The cast for the much-anticipated Transcendence is starting to take shape. Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister is making his directorial debut on the secretive project, and Johnny Depp is set to star in the lead role. Today it was announced that Paul Bettany has boarded the pic, though details regarding his role are being kept firmly under wraps. The story is rumored to revolve around a scientist whose brain gets uploaded into a supercomputer with the aim of creating the world’s first machine that can think for itself. Actresses rumored for the female lead include Rooney Mara, Rebecca Hall, and Emily Blunt, but we haven’t heard anything on that front in a while.
Nolan is exectuvie producing the project, which was written by Jack Paglen. Production begins this April in Los Angeles and Warner Bros. is eyeing a “mid 2014” release date, so I expect this will be a big, mind-bending summer tentpole not unlike Inception. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
This article offers the first synopsis and image for three movies, where the uniting theme is Avenge Death Of Innocent Female:
- Hummingbird – Afghanistan veteran and identity thief Joey Jones (Jason Statham) uses “his connections in the Chinese mob” to find the person who killed his pregnant girlfriend. Hummingbird is the feature directorial debut of Eastern Promises writer Steven Knight.
- Dead Man Down – Swedish filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev follows up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo his original dragon-tattooed girl, Noomi Rapace. Colin Farrell plays the right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York, who must avenge the deaths of both his wife and daughter.
- Blood – Paul Bettany and Mark Strong play detectives who investigate the brutal murder of a young girl who desperately resort to “taking matters into their own hands in an attempt to coerce a confession.” Nick Murphy (The Awakening) is directing.
Hit the jump for the synopses and images.
Paul Bettany is headed to cable. The Legion actor has been set as the lead in Showtime’s new pilot Masters of Sex. The series will revolve around sexual education researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. THR reports that Bettany will play Masters in his first foray into series television. Masters and Johnson pioneered human sexual response research, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and functions. The two met in 1957, marrying years later in 1971. Their research continued up through the 1990s, until their divorce all but ended their professional partnership.
The Pacific and John Adams writer Michelle Asford wrote the pilot and will executive produce. Showtime is currently home to the ever-popular Dexter, but it’s their freshman series Homeland that’s getting all the attention. The Claire Danes-starred series is like a deliciously smart version of 24, and I’d be so bold as to say it’s the best thing currently on TV. Ratings have been consistently impressive, and critics have taken quite a liking. If you get Showtime and haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you check it out.
The 2008 economic collapse is one of the major events of our lifetimes and some filmmakers have rushed to turn the events into A Very Serious and Important Movie. J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call would like to be that movie. It dresses up its respected cast in fine suits, puts them in the financial world, and then has them look at computer monitors and say “Fuck me…” in astonishment about 80-90 times throughout the course of the film. Chandor wants to bury the audience in the world of financial intrigue and corruption without doing the hard work of explaining the machinations of that world in any kind of detail. He gets away with it for the first half-hour as the audience becomes wrapped in a propulsive, plot-driven drama, but by the end the only saving grace is Kevin Spacey playing against type.
Director Nick Murphy made an impressive debut theatrical feature with his gothic horror film The Awakening (click here to read my review). Screen Daily reports that he’ll be making his follow-up with Blood, an adaptation of the Bill Gallagher BAFTA-nominated TV series Conviction. The plot centers on “two policemen who kill a murder suspect and are then plunged into chaos when they are forced to investigate their own crime.” Murphy has assembled a strong lead cast for the picture with Paul Bettany, Brian Cox, and Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire) set to star with Gallagher handling the screenplay. Filming is set to begin in the UK in January.
I’m hoping that The Awakening gets out in front of audiences sooner rather than later because Murphy is definitely a director to keep an eye on, and I’ll certainly be keeping Blood on my radar.
The first trailer for the financial thriller Margin Call has been released. The film debuted at Sundance, and judging from the trailer it looks to be a fairly intense morality piece. The cast is great, and Steve caught the film at the festival and said it was really good. I like the tone here, and the idea of the film’s events playing out over a single day and night is definitely intriguing.
The story centers on the key people at an investment bank during the 24-hour period before the recent financial crisis. The cast includes Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Zachary Quinto, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Kevin Spacey. You can check out Steve’s interview with all of the above here and here. Margin Call opens October 21st. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.
We’ve got a couple of casting stories for you this morning. Last night, we reported that Hugh Jackman is currently in negotiations to star in director Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) big-budget musical adaptation of Les Miserables. Jackman is eyeing the role of protagonist Jean Valjean, and now Deadline reports that Paul Bettany is a candidate to play the villainous police inspector Javert. Apparently he’s read for the role and sang a few songs from the stage musical. I like the idea of Bettany as Javert. He’s a fine dramatic actor, and he and Jackman make an interesting pair.
