Friday, 29 May 2015

Alicia Vikander set for The Circle

After impressing this year with Testament Of Youth (2014) and Alex Garland's directing debut Ex Machina, Alicia Vikander is naturally in demand. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that she is now making a deal to co-star with Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) in The Circle.

The script, adapted from Dave Eggers' novel by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now), who is also in the director's chair, follows a young woman (Vikander) hired to work for the titular internet megacorp. The idea behind the company is uniting users' email, social media, banking and online shopping in its universal operating system as one identity, with this leading to a new age of transparency and civility.

But of course, it's not that simple – and the story becomes a thriller that exploits the dangers of a digital life where all personal data is collected and pervasive surveillance means that privacy is a thing of the past. And our heroine learns that she is also at risk when she starts a relationship with the charismatic co-owner of the company (Hanks).

IM Global is sold the foreign distribution rights at the Cannes Film Market earlier this month, and we expect a deal to come through quickly given the talent attached. Vikander will next be seen in Guy Ritchie's (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (out 14 August), culinary comedy Adam Jones (2 October), real life drama The Danish Girl (1 January 2016) and The Light Between Oceans, which arrives on 8 January next year.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Abbie Cornish set for Mulroney In Lavender

Memory loss can be a tricky thing to deal with in thrillers on screen – you have to get the tone right or it can potentially come across as simply silly. Abbie Cornish (Limitless) and Dermot Mulroney (The Grey) clearly think that the script for Lavender has what it takes, with news arriving via Variety that the pair have signed on to star in the psychologically flavoured film.

Ed Gass-Donnelly, who most recently brought us The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), is behind this one, which he co-wrote with Colin Frizzell. The film finds Cornish as a photographer who must grapple with severe memory issues. Clues start to pop up in her work that suggests she might just be responsible for the death of family members she never knew existed.

All being well, and with the rights recently being sold at the Cannes Film Market, Gass-Donnelly will start the cameras rolling later this month in Toronto.

Cornish will show up in Afonso Poyart's (Two Rabbits) mystery thriller Solace, which is out here on 9 October, and science fiction action thriller Geostorm, which has yet to secure a UK release date. Mulroney, meanwhile, will be back on our screens for Insidious: Chapter 3, which arrives in UK cinemas on 5 June.

"Everyone has a secret identity – which one's the real you?"

Universal Pictures have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Jon M. Chu's (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) Jem And The Holograms.

Jem And The Holograms was birthed as a toy line back in the 1980s and appeared in televised cartoon series between 1985 and 1988, selling like hotcakes and becoming a minor sensation, albeit more across the pond than here. Now G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) director Jon M. Chu and low-budget horror maestro Jason Blum are betting that they can still be a hit with the YouTube crowd (but don't go expecting terrors aside from some of the wigs – this is Blumhouse Productions in non-horror mode.)

The new movie chronicles the rock star coming of age of Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples), who has to fight the pain of her father's death to find her voice and start to perform alongside sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) and foster siblings Aja (Hayley Kiyoko) and Shana (Aurora Perrineau), who make up the Holograms group. Jem – a nickname her father used to call her – is unhappy about embracing the big hair and over the top costumes, but realises she needs to for the good of her family.

"It's actually about a group of young people who are going to be inundated with this idea of fame and fortune and products and stuff, and within all that, how do you stay true to who you really are?" Chu tells USA Today. "That's the real soul of the movie."

Chu and Blum were initially uncertain about the movie until they cracked how it should fit into today's music scene. "How can you even have a secret identity with all this social media? But then it dawned on us: Wait, everybody has a secret identity. The idea of 'Who are you really?' is more relevant today than ever. That's what inspired me to say, 'Let's roll the dice and try to make this movie.'"

Jem And The Holograms is out in the UK on 21 December.

First trailer and one sheet for Howl arrives online

Starchild Pictures have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Paul Hyett's (The Seasoning House) werewolf horror Howl.

Directed by Paul Hyett – who cut his teeth providing the special makeup effects work for the likes of Neil Marshall's The Descent (2005) and Doomsday (2008) before making his directorial debut with revenge horror The Seasoning House (2012) – the film stars Ed Speleers (Eragon) as a ticket inspector dealing with some unusually hirsute fare dodgers and co-stars Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) and Shauna Macdonald (The Descent). As his make-up effects background might imply, Hyett is eschewing computer generated beasts and taking a more American Werewolf In London (1981) inspired practical approach to lycanthropy in the film, which will arrive to terrorise the British public transportation system later this year.

Dwayne Johnson set for Alpha Squad Seven

Increasingly looking to develop his own starring vehicles, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 6) as landed a deal to star in Alpha Squad Seven, which his production company helped develop.

Writers Jeremiah Friedman (Pawn) and Nick Palmer dreamt up the pitch for what is described as a science fiction comedy, one that is designed to pair Johnson with someone else, and, if successful, launch a franchise.

