Wednesday, 28 December 2016

New Lego Batman Movie featurette takes you behind the bricks

Warner Bros have just released their latest featurette for Chris McKay's (Robot Chicken) The Lego Batman Movie.

The Lego Batman Movie will be with us before you know it, but there is still the chance for Batman (Will Arnett) to talk up how great he is and begrudgingly introduce the other people in his life, such as Michael Cera's (Juno) overenthusiastic Robin.
We are also offered more insight, for example, into how The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) views his relationship with The Dark Knight, and there is more from loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), who appears to have dreams of his own spin-off story. Plus Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) outlines her own ideas of heroism and how she has taken up the mantle of her father, Commissioner Gordon.

Also getting a chance to speak up – however briefly – is Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), but we will have to wait for the movie to see everyone else in the sprawling cast.

The Lego Batman Movie will be out on 10 February.

Carrie Fisher: Star Wars actress dies dged 60

For a while it looked as if there was hope. Hospitalised after suffering a heart attack on a flight from the UK to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, actress and writer Carrie Fisher was described as in a critical but stable condition. Sadly, having made it through Christmas, Fisher died yesterday. She was 60, and the tragic news was confirmed by her daughter, Billie Lourd.

"It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8.55 this morning," Lourd's publicist said in the official announcement. "She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers."

Fisher was born in 1956, the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. A bookish child, she nevertheless began following in her mother's footsteps early, appearing in the Reynolds starring Broadway revival of the musical Irene in 1973, when she was just 15. Her film debut came two years later in Hal Ashby's Shampoo (1975), alongside Goldie Hawn, Warren Beatty and Julie Christie.

Having never graduated high school due to work commitments, Fisher had intended to return to her studies, accepting a place at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College, to begin in 1978. But then Star Wars (1977) happened. Cast as Princess Leia Organa in George Lucas' world conquering science fiction, she became indelibly identified with the role of the feisty rebel eventually responsible for the downfall of the evil Galactic Empire. She played Leia twice more in the original saga, through Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi (1983). And she returned last year as the older, wiser and higher ranking General Leia in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

She told the Daily Mail in 2011 that when she got the part in a "little science fiction film", she just thought of it as a bit of fun. "But then Star Wars, this goofy, little three-month hang-out with robots did something unexpected," she said. "It exploded across the firmament of pop culture, taking all of us along with it. It tricked me into becoming a star all on my own."

But there was far more to her than Leia. On film she appeared in The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah And Her Sisters (1986), The 'Burbs (1989) and When Harry Met Sally (1989). There was also further Broadway work. And she wrote too. Her first novel (a thinly veiled fictonalised autobiography) Postcards From The Edge was published in 1987, and she adapted the screenplay herself for Mike Nichols' 1990 film starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine. She followed that book with the novels Surrender The Pink (1990), Delusions Of Grandma (1993) and The Best Awful There Is (2004). Her non-fiction included the memoirs Wishful Drinking (which she adapted as a one woman play), Shockaholic (2011) and the recently published The Princess Diarist.

Her colourful personal life saw her romantically attached at one time or another to Paul Simon, Dan Aykroyd, talent agent Bryan Lourd and, as she revealed in The Princess Diarist, Harrison Ford. Her battles with alcoholism, substance abuse and bipolar disorder were well-documented – not least by Fisher herself – and there were "wilderness years" when she seemed absent from the public eye. But even during those times she was marking out a new career as one of Hollywood's most successful script doctors, contributing uncredited work to the likes of – among many others – Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991) and George Lucas' Star Wars prequels and Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

In recent years she had been more visible again, appearing on TV in Weeds, Entourage, The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, and the British Catastrophe. Following her return to the Star Wars family in The Force Awakens, we will see her now final appearance as Leia next Christmas – her scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII were completed.

Tributes have been pouring in, with Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford described Fisher as "one-of-a-kind" who lived her life "bravely".

Series creator George Lucas paid tribute to the star actress:

"Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved.

"In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess - feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie's family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all. George Lucas."

Veteran film director Steven Spielberg knew Carrie Fisher socially, mostly thanks to their mutual friendship with George Lucas.

"I have always stood in awe of Carrie. Her observations always made me laugh and gasp at the same time. She didn't need The Force. She was a force of nature, of loyalty and of friendship. I will miss her very much".

English actress Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, says she was "devastated at this monumental loss".

