I am Affleckman
The news broke last night, followed by collective screams of pain, joy and surprise from film and comic book geeks everywhere. Warner Bros. announced that Ben Affleck will play Batman opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in the upcoming sequel to The Man of Steel. Affleck joins Christian Bale, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, and Michael Keaton in portraying Bruce Wayne on the big screen. Zack Snyder, who will direct the film (scheduled to hit theaters on July 17, 2015), said, “Ben provides an interesting counterbalance to Henry's Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him." Affleck’s schedule is already busy with his starring role in David Fincher’s Gone Girl adaptation plus his own directorial follow-up to Argo, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night, but Warner Bros. probably made it worth his time. Besides, Affleck would probably like to erase Daredevil from everyone’s memory. Express your opinion on Ben Affleck as Batman in the comments section below.
A quick first look at Divergent
Check out this tease for Divergent starring Shailene Woodley. Neil Burger (Limitless) directs this adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s planned trilogy. Theo James, Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Miles Teller, Mekhi Phifer, Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, and Ansel Elgort also star in a story set in a futuristic world where society has been divided into five factions. That could be a problem if you happen to be different.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Before directing The Wackness, 50/50, and Warm Bodies, Jonathan Levine directed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. Seven years later, the film, starring Amber Heard as the titular character, will finally make it to theaters on October 11th (and VOD September 6th). When are high school students going to learn? Do not have a weekend party at a secluded ranch.
Love, loincloths, and lava
Kit Harington (Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow) and his abs play Milo, an enslaved gladiator who falls for Cassia, a noblewoman played by Emily Browning, in this Titanic-like take on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii. As they race to avoid the flow of lava, Milo confronts the Roman Senator (Kiefer Sutherland) responsible for his family’s death and tries to save Cassia’s father Lucretius (Jared Harris). Carrie-Anne Moss and Paz Vega also star in this film from director Paul W.S. Anderson, who’s just taking a break between Resident Evil: Retribution and the upcoming September 12, 2014 release of Resident Evil 6. Pompeii hits theaters February 21, 2014.
A Zapruder film film
One might wonder why we need another film about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but in adapting Vincent Bugliosi’s book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, journalist turned writer-director Peter Landesman has tried to provide a different take by focusing on Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti), who filmed the assassination on his Super 8 camera, the doctor and nurse (Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden) on duty at the hospital where the president was taken after being shot (and where the film gets its title), the mother (Jackie Weaver) and brother (James Badge Dale) of Lee Harvey Oswald and an FBI agent (Ron Livingston) and Secret Service agent (Billy Bob Thornton). Parkland will premiere in Venice before coming to U.S. theaters on October 4th.
The Book Thief
Based on the best-selling book by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel (Sophie Nelisse from Monsieur Lazhar), who has a habit of stealing books, and her adoptive parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), who are hiding a Jewish man (Ben Schnetzer) in their basement. Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) directs from a script by Michael Petroni (The Rite ). Embrace the smell of Oscar bait and see it in theaters beginning November 15th.
Llewyn Davis thinks about the future
The latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen follows Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaacs), a down-on-his-luck folk singer in 1960’s Greenwich Village stumbling through life and leaving a mess behind. Those messes include a pregnant Carey Mulligan, who is married to a folk singer played by Justin Timberlake. There’s also a cat, a car ride with John Goodman, and songs to be played. Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix at Cannes and comes to theaters on December 6th.
One more look at The Counselor
With its October 25th release date still two months away, are we seeing too much of Ridley Scott’s and Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor too soon? Two weeks ago, a new trailer and three short clips premiered. This week, it’s an international trailer that provides more information about the bad things that will happen to the bad people played by Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. And, yes, that’s Breaking Bad’s Hank (Dean Norris) looking into a container with something inside it that does not smell good.
