A first look at Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful
Comic-Con is in full swing, and the first film to surprise the fans in Hall H was Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. This prequel of sorts to The Wizard of Oz places James Franco’s Oscar Diggs, a small-time magician with big dreams, in the fantastical land. There, he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Glinda (Michelle Williams), and Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and passes himself off as a wizard. The film pulls material from L. Frank Baum’s book to create an origin story for the Wizard of Oz. It’s the latest change of pace in the varied career of Sam Raimi, whose last film was 2009’s Drag Me to Hell 83. Oz The Great and Powerful comes to theaters March 8, 2013.
One last long tease for The Dark Knight Rises
If you don’t already have tickets or at least plans to see Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises when it comes to theaters next week, then maybe the new 13-minute featurette and three short clips released this week won’t be interesting to you, but for those who can’t wait another week, here’s your fix. You know the story, you know the players, and now you can preview the score. See you in the theaters next week.
A few more videogame franchises move closer to the big screen
While it has been attempted too many times to count, it has been rare for a successful video game to duplicate that success on the big screen, but that won’t stop companies from trying. One company that has felt the sting of translating console hits to box office riches is Ubisoft. Their collaboration with Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 50 failed to take flight, so now they are going the independent development route. Variety reports that Ubisoft has made a deal with the incredibly busy Michael Fassbender to star in and co-produce an adaptation of Assassin’s Creed 81. UMP (Ubisoft Motion Pictures) will maintain creative control, select a writer and director to develop the film, and then shop it to the studios. Sony almost made a deal for the franchise back in October, so look for them to be players in this new incarnation. There’s no word yet on whether Desmond Miles will be going back to the Crusades or the Renaissance or even the American Revolution (as planned in the upcoming third installment in the game series, due October 30th), but Fassbender has already proven to be comfortable mixing it up in many different time periods (300 51, Centurion 62, X-Men: First Class 65, Haywire 67).
Meanwhile, CBS Films also announced this week that they have acquired the rights to the Deus Ex series from Square Enix. According to the press release, the film will be based on the latest game in the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution 90. Finally, the previously announced DreamWorks action film based on EA's Need for Speed racing series is indeed moving forward, and now has a release date of February 7, 2014; our friends at GameSpot have the details.
The latest on The Hunger Games
This week Lionsgate made an official (and expected) announcement that Mockingjay, the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, would in fact be split up into two movies. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will be released on November 21, 2014, while Part 2 will hit theaters on November 20, 2015. It was already announced that the next installment, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, will arrive on November 22, 2013, and director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend 65, Water for Elephants 52), who’s taking over for The Hunger Games 67 director Gary Ross, cast two major roles this week. After being rumored a few weeks ago, E! News reports that Philip Seymour Hoffman has officially joined the cast as Plutarch Heavensbee, the Gamemaker who succeeds Wes Bentley’s Seneca Crane. THR also reports that Jena Malone (Sucker Punch) will play Johanna Mason, the ax-wielding former winner from District 7 who becomes an ally to Katniss and Peeta in the 75th Hunger Games. The role of Finnick Odair still needs to be cast.
Hello I Must Be Going
Melanie Lynskey stars as Amy, a thirty-something divorcée living with her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein) who falls for Jeremy, a 19-year-old played by Christopher Abbott (HBO's Girls), in this romantic comedy that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Lynskey’s performance earned unanimous praise at the festival, but the film as a whole got mixed reviews. Director Todd Louiso, who played Dick, the lover of sad-bastard music in High Fidelity, previously helmed Love Liza 58 with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hello I Must Be Going will get a limited release on September 7th.
A comedy for the NPR crowd
In an adaptation of his one-man show and book Sleepwalk with Me, Mike Birbiglia stars as Matt Pandamiglio, a comedian struggling with his stand-up act, his eight-year relationship, and increasingly dangerous bouts of sleepwalking. Birbiglia co-wrote the film with This American Life’s Ira Glass and co-directed the film with Seth Barrish. The film stars Lauren Ambrose as Birbiglia’s girlfriend, Carol Kane and James Rebhorn as his parents, as well as Kristen Schaal, David Wain, Wyatt Cenac, and Marc Maron. Look for it in limited release beginning August 24th.
For this coming-of-age tale, writer Mark Poirier (Smart People 57) adapts his own novel, Goats, for first-time director Christopher Neil. The film follows 15-year-old Ellis (Graham Philips) as he heads to boarding school, leaving behind his mother (Vera Farmiga) and his stand-in father, Goat Man, played by a heavily bearded David Duchovny. While away at school, he has a chance to reconnect with his real father (Modern Family’s Ty Burrell) and meet his new, young, pregnant “mom” played by Keri Russell. After receiving mixed reviews at Sundance, Goats comes to select theaters on August 10th.
A teaser for the new Robocop
Anyone who has seen Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 RoboCop 67 will remember the ED-209. Well, take a look at its new incarnation in this viral ad for José Padilha’s RoboCop starring Joel Kinnaman; the remake comes to theaters beginning August 9, 2013.
Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie goes old school
Check out this charming trailer for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie that plays with the conventions of old school horror trailers. Hopefully the film, which Burton based on his 1984 live action short, will have the same fun spirit as it tells the story of a boy who reanimates his beloved dog. Look for it in theaters October 5th.
Cosmopolis gets an official U.S. trailer
After a mixed reception at its Cannes premiere, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel Cosmopolis opened in many countries around the world. The film makes its debut in the U.S. on August 17th, and here’s the official trailer. The story follows a 28-year-old billionaire (Pattinson) as he travels through Manhattan in his tricked out limousine on his way to get a haircut. His life is in chaos, along with the world, and this trailer gets that point across pretty well. Beware of seizures if you watch all the way to the end.
