Frederik Bond Departs OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN Due to Creative Differences

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Director Frederik Bond (Charlie Countryman) signed on to direct the Olympus Has Fallen sequel London Has Fallen just one month ago.  It was not meant to be.  Bond left the project six weeks before shooting is scheduled to begin.  A Millennium spokesperson told Heat Vision that Bond departed due to creative difference, although the split is reportedly “amicable.”

London Has Fallen has an unusual schedule to accommodate star Gerard Butler‘s current engagement shooting Geostorm.  The plan is to shoot for a month with Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo starting in October, then pick back up with Butler on board in April.  Producer Mark Gill and Butler are looking at candidates and hope to find a new director in the next 72 hours, so it seems they are determined to maintain that schedule.

FARGO Showrunner Noah Hawley Scripting One of the Universal Monster Movies

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Next to True Detective, FX’s miniseries adaptation of Fargo was one of the year’s biggest surprises in the TV realm.  The prospect of anyone touching the Coen brothers masterpiece was unthinkable, but Noah Hawley—who wrote all 10 episodes—crafted a unique take on the material that caught on with critics and audiences alike.  While he’s no doubt very busy putting together the second season of the show (which will feature a new cast, story, and setting), Hawley has understandably caught the eye of Hollywood, and buried in a report on Sony optioning his novel Before the Fall is the news that Hawley is also scripting one of Universal’s upcoming monster movies.  More after the jump.

Liam Neeson Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Collaborating with Scott Frank, and More

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Opening this weekend is director Scott Frank‘s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones.  The film stars Liam Neeson as a troubled ex-cop who investigates the kidnapping of a heroin drug lord’s wife, teaming up with a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) and his brother to hunt down the men responsible for the crime.  Unlike his Taken role where Neeson is nearly impossible to pin down, A Walk Among the Tombstones takes place in the real world, where the characters need to use their brains and not rely on an endless supply of bullets to get the job done.  Frank has a number of great credits as a screenwriter (Minority ReportOut of Sight), and he did great work directing The Lookout.  I’m happy to say I really enjoyed A Walk Among the Tombstones and definitely recommend checking it out this weekend.

During my video interview with Liam Neeson he talked about why he wanted to be part of A Walk Among the Tombstones, how his character can’t kick everyone’s ass like inTaken, how he collaborated with Scott Frank on the character, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Ang Lee Confirmed to Next Direct Iraq War Satire BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK

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Last week, a report surfaced that Ang Lee might possibly direct an adaptation of the Iraq War novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk as his next film instead of his 3D boxing movie that he’s been developing since last year.  Today, that news has been confirmed, as Deadline reports that Lee will indeed be directing the Iraq War satire as his Life of Pi follow-up.  This will be Lee’s first film after winning the Best Director Oscar, and it marks a fitting genre change for the versatile filmmaker.  Lee has excelled at martial arts films (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), love stories (Brokeback Mountain), and even costume dramas (Sense and Sensibility), so why not tackle a satirical picture about Iraq war veterans?  Based on the novel by Ben Fountain, the story takes place in Texas and follows the surviving members of a squad of soldiers as they embark on a media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

More on the film and what this means for Lee’s boxing movie after the jump.

BIG EYES Trailer: Tim Burton Made a Real Movie Again with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz

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The Weinstein Company has released the first Big Eyes trailer for director Tim Burton’s upcoming drama.  The film revolves around the lives of artists Margaret (Amy Adams) and Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz).  Walter became famous in the 1950s and 60s for paintings featuring saucer-eyed kids, but it was the shy Margaret who really did the work.  Walter’s fraud eventually led to a divorce and a heated court battle to prove authorship of the paintings.  This looks to be a fantastic return to form for Burton after his flurry of CG-stuffed studio films, and honestly if I didn’t know this was a Tim Burton film going in, I might not have guessed it from this trailer.  The film appears to tackle issues like the commercialization of art and the marginalization of women both at home and in the workplace, and I would not be shocked to see Adams become a major player in this year’s awards season.  Big Eyes just skyrocketed towards the top of my most anticipated list for the rest of the year.

