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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Warner Bros. Has A Mission

Warner Bros. Has A Mission
And it wants to recruit Brad Pitt...

Source: Deadline

Warner Bros. Has A Mission

With Ben Affleck busy gathering actors for real-life hostage rescue tale Argo, it would seem that fact-based prisoner stories are all the rage in Hollywood at the moment. Warner Bros. is no doubt looking to combine that wave with the recent blitz of information about Special Forces teams in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s death by shoving The Mission on to the fast track and trying to nab both David O. Russell and Brad Pitt for the film.

No, this isn't a film about Jesuit priests in South America. The plot will follow the carefully crafted Operation Jaque, a mission that saw several governments, covert organisations, diplomats and military units working together across six years to free 15 hostages from the Colombian jungles.

Guerrilla group FARC were behind the captures, holding a group including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans against their will for years, moving their position constantly to stop them being tracked down and chaining the prisoners to trees by their necks at night.

There’s no sign yet of whether Pitt will actually end up involved, since A) he’s pretty much offered everything going anyway and B) he’s at work now on World War Z. As for David O. Russell, he’s got The Silver Linings Playbook all but set as his next film and Old St Louis vying for his attention, along with Disney’s Maleficent. Plus he’s gotten a reputation recently for picking up and then dropping out of projects (coughUnchartedcough). But since he is already loosely attached to the Colombian pic as a producer, there’s a chance he’ll get involved.

As of right now, Warners has a Mission script in hand from Trade writer Peter Landesman and producing power in the shape of Lorenzo di Bonaventura and regular Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z Burns. So we’re guessing this is one that will get moving fairly quickly no matter who ends up on either side of the camera…

Source: EmpireOnline

Bryan Cranston Wins Yet Another Role

Bryan Cranston Wins Yet Another Role
Now he's on for Gangster Squad!

Source: Variety

Bryan Cranston Wins Yet Another Role

This is getting ridiculous. Welcome, ladies and germs to what we should probably just go ahead and rename The Bryan Cranston Movie News section of the website, because the man just… cannot… stop… getting… jobs. Not that we’re complaining in any way, of course, because A) he’s ace in pretty much everything, particularly Breaking Bad and B) that show makes us think we wouldn’t want to make him angry. But his latest assignment, coming just one day after the last one? A role in Warner Bros. The Gangster Squad.

The film is already blessed with what we’d describe as a textbook Killer Cast, with Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie and Michael Pena aboard.

Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer is directing the story of the LAPD’s elite crime-fighting squad, formed in the 1940s to stop the illegal behaviour of East Coast Mafia figures that arrive in Los Angeles. While Gosling, Brolin, Mackie and Pena are playing the cops, Penn will be Mickey Cohen, the gangster gambler whose corruption was one of the main reasons the squad was set up in the first place.

Cranston is now in negotiations to play Max Kennard, a laidback LAPD type who hails originally from Texas and hunts down criminals with gusto.

So let’s run the list of gigs that Cranston has booked already, shall we? He’s currently working on Rock of Ages (as the mayor) and the Total Recall remake (as the villain). Ben Affleck cast him in Argo yesterday as a CIA officer. He’s got John Carter, Red Tails and Contagion all headed through post-production and set to arrive over the next year or so. And he’s on screen in Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, which arrives on July 1, followed by Drive, which sees him sharing scenes with Gosling and screeches into our cinemas on September 23. Rumours that he's playing Joseph in your local church's Nativity play are yet to be confirmed.

Source: EmpireOnline

Hemsworth Attached To Shadow Runner

Hemsworth Attached To Shadow Runner
Thor star up for action thriller
Source: Variety

Hemsworth Attached To Shadow Runner

Since he brought the hammer down on the box office earlier this year in Thor, Chris Hemsworth has been considering a variety of follow-up opportunities. While he’s currently busy swinging Mjolnir once again for The Avengers, he’s now attached to a new Sony action thriller called Shadow Runner.

Once again we’re in shadowy territory (sorry), since neither the studio nor idea generator/ executive producer Hossein Amini is willing to let slip just what the movie’s about, though Deadline’s report on the deal makes mention that it’s been inspired by an Israeli assassination team tracking Hamas bigwig Mahmoud al Mabhouh to a hotel in Dubai and killing him. Which points to Hemsworth leading a covert team who pull off dangerous, secret missions. Yeah, that’s a concept we’ve never seen covered on film before…

There’s also no word on who else might be involved: Amini is not currently listed as the writer, though given he’s worked on the upcoming likes of Drive, Killshot, 47 Ronin and Snow White and the Huntsman, there’s every chance he’ll be in charge of the script.

Talking of the Snow White project, that’s the likely link to Hemsworth since he’s starring in the film alongside Kristen Stewart (hilariously, Variety writes that Hemsworth is “set to play one of the title roles”, which gave us a sudden, hilarious/disturbing flash of a cross-dressing version of the film with Hemsworth as Snow and Stewart as the burly hunter.)

The actor will also crop up in Red Dawn (whenever it arrives over here) and Cabin in the Woods (ditto on the floating release date).

Source: EmpireOnline

Will Ferrell Could Swear To God

Will Ferrell Could Swear To God
He's attached to a new comedy pitch

Source: Deadline

Will Ferrell Could Swear To God

It would seem that Warner Bros. is keen to keep Will Ferrell working for the studio for a little longer. The comedy actor is already in line to star in political comedy Southern Rivals for the company, and now Warners has snapped up a pitch called Swear to God from Due Date writers Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland, which just so happens to have a Mr W Ferrell attached to star.

There aren’t many details floating around about the plot just yet, but Deadline reports that the script is a buddy comedy that would see Ferrell as a vain financial type who suddenly believes he’s seen the Almighty.

Though an early version of Deadline’s report had regular Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay attached to direct, that’s since been amended. And that’s not too shocking, since McKay is already busy developing other projects, including the adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book The Boys. Still, given that Swear to God is still at a fairly embryonic stage (the script isn’t written yet), there’s always a chance he could clamber aboard later on down the line.

Source: EmpireOnline

Denzel Washington May Open American Can

Denzel Washington May Open American Can
Will Smith wants him for the drama

Source: Vulture

Denzel Washington May Open American Can

Given the harrowing human drama of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and its devastating impact on New Orleans, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been tapped for many more films than we’ve actually gotten. But Will Smith is not letting the opportunity go by. He’s still trying to get based-on-fact pic The American Can made, and is busy trying to convince Denzel Washington to star.

Smith first got involved back in 2009 when he and his Overbrook Entertainment company bought the life rights to the story of John Keller, a man who saved many lives in the aftermath of the storm.

Keller, a tough, tall former Marine, helped keep the 150-odd residents of his apartment complex – American Can, which is where the project gets its title, unsurprisingly – safe when they were cut off by 11-foot-high floods of fetid water. Many of those living in the building were elderly and infirm, and hadn’t been able to evacuate. Keller got them moved to the roof and co-ordinated the distribution of airdropped supplies while also guarding the place from looters.

With The Blind Side’s John Lee Hancock having written the script and on board to direct, Smith had considered playing Keller himself, but he’s got other commitments (including M Night Shyamalan’s One Thousand A.E.) and so he’s now got Washington reading script drafts and giving notes to see whether he’d be a good fit for the project. Will Washington sign on? We’ll have to wait and see, but it certainly sounds like an attractive acting prospect…

Source: EmpireOnline

Disney Plans To Movietise The Matterhorn

Disney Plans To Movietise The Matterhorn
Ready to head to The Hill?

Source: Heat Vision Blog

Disney Plans To Movietise The Matterhorn

We have to admit we’re a little confused as to why Disney would be thinking of turning one of its iconic rides (in this case, The Matterhorn) into a movie. It’s not like The Country Bears did well or anything. Sorry… Wait, we’re now being told that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies did okay. They kept that quiet! All kidding aside, it’s not tough to figure out why the Mouse House is scouring the theme parks for possible film fodder, so news of planned adventure pic The Hill should surprise exactly no one.

According to the Heat Vision blog, that’s just a working title, but the project does have a writer attached already (Spread’s Jason Dean Hall), who will be cooking up a thrill-packed story of five young adventure seekers mysteriously summoned to the top of the mountain and who must survive encounters with Yetis on their way down.

The ride itself, which also goes by the name the Matterhorn Bobsleds, first started ferrying riders around its snowy wastes at Disneyland in 1959, after Walt Disney came back from a trip to Switzerland obsessed with crafting a toboggan-style rollercoaster. The abominable snowmen, however, weren’t added until 1978, when the attraction was upgraded to make it more exciting. And furry.

Disney currently has a few of its rides bubbling away in development, with Jungle Cruise and a new take on the Haunted Mansion (with Guillermo del Toro producing) both in line for the screen. Then there’s Magic Kingdom, which features the park itself, and has Jon Favreau overseeing a script now being reworked by Michael Chabon.

A few more Pirates-style successes and everything will be up for grabs. Coming in 2016: Queue for the Loo (“Can you handle the pressure?”) and Souvenir Stand (“The cost may be more than you think!”) We hope the cheque’s in the post, Mickey…

Source: EmpireOnline

Roland Emmerich Finds Singularity

Roland Emmerich Finds Singularity
Sony has bought his new film

Source: Deadline

Roland Emmerich Finds Singularity

Though he’s opted to put aside his destructive tendencies for Shakespeare-focused authorial conspiracy drama Anonymous, it didn’t take long for Roland Emmerich to start hankering after a bigger scale and – likely – more chaos. He’s recently been courted to direct the adaptation of video game classic Asteroids, but now he’s also set up an intriguing new project at Sony called Singularity.

It’s strictly a working title for now, and could change if Roland Joffe gets his similarly-named time-spanning drama up and running first. Both Sony and the director are staying coy on any real details, with Deadline only able to ferret out that it’s science fiction, appears to be pitched at blockbuster/tent pole scale and will feature a script co-written by Emmerich and 2012’s Harald Kloser.

So though they’re naturally being evasive at this early stage, the way is clear for us to indulge in a little hit-the-dictionary plot prediction!

The most obvious definition of the term is the posh science term for a black hole, or “a hypothetical point in space-time at which matter is infinitely compressed to infinitesimal volume.” Could Emmerich be coming up with a way to destroy not only the Earth but lots of other planets and stars too? We can almost hear the review headline writers clapping their hands with glee at the possible chance to write “it really sucks!”

But singularity can also refer to the point in time in which technological intelligence finally supersedes that of its human creators. Maybe he’s thinking about a tech menace to society?

We’ll find out soon enough: though he’s got other projects swimming about, including his long-planned take on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, part of Sony’s deal for the pitch includes a planned US release date of May 17, 2013. Which means he’ll be getting to work on it sooner rather than later.

Before any of that, Anonymous will arrive on September 28.

Source: EmpireOnline

Disney Crowns King Of The Elves Again

Disney Crowns King Of The Elves Again
Philip K Dick-based 'toon back on

Source: Variety

Disney Crowns King Of The Elves Again

Back when Pixar chief John Lasseter swept into Hawaiian-shirted power at Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006, a variety of animation projects, including Tangled and what would end up as Bolt were shoved back into development and re-worked before release. Another project in a similar situation is King of the Elves, which has been dragged out, dusted off and aimed at a late 2013 release.

Elves adapts a Philip K Dick short story about a group of elves (obviously) and one dwarf living in the Mississippi Delta. They’re constantly at war with a nasty bunch of trolls, but when a down-on-his-luck human helps them one night, they crown him their king.

Originally, the Brother Bear team of Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker were working on the concept, with the Mouse House looking to get it out by 2012. But Lasseter decided it needed more work, and had it briefly shelved.

Now Horrible Bosses contributor Michael Markowitz is aboard to overhaul the script and Bolt writer/co-director Chris Williams is overseeing the 'toon's reanimation. On a visit to Disney Animation a while back we saw some concept art hanging about for this one and it looked gorgeous, so let's hope things move smoothly from here on in.

Source: EmpireOnline

Diablo Cody Directing Lamb Of God

Diablo Cody Directing Lamb Of God
Religious comedy for Juno writer

Source: The Playlist

Diablo Cody Directing Lamb Of God

Nope, it's nothing to do with the Virginian metal band. Rather, Lamb of God will mark the directorial debut of Diablo Cody.

