The Hobbit gets greenlight and cast ... but where will they work?
It was officially announced last Friday that Peter Jackson will write, direct and produce two Hobbit films beginning in February 2011. The lingering questions this week were who will comprise the cast and where will they film. Today, we know the answer to one of those questions. Martin Freeman (U.K. version of The Office, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) will star as Bilbo Baggins, and Deadline has a list of the rest of the confirmed cast comprising the Company of Dwarves. It is also expected that Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis will reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum, while James Nesbitt, David Tennant, Stephen Fry, Saoirse Ronan, and Bill Nighy are all up for unspecified roles. Now to the question of location. Even though the New Zealand Actors Equity union has rescinded their ban on The Hobbit -- allowing their members (and others) to take roles -- the film could still leave New Zealand. ComingSoon.net has the statements by the actors unions and Jackson. The Playlist speculates that Warner Bros. might want to take the film to the Harry Potter studios in England, but Warner execs are expected to first visit New Zealand this week before making a final decision.
Scream 4 teaser
Or should we call it SCRE4M? The original cast and crew return for the fourth installment in the Ghostface Killer series. Wes Craven directs, Kevin Williamson writes, and Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette all reprise their roles. This time, the Ghostface Killer threatens the high school friends of Sidney’s cousin, played by Emma Roberts. Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Alison Brie, Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell also appear in the film, due in theaters on April 15, 2011.
Mel Gibson still stuck in career rehab
Early this week, the news that Mel Gibson would play a Bangkok tattoo artist in The Hangover 2 made everyone forget that Heather Graham would not return, but now you can go back to obsessing over Heather Graham. In a statement on Thursday, director Todd Phillips confirmed that Mel Gibson will not be joining the cast, stating, “I thought Mel would have been great in the movie and I had the full backing of Jeff Robinov and his team. But I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.” Vulture suspected early on that Zach Galifianakis wasn’t totally on board with the hiring of Gibson based on his comments on the Comedy Death-Ray podcast about being in “deep protest” over a film that he wouldn’t name. Does this end the stunt casting in this series that began with Mike Tyson in the original Hangover? We’ll let you know.
Paul teaser trailer
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the stars of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, team up again, this time with Greg Mottola (Adventureland) directing. They star as two comic book geeks who, while traveling across America, encounter and then befriend an alien named Paul. The alien is voiced by Seth Rogen, while Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Jane Lynch also join in the fun. Paul will be in theaters on March 18, 2011.
Piranha 3D now DD
Deadline reports that the Piranha 3D sequel train is rolling and not even James Cameron can stop it. John Gulager (Feast) will direct, while Saw IV, V, VI, and 3D writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan have been brought on board to invent new ways for people to die. The production is being fast-tracked, so the film can hit a late August 2011 release date. It seems safe to assume that, like the original, the sequel won’t take itself too seriously, especially given its title: Piranha 3DD. If you don’t get it, we can’t help you.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first feature film since 2006’s Babel won Javier Bardem the best actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival but received mild praise overall. Biutiful follows Uxbal (Bardem), a petty thief in Barcelona’s underworld, as he deals with his own failing health, his troubled ex-wife, his hopes for his children, and his ability to communicate with the dead. This is Inarritu’s first feature without writer Guillermo Arriaga. The film will get a limited release on December 29 before expanding.
First trailer for Gus Van Sant’s Restless
Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) stars as a terminally ill girl who meets a boy who enjoys crashing funerals and communicating with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. That may sound a little too quirky, but maybe director Gus Van Sant can save it from potential preciousness. Restless will be in theaters on January 28, 2011.
Second trailer for The Fighter
Here’s a second look at David O. Russell’s The Fighter, based on the true story of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward. The film follows Micky’s boxing career and his up and down relationship with his half-brother Dickie, played by Christian Bale. Amy Adams plays Micky’s girlfriend, and Melissa Leo (Frozen River) plays his mom. The Fighter is set for limited release on December 10 before expanding across the U.S.
Deadline reports that Kate Beckinsale is in negotiations to join Mark Wahlberg, who is already set to star, in Contraband, a remake of 2008’s Reykjavic-Rotterdam. Baltasar Kormakur, who wrote and starred in the original, will direct. The story revolves around a former smuggler who’s trying to go straight until he must help his wife’s brother by doing one more run.
Animated short Alma to become a feature
If you haven’t seen the animated short Alma that has been circling the internet and film festivals for the last year, you might want to take five minutes out of your day and enjoy it (below). Heat Vision reports that Guillermo del Toro will exec produce a feature-length version to be directed by the original animator, Rodrigo Blaas, while Blaas will aid del Toro on his first animated feature, Trollhunters.
The first five minutes of Megamind
Here is a five-minute preview of the new animated comedy Megamind, about a supervillain who doesn't discover how important his lifelong nemesis is until after he’s gone. Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar) and with the voices of Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah HIll, Megamind looks to entice parents and kids into theaters on November 5.
Casino Jack trailer
Last week we got a clip from Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey, but this week we have a full-length trailer. To refresh your memory, Spacey plays Jack Abramoff, infamous lobbyist and overall bad guy, while Kelly Preston plays his wife, Barry Pepper plays Michael Scanlon, and Jon Lovitz plays Adam Kidan. George Hickenlooper (Factory Girl) directs. The film is due in theaters in December.
Made in Dagenham trailer
Made in Dagenham is based on the true story of the 1968 sewing machinists strike for equal pay at the Ford Dagenham assembly plant. The film is directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) and stars an impressive British cast including Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky), Bob Hoskins (Mrs. Henderson Presents), Miranda Richardson (The Young Victoria), Daniel Mays (The Bank Job), and Rosamund Pike (An Education). The film will get a limited release beginning on November 19.
I Love You Philip Morris red-band trailer
Lawsuits between producers and distributors have delayed the film for years, but I Love You Phillip Morris will finally get a limited release in the U.S. on December 3. The dramedy is based on the true story of con man Steven Jay Russell, whose love for Phillip Morris is the only constant amongst his multiple cons and daring escapes from prison. Jim Carrey plays Russell, and Ewan McGregor plays Phillip Morris. Glenn Ficara and John Requa, the writers of Bad Santa, wrote and directed the film based on Steve McVicker’s book, and, as the trailer reveals, there are definitely some similarities in tone between the two films. Warning - NSFW.
Liam Neeson stars as a man who wakes from a coma only to find that his wife doesn’t recognize him and someone has stolen his identity in this thriller from Jaume Collett-Serra, the director of The Orphan. January Jones plays Neeson’s wife, while Diane Kruger, Frank Langella, and Bruno Ganz also star. Release is set for February 18, 2011.
The first trailer for The Rite
Have there been enough movies about exorcism already? Well here comes another one, like it or not. The Rite stars Anthony Hopkins as a priest who shows the darker side of religion to a seminary student played by Colin O’Donoghue. Alice Braga (Predators), Ciaran Hinds (Life During Wartime), and Rutger Hauer also star in the film directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408) and adapted by Michael Petroni (Queen of the Damned) from Matt Baglio’s novel, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Day Exorcist. See it in theaters January 28, 2011.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Director Terrence Malick's long-in-the-works epic Tree of Life -- once expected to arrive this year -- now may have a May 27, 2011 release date - Collider
- Lars von Trier will improve everyone’s mood with his next film, Melancholia. Want to know some plot details? Go here.
- The God of Carnage cast is set. John C. Reilly will join Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in the Roman Polanski-directed adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play. - Deadline
- Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton will now be released on November 10.
- In an interview with Reuters on his new autobiography, Life, Keith Richards let it be known that he will reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow’s father in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- Iron Man 3 will be released by Disney on May 3, 2013 - Variety
- Megan Fox has joined Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott and John Hamm in Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids - THR
- Colin Farrell heads the list of possible stars in Len Wiseman’s (Live Free or Die Hard) Total Recall remake - Heat Vision
- Matt Damon will narrate Alex Gibney’s (Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) documentary on Lance Armstrong - LA Times
- Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena, and Tea Leoni have all joined Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda in Brett Ratner’s Tower Heist - Deadline and Variety
- Everyone’s favorite punching bag, M. Night Shyamalan, might be directing Jaden Smith in the sci-fi themed One Thousand A.E., written by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) - Heat Vision