Additionally, THR reports that Chelsea Handler is in talks to join The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz’s feature directorial debut Fun Size. The comedy centers on a sarcastic teen who takes her little brother-trick-or-treating on Halloween only to lose him along the way. She must spend the rest of the night trying to track him down, with the help of her friends. Handler will play the mother of the teen girl. The cast now includes Victoria Justice (Victorious), Jane Levy, Thomas Mann (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) and Johnny Knoxville.
With director Scott Stewart’s Priest opening this weekend, I was recently able to interview the cast and after the jump is my interview with Paul Bettany. Since I had an extended interview with him at this year’s WonderCon, I tried to ask all new questions. We talked about what it was like at WonderCon, what video games has he been playing, will he voice Jarvis in The Avengers (he tells a great story about a Russian reporter), which of his films do people always want to talk about, and is he down for doing sequels to Priest. Hit the jump to watch.
With Screen Gems Priest opening May 13, the studio has sent over four clips from director Scott Stewart’s film that stars Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Brad Dourif, Stephen Moyer, and Christopher Plummer. Here’s the synopsis:
Priest is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi ride, set in an alternate world – one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on a quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.
Hit the jump to watch the clips.
While some trailers try and sell you on the story, the new trailer for Screen Gems Priest is selling just one thing: action. From the moment the trailer starts, we watch as Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet have to fight off some ugly looking vampires and they use some cool weaponry to try and survive. I got to see the full sequence in 3D at WonderCon and thought it looked really good even though it had been post converted. With this sequence being the main thing they’re selling in the new trailer, I am a bit nervous that this is the only big money shot in the movie. However, I really like the cast, and I’m hoping the movie has a few other kick ass action set pieces.
Hit the jump to watch the new trailer. You can click here for all our previous Priest coverage. Finally, here’s my recent video interviews with Paul Bettany, Lily Collins and director Scott Stewart.
Arriving on May 13 is director Scott Stewart’s Priest. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the film stars Paul Bettany as a renegade warrior priest who goes on the hunt for his niece who’s been kidnapped by vampires. The 3D film also stars Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, and Lily Collins.
On Friday night at WonderCon, Screen Gems premiered a few scenes and I thought it looked like a pretty cool vampire movie. In addition, while the film has been post converted, the 3D looked very well done and it just shows when you spend the time, post conversion works. I heard it took them 6 months to do it.
Anyway, I got to speak with Bettany the day after watching the footage and we talked about post conversion, why he wanted to do Priest, playing against type as an action star, what’s his karaoke song, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch:
Tonight I was able to see some footage from Scott Stewart’s Priest as Screen Gems premiered a few scenes to a number of WonderCon attendees. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the film stars Paul Bettany as a renegade warrior priest who goes on the hunt for his niece who’s been kidnapped by vampires. The 3D film also stars Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, and Lily Collins. Hit the jump for my reaction to the footage.
While at Sundance, I was able to sit down with Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey and writer/director J.C. Chandor for a quick interview about Margin Call. Premiering at this year’s Festival, Margin Call is a really well done economic thriller that revolves around the key people at an investment bank during the 24-hour period before the recent financial crisis. As the film unfolds, we learn who knew what and when, and what lines are you willing to cross to stay ahead. While it often takes Hollywood years to tell a story about something that just happened, Margin Call has already done it and the results are fantastic.
During the interview, the cast talked about what drew them to the project and what does it mean for each of them to be at Sundance. As usual, you can either read or listen to the interview after the jump.
It’s hard to land an exclusive interview with big name stars. After all, when you’re very famous, every reporter wants to talk to you. So when I was told that I would get some time with Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Zachary Quinto and Paul Bettany at Sundance to talk about their excellent movie Margin Call (which premiered last night at Sundance), I made sure my schedule would be clear. Thankfully, while I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down with this very famous group, everyone couldn’t have been friendlier or more excited to talk about the film. And after watching it for myself last night, I understand why. Margin Call, which is written and directed by JC Chandor, is a top notch economic thriller that revolves around the key people at an investment bank during the 24-hour period before the recent financial crisis. As the film unfolds, we learn who knew what and when, and what lines are you willing to cross to stay ahead. While it often takes Hollywood years to tell a story about something that just happened, Margin Call has already done it and the results are fantastic.
During the interview, the cast talked about what drew them to the project, how did they prepare for the technical jargon, what does it mean for each of them to be at Sundance, and a lot more. As usual, you can either read or listen to the interview after the jump.
Someone please put Paul Bettany in better movies. The new trailer for Priest has gone online and I have little faith in this movie. While I like the idea of a futuristic vampire western, this film, which re-teams Bettany with his Legion director Scott Charles Stewart, appears to go overboard on crappy CGI and po-faced self-importance. Someone please explain to me why a film where a guy throws a bunch of crucifix shurikens is trying to be deadly serious.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer, which features some unintentional laughs but very little joy. Priest also stars Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, and Lily Collins. It opens in 3D on May 13th.