Monday, 24 April 2017

Paul Thomas Anderson adds Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps to his latest

It was announced last year that Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) were set to reunite for a new film. Now news arrives that the untitled movie is currently shooting and has added Lesley Manville (Maleficent) and Vicky Krieps (A Most Wanted Man).

Focus Features have announced that Anderson recently started production here in the UK on his latest film, which is a drama set in the couture world of 1950s London. And the story is specifically that of an uncompromising dressmaker whose clients include royalty and others in high society. Nothing else has been released about the film, but then it is Paul Thomas Anderson, so frankly we are happy to wait. The director has recruited several of his regular collaborators, including composer Jonny Greenwood and costume designer Mark Bridges.

Focus is handling the movie in the US and is aiming have it in cinemas later this year, with Universal Pictures taking international distribution.

Guy Pearce joins The Catcher Was A Spy

With Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) snagging the lead in the film, baseball based espionage drama The Catcher Was A Spy is bulking up its cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker) has signed on to co-star.

Ben Lewin (The Sessions) is directing a script written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). Here, he adapts Nicholas Dawidoff's 1994 non-fiction bestseller about Moe Berg, an accomplished college graduate who spoke nine languages and spent 15 years as a player on baseball teams including the Chicago White Sox. What his teammates didn't know was that his sports career was a cover for his life as a top secret spy for America's pre-CIA intelligence agency the OSS, and he helped America win the arms race against Germany.

Rudd is on as Berg, while Pearce's role has yet to be revealed – though there is a chance he might be one of Rudd's colleagues. Or we could see him as his OSS handler.

Pearce has recently worked on TV mini-series When We Rise and is set to cameo as Peter Weyland in  Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012) follow-up Alien: Covenant, due in cinemas 19 May. There is no word yet on when The Catcher Was A Spy will be released.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Billie Piper and Samantha Morton join Two For Joy

Dramas about family issues often tackle complex, difficult subjects. And Two For Joy appears set to join their ranks. Now news arrive via Screen International that Billie Piper (Penny Dreadful) and Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) are attached to star in the film.

Tom Beard, who has come up through photography and music videos, is making his feature writing and directorial debut with the film, which will chart the challenging relationship between a teenage daughter, her bed-ridden mother (Samantha Morton) and her wayward younger brother. Screen International's story doesn't mention what role Piper will play.

"Two For Joy encompasses my professional development over the last six years. In that time I have worked closely with young people who have been through the care system with the drama therapy charity The Big House," says Beard. "This has given me a unique perspective on issues affecting them, issues that I hope to offer up an unbiased and profound representation of in this film." The film has Sadie Frost, Emma Comley and Andrew Green (Set The Thames On Fire) on board to produce via their Blonde To Black Pictures company, and should be shooting this summer.

Piper can currently be seen in London based noir City Of Tiny Lights, while Morton is part of the voice cast for animated fantasy Magik, due next year.

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn set to star in police thriller Dragged Across Concrete

As police policy and incidents of brutality continue to be hot topics, particularly in the US, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Bone Tomahawk (2015) director S. Craig Zahler is using the subject matter to fuel a new thriller, with Mel Gibson and his Hacksaw Ridge cast member Vince Vaughn set reunite for Dragged Across Concrete.

Craig Zahler – who recently worked with Vaughn on Brawl In Cell Block 99 – is in the director's chair, and wrote the script. The story finds two police officers (Gibson as the old timer and Vaughn as his volatile younger partner) who are suspended when a video of their overly violent tactics is plastered across the internet and on news channels.

With their income suspended and funds running low, they double down on the bad behaviour and head for the criminal underworld. But there, they find far more than they wanted...

Vaughn has recently worked on Roland Joffé's (The Mission) The Forgiven, while Gibson has been shooting The Professor And The Madman.

Leonardo DiCaprio set for crime thriller The Black Hand

A man who seemingly never found a book he didn't want to adapt, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) is attached to star in yet another movie drawn from a tome. News arrives via Deadline that he is set to star and produce crime thriller The Black Hand.

Stephan Talty's book chronicles the real life story of Joe Petrosino, a driven New York cop who made it his life's mission to go after the dangerous gang spreading a kidnapping ring from Italy to America in the late 1890s.

Known as The Black Hand, the gang were ruthless and inspired fear among the local Italian immigrant population, but Petrosino won the citizens' trust and created a network of informers. He sent many of the gang back to Italy or locked them up, but was finally lured to his death, leaving behind a wife and children.

DiCaprio is working with The Gotham Group and Paramount Pictures to bring the story to the screen, and he is currently on the hunt for a writer to do Petrosino's life justice.

Denis Villeneuve confirmed as director of Dune remake

In was announced back in November that Legendary Entertainment – the studio Pacific Rim (2013) and Godzilla (2014) – had snapped up the rights to Dune, Frank Herbert's sprawling, complex series of science fiction novels. Not long after that, we heard rumblings that they wanted French Canadian wunderkind Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) to direct the new film. Now it looks as though it is official.

Frank's son Brian Herbert tweeted recently that Legendary "has signed the very talented Denis Villeneuve to direct the exciting new DUNE series film project". Intriguingly, the tweet suggests a franchise is planned rather than a single film – an ambitious scheme for ambitious material.

Much like the rise of the Atreides, Dune's cinematic history is legendarily chaotic. It languished in development limbo for most of the 1970s. Alejandro Jodorosky (El Topo) tried and failed to produce it, though his aborted efforts became a superb documentary in its own right. David Lynch eventually directed – and quickly disowned – the first completed adaptation in 1984, which starred Kyle MacLachlan, Max Von Sydow, and Sting.

Paramount Pictures were trying to get a new Dune off the ground for years, with names like Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) and Pierre Morel (Taken) attached to direct before moving on again. Paramount's Dune rights lapsed back in 2011, and Legendary Pictures were finally confirmed as the new rights owners late last year.

The curse of Dune could yet topple Villeneuve's efforts. But with the director shepherding another beloved science fiction project, Blade Runner 2049, into cinemas this year, we would wager he is certainly a safe pair of hands – and with a pedigree that includes bold, challenging, grown-up material like Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016), this could be finally the adaptation that Herbert deserves. We will keep our ears close to the sand on this one.

New one sheet for Ghost In The Shell arrive online

Paramount Pictures have recently released a stunning new one sheet for Rupert Sanders' (Snow White And The Huntsman) Ghost In The Shell.

Adapted from Masamune Shirow's original 1989 manga, Ghost In The Shell sees Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) as a special ops cyborg at the head of an elite task force known as Section 9. The team, working for Hanka Robotics, is in charge of stopping dangerous criminals and extremists, and their prime target is Kuze (Michael Pitt), a terrorist dedicated to wiping out all of Hanka's cyber technology.

Johansson's Lucy (2014) co-star Pilou Asbæk is aboard to play Batou, the second best fighter in the section and her trusted lieutenant, with Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi), Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) and Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha) also appearing. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han (The Dark knight), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (The Mule), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).

With a script by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), Ghost In The Shell is out in cinemas now. For more on Ghost In The Shell, check out our Ghost In The Shell crash course guide.

"Yeah, I'm thinkin' I'm back!"

- John Wick (Keanu Reeves) John Wick (2014)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Our CinemaCon Buzzmeter: What's hot and what's not in Las Vegas

The major film studios have gathered in Sin City this week to preview their upcoming films. But are there really any sure bets for multiplexes in 2017/18?

We look at what's hot and what's not with the latest buzz from this years CinemaCon at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Blade Runner: 2049

Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) sequel to the neo-noir classic is reportedly visually stunning, with a few sly nods to Ridley Scott's 1982 original and an impressively creepy Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club). Sign us up. (Sony Pictures and Warner Bros)


The Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) World War II drama – pictured above – is looking epic in every sense of the word. (Warner Bros)


The superhero film hasn't even shot yet, but that didn't stop Warner Bro and DC Entertainment from showing images of from the film's production design. This dreamy, arresting underwater world looks like it could be a comic book breakthrough. Fingers crossed. (Warner Bros)

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) is looking badass as a Cold War spy. A new action hero is born. (Focus Features)

The Beguiled

Dreamy, sultry, and gloriously Southern. This erotic drama certainly looks to weave a spell. (Universal Pictures and Focus Features)


Sure to go down as Alexander Payne's (The Descendants) most bizarre film. Matt Damon (The Martian) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) star as a couple who decide to shrink themselves in order to live the good life. The 10 minutes that screened were by all accounts out there, but hilarious and compelling. (Paramount Pictures)

The House

Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy) and Amy Poehler (Inside Out) star in Andrew Jay Cohen's feature debut comedy about parents who turn to crime to pay for their kid's college has the marking of an R-rated summer comedy smash. (Warner Bros)

The Mummy

Breathing new life into their classic creature features, Universal Pictures latest reboot looks scary, sexy and cool. While Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) arguably looks a tad too adrenalized, this remake won't be skimping on the jump scares. (Universal Pictures)