Wes Anderson’s next film
With Moonrise Kingdom’s 84 great reviews and surprising box office receipts (over $40 million worldwide) still making headlines, Wes Anderson is already planning his next feature. While making the rounds with the press for his current release, Anderson revealed that the script was already completed for a European-set film that would reunite him with his frequent collaborator Owen Wilson. That’s not a lot to go on, but now Twitch reports that Anderson has his casting wishlist, and it includes new blood—Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Angela Lansbury—as well as Anderson vets like Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, and Willem Dafoe. Nothing’s official, but it’s fun to speculate on the possibility of Depp and Lansbury joining the fold. Get out your Wes Anderson Bingo boards.
A peek behind the filmmaking process of three future releases
Making a movie is an incredibly collaborative and painstaking process, and the following three featurettes look at that creative process from different perspectives. Zoe Kazan, the writer and star of Ruby Sparks, talks about the story, which concerns the creative struggles of a writer, and finding the right directors for the job—Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. See the film in theaters July 25th.
ParaNorman is a stop-motion animated film that opens August 17th. A very different process from live-action filmmaking is explored in this video, which tracks the creation of the Norman model.
Rian Johnson’s Looper opens September 28th, and from the sound of it, the film’s score, created by Rian’s cousin Nathan, is going to pair nicely with this sci-fi assassin head-trip of a film.
The cast of Olympus Has Fallen
In the battle of “the White House has been attacked” films, Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen is winning the casting race against Roland Emmerich’s White House Down (at least numbers-wise). Deadline reports that Radha Mitchell (The Crazies) will play Leah, the wife of Gerard Butler’s Secret Service agent who’s at the center of the action. He’ll be protecting Aaron Eckhart as POTUS and working alongside his boss, played by Angela Bassett. According to Heat Vision, Cole Hauser will also join the fight against the North Korean terrorists led by Rick Yune (The Fast and the Furious) while Ashley Judd plays the first lady, Robert Forester plays a “high-ranking general,” and Melissa Leo who, if negotiations go well, will play the Secretary of Defense.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- RZA’s feature directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists, will hit theaters November 2nd.
- Ed Helms is in talks to play Rusty Griswold in a reboot of the Vacation franchise. Played by Anthony Michael Hall in the 1985 original, this new version will see Rusty follow in the footsteps of his father (Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold) when he takes his own family on the road. - Variety
- There’s a new Star Trek 2 villain rumor... - SFX
- Channing Tatum will produce and star in a biopic about the famous daredevil Evel Knievel. - THR
- Anthony Hopkins will play Methuselah, the 969-year-old grandfather of the title character in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and work on the ark has begun.
- ComingSoon has news about the Japanese actors cast in James Mangold’s The Wolverine, and Variety reports that the main villain, the Silver Samurai, will be played by Will Yun Lee.
- James Woods is in talks to join Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in Roland Emmerich’s White House Down. - Variety
- Chris Cooper will join Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County. - Variety
- Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene) will direct Tony-winner Nina Arianda as Janis Joplin in a $20 million biopic to begin production early next year. - Deadline
- Tony Hale, hilarious in Veep and Arrested Development, has joined Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in Paul Feig's female buddy cop comedy The Heat. - Variety
- Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder) will take a crack at the Ghostbusters 3 script in hopes of landing Bill Murray. - Variety
- Breck Eisner (The Crazies) is in talks to direct Stretch Armstrong, Hasbro’s latest toy to jump to the big screen. - Heat Vision
- Eli Roth is in negotiations to direct Russell Crowe as Dracula in Harker. - Deadline
- Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston and Jake Johnson will star in Joe Swanberg’s (Nights and Weekends, Hannah Takes the Stairs) Drinking Buddies. - Deadline
- Jason Bateman will make the jump to feature directing with Bad Words, a comedy in which he’ll star as a man who enters a kid’s spelling bee. - Variety
- Seth Gordon has an offer to return to direct a Horrible Bosses sequel, but what about the three leads? - 24 Frames
- Kirsten Dunst will join Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Isaac in Hossein Amini’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Two Faces of January. The film “centers on a con man (Mortensen) who kills a Greek policeman, quite possibly by accident. His wife (Dunst) and an American tutor (Isaac) help to extricate him from his bind.” Amini will make his directorial debut after writing the screenplay for Drive. - Variety
- Walter Hill will write and direct a remake of the 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. - Deadline
- Josh Trank (Chronicle) will direct a Fantastic Four reboot, and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) will direct Rust, a family sci-fi adventure based on the graphic novel by Royden Lepp. - Deadline
- At Comic-Con, Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed that he would star in a sequel to the 1988 comedy Twins, again for director Ivan Reitman. The project is still seeking a writer. - Deadline
- Alex Proyas will adapt and direct a live action film based on the graphic novel Joe Golem And The Drowning City from Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. - Deadline
- Keri Russell will star in Dark Skies, a psychological thriller written and directed by Scot Stewart (Priest, Legion). - ComingSoon
- Tim Story (Think Like a Man) will direct Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along, a comedy about “a second-grade teacher who is ready to get married, but first he must survive a Training Day-like ride-along experience with his fiancee’s tough cop brother.” - Deadline
- Dan Harmon (Community) and Charlie Kaufman are looking for (and quickly receiving) funding on Kickstarter for a 40-minute stop-motion animated film written by Kaufman.
You may have missed...
Here are a few items that popped up last week while we were away for the 4th of July holiday: