Rising stars Oscar Isaac (Drive) and Domhnall Gleeson (Anna Karenina) are set to lead Ex Machina, the directorial debut from screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later). As we reported last week, the story centers on a billionaire programmer who invites a young employee to spend a week at his remote estate, participating in a test involving an artificially intelligent female robot that he invented. At this point, I assume the theme from Weird Science kicks in. According to The Wrap, Isaac would play the billionaire and Gleeson would play the employee.
Hit the jump for more. Filming is set to begin this summer or fall.
We’ve got a couple of interesting casting stories to share this afternoon. First up, Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) has landed the female lead opposite Jonah Hill and James Franco in the drama True Story. The film recounts the head-spinning relationship between disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel (Hill) and accused murderer Christian Longo (Franco). Deadline reports that Jones will play Finkel’s long-suffering girlfriend “who tries to stand by her guy even after his screw-ups cost them everything.” Rupert Goold (Richard II) will direct.
Additionally, Stacy Keach has joined the ever-growing cast of Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Variety reports that Keach will play “a chief villain,” mob boss Wallenquist. Prodution is currently underway on the film which also stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, and many more. The pic opens on October 4th. Hit the jump for a synopsis for True Story.
If this didn’t come from The Hollywood Reporter, I would assume it was a joke. Paul Giamatti is reportedly in talks to play the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. For those unfamiliar with comics or the English language, Rhino is a hulking character who rams into stuff. I’m dubious about the quality of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but if Giamatti has to bulk up to play the role, the sequel will be worth it. I can’t even wrap my mind around a muscular Giamatti. Of course, just because Rhino is a physically imposing character in the comics, it doesn’t mean the movie will go the same way. Rhino is the second villain on board following Electro, who will be played by Jamie Foxx.
Hit the jump for more including Giamatti talking with Conan O’Brien (who referenced our interview with the actor from 2011) about wanting to play Rhino plus news about Felicity Jones joining the cast. The film also stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, and Shailene Woodley. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due out on May 2, 2014. Filming is set to begin in February.
The family drama genre is one that’s very easy to get wrong, and it’s rare to find a film of this kind that is genuinely moving without feeling overly manipulative or sappy. Writer/director Drake Doremus took the Sundance Film Festival by storm in 2011 with his young love drama Like Crazy, and he returns in 2013 with an intimate take on the family drama genre that marks a major step forward for the filmmaker. In chronicling the story of a foreign exchange student who causes a deep and devastating rift in a close-knit upstate New York family, Doremus’ Breathe In completely wraps the viewer up in the emotions of its characters and doesn’t let go for 98 captivating, intense, and ultimately heartbreaking minutes.
Since Captain America: The Winter Soldier will take place in the present day (or at least partially in the present day; there will be flashbacks), the production is looking for a new female lead. Three actresses are reportedly the frontrunners for the part: Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Anna Kendrick (50/50), and Imogen Poots (Fright Night). However, this news should be taken with a grain of salt since it comes from the New York Post‘s Page Six [via Bleeding Cool]. The post is more tabloid than newspaper, but if we want to play along with their story, I like these three choices. While the Post doesn’t mention the name of the lead female character, the most likely candidate is Sharon Carter.
Hit the jump for more. Captain America: The Winter Soldier stars Chris Evans, and is due out April 4, 2014.
The reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise has lingered in development for years now. Chris Pine has been attached since 2009 and watched director Jack Bender come and go as the months passed. Though there is still no title, the project is finally making significant forward progress now that Kenneth Branagh signed on to direct and play the villain. With the hero and the antagonist set, the next task for Branagh and Paramount is to decide on the female lead to play Jack’s wife Cathy. Deadline hears Keira Knightley is the frontrunner for the role, but Felicity Jones and Evangeline Lilly are also in the mix. Total Recall co-stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel also met for the role, but are reportedly no longer in the running. Whoever lands the role would sign a deal with options for three movies. Hit the jump for more on the story.
Fans of director Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated) now have, not one, but two reasons to cheer. Meyers has recently been attached to direct two new projects:
- The Intern, a comedy starring Tina Fey as a founder of an e-business fashion company who reluctantly brings a 70-year-old widower intern on board.
- The Chelsea, a dramedy starring Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) that revolves around an ensemble cast who reside in New York’s Chelsea Apartments.
Hit the jump for more on both projects.
Ralph Fiennes directorial debut, Coriolanus, was a remarkably confident and well-made first feature, and absolutely worth your time despite the rushed ending sending the film out on a sour note. Screen Daily reports that he’ll follow it up with the period drama The Invisible Woman, which will reunite him with his The English Patient co-star Kristin Scott Thomas. The film centers on the secret love affair between Charles Dickens (Fiennes) and his mistress Nelly Ternan (Like Crazy‘s Felicity Jones). Thomas will play Ternan’s mother. Abi Morgan (Shame) wrote the screenplay, and shooting is set to begin in the UK on April 23rd.
