Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sunday, 20 September 2015

New one sheet for Hitman: Agent 47 arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest one sheet for Aleksander Bach's directorial debut Hitman: Agent 47.

This time around, the focus is even more on the Agent programme that created the numerically named killing machine, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter and frankly better than us mere mortals.

His latest target is a mega-corporation that plans to unlock the secret of Agent 47's past to create an army of killers whose powers surpass even his own. Teaming up with a young woman who may hold the secret to overcoming their powerful and clandestine enemies, 47 confronts stunning revelations about his own origins and squares off in an epic battle with his deadliest foe.

With Rupert Friend (The Young Victoria) as the mysterious and deadly Agent 47, the film also features Hannah Ware (Shame), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek Into Darkness), Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), Emilio Rivera (Collateral) and Dan Bakkedahl (The Heat).

Hitman: Agent 47 is out now.

First one sheet for Jungle Book arrives online

Walt Disney Pictures have recently released their first one sheet for Jon Favreau's (Cowboys & Aliens) The Jungle Book.

With a script by Justin Marks, Favreau's film uses a blend of computer-generated animals and Neel Sethi in person as Mowgli, the human orphan raised by animals in the jungle, to unspool Rudyard Kipling's story. Christopher Walken (Seven Psychopaths) is the voice of King Louie, ruler of the jungle's monkeys and apes, while Giancarlo Esposito (Alex Cross) is Akela, leader of the wolf pack that initially cares for Mowgli. Ben Kingsley (Hugo) is panther Bagheera, Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave) is wolf mother Rackcha, Bill Murray (Moonrise Kingdom) is lovable sidekick bear Baloo, Idris Elba (Prometheus) is lethal tiger Shere Khan, and Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers) is charming, deadly snake Kaa.

The Jungle Book will open in the UK on 15 April next year.

New batch of one sheets for We Are Sarah Jones arrive online

3opolis have recently released their first batch of one sheets for Eric S. Smith's (Boston's Finest) documentary We Are Sarah Jones.

We Are Sarah Jones is a feature documentary film supported by Richard and Elizabeth Jones, whose daughter was tragically killed during the making of Gregg Allman biographical drama Midnight Rider. The documentary aims to raise awareness on the importance of on-set safety.

On 20 February 2014, 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones was horrifically killed by a train while working on the set of Midnight Rider due to criminal negligence by the producers of the film. The movie, starring William Hurt (Into The Wild), was not even in its first official day of production. Seven other crew members were also hurt, one seriously. Production was suspended the following week and multiple investigations into the incident were undertaken with several yet to be resolved.

Director Randall Miller (Bottle Shock), producer Jody Savin (Bottle Shock), executive producer Jay Sedrish (Paycheck), and first assistant director Hillary Schwartz (John Carter) were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass as well as being cited by OSHA for "serious" and "willful" safety violations. On 9 March 9 this year, Miller pled guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing and received a ten-year sentence, of which he is expected to serve two years in jail followed by probation. Sedrish was also convicted of felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing via a plea bargain and sentenced to ten years probation. The charges against Savin were later dropped as part of the plea agreement with her husband and business partner Randall Miller.

William Hurt described the event as "the sorrow of my professional career and one of the great sorrows of my personal life."

Jones parents' founded the Sarah Jones Foundation to "foster on-set safety through awareness and accountability." The film also hopes to help raise funds for the foundation.

Smith said, "Through the eyes of Richard and Elizabeth Jones, this documentary will explore who Sarah was and what it was about her that made her so beloved by so many of her colleagues – and, in turn, made her loss especially devastating."

We Are Sarah Jones is due for release next year.

First one sheet for Bang Bang Baby arrives online

Random Media have recently released their first one sheet for Jeffrey St. Jules science fiction musical Bang Bang Baby.

The film stars Jane Levy (Evil Dead) as Stepphy, a teenager living in the small town of Lonely Arms whose dreams of becoming a famous singer are dashed when her alcoholic father George (Peter Stormare) refuses to let her enter a singing competition in New York City. Her fate may change, however, when her idol Bobby Shore (Justin Chatwin) shows up in town after his car breaks down. Meanwhile, a dangerous leak at the local chemical plant is beginning to turn the local townsfolk into mutants.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year where it won the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film.

Bang Bang Baby is out in the US this week but has yet to receive a UK release date.

"In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) The Martian.