A gag where Zac Efron's (That Awkward Moment) dim bulb life guard examines a dead man's genitals is apparently worth the price of admission alone. (Paramount Pictures)

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

The filmmakers would have us believe that Jumanji is a beloved property. That may or may not be the case, but the combination of Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas), Kevin Hart (Ride Along), Jack Black (School Of Rock) and Karen Gillan (Guardians Of The Galaxy) in skimpy shorts should certainly translate into a big global hit. (Sony Pictures)

Wonder Woman

Potentially another lacklustre entry in the DC Expanded Universe, but Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) has star power to spare. (Warner Bros)


Hard to know what exactly is going on in this Natalie Portman (Black Swan) thriller, but reports suggest it looked pretty scary. (Paramount Pictures)

Spider-Man: Homecoming

A lot more coverage of Michael Keaton (Birdman) as the villainous, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) hating Vulture. Tom Holland (The Impossible) has a wide eyed appeal that could offer a fresh take on a familiar hero, but after five different Spider-Man movies, there is arguably a risk of fatigue. (Sony Pictures)

Despicable Me 3

By the numbers preview for the animated sequel. Regardless, this sequel will almost certainly make a ridiculous amount of money. (Universal Pictures)


George Clooney (The Monuments Men) takes a cudgel to Eisenhower era conformity. It looks offbeat, well shot, and very, very bloody. (Paramount Pictures)


French director Luc Besson's (Léon: The Professional) passion project is looking a lot The Fifth Element (1997). There are outrageous aliens, a French director colour palate, and Rihanna (Battleship) in a nurse's costume. Looks dangerously out there. (STX Entertainment)

The Dark Tower

Some seemingly cool standoffs between Idris Elba (Prometheus) as a heroic gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) as the villainous Man in Black. But the plot is reportedly convoluted and is set to open in a crowded summer season. This may just be for die hard fans of Stephen King. (Sony Pictures)

Justice League

Zack Snyder obviously got the memo that Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) needed a humor injection, but the quip happy trailer still seemed like a pretty joyless affair. (Warner Bros)

Molly's Game

Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) makes his directorial debut in this thriller about a corner cutting entrepreneur (Jessica Chastain) who dreams up a high stakes poker game. Tough to see how this one breaks out barring awards buzz. (STX Entertainment)

The Book Of Henry

Is it a film about a boy genius? Is it a mystery? Or is it an awards bait drama? Who knows. What it looks like though is a mess. (Focus Features)


Woeful digital effects and an utterly derivative plot, this Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen) starring disaster movie looks like Sharknado (2013) on a slightly bigger budget. (Warner Bros)

The Emoji Movie

Why? Just why? (Sony Pictures)

Sizzling hot

Ice cold

Thursday, 30 March 2017

10 times movies recreated moments from history

With a growing number of biopics making there way to multiplexes, many of us may not realise that we are often watching exhaustively recreated historical footage. Maybe you saw Natalie Portman giving a tour of the White House in Jackie (2016) without realising that it cane from an actual CBS and NBC broadcast of Jackie Kennedy on Valentine's Day in 1962. Or perhaps you saw Catch Me If You Can (2002) and thought the game show scene was just a neat storytelling trick from Steven Spielberg rather than recreated footage from the To Tell The Truth game show in 1977.

But, in most cases, these moments of filmed history are so important, and so well known, they can be very difficult to recreate. Ultimately they need to be believable. And when scenes like the march from Selma to Montgomery and the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald are so ingrained in history, filmmakers must go through incredible lengths to do them right. Notice how in Selma, each marcher's posture and speed and demeanour matches the actual footage, and how Portman's Jackie Kennedy stiffly backs – hands folded – into frame in the White House.

Created by UK based photographer and director Vugar Efendi, this video demonstrates the impressive attention to detail required in recreating history.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Colin Farrell set for Inner City

Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) already has Denzel Washington (The Equalizer) aboard his next gritty thriller, Inner City. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he is aiming to add Colin Farrell (Total Recall) to the cast.

With news of Farrell entering talks comes some more details on the story for this one. Washington will play a reclusive lawyer who has worked for decades as a legal researcher for his beloved mentor. But when the older man passes away, he is snapped up by a well known, but far more cutthroat firm where he discovers a case that changes his life... And could potentially threaten it.

As for Farrell, he is circling playing the slick, wealthy legal eagle who initially recruits Washington to his new job. If he makes a deal, he will be working on the film starting later this month in Los Angeles. Farrell most recently worked on Sofia Coppola's (Somewhere) latest, The Beguiled and reunited with his Lobster (2015) director Yorgos Lanthimos for The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.

