Alfie Allen Talks JOHN WICK, GAME OF THRONES, Comic-Con, Favorite TV Shows, and More

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As I’ve said again and again, I absolutely loved John Wick.  Filmmakers Chad Stahelski and David Leitch have crafted a fantastic action thriller that’s absolutely worth your time and money.  When I recently hosted a screening in NYC, there were plenty of laughs, gasps, and tons of applause during the incredible action set pieces.  In the film, Keanu Reeves stars as an ex-hitman who comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.  Trust me, if you like action movies, this is a must see film.  For more on John Wick, watch this trailer, see Evan shoot people in the face, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Last week in New York City I sat down with Alfie Allen for an extended interview.  In the film he’s the reason John Wick comes out of retirement.  Allen talked about how he got involved in the project, working with the other actors, his experiences at Comic-Con, Game of Thrones (he plays Theon Greyjoy), and more.  Hit the jump to watch and here’s my video interview with Keanu Reeves if you missed it.

Charlie Kaufman to Rewrite IQ 83 for Steve Carell to Star

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It looks like Charlie Kaufman and Steve Carell may work together after all.  Carell was originally set to star in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind scribe’s excellent-sounding musical Frank or Francis, but the feature was postponed due to lack of financing.  He then turned his attention to the FX pilot How and Why, only to see the network pass on picking it up to series earlier this year.  Now Kaufman has been tapped to rewrite a star vehicle for Carell, and it sounds kind of great.  The Adaptation. and Being John Malkovich screenwriter will pen an adaptation of Arthur Herzog’s science-fiction novel IQ 83, which revolves around the outbreak of a disease that is slowly making everyone dumber.  More after the jump.

First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer Teases Dark Tone, Catastrophic Destruction

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The first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer for writer/director Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated superhero follow-up has leaked online under a week before its official release.  The sequel finds Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) teaming up once again to battle the devious robot known as Ultron (James Spader).  This is very close to the footage that was shown at Comic-Con, save for a different final shot and an extended clip that was shown of the stories “Avengers Party.”  What’s clear from this trailer is that the tone is darker, the stakes are higher, and the threat is seemingly more nefarious.

Watch the trailer after the jump.  Avengers: Age of Ultron also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Andy Serkis, and Samuel L. Jackson and opens in theaters May 1, 2015. 

New INTO THE WOODS Images Feature Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf, Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella, and More

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Earlier this morning, we got our first look at Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf from director Rob Marshall’s (Chicago) upcoming musical adaptation Into the Woods.  It’s an interesting look to say the least, and while I figured the reason Depp was left out of the trailer was because his character would be CG-aided, it turns out he’s actually just wearing what looks like a relatively cheap Halloween costume.  Indeed, Depp tells EW Marshall let him put his own spin on the character:

“Rob Marshall wasn’t afraid to let me take the role to a level of heightened reality, almost cartoon-like, where one second the Wolf is here, and then, boom, suddenly he’s over there.”

Nevertheless, the film still has promise with its fantastic ensemble and twisty premise, and some new Into the Woods images have now landed online that give some different looks at Depp’s wolf, Anna Kendrick’s Cinderella, Chris Pine’s Prince Charming, and more.  Take a look at the new Into the Woods images after the jump.  The film also stars Emily Blunt, James Corden, Meryl Streep, Lucy PunchChristine Baranski, and more. Into the Woods opens in theaters on December 25th.

NBC Lands BEWITCHED Sequel Series

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The next in an increasingly common series of “remakes” or “reboots” on television has found a home.  Variety reports that NBC has landed the Bewitched sequel TV show that has been shopped around for the last couple of weeks.  The proposed series will follow the granddaughter of Darren and Samantha Stevens, who were played in the original series by Dick York (and then Dick Sargent) and Elizabeth Montgomery.  The fantasy sitcom ran for eight seasons on NBC from 1964-1972 and spawned a short-lived spinoff Tabitha in 1977 and an ill-conceived feature film remake in 2005 starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.

NBC has given a pilot production commitment to the Bewitched sequel series, which hails from writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, whose credits include Never Been Kissed and The Vow.

Xbox’s Live-Action Digital Series HALO: NIGHTFALL Gets a Full, Dramatically Overwrought Trailer

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Quality storytelling has never been the first thing that has come to mind when I think “Halo“.  I think “Excellent multiplayer gaming in the first installment” and “teabagging your opponent’s avatar”.  But I guess the Halo mythos must have enough going in its space-marines-versus-aliens plotline to warrant not one, but two series.  The first is Halo: Nightfall, which is being executive produced by Ridley Scott, and will serve as a lead-up to Halo 5: Guardians.  The series follows Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents as they attempt to investigate terrorist activity on the colony world of Sedra.

