Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lake Bell set for The Emperor's Children

After making the successful move into directing with voice over comedy In A World... (2013), Lake Bell has tracked down her next directorial project. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed she is now on board to make the adaptation of Claire Messud's novel The Emperor's Children for Imagine Entertainment.

Messud's book, unusually for a title in development, hit shelves way back in 2007. The story follows three Brown College graduates in their late 20s looking ahead to their lives with no little trepidation. The story takes place a few months before and then a few months after 9/11 in New York.

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) was attached back in 2010, wrote a script and was in the process of looking for a cast, with Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), Richard Gere (Amelia) and Eric Bana (Lone Survivor) all mooted. Bell may give the screenplay her own spin, or she may decide to direct the piece as is, either way it remains to be seen if she can push the project closer to the screen than Baumbach managed.

Acting wise, Bell is part of action thriller The Coup with Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris) and Pierce Brosnan (The Ghost) and stars opposite Simon Pegg (The World's End) in offbeat romantic comedy drama Man Up, due next year. She'll next be on our screens opposite Jon Hamm (Sucker Punch) in Million Dollar Arm, which arrives on 29 August.

First trailer and one sheet for The Pyramid arrives online

20th Century Fox have just released their first trailer and one sheet for Grégory Levasseur's directorial debut, horror thriller The Pyramid.

There are many creepy myths surrounding the various curses that may befell several explorers who dared enter the burial tombs of Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. But that doesn't seem to deter those who think they're doing archaeology or history a favour by unsealing pyramids and exploring within. And that is exactly where the team in The Pyramid gets into trouble.

Denis O'Hare (Dallas Buyers Club) is Holden, leader of a team of archaeologists daring to delve deep within a new, three-sided pyramid discovered beneath the Egyptian desert. Naturally, he has heard the tales of disappearances and mysterious deaths, but decides to venture with his assorted tomb raiders anyway. The team soon discovers just how big the pyramid is – as they continue to unlock the horrific secrets buried within, they realise they aren't just trapped, they are being hunted. The ancient monolith, it would appear, was constructed to keep something within its stone walls.

Regular Alexandre Aja writer Grégory Levasseur (The Hills Have Eyes) steps up to call the shots this time, with Aja providing backing as executive producer. The script comes from Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon (The Removal), while Ashley Hinshaw (About Cherry), James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Amir K (Argo) and Christa-Marie Nicola (Home And Away) fill out the main cast.

The Pyramid is set for release on 5 December.

"The man of my dreams, this man of mine, may truly... kill me."

20th Century Fox have just released their latest trailer for David Fincher's (The Social Network) Gone Girl.

Adapted from Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel, a former journalist and author herself, Gone Girl finds Fincher firmly in dramatic thriller territory, with the story of how the outwardly perfect marriage between Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) has crumbled in the light of her disappearance. With Nick trying desperately to galvanise the locals of their small town in the search for his missing wife, the finger of suspicion begins to point towards him.

There haven't been too many marriage thrillers in recent years, so this should feel fresh. Ben Affleck will looking to bring his Academy Award® winning gravitas to the role, while we're looking forward to seeing Rosamund Pike firmly and deservedly back in the limelight.

It's also certainly perfect Fincher terrain, as anyone who has seen The Game (1997) and Panic Room (2002) will testify. We're promised a suitably complex thriller that even boasts an altered ending dreamt up by Fincher and Flynn, plus a cast that also boasts Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Kim Dickens (The Blind Side), Patrick Fugit (We Bought A Zoo), Missi Pyle (The Artist), Tyler Perry (Alex Cross) and Sela Ward (House M.D.).

Gone Girl is due for release 3 October.

Ridley Scott discusses his Blade Runner and Prometheus sequel plans

Currently putting the final coat of cinematic paint on Exodus: Gods And Kings, Ridley Scott (Prometheus) already has one eye on future projects, including his next directorial outing, The Martian. And from the sounds of a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, things are progressing along with all of them.

While two of the higher profile items on his ever expansive 'to do list' – the sequels to Blade Runner (1982) and Prometheus (2012) – tend to generate eye-rolls and sighs across some corners of the web, Scott is fully intending to make at least the Blade Runner follow-up as soon as he can, and with Harrison Ford, for preference.

"It's written and it's damn good," Scott tells the magazine's website. "Of course it involves Harrison, who is a survivor after all these years – despite the accident. So yes, that will happen."

Ford's commitment, however, still remains up in the air. As for scheduling on the Blade Runner front, Scott is looking to work on the project after he finishes The Martian. And then there's the Prometheus sequel. "That's the problem. I've got a lot of ducks in a row. But they're all written."

As for The Martian, the current plan is to kick off shooting in November, with Matt Damon (Elysium) attached to star as a stranded spaceman, the storyboards completed and locations in Budapest and Jordan's Wadi Rum desert terrain eyed as possibilities. Exodus: Gods And Kings, meanwhile, marches in on 26 December.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead enters The Cellar

Having already battled an ancient alien creature in Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s The Thing (2011) remake and, even more impressively, escaped both Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) and Good Day To Die Hard (2013) with her dignity largely intact, Mary Elizabeth Winstead will next have to deal with an evil kidnapper in Dan Trachtenberg's The Cellar.

J.J. Abrams' (Star Trek Into Darkness) Bad Robot team is working this one up alongside the lower budget Paramount Vantage label. Dan Trachtenberg is aboard to direct Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Dan Casey's script, which follows a young woman waking up underground following a nasty car accident.