Friedman and Palmer sold their one line idea to producer Beau Flynn (Requiem For A Dream) and development executive Wendy Jacobson (Two Night Stand), referencing movies such as Independence Day (1996) and Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) as inspiration, with Flynn then throwing it to Johnson's 7 Bucks company, which stumped up the money to develop the script. DreamWorks Studios have now won the bidding war for the idea, which all involved are keeping quiet for the moment.

As for Johnson, he is back on our screens battling Mother Nature's capricious ways with disaster movie San Andreas this week, and he is in the early stages of shooting action comedy Central Intelligence and providing voice work for Walt Disney Animation Studios Hawaiian flavoured animated adventure Moana, which is out on 10 February 2017.

Charlize Theron set for The Coldest City

News arrived via Deadline recently that Charlize Theron (Prometheus) has joined David Leitch and Chad Stahelski's (John Wick) graphic novel adaptation The Coldest City.

Wasteland writer Antony Johnston is behind the source material for the film, which Kurt Johnstad (300) is adapting. David Leitch and Chad Stahelski are on board to direct the movie, to which Focus Features has bought the US rights.

Theron is set to play a skilled intelligence operative that is called into action when an undercover MI6 spy is killed just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She will have to track down a list he was smuggling to the West in order to prevent her and her colleagues becoming endangered by the release of crucial information. And the mission becomes a deadly game of double-crossing agents and global agendas.

Leitch and Stahelski are much in demand at the moment, with a John Wick sequel in development and leaping aboard projects such as Cowboy Ninja Viking and fellow graphic novel adaptation Bloodshot. They are now scheduled to work on Coldest City this October in Germany. Theron is currently back on our screens in George Miller's post-apocalyptic adventure Mad Max: Fury Road.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Natalie Portman contemplating The Basis Of Sex

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) is already in talks to star in Alex Garland's (Ex Machina) planned next thriller, but it seems she is also considering something very different. News arrived via The Hollywood Reporter recently that she is circling the role of US Supreme Court Justice and legal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg in The Basis Of Sex.

Ginsburg is a compelling subject for a biopic, a woman who has spent her career championing women's rights and smashes the glass ceiling more than once. She co-founded the first law journal on the subject of gender equality, became the first woman professor tenured at Columbia university. In 1993, Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court, making her the first female Jewish Justice.

Daniel Stiepleman wrote the script for the film, which tracks Ginsburg's career and achievements, with Marielle Heller (Diary Of A Teenage Girl) in talks to direct for Focus Features. There is no sign yet when the movie might start shooting.

Currently circling Garland's novel adaptation Annihilation, Portman has been busy working on her directorial debut, A Tale Of Love And Darkness, which she recently brought to the Cannes Film Festival to show to distributors. She will also be seen in Jane Got A Gun (4 September) and Terrence Malick's (Tree Of Life) Knight Of Cups, which has a reported UK release date on 1 January 2016.

Monday, 25 May 2015

First trailer for The Intern arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their first trailer for Nancy Meyers' (The Holiday) The Intern.

The last time Anne Hathaway worked in fashion on screen, it was for The Devil Wears Prada (2006). This time around she is playing the boss, with Robert De Niro (Heat) as the newcomer hoping to make their mark on the office.

Nancy Meyers is behind the new comedy, which stars Hathaway as Jules Ostin, the founder of a fashion site who needs some new help around the office. Which is where 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (De Niro) comes in, a man that has found that retirement isn't all he might have hoped for, and has decided to get back in business. But the position of senior intern at Jules' web business doesn't immediately seem to be the perfect fit.

It's certainly fun to see the two Academy Award® winners sparking off each other, and there is a solid cast around them that includes Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair), Andrew Rannells (Bachelorette), Adam DeVine (Pitch Perfect), Nat Wolff (The Fault In Our Stars), Anders Holm (The Interview) and Reid Scott (My Boys).

The Intern will be out on 2 October.

The Craft remake officially announced

Back in December there were rumblings that a new version of teen horror The Craft (1996) could be in the works. Those rumours have now been confirmed, with the news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that original studio Sony Pictures are once again behind the new project. Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon) is set to direct the film, and co-write with her regular collaborator Phil Graziadei.

If her name seems unfamiliar, Janiak is what you might call an up and coming filmmaker, and she's moving quickly. A producer's assistant on Europa Report (2013), she next wrote and directed last year's excellent indie horror Honeymoon (2014), starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway. She has also just directed the seventh episode of MTV's Scream. The Craft will be her first studio feature gig – she reportedly impressed Sony Pictures executives with a pitch about it being a tale of female empowerment.

Columbia Pictures' The Craft, should you have missed it 19 years ago, revolved around a quartet of teenage girls (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney and Rachel True) dabbling with witchcraft and predictably getting in over their heads. It was actually rather good and could feasibly have spawned sequels at the time, had not the TV series Charmed come along a couple of years later to somewhat steal its thunder. Charmed's opening credits theme – Love Spit Love's alternative rock cover of The Smiths' How Soon Is Now – even came from The Craft's soundtrack.

