Rumor: Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy up for DOCTOR STRANGE Role

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After months of speculation about who would fill the title role, Marvel finally announced last week that Benedict Cumberbatch would indeed star in Doctor Strange.  Hopefully this next casting decision wont take as long.  Rumor has it that Marvel has approached Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy for the role of The Ancient One. If you’re not familiar, The Ancient One is the former “Sorcerer Supreme” and Doctor Strange’s mentor.  He also mentored Baron Karl Mordo, who is heavily speculated to feature as the villain of Doctor Strange.

Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is directing the film from a script by John Spaihts Doctor Strange is set to hit theaters November 4, 2016.  Hit the jump for more.

Zach Braff in Talks to Direct GOING IN STYLE Remake [Update: Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine to Star]

by     Posted 32 days ago


It took a decade for Zach Braff to direct his second feature film after 2004’s Garden State, but it appears that he’s eager to jump back into the director’s chair much more quickly this time around.  Deadline reports that Braff is in talks to take the helm of the Going in Style remake that New Line Cinema has been developing for a few years now, positioning the film as the follow-up to his Kickstarter-funded drama Wish I Was Here, which opened in theaters this summer.  The 1979 caper comedy Going in Style revolved around a trio of elderly friends—played by George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg—who decide to rob a bank out of boredom.  [Update: Dustin HoffmanMorgan Freeman, and Michael Caine are in talks to star.]  More after the jump.

Filming Begins on LONDON HAS FALLEN Starring Gerard Butler; First Synopsis Revealed

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I’m still bitter that when it came to last year’s “Battle of the Die Hard-in-the-White House” movies, the crown went to Olympus Has Fallen over the vastly superior White House Down.  But so it goes, and we will be treated to yet another installment of Gerard Butler‘s Secret Service Agent Mike Banning taking down baddies.  Millennium Films has sent out a press release announcing that filming has commenced on London Has Fallen, which sees Banning accompanying the U.S. President (Aaron Eckhart) and Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman) to attend the funeral of the British prime minister.  The press release also includes the first official plot synopsis, and this is my favorite part: “a deadly plot to kill the world’s most powerful leaders, devastate every known landmark in the British capital, and unleash a terrifying vision of the future.”  All those unknown landmarks?  Totally safe.

Hit the jump for the press release.  The film opens October 2, 2015, and also stars Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Sean O’Bryan, Radha Mitchell, Jackie Earle Haley, Alon Aboutboul, Charlotte Riley, and Waleed Zuaiter.

The Films of David Fincher: SE7EN

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

Where as Alien3 has been forgotten thanks to ignominy, the shadow of the first two Alien movies, and its botched production, Se7en has persevered for almost twenty years if for no other reason than what’s in the fucking box.  Se7en is where David Fincher‘s filmography truly begins, and it’s fitting that a director who self-identifies as cynical should lead with a movie that abhors human nature, massacres the good in more ways than one, and even feels slight reverence towards its heinous killer.  There’s a beauty to the cruelty as the movie presents a stylized realism that taps into a rotting, fetid world but does so without establishing a particular locale, drenching the unnamed city in rain, and sinking the shots into darkness and low angles.

Se7en is where David Fincher finally got to come out and play.  Alien 3 was a trap that became a prison and eventually he just had to flee from the depressing hellhole of that production.  He returned to music videos thinking he would never make another movie again, and when Se7en came along, he went all in on a “meditation on evil and how evil gets on you and you can’t get it off.”   Fincher didn’t return with an open palm.  He came back with a clenched fist.

Elizabeth Olsen Joins Tom Hiddleston in I SAW THE LIGHT; Morgan Freeman Set for BEN-HUR Remake

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Tom Hiddleston is getting some company in the upcoming Hank Williams biopic.  Deadline reports that Elizabeth Olsen has joined the cast of I Saw the Light, which sees Hiddleston taking on the life of the legendary country music star who gained notoriety for classics like “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” before dying of heart failure at the age of 29.  Olsen will be playing Williams’ wife Audrey Mae, who split from her husband after seven years of marriage due to Williams’ alcohol, morphine, and painkiller addictions.  Their relationship was a turbulent one to say the least, and I imagine Olsen will be a swell fit alongside Hiddleston in the film.  Marc Abraham is directing, and Hiddleston will be doing all of his own singing.