Her captor claims to be a rescuer, and reveals himself as a doomsday obsessive who says the world outside has become uninhabitable thanks to a serious chemical attack. But as her worries for her safety start to rise, our heroine must escape and risk whatever lurks beyond the cellar door.

Winstead, who was last seen in The Spectacular Now (2013), is at work on the pilot for the US TV version of zombie tale The Returned and will be back on our screens in Kill The Messenger, which is out on 6 March next year.

Matthew McConaughey could be set to take The Stand

With Warner Bros and The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone going full speed to develop a cinematic take on Stephen King's sprawling post-apocalyptic story The Stand, the studio's thoughts are clearly starting to turn to casting. Boone already has Nat Wolff (Stuck In Love) aboard, but for the main villain of the piece, Warners are currently trying to land Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).

According to Deadline, it's very early days and no formal discussions have taken place, but the studio clearly wants McConaughey to play antichrist like figure Randal Flagg, who haunts the survivors of a man-made plague that collapses civilization. We can certainly see McConaughey's natural intensity working for the character, though with an Academy Award® under his belt, he has a lot more negotiating power these days and may simply decide it's simply not for him.

Also eager to score the actors attention is Stephen Gaghan (Syriana), who has a project called Gold in development. Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman (The Blacklist), and drawn from the true account of a mining company scandal involving tonnes of the precious metal, Gaghan is trying to put the film together and scoring McConaughey to star would certainly help matters.

McConaughey is currently at work on Gus Van Sant's (Milk) Sea Of Trees and is also circling CIA agent drama The Company Man. He'll next be seen in Christopher Nolan's (The Dark Knight Rises) Interstellar, which arrives here on 7 November.

David Yates set for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them already boasts one big name from the original franchise: creator J.K. Rowling is writing the script for what Warner Bros is hoping will be a new trilogy. The studio now appears to be reaching out to someone else who has a little experience in the wizarding world, director David Yates.

According to Variety, Yates is currently in negotiations to handle at least the first instalment of the new series, which is very loosely based on Rowling's universe expanding textbook about magical creatures, and set in the same world as Harry Potter and friends. It will feature creatures and characters both new and familiar to Potter fans and, promises Rowling, will be "neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world" that takes place 70 years before Harry sets foot in the Great Hall in Hogwarts. That puts the setting somewhere around 1921, when Magizoologist and credited author of the book Newt Scamander would have been about 24 according to in-world chronology.

Yates is currently shooting Tarzan for the studio and appears ready to jump straight from that on to Fantastic Beasts next year. Given that he directed four Harry Potters on the trot with barely a break, if anyone can handle those production logistics, it's certainly Yates.

And let's face it – who else would Warner Bros entrust besides a man who directed four of the Potter movies, including the final two Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows instalments? Now we'll just have to wait and see if the deal falls into place. As always, watch this space.

New trailer and one sheet for White Bird In A Blizzard arrives online

Magnolia Pictures have just released their latest trailer and one sheet for Gregg Araki's (Mysterious Skin) White Bird In A Blizzard.

Lately we have perhaps become more accustomed to seeing Eva Green (300: Rise Of An Empire) in femme fatale mode, so it's somewhat jarring to find her in Gregg Araki's White Bird In A Blizzard playing the perfect homemaker. Except, of course, that's not what she is at all, and there are secrets and mysteries simmering beneath that domestic surface.

Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) stars as Kat Connors, a 17 year-old whose mother, Eve (Eva Green) disappears. With her own stuff going on, Kat doesn't initially much register her mum's absence. But as time goes on, she begins to appreciate how deeply she's been affected by Eve's vanishing, and the truth about what happened forces her to confront her own denial.

Actually filmed well before this years The Fault In Our Stars and Divergent, Magnolia Pictures are clearly hoping White Bird In A Blizzard can capitalise on Woodley's subsequent breakout success – and it's a role that she herself was hugely excited about, as an apparently long-standing fan of Araki's work.

Christopher Meloni (Man Of Steel), Thomas Jane (Dreamcatcher), Angela Bassett (Olympus Has Fallen), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead) co-star. Araki wrote the screenplay himself, based on Laura Kasischke's novel.

White Bird In A Blizzard is set for US release next month, with parts of Europe following in November. There's no UK release date as yet.

"Think of our newscast as a screaming woman, running down the street, with her throat cut"

Open Road Films have just released their latest trailer for Dan Gilroy's directorial debut Nightcrawler.

With Real Steel (2011) and The Bourne Legacy (2012) writer Dan Gilroy turning director for this one, Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners) plays Lou Bloom, a young man in desperate need of employment. After several rejections, he stumbles upon the fast paced dark world of Los Angeles freelance crime journalism.

Setting himself up as an independent contractor, he's soon cranking up the police scanner and speeding around the seedy streets to beat the cops and other reporters to crime scenes. After a few lucky breaks, he catches the eye of TV newsgathering veteran Nina (Rene Russo), who spots a potential new source of content. But soon Lou is blurring the line between reporting the story and becoming it...

With Bill Paxton (Edge Of Tomorrow), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Ann Cusack (Stigmata), Kevin Rahm (Alfie) and Michael Hyatt (Like Crazy) among the cast, Nightcrawler prowls the Toronto Film Festival next month before heading to the UK on 17 October and the States just in time for Halloween on 31 October.

