From Dying Girl to OASIS. Spielberg has cast the first major role in his upcoming adaptation of the beloved geek novel Ready Player One. Actress Olivia Cooke, last seen in this year's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (read my Sundance review), will star in Ready Player One as "Art3mis", one of the players that the lead character Wade Watts (or "Parzival") befriends and eventually falls for. While it's likely that Spielberg is also seeing actors for the other lead roles, no other names have been confirmed yet, and Cooke is the first one officially cast. THR seems to hint she has been offered the role, but is the only one with an offer so far.
It's official. Hollywood Reporter is announcing that actor Josh Gad has signed on to play the late film critic Roger Ebert in the project Russ & Roger. We first reported on this earlier in the year, and are following up with the confirmation. STX Entertainment is developing the comedy focused around the film critic and filmmaker Russ Meyer, to be played by Will Ferrell. Michael Winterbottom will be directing, from a script by Chris Cluess. THR doesn't mention a start date, but this is the kind of news that means it's happening sooner than later. Gad has been making quite a name for himself recently (he's in Pixels, Wish I Was Here, The Wedding Ringer and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast) and this sounds like a nice score. Read on.
Good news, Michael Mann fans - he has found his Enzo Ferrari. Over at Deadline, they're reporting that actor Christian Bale has "said yes" or agreed to play the lead role of Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann's upcoming Ferrari movie, about the life of the creator of the famous automobile company. The project has been in the works for a while, and while Bale is now involved, they interestingly mention that it still "isn’t set up [at a studio] just yet." They do say that it will start shooting next summer, so things are moving forward to make this Mann's next film following this dismal Blackhat. Hopefully this will turn out much better, but I really feel this story is much more suited to Mann's sensibilities than anything else. Read on.
From Star Wars to Silicon Valley. Actor John Boyega has been cast in one of the main lead roles in James Ponsoldt's upcoming new film The Circle, an adaptation of Dave Eggers' book The Circle. With big news about Google and Amazon recently, including stories about the many people who work at those companies, it makes sense that this project is suddenly being pushed ahead. Last year we posted that Tom Hanks was circling a role, and Deadline confirms he's cast in The Circle along with Emma Watson. Boyega is the latest addition. He'll play Ty, the "iconized boy-wonder visionary of the Circle, an Internet monopoly which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking and purchasing with their universal operating system. The result is one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency." Sounds fun, I trust in Ponsoldt.
Now this is some casting news that genuinely makes me excited to see this. THR is reporting that Michael B. Jordan is attached to a starring role in the new project from Destin Daniel Cretton, the very talented filmmaker behind the exceptional films Short Term 12 and I Am Not a Hipster. Destin is developing an adaptation of Bryan Stevenson's memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and is currently working on the script with Andrew Lanham (of The Glass Castle). Broad Green Pictures will be distributing the project and has just picked up the rights, which include Michael B. Jordan as lead. Read on.
Some excellent casting news for a project we're keeping a close eye on. Deadline is reporting that talented up-and-coming actress Brie Larson is in talk to take a lead role in Legendary Picture's Kong: Skull Island, the return of King Kong, being directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. The project was announced at Comic-Con a few years ago and is currently in pre-production aiming for release in summer 2017. Just recently there were some casting drop outs, with Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons departing the project. Tom Hiddleston is still set to star, and there's word that Russell Crowe is also possibly looking at joining. I'm just really happy that Brie Larson is landing a big breakout lead in a project like this, bring on the Kong.
One of my Top 10 favorite films of 2014 was Whiplash, the electric and intense first feature from young filmmaker Damien Chazelle. The film ended up getting five Oscar nominations, with three wins including actor J.K. Simmons for his performance as R.J. Fletcher. It's no surprise that the actor and director are reteaming for another film. THR reports that Simmons has signed on to star again in La La Land, the new film from Damien Chazelle. Already set to star are Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. La La Land is a modern Hollywood musical that follows a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress, but they run into troubles.
