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.
Whoa. Some impressive casting news for Marvel's Dr. Strange movie in the works. THR is reporting that Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton is discussions to play the character called The Ancient One, a Tibetan mystic who is a mentor to Dr. Strange, originally a male role in the comics but now a female role in the movie. Director Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil, The Day the Earth Stood Still) is at the helm of this new Marvel introduction, and it seems like he's really pushing for bold choices in the cast. Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play the lead Dr. Strange, and now with Swinton, this is an excellent duo so far. More casting news is likely on the way soon, as shooting us supposed to begin in November. Read on.
"Don't you understand, Tink? You mean more to me than anything in this whole world!" More Tinkerbell? Yep. THR is reporting that Reese Witherspoon has been cast in Disney's live-action film Tink, which will be another movie about Tinker Bell, to star Witherspoon. She will also help produce the project with her partner Bruna Papandrea at their company Pacific Standard. Alas, any plot details are unknown other than that the film is inspired by the world of the classic novel. That novel being "Peter and Wendy" written by J.M. Barrie, where the Tinker Bell character first originated from. No director is attached to this yet either.
The next project from director Jared Hess, who previously gave us Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, Gentlemen Broncos and Don Verdean (at Sundance 2015), has been revealed. Hess is confirmed to direct Micronations. The Buffalo Film Company has announced details about the new film, which will star Jack Black as a loveable oddball who finds a place to belong among the bizarre and ridiculous world of "do-it-yourself countries" - made up of various eccentrics and visionaries who have declared their own backyards sovereign nations… or "micronations." After taking on religious antics with Don Verdean, this sounds like the perfect topic for Hess & Black to tackle next. And should fit right in with today's crazy political culture.
Another day, another remake. This time it's The Blob, which has been remade once (or twice) before. The original The Blob is a horror classic from 1958, and it was remade in 1988 into a just-as-good-if-not-better sci-fi thriller. Now they're working on yet another remake at Goldcrest Films with Simon West (Con-Air, The General's Daughter, The Mechanic, Expendables 2) attached to direct. If they want to keep everything nice and neat, this next one should debut in 2018 then it'll be 30 years between each remake. The latest news is that Samuel L. Jackson has been officially cast in the new film, playing a biochemistry professor.
More casting news for the upcoming Star Wars Anthology spin-off titled Rogue One, being directed by Gareth Edwards. With shooting starting up soon, they're finalizing casting and so far we've seen them making some excellent choices: Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed are confirmed. And now Variety can confirm a few others: Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn. The plot, revealed at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim a few months ago, follows a band of resistance fighters on a daring mission to steal the Death Star (plans). Luna will play a lead role alongside Jones and Ahmed, however Mendelsohn is apparently playing the lead antagonist (or "primary villain" as he's being called). Now this new movie is really starting to come together.
If you've been following the career of funky Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo, this is pretty big for him and I'm already curious to see it. THR is reporting that a Cannes project being sold in the market this year is one titled Colossal, from Nacho Vigalondo (of 7:35 in the Morning, Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial), and it will star Anne Hathaway. The pitch for it is pretty dang cool - check this out: "Described as Godzilla meets Lost in Translation — Hathaway will play Gloria, an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and her fiancé, decides to leave her life in New York to move back to her hometown." I bet you're curious, too.
One of the films we've been supporting ever since it first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival is a little gem called The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Ethan's review), which Sony Pictures Classics is releasing later this year. Well, the director of that film, Marielle Heller (seen left above), is a very talented filmmaker who has already landed her next big directing gig. Deadline reports that Heller is set to direct a project called On The Basis Of Sex for Focus Features, and the exciting news is that she has secured Natalie Portman for the lead role. Whoa! Portman is now (hopefully) going to be working with two of the very best up-and-coming filmmakers out there - Alex Garland and Marielle Heller. I couldn't be happier about this news.
Now this is some great casting we can be excited about! Variety is reporting that an Oscar winning actress is likely going to end up starring in the next sci-fi creation from Alex Garland, a screenwriter turned director whose feature directing debut Ex Machina is playing in theaters now. The project is called Annihilation, an adaptation of the Jeff VanderMeer series of novels, about a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition to "Area X" where the laws of nature don’t apply. Paramount is developing and Garland has been talking about it in interviews with the attitude of "let's see if it happens", but it sounds like the project is gaining momentum, especially with a star like Portman. This is very good news for the science fiction genre.
Briefly: Marvel is following up with some big news they've been holding onto, waiting until Avengers: Age of Ultron has opened in theaters. The next movie they're making is Captain America: Civil War, which while is a sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it continues after Age of Ultron and seems to be more of a setup for Infinity War down the line. We've been writing about casting for months (including Martin Freeman this week) but now they've confirmed a complete synopsis and complete cast. And included in the cast is one Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, along with Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.
Nygaard is going geeky. It has been officially announced by Marvel Studios at Marvel.com that acclaimed actor Martin Freeman will be taking a role in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War movie, to be directed by brothers Anthony & Joe Russo. This is yet another sequel to Captain America following The Winter Soldier last year, but it also expands the universe by being the first segue into the "Civil War" era. No exact details are specified regarding the character he'll be playing, so unfortunately anything else will have to remain a mystery for the time being. Aside from Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie, the Civil War cast may also include Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo and Chadwick Boseman. So who is everyone?