Focus Features has slated Jason Bateman’s directorial debut Bad Words for a limited release on March 21, 2014, followed by a wide expansion on March 28th where it will square off against the futuristic thriller Divergent, the sequel Muppets Most Wanted, and Joe Carnahan’s action comedy Stretch. Bateman stars in the very R-rated comedy as a man who, through a loophole, enters a nationwide 8th grade spelling bee and proceeds to the finals—much to the dismay of the parents and organizers. I caught the film at TIFF and it’s really funny, but Bateman does not hold back when it comes to his character saying terrible, terrible things to his fellow child contestants. Read Matt’s review here and watch Steve’s interviews with Bateman here and co-star Kathryn Hahn here.
Additionally, Sony has shifted the release date of director Will Gluck’s (Easy A) musical remake Annie from December 25, 2014 to December 19th. The Quvenzhané Wallis-fronted pic will now square off against the third and final (?) entry in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, The Hobbit: There and Back Again.
Here’s today’s casting update:
Hit the jump for more on each project.
Opening in theaters this weekend is James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2. The follow-up to the 2011 surprise hit picks up exactly where the first left off. Josh (Patrick Wilson) has returned from the Further feeling not quite himself, and when Renai (Rose Byrne) begins seeing familiar signs of the paranormal the Lambert family is thrust once more into a world of psychics, demons and ghosts. Insidious: Chapter 2 also stars Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, and Ty Simpkins.
During a recent New York press day I hopped on the phone for an interview with Byrne. She talked about what brought her back for an Insidious sequel, working with James Wan, and acting alongside screenwriter Leigh Whannell. She also talked about the diversity of her career, her recent work in comedy, Annie and more. Hit the jump to see what she had to say.
Here’s today’s latest casting news:
Hit the jump for more on each film.
Tonight’s casting report is led by two actors who have starred in an FX drama:
- Charlie Hunnam is attached to star in Triple Nine, a crime thriller directed by John Hillcoat (Lawless). Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett are in talks to join the cast.
- Rose Byrne is in talks to join Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, and Cameron Diaz in Annie, a new adaptation of the Broadway musical directed by Will Gluck (Easy A).
Hit the jump for details on both projects.
We heard earlier this month that Sandra Bullock was in early negotiations to play Miss Hannigan in the Annie remake. Bullock passed, but director Will Gluck (Easy A) found another star to fill her shoes. Deadline reports that Cameron Diaz has signed a deal to play the mean owner of the orphanage that shows young Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) the hard knock life. Diaz is maybe one step below the Oscar winner, but a fine comic actress nonetheless. Carol Burnett played Miss Hannigan in the 1982 feature adaptation of the Broadway musical.
Jamie Foxx is set to play the modern Daddy Warbucks, a wealthy New York City mayoral candidate named Benjamin Stacks who adopts Annie. Jay-Z and Will Smith are on board as producers. Annie is scheduled for release on December 25, 2014.
With a fall start on the horizon, casting is moving along on Will Gluck‘s remake of Annie. For those unfamiliar with the classic musical, it centers on the eponymous orphan who is adopted by the wealthy Daddy Warbucks. Quvenzhane Wallis is set to lead the film, and Jamie Foxx signed on back in April to play the Daddy Warbucks character, now called “Benjamin Stacks” and a NYC mayoral candidate in this updated version. According to TheWrap, Sandra Bullock is now in early talks to play Miss Hannigan, the mean lady who runs the poor orphanage, and inspires kids to sing about a hard-knock life. Carol Burnett played the role in the 1982 version, and Bullock seems like a great fit for the comic role. Produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z, Annie is set to open on December 25, 2014.
Bullock will be playing both comedy and drama this year with two great-looking films. First up is the female-led buddy-cop flick The Heat with Melissa McCarthy, and then in October she’ll be in Alfonso Cuaron‘s sci-fi movie, Gravity.
A couple months ago, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis was tapped to star in the remake of Annie. For those unfamiliar with the musical (or the comic strip on which it was based), Annie centers on a poor orphan who is adopted by Daddy Warbucks, a wealthy benefactor. According to Heat Vision, Jamie Foxx is in talks to play “Benjamin Stacks”, who is “a variation of the Daddy Warbucks personage” and in case you couldn’t figure it out, his name comes from stacks of $100 bills. While I understand that it’s appropriately updated, I couldn’t help but hear a needle-scratch when I read that name simply because of how corny it sounds. Hopefully, it works better in the context of the movie and the tone director Will Gluck and producers Will Smith and Jay-Z are going for.
