We’ve got a couple of casting announcements to attend to this evening. First up, The Wrap reports that Forest Whitaker is in talks to star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in director Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) boxing drama Southpaw. The story revolves around a left-handed boxer who wins a title but suffers various tragedies in his personal life, all while trying to win back the love of his daughter. Gyllenhaal plays the titular fighter, while Whitaker will fill the other lead as a former fighter who now works as a trainer. The script was penned by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and at one point had Eminem attached to star. Production begins this summer.
Hit the jump for casting news concerning the Jennifer Aniston indie Cake.
Forest Whitaker plays a profoundly troubled man struggling to hold onto his sanity and do the right thing in director Philippe Caland’s intriguing horror-thriller, Repentance. Years after a drunken car crash that almost took his life, Tommy Carter (Anthony Mackie) has reinvented himself as a therapist and spiritual advisor. His successful book release draws the attention of Angel Sanchez (Whitaker) who convinces Carter to take him on as a personal client. Opening February 28th, the film also stars Mike Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Ariana Neal.
We recently landed an exclusive interview with Whitaker who revealed how the project grew out of a small film Caland had previously made, what it was like acting opposite Mackie in some very intense scenes, why he loves shooting on location in New Orleans, what he looks for in a project, how he stays true to his acting roots, why it’s important to find a connection with the characters he plays, his thoughts on the evolution of African American films and why content is increasingly reflecting the diversity in material that’s being produced, and his upcoming projects: the lead role in Two Men in Town and plans to direct The Shack. Check out the interview after the jump.
Fresh off the film’s Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination, GKids has released a U.S. trailer for the French animated film Ernest & Celestine. Directed by Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, and Stéphane Aubier, the story revolves around a young artistic mouse named Celestine (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) who strikes up a friendly relationship with a bear named Ernest (voiced by Forest Whitaker), despite the fact that her fellow mice live in fear of being eaten by bears. This trailer highlights the delightfully charming relationship between the titular duo and the adventurous spirit of the pic as a whole, which finds Ernest and Celestine on the run and getting into various hijinks.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The U.S. release also features the voices of Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Jeffrey Wright. Ernest & Celestine opens stateside in limited release on February 28th.
Though Forest Whitaker may soon be incurring the wrath of Liam Neeson in Taken 3, the Oscar-winning actor is also lining up another directorial project for the near future. Deadline reports that Whitaker is in talks to direct and co-star in an adaptation of the bestselling William Paul Young novel The Shack. The self-published, faith-based book tells the story of a man who whose daughter was abducted and brutally murdered in an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Years later, the man receives a note, apparently from God, inviting him to return to the shack where he finds something that will change his life forever. Summit Entertainment acquired the feature rights to the book last April and John Fusco (Hidalgo) is penning the script.
Assuming this project moves forward sooner rather than later, this will be Whitaker’s first directorial effort since 2004’s First Daughter. He also previously helmed 1998’s Hope Floats and 1995’s Waiting to Exhale. Read the synopsis for The Shack after the jump.
Even though Taken 2 was a step down from Taken in terms of quality, it blew past the original when it came to the box office by raking in $376 million worldwide. Naturally, the saga of Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) dealing with kidnappings must continue, and Deadline is reporting that Taken 2 director Olivier Megaton will return to helm Taken 3. Maggie Grace will also come back, and once again, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen are handling the script, which will likely involve Neesons beating the shit out of people.
Deadline also reports that Forest Whitaker is in talks to join Neeson and Grace in the upcoming sequel. No word yet on whether or not Whitaker will A) be kidnapped; B) the kidnapper; C) have a very special set of skills; D) Find a better way to determine distance than by tossing grenades into a highly populated city.
The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards were announced tonight, and 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture. The Critics’ Choice Awards have lined up with the Oscars in six of the last seven Best Pictures, but it’s worth noting that the Broadcast Film Critics Association spread the wealth around with genre awards to the other Oscar favorites, Gravity (Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie) and American Hustle (Best Comedy). Lone Survivor only managed two Oscar nominations for the sound categories, but found some love here as the Best Action Movie.
Hit the jump for the full list of winners, including ten different acting awards.
The first trailer for the horror thriller Repentance has been released online. Directed by Philippe Caland, the film stars Anthony Mackie as a life coach and author who comes into contact with a troubled fan (Forest Whitaker) who dabbles in the spiritual world of Karma. The pic looks to be a solid thriller with a touch of Misery, but this trailer feels like it gives away a good deal of the story. The prospect of Whitaker and Mackie working together is certainly promising, so hopefully there are still plenty of twists and turns left unspoiled.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Mike Epps, Sanaa Lathan, and Nicole Ari Parker. Repentance opens February 28, 2014.
New high-resolution images from a trio of upcoming releases have landed online. Briefly:
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – A new image from director Marc Webb’s superhero sequel features Jamie Foxx’s villain pre-transformation, along with hi-res versions of a couple of previously released photos. The film opens in 3D on May 2, 2014.