If you don't know the name Alicia Vikander yet you likely will very soon, as she is on her way to becoming a household name in Hollywood. After wowing audiences with her gripping performance in Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, Deadline is reporting that Vikander has signed on to star in the next entry of the Bourne franchise known as Bourne 5. She will be sharing the screen with returning cast members Julia Stiles and Jason Bourne himself – Matt Damon. They will be directed by Paul Greengrass, who is also returning to the franchise. The film's villain will be played by Viggo Mortensen, who's reportedly in talks.
The new Spider-Man has been chosen. Deadline has confirmed that the new Peter Parker, following Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, has been cast. Sony has decided upon 19-year-old actor Tom Holland to star as the new Spidey, and they've set Jon Watts to direct. Watts is still an up-and-comer and many may not recognize his name, but he's the filmmaker behind Cop Car, a Sundance midnight film that we enjoyed - see the trailer here; he also directed the film Clown previously and a number of "The Onion News Network" episodes. Holland was on the shortlist for actors under consideration, along with Asa Butterfield, Judah Lewis, Matthew Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Charlie Rowe. This seems like he might be the best choice.
This is just perfect. Director Paul Feig has revealed on Twitter early casting news for the new all-female Ghostbusters movie he's currently working on. Feig has announced that Chris Hemsworth, the God of Thunder Thor himself!, will be playing the receptionist in Ghostbusters. Our presumption is this means he's taking on the same role that Annie Potts played as Janine in the original films, which is a perfect swap of the character. Mostly because Hemsworth is becoming funnier (did you see the Vacation trailer?), and yet he's still a talented actor who can take on challenging roles like Rush and In the Heart of the Sea. And because we know Feig is great breaking down usually badass actors, like Jason Statham in Spy. See the tweet below.
One of the big breakout films of Sundance this year is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Award at the festival in January. It's the second feature film directed by up-and-comer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who also directed The Town That Dreaded Sundown (the remake) before Me and Earl. Deadline has announced his next project, titled Collateral Beauty, from a screenplay written by Allan Loeb (21, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Switch, Just Go with It, Rock of Ages). Not only that but Gomez-Rejon has lined up talented performers Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara to star in the film, which has financing in place from PalmStar Media and Likely Story. So what is the new film about?
Another day, another remake. But this one might actually work. Big news coming from The Wrap, where they're reporting that 20th Century Fox is in negotiations to sign on Dwayne Johnson for a remake of cult favorite Big Trouble in Little China. Johnson is looking at starring in and producing the remake of the John Carpenter film, which is getting a script from X-Men: First Class writers Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz. The original Big Trouble in Little China, released in 1986, is an action cult classic starring Kurt Russell as a trucker who gets dragged into some wacky weird mystical showdown in Chinatown. If you've never seen it, first order of business is finding an old VHS copy and having a blast. As for the remake, I'm actually curious.
The cast for this big sequel continues to grow, with yet another intriguing name. Deadline reports that actor William Fichtner is joining Roland Emmerich's Independence Day 2 as a "top general". Apparently Fichtner's role as a general will get "even larger in the two films that will follow." Very interesting. Fichtner has appeared in a variety of films recently, including The Homesman, Elysium, The Lone Ranger, Phantom, Wrong, Drive Angry and The Dark Knight of course. He's always great to see in a movie, and I'm curious why his role will expand as it goes on. Does something happen to him or is he just a survivor? This also indicates that Fox is really pushing forward with a new trilogy of Independence Day movies coming up.
And then there was a man. Variety is reporting that the DC Comics take on Wonder Woman has cast the first male in the movie. Chris Pine will co-star with Gal Gadot, who is playing Wonder Woman, in the movie being directed by Patty Jenkins later this year. Pine will co-star as the love interest Steve Trevor in the origin story of the Amazonian warrior turned superhero. Variety also mentions that Scott Eastwood was rumored to be a top contender for the role, but in the end it went to Pine, who won over the WB execs. The actor is currently filming the thriller Comancheria and will start on Star Trek 3 right after, then this movie.