Nicole Kidman in talks for Aquaman

Currently swimming towards an April shoot date, director James Wan (The Conjuring) and the Aquaman team are starting to lock down more cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Nicole Kidman (Stoker) and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down) are in talks for roles.

Kidman, assuming she signs, is looking to play Aquaman's mother, Atlanna. A member of the royal family in Atlantis, she escaped her kingdom for an adventure on the surface, and ended up falling for a lighthouse keeper and giving birth to Jason Momoa's (Conan The Barbarian) hero.

As for Abdul-Mateen, the man who plays Cadillac on the Netflix series is in line to be Black Manta, a scheming villain and one of Aquaman's main foes who was first introduced in 1967. It is the latest big film role for the actor, who narrowly missed out on the role of Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off but will be seen in Baywatch and The Greatest Showman.

The pair will join a cast that already boasts Amber Heard (The Danish Girl) as Mera, Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as scientist and adviser Vulko and Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) as Orm, Aquaman's half-brother and another threat.

Wan is aiming for a 5 October release date next year. Momoa, Heard and Dafoe will all pop up in Justice League, due out on 17 November.

Diego Luna circling Scarface remake

In what appears to be one step forward, one step back in world of filmmaking, Variety brings word that while director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) has left the latest version of Scarface, Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is currently in the frame to take the lead.

Fuqua had been seriously considering the job since last August, and the director was enthusiastic about the chance to make it. But a sticking point arose when Sony Pictures needed him to stay on to develop the Equalizer sequel, into which he has poured even more time and effort... Despite attempts to figure out the schedule – Universal Pictures are also looking to have Scarface shooting this spring – a new director will be needed.

As for Luna, Variety's sources say he is attached to star, but there has been no official announcement about that yet. The new version of Scarface, like the 1932 take and more famous 1983 movie will once again explore an immigrant chasing the American dream via any method necessary – up to, and including violent crime. In this latest variation, which has Terence Winter (The Wolf Of Wall Street) writing the most recent script draft, the newcomer is Mexican. After going through a couple of potential directors, Universal Pictures are meeting others, intending to keep the movie on track to shoot this year.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Liam Neeson set for revenge thriller Hard Powder

Just when you thought Liam Neeson (Taken) might be hanging up his particular set of skills and getting out of the wronged citizen business, along comes another action thriller. News arrives via Variety that he is set to join Hans Peter Moland's (In Order Of Disappearance) Hard Powder.

Based on Norwegian original In Order Of Disappearance (2014), the film finds Neeson as Nels, an upstanding snowplow driver and recipient of Citizen Of The Year prize from his swanky Colorado ski town. But when his son is murdered by a local drug kingpin, a switch flips inside our hero and he goes on a rampage. "Fuelled by an unwavering drive for vengeance and armed with heavy machinery, this unlikely hero sets out to dismantle the cartel with extreme prejudice, and he's not stopping until he gets to the top of the food chain," says the synopsis, and he will be up against a well dressed, vegan Native American mafia boss who drives a Tesla but is only too happy murdering people.

Hans Peter Moland is back for this one, which has a script from Frank Baldwin (The Run), and cameras are set to roll this month in Canada.

Neeson was most recently seen in Martin Scorsese's Silence (2016) and will crop up next in regular collaborator Jaume Collet-Serra's (Unkonwn) latest thriller The Commuter and Watergate drama Felt.

Saoirse Ronan set to star in refugee drama Sweetness In The Belly

As refugees and immigration continue to be a flashpoint topic, a new drama will look at the subject from a personal angle. News arrives via Deadline that Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) is attached to star in Sweetness In The Belly.

Ethiopian director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari (Difret) will oversee the film, which has Laura Phillips (Nancy Drew) adapting Camilla Gibbs' bestseller. Ronan is on board to star as Lilly Abdal, a young woman whose life straddles two very different worlds. Orphaned in Africa as a child born to English parents, she returns to their homeland as a refugee, fleeing a violent civil war. Trying to find herself in a cold new home, Lily becomes the heart of a disenfranchised community and works to reunite people with their scattered families. But she is also dealing with a lost love affair with idealistic doctor Aziz.

"When we were developing the script Saoirse was our dream first choice for Lilly," producers Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny (New Waterford Girl) tell Deadline. "It's so wonderful to have her on board. We are thrilled to begin to realise the project, especially as the film is even more relevant now then it was when we started this journey."

The cameras will be rolling this September. Ronan, meanwhile, has several films awaiting release, including The Seagull, On Chesil Beach and Greta Gerwig's (Nights And Weekends) Lady Bird.