The Sundance Channel just finished its 8-episode miniseries run of Jane Campion‘s ponderous, occasionally difficult and sometimes beyond fantastic Top of the Lake (now streaming on Netflix), and is putting its first original series, the equally fascinating Rectify, in the show’s former timeslot. Rectify, created by actor Ray McKinnon (Deadwood) and from the producers of Breaking Bad, is the story of a man released from prison after 19 years on Death Row after new DNA evidence exonerates him for the crime of raping and murdering his teenage girlfriend, which he confessed to at the time. He returns to his Paulie, Georgia, town to reunite with his family, attempting to find a new life for himself in a world he hasn’t seen for 20 years, while facing down small town politics. Hit the jump for more on Rectify, and why you should absolutely tune in.
Check out the latest casting announcements below:
Hit the jump for more on each project.
Check out the latest casting news from the following films:
- Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) will join The Normal Heart, Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play that stars Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons, and will debut on HBO.
- Zach Gilford (The Last Stand) will star opposite Allison Miller (17 Again) in Devil’s Due, the Twentieth Century Fox thriller with found footage elements.
- Abigail Spencer (Cowboys & Aliens) has joined Beautiful Now, an indie drama from writer/director Daniela Amavia that centers on a passionate dancer who asks herself if she likes what she sees when her life flashes before her eyes.
Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.
The first trailer, poster and synopsis for The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia have popped up online today. While the title is a mouthful, it’s meant to convey the original documentary source material that delved into two separate hauntings in each of the respective states. As bad as the title is, the trailer is actually pretty decent. There’s no found footage to be seen and it looks like a good old fashioned ghost story with some social commentary thrown in for good measure.
Directed by Tom Elkins, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia stars Katee Sackhoff, Chad Michael Murray and Abigail Spencer. Look for it in limited theatrical release and on VOD starting February 1, 2013. Hit the jump for the trailer, poster and synopsis.
A new trailer for director Sam Raimi‘s Oz the Great and Powerful has been released. Watching this trailer, I can’t help but be confused as to why three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams) need the help of the Wizard (James Franco) simply because we’re going to the lame plot device of “the prophecy”. Theadora comments that she doesn’t have a broom, but–and correct me if I’m wrong–a witch is a woman who can do magic. So why does the entire kingdom of Oz depend on one guy showing up when there are three ladies who already have magical powers? As for the look of the movie, I’m seeing lots of special effects but almost none of Raimi’s personality. Billed as “From the Director of the Spider-Man Trilogy” and “The Producer of Alice in Wonderland“, Oz looks like it’s more from the latter.
Hit the jump to watch the new trailer. The film also stars Zach Braff, and Abigail Spencer. Oz the Great and Powerful opens on March 8, 2013.
When we invent screenwriting programs that can write a screenplay from start to finish, it will crank out something like Chasing Mavericks. The script is so cynically calculated in its plot beats and character motivations that it’s easy to forget the story is based on a person’s real life. The biopic of surfing prodigy Jay Moriarty comes off as a disservice to his memory as his character, like everyone else in the movie, is one-dimensional and saddled with stilted dialogue. The only times when Mavericks truly comes alive is when it embraces the act of surfing; everything else is a wipeout.
The first trailer for Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted‘s Chasing Mavericks has gone online. The film is based on the true story of the relationship between legendary surfer Jay Moriarty (newcomer Jonny Weston) and his mentor, local legend Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), and how Moriarty made his name surfing the waves of Mavericks in Northern California. Judging by the trailer, this looks like a nice movie that won’t blow anyone away, but could make for an enjoyable time at the pictures. However, I’ve never surfed in my life, so I’d like to know what surfers think of this trailer.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Elisabeth Shue and Abigail Spencer. Chasing Mavericks opens October 26th.
The first bits of footage from Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful have gone online. The behind-the-scenes video features a great look at costumes used in the film for a number of characters, including Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Oz himself (James Franco). Franco and Kunis also talk at length about their characters and the world they live in, along with a comparison of the similarities and differences to the beloved film, The Wizard of Oz. They also comment on being fans of the L. Frank Baum source novels and reflect on memories of the original film they viewed as kids. Hit the jump to check out the footage and a few screencaps highlighting the costume design.