New trailer for Annabelle arrives online

With the release date less than a couple of months away now, Warner Bros have released their latest trailer for John R. Leonetti's (The Butterfly Effect II) Annabelle, giving us a little backstory behind the demonic doll from The Conjuring (2013).

The Conjuring was something of a sleeper hit when it arrived last summer, so chances are many of you may already have met Annabelle, the creepy doll featured at the very beginning of James Wan's horror. Annabelle follows John (Ward Horton) and Mia Form (Annabelle Wallis), a young couple happily expecting their first child. But when the beautiful (depending on how you look at it) vintage doll John buys for his wife attracts the attention of an obsessed satanic cult, things go horribly wrong for them and, more violently, their neighbours.

Surviving that initial incident, the couple moves to a new house, but discover that Annabelle has somehow made the trip with them. Sadly, they don't at first make the connection between the creepy object and the horror that befell them last time, but they soon learn that the doll has a demon attached to it, one determined to make their lives a living hell.

With John R. Leonetti inheriting directorial duties from James Wan and Gary Dauberman (Swamp Devil) providing the script this time, Annabelle also features Alfre Woodard (12 Years A Slave), Eric Ladin (The Killing), Tony Amendola and Michelle Romano (The Darkness Within). The horror will be upon us on 10 October.

Christian Bale set to join Andy Serkis' Jungle Book: Origins

Over the last few months we've had a virtual ark's worth of animal voice casting announcements for Jon Favreau's (Cowboys & Aliens) new live action and CGI blended take on Walt Disney Pictures The Jungle Book, yet heard very little about Andy Serkis' (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) competing project, Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros. That all changed recently when The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years A Slave) has agreed to lend his distinctive vocal chords to the lethal tiger Shere Khan.

Today Serkis' take on Rudyard Kipling's famous tale became considerably more crowed with a whole swathe of additional casting announcements, with word that Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur), Tom Hollander (About Time), Eddie Marsan (The World's End) and Rohan Chand (Lone Survivor) have joined what is now a hugely impressive ensemble.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Serkis will also be acting in the film, playing Baloo the bear, the friendly type who befriends the young human orphan Mowgli (Rohan Chand).

As for everyone else? Bale is set to give voice to the fearsome yet protective panther Bagheera, while Blanchett will add her slinky and hypnotic voicing to the dangerous snake Kaa, with Hollander as Shere Khan's (Cumberbatch) jackal henchman Tabaqui. Mullan is Akela, the leader of the wolf pack that raises Mowgli, Harris will be female wolf Nisha and Marsan will be Vihaan, her mate.

With a script from Callie Kloves – daughter of Harry Potter regular screenwriter Steve, who is an executive producer here for Warner Bros – Serkis will be shooting soon using a mixture of live action, performance capture and CG animation to bring the story to life. Serkis' adaption of The Jungle Book is set for 21 October 2016, which places it a year after Jon Favreau's Disney driven take due 6 October next year.

New trailer for In Order Of Disappearance arrives online

Metrodome Distribution have just released their first trailer for Hans Petter Moland's (A Somewhat Gentle Man) In Order Of Disappearance.

Nordic noirs tend to end up in depressing, dark terrain littered with dead dogs, battered protagonists and think black humour. The latest addition to the canon is In Order Of Disappearance, a thriller that has been billed as a rollicking, gory and funny delve into Norway's dark underbelly that brings to mind a certain Coen brothers film. Welcome then to Fargø.

The 'hero' of the piece is Nils (Stellan Skarsgård), a snow plough driver who discovers that his son has died, supposedly of a drug overdose. But Nils knows that his son isn't a junkie and suspects foul play. His suspicions are confirmed when he tracks down (and brutally kills) two gang members who confess to involvement in the crime. Soon Nils is swept up in a turf war between two gangs: one local and one Serbian. Needless to say things don't go smoothly from there.

In Order Of Disappearance is out in the UK on 12 September.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Johnny Depp set to join Yoga Hosers

Kevin Smith (Clerks) has worked with some pretty big names before – Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (Dogma) to name but a few – but they were usually people he knew way back when, before they became household names. And after his bad experience with Bruce Willis on Cop Out (2010), we really didn't expect him to be collaborating with someone in Johnny Depp's league any time soon. But the Lone Ranger (2013) star is front and centre for Smith's latest, Yoga Hosers.

The main stars will be the writer/director's daughter, Harley Quinn Smith (Clerks II), and Depp's own progeny, Lily-Rose Depp (soon to appear in Smith's Tusk). They're leading a hefty ensemble as 15-year-old yoga fanatics Colleen Collette (Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Smith) who work after school in Canadian convenience store Eh-2-Zed. When an ancient evil rises from beneath the ground in Manitoba and threatens their invites to a big party thrown by one of their schoolmates, the girls join forces with legendary man-hunter Guy Lapointe (Depp) to fight for their lives and channel everything they've learned in their yoga lessons.

This won't actually be Depp's first dip into the Smith universe, as he also appears in Tusk as the investigator poking into the disappearance of Justin Long's (Drag Me To Hell) podcaster. The Colleens also appear briefly in Tusk, marking the start of what he's calling his True North Trilogy of horror flavoured films drawing from Canadian myths and culture.

The rest of the Tusk cast – Long, Michael Parks (Django Unchained), Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), Genesis Rodriguez (The Last Stand), Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Red State) and Harley Morenstein – are also back for Hosers including a fresh batch of new recruits and some veterans of Smith's previous work. Tony Hale (Stranger Than Fiction), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie), Austin Butler (The Bling Ring), Adam Brody (Jennifer's Body), Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) and the director's old Quick Stop stalwart Jason Mewes (Clerks).

"People always ask me 'Are you ever going to make a comic book movie?'" Smith tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This is it – but instead of yet another dude saving the day, our antiheroes are the most feared and formidable creatures man has ever encountered: two 15-year-old girls."

With shooting already underway, the film's rights will be for sale at this year's Toronto Film Festival, and given the names attached, we'd expect to see it hit our screens sometime next year. Tusk, which itself premieres at the festival, will be in US cinemas on 19 September, and will be released over here by Sony Pictures, though it is yet to receive a firm release date.

Benedict Cumberbatch set to join Andy Serkis' Jungle Book: Origins

Over the last few months we've had a virtual ark's worth of animal voice casting announcements for Jon Favreau's (Cowboys & Aliens) new live action and CGI blended take on Walt Disney Pictures The Jungle Book, yet heard very little about Andy Serkis' (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) competing project, Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros. That all changed recently when The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch (12 Years A Slave) has agreed to lend his distinctive vocal chords to the lethal tiger Shere Khan.

Coincidentally, this is not the first Khan that Benedict Cumberbatch has played, after he previously starred as the tiger's villainous namesake in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).

So it looks like we have a Khan face off in the making! Idris Elba (Prometheus) with his 'apocalypse cancelling' gravelly goodness, and Cumberbatch with his Smaug-like caramel tones. As to who will make the best Shere Khan, only time will tell.

Serkis is currently developing the movie to incorporate a blend of live action and performance capture, looking to make his directorial debut based on Callie Kloves' script. Expect further casting announcements soon for characters including Mowgli, the orphaned boy raised by wolves, and other animals including the wise panther Bagheera and friendly Baloo the bear.

Favreau's film is set to arrive here on 6 October next year, while Serkis' adaption will land more than a year later on 21 October 2016.

Two new character one sheets for Horns arrive online

Lionsgate have just released two new character one sheets for Alexandre Aja's (The Hills Have Eyes) Horns featuring a devilish Daniel Radcliffe (Kill Your Darlings).

Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish, the never convicted prime suspect for the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple). Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Ig awakens one morning to find horns growing from his head and soon realises that their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of his late girlfriend's tragedy and to exact revenge on her killer.

Directed by Aja from Keith Bunin's adaptation of the novel, Horns is one of those films we're eager to finally see. The cast also boasts the likes of David Morse (The Hurt Locker), Max Minghella (The Social Network), Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13), Heather Graham (Compulsion) and James Remar (Django Unchained), with the film hitting UK cinemas on 31 October – surely the perfect day.

Fredrik Bond set to direct London Has Fallen

What seemed like an impossible idea before last year's box office victory over fellow terrorism thriller White House Down (2013) is closer to becoming a reality. The Olympus Has Fallen (2013) sequel London Has Fallen has just locked in a director. Fredrik Bond, who last shot Shia LaBeouf drama Charlie Countryman (2013), will marshal the madness.

With Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell and Morgan Freeman all returning as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, US President Benjamin Asher, Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs, Leah Banning and Speaker Trumbull respectively, the sequel's plot will see the characters heading to London to attend the funeral of the Prime Minister.

World leaders from far and wide are in attendance, but it turns out that it's all a dastardly scheme to get them in one place for a mass assassination and a seismic change to the world order. Only Banning, the US President and a distrustful MI6 agent can put a stop to the madness.

Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart) wrote the script for London Has Fallen, building on work by original scribes Katrin Benedikt and Creighton Rothenberger. Bond, who is making quite a leap from his last film to this one, is looking to start filming the flying bullets in October ready for a planned 2 October 2015 release date.

First official Ant-Man still released

It's been a long and winding road with some significant bumps along the way, but Marvel's troubled Ant-Man is finally rolling in front of the cameras in San Francisco. Just in case there was any doubt, we have the first official look at Paul Rudd (Wanderlust) in character as Scott Lang.

Having avoided the anticipated storm of criticism at this years Comic Con in San Diego, Marvel will be hoping to put the last few months' events behind them and move boldly forward. Edgar Wright (The World's End), of course, after years of development, walked off the project back in May, with major screenplay rewrites by Adam McKay (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues).

The subsequent weeks then saw cast members Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Matt Gerard (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Kevin Weisman (Flipped) depart thanks to said rewrites and, in Wilson's case, scheduling conflicts due to the production delays. But we're now off and running, with original stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas (Haywire) and Evangeline Lily (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug) in the lead roles. Late additions now include Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine), Judy Greer (The Descendants), Michael Peña (End Of Watch), Corey Stoll (The Bourne Legacy), John Slattery (presumably reprising his role as Howard Stark, Tony's father), rapper T.I. and comedian Gregg Turkington.