Based on Andy Weir's self published 2012 novel, The Martian stars Matt Damon (Elysium) as NASA astronaut Mark Watney, seriously injured and presumed dead by his fellow crewmates on Mars during a huge storm that forced his team to evacuate. But Watney is very much alive, and intends to stay that way, putting his botanical skills and astronaut survival training to good use, figuring out ways to live with limited supplies. Fortunately for Watney he also has a wry sense of humour to keep him sane.

Back on Earth, meanwhile, NASA director Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) and some of his team – Chiwetel Ejiofor's (12 Years A Slave) mission overseer, Kristen Wiig's (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) media relations expert, Mackenzie Davis' (That Awkward Moment) analyst and Sean Bean's (The Lord Of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring) crew supervisor – have to decide what to do, especially when they discover Watney is still alive. And then there are his crewmates, headed back to Earth on the Hermes ship, and seemingly kept in the dark about Mark's status. How will Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), programmer Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), pilot Rick Martinez (Michael Peña), flight surgeon Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), and German astronaut Alex Vogel (Aksel Hennie) respond when they, too, learn that their fallen friend survived the storm.

Ridley Scott and Matt Damon, along with representatives from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California recently brought 49 minutes of footage to show at a cinema near the scientific establishment, and Scott in particular talked about what inspired him to make the film given that this isn't exactly his first cinematic trip away from Terra firma. "Sci-fi is mostly fantasy, and what was attractive about this is the reality of the situation. I always liked The Right Stuff (1983), which got into the early days of the astronauts, and this, while not the same at all, offered the reality of the situation, the challenges an astronaut may have in 15-20 years," he said. "In essence, this film is about a guy who controls all the feelings about what a terrible situation he's in, and where he is and therefore will look for that internally inside himself and pull out the elements that might make things humorous. He has to do that hour by hour, day by day, so don't be surprised if you find yourself laughing with him, you're allowed to laugh!"

Damon also found himself drawn to Mark's sarcastic, scientific nature. "I think a lot of people, including myself really responded to the character in the book that Andy wrote, and Drew (Goddard) did a great job of capturing that. So it's like being a chef and getting a really good piece of meat to cook – you don't want to overthink it and mess it up too much and bronze the gold medal. I just wanted to keep alive what Andy created," he said. "I think mere mortals like us are captivated by how people like this can do this sort of thing and maintain the preternatural calm in these incredible high stress situations. And that was really attractive about the character, how he kept his sense of humour and this incredible, logical, practical, problem-solving type of thinking, and it's what the real astronauts can actually do."

The Martian arrives on our screens 30 September.

"There is evil in the wood."

A24 Films have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Robert Eggers' feature debut The Witch.

The stylish and haunting period horror is set in New England in 1630, where William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine's (Kate Dickie) strictly devout life sees them largely shunned by their fellow colonials. The family moves to a remote plot of land on the edge of a forest rumoured to be controlled by witches and before long strange things start to happen. Animals turn against them, crops fail, and one of their children disappears, only to be returned seemingly possessed by evil spirits.

As paranoia and recrimination rise, fingers point at the couple's teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who is accused of witchcraft even as the family begins to fall apart and finds both their love and faith tested.

Eggers, who wrote and directed, made the leap from working on short films and serving in the art, production design and costume departments of other movies, bringing his keen eye for visuals to the film, and giving it a genuinely unnerving feel. There is no word on when it will hit screens either in the US or over here, but we can expect it some time next year.

"It's alive!"

20th Century Fox have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Paul McGuigan's (Lucky Number Slevin) Victor Frankenstein.

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) stars as the titular scientist, stepping across ethical lines when it comes to the study of death and how to defeat it. Daniel Radcliffe plays his close friend and assistant Igor, who is initially a big supporter of the doctor's experiments, but soon sours on the idea when darker forces approach him to use his breakthroughs in the service of their needs.

Paul McGuigan's film, which has a script by Max Landis (Chronicle), focuses on the interplay between the main two, and the debate about whether Frankenstein is pushing the boundaries of science and giving people hope or literally creating monsters.

"As much as the monster is his creation, Igor is his creation as well," explains McAvoy. "That was quite exciting. It's funny, the script, but also really dark, in a cool way."

With Andrew Scott (Pride), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Freddie Fox (The Riot Club) and Daniel Mays (Welcome To The Punch) in the cast, Victor Frankenstein will be with us in December.

New one sheet for Joy arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their first one sheet for David O. Russell's (American Hustle) Joy.

Director David O. Russell has reunited his Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013) stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper for his latest drama Joy.

Like their last pairing, American Hustle, Russell and Lawrence have teamed up to tell a true life story. Here the actress steps into the shoes of Joy Mangano, a single mum with three kids whose genius for invention and appetite for hard work combined to see her pioneer the Miracle Mop. Bradley Cooper plays a Home Shopping Network executive who helps Joy on the path to fame and future, while Robert De Niro (Heat) plays her dad and Édgar Ramírez (The Bourne Ultimatum) her feckless ex-husband.

