Director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley are clearly quite fond of each other, and it appears that they have no plans to severe their professional relationship anytime soon. The then-unknown South African actor gave a stellar turn in Blomkamp’s fantastic 2009 sci-fi film District 9 and has a supporting role in the director’s next film, the Matt Damon-fronted Elysium, and now EW confirms that Copley will lead Blomakamp’s next next film, the sci-fi comedy Chappie. Plot details for Blomkamp’s Elysium follow-up are being kept firmly under wraps, but it’s described as a “science-fiction comedy” that takes place in an unusual setting.
Obviously details regarding Copley’s character are also being kept secret, but we do know that he will play the lead. The actor most recently wrapped the villain role in Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy and a supporting role opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent. Production on Chappie will take place in Johannesburg.
A new trailer for Academy Award-winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher’s (Precious) first directing venture Violet & Daisy has been released. The film centers on two young female assassins, played by Saiorse Ronan (Atonement) and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), who set out for what they think will be a quick and easy hit, but turns into something much more complicated when their target throws a wrench in the works. The marketing and posters for the film thus far have seemed to be going for that pulpy and modern pop take on young women in today’s society, like Spring Breakers, but the trailer gives off a tone that seems a bit muddled. It has elements of quirky comedy and a more serious and dire consequences drama, but not a clear vision that can be derived just from the trailer.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF 2011. The film also stars James Gandolfini, Danny Trejo, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Cody Horn. Violet & Daisy will be released on June 7th.
Director Bryan Singer has revealed yet another image from the set of X-Men: Days of Future Past. While Singer previously gave us early looks at Halle Berry as Storm, Patrick Stewart as Professor X, and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, today he’s offering up a tantalizing image of Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Wolverine in the X-Men sequel. We don’t really get a good look at the character (we’ll get plenty of that with this summer’s The Wolverine), as Singer just provides an image of Jackman’s back while the actor gets fitted for his X-Men costume. The storyline of Days of Future Past involves alternate timelines and dystopian futures, which is how we get the melding of Singer’s X-Men cast with the characters from X-Men: First Class. Presumably he hasn’t begun shooting the past-set sequences yet, since we’ve only seen images of characters from the first three X-Men films.
Hit the jump to check out the new image. The film also stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellan, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Booboo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, and Peter Dinklage. X-Men: Days of Future Past opens July 18, 2014.
Producer/actor Danny Abeckaser plays Dino Lapron, the best friend of real-life mob hitman Richard Kuklinski, in The Iceman, Israeli director Ariel Vromen’s fascinating portrait of the notorious contract killer of the 70’s and 80’s. Abeckaser, who grew up in Brooklyn, got the acting bug at an early age, went on to become a New York nightclub promoter in the mid-90’s before returning to his first love playing small roles in friends’ movies, and then making his mark in Holy Rollers which he produced and acted in.
At the recent press day for The Iceman which opens this Friday, Abeckaser talked to us about the challenges of getting the film made, how he prepared for his role, why he liked how his character brought out the human side of Kuklinski, what it was like working with Michael Shannon and Winona Ryder, why he thinks audiences are attracted to mob movies, what he looks for in a role, and his experience rubbing elbows with a real mobster. He also discussed his role in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, his plans to shoot his own movie, The Life, directed by Fabrizio Conti, and how he’s hoping for a new Snickers commercial with Joe Pesci.
Yesterday, we reported the exciting news that Michael Fassbender was set to lead a new screen adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s Macbeth. We also reported that talks were “underway with at least one Hollywood leading actress,” to play the role of Lady Macbeth. Today, Screen Daily is reporting that the actress is Natalie Portman, and she has agreed to take the part. Directed by Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) and written by Todd Louiso and Jacob Koskoff, the adaptation will take place in the 11th century, and will “be a visceral approach to the story including significant battle scenes.” This will be the second collaboration between Fassbender and Portman. The two co-starred in Terrence Malick‘s upcoming film about the Austin music scene. They were set to reunite on Jane Got a Gun, but Fassbender dropped out shortly before filming began. Although Portman is a producer on that film, it looks like there’s no bad blood between the two.
But as we mentioned yesterday, don’t expect Macbeth to hit the fast track just yet. It still needs to be shopped out to buyers, and just as Fassbender and Kurzel have busy schedules, Portman is circling the biopic Jackie, the gun-running thriller Code Name Sasha, and the drama Last Witness. She’ll next be seen in Thor: The Dark World.
We’ve got a few casting stories to share this afternoon. Briefly:
- Jon Hamm will be lending his voice to one of the lead roles opposite Sandra Bullock in Illumination Entertainment’s spinoff Minions.
- Fresh off her turn in Oblivion, actress Olga Kurylenko has joined the cast of director Mark Waters’ (Mean Girls) YA adaptation Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters.
- Andy Garcia and Ray Romano are joining the cast of the crime drama Rob the Mob.
Hit the jump for more details.
In case you haven’t already gotten your fill of Star Trek Into Darkness by way of a bounty of posters, clips, TV spots, images, and trailers, Paramount has unveiled yet another one-sheet for J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi sequel. The new poster shows the USS Enterprise being dwarfed by a much larger starship aptly called the USS Vengeance. All signs point to Kirk and the gang encountering great peril during this go-around.
Hit the jump to check out the new poster. The film stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Alice Eve, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Trek Into Darkness opens in IMAX 3D on May 15th and in 2D and 3D in traditional theaters on May 17th.