To mark the start of shooting, Marvel have released a full press release which reads:
Marvel Studios began principal photography today in San Francisco, California, on its newest Super Hero franchise Marvel's Ant-Man. The film brings one of Marvel comics' original founding members of The Avengers into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The production also shoots on location in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves as the base for the film's production. 
Set for release in the United States on July 17, 2015, the film is directed by Peyton Reed (Bring it On, The Break-Up) and stars Paul Rudd (I Love You Man, Role Models) as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, and Michael Douglas (Behind The Candelabra, Wall Street) as his mentor Dr. Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Lost) as Hope Van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym. 
The film also includes outstanding additional cast including Corey Stoll (House of Cards, The Bourne Legacy), Bobby Cannavale (Danny Collins, Annie, HBO's The Long Play), Michael Peña (End Of Watch, American Hustle), Abby Ryder Fortson (Togetherness), Judy Greer (13 Going on 30, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight, Prisoners), Wood Harris (Remember The Titans, The Wire), John Slattery (Mad Men, Marvel's Iron Man 2) and Gregg Turkington (The Comedy, On Cinema) and multi-hyphenate T.I. (American Gangster, Takers). 
Based on the Marvel comic character first published in 1962, Marvel's Ant-Man continues the lineage of epic big-screen adventures chronicled in Marvel's Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel's The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians Of The Galaxy and the upcoming Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron. 
Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. 
Marvel's Ant-Man is produced by Marvel Studios' president, Kevin Feige, with Louis D'Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee serving as executive producers. 
Director Peyton Reed's creative team also includes Oscar® winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic, 21), production designer Sheppard Frankel (Identity Thief, Horrible Bosses) costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ (X-Men: First Class, Kick Ass), visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison (Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, The Lord Of The Rings: Two Towers), stunt coordinator Jeff Habberstad (Marvel's Iron Man 3, X-Men: Days Of Future Past) and six-time Oscar® nominee, special effects supervisor Dan Sudik (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvel's The Avengers). The editors include Dan Lebental, ACE (Marvel's Thor: The Dark World, Marvel's Iron Man) and Colby Parker Jr. (Lone Survivor, Hancock).
After the global box office success of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Marvel will be hoping they can pull a similar rabbit out of the hat when Ant-Man arrives 15 July next year.

First trailer for Men, Women & Children arrives online

Paramount Pictures have just released their first trailer for Jason Reitman's (Labor Day) Men, Women & Children.

Judging by this first trailer for Reitman's Labor Day (2013) follow-up, we can expect quite a bit of text messaging, social networking and internet surfing. But we can expect that all to be done by a truly impressive ensemble cast, which should make it interesting stuff.

The story follows a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives. The film attempts to stare down social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to this enormous social change that has come through our smartphones, tablets and computers.

The cast includes Adam Sandler (Grown Ups), Ansel Elgort (Carrie), Dean Norris (The Counselor), Dennis Haysbert (24), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), J.K. Simmons (Contraband), Judy Greer (The Descendants), Kaitlyn Dever (The Spectacular Now) and Rosemarie DeWitt (The Odd Life Of Timothy Green). There's no confirmed UK release date yet, but we can expect to see Men, Women & Children during awards season after it screens in Toronto next month.

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright are working on a new film

How's this for a slice of fried gold? Despite the beloved Cornetto Trilogy having drawn to a close with The World's End (2013), Simon Pegg has revealed that he and Edgar Wright are collaborating once more: "Edgar and I were having a conversation the other day about it, and it has a title and everything. We're kind of into a creative cycle now."

Pegg revealed the mysterious project in an interview with BBC 6 Music, but was careful not to reveal too many details, probably because he knows how much we'll all pester him for news once the title is out there. Acknowledging that they are both busy men (with or without Marvels Ant-Man), he is nonetheless confident that it's going to happen. "The coming-together thing is without question on the table and will happen when we can do it."

More intriguing still is the suggestion that this might be the first installment of a new, albeit loose, trilogy. Pegg pointed out that, "We made three films in ten years and hopefully in the next decade we'll make another three. I really love working with those guys and I wouldn't ever not want to work with them. It's not even a question."

While we're on the topic of all things Blood and Ice Cream, Pegg also tweeted further tantalising news: the return of Shaun Of The Dead's (2004) best buddies and ace zombie slayers Shaun (Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost). Specifically, Pegg and Frost will be reprising their roles for the Halloween special of the Disney channel's hit animated series Phineas And Ferb.

As always, watch this space.

Josh Boone set to tackle The Vampire Lestat

It was announced last week that Universal Pictures have snapped up the rights to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, with a view to mining a franchise from the material that so inspired Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire) twenty years ago. Now, The Wrap believes, the studio has its director: Stuck In Love (2012) and The Fault In Our Stars' Josh Boone is reportedly in the frame to man the cameras. While a spokesperson for Imagine Entertainment has denied the reports, The Wrap remain confident they know better.

Anne Rice's Chronicles currently run to 13 books, with a new one, Prince Lestat, due for publication in October this year. Universal Pictures' deal also includes the screenplay based on The Tale Of The Body Thief, which Rice's son Christopher sold to Imagine Entertainment (a partner on the new effort) two years ago.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) are attached to produce, and Boone, according to source, will write his own screenplay. Rather than beginning with a new version of Jordan's Interview With The Vampire (1994), itself based on Rice's first novel, the intel suggests that the new film will draw on second and third instalments The Vampire Lestat and Queen Of The Damned, already plundered for Michael Rymer's hapless Queen Of The Damned (2002) movie.

Before that, however, Boone has the small matter of Stephen King's The Stand to contend with, so if The Wrap are correct and Boone really is attached to the project, it'll be a while before he can give Lestat his full attention. Casting on The Stand is due to start shortly, for a likely 2016 release.

Ving Rhames set to return for Mission: Impossible 5

Throughout the Mission: Impossible franchise, there have always been two constants. The first is Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, dangling from just about anything and looking good doing it. The second is Ving Rhames' Luther Stickell, laughing the laugh of the one man who has survived working with Hunt for more than a decade. And now director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) has confirmed he is set to return for the upcoming Mission: Impossible 5.

There has been no word as yet on a plot for the film, or whether it will end up with a Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) style subtitle, but we do know that the film is currently shooting in Vienna and in London. Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness) will also be returning as Benji Dunn, and Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy) as William Brandt. Wallander (2008) and Hercules actress Rebecca Ferguson is also set to join them, with rumours swirling around Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) and no word yet on whether Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) will return as Hunt's wife.

McQuarrie, a regular Tom Cruise collaborator, will be directing this time, following Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol), J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III), John Woo (Mission: Impossible II) and Brian De Palma (Mission: Impossible) in that role. Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) has written the screenplay.

New trailer for Open Windows arrives online

Cinedigm have just released their first trailer for Nacho Vigalondo's (ABCs Of Death) Open Windows.

Elijah Wood's (Maniac) work ethic certainly shows no signs of faltering. This year alone he's been a part of Set Fire To The Stars, Cooties, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (as executive producer), mini-series Over The Garden Wall and TV comedy Wilfred. Somewhere in there he also found time to star in the latest film from Timecrimes' (2007) director Nacho Vigalondo. Open Windows is a loose riff on Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Rear Window (1954), where the windows in question here are tabs on a computer screen.

Wood plays Nick, a fan of actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Gray). Nick wins a date with his heroine in an online competition, but she pulls out of the arrangement, and Nick is then contacted by someone posing as her publicist, offering him the chance to follow her every movement by web and smartphone. Turns out, however, that the fake publicist is in fact a psychopath called Chord (Neil Maskell) and a deadly game is afoot.

Typically experimental for the restless Vigalondo, the entire film plays out via those proliferating computer desktop windows: an intriguing detour on the found footage road, where multiple sources are playing out at the same time.

Shot and completed over a year ago, Open Windows has been on the festival circuit ever since, and finally gets a proper release in the UK on 17 October.

Jim Sturgess and more set for Geostorm

With Gerard Butler (300) already aboard to lead his new science fiction thriller Geostorm, director Dean Devlin has been busy rounding up the rest of the cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he now has Jim Sturgess (Cloud Atlas), Abby Cornish (Limitless), Ed Harris (Apollo 13) and Andy Garcia (Oceans 13) making deals to appear.

In the future-set story, Butler plays a charming but stubborn satellite designer called in to help when the orbiting devices that control the Earth's weather start to go haywire, leading to fears that the worst storm humanity has ever known could soon befall us all.

Sturgess is set to play Butler's estranged brother, with whom he'll have to work if he's to stop the meteorological apocalypse. But that's not all: amid the mission to save the world, he also discovers that someone is plotting to assassinate the president. Which, if we're honest, sounds remarkably like Olympus Has Fallen (2013) meets The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

Cornish, meanwhile, will play a Secret Service agent who's in a relationship with Sturgess, with Harris as the Secretary of State and Garcia sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office. That cast list might immediately suggest to you a prime suspect in the assassination plot, but of course that would be wild speculation on your part that we could not possibly condone.

Kieran and Michele Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) have worked on the script, originally written by the director, and Warner Bros are looking to start shooting this October in New Orleans.

New quad poster and trailer for Babadook creeps online

Entertainment One have just released their latest quad poster and trailer for Jennifer Kent's acclaimed Australian horror The Babadook.

No matter how much children want a comforting tale to send them off to slumber land, we know that some of the best children's bedtime material is chock full of terrifying creatures and closet lurking terrors just waiting for the moment to strike. It's a base fear exploited by the Australian director in The Babadook.

"I wanted the audience to feel like there was a pair of hands around their necks from the very first frame, getting tighter and tighter," explains Kent. Judging by the early word, she's managed not only that but caught the eye of Hollywood in the process

Kent turned to Kickstarter to scrounge up the funds to make the story of Amelia (Essie Davis), a mother trying to raise son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) after the violent death of her husband six years earlier. Samuel, it seems, is going through a thorny emotional time, bringing weapons to school and generally acting out. He's spurred on by the belief that a ghoul known as the Babadook is haunting the house, but Amelia initially thinks it's all in his head. How very wrong she seems to be...

The Babadook debuts in the UK at the Film4 FrightFest before hitting general release on 24 October.

Ben Affleck discusses playing Batman

While dark and brooding is arguably one of the main qualifications required to portray the Dark Knight, Ben Affleck (Runner Runner) himself clearly appears to be quite happy with his decision to don the cowl and cape for Zack Snyder's (Man Of Steel) Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and face off against Henry Cavill's Superman.

When asked by Entertainment Weekly about the outcry that surrounded his casting, he's proved positive – and said he expected the noise.

"This is part and parcel of these movies now. There are a lot of active fans with a lot of opinions. To me, having been through a certain amount of that, it doesn't really... Everyone's entitled to their opinion," he says. "I wouldn't have taken the part if I didn't trust my instincts in terms of the filmmaking. I think Chris Terrio wrote a terrific script. Zack's a great visual director. And there's an interesting take. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think I could do it. I have the benefit of a lot of that understanding. But also, everyone is entitled to their opinion."

As for his take on the Caped Crusader, now he's in the middle of portraying him for the first time? It would appear he's still figuring it out.