Sony Pictures are also, of course, scheming some sort of Marvel type, multi-film connected universe revival of Ghostbusters, while moving ahead with a mash-up of the Jump Street and Men In Black franchises. So it's not inconceivable that The Craft could, in the back of someone's mind, be on course to fit somewhere in that complex system, although that's pure speculation on our part. It's clearly early days for the wicca chicks at the moment, with no cast in place or start date so far.

20th Century Fox planning X-Men spin-off The New Mutants

With Bryan Singer's (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) take on the X-Men universe potentially winding down with next year's X-Men: Apocalypse, 20th Century Fox and writer/producer Simon Kinberg are clearly wanting to keep the successful mutant franchise going. News now arrives via Deadline that the studio has hired Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) to develop and direct The New Mutants.

20th Century Fox have made no secret of its desire to build a wider universe around the various mutants and other heroes to which it owns the rights – Deadpool is busy shooting with Ryan Reynolds (Buried) back in the suit and Channing Tatum (White House Down) is currently lining up a Gambit film. The New Mutants have been rumoured for a couple of years, but this is the first real announcement about forward motion on the idea.

The question will be which of the teams known as the New Mutants will be the focus here. Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod created the original squad of teen heroes in 1982 for Marvel Graphic Novel issue four and they got their own title running between 1983 and 1991, with Deadpool popping up from time to time. They were later relaunched as X-Force, which is an interesting name since Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) has been attached to write an X-Force film, but Deadline's report says that Boone will be creating his own script with Knate Gwaltney.

There is also the second New Mutants team, launched in 2003 with different members as part of the Charles Xavier's school population. Chances are, given how the movies like to play with the continuity and make-up of teams, that we could well see a blend of both.

"We're so excited to explore this new part of the X-Men universe, and so excited to do it with Josh, who is uniquely suited to tell this story about young characters," Kinberg says of the new plan. This one will bubble in development for a while, particularly as Boone is currently developing several projects including The Stand for Warner Bros and The Vampire Chronicles for Universal Pictures. X-Men: Apocalypse, meanwhile, arrives here on 19 May next year.

New trailer and one sheet for Crimson Peak arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Guillermo del Toro's (Pacific Rim) new gothic horror Crimson Peak.

Crimson Peak finds Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) as author Edith Cushing, who is newly married to the charming and heroic Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). She moves to live with him in the titular massive, crumbling family pile in Cumbria. But soon after she arrives, she discovers that her husband is not who he appears to be, and the house itself has some very dark secrets.
Chastain, meanwhile, plays Lady Lucille Sharpe, Sir Thomas's sister, a woman who no doubt carries her fair share of dangerous mysteries swirling about her.

Based on the evidence of this first look, it's certainly a stylish, moody affair, dripping with both the slow burn gothic chills and rich twisted imagery del Toro has brought to films such as The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006).

With Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Burn Gorman (The Dark Knight Rises), Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth), Leslie Hope (Never Back Down) and Jim Beaver (Next) also aboard, Crimson Peak will haunt our cinemas on 16 October.

New trailer and quad poster for Slow West arrives online

A24 Films have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for John Maclean's Slow West.

While Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys has diverted into idiosyncratic documentaries for his film career, The Beta Band's John Maclean has opted for a full-blown Western for his feature debut. Following a couple of shorts, Slow West is actually his third collaboration with Michael Fassbender (Prometheus).

Playing to an enthusiastic reception at The Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Slow West is an off-kilter take on the genre that still manages to keep the bullets flying while Fassbender chomps an Eastwood inspired cigarillo. Some early viewers have compared it to Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (1995), while others have said it's more Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel).

Whatever, the story involves Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) journeying across the new American frontier in the late 19th century to find the girl he loves, picking up mysterious "chaperone" Fassbender along the way. Life, it's fair to say, is not peaceful there, in the open air. Whether our hero finds a place where there is so much space remains to be seen.

With Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), Rory McCann (Game Of Thrones) and Caren Pistorius (The Most Fun You Can Have Dying) also in the cast, Slow West gets a UK release on 26 June.

First images from Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon arrive online

With shooting close to wrapping up in Los Angeles and plenty of interest shown in the film at the Cannes Film Festival, the first images from Nicolas Winding Refn's (Drive) new thriller The Neon Demon have arrived online via Screen International.

Refn's latest trip into the dark heart of culture and humanity finds the likes of Elle Fanning (Super 8), Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Karl Glusman (Starship Troopers: Invasion), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks (Drive), Desmond Harrington (Dexter) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick) in the story of aspiring model Jesse (Fanning) moving to the City Of Angels only to find that it hides some very dark terrors. In short, "Her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women that will do anything to take what she has." So pretty much business as usual in LA, then.

Refn is about to kick off post-production on the film, which should be with us in early 2016, especially since Icon Film Distribution brought the rights to the film in the UK. From the looks of the stills alone this could be another stylish entry into Refn's canon.

Luc Besson announces new science fiction adaption

Luc Besson (Léon: The Professional) is the latest director to embrace social media to help personalise their promotional duties. He has taken to Twitter recently to announce his new project, science fiction adaptation Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, which has Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) and Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) on board to star.