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams paid tribute to Fisher in a handwritten note posted on Twitter.

Mark Hamill simply tweeted: "No words #devastated".

Our thoughts are with her friends and family.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor: Legendary Hollywood actress dies aged 99

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, famed for her social life and her one-liners as much as for her acting career, has died at the age of 99. After years of ill health, she finally succumbed to a heart attack, her husband has confirmed.

On the point of tears, Frederic von Anhalt told the AFP news agency his wife had passed away at home, surrounded by her friends and family.

"Everybody was there. She didn't die alone," he said.

Born Sári Gábor in Hungary on 6 February 1917, she had a career on the stage and was crowned Miss Hungary by the time she was 19. She emigrated to Hollywood to pursue stardom at 21, and made her film debut in 1952, in Mervyn Leroy's romantic musical comedy Lovely To Look At. Not for the last time, she played an exotic beauty named 'Zsa Zsa'.

She went on to appear in John Huston's Moulin Rouge (1952) and Orson Welles' Touch Of Evil (1958), but while Huston insisted she was a "creditable" actress, arguably her biggest starring role was in the camp, cult science fiction B-movie Queen Of Outer Space (1958), playing a sexpot despot from the planet Venus.

Her personal life soon eclipsed her screen work. She was married nine times, including to the famous hotelier Conrad Hilton in 1942, and to her Death Of A Scoundrel (1956) co-star George Sanders in 1949. Glamorous, feisty and funny on the celebrity circuit, she said her morals wouldn't allow her to sleep with a man unless they were married... and that when she had had enough of them she got rid of them again, generally keeping the diamonds and the houses. As she once famously declared, "I am a marvellous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house."

Her final marriage was to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt in 1986, making her officially Princess von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony.

In later life she still made sporadic screen appearances, often playing on her own image, as in The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear (1991) in which she is seen in the opening credits slapping a policeman – a reference to a notorious real life incident for which she spent three days in jail. Her final sighting on the big screen was in A Very Brady Sequel (1996), and, barring chat show appearances and a This Is Your Life, her final role on television was in Tatooed Teenage Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills (1995).

Shimmering her way through Hollywood society, Gabor maintained the air of a Hungarian aristocrat. She spoke seven languages yet, despite living in California for half a century, never lost her distinctive accent.

"I call everyone 'dahlink' because I can't remember their names."

US chat show host Larry King said: "There will only be one Zsa Zsa Gabor. And I liked her a lot. Rest In Peace, my dear."

Game Of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie called the socialite "fabulous" and "unmistakable".

Our thoughts are with her friends and family.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Luke Evans and Kelly Reilly set for Noel Clarke's 10x10

Adulthood (2008) director Noel Clarke revealed to Empire online last month that he is producing a new thriller called 10x10. Now news arrives via Deadline that Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) and Kelly Reilly (Flight) are set to star.

Suzi Ewing is set to make her feature debut for the kidnap thriller, which sees Evans as Lewis, who on the surface seems to be a regular guy, but who is harbouring a burning desire for revenge. The focus for his vengeful obsession is a woman named Cathy (Reilly). He grabs her from the street in broad daylight and imprisons her in a soundproof cell he has built into his house, intent on getting her to reveal a dark secret.

Lewis, however, hasn't planned on his motives starting to unravel and for Cathy to turn out to be a formidable, dangerous match for her kidnapper. Clarke wrote the script and is producing with Unstoppable Entertainment partner Jason Maza alongside Maggie Monteith and Gina Powell (Brotherhood).

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Olivia Wilde set to star in crime drama A Vigilante

We already know that Olivia Wilde (Rush) can kick ass on screen when she wants to. And she is set to get the chance to do it again, with news arriving via Deadline that she has joined Sarah Daggar Nickson's feature debut A Vigilante.

The director, who also wrote the script, is planning the story of The Woman, a secretive figure who helps victims of domestic abuse. And not by running a shelter or helping them move, but by quietly dispatching their attackers.

Wilde was sold on the script, announcing on Twitter that "it blew my f*g mind", which certainly bodes well for the drama that is to unspool. Nickson should be starting to shoot this coming February, backed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films.

Next up from Wilde is indie feature Black Dog, Red Dog, which adapts Stephen Dobyns' book focusing on his life from the 1950's to 1980's and switching from journalism to poetry. It will be made up of several short films directed by students taught by James Franco (As I Lay Dying). We are not entirely sure it will make it over here, but you never know.