Hit the jump to watch the Big Eyes trailer.  The film also stars Krysten Ritter, Terrence Stamp, Jason Schwartzman, and Danny HustonBig Eyes opens in theaters on December 25th.

Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders Attempt to Resurrect the Romantic Comedy in First RESULTS Image

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I’ve been lamenting the death of the romantic comedy for some time now.  Whatever your thoughts on the genre as a whole, there’s something to be said for having that kind of variety in the moviegoing marketplace.  Aside from bright spots like the criminally underseen What IfRuby Sparks, and I Give It a Year, genuinely good romantic comedies are few and far between.  Which is why I’m cautiously optimistic about the “unconventional romantic comedy” Results, starring Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders.  The first image from the film was released today, and it reveals Pearce and Smulders as two mismatched personal trainers who begin to fall for each other thanks to the actions of a newly wealthy client (Kevin Corrigan).  I like Pearce and Smulders a lot, so here’s hoping their comedic chemistry is on point when the film hits theaters next year.

Take a look at the first Results image after the jump.  Directed by Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess), the film also stars Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker, and Constance Zimmer.

DEADPOOL Movie Finally Happening With Ryan Reynolds, Release Date Set For 2016

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Today 20th Century Fox announced that Deadpool would finally be happening.  That’s right, the Ryan Reynolds spinoff vehicle that has been on and off for years is going ahead with director Tim Miller at the helm (fun fact – he did the awesome credits sequence for Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).  The script by Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) – assuming they’re still using that draft – is apparently in great shape.

Not all of the ink is dry, it’s taken as a given that Reynolds will appear in the film but his deal apparently isn’t completely done yet.  Still, this X-Men spinoff has the potential to be one of the more interesting Marvel films in some time, especially if they do it at the $50 Million price point that was once rumored.  Maybe the response to that test footage “leak” was what was needed to push the needle along a bit.  Deadpool hits theaters on February 12th, 2016.  Hit the jump for more.

THE COLLISION: Episode 103 – The Good, the Bad, and the Oscar Worthy of TIFF 2014

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This week on The Collision, we look back at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  We talk about the films we liked, the movies that surprised us, the ones that disappointed us, and the ones that have now entered the Oscar race.  This week, we had many recommendations because we saw so many movies we enjoyed this year at TIFF, so that’s why there’s nothing after the jump this week.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“TIFF 2014 Preview”), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg and @AdamChitwood.

FANTASTIC FOUR Release Date Pushed to August 7, 2015; ASSASSIN’S CREED Pulled from Schedule

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20th Century Fox is pushing its Fantastic Four reboot release date back a couple of months.  Directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle), the film was originally scheduled to hit theaters on June 16, 2015, but Fox has now opted to move the pic to August 7, 2015.  While August doesn’t necessarily seem like better real estate than June for the summer movie season, Disney had massive success in slating Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy for the beginning of August this year, which benefitted from the dearth of quality films throughout the rest of the month.  The Fantastic Four will now square off against the all-ages horror comedy Goosebumps with Jack Black, but what of Fox’s other film that was slated for release on August 7th?  Well the studio has now pulled Assassin’s Creed from the schedule entirely, giving it a “TBD” release date.

Hit the jump for more, including a release date shift for the John Green adaptation Paper Towns.

Toby Kebbell in Talks for BEN-HUR, Andie MacDowell Joins MAGIC MIKE XXL, and Anthony Mackie Set for OUR BRAND IS CRISIS

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A few casting stories have surfaced this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Toby Kebbell is in early talks to take on the villain role in the Ben-Hur remake.
  • The lovely Andie MacDowell will bring some femininity to the sequel Magic Mike XXL.
  • Anthony Mackie is in talks to join Sandra Bullock in the excellent-sounding political drama Our Brand Is Crisis.

Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned casting.

THE MAZE RUNNER Review

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Every new YA movie that includes a supernatural or dystopian aspect now sits in the shadow of The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games has taken on an epic sci-fi approach weaving social commentary into its dystopian setting.  Divergent is content to be a Hunger Games imitator.  And now we have The Maze Runner, a film edging towards the mystery and sci-fi of The Hunger Games, but trying to find its own way by establishing a unique world that still plays with familiar coming-of-age themes.  Thankfully, director Wes Ball‘s confident feature debut creates a distinct, intriguing setting packed with thrilling action scenes.  Despite the lack of a strong lead performance, Ball has successfully translated a new young adult property to the big screen.