The Hollywood Reporter offers a few more details about the movie, which is drawn from the Valérian And Laureline comic book series created by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. Besson is writing and directing the film, which will see DeHaan playing the agent who travels in time and space, with Delevingne co-starring as his fellow agent Laureline, as they defend a utopian 28th century Earth and neighbouring planets from threats. First published in 1967, the series' ideas and designs concepts went on to influence the likes of Star Wars (1977) and, perhaps more tellingly, The Fifth Element (1997), so this feels like Besson bringing things full circle.

That subtitle suggests Besson is dipping into the second collected tome, The Empire Of A Thousand Planets, and with nine collections on shelves so far (a tenth hits UK shops in September), there is plenty of scope for a franchise, whether Besson stays at the helm or starts farming the task out to protégés. Either way, it's certainly encouraging to see him get back to big scale science fiction, no doubt driven by the success of Lucy (2014). The plan is to start shooting at the end of this year for release in summer 2017.

Delevingne is on our screens a lot this summer, with Joe Wright's (Atonement) Pan out 17 July 17 Paper Towns due 21 August. She is also part of Warner Bros and DC Entertainment's Suicide Squad, which is currently shooting for a 5 August 2016 release. DeHaan, meanwhile, will be seen as James Dean in Life, out 25 September and Justin Chadwick's (Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom) Tulip Fever, which has yet to secure a UK release date.

New Jem And The Holograms stills arrive online

The latest toy line and associated cartoon to be given the live action treatment is Jon M. Chu's (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) Jem And The Holograms. Now USA Today have recently released the first stills from the film, featuring the main group both on and off stage.

Jem And The Holograms was birthed as a toy line back in the 1980s and appeared in televised cartoon series between 1985 and 1988, selling like hotcakes and becoming a minor sensation, albeit more across the pond than here. Now G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) director Jon M. Chu and low-budget horror maestro Jason Blum are betting that they can still be a hit with the YouTube crowd (but don't go expecting terrors aside from some of the wigs – this is Blumhouse Productions in non-horror mode.)

The new movie chronicles the rock star coming of age of Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples), who has to fight the pain of her father's death to find her voice and start to perform alongside sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) and foster siblings Aja (Hayley Kiyoko) and Shana (Aurora Perrineau), who make up the Holograms group. Jem – a nickname her father used to call her – is unhappy about embracing the big hair and over the top costumes, but realises she needs to for the good of her family.

"It's actually about a group of young people who are going to be inundated with this idea of fame and fortune and products and stuff, and within all that, how do you stay true to who you really are?" Chu tells USA Today. "That's the real soul of the movie."

Chu and Blum were initially uncertain about the movie until they cracked how it should fit into today's music scene. "How can you even have a secret identity with all this social media? But then it dawned on us: Wait, everybody has a secret identity. The idea of 'Who are you really?' is more relevant today than ever. That's what inspired me to say, 'Let's roll the dice and try to make this movie.'"

Jem And The Holograms is out in the UK on 21 December.

Kevin Smith's Mallrats sequel will be called MallBrats

It was announced back in March that Kevin Smith was set to start work on a sequel to Mallards (1995), along with heading back for a third helping of Clerks (1994). Smith confirmed recently via Instagram that he has completed at least the first draft of the Mallrats sequel, and that the film is currently called MallBrats.

Mallrats was Smith's much maligned Clerks follow-up that attempted to transplant the blend of slacker vibe, pop cultural commentary and sheer madness to a mall with a bigger budget, a bolstered cast (including one Ben Affleck) and colour.

Now the sequel is coming together and Smith has already been teasing that many of the original cast members have agreed to come back, including Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Ethan Suplee, Shannen Doherty, Michael Rooker, Renée Humphrey, Joey Lauren Adams, Sven-Ole Thorsen, Scott Mosier, Bryan Johnson, Walt Flanagan, Brian O'Halloran, Claire Forlani and Stan Lee, who cameoed as himself in an era before we all got used to seeing him every year in the Marvel movies. No word on Affleck yet, but given how his character ended up in the original, there is every chance Shannon Hamilton is still in prison...

First look at James McAvoy as bald Professor X

Bryan Singer took to Instagram last week to show off the first image of the James McAvoy going under the barber's clippers for his role as Professor X in the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on

With a script from X-Men: Days Of Future Past's (2014) Simon Kinberg plus Singer stalwarts Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris (X-Men 2), X-Men: Apocalypse is set in the 1980s and finds Xavier, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) facing off against massively powerful mutant Apocalypse (Isaac) alongside younger versions of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Ororo 'Storm' Munroe (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Jubilee (Lana Condor).

Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class) is back as Moira MacTaggert, and there will be appearances from Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and, reportedly, the older Magneto, played as usual by Ian McKellen.

X-Men: Apocalypse is due for release 19 May next year.

First stills from Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight arrive online

With shooting wrapped and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) busy knocking his latest, vengeful Western The Hateful Eight into shape in post-production, the first official stills from the film have arrived online courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

Tarantino's latest is set roughly a decade after the American Civil War and finds an eclectic group of law keepers, outlaws, mercenaries, bounty hunters and fugitives holed up in a stagecoach waypoint when a massive snowstorm hits the area. Soon, the two men transporting a female prisoner across the country start to wonder if they will actually make it out alive...

The main cast includes a blend of Tarantino old hands and those new to his films, with Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), Kurt Russell (Death Proof), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Spectacular Now), Walton Goggins (Lincoln), Demián Bichir (Machete Kills), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), James Parks (Machete), Zoe Bell (Death Proof) and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike).

"You have to ask Quentin, but I do think it's a bit of an intentional homage to Reservoir Dogs," Madsen tells Entertainment Weekly about the set-up, which features characters that all have secrets to hide. "It's one of those pictures where nobody really knows who anyone really is. It's kind of a masquerade party." For more details and pictures, head over to Entertainment Weekly.

The Hateful Eight should ride into US cinemas later this year, but there is no word as yet on a UK release date.

New character one sheets for Terminator Genisys arrive online

Paramount Pictures have recently released a fresh batch of character one sheets for Alan Taylor's (Thor: The Dark World) Terminator Genisys.

Kicking off in the Future War, with Jason Clarke's (Zero Dark Thirty) battle scarred and embittered John Connor, things appear normal for the Terminator franchise. But when Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) volunteers to go back in time and save John's mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), he arrives to discover that the timeline has been tinkered with and things are very different.

This is not the Sarah Connor we first met in The Terminator (1984). Instead, this Sarah has lost her parents to a Terminator attack but raised by an ageing version of Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800. And Kyle will need her help when an Asian model of the morphing metal T-1000 threatens his life.

Together, Sarah and Kyle must figure out what has happened and find a way to once more stop Judgment Day from happening.

With Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe: Retaliation), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games) and Sandrine Holt (Underworld: Awakening) among the cast, Terminator Genisys is set to arrive in our cinemas on 3 July.

New one sheet for London Has Fallen arrives online

Focus Features have recently released their first one sheet for Fredrik Bond's (Charlie Countryman) London Has Fallen.

Following on from sleeper hit Olympus Has Fallen (2013), the new film heads across the pond to cause trouble here.

Christian Gudegast (A Man Apart), Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (Olympus Has Fallen) are behind the script for this one, which finds Gerard Butler's Secret Service agent Mike Banning, Aaron Eckhart's President Benjamin Asher, Angela Bassett's Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs and Morgan Freeman's Speaker Trumbull among those who travel to London to attend the funeral of the Prime Minister.

But when it turns out that there is a dastardly plot afoot to assassinate world leaders, Mike will have to team up with a distrustful MI6 agent (Charlotte Riley), prove that the fictional Secret Service is not as slipshod as the real one at the moment, and save the day. Radha Mitchell is back as Leah Banning, with Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Melissa Leo (Prisoners), Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) and Colin Salmon (Resident Evil: Retribution) all aboard.

London Has Fallen will be out on 2 October.

New one sheet for Hotel Transylvania 2 arrives online

Sony Pictures have recently released their latest one sheet for Genndy Tartakovsky's Hotel Transylvania 2.

When the original Hotel Transylvania (2012) more than $358 million worldwide, a sequel was all but inevitable. Now, with a few new cast additions and what will hopefully be a fresh spin on the story, Hotel Transylvania 2 is heading our way later this year.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is set a few years after the events of the first film and it appears things are changing for the better. Now accepting his human son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), particularly following the birth of his half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dracula (Adam Sandler) has swung the doors of the hotel open to human visitors. And he is also enjoying looking after Dennis while daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) heads with her husband to visit his parents.

But while Drac worries that Dennis isn't enough of a vampire – see the flight test that nearly ends in disaster in the teaser – he has more to be concerned about when his own father, Vlad (Mel Brooks) shows up, and we learn just how old school (or rather, ancient) Vlad's family values are.

The likes of Kevin James (Frank), Steve Buscemi (Wayne), Molly Shannon (Wanda), David Spade (Griffin) and Fran Drescher (Eunice) are back supporting Sandler, with Keegan-Michael Key (Let's Be Cops) taking over as Murray the Mummy.

Hotel Transylvania 2 will be open for business again here on 9 October.

Three new character one sheets for Absolutely Anything arrive online

Phoenix Pictures have recently released a new series of character one sheets Terry Jones' (Life Of Brian) Absolutely Anything, starring Simon Pegg (The World's End) and the Monty Python team in a completely different kind of motion picture experience.

With Jones behind the camera, working from the script he wrote with Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers), Absolutely Anything finds Pegg as Neil, a secondary school teacher who is the very definition of the everyman.

But when a group of extra-terrestrials – voiced by Jones alongside old Monty Python cohorts John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin – decide that it would be fun to hand him amazing powers, Neil's life begins to change – and not always for the better. And, as you will see from the clip, ends up bestowing the power of speech to his loyal pooch Dennis. Dennis is voiced in the film by the late great Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting), who completed his work in the recording booth before his death in August last year.

Neil will ultimately face a choice that comes down to between the woman he loves (Catherine, played by Kate Beckinsale) and man's best friend.

Absolutely Anything is due to hit cinemas on 13 February.

New trailer and one sheet for Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence) arrives online

IFC Midnight have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Tom Six's Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence). Needless to say, it's not safe for work. Unless of course you work in some kind of unlicensed sex dungeon.

Creator/director Tom Six promises that the latest in his unlikely franchise will be "100 per cent politically incorrect", albeit with some stab being made at satirising the correctional system being made in this prison set sequel. On this evidence, there will be all the usual weirdcore nastiness to contend with too.

Bully prison warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser), leading a big state prison in the US, has a lot of problems – his prison statistically has the highest amount of prison riots, medical costs and staff turnover in the country. But foremost he is unable to get the respect he thinks he deserves from his inmates and the state Governor (Eric Roberts). His constant failure in experimenting with different ideas for the ideal punishment, drives him, together with the sizzling heat, completely insane.

Under threats of termination by the Governor, his loyal right hand man Dwight (Laurence R. Harvey) comes up with a brilliant idea. A revolutionary idea which could change the American prison system for good and potentially save billions of dollars. An idea based on the notorious Human Centipede movies, that will literally and figuratively get the inmates on their knees, creating the ultimate punishment and deterrent for anyone considering a life of crime. Having nothing to lose, Bill and Dwight create a jaw dropping 500 person prison centipede.

Human Centipede 3 (The Final Sequence) hit US cinemas and VOD last week. No word on a UK release date as yet, or, for that matter, an attempt at BBFC classification.

Toby Stephens set for 13 Hours

Opting not to take a holiday between seasons of Black Sails, news arrives via Variety that Toby Stephens has signed on for Michael Bay's (Transformers: Age Of Extinction) Benghazi set thriller 13 Hours. He joins a cast that already includes John Krasinski (Away We Go), James Badge Dale (World War Z), Max Martini (Pacific Rim) and Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is The New Black).

Written by Chuck Hogan (The Strain), the script adapts Mitchell Zuckoff's book 13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi. The focus will be on six members of a security team who fought to defend the US State Department Special Mission Compound in Libya when terrorists attacked the place. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and one of the compound's workers died in the initial assault and two contractors were killed during another attack on a nearby CIA facility.

Stephens is set to play Glen 'Bub' Doherty, a Global Response Staff officer in Tripoli and a close friend of Krasinski's Navy SEAL.

Outside of high seas piracy on the Starz channel, Stephens is probably still most recognisable as the James Bond villain Gustav Graves in Die Another Day (2002). But he has been making up for that recently by playing Bond himself on BBC Radio 4.

Bay began filming 13 Hours on 27 April in Malta, as one of his more personal interim projects before the inevitable Transformers 5. There are no release dates set so far, but we can probably expect it sometime in 2016.

Natalie Portman in early talks for Alex Garland's Annihilation

With artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina proving a big success at the box office both here and in the US, writer/director Alex Garland has plenty of momentum for whatever he wants to make next. He has been working quietly on Annihilation for a few months now, with news arriving via Variety that Natalie Portman (Black Swan) is interested in playing the lead.

The adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's science fiction novel has been in development since 2013, when producer Scott Rudin bought the rights and set the project up at Paramount Pictures. Garland signed on in November and is now putting the elements together.

VanderMeer's book chronicles an expedition into a mysterious, remote and sealed-off zone known as Area X. For 30 years, Area X has been labelled by the government as an environmental disaster zone, despite seemingly being a pristine wilderness. For 30 years, too, a secret agency called the Southern Reach has monitored Area X and sent in expeditions to try to discover the truth.

Some expeditions have suffered terrible consequences. Others have reported nothing out of the ordinary. Now, as Area X seems to be changing and perhaps expanding, the next investigation will attempt to succeed where all others have failed. What is happening in the zone? What is the true nature of the invisible border that surrounds it? Our heroine (Portman, if she signs) and guide for the latest attempt to discover the truth behind the place is a biologist looking for answers to her husband's disappearance as part of an earlier expedition. She and her colleagues soon discover that all is definitely not what it seems and that they are all being manipulated...

Portman has been busy working on her directorial debut, A Tale Of Love And Darkness, which she recently brought to the Cannes Film Festival to show to distributors. She will also be seen in Jane Got A Gun (4 September) and Terrence Malick's (Tree Of Life) Knight Of Cups, which has a reported UK release date on 1 January 2016.

Paul Greengrass back in tune with Jimi Hendrix bioipic

Back in 2009, Legendary Pictures was trying to put the pieces together on a Jimi Hendrix biopic with Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) as the likely director. It fell apart when the Hendrix estate pulled its support, concerned the film would hurt record sales and denying access to the legendary musician's most famous tunes. Now, however, things appear to be inching back on track, with news arriving via Deadline that Greengrass is once more in negotiations to direct with Scott Silver (8 Mile) aboard to write the script. 

Back when it was first mooted, there was talk that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) could be the perfect choice for Jimi, and although he has since been targeted for a competing Hendrix project that was being developed by Ol Parker (Imagine Me & You), that one appears to have vanished into development limbo, which means Mackie could well be in line again – assuming he has time between his Avengers slate.