Hit the jump for some big casting news concerning the upcoming Ben-Hur remake.

Morgan Freeman Talks DOLPHIN TALE 2, Returning to Play the Snarky Dr. McCarthy, Reuniting with Winter, and Comments on the Late Nelson Mandela

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One thing I have in common with Morgan Freeman: we both flew into Florida to head to the Clearwater-based set of Dolphin Tale 2.  The difference is that he was flying in on his private airplane after playing golf in Guatemala, and I … was not.  Luckily, Freeman was able to squeeze in an interview with our group of visiting journalists before joining his co-stars on set.  He talked about the pleasant surprise of returning for the sequel, his reunion with Winter the dolphin, how his character’s expertise is tested again in this film, and a glimpse of just what it’s like on set.  Freeman also comments on the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died just a few days before this interview.

Writer-director Charles Martin Smith’s Dolphin Tale 2 opens Friday, September 12th, and also stars Harry Connick Jr.Ashley JuddCozi ZuehlsdorffNathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Austin HighsmithAustin Stowell, and the dolphins Winter and Hope.  Hit the jump for the full interview, and click here for more from the film.

Morgan Freeman to Play Civil Rights Lawyer in TED 2

by     Posted 102 days ago


Ted is coming back to the big screen on June 26, 2015 and we know he’s bringing Mark Wahlberg, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth and a little Mila Kunis with him, but that’s not all.  It’s being reported that Morgan Freeman has officially joined the cast of Ted 2 as well.

We don’t have any plot details yet, but apparently Freeman is set to play an iconic civil rights lawyer who steps in to help Ted out with some legal issues.  Hit the jump for more on the sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 hit.


by     Posted 125 days ago


The Olympus Has Fallen sequel now has a director.  THR reports that Charlie Countryman director Fredrik Bond is in negotiations to helm the follow-up London Has Fallen, taking over for Antoine Fuqua who directed the first film.  Gerard Butler reprises his role as a U.S. Secret Service agent with a penchant for stabbing people in the head, as he accompanies the U.S. President (Aaron Eckhart) and Speaker of the House (Morgan Freeman) while attending the funeral of the British prime minister.  Obviously, things don’t go as planned, and Butler’s character must once again stab more people in the head save the day.  Christian Gedegast and Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt wrote the the script and producers are eyeing an October production start date.

Bond got his start in the music video world before making his feature film debut with 2013’s Shia LaBeouf-fronted Charlie Countryman.  Though the pic garnered a mixed response, Bond subsequently landed on a few promising director shortlists, including Pirates of the Caribbean 5.  Focus Features will release London Has Fallen on October 2, 2015.

LUCY Review

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Luc Besson’s new film Lucy often feels like 10% of a movie, despite its very clear ambitions to be some sort of ultimate experience. Which is weird because it nails so many of its objectives.  It’s gorgeously shot.  It’s incredibly kinetic and, even when it’s not in the middle of an action scene, it’s rarely static.  Scarlett Johansson throws everything she has into the role (or, at least, gives the role everything it requires of her).  And yet I had to do everything I could to keep from falling asleep during the film’s turgid first act.

LAST VEGAS Sequel Moving Forward at CBS Films

by     Posted 151 days ago


CBS Films is moving forward with a Last Vegas sequel.  The 2013 Jon Turtletaub-directed comedy was a modest box office success last year, pulling in $134 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of just $28 million.  The cast was led by Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Douglas in what was pitched as “The Hangover with old people”.  Deadline reports that David Diamond and David Weissman, whose resume includes The Family Man and Old Dogs, have been set to pen the script for the follow-up, taking over from the first film’s writer Dan Fogelman.  The plan is to bring Turtletaub and the entire main cast back, as the story will see the characters returning to their old stomping grounds in Brooklyn.  When they arrive, however, they discover that their home turf has changed significantly.

CBS Films is said to be moving “aggressively” on the Last Vegas sequel, so we should hear firm word about the cast and such in the coming months.  Laurence Mark and Amy Baer will return as producers.