Getaway, Ethan Hawke’s third (and worst) movie of 2013 following The Purge and Before Midnight, is a thriller in which he plays a former race car driver who must drive to save his kidnapped wife. To add to his troubles, Selena Gomez is along for the ride. Courtney Solomon (An American Haunting) directs, and Jon Voight also stars. Not to be confused with The Getaway (either version), Getaway hits theaters August 30th.
Strong early reviews have greeted this story of a young Saudi Arabian girl who enters a Koran recital competition in hopes of winning enough money to buy a bike. First time director Haifaa Al-Mansour is the first woman to make an entire film in Saudi Arabia. Waad Mohammed, a 12-year-old born and raised in Riyadh, plays the girl, and Reem Abdullah plays her mother. Wadjda comes to select theaters on September 13th.
The Muscle Shoals sound
It has been a strong year for music docs with Twenty Feet from Stardom, Sound City, The Girls in the Band and Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me all leaving their mark. The documentary Muscle Shoals gets its name from the small Alabama town on the Tennessee River where Rick Hall founded FAME Studios and shaped the “Muscle Shoals sound.” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Percy Sledge and others praise the studio’s influential sound. Muscle Shoals comes select theaters September 27th.
David Lowery’s got a new film, and a deal for film lovers
Heat Vision reports that David Lowery will reunite with his Ain’t Them Bodies Saints star, Casey Affleck, to make To Be Two, an adaptation of the short story To Be Two or Not by Paul Broks that “deals with identity and the self. It’s set in a world where teleportation exists and people are scanned, the digital self sent to Mars, reconstructed atom by atom, while the original is vaporized. The story then posits the idea of the teleportation machine malfunctioning and not vaporizing the original person.” Also check out Lowery’s August 23rd Quadruple Feature Giveaway. See his debut feature, Short Term 12, Drinking Buddies and You’re Next at the theater this weekend, prove it to him, and get some signed memorabilia from the films.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Clint Eastwood is in talks to direct American Sniper with Bradley Cooper. Cooper is also being mentioned in connection with Warner Bros.‘s Lance Armstrong film and James Gunn’s choice to voice Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. - Variety & Deadline & Latino Review
- J.J. Abrams will shoot Star Wars: Episode VII on 35mm film rather than digitally. He will re-team with his Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, and Star Trek Into Darkness cinematographer Dan Mindel. - The Force.net
- Lionsgate revealed that Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones) will play Cressida in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & 2.
- Rodrigo Santoro will play the owner of an international auto racing team opposite con artists Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus, from directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy, Stupid Love). - THR
- Elizabeth Olsen is the favorite to play Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. - Bleeding Cool
- Olivia Munn is in talks to join Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ewan McGregor in David Koepp’s adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli’s Mortdecai book series. - Deadline
- Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) is in talks to direct a new big-screen version of The Twilight Zone. - Heat Vision
- Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) has joined Charlize Theron, Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Chloe Moretz, and Tye Sheridan (Mud) in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. - Deadline
- Rachel McAdams has joined James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Robert Naylor in Wim Wenders’ Every Thing Will Be Fine. - THR
- Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) will direct, and Idris Elba will star in an adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel, Beasts of No Nation, the story of a young boy who becomes a child soldier during a West African civil war. - Deadline
- Ziyi Zhang is in talks to reprise her role from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the upcoming sequel to be directed by Yuen Wo Ping. - EW
- Marion Cotillard will play Lady Macbeth opposite Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth in Snowtown director Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play. - Deadline
- Jim Field Smith (She’s Out of My League, Butter) will direct Virgins America, an American remake of hit British film The Inbetweeners Movie (a spin-off from the TV series). - THR
- Jean-Marc Vallée, director of the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club, will helm the Reese Witherspoon-starring and Nick Hornby-scripted adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild. - Deadline
- Benedict Cumberbatch will not be starring in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. - Variety
- Timur Bekmambetov is in talks to remake Ben Hur, but in the meantime he’s producing a movie about killer squirrels. - Deadline