Liam Neeson set for Neil Jordan's The Trainer

Liam Neeson and Neil Jordan have a long history of working together, on films such as High Spirits (1988), Michael Collins (1996) and Breakfast On Pluto (2005). Now news arrives via Deadline that the actor and director are set to reunite for The Trainer.

Neeson is set to play John Moore, a top horse trainer living in the west of Ireland who suffers a terrible tragedy that sees him lose everything he cares for. Retreating from his life and work, he is finally coaxed back out into the world by the powerhouse pairing of a teenage refugee in need and a horse called Allabelle.

"Liam Neeson is one of the world's most beloved actors, so we're thrilled to have Liam return to Ireland with a character-driven film like The Trainer," HanWay Films' tells Deadline. "He and Neil are a great pairing and David Donohue's, James Villemaire's and Todd Komarnicki's script provides us a beautiful and life-affirming story of a man learning to live again."

Jordan should be filming this one next summer. Neeson will next be heard rather than seen in J.A. Bayona's (The Impossible) A Monster Calls, which arrives in cinemas 6 January.

Abbie Cornish and more join Amma Asante's Where Hands Touch

Amma Asante's (Belle) recently fulfilled one long-time dream when A United Kingdom opened this year's London Film Festival. With Where Hands Touch, a passion project she has been trying to get off the ground for many years, the writer and director is ticking another box. News arrives via The Playlist that the period drama has added Abbie Cornish (Limitless), Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World) and young star Tom Sweet (The Childhood Of A Leader) to its cast.

With a script written by Asante, Where Hands Touch is set in 1944 Berlin and charts a forbidden love affair blooming amid the dying embers of the Third Reich. Bi-racial German teenager Leyna (Amandla Stenberg) lives in constant fear for her life due to the tone of her skin. When she meets Lurtz (George MacKay), the son of a prominent SS officer and a member of Hitler Youth, the two fall helplessly in love, putting both of them in risk of their lives.

There is no word on Cornish, Sweet and Eccleston's exact roles as yet. "I have been an absolute fan of Abbie Cornish and Chris Eccleston for some time," enthuses Asante, "and I am delighted to welcome Tom Sweet to my cast."

The film is currently shooting in Belgium and should arrive in cinemas next year. A United Kingdom, meanwhile, is out in cinemas now.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Katherine Waterston joins The Current War

Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) has certainly been lining up the big movies recently, including work on Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012) follow-up and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Now news arrives via Deadline that she has landed herself a part in period legal drama The Current War.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl) is directing the movie, set in the late 1880s, which follows the real life public clash between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) as to who was going to decide the future of the electricity industry. Edison favoured direct current, while Westinghouse and several other companies preferred to push alternating current. Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max:Fury Road) is in talks to play Nikola Tesla, the famed inventor who arrived in the States in 1884 and worked briefly with Edison, but soon fell out with him. The scientist ended up selling most of his patents to Westinghouse.

As for Waterston, she is set as Marguerite Erskine, Westinghouse's wife. Sienna Miller (Factory Girl) is being eyed for another role and the film, with a script by Michael Mitnik (The Giver), should be cranking the cameras starting next month. Waterston is currently on our screens in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and has Alien: Covenant due to arrive in cinemas 4 August next year.

Walt Disney Pictures developing live action Snow White adaption

You can add another fairy tale adaptation to the list of movies Walt Disney Pictures' are giving the live action treatment. News arrives via Variety that the Mouse House have turned their eye towards their animated classic, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937).

The studio have approached Erin Cressida Wilson (The Girl On The Train) to develop a new script and tunesmiths Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) are in discussions to write some new songs for what will once again be a musical that channels some of the classics (we would expect to hear Whistle While You Work), and producer Marc Platt (Drive) is overseeing development.

This one is at an early stage and there is no director or casting attached as yet. There is a chance Snow White could be beaten to the screen by her lesser-known fairy tale sister, Rose Red, whose movie is already in the works at the studio.

It would certainly appear as though their entire back catalogue of animated outings is being considered for a live action remake. Next up for the company is Bill Condon's (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) Beauty And The Beast, which arrives on 17 March next year.

Rick Famuyiwa leaves The Flash standalone movie

Just what is happening with the big screen adaption of The Flash? It has already lost one director in Seth Grahame-Smith (who also contributed a script) and now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) has left the movie over creative differences.