The full trailer for the series has gone online and…hoo-boy.  I’ll just ask this: If this didn’t have the Halo brand attached, would you care at all?  Also, none of the characters are jumping and strafing at the same time, so how does this really tap into the spirit of the games?  Hit the jump to check out the Halo: Nightfall trailer.  The series will be released November 11th with Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, a game that will require only 85GB of your 362GB hard drive.  The first episode of Nightfall will premiere the day prior, November 10th, as part of the official HaloFest livestreamClick here for our report on Halo: Nightfall from Comic-Con.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer Images Offer First Look at Ultron and the Hulkbuster Armor

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Marvel is taking an odd yet not entirely surprising approach to unveiling the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer by debuting it on ABC next week during the new episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (synergy!).  It’s an understandable effort to boost the ratings of the low-rated series, and I’m sure the trailer will be online shortly afterwards.  But if you can’t wait until next week to see the first footage from director Joss Whedon’s sequel, newly unveiled images from the trailer offer a sneak peek at what we can expect—including the first Ultron image that unveils the villainous robot as played by James Spader, and Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor.

Hit the jump to take a look at the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer images.  For a recap of the extended footage we saw at Comic-Con, click here.  The full trailer debuts on Tuesday, October 28th at 8pm ET/PT during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC.  Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters on May 1, 2015.

Alex Ross Perry Talks LISTEN UP PHILIP, Working with a Bigger Budget, Making Movies on the East Coast, Why It’s Okay If You Can’t Relate to Philip and More

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You know what can happen when you take a film on the festival circuit?  You leave home for a bit and may fall out of touch with close friends.  That’s what happened to writer-director Alex Ross Perry and it made him wonder, what happens to those friends when he’s not around?  That’s a question he explores in his new film, Listen Up PhilipJason Schwartzman stars as the title character, a writer eagerly awaiting the release of his second novel who’s got the tendency to do what he wants and speak his mind at all times, even if it hurts others.

Some may describe Philip as an unlikable character, but Perry approaches it from a different perspective.  Whether or not you can relate to Philip, he hopes that the movie makes viewers wonder, where does that kind of behavior get you?  Hit the jump to hear about that, Perry’s thoughts on working with a bigger budget, whether or not he’d want to give a big budget studio film a go and loads more.  Listen Up Philip is currently playing in New York City and is due to expand on October 24th.

First EYE IN THE SKY Images Featuring Helen Mirren as the Commander of a Top Secret Drone Operation

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Gavin Hood is in the midst of shooting his Ender’s Game follow-up, Eye in the Sky, in South Africa, but he’s already got some stills from the film to show off.  The movie stars Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, a military intelligence officer remotely leading a drone operation to track down terrorists in Nairobi.  However, when Powell and co. come to realize that the terrorists are preparing for a suicide mission, it’s decided that the targets are to be taken out instead.  Trouble is, just when pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is about to get the job done, he sees a nine-year-old girl walk right into the kill zone.  Now he’s got to “pass the request for confirmation of the next step up to the highest levels,” which includes the foreign secretary played by Iain Glen.

Hit the jump to check out the very first Eye in the Sky images featuring Mirren and Barkhad Abdi.

Chris Rock and Julia Louis-Dreyfus Turned Down the Offer to Host This Year’s Oscars

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It was announced last week that the excellent Neil Patrick Harris will be hosting this coming February’s Oscar ceremony, but it turns out that NPH wasn’t the Academy’s first choice.  THR reports that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron—who have produced the last two ceremonies in a row—first “begged” Ellen Degeneres to return as Oscar for this year’s ceremony.  She firmly declined the offer, and then they next approached Chris Rock, who hosted in 2005.  He turned down the offer as well, and so Zadan and Meron then went to Julia Louis-Dreyfus who, shocker, said “no”.  They then finally landed on Harris, who graciously agreed to take on the gig.  More after the jump.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Features Teary-Eyed Josh Hutcherson

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Whether you’re into the non-stop Hunger Games marketing campaigns or not, there’s no denying that Lionsgate knows how to deliver quality promotional material.  At this point, we’ve already seen a teaser trailer, a full-length trailer and a TV spot for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 yet this latest TV spot still rocks some brand new footage and a relatively unique tone.  The film’s promotional push isn’t just laying it all out there to get as many moviegoers into theaters as possible.  Lionsgate is actually taking more of a storytelling-centric approach, having each new piece add a layer to the situation, encouraging viewers to become invested well before the movie even comes out.