Foxx is currently filming on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and is developing a horror series for SyFy. He’ll be seen later this summer in the action flick White House Down. Annie is eyeing a fall production start for a 2014 release.
Check out the latest release dates for the following movies:
Hit the jump for more on each movie.
There are many great things in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but Quvenzhané Wallis is the greatest. Upon seeing the movie, I hoped Hollywood would find a place for her raw star power. The Oscar nomination for Best Actress should help launch her, but there are more Keisha Castle-Hugheses than Anna Paquins among young Oscar nominees. The most promising news yet is that Wallis will indeed headline the remake of Annie, following up on the speculative report from earlier in the month. Can she sing? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see Wallis try. The prospects of an Annie remake are iffy in a vacuum, but Jay-Z is curating the music and director Will Gluck (Easy A) is a good choice to make a musical with bite, so there is reason for optimism.
Will Smith, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Brown, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith, and Jay-Z will produce. Gluck is currently rewriting the script for a Winter 2014 release. Hit the jump for the press release with all the details.
Though it was only a few weeks ago that we learned that Willow Smith was no longer going to be starring in the Will Smith and Jay-Z-produced musical remake of Annie, it appears that director Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits) already has his sights set on a pretty big get to lead the film. EW reports that Beasts of the Southern Wild star (and Best Actress nominee) Quvenzhané Wallis is apparently in consideration to star in the redo, though the magazine cautions that Gluck and the producers have yet to make any firm casting decisions. Hit the jump for more.
Development on Sony’s musical remake of Annie continues, and the project has both gained and lost a player. The project was first announced in early 2011 with Will Smith and Jay-Z producing the redo as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter Willow Smith. Willow is now 12 years old and has since outgrown the lead role, so she is no longer attached to star. However, movement on the project continues as Easy A and Friends with Benefits helmer Will Gluck is now in negotiations to direct. Hit the jump for more.
It’s been a few months since we last heard about the Annie remake, developed by Will Smith as a starring vehicle for daughter Willow. At the time, Glee creator Ryan Murphy was mentioned as the frontrunner to direct. Smith and co-producer Jay-Z probably missed the chance to squeeze the shoot into the Glee spring/summer production hiatus between season two and three. To do so they would have needed a script. On that front, Vulture hears Smith and Jay-Z are in negotiations Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson to write the musical. Presumably, the topic came up as Smith and Thompson shared a break on the set of Men in Black III.
Vulture actively lobbies for Thompson to tailor the role of drunk orphanage director Miss Hannigan for Oscar-winning actor Emma Thompson; I co-sign. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the 1982 movie.
A couple weeks ago, we reported that Will Smith and Jay-Z were teaming up to produce a “re-imagination” of the Broadway musical Annie starring Smith’s daughter Willow. The young Smith already has an obnoxious pop single with “Whip My Hair” so she can apparently handle a musical. Deadline is now reporting that Sony wants Glee creator Ryan Murphy to direct the flick. For those unfamiliar with Annie, the story is set during the Great Depression and centers on a spunky 11-year-old redhead named Annie who is adopted by kindly billionaire Daddy Warbucks. The musical was based on the comic Little Orphan Annie. The character has traditionally been white, but nothing prevents the character from being black provided you move the time to post-integration. Otherwise, if you keep it set during the Great Depression, it seems like you’re saying, “Black children have always been treated equally as white children! What’s Jim Crow?”
Hit the jump for more on Murphy and his other potential projects.
It’s official: the Will Smith/Jay-Z Annie remake is going into production. One week ago, we reported that the pair were in talks to revamp the classic property as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter Willow. At that time, however, it was believed that Jay-Z’s contribution would be confined to the film’s music. The press release we received today, though, confirms that the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” will team-up with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment as a co-producer on the project. In addition to Overbrook and Jay-Z’s (a.k.a. Shawn Carter) involvement, Sony Pictures Entertainment will help develop the Annie remake.
For more on the project, hit the jump to check out the full press release.