"Working on his sets is like the Olympics of acting," Lawrence effused in Entertainment Weekly of reuniting with director. "Everything moves so fast. It's like watching someone do a giant abstract painting or sculpture and you go, 'Where is this going?' And then all of a sudden you're like, 'Oh, it's a Pegasus. It's beautiful!'"

With Isabella Rossellini (Infamous), Diane Ladd (Inland Empire) and Virginia Madsen (Sideways) also aboard, Joy will hit UK cinemas on 1 January next year.

New trailer and one sheet for Cartel Land arrives online

Dogwood Pictures have recently released a new trailer and one sheet for Matthew Heineman's (Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare) Mexican drug cartel documentary Cartel Land.

The multibillion dollar meth trafficking industry is much in the thoughts of filmmakers at the moment. The much praised Sicario hits our screens next month, while Triple Frontier is still bubbling in development with J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Years) possibly attached. Before either of those, however, comes possibly the starkest look at the subject of them all with the jarring documentary Cartel Land.

Expect to hear plenty about this one in the coming weeks. Director Matthew Heineman took fly on the wall documentary filmmaking to another level by embedding right in the middle of the flying shrapnel of Mexico's Michoacán state. His aim was to chart the war between the citizen vigilantes – the Autodefensas – and the Knights Templar cartel that had inflicted huge damage on the region for many years.

Like Sicario, the film straddles both sides of the border between the US and Mexico. A further strand of the narrative focused on a small guerrilla force known as Arizona Border Recon. Led by military veteran Tim 'Nailer' Foley, Arizona Border Recon aims to interdict the flow of cocaine into the American state's Altar Valley. Figuring out who is actually on the side of the angels here is no easy task...

Cartel Land is out now.

Teaser trailer for Todd Haynes' Carol arrives online

StudioCanal UK have recently released their first teaser trailer for Todd Haynes' Carol.

Adapted by Phyllis Nagy (Mrs. Harris) from Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price Of Salt, Carol stars Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) and Rooney Mara (Side Effects) in a story of unexpected love. We follow shop girl Therese (Mara), who falls for a wealthy customer (Blanchett's Carol). Carol is married with a child, and Therese is involved in a casual relationship with a man who clearly loves her, but the two women are instantly attracted and begin an affair of sorts, much to the annoyance of Carol's long-suffering husband Harge (Kyle Chandler). As she and Harge are about to divorce, Carol suggests a road trip, which takes the two women far from New York City.

Carol represents Haynes getting back to the 1950s setting of Far From Heaven (2002), this is no Technicolor spectacle, sticking instead to a darker, moodier, more realistic palette, yet still with the director coaxing performances that are being talked about (especially Blanchett) as potential award contenders.

The film will have its gala premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on 14 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, before arriving around the country on 27 November.

First look at Dominic Cooper in Stratton arrives online

Move over Reacher, Bourne and Bauer. Our first look at Dominic Cooper (The Devil's Double) in Simon West's (The Mechanic) Stratton arrived online recently, armed to the teeth as the titular SBS trooper.

Stratton sees Cooper as the SBS operative who teams up with a US Navy SEAL (Austin Stowell) to battle an international terrorist. He is the hero of an eight book series by pseudonymous ex-military type Duncan Falconer – the man also behind the screenplay – and an experienced member of the elite Special Boat Service seconded to a cutting edge corner of the British intelligence network.

The movie, which originally had Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel) in the title role, has been shooting in Italy and gets underway in London this month. Co-starring with the lead are Gemma Chan (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Tom Felton (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), Thomas Kretschmann (Wanted), Derek Jacobi (The King's Speech), Tyler Hoechlin (Hall Pass), Connie Nielsen (3 Days To Kill) and Jake Fairbrother (Skyfall).

West, for one, seems more than happy with his new lead. "Dominic Cooper's talent, versatility and his originality as an actor, provide the perfect fit for what will be an entirely fresh and memorable action hero," he told Screen International. "Supporting Dominic is an inspired choice of cast who are all extremely talented, uniquely diverse and will undeniably bring both charm and energy to make Stratton the ongoing potential franchise we know it can be."

Cooper completists can catch the actor in Nicholas Hytner's (The History Boys) Alan Bennett dramatisation The Lady In The Van and as King Llane Wrynn, monarch of Duncan Jones' (Source Code) human realm in the director's Warcraft adaptation. On the small screen, he has AMC's Preacher on his future slate and continues as Howard Stark in Agent Carter. With a batch of distribution deals still in place, the film has yet to find a release date yet, but should be out next year.