Cody's new American gospel is a comedy involving a conservative religious woman who loses her faith after a plane crash. She heads for Las Vegas to let her hair down and taste some of the experiences she's missed. But her mission to become a pariah is set to fail and, feeling the absence of the sacred, and not enjoying being a devil in God's country, she makes a spiritual journey back to her roots.

That doesn't sound like comedy gold to us, to be honest, but Cody will be unperturbed as she's long since stopped reading her critics. "I've been on a long media fast," she said recently. "As a writer, I'm in a vacuum."

Cody, of course, came out of nowhere to rapturous acclaim with her screenplay for Juno in 2007, but stumbled at the second hurdle: Jennifer's Body seemed to confuse audiences by being too horror to be straight-up funny and too funny to be straight-up horror.* Since then she's been busy with TV's The United States of Tara, with rumblings of a Sweet Valley High reboot. Her third produced screenplay, Young Adult, should be out in the autumn, directed by Jason Reitman.

Lamb of God will be the third result of her working relationship with Mandate, who are clearly confident that she'll be fine behind the camera. "Having been in the trenches with Diablo before, we jumped at the chance to work with her again," says Mandate honcho Nathan Kahane. "It's an honour to be part of Diablo's transition to director."

The project has been fast-tracked, so expect casting announcements sooner rather than later.

*Didn't hurt The Lost Boys, but there you go.

Source: EmpireOnline

New Final Destination 5 Poster Online

New Final Destination 5 Poster Online
3D skull destruction comin' atcha

Final Destination 5 is almost upon us, so it's about time there was an official theatrical release poster. Oh look! There it is!

Poster-wise it's taken the death-dealing franchise a while to find a visual identity, with early instalments opting for full-cast shots. Part four, The Final Destination (not) went all out for the central, grinning, shattering skull though, and 5 continues that theme against a similarly-hued background. Those steel bolts ought to give you a bit of a clue that, natch, the film's in 3D.

The disaster this time round is a suspension bridge collapse, the survivors of which, par for the course, will be dealing with fate trying to realign itself in creatively grisly ways.

Series regular Tony Todd says at least two further episodes are guaranteed if this one's as successful as the last. James Cameron protégé Steven Quale directed, and it's out in the UK on August 26.

Source: EmpireOnline

New Hobbit Images Online

New Hobbit Images Online
More Bilbo and Gandalf images

Source: Exclusive

You've already seen the Hobbit cover of the latest issue of Empire, but here's a sneak peek at two of the images inside the magazine, showing Bilbo and Gandalf in all their Martin Freeman-y, Sir Ian McKellen-y glory. And inside the magazine is a lengthy and exclusive report from the film's New Zealand set, which our Ian Nathan visited recently. The good news? Peter Jackson is relaxed, happy and hitting his stride.

“I’m exactly the same filmmaker as I was ten years ago,” says Jackson. “I’m trying to nail the same thing that I did before. I’m just telling the story.” The only difference is that this time he has a bunch of snarky dwarves to corral. "“They don’t know what to make of Gandalf, they think Bilbo is a wuss, and Elrond a prissy headmaster type,” laughs Jackson.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will hit screens on December 14, 2012. The new Empire is out on Thursday.

Source: EmpireOnline

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First War Horse Trailer Is Here!

First War Horse Trailer Is Here!
Spielberg goes off to World War I

First War Horse Trailer Is Here!

Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse is galloping towards our screens (sorry) and here, stamping its hooves and shaking its beautiful mane in the wind, is the trailer for the film. Sorry. Hey, at least we didn't call it a thoroughbred!

The story follows a horse named Joey, who is tamed and trained by a young man called Albert (Jeremy Irvine) in the years before the outbreak of World War I. But with the War's coming, Joey and Albert are parted, in a journey that brings our equine hero into contact with British officers, their German opponents and the French farmers caught in the middle.

Judging by this trailer, Spielberg (and regular cinematographer Janusz Kaminski) are on form in a film that looks to be an earthy, or rather muddy, contrast to the 'Berg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn later this year. You'll have to squint hard to spot some of the cast members, however: blink and you'll miss the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Niels Arestrup, Eddie Marsan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis and David Kross.

War Horse is out in the UK on January 13, 2012. Why yes, that does place it right in the heart of awards season. Wonder if that's a coincidence?

Source: EmpireOnline

First Mission: Impossible 4 Trailer Hits

First Mission: Impossible 4 Trailer Hits
Ghost Protocol is a go

Source: Yahoo

While the footage leaked online via some sneaky French cinemagoer, the first, official trailer for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has officially arrived in shiny HD and you can watch it below.

And… Blimey. Though we realise it’s just a trailer and we’ve been burned before, this really does look like a heck of a lot of fun.

Running through the checklist of Things What We Want To See In That There Mission: Impossible Franchise, this promo for Brad Bird’s first stab at the Ethan Hunt story ticks ‘em all off – Tom Cruise performing daring stunts, things going boom, sexy people (in this case, Paula Patton for the lads, Lost’s Josh Holloway and putative future focus Jeremy Renner for the ladies), fast cars, betrayal, and Simon Pegg back as tecchie comic relief Benji Dunn (getting out of the lab this time around).

Kicking off with the Kremlin going kablooey and the entire IMF team disavowed (a way to get them deep undercover so they can sort out the situation), this is predictably a blend of big set piece moments that that theme tune getting remixed with even more pounding enthusiasm than usual. But darn it, if it doesn’t do the job with verve and gusto. Your thoughts? Speak them up below or on The Twitters.

The movie, which will need to live up to this promise, arrives on December 26.

Source: EmpireOnline

Bryan Cranston Up For Argo

Bryan Cranston Up For Argo
Ben Affleck has also cast himself...

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Bryan Cranston Up For Argo

On days like this, we wonder if Bryan Cranston ever wishes he could take a trip in a time machine back to the days when he was working on Malcolm In The Middle and thrill his younger self with the number of solid acting jobs he’d be winning in the future. His latest? Cranston is in negotiations to join Ben Affleck’s next directorial gig, Argo.

Affleck’s been steadily building his cast over the last week or so, with Alan Arkin and John Goodman already aboard the true-life hostage tale. And Cranston is not the only actor cast in the last few hours, as the director has also tracked down someone he definitely knows he can work with – himself.

Yes, in the story of US diplomats smuggled out of the American embassy in Iran in 1979 under the guise of a film crew scouting for a sci-fi movie, Affleck is playing Tony Mendez, a CIA officer who steered the operation. Cranston is agent Jack O’Donnell, a former bodyguard to President Eisenhower, who is now Mendez’ boss.

Arkin is Hollywood power producer Lester Siegel and Goodman will play John Chambers, the special make-up effects guru who helped with the scheme.

Cranston, meanwhile, has a role in Rock of Ages and will also play the villain in Total Recall. Add to that the fact that he’s got Contagion, Red Tails and John Carter all in various stages of their trips to the screen, and he’s one very busy performer. He’ll next be seen in Larry Crowne, which opens here on July 1. Oh, and not forgetting his ongoing role in the excellent Breaking Bad…

Source: EmpireOnline

Jason Momoa Prepares For A Headshot

Jason Momoa Prepares For A Headshot
Stallone vs Conan!

Source: Latino Review

Jason Momoa Prepares For A Headshot

After Conan the Barbarian, A Game of Thrones and Stargate: Atlantis, Jason Momoa looks set to finally trade in his barbarian sandals for some more urban attire. Momoa should shortly be arriving on the set of Walter Hill's Headshot, where he'll be exchanging fire with Sylvester Stallone and Sung Kang.

We're still calling it Headshot in the absence of an official title, but whatever the name, it's the thriller about the cop and the hitman who join forces to take on the killer of their respective partners. Stallone is the assassin, Kang is the copper (replacing Thomas Jane), and Momoa will be playing Keegan, the villain of the piece. It's a chance for him to chew some scenery in a more down-to-Earth setting than he's currently used to. Or at least, as down-to-Earth as a Stallone action pic can be...

Not-Headshot is based on the French Bullet To The Head comics series by Alex "Matz" Nolent and Colin Wilson, and as previously reported, is action-maestro Hill's first cinematic outing since 2002. Shooting starts imminently in Louisiana, after which Momoa plans to head down Mexico way for his post-apocalyptic water-shortage actioner The Samurai.

Conan is out on August 26.

Source: EmpireOnline