Hit the jump to check out the latest The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot featuring Willow Shields’ Primrose Everdeen, a little encouragement from Elizabeth Banks as Effie and a super sad Josh HutchersonMockingjay – Part 1 is due in theaters on November 21st.

THE HOBBIT Movies Cost $745 Million, But That’s Okay Because They’ve Already Made Nearly $2 Billion

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Calculating the budget of Hollywood films is a tricky business.  Rarely is the “official” number the actual amount that a movie cost, and even if a movie seems to have made more than its reported budget, that doesn’t factor in the cost of marketing and distribution; roughly, a movie has to make about one and half times its budget to become profitable.  The cost, obviously, goes up with sequels, as studios put more money into a film that now has a much higher probability of becoming profitable thanks to brand recognition based on the first film.  In the case of The Hobbit franchise—a series of prequels to one of the most popular and successful film trilogies of all time—one can imagine the amount of money Warner Bros. spent to bring them to fruition.

But now one doesn’t have to imagine that number, as it is being reported that the cost of the three Hobbit films has now totaled $745 million.  That’s, uh, a lot of money, but even still, it’s looking like most of what the final installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, makes in theaters will be profit.  More after the jump.

Steve Coogan to Replace Philip Seymour Hoffman in Showtime Comedy Series HAPPYISH

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Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s death left a gaping void in the acting world, and there are so many more roles it would have been wonderful to see him tackle.  Among his planned projects was Happyish, a 10-episode half-hour comedy series for Showtime created, written, and executive produced by This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander (who also wrote the terrific book Foreskin’s Lament).  The series is described as “a soul-searching examination of our pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that might just be the very thing causing our unhappiness in the first place.”

The project was in stasis following Hoffman’s death, but Showtime has decided to move forward by casting Steve Coogan in the lead role of “Thom Payne, a 44 year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25 year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like ‘digital,’ ‘social’ and ‘viral.’” The series was also set to star Kathryn Hahn and Rhys Ifans, but there’s no mention of them in the press release, so it’s possible that their roles—Thom’s wife and his mentor—are being re-cast.  Hit the jump for the press release.  The half-hour pilot will be shot in New York in December.

Kaitlyn Dever Talks LAGGIES, Working with Lynn Shelton, the Lesson She Learned from Keira Knightley, THE GREENS ARE GONE, and More

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Kaitlyn Dever is one of film and television’s fastest rising and most versatile young actresses and 2014 has been another busy year for her.  She stars in Lynn Shelton’s new comedy, Laggies, opening October 24th, in a supporting role with Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz playing a hard partying teenager with a sarcastic sense of humor who says whatever’s on her mind.  She also stars in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children opposite Jennifer Garner which hit theaters last weekend.  Finally, she’s currently starring in the popular ABC sitcom, Last Man Standing, which followed her recurring role in the acclaimed FX drama Justified.

I recently landed an exclusive interview with Dever who talked about her reaction when she first read the script for Laggies, the appeal of the role, finding the right mindset to play Misty, the important lesson she learned from Knightley, what she enjoyed most about working with Shelton, her friends and family screening, playing a daughter in Men, Women & Children who’s trapped in the world of her mom’s strict rules, her thoughts on social media and college, her challenging role in The Greens Are Gone, her aspirations to write and possibly direct, her music, and the band she plans to start with her sister.  Hit the jump to read the rest of the interview.

Edward Norton Revisits the Decision to Not Play The Hulk in THE AVENGERS

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Remember when we first got word that Edward Norton would not be reprising his role as The Hulk in The Avengers?  It wasn’t pretty.  When the news dropped, it was being reported that Norton wanted in, but Marvel wanted someone with a lower price tag.  However, when Marvel reps chimed in, they claimed that they passed on Norton because they needed someone who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members,” essentially accusing Norton of not being a team player.  Shortly after, Norton’s agent fired back claiming that Marvel’s statement was a “purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.”  Soon thereafter, Norton took the more righteous route by posting a sincere thank you to Marvel and to the fans who supported his run as Bruce Banner.

Four years later, Norton’s got an outstanding new feature on his resume that could score him an Oscar nomination, but The Hulk talk still rages on.  Hit the jump to find out what Norton had to say about ditching the role.

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