But the big key here – aside from Greengrass finding space on his schedule for the film once he finishes the next Bourne outing with Matt Damon (Elysium) – is the support of the Hendrix estate, with Janie Hendrix, Jimi's sister and CEO of Hendrix Experience, the company that controls all access to his music, likeness and name, on as an executive producer. It all means the film will be able to use the likes of Foxy Lady and Purple Haze. Not having the Hendrix back catalogue on the soundtrack can certainly hurt a film, as John Ridley's Jimi: All Is By My Side discovered in 2013.

Kate Hudson set for Deepwater Horizon

The cast list for Peter Berg's (Lone Survivor) based on reality drama Deepwater Horizon continues to grow. News arrive via The Wrap that Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) is the latest new recruit for the film.

Deepwater Horizon, which also features Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor), Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin), Kurt Russell (Death Proof) and John Malkovich (Burn After Reading), charts the events on the BP oil rig in the 48 hours leading up to the 2010 disaster and the day itself. The behind the scenes tale will highlight stories of real life heroism around the incident, which were not made public at the time but appeared in the script's source material, a New York Times article entitled Deepwater Horizon's Final Hour. The newspaper's piece chronicled how 11 people were killed and 16 injured when the rig blew, and gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Hudson has made a deal to play Felicia Williams, wife of rig engineer Mike (Wahlberg).

Matthew Michael Carnahan (Joe's Brother) has adapted the script for the film, which J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year) had originally signed to direct, but dropped out to be replaced by Berg. He should have the cameras rolling this summer ready for a 30 September 2016 release in the States.

Hudson, last seen in Wish I Was Here (2014), will next show up in Henrik Ruben Genz's (Terribly Happy) Good People, due 21 August. She is also part of the cast for music comedy Rock The Kasbah.

Beverly Hills Cop 4 release date pulled

Announced at the end of 2013, word on the developing Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been notably scarce in the months since. So it's perhaps no surprise that the Axel Foley sequel has been pulled from the release schedules for the time being. According to The Wrap, the film will no longer arrive on 25 March 2016, although Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) remain attached, respectively, to star and direct when and if the project eventually moves forward.

Industry suspicions had already been aroused when Paramount Pictures moved its big hitter Monster Trucks to a March 2016 release date. But while it initially sounds bad, Foley may also be dodging a bullet, since he won't now share his comeback slot with Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. That's a fight he was never going to win.

Beverly Hills Cop 4 was one of the earliest announced projects to come following Jerry Bruckheimer's exit from Walt Disney Pictures and return to his former home at Paramount Pictures. Following an abandoned attempt at a TV series (with which Bruckheimer had no involvement), it seemed like a no-brainer to place the uber-producer back on the property that had given the Simpson/Bruckheimer partnership one of its earliest, biggest hits.

It seems that the screenplay has remained the sticking point, however, with nobody yet quite cracking Axel's return. Following the TV debacle and the dismal Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Murphy is for once exercising some quality control. "I'm not doing a Beverly Hills Cop unless they have a really incredible script," he told Rolling Stone in January. "They're trying to get it right. I've read a couple things that look like they can make some paper, but I'm not doing a shitty movie just to make some paper. The shit got to be right."

Lili Taylor and Vanessa Grasse set for Texas Chainsaw prequel

The casting continues for the upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel Leatherface, with one familiar and one not so familiar face now added to the roster. News arrives via The Wrap that Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) is set to play the young Leatherface's mom Vera Sawyer. And newcomer Vanessa Grasse has nabbed the female lead as Lizzy, a nurse at a mental institution who is kidnapped and taken on a road trip by inmates, one of whom is our boy before the mask.

The latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre film follows the hapless Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) as the eighth film in the scrappy franchise. It's also the second film to be called Leatherface, following Jeff Burr's third instalment in 1990 starring a young Viggo Mortensen (A History Of Violence). It's also the second attempt at a prequel, after Jonathan Liebesman's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006).

Like Liebesman's film, the new Leatherface is following the hulking killer's early years in the 1970s, although in this case we will find him in his teens. It seems to be a mystery revolving around which of three teenage psychopaths – Sam Strike (EastEnders), James Bloor (DCI Banks) and Sam Coleman – will grow up to brain William Vail with a hammer and endlessly chase Marilyn Burns.

Jessica Madsen (Mr. Selfridge), meanwhile, plays another escaped mental patient. Stephen Dorff (Public Enemies) is also in the cast as a deranged Texas lawman.

Directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo previously directed Inside (2007), starring Béatrice Dalle, which is good enough to make Leatherface a more interesting prospect than it otherwise might have been. The up-and-coming Seth M. Sherwood wrote the screenplay, and pre-production is currently underway for an expected release next year.

Rosamund Pike, Jack O'Connell and more set for HHHH

Co-writer/director Cédric Jimenez (The Connection) has rounded up quite the cast for his next film, which despite sounding like an error in the subbing stage at a magazine, is actually called HHHH. News arrives via The Wrap that Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Jack O'Connell (Unbroken), Jack Reynor (What Richard Did) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland) are aboard the WWII drama.

