Martin Freeman Joins THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE; Bryce Dallas Howard in Talks for PETE’S DRAGON; Matt Smith to Star in PATIENT ZERO

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A few pieces of casting to report:

  • Martin Freeman is in talks to join Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in The Taliban Shuffle, a black comedy set in Kabul.  Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love) will direct the adaptation of Kim Barker’s memoir.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard is in talks to join the cast of Pete’s DragonOakes Fegley, Oona Lawrence, and Robert Redford also star in the picture directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints).
  • Matt Smith will star opposite Natalie Dormer in pandemic thriller Patient Zero, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (Deadfall).

More on each project after the jump.

Josh Boone Now Says THE STAND Will Be Four Movies With a Cast The Will “Blow People’s Minds”

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Wow.  Sometimes I hate the way films are tailored for the global marketplace (i.e. Transformers: Age of Extinction), and sometimes I’m okay with it.  Today is one of the days I’m okay with it. Writer/director Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars) has announced that his adaptation of The Stand will now be four movies.  Why?  Because Warner Bros. wanted to have a product with enough set pieces to satisfy the international market without skimping on character.

While there’s still no cast in place, this is incredibly exciting news for anyone in favor of bold, creative decisions.  This isn’t a plug-and-play scenario like The Hobbit, it’s a little bit risker than that.  But damn do I hope it pays off.  Hit the jump for more on The Stand turning into four movies.

Watch the GAME OF THRONES Telltale Game Trailer

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The folks over at Telltale Games first came to my attention when I saw people raving about their The Walking Dead game, as many were saying it expertly blended an emotional, character-driven story with solid gameplay.  They may indeed get the same results with their upcoming take on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and the first Game of Thrones Telltale Game trailer has been released online to give fans a brief tease of what we might expect (complete with Lena Headey voiceover).  The game series is being touted as a six-part episodic adventure, with the story revolving around a noble family from the north of Westeros called House Forrester.  They are caught up in the events surrounding the War of Five Kings, and the player will take on the role of different House Forrester members and determine their fate based on the choices he or she makes.

Check out the first Game of Thrones Telltale Game trailer after the jump.

Not Dead Yet: BOND 24 and TWIN PEAKS Season 3 Will Be Shot on Film

by     Posted 9 hours ago

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The number of wide releases this year that were shot on film amounts to but a handful, and despite heavy advocacy from filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams, the format has become an outlier in contrast to the near-universal use of digital.  Digital is not inherently a bad format, and some filmmakers like David Fincher are able to take full advantage of the opportunities it provides, but the fear is that the choice over whether a director can shoot on film or digital may be disappearing.  That could very well be the case in the near future, but today some relief arrived in the form of news that two highly anticipated upcoming projects will be shooting on film, keeping the format alive for a bit longer: Bond 24 and the new season of Twin Peaks.  More after the jump.

PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR Mockumentary Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong

by     Posted 10 hours ago

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Want to see Benedict Cumberbatch perfect his wolf bark, Ken Jeong perform as a Navy Seal instead of a baby seal and John Malkovich get into octopus form?  It’s all in the brand new Penguins of Madagascar mockumentary that DreamWorks Animation debuted and just like the large majority of the promotional material released for the film thus far, it’s pretty amusing and well worth a watch.

In the upcoming film, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John DiMaggio) and Private (Patrick Stuart) have to stop an old acquaintance from taking over the world, Malkovich’s Dr. Octavius Brine, aka Dave the Octopus.  But the penguins can’t do it alone so they team up with a spy organization lead by Cumberbatch’s Agent Classified called the North Wind.  Hit the jump to check out that Penguins of Madagascar mockumentary and keep an eye out for the full feature, which is due in theaters in 3D on November 26th.

New INSIDE OUT Character Videos Introducing Fear, Disgust and Anger

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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We got a brief introduction to Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) a few days ago and now it’s time to meet Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black) as well.  Those four plus Joy (Amy Poehler) make up young Riley’s emotions and it’s up to them to help her adjust when she moves to San Francisco in Pixar’s latest, Inside Out.

The promo material for Inside Out hasn’t been as mind-blowing as one might expect and these new character videos are no different.  There’s nothing wrong with them, but there’s also nothing about them to suggest Inside Out will be worth the two-year wait since Pixar’s last release, Monsters University.  Hit the jump to check out the new Inside Out character videos for yourself.  The film is set to open in 3D on June 19, 2015.

Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman and Nick Hornby Team for Bank Heist Movie I WOULD ONLY ROB BANKS FOR MY FAMILY

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Hulu just put in a ten episode straight-to-series order for Casual with Jason Reitman serving as executive producer and directing the premiere episode, but Reitman is also busy lining up a new film project, an adaptation of a Skip Hollandsworth article published in the Texas Monthly.  I Would Only Rob Banks for My Family will mark the first time Reitman is teaming up with his father, Ivan Reitman, since 2009’s Up in the Air and the project will also be a reunion for Nick Hornby and Fox Searchlight as well.  Hornby is the writer behind Wild, which is picking up a good deal of Oscar buzz right now.

Hit the jump for more on what the group’s got coming in I Would Only Rob Banks for My Family.

Brad Pitt to Produce Sci-Fi Thriller ALPHA from ROBOPOCALYPSE Author

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Though author Daniel H. Wilson’s novel Robopocalypse came super close to being a Steven Spielberg movie (which he may or may not still make), another idea of his is now poised to come to the big screen via Brad PittTHR reports that Lionsgate has picked up the sci-fi thriller Alpha, based on an original idea by Wilson, with Pitt set to produce alongside his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.  Plot details are under wraps, but the film is a sci-fi survival story “that has shades” of White Fang author Jack London.  Wilson will write the screenplay based on his own idea, and newcomer Anthony Scott Burns is set to make his feature directorial debut with the project.  Burns’ pitch for the film apparently involved a fake commercial for a fictional company that is central to the story.  More after the jump.