Watch: POPEYE Footage Offers First Look at CG Character in Action

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Sony Pictures Animation has unveiled some test footage from its upcoming Popeye CG movie, giving us our first look at the computer generated character in action.  Hotel Transylvania helmer Genndy Tartakovsky directs this feature film adaptation of the popular comics strip character, and while we still don’t necessarily know what the story will entail, this test footage gives us a strong idea of how the character moves in the 3D realm.  I’m happy to see that the character designs are quite stylized, refraining from becoming generic CG transfers of these classic characters.  While this isn’t footage from the actual film, it is very slapstick-heavy and shows Olive Oyl defying any and all laws of both physics and biology with her movements.  It’s too early to say how the actual film will stack up, but this first footage is certainly interesting.

Hit the jump to watch the Popeye CG movie footage, which is introduced by Tartakovsky himself who also shows off a bit of concept artwork.  Sony Animation will release the film in 3D sometimes in 2015.

New AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW Images Reveal Kathy Bates’ Bearded Lady, Michael Chiklis’ Strong Man, and More

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Ahead of the fourth season premiere next month, FX has unveiled a batch of new American Horror Story: Freak Show images.  Ryan Murphy’s anthology series returns with a new setting, hook, and cast of characters, this time focusing on the carnies of a traveling freak show in 1952 Florida.  These images give us a close-up look at Kathy Bates as the Bearded Lady, Michael Chiklis as the Strong Man, and plenty more additions to the ensemble.  This anthology format has been a suitable outlet for Murphy, who tends to expend all of his creative energy in a short amount of time.  Even so, portions of AHS seasons in the past have felt too crowded and overloaded at times.  My hope is that the Freak Show story will be a bit more streamlined this year, but regardless, seeing a bearded Kathy Bates and a two-headed Sarah Paulson should be quite entertaining.

Hit the jump to check out the new American Horror Story: Freak Show images and a disturbing new poster.  The series also stars Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Angela Basset, Emma Roberts, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy, Patti LaBelle, Finn Wittrock, Naomi Grossman, and John Caroll LynchAmerican Horror Story: Freak Show premieres on FX on October 8th.

Alba Rohrwacher and Director Saverio Costanzo Talk HUNGRY HEARTS, Incorporating Real-Life Experiences, the Awesome Opening Scene, and More

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At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I landed an exclusive video interview with star Alba Rohrwacher and director Saverio Costanzo for their movie Hungry Hearts.  Also starring Adam Driver, the film is about a couple that meets, falls in love, has a child, and then covers what happens when they encounter a life or death circumstance.  While I’d love to go more into detail about what they encounter/have to deal with, I’m not sure how much the filmmakers want revealed, so I’ll just say some of the film plays out like a real-world horror film.

During the interview, Rohrwacher and Costanzo talked about the experience of going from the Venice Film Festival straight to TIFF, incorporating real-life experiences into the film, how the movie doesn’t judge specific lifestyles, how much of the script was set before filming, the awesome opening scene (which is an eight minute-long uninterrupted take), and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Oscar Beat: Patricia Arquette Going Supporting for BOYHOOD While A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Enters Awards Race

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A couple of interesting developments have surfaced in the past 24 hours with regards to the current awards race.  While you may be saying, “Adam, it’s September, the awards race is still months away,” I’d counter by pointing out that the fall film festivals traditionally signal the start of the very long Oscar season—by this time last year, critics were already buzzing after the debuts of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity on the festival circuit.  I provided live Oscar Beat updates from TIFF just last week, but now we’ve got a couple of news-y bits of awards content to attend to.  Firstly, IFC Films has opted to submit Patricia Arquette in the Best Supporting Actress category for Boyhood instead of Best Actress, greatly increasing her chances of winning.

And secondly, A24 Films has officially set director J.C. Chandor’s highly anticipated All Is Lost follow-up A Most Violent Year for limited release on December 31st, crashing the awards race with an Oscar-qualifying run.  Much more after the jump.

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