"It's a process that I'll probably have better perspective on when I'm done. I can tell you that every time I do a role, it's the responsibility of an actor to get their physical self as close to the role as possible. And Batman's obviously got a set of expectations that are tough. So I spent a lot of time working out. And it's a far cry from Gone Girl where my character is described as 'puffy and hung-over.' I want you to know I worked equally hard at both!"

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, of course, follows the fallout from Man Of Steel's (2013) chaotic battles, with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) exploiting uncertainties about Superman for his own ends. Not to mention Batman and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) joining the action. Snyder is busy rolling the cameras now in Detroit and beyond, with Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), Amy Adams (American Hustle), Jeremy Irons (Beautiful Creatures), Holly Hunter (Paradise), Diane Lane (Secretariat), Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian), Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine) and Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty) in front of his lens.

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is set for worldwide release on 6 May 2016. Gone Girl, meanwhile, arrives on 3 October this year.

Godzilla sequel has a release date

Though the film has had mixed reactions, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla reboot opened to enormous success at box offices around the world, drawing in an impressive $93.2 million in the US on its first weekend of release alone. So it comes as little surprise then that plans are already being put in place for a Godzilla sequel. News now comes via Variety that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros have announced a 8 June 2018 release date for the film, with Gareth Edwards set to return as director.

If you're wondering why the release date is so far off, you can blame Star Wars. Edwards is currently hard at work developing one of the spin-off films for the saga, which will certainly keep him busy for the next couple of years. That said, he has already had a hand in figuring out the new Godzilla outing, hinting at this years Comic Con that classic God-botherers Motha, Rodan and Ghidorah are set to feature in the film. Gamera, it would appear, has been left out of the Toho Studios creature line-up. Godzilla 3 perhaps?

With a worldwide box office haul of $508 million, Godzilla is clearly in the franchise business despite a muted critical reaction to the first film. Legendary Pictures itself is staying in the monster business elsewhere too, announcing King Kong prequel/reboot Skull Island at Comic Con, with a planned November 2016 release set for that movie.

Betty Boop movie in the works

It would appear that the desire to turn every recognisable property into a film franchise is still strong in Hollywood. Variety have just announced that 1930s cartoon icon Betty Boop is the latest to be brought back to the big screen and is set to appear in her first feature-length film.

Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment has entered a partnership with Animal Logic Entertainment – the animation company behind Happy Feet's (2006) dancing penguins and this years bricktacular comedy The Lego Movie – to purchase the rights from Fleischer Studios for what is described in Variety's report as a "music-driven hybrid animated comedy".

A caricature of a Jazz age flapper girl, Betty has been around since 1930, appearing in numerous Talkartoons from Max Fleischer and later her own cartoon series. Crowned 'The Queen of the Animated Screen' Betty became an animated superstar and has since shown up in a wealth of shorts and other shows. She has become a licensing goldmine, featuring on everything from Chupa Chups to NASCAR in her time. On the big screen, she made a cameo in Robert Zemeckis' cartoon laden Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), proving that she still had what it takes and casting a slightly wary eye at Jessica Rabbit.

Cowell tweeted a picture of himself with the coy character saying: "Betty, I've worked with some serious divas but I think you could be the biggest of them all!"

"Betty is an icon, and one of the biggest stars in the world – I'm thrilled to be working with her."

No director or writer is attached as yet, and given the films cartoon status, we don't expect Betty to be dancing back on screens for a couple of years at least.

Sophie Turner finds Mary Shelley's Monster

Perhaps more used to playing the scared victim than generating terror on Game Of Thrones, Sophie Turner has signed on to star alongside Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) and Taissa Farmiga (The Bling Ring) in Coky Giedroyc's Mary Shelley's Monster.

Giedroyc, who has had a thorough grounding in gothic horror working on episodes of the Penny Dreadful series, will direct the tale of how Shelley created the seminal horror tale Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus while struggling with her own alter-ego and tempestuous relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley (Irvine). Farmiga is aboard as her stepsister, Claire Clairmont, who may or may not have had an affair with Shelley but who was most certainly sexually involved with Byron.

According to producer Rose Fanguzza, this will be a different take on the Shelley story. "Our film is not a period drama," she tells Deadline. "It is a story of youth that transcends time, a gothic romance, a love triangle that involves a dark passenger and we are tremendously excited to have such an exciting cast on board this wonderful project."

With another Mary Shelley film already in development – Elle Fanning (Super 8) signed up last month to play her in A Storm In The Stars – Mary Shelley's Monster with certainly need to distinguish itself as an altogether different kind of beast.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Shannyn Sossamon set for Sinister sequel

Following the sleeper success of Ethan Hawke-led horror Sinister (2012), the Blumhouse Productions team is going by The Purge (2013) playbook for the sequel: maintain the concept and swap out Hawke for new faces. According to Deadline at least one new face has been found, with news that Shannyn Sossamon (Catacombs) is set to star in the next instalment.

James Ransone is returning from the first Sinister in the role of the Sheriff's Deputy who tried to help Hawke with the terror infused home movies he found in his family's new home. This time around, he'll be coming to the aid of Sossamon's single mum, who moves into a rural house with her nine-year-old twins only to discover that the place is loaded with creepy supernatural phenomena.