The movie had been on a fast track to production, with Ezra Miller once again playing Barry Allen and the likes of Kiersey Clemons (Dope) and Billy Crudup (The Watchman) in other lead roles. Warner Bros had scheduled a March 2017 shoot and March 2018 release date for the film, which both now look set to be pushed back, mostly because Miller has another movie commitment in July.

Apparently Famuyiwa's edgier vision for the story clashed with that of the executives and they have decided to part ways. "When I was approached by Warner Bros and DC about the possibility of directing The Flash, I was excited about the opportunity to enter this amazing world of characters that I loved growing up, and still do to this day," says Famuyiwa in a statement to the trade mag. "I was also excited to work with Ezra Miller, who is a phenomenal young actor. I pitched a version of the film in line with my voice, humor, and heart. While it's disappointing that we couldn't come together creatively on the project, I remain grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to look for opportunities to tell stories that speak to a fresh generational, topical, and multicultural point of view. I wish Warner Brothers, DC, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, and Ezra Miller all the best as they continue their journey into the speed force."

Original Suspiria star Jessica Harper set for the remake

Not every remake can boast one of the stars of the film it has been spawned from. But news arrives via Entertainment Weekly that Jessica Harper is set to join the new version of Dario Argento's cult chiller Suspiria (1977).

Harper played Suzy Bannion, a young woman who attends a prestigious ballet academy in Europe. But once she arrives, she discovers a far more dangerous undercurrent than the usual rivalry between dancers – there is something supernatural and terrifying at work here, and people are starting to die in grisly fashion...

Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash) has recently started the cameras rolling on the new take in Italy. He has Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie), Mia Goth (Nymphomaniac: Vol. II), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Grey) and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) aboard, and a story that roughly follows the same track. A young American heads to the prestigious Markos Tanz Company in 1970s Berlin and becomes a star pupil under the tutelage of Madame Blanc. She befriends another dancer, but comes to fear that the place harbours a dark secret.

We don't yet know what role Harper will take this time, but the film should be out next year.

Cinematographer Bradford Young says Young Han Solo film will be unexpected

Bradford Young has already built himself a successful career, most recently with movies such as Selma (2014), A Most Violent Year (2014) and Denis Villeneuve's (Sicario) science fiction drama Arrival. Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) hired him to lens their Han Solo Star Wars standalone movie and he has been talking up what we can expect – or rather, that we should expect the unexpected.

Given the dramatic weight of many of his past jobs, he might seem an unlikely choice for the space opera saga's most famous rogue. But, as he admits to Collider, he soon figured out that Lord and Miller, who have a history of confounding expectations, have big plans. "It's funny, here's the thing about Phil Lord and Chris Miller: don't let their track record fool you. Don't put those guys in a box because they have a vision, they know exactly what they want. They have no hidden agenda, but they do have an agenda; they have a way of seeing that's very special, and their collaboration is genuinely unique," he says. "So I have to say I had to get converted into that. I respect their work, I respect them as filmmakers, but I wasn't quite sure if there would be a good marriage between what I'm trying to pursue and the work that I'm doing and what they're doing, but they helped make that real clear to me early on by expressing some real interesting story [and] photographic ideas that really resonated with me. So once they started really pulling me into that world, I realized how much these cats have come from the same pedagogy of filmmaking – in the visual sense for sure, and definitely from an approach in terms of how we want to make movies, they come from the same school."

And apparently, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have so far left them largely to their own devices. "We're doing our own thing, that's why we're there. Phil and Chris are there to bring what they bring to their films, their very unique vision, their perspective on story and they asked me to come bring what I bring, and so just for that it won't feel like any of the other films. And nobody at Lucasfilm is asking us to betray that, they're saying, 'We're in full support of what you do and we wanna make sure that we're able to help you do it in the best way.'

"It's gonna feel like a Star Wars film, but we're definitely gonna break some rules, and we're encouraged to do that. Visually, narratively that's a good mandate. They really are about, from what I've seen so far, supporting up and coming artists, artists who have a strong vision and voice and perspective, and they really wanna permeate the films with those kinds of voices. So it's interesting, very interesting. Not what I thought it would be, that's for sure. I'm pleasantly encouraged and pleasantly surprised." For more from Young, head over to Collider here.