Penelope Cruz Joins ZOOLANDER 2 as Comedy Sequel Finally Gains Momentum

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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Just a few years ago, filmmakers were lamenting the fact that despite the cult success their comedies had enjoyed over the years, studios just weren’t willing to foot the bill for a follow-up.  Director Adam McKay was famously ready to throw in the towel on Anchorman 2 before one last phone call to Paramount led to the film finally coming together, and it enjoyed modest success at the box office last year.  Just last week, Dumb and Dumber To opened in theaters at the Number One spot, proving once again that a comedy sequel released years after the original (in this case a decade) still has an audience.  Which leads us to Zoolander 2.  The original Ben Stiller-led and directed comedy pulled in only $60 million at the worldwide box office, but it gained a massive following on home video over the years.

Stiller has been trying to get the follow-up off the ground for some time now, and it finally looks as if the project has momentum as Penelope Cruz is signing on to star.  Much more after the jump. 

Mel Gibson in Talks to Direct Andrew Garfield in World War II Drama HACKSAW RIDGE

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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Mel Gibson looks to be staging a comeback, and it’ll be a return to his war epic directorial roots if it comes to fruition.  THR reports that Gibson is slated to direct the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, which tells the true story of war hero Desmond T. Doss, a private who was drafted in 1942 but refused to kill or carry a weapon.  He was stationed in the Pacific where he worked as a medic and was ostracized for his beliefs, but he became a hero when he saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa, helping to evacuate the wounded and putting himself directly in the line of fire.  And not only is Gibson looking to direct this as his next film, but a very talented young actor is in talks to star: Andrew Garfield.  More after the jump.

Jennifer Lawrence Says Mystique Needs to be in Hiding in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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It was recently reported that X-Men: Apocalypse will focus on the romance between Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), but don’t expect any PDA from the two because during a recent interview, Lawrence noted that she’s had some conversations about where we’ll find Mystique in the upcoming installment and that “she obviously needs to be in hiding.”

X-Men: Apocalypse is expected to go into production in Montreal in April 2015 and is heading towards a May 27, 2016 release.  Director Bryan Singer is currently on the hunt for actors to take the roles of a young Cyclops and a young Jean Grey.

12 YEARS A SLAVE Director Steve McQueen to Helm Heist Thriller Based off 1980s British TV Miniseries WIDOWS

by     Posted 13 hours ago

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A couple days ago, we reported that 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen would be doing a film based on the life of activist Paul Robeson.  It sounded right up McQueen’s alley: It’s a passion project he now has the clout to push forward, it’s about an activist (like his debut feature Hunger), and it deals with racial conflict in America.  McQueen had even done an art instillation in 2012, End Credits, dedicated to Robeson.  It all made sense.

Here’s what makes somewhat less sense: McQueen’s next movie is a heist thriller.  Hit the jump for more.

New INTO THE WOODS Featurette Shows off Meryl Streep Singing “Stay with Me”

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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Fun fact: Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar five times in the last seven years.  Combine her extraordinary acting ability with the pedigree of Into the Woods, and she could easily lock up yet another nod (which would make it her 18th Oscar nomination over the course of her career; that’s what happens when you’re a national treasure).  A new featurette for the upcoming musical further pushes her awards chances as Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the music and lyrics, praises her ability “to find colors in lyric.”  This featurette shows some of Streep singing “Stay with Me”, and it’s a beautiful rendition.  I hope the rest of the film is worthy of her immense talent.

Hit the jump to check out the new Into the Woods featurette.  The film opens December 25th, and also stars Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Tammy Blanchard, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, and Johnny Depp.

The Paris International Fantastic Film Festival 2014 Kicks Off with Takashi Miike’s THE MOLE SONG: UNDERCOVER AGENT REIJI

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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In a theater near the famous Opéra Garnier, the 4th annual Paris International Fantastic Film Festival opened Tuesday night with a screening of the Japanese yakuza film, The Mole Song: Undercover Agent ReijiTakashi Miike‘s psychedelic cinematic feast announced the many hues of this year’s selection – and in a rather explosive manner.

Miike has turned a classic infiltration plot into a top gear Technicolor action flick that borders on parody.  Reiji Kikukawa is basically a failed cop.  Maybe because he’s still a virgin.  Or simply because he’s not cut out for catching criminals.  He’s fired yet undergoes some bizarre tests to become a mole — an undercover agent.  After one of these tests where he rides naked on the hood of a car he is dropped off in the most dangerous Japanese yakuza clan, or Mafia.  No one in the force believes he’ll make it out alive, yet despite his clumsiness and lack of skills, he finds his niche … or is it luck?  And the result is a visual hyperbole.  Hit the jump for more.

First Look at Patrick Stewart in GREEN ROOM, the New Film from BLUE RUIN Director Jeremy Saulnier

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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Jeremy Saulnier‘s Blue Ruin is one of the best films of 2014 you probably haven’t seen (but if you have Netflix Instant, you can watch it now!).  It’s a unique spin on the revenge genre, and once you see it, you’ll likely be amped to see Saulnier’s next film, the upcoming thriller Green Room.  The story revolves around a young punk rock band that find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence, fighting for their lives against a gang of white power skinheads intent on eliminating all witnesses.  Patrick Stewart stars as Darcy Banker, an unflinching and industrial leader of a ferocious white supremacist fiefdom based in the Pacific Northwest.

You can check out the image after the jump, and be sure that we’re definitely going to be keeping this film on our radar, not only because of Saulnier and Stewart, but also because the excellent cast includes Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein, and the return of Blue Ruin star Macon Blair.

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