Citadel (2012) director Ciaran Foy is taking over megaphone duties for this one, working from a script Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) wrote with Sinister collaborator C. Robert Cargill. The cameras are currently rolling in Chicago, with Universal Pictures already slotting in a 21 August 2015 release date for the sequel.

The cinema of Star Wars: Metropolis

For anyone who has ever seen Fritz Lang's Metropolis, it's quite clear that the design of Maria's android doppelgänger heavily influenced Ralph McQuarrie's conceptual artwork and paintings of C-3PO, the fussy protocol droid featured in George Lucas' Star Wars saga. Released in 1927, Metropolis has the distinction of being the first feature length science fiction film and tells the story of a working class ruled by a tyrannical overlord named Joh Frederson.

For anyone who hasn't seen Metropolis, it would be easy to assume that the production design on display was the single greatest source of visual inspiration on the Star Wars saga, but diving into the movie, the parallels run considerably deeper. For one, the city of Metropolis is a sprawling art deco city of shimmering high-rise towers. Running between the maze of buildings are bridges and lanes full of flying cars, travelling in neat rows. One is instantly reminded of the city-like planet of Coruscant. Aside from the obvious design cues, even the colour palette for the black and white silent film is similar to those of Coruscant, save for the flourish of coloured lights.

The machines of the Metropolis underworld seem to do something, but their workings are almost absurd. With the juxtaposition of shots that seem much more considered in silent films than today, it would not surprise anyone to learn that George Lucas had studied the film to crib Lang's editing and special effects techniques. Despite his arguably questionable skills as a director, George Lucas' has the ability to make you believe the machines being manipulated on screen are real and work when operated by characters and since Metropolis seems to be the first example of this in cinema, it would therefore seem likely that this was another key influence.

Rotwang's right hand is another key feature that would appear to connect several dots. Rotwang is the crazed inventor and creator of the Threepio-like 'Maschinenmensch' who has a mechanical right hand which he keeps covered with a black glove. This certainly sounds very much like an element of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker's character arc, with the motif of the black glove carrying on through the entire Star Wars saga.

Designs and visuals are not the only thing that Metropolis has in common with Star Wars. There are several story elements that have a commonality between the two. The biggest would be the struggle of the lower class, arguably reminiscent of the Rebel Alliance, and their fight with the tyranny of the upper classes. They lead a rebellion to improve their plight, but are bamboozled by humanoid impersonators of their leadership, sent by the ruling class to confuse and ruin them. The duality of the doubles echo the split nature of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader, one a cold machine bent on evil, the other a man with the best intentions held inside a beating human heart.

The film is also punctuated by absurd yet titillating dance numbers, opulent examples of the excess of the ruling class, which instantly draws comparisons to the slave girl dance number in Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return Of The Jedi (1983).

The thematic thesis of Metropolis is also mirrored in the entire Star Wars saga. The people and machines are the hands of society, and the upper-class serves as the mind in the equation. Unless there is a mediator of both worlds to provide the heart, tyranny ensues.

There are several versions of Metropolis available, true completists however should track down brilliant Metropolis (Reconstructed & Restored) Special Edition now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Monday, 25 August 2014

New Texas Chainsaw Massacre film to be called Leatherface

In recent years, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has been through a reboot (2003), a prequel (2006) and a 3D sequel (2013). Now, in its eighth instalment, we're back in prequel territory with news that Millennium Films has hired Seth M. Sherwood to write what will be called Leatherface.

There was a brief rights dispute early last year just after the latest film slew the competition at the US box office and triggered excitable announcements about another. But now the producers, including Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman and Carl Mazzocone (Texas Chainsaw 3D), are pushing ahead with Millennium's plan.

According to The Wrap, while the plot is being kept locked away in a scary, dank basement, Sherwood has apparently been tasked to write a tale that will follow Leatherface's early years in the 1970s.

How it will – or won't – tie into last year's outing is frankly anyone's guess, especially since the continuity train seems to jump the tracks with every new release. Millennium wants this one shooting either later in the year or early next and is already on the hunt for a director. Sherwood comes from a TV background and has several film scripts percolating away in development, including an untitled screenplay for Blumhouse Productions and a well regarded psychological thriller called Interstate 5.

New Revenge Of The Green Dragons trailer arrives online

A24 Films have just released their first trailer for Wai-keung Lau (Internal Affairs) and Andrew Loo's (It Had To be You!) Revenge Of The Green Dragons.

The last time director Wai-keung Lau and Martin Scorsese were directly associated, it was because Scorsese was remaking Lau's crime thriller Infernal Affairs (2002) as The Departed (2006). This time however, Scorsese is attached as executive producer.

Directed by Lau and Andrew Loo, from a script by Loo and Michael DiJiacomo, Revenge Of The Green Dragons follows immigrant brothers Sonny (Justin Chon) and Steven (Kevin Wu) who live and survive in the impoverished squalor of 1980s New York largely by joining powerful Chinatown gang The Green Dragons.

Rising quickly through the ranks, the brothers are soon drawing the suspicious attention of tough city cops, but it's ultimately love that truly puts them in danger. An ill-fated romance pits Sonny against his own brother, and puts him on a course to seek revenge against the very gang that made him who he is...

With a cast bolstered by Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly), Harry Shum Jr. (Glee), Shuya Chang (Chinese Puzzle), Geoff Pierson (J. Edgar) and Billy Magnussen (The Brass Teapot), Revenge Of The Green Dragons will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month before hitting US cinema screens in October. It will hopefully make its way over to the UK next year.