We were already intrigued to see what Lord and Miller will do with this one – their casting of people such as Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) and Donald Glover (Community) have been spot on, so we will have to wait and see. The Han Solo movie will be out in May 2018.

Deadpool's Tim Miller set to produce Sonic The Hedgehog

Surprise and no little consternation greeted the news last month that Deadpool director Tim Miller, one of the key people in finally bringing the motor mouthed mercenary to the screen, had left the sequel over creative differences. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he is now pursuing other projects, including Sony Pictures' planned film based around Sonic The Hedgehog.

Though the movie has been in the works between the studio and producer Neal H. Moritz (I Am Legend) for a couple of years now, it is still early days for Miller's involvement and he is currently just developing the project as a potential directing job for colleague Jeff Fowler, with whom he has worked for years at production and effects house Blur Studio.

The idea is to turn the basic concept – Sonic, alongside fellow speedy cohorts Tails and Knuckles doing their best to thwart the evil schemes of Doctor Eggman Robotnik – into a blend of live action and CGI characters.

"Jeff is an incredible director with strong story instincts," Miller tells The Hollywood Reporter. "The world of Sonic presents the perfect opportunity for him to leverage his experience in animation to bring new dimension to this iconic character."

As for Miller's own future directing plans, he has a variety of projects in development, including an adaptation of violent comic book The Goon and the film adaptation of Daniel Suarez's science fiction thriller Influx.

Dawn Olivieri and Kenneth Choi join Will Smith in Bright

Still busy gathering the cast he needs for fantasy cop thriller blend Bright, director David Ayer (Suicide Squad) has added two more actors to appear alongside stars Will Smith (I Am Legend) and Joel Edgerton (Warrior). News arrives via Variety that Dawn Olivieri (House Of Lies) and Kenneth Choi (The Wolf Of Wall Street) are the latest recruits.

Originally cooked up as a spec script by Max Landis (Chronicle), Bright finds Smith and Edgerton as a human and an orc who must outrun the authorities, criminals and a variety of supernatural beings to protect a powerful magic wand. Lucy Fry (Vampire Academy) was recently added as Tikka, a young elf with her own magical abilities who comes into possession of the wand and needs the leads' help when dark forces try to hunt her down. Oliveri is aboard to play Smith's wife, while Variety reports that Choi's character is a mystery for now.

Brad William Henke (Orange Is The New Black) and Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) are also aboard the movie, which Netflix are financing to the tune of $90 million, their largest outlay for a project yet. Ayer is currently shooting ready for a 2017 release.

Oliveri was most recently seen in The Last Witch Hunter (2015) and has science fiction romance Behind The Curtain Of Night on the way. Choi will next be seen as Principal Morita in Spider-Man: Homecoming, due out on 7 July next year.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Sylvester Stallone set for an Escape Plan sequel

2013 thriller Escape Plan may not seem like a film screaming out for a sequel – it only made $25 million at the US box office and the reviews were not kind – but like some other projects, it did well overseas, particularly in China. Now news arrives via Deadline that star Sylvester Stallone is being brought back to take more of a supporting role in a sequel.

Escape Plan saw Stallone playing prisoner designer Ray Breslin, doubled-crossed and left in a high-tech facility with the worst that society has to offer. With the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Emil Rottmayer, Breslin formulates a plot to win his freedom. Quite what he will be doing in the new one is anyone's guess, though we figure he might be helping someone else break out of incarceration. Or maybe he will be making sure someone can't?

The story has yet to be revealed, but the first film's writer Miles Chapman is back and shooting is already scheduled for March in Ohio and China, but there is no word on a director as yet.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

First look at John Turturro in Big Lebowski spin-off Going Places

While the sequel adverse Coen brothers have repeatedly denied any plans to make a sequel to their bowling noir cult favourite The Big Lebowski (1998), John Turturro has had other ideas. The actor, who played The Dude's creepy bowling rival Jesus Quintana in the original, is reprising the role for a new film entitled Going Places. Now The Wrap have revealed our first look at the character.

Nobody, so they say, fucks with the Jesus, and that continues to be the case. The personally embroidered bowling shirt may be gone, but the bling, goatee and hairnet are all still present and correct – as is Jesus' natural habitat, the bowling alley.