13 New LUCY Images Featuring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked, and Behind-the-Scenes Shots of Luc Besson

by     Posted 163 days ago


We’ve got 13 new images from Luc Besson’s latest action-thriller Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson as a drug mule-turned-unstoppable warrior.  We posted a new red-band clip from the film yesterday that highlighted the title character’s newfound abilities.  These new images take a different approach and show off some of Johansson’s supporting cast, including Morgan FreemanAmr Waked, and Min-sik Choi.  There are also a few bonus behind-the-scenes shots of Besson at work scattered throughout.

Lucy opens July 25th.  Hit the jump to check out the new images.

New International Trailer for Luc Besson’s LUCY Starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman

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A new international trailer has gone online for Lucy.  Director Luc Besson‘s (The Fifth Element) upcoming action thriller stars Scarlett Johansson as a reluctant drug mule who is transformed into an incredible fighter capable of clairvoyance, telekinesis, and an ability to disregard pain and emotion when one of the designer drugs enters her system.  While I have to grit my teeth every time I hear the “only use 10% of our brains” line, it’s a premise I’m willing to accept if it means we’ll get the goofy fun that’s on display in this trailer.  The movie looks like someone said “We gave Black Widow superpower.  Enjoy.”

Hit the jump to check out the Lucy international trailer.  The film opens August 8th and also stars Morgan Freeman and Analeigh Tipton.


by     Posted 246 days ago


I’ve used this space on a few occasions to profess my love for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series and today’s opening paragraph will get a similar treatment. Director Zak Levitt‘s aptly titled Bad Boys debuted this past Thursday night and, even as someone who grew up adoring the Chicago Bulls, I loved almost every second of it (even with his Detroit roots, I could have lived without the Kid Rock narration). The film focuses on the years of Detroit Pistons basketball known as “The Bad Boys Era”, which included back-to-back NBA Championships for the franchise in ’89 and ’90. As is often the case with 30 for 30 films, Levitt does a nice job of framing the Pistons’ iconic run within a societal context; in this case, the 1967 Detroit riot. In doing this, the pic not only offers a fascinating perspective of the team itself but also great insight into what their trademark physical style of play meant to a city still reeling from the effects of the riot. Less important, but an added plus nonetheless, is the fact that I’m now buzzing with nostalgia for the SNES game Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.

My broken record praise of 30 for 30 aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Steve’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set visit, Transcendence interviews and Matt’s review, Steve’s The Expendables 3 set visit, and Zack Snyder discussing Batman vs. Superman costumes and more. Do the right thing and keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Morgan Freeman Talks TRANSCENDENCE, Working with Wally Pfister on His Directorial Debut, the Success of THE LEGO MOVIE, LUCY, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 247 days ago


Now playing in theaters is Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence.  The film revolves around a group of scientists trying to build the first self-aware supercomputer, and when lead researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) becomes the target of anti-technology extremists, he unexpectedly becomes a participant in his own transcendence.  Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany play two of Will’s fellow researchers, and as we’ve seen from the trailer, they have conflicting viewpoints on turning their co-worker into a computer.  The film also stars Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins Jr.  For more on Transcendence, click here to watch some clips and here’s all our previous coverage.

Last week at the Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Freeman.  He talked about how he got involved in the project, working with Pfister, if he thinks great directors share some common traits, if directors get intimidated working with him, if he thought The LEGO movie would be such a huge hit, Luc Besson’s Lucy, how he won’t be in London Has Fallen (the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen), how he might be doing a remake of Going in Style, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say. 

First Trailer for DOLPHIN TALE 2 Starring Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, and Nathan Gamble

by     Posted 255 days ago


The first trailer for writer-director Charles Martin Smith‘s family film sequel Dolphin Tale 2 is now available.  The follow-up sees the return of cast members Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, and Cozi Zuehlsdorff as they continue Winter the Dolphin’s treatment at the Clearwater Marine Hospital.  This trailer markets the film as Inspiration with a capital “I”, and if you were a fan of the first pic, odds are you’ll be happy with the direction of this sequel.  If you weren’t, it doesn’t look like this follow-up will change your mind.

Hit the jump to watch the Dolphin Tale 2 trailer, and if you missed Dave’s set visit preview, click here.  Also starring Kris Kristofferson, Austin Stowell, Austin Highsmith, and a special appearance by professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, Dolphin Tale 2 opens September 19th.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer.

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