- Out of the Furnace – A large batch of new hi-res images from director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) upcoming drama, starring Christian Bale as an ex-con who goes searching for his missing brother (Casey Affleck). The film opens on December 6th.
- Grudge Match – A few new images from the Robert De Niro/Sylvester Stallone comedy, which revolves around a rematch between two old, bitter boxing rivals. The film opens on Christmas Day.
Hit the jump to take a look at the images.
In the last few months of covering this year’s awards race, it’s become very clear that the 2014 Oscars are going to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Nowhere is this more clear than in the Best Actor category, which already seems to have congealed into a solid list of five extremely likely candidates with a number of others waiting in the wings to play the spoiler. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the race starts to firm up, now seems like a good time to start taking a closer look at the individual categories in the 2014 Oscar race.
In today’s edition of Oscar Beat, we begin with the Best Actor category, which will see a couple of acting legends challenging the rise of McConaughey, powerful performances depicting historically important characters, Leo, and more. Read on after the jump.
Four new images have been released for Scott Cooper’s drama Out of the Furnace. The film stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. The pic seems to be flying under the radar when it comes to awards prognostication. Perhaps that’s because of early buzz amongst Oscar bloggers (where’s Adam when you need him?!) or because the plot doesn’t reach for something as lofty as other contenders even thought it looks like a compelling character drama. Perhaps its awards fortunes will change when it premieres at AFI Fest later this month.
Hit the jump to check out the images. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in theaters December 6th.
Relativity Media has released a new trailer for director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) upcoming drama Out of the Furnace, and the film looks fantastic. The pic stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. This new trailer has a stronger focus on Woody Harrelson’s character, who promises to be a rather menacing force in the film. The performances look great all around, and like the first trailer, this new look teases a character-focused story with a strong thematic undercurrent of redemption and family told through the lens of America’s working class. No wonder the pic landed on our Most Anticipated list of fall films.
Hit the jump to watch the new trailer. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in theaters December 6th.
Lee Daniels has no place for subtlety in his movies, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can translate to earnestness. It can also translate to bugfuck insanity that makes the audience uncomfortable in a way that feels incredibly exploitative. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (formerly titled “The Butler” but forced to change due to a petty dispute between The Weinstein Company and Warner Bros.) disconcertingly hints towards the latter before thankfully settling into the former. Daniels takes his passion towards race relations, and brings a fresh perspective to the civil rights movement by providing not only the unique viewpoint of a White House butler, but also from the butler’s son, who was fighting on the ground while those in government wrestled with the increased racial tension of the 1960s and 70s. The film could stand to lose 15 minutes of unnecessary material regarding Oprah Winfrey‘s character, but it’s a solid story of a father and son pulled apart by the tides of history.
The Weinstein Company has released four clips from director Lee Daniels’ upcoming historical drama The Butler. The film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986, and tells his life story against the important historical events of the time as seen through the eyes of the many inhabitants of the White House. Whitaker leads the pic alongside Oprah Winfrey as his wife and David Oyelowo as his son, but Daniels has filled the rest of the cast out with a litany of familiar faces on tap to play the many Presidents and First Ladies over the years, including John Cusack as Nixon, Robin Williams as Eisenhower, and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan.
Hit the jump to watch the clips. The film also stars Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, Alan Rickman, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, and Liev Schreiber. The Butler opens on August 16th.
The Weinstein Company has released a new clip and poster from director Lee Daniels’ star-studded historical drama The Butler. Based on a true story, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. This clip focuses on a meeting between James Marsden’s John F. Kennedy and Whitaker’s titular character, as the two discuss the issue of the Freedom Riders. The tone veers heavily towards schmaltz, and I’m hoping that the full film isn’t just a revolving door of familiar faces that each “touch the Butler’s life” in a saccharine way. Nevertheless, Whitaker is a phenomenal actor and I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what he does with the lead role.
Hit the jump to watch the clip and to check out a new poster. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, Alan Rickman, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams. The Butler opens on August 16th.
The Butler follows White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) over several decades, serving from Eisenhower to Reagan. For better or worse, director Lee Daniels (Precious) recruited a name cast to play the presidents: Robin Williams (Dwight D. Eisenhower), James Marsden (John F. Kennedy), Liev Schreiber (Lyndon B. Johnson), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), Alan Rickman (Ronald Reagan). Probably best they seem to skip Jimmy Carter, because Daniels openly laments: “We had to finance it through bringing in names that meant something overseas. It’s a very sad testament that [co-star] Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker can’t greenlight a film.”
If you want more names, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, Jane Fonda, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, Alex Pettyfer, and Vanessa Redgrave also star. Hit the jump for new images, a Fonda-centric featurette with the first clip, and two TV spots.