The Coens are not involved in the project, but they have given Turturro – who is also writing and directing – their blessing. The film is partly inspired by the French sex comedy Les Valseuses (1974), and will see three small time crooks "inadvertently performing good deeds", with smidgens of surprising romance thrown in. It is unclear whether the character's alluded past of sexual impropriety will be brought up.

Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), Audrey Tautou (Amélie), Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise) and Sonia Braga (Aquarius) are starring, and filming took place in the summer. Though the project has no distributor attached yet, the levels of Lebowski fan mania means it will not struggle to see a release at some point in the not too distant future. The Dude abides – and so, surely, does Jesus.

Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan join psychological thriller Keepers

Like big buses parked on rocky promontories, lighthouse movies are coming along in pairs at the moment. Following the Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander drama The Light Between Oceans comes a British tale of tall towers with powerful lanterns, Keepers. Now news arrives via Deadline that Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Peter Mullan (War Horse) and Joe Alwyn (Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk) have joined the psychological thriller.

The The Light Between Oceans parallel is apt because like that literary adaptation, this one involves a life changing discovery on a remote offshore lighthouse station. When the three keepers (Mullan, Butler and Alwyn), pulling a six-week shift 20 miles from the Scottish coast, come into possession of this mysterious discovery, it sparks first curiosity, then greed, then paranoia. A distant ship may hold the answer to the riddle.

"These men are the strong and unique characters at the heart of this story," explains director Kristoffer Nyholm (The Killing), "which is a journey from innocence to animalistic survival. Keepers was great to read, will be an adventure to make, and terrifying to watch."

The three stars, three generations of British actors, will be gearing up to be battered by briny sea air and storm tossed in early 2017 when the film's shoot gets underway in the UK.

Tom Cruise set for Methuselah

Biblical character inspired action adventure Methuselah has been waiting in development limbo for a good few years now. But things finally seem to be picking up a little, as news arrives via Deadline that Joachim Rønning (Kon-Tiki) is now attached to direct Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) in the movie.

Methuselah follows a protagonist who ages at a snail's pace, picking up survival skills along the way. Skills that make him a nightmare for anyone who gets in his way, one presumes. Harry Potter producer David Heyman has been trying to get the film made at Warner Bros since 2009 and at one point had James Watkins (The Woman In Black) on board to direct.

Watkins has since left, but the project stayed alive, particularly since Cruise is seriously considering the move. Deadfall (2012) writer Zach Dean worked on a daft that got everyone interested and now Heyman and his team have brought in Rønning, who is currently finishing off work on the new Pirates Of The Caribbean film, known here as Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge. According to Deadline, the studio will have several writers work on the script before finally securing Cruise's service.

Cruise has Jack Reacher: Never Go Back out in cinemas now and Rønning's Pirates Of The Caribbean entry is due to dock into cinemas on 26 May next year.

Casey Affleck joins David Lowery's The Old Man And The Gun

Currently drawing acclaim from festival audiences for his role in Manchester By The Sea, Casey Affleck is looking to a previous collaborator for a new movie. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he is set to reunite with Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013) director David Lowery for The Old Man And The Gun.

Their new movie has Lowery adapting David Grann's 2003 New Yorker article that chronicled Forrest Tucker, a man born in 1920 who spent his life as a bank robber. Frequently arrested and jailed, he escaped from prison 18 times in his life, including an audacious break from San Quentin at the age of 70, becoming something of a folk hero in the process. He was caught by police after a robbery in 2000 and sentenced to 13 more years, but died in 2005.

Lowery has his Pete's Dragon star Robert Redford on to play Tucker, and Affleck will be a detective who admires Tucker's commitment to his criminal mission in life. The cameras should be rolling on that one early next year in Ohio.

And that is not the only film Affleck is eyeing. He has set up indie survival drama Light Of My Life, which he wrote and will direct and Deadline brings word of Villain, another script of his that has Sweden's Mikael Marcimain (Call Girl) on to direct. Affleck will star as a man whose life is shattered by a home invasion and becomes an obsessed vigilante. Driven to clean up his city, he soon becomes viewed more as a bad guy.

Doug Liman discusses the Edge Of Tomorrow sequel

Movement on a sequel to the science fiction thriller Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) has been happening for a while now, and director Doug Liman, who made the original and plans to return for the new one, has been to talking to Collider about what we can expect, albeit in cryptic terms.