Lots of casting news to catch up on, so here it is in brief:
- Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder) has been cast to voice a character in Despicable Me 2, starring Steve Carell and Al Pacino.
- Malcolm McDowell (The Artist) will star in a vignette of Tbilisi, My City.
- Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is a recent addition to Beautiful Creatures, the adaptation of the Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl novel.
- Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) will join the indie drama Kilimanjaro, starring Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker).
- Vik Sahay (Chuck) rounds out the cast for the werewolf film, Wer, directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside).
Hit the jump for more.
Actress Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) has joined Brin Hill‘s supernatural romance In Your Eyes, which was written by Joss Whedon. Vulture‘s report makes it sound like Whedon will direct the movie, but unless he’s given one supernatural romance film to Hill and kept one for himself, I believe Spencer is on board In Your Eyes. Even Spencer’s statement never says Whedon is directing. She says she starts filming in a month (Whedon is still probably doing post-production on The Avengers) and “It’s my first time [doing a project with Whedon], but I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’m so excited to do it.” So technically she is working with him, but it’s misleading to imply that he’s directing.
Then again, it may also be understandable confusion. After all, he directed a micro-budgeted adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing in twelve days and no one knew until after it was wrapped. He’s a busy dude.
A couple more casting stories for you today. Firstly, Elizabeth Shue and Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) are set to star in Curtis Hanson’s surfing pic Of Men and Mavericks. The real-life story stars Gerard Butler as a local surfing legend and mentor to Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston), a world champion surfer who died in a diving accident at 22. THR reports that Shue will play Moriarty’s mother, while Spencer will take on the role of Butler’s character’s wife. The film will chronicle Butler’s transformation from reluctant mentor to father figure through the training of the young Moriarty. Leven Rambin also stars. Fox 2000 will co-finance and distribute with Walden Media. Jim Meenaghan and Mark Johnson penned the script.
Hit the jump for the casting news regarding Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Sam Raimi continues to fill out the cast of his Wizard of Oz prequel Oz, The Great and Powerful, as Mad Men actress Abigail Spencer is the latest to sign on. The impressive cast now includes James Franco as the charismatic magician, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams as three witches, and Zach Braff as Oz’s faithful assistant. The story tells the origins of the eponymous Wizard, as Franco’s character is whisked away in a hot air balloon to the land of Oz, where he must team up with Glinda the Good Witch (Williams) in order to battle her evil counterparts (Kunis and Weisz) who are bent on taking over the land.
Heat Vision reports that Spencer will play a willing participant in Franco’s magic show while he’s performing in Kansas. On Mad Men, Spencer played the foxy Miss Farrell, schoolteacher to Don Draper’s kids and the focal point of Mr. Draper’s super serious bedroom eyes in season three. Oz, The Great and Powerful begins filming in Michigan later this month. We recently reported that Raimi will be reteaming with composer Danny Eflman for the fantasy tale. The film hits theaters March 8th, 2013.
We have a few casting notices of the female persuasion this fine evening. First up: Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) has signed on for a role in This Means War. She joins Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, and Angela Bassett. The storcy centers on “two best friends (Pine and Hardy), who are also covert agents, that fall in love with the same woman (Witherspoon), setting in motion a battle between spies for the woman’s heart.” According to Heat Vision, Spencer plays Hardy’s ex-wife; Bassett plays his boss. The comedy, directed by McG (Terminator Salvation), is currently shooting in British Columbia.
Hit the jump for more casting news on three TV pilots: HBO’s Veep, FX’s Wilfried, and TNT’s Perception.
Abigail Spencer (Mad Men) has signed on to co-star in Jon Favreau’s upcoming action sci-fi western, Cowboys & Aliens. Spencer joins Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, Clancy Brown, Walton Goggins and Harrison Ford. The plot centers on cowboys and Indians teaming up to fight against alien invaders. According to Heat Vision, “Spencer will play a prostitute named Alice, a former lover of Craig’s character who makes him change his ways.” People need to remember that whores don’t just turn tricks…they turn hearts.
Hit the jump for the official synopsis. Cowboys & Aliens is set to open on July 29, 2011.