New one sheet for By The Sea arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest one sheet for Angelina Jolie's (Unbroken) By The Sea.

The last time Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt sparred on screen, it was as married assassins in Mr. And Mrs. Smith (2005). Don't expect many explosions in their latest joint venture, unless you mean of the emotional kind.

Written and directed by Jolie, this is much more of an intimate drama, a throwback to 1970s films set in the era itself, and finds Vanessa (Joile), a former dancer, and her husband Roland (Pitt), an American writer, travelling the French countryside together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner. Obviously there are issues to be worked out here, and from the looks of this, there will be tears, if not blood.

With Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), Melvil Poupaud (Laurence Anyways), Niels Arestrup (War Horse) and Richard Bohringer (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover) also in the cast, By The Sea arrives in the US this November before making it to UK shores on 11 December.

New one sheet for Regression arrives online

FilmNation Entertainment have recently released their latest one sheet for Alejandro Amenábar's (The Others) new psychological drama Regression.

Emma Watson (The Bling Ring) plays Angela Gray, a woman who accuses her father (Daniel Dencik) of sexual abuse. He submits to the investigation by Ethan Hawke's (Boyhood) detective, although he has no recollection of the alleged events. So the stage is set for regression therapist David Thewlis (War Horse) to pick through Dad's repressed memories and uncover a disturbing conspiracy.

The gifted Amenábar made his debut with the serial killer thriller Tesis (1996), and followed it a year later with the compelling, and subsequently remade Open Your Eyes (1997). Since then The Others, The Sea Inside (2004) and historical drama Agora (2009) have shown his range and gift for working closely with actors on intimate stories.

Regression is shaping up to be another showcase performance from Watson. The actress also has post-Pinochet coup drama Colonia and Walt Disney Pictures' live action Beauty And The Beast on her future slate.

Amenábar, as per usual, wrote his own screenplay. Shooting wrapped a year ago, but after a small delay Regression will finally stalk into UK cinemas on 9 October.

New character one sheets for Pan arrive online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest batch of character one sheets for Joe Wright's (Atonement) Pan.

Pan aims to put a new spin on J.M. Barrie's classic tale, exploring how Neverland's most famous young resident came to be. In this version, Peter (Levi Miller) is a boy in an orphanage abandoned by his mother, who has nevertheless left a note saying she hopes to come and reunite with him – somewhat cryptically, in this world or another.

But before that can happen, our hero is indeed whisked off to another world, kidnapped by the dreaded pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Put to work in the mines, he meets a charming, cocky rogue named James Hook and the pair escape, only to land in the clutches of the local natives, led by Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). And that's just the start of Peter's adventures.

With Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables), Jack Charles (Mystery Road), Tae-joo Na (The Kick), Nonso Anozie (The Grey), Kathy Burke (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Kurt Egyiawan (Skyfall), Lewis MacDougall and Leni Zieglmeier also aboard, Pan is now set to arrive in cinemas on 16 October.

New one sheet for The 33 arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest one sheet for Patricia Riggen's (Under The Same Moon) Chilean miner drama The 33.

When 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground by the collapse of a massive boulder, the ensuing drama of survival, tension and political wrangling was all but destined to become a film.

Patricia Riggen called the shots on this one, which features a cast led by Antonio Banderas (Haywire), Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), Mario Casas (Three Steps Above Heaven), Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba), Rodrigo Santoro (300), Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment) and James Brolin (Catch Me If You Can). It tells the harrowing true story of 33 miners who were trapped underground in temperatures scorching to 100 degrees Fahrenheit by a boulder that measured as twice the size of the Empire State Building. As the days ticked away, and the men's families clung to the hope they might be rescued despite the high stakes and lack of supplies in the chamber 200 storeys below them, officials and politicians debated how best to proceed as the rescue mission became a global media event.

US audiences will see The 33 on 13 November, but there is no word on a UK release date as yet.

New character one sheets for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight arrive online

The Weinstein Company have recently released their first batch of character one sheets for Quentin Tarantino's (Django Unchained) The Hateful Eight.

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).

The Hateful Eight is set to arrive in US cinemas later this year before heading to UK cinemas on 8 January.

Two new one sheets for No Escape arrive online

Entertainment One have recently released two striking new one sheets for John Erick Dowdle's (Quarantine) No Escape.