He is clearly enthused about the follow-up, which would see Tom Cruise and likely Emily Blunt back for more time looping adventures. "That is the only sequel that I'm considering doing, and it's because first of all the story is so amazing – much better than the original film, and I loved and loved the original film – and second of all, it's a sequel that's a prequel," Liman tells Collider.

The sequel currently features a script by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse (Race), with Christopher McQuarrie involved as a producer. "I've had some radical ideas about how to make a sequel that would interest me, in the same way that I had ideas of how you make an independent film and then Swingers (1996) came along and it was like 'Aha, that's the perfect movie for me to test these ideas out on,'" says Liman. "I had these intellectual ideas on how you should make a sequel that are unlike how anybody else makes a sequel, and this script and this idea fit perfectly into that idea. So it's gonna revolutionize how people make sequels. It's more heresy in the film world for me to pitch things that are sort of unheard of."

It will clearly be a while before we see anything of the new movie – both Liman and Cruise have busy schedules and they will want to get the new Edge Of Tomorrow right before the cameras roll. But this is certainly a hopeful sign. The next Cruise and Liman project to arrive will be drug smuggling drama American Made (formerly known as Mena), which has been pushed back to 25 August next year.

Tom Hardy set to play Al Capone for director Josh Trank

Here is a combination that could prove to be combustive either in terms of a great result or it blowing up in everyone's faces. News arrives via Screen International that Tom Hardy (Inception) has agreed to star for Fantastic Four (2015) director Josh Trank in Al Capone tale Fonzo.

Hardy will play the infamous gangster at the age of 47, near the end of his life. After nearly a decade in prison, the former Prohibition-era bootlegger and leader of the Chicago Outfit organised crime mob is suffering from dementia and experiencing memories of his vicious glory days bleeding into the present.

Hardy, of course, has form playing crime figures in films such as Bronson (2008) and Legend (2015). As for Trank, he found success with Chronicle (2012), then butted up against studio expectations and suffered a spectacular flop with the four superheroes, while losing out on one of the Star Wars standalone movies. Fonzo, which he also wrote, feels like his chance to climb back out of the bad news around that last job.

"This is the kind of project we want to do: original, distinctive cinema based around something our partners can market and distribute around the world," producer Alex Walton tells Screen International. "You have a brand in Al Capone and this is a fresh take on the gangster genre. Tom Hardy is perhaps the only guy who could do this, so it's perfect casting. It's The Shining (1980) meets Black Mass (2015) – a commercial, interesting and haunting film." Hardy will be back on our screens in Christopher Nolan's  (Interstellar) Dunkirk, due to arrive in cinemas on 21 July next year.

Batman writer Frank Miller thinks the movies should be "smaller"

From creating the seminal 1986 comic miniseries The Dark Knight Returns, writer and artist Frank Miller's influence on the Batman mythos has been a prominent one. It has impacted everything from Tim Burton's 1989 take on the character to this year's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Surprisingly, Miller has revealed that if he was given creative control at Warner Bros, he would take the character in a markedly "smaller" direction.

"To lose the toys and to focus more on the mission, and to use the city a great deal more," he told Variety, "because he's got a loving relationship with the city he's protecting."

He contrasts this with someone like Superman, believing that Batman's connection to crime is a more intimate one given the thing that has driven him for all of these years – the murder of his parents.

"He defeats criminals with his hands," Miller notes. "So it would be a different take. But it will never be in my hands, because it would not be a good place to make toys from."

A perfect example of this approach can be found in Miller's 1987 story arc Batman: Year One, which had been in development in 2000 as a live action feature with Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) set to direct, and adapted as an animated feature in 2011.

"It was much more down to Earth," he details. "In it, a fair amount of time is spent before he became Batman, and when he went out and fought crime he really screwed it up a bunch of times before he got it right."

For more from Miller, head over to Variety's interview here.

Rebecca Ferguson set to star in The Lady And The Panda

News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) is set to star in Justin Chadwick's (The Other Boleyn Girl) The Lady And The Panda.

Chadwick has written the script with Laura Bickford (Beasts Of No Nation) and Holly Gent Palmo (Me And Orson Welles), based on the writings of explorer Ruth Harkness. She was a 1930s socialite living the high life in New York who unexpectedly decided to take over her late husband's expedition to China. In doing so, Harkness became the first person to bring a live giant panda out of the country and to the rest of the world's attention. Travelling with a Chinese guide named Quentin Young, she went into the Himalayas to find an orphaned baby panda before bringing it to America, but after the sensation initially died down, she began to realise the benefit of preserving the animals in their natural habitat.

