn’t earn points just because it meets the bare minimum of plot and character since it fails on just about every level of filmmaking. Daniels, in his effort to go big all the time, mistakes luridness for atmosphere, sweat for character, and style for substance.
A rough trailer for Frozen Ground has leaked online. The crime thriller stars Nicolas Cage as an Alaskan detective who sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years after one of his victims (Vanessa Hudgens) escapes. It looks like another low-budget Cage thriller, and in this one he’ll get to have a glower-off with Cusack while Hudgens tries to make everyone forget that she was in the High School Musical movies.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Dean Norris and 50 Cent. Frozen Ground is currently set to hit theaters on November 30th.
The first trailer for Precious director Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy has been released, and it’s pretty out there. The film is an adaptation of the Pete Dexter novel and stars Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron as two brothers who team-up to investigate the potential wrongful conviction of a death-row inmate played by John Cusack. The trailer’s pretty muddled, and it’s tough to make out just exactly what this movie is. Efron appears to be fixated on a rather free-spirited woman played by Nicole Kidman, while Cusack seems to be playing some sort of victim/villain. The pic was greeted with a less than enthusiastic response when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and while this trailer doesn’t inspire much evidence to the contrary I’m still interested to see the talented ensemble cast work together.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer and check out the poster. The Paperboy opens on October 5th.
A couple of new release dates have been announced. First up, Lee Daniels’ adaptation of The Paperboy will hit theaters on October 5th (per Deadline). The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron as two brothers who team-up to investigate the potential wrongful conviction of a death-row inmate played by John Cusack. The film was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response at the Cannes Film Festival, but I’m still interested in seeing the pic based on the impressive cast. The drama faces considerable competition on that October release date, as Frankenweenie, Taken 2, the a capella comedy Pitch Perfect and the horror film Sinister all open on the same day.
Additionally, Studio Canal and Big Talk Pictures have set the salsa dancing revenge comedy (how’s that for a genre?) Cuban Fury for release on March 22nd in the UK and Ireland. Nick Frost plays a burgeoning salsa dancing star alongside Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), Olivia Colman (Hot Fuzz) and Ian McShane. Production begins next week in London, and hopefully we’ll get a US release date announcement soon. Hit the jump to read the press release.
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.