The film is based on Laurent Binet's novel and tracks the ascent of Reinhard Heydrich (Clarke), a key part of Hitler's Third Reich (he was known as the 'Reich Protector') and one of the terrifying architects of the Final Solution. He also became known as the highest ranking Nazi officer killed during World War II, when he was assassinated by Jan Kubis (O'Connell) and Jozef Gabcik (Reynor), resistance paratroopers.

Pike is set as Lina Heydrich, the aristocratic wife who first introduced her husband to the ideology that would come to rule his life and lead to him losing it. Wasikowska, meanwhile, will be a young woman living in occupied Prague who befriends Kubis. The book's title, incidentally, is HHhH, referring to the phrase "Hirn heißt Heydrich" ("Himmler's brain is called Heydrich"), said about the men during the war.

Jimenez adapted the script with David Farr (Hanna) and Audrey Diwan (The Connection) with a plan to start the cameras rolling this August in Prague.

The Vision, Ant-Man and more confirmed for Captain America: Civil War

Marvel have recently released an official 'start of shoot' notice that includes the official line-up of heroes, villains and others that will be populating the cast of Captain America: Civil War. Alongside the expected Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow), are several characters that had only been rumoured until now, including The Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), James 'War Machine' Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and, perhaps more surprisingly, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who doesn't make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut until later this year.

And that's far from all of them. The film will wrangle together Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson/The Falcon, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow from Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), who will return as villain Crossbones, Chadwick Boseman (42) as Black Panther, Emily VanCamp (The Ring Two) as Sharon 'Agent 13' Carter, Daniel Brühl (Rush) as Baron Zemo and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) in a still-unconfirmed role.

Plus, making his recently rumoured return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time since The Incredible Hulk (2008), William Hurt will be General Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross. Among the characters still unconfirmed are Spider-Man, with Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game) potentially attached as the friendly neighbourhood web slinger, and we can likely expect appearences from Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders' Maria Hill.

Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) are once again on directorial duty, bringing everyone together via a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The story finds Chris Evans' Cap leading his new Avengers line-up (seen at the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron as Black Widow, War Machine, Vision, Falcon and Scarlet Witch) in his continued attempts to safeguard the world. But when there is more collateral damage as part of their mission, political pressure grows to start a system of accountability and some sort of governing body to decide when to call on the team. The new world order puts the Avengers under pressure and cracks begin to form in the team even as a new, nefarious villain threatens us all...

Shooting is currently underway in Atlanta with stops also planned for Germany, Puerto Rico and Iceland. Captain America: Civil War will be out in the UK on 29 April 2016 before heading to the US on 6 May.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Hugh Jackman confirms Wolverine 3 will be his last

It has certainly been a long road, but as was much suspected and hinted at, Hugh Jackman has finally confirmed outright that the third solo Wolverine movie will be his final outing as the adamantium clawed mutant. 

"This will be my last one," he told Australian talk show host Dr. Oz. "It just felt like it was the right time to do it. And let's be honest, 17 years! I never thought in a million years it would last, so I'm so grateful to the fans for the opportunity of playing it. I kind of have in my head what we're going to do in this last one. It just feels like this is the perfect way to go out."

Jackman had previously posted an Instagram post with the caption "one last time". That was something of a clue too.

Nothing is yet known about the new Wolverine's plot, although director James Mangold (The Wolverine) and Jackman have been swapping ideas and Green Lantern (2011) co-writer Michael Green has been converting them to screenplay form.

All involved will want to make sure this is a solid swansong for the actors unprecedented stint as James 'Logan' Howlett. He made his debut in X-Men (2000), and continued through X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013), and X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2013). It's currently unclear (possibly being kept top secret) if he is part of the currently shooting X-Men: Apocalypse, which is out on 19 May 2016. The as yet untitled third solo Wolverine currently has a release date of 2 March 2017.

The question this raises, of course, is how the X-universe will fare without Jackman. Will Logan be put out to grass or re-cast as quickly as possible. The fanboy campaigns for a shorter and hairier replacement begin now...

Lily James set for Baby Driver

With Ansel Elgort (Carrie) already in place for one of the leads in Edgar Wright's (The World's End) Baby Driver, news now arrives via Variety that another main role has gone to Cinderella's Lily James.

Baby Driver will chronicle the high speed, musically influenced life of a young getaway driver (Elgort), who grooves to his personal soundtrack on jobs to keep him at the top of his game. But when he is coerced into working for a crime boss on a doomed heist, his entire world is put into danger.

James, who has seen her star rise faster thanks to the success of Downton Abbey and Walt Disney Pictures' latest live action fairy tale, is on board to play a still unknown other key role in the movie.

Wright has had this one in development for several years now, but put it aside to focus on directing Ant-Man for Marvel. When that eventually fell through, Baby Driver swiftly became his next project. James will next be seen in culinary comedy Adam James alongside Bradley Cooper (which arrives 2 October) and as Elizabeth Bennett in Burr Steers' (Charlie St. Cloud) Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, arriving here on 19 February next year.