No Escape finds American businessman Jack Dwyer (Luke Wilson), wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters arrive in Southeast Asia to begin a new life. As his company plans to improve the region's water quality, the family quickly learn that they are right in the middle of a political uprising. Armed rebels attack the hotel where they're staying, ordered to kill any foreigners that they encounter. Amid utter chaos, Jack must find a way to save himself and his loved ones from the violence erupting all around them.

No Escape is out in the UK now.

New character one sheets for The Program arrive online

StudioCanal have recently released their first batch of character one sheets for Stephen Frears' (The Queen) Lance Armstrong biopic, The Program.

With several films in production about the man who came back from cancer to win the Tour de France seven consecutive times, only to be stripped of those titles for his doping offences, it would appear Stephen Frears has pulled ahead of the pack, with The Program arriving later this year.

Adapted from sports journalist David Walsh's book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong, the film will follow the cyclist's meteoric rise, his battles with cancer and equally fast fall once it was proved that he had been using performance-enhancing drugs during his successful years.

Frears has Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids) playing Walsh, with Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) as Armstrong. From the looks of this first trailer, the film will be dramatic retelling of Armstrong's Tour de France years and then what happened when the truth came out, with the rabbit hole proving to be far deeper than anyone suspected.

With Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), Guillaume Canet (Tell No One), Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and Bryan Greenberg (Friends With Benefits) also in the cast, The Program will arrive in UK cinemas on 16 October.

New character one sheets for Sicario arrive online

Lionsgate have just released their first batch of character one sheet for Denis Villeneuve's (Prisoners) cartel crime thriller Sicario.

Sicario – Mexican slang for hitman – is set on the lawless border between the United States and its southern neighbour, where some of the most violent battles of the drug war are fought. Dropped into this near literal trial by fire is idealistic FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who has been recruited by shadowy elite government agent Matt (Josh Brolin).

Heading across the border with an enigmatic consultant (Benicio Del Toro), Kate and her team start a journey that will have her questioning everything she knows about good and bad and witnessing the many shades of grey that lie in between what she previously thought were black and white issues. And when she becomes convinced she has to expose what is really going on, things become even more dangerous for her.

This promises to be a compelling thriller with standout performances from Blunt and her co-stars. The film, which features a script by Taylor Sheridan, is out the US now and arrives in the UK on 9 October.

New Drew Struzan poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives online

Despite his apparent retirement, legendary poster artist Drew Struzan has been lured back to work to create a poster for J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The poster, which was exclusively handed out to the attendees of Disney's D23 event last month, recently arrived online.

The image, featuring John Boyega's (Attack The Block) Finn, Daisy Ridley's (Silent Witness) Rey, Adam Driver's (Girls) Kylo Ren and a certain Mr. Harrison Ford (who was in attendance at the presentation for the film with his younger co-stars) as Han Solo, is only going to be used for this giveaway, though there is talk that Struzan will also be crafting the film's official one sheet.

It is certainly classic Struzan, full of life and action and showing Finn with a lightsaber, while Solo carries his usual blaster. TIE Fighters and X-Wings scream across the image and above it all is Kylo Ren with his broadsaber.

While director J.J. Abrams and his cast, which also included Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave), didn't reveal any new footage, there was a little nugget to be gleaned, as Abrams let slip that the running time for the film is currently about 124 minutes. That could change, as the movie is still being edited, but it will probably be close to that when all is said and done.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be out on 18 December.

Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One cast confirmed

Filming is already well underway on Gareth Edwards' (Godzilla) Star Wars standalone film, Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. While he wasn't able to make it to Disney's D23 event in Anaheim last month, he did send a video greeting along with some casting confirmation for the film, plus our first look at the resistance fighters who unite to steal the plans of the Death Star. Joining his cast are Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Gone With The Bullets), Alan Tudyk (Serenity) and, as already rumoured, Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly).

They join the already confirmed Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors) and Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler) in the first Anthology entry, which tells the story of a group of resistance fighters who unite to steal the plans of the original Death Star. "Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe," says Kathleen Kennedy in a statement. "It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I'm so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he's selected for Rogue One."

It is certainly an eclectic cast – with Tudyk once again donning a performance capture suit as he did for I, Robot (2004) – and we're happy to see that Mendelsohn, who had been rumoured for some time, was able to make a deal. Edwards has Greig Frasier (Zero Dark Thirty) as his cinematographer, with Neil Corbould (Black Hawk Down) on special effects supervision and Doug Chiang (Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace) and Neil Lamont (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows) as production designers. Gary Whitta (After Earth) and Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) worked on the screenplay, based on an idea by Industrial Light & Magic veteran John Knoll.

Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One will fly into UK cinemas on 16 December 2016.