The plot seems a little bland (I’m not sure why Dickens having a mistress is a big deal), but Fiennes earned my trust with Coriolanus, and Invisible Woman has a solid supporting cast. As for Fiennes’ non-directing projects, he’s playing Magwitch in Mike Newell‘s adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations, and he has a highly-secretive role in the new James Bond movie, Skyfall. Fiennes will be seen in theaters next month reprising his role as Hades in Wrath of the Titans.
It’s not even December, but awards season has officially with the handing out of awards. Last night, the Gotham Independent Film Awards had a tie for Best Feature Film with Mike Mills‘ Beginners and Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life taking the top prize. Other winners last night included Breakthrough Director for Dee Rees (Pariah), Breakthrough Actor for Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Best Documentary for Better This World and Best Ensemble for Beginners.
While the Gotham isn’t a bellwether of how the Oscar race will shake out, it can give an indie picture a welcome boost. Best Feature winners from the past several years include Frozen River, Winter’s Bone, and eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker. Hopefully, the Gothams have given Beginners and Pariah some awards season momentum (I think The Tree of Life is already on everyone’s radar in terms of awareness). Hit the jump for the full press release.
Legendary actor/director Warren Beatty is firming up plans for his return to the silver screen. Beatty has chosen Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) as the female lead in his untitled pic about Howard Hughes. Jones will play “a young woman who develops a relationship with Hughes’ young driver and confidante, before she falls in love with Hughes.” The Aviator this is not. Beatty wrote, will direct, and plans to star in the film as Hughes. Jones has received high praise for her work in Like Crazy, so she seems like a fine choice for the role. However, I’m more than a little creeped out by the idea of 74-year-old Beatty romancing 27-year-old Jones.
We previously reported that Beatty was meeting with a number of actors, including Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, and his wife Annette Bening to possibly star in the film, and now Deadline adds Justin Timberlake, Owen Wilson, and Alden Ehrenreich (Somewhere) to that list. Production is expected to begin sometime next year, and now that Beatty has his female lead casting should pick up.
This one’s for the ladies: Hysteria, the Tanya Wexler-directed picture starring Oscar-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, has sold its US and South African rights to Sony Pictures Classics. The romantic comedy is based on the historically (and hysterically) accurate tale of Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville’s invention of the first vibrator, all in the name of medical science. The heart of the film is about the realization that everyone is in control of their own happiness.
Written by Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer, and produced by the all-female trio of Sarah Curtis, Judy Cairo and Tracey Becker, Hysteria also stars Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones. Hit the jump for more on Hysteria.
[This is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival]
We should be able to relate to movies on an emotional level, but that connection shouldn’t be contingent solely on an individual’s personal experience. Like Crazy works, but only in a manipulative fashion that preys on the viewer’s nostalgia of young love. While lead actors Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones give solid performances, the love between their characters is left as vague as possible so that the viewer can project their own feelings onto the picture. If thoughts of your first love make your heart skip a beat, Like Crazy will likely send you reeling. If, however, you’re like me and aren’t impressed by watching other people deal with their relationship issues, Like Crazy will leave you cold.
Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria is a silly little historical comedy and there’s nothing wrong with that. The film is about the creation of the vibrator or as the opening title card tells us “The following is based on true events. Really.” Going into Hysteria, I was initially worried that there might be an unsettling subtext implying the only way women can get over their problems is through sexual relief and they owe it all to ingenious men. Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case, although there’s not much case at all other than to make the audience chuckle at citizens in Victorian England having orgasms and misunderstanding sex. Hysteria goes a little overboard at times with its self-aware pronouncements and unrealistic characters, but it is inarguably the best movie you’ll see all year featuring Jonathan Pryce fingerblasting an old lady.
With the announcement of new additions to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, new images have gone online. After the jump you’ll find the first images from The Awakening (starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, and Imelda Staunton), Hysteria (starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal), Winnie (starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard), and Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
Hit the jump to check out the new images and a synopsis for each film. The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th. [We've updated the story with the trailer for Hysteria]
Drake Doremus has spent the last couple years building capital at Sundance, with Douchebag in 2010 and Like Crazy in 2011. Like Crazy was the breakout hit of the festival–even before it won the Grand Jury Prize, Paramount picked up the romantic drama right after the premiere for an October release. Doremus has parlayed the buzz into two new features: an adaptation of the sci-fi romance novel Through to You and an untitled drama. The untitled project is up first with an impressive cast in tow. Guy Pearce stars as a high school teacher who is tempted to cheat on his wife (Amy Ryan) with one of his students (played by Like Crazy star Felicity Jones). Variety reports two more have joined the cast. Newcomer Mackenzie Davis will maker her feature debut as Pearce and Ryan’s daughter. Nico Tortorella (Scream 4) will play a swim team jock/misogynist who sleeps around.
I haven’t seen a frame shot by Doremus, but I will always root for a fresh young voice in the filmmaking community. Doremus is working on both this script and the adaptation of Through to You with his Like Crazy writing partner Ben York Jones. I think of that as a promising sign unless you, like Matt, didn’t fall head over heels for Like Crazy.