During our recent set visit to Pixar Animation Studios, we were treated to a special screening of The Blue Umbrella, the short film that will be playing in front of Monsters University when it opens on June 21st. The film’s director Saschka Unseld took a few moments to joins us for a roundtable interview. There, he talked about the short film’s photo-realistic animation, his experience working on previous animated films, writing a happy ending versus having an “arthouse film” ending, his cinematic influences, the importance of music in the piece and more. Hit the jump for the full interview.
Girls star Allison Williams is making the move into features. Williams, who plays Marnie on the polarizing HBO comedy series, has booked a starring role in an upcoming feature film and has landed on the short list for a highly anticipated superhero reboot. Deadline reports that Williams will topline the Romeo & Juliet reimagining Rosaline, which tells the classic Shakespeare story from the point of view of Rosaline, Romeo’s jilted ex-lover. Michael Sucsy (Grey Gardens) is directing the period pic from a script by (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber.
The Shawn Levy-produced project was previously set up early last year with True Blood star Deborah Ann Woll in talks to play Rosaline alongside Dave Franco and Lily Collins as Romeo and Juliet, but that version of the film did not move forward. There’s no word on whether Franco and Collins are still attached, but the project is said to be mobilizing at 20th Century Fox. Hit the jump for news concerning Williams possibly starring in the Fantastic Four reboot.
While we know next to nothing about the developing Star Wars: Episode VII other than who’s writing (Michael Arndt), producing (Kathleen Kennedy), and directing it (J.J. Abrams), it appears that at least one detail about the project has become clear in this early production phase. When Abrams was first announced as the director of the new Star Wars film, my immediate thought was, “It sure would be neat to hear composer Michael Giacchino’s take on a Star Wars score.” Given that Abrams and Giacchino have been close collaborators since their days on Alias, many wondered whether the director would stick with Giacchino as his composer or if he’d bring in Star Wars staple John Williams to handle the score.
A couple of months ago Williams revealed that he hoped to be asked back to score the new Star Wars films, and now Abrams has chipped in with his two cents saying that he believes Williams will indeed return to the franchise. Hit the jump to read on.
A feature film adaptation of the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic The Boys has been in the works for quite a while, but thus far the project has had trouble getting off the ground. Adam McKay (Anchorman, The Other Guys) has been attached to direct since the summer of 2010, but studios have thus far been wary of greenlighting a big budget hard-R anti-superhero movie that centers on a group of special agents tasked with policing the world’s superheroes by any means necessary. Steve recently sat down with screenwriters Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay in anticipation of this summer’s supernatural actioner R.I.P.D., and during the course of the conversation the duo also talked extensively about The Boys. They gave an update on the project’s status, talked about McKay’s vision for the adaptation, how involved Ennis and Robertson were in the crafting of the script, and the possibility of Simon Pegg starring. Hit the jump to read on.
For the past couple of months, casting has been underway to find an actress for the title character in Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action Cinderella. Emma Watson was circling the role, but decided to pass. Earlier this month, we reported that Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Lily James (Downton Abbey), and Margot Robbie (Pan Am) were in the running for the part. Today, Disney has announced that the role has gone to James. There’s currently no word on Branagh’s take on the material, and if he’ll try to go the big, colorful, and expensive route of Disney’s recent fairy tale re-imaginings such as Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful.
As for James, I’ll be interested to see what she’ll do with the role. Her part on Downton Abbey is fairly one-dimensional (she represents the roaring 20s in conflict with 19th century aristocracy). She’ll be starring along Cate Blanchett, who will play the evil stepmother. Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) is currently the frontrunner to play the Prince. Filming is expected to begin this fall for a 2014 release.
Director Guillermo del Toro’s “monsters vs. robots” movie Pacific Rim looks incredible. It’s easy to get excited about films based on meticulously crafted marketing materials, but yesterday’s WonderCon trailer for the film showed exactly what happens when a studio like Warner Bros. gives a visionary filmmaker like Del Toro a significant budget and says “go play.” If that excellent WonderCon trailer somehow didn’t sell you on just how massive the world of Pacific Rim is, today’s new banner does a swell job of reminding us that the film demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Hit the jump to get a look at the new banner. The film stars Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Clifton Collins Jr., Idris Elba, and Ron Perlman. Pacific Rim opens in 3D on July 12th.
Filming is underway on Joe and Anthony Russo‘s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The upcoming sequel sees Captain America (Chris Evans) teaming up with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to track down the nefarious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). We saw the first set photos a couple weeks ago, and these new ones show Cap and Black Widow in their civilian outfits, but still on a mission, or at least hopefully on a mission. I’m not comfortable with the idea of Steve Rogers going around during his downtime and randomly seizing people by their lapels.
Hit the jump to check out the set photos. The film also stars Cobie Smulders, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens on April 4, 2014.
Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is looking to tackle a markedly less controversial subject matter his next venture. The director behind Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is set to helm and produce an untitled four-hour miniseries documentary about the life and music of Frank Sinatra for Alcon Entertainment and HBO. The documentary is described as “an up close and personal examination of Sinatra, his life, his music and the legendary career that stands alone as unquestionably the most celebrated of the century.” The doc will feature never before seen footage, including home movies and professional and private performances by Sinatra.
Frank Marshall is onboard to executive produce the documentary alongside Nancy Sinatra, and it will premiere on HBO once it’s completed. Gibney recently helmed the disturbing Catholic church scandal doc Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God for HBO and the Julian Assange documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, which hits theaters later next month. Hit the jump to read the full press release regarding the Sinatra documentary.