Chadwick has the backing of both UK and Chinese companies and is currently shooting in Sichuan, in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ferguson has a few films either on the way or in the works, including science fiction thriller Life, due out on 12 May next year, Tomas Alfredson's (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) crime drama The Snowman, arriving 13 October the same year, and a planned return as Ilsa Faust in the next Mission Impossible movie, which has yet to set a date.

Rambo set to get a reboot without Sylvester Stallone

Having been away from our screens for nearly a decade, news now arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that the one man army and bandana aficionado John Rambo is set to receive the reboot treatment in a film cleverly titled Rambo: New Blood.

After four turns as the blood and sweat vested Vietnam vet, Stallone is stepping aside for a new, younger actor to step in, and producers are hoping the character has a 'forever franchise' vibe to it, á la James Bond. The screenplay is being written by Brooks McLaren (Line Of Sight), while Ariel Vromen (The Iceman) is in place to direct.

The character was created by author David Morrell in the 1972 novel First Blood, and first appeared on screen in First Blood (1982). A succession of high octane sequels followed, each one sillier than the last – most recently Rambo (2008).

There had been rumblings a little while back that Stallone was looking to take the character to the small screen. He later dropped out of those plans, and things went a little quiet on that front. He had also previously talked up a fifth movie entitled Last Blood – but after claims that it would shoot in 2015, that also went a little quiet. Here is hoping we haven't seen the last of an elite squad.

Sherlock Holmes 3 team gathering writers' room for new script

The concept of creating a writers' room to work on big projects is spreading. Paramount Pictures set one up for their future Transformers entries and other franchises and there have been rumblings about Universal Pictures co-ordinating the same for their classic creature feature reboots. Now, according to Variety, Warner Bros are recruiting names such as Nicole Perlman (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) for Sherlock Holmes 3.

It is certainly unusual for a team to be gathered for just one movie, but keeping the Sherlock flame alight is important for Warner Bros as they wait for Robert Downey Jr.'s schedule to clear up enough for him to return. And, acting as one of the producers on the series, Downey Jr. is also involved in hiring the assembled scriptwriters to figure out a story and eventual screenplay for Holmes' next adventure.

Along with Perlman and Whitta, the names reportedly include Kieran Fitzgerald (Snowden), Justin Malen (Baywatch), and Geneva Dworet-Robertson, who is currently developing the script for the new Tomb Raider reboot. The idea, apparently, is to get the script in good condition right from the start before any shooting takes place, instead of relying on re-writes and polishes later. Though knowing Downey Jr., it will probably still evolve on set.

There is still now schedule for the new Holmes in terms of shooting, but Jude Law should be back as Watson, with Guy Ritchie expected to return to the director's chair.

New trailer for Suicide Squad Extended Cut arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their trailer for the Extended Cut release of David Ayer's Suicide Squad.

Grossing $745 million worldwide, Suicide Squad was a hit beyond the dreams of even the DC brains trust. If you didn't catch it in cinemas, Ayer's blockbuster finds a ragtag team of villains and anti-heroes coerced by shadowy government forces into completing hazardous missions with the lure of pardons or reduced punishments.

Alongside Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) as The Joker, Margot Robbie (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn and Will Smith (I Am Legend) as Deadshot, are Adam Beach (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Slipknot, Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher) as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne (Anna Karenina) as Enchantress, Karen Fukuhara as Katana, Joel Kinnaman (RoboCop) as Rick Flagg, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Thor: The Dark World) as Killer Croc and Jay Hernandez (Hostel) as El Diablo, Scott Eastwood (Fury) as Steve Trevor and Jim Parrack (Fury) as Jonny Frost and Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors) as Captain Griggs.

There is not a whole lot of new footage in evidence here, although Warner Bros have confirmed an additional 13 minutes in the Extended Cut.

Suicide Squad Extended Cut is available on Blu-ray and digital download now and you can read our review right here.

New trailer for Edge Of Seventeen arrives online

Entertainment One have recently released their latest trailer for Kelly Fremon Craig's directorial debut Edge Of Seventeen.

"There are two types of people – those that naturally radiate confidence and excel at life, and those that hope all those people die in a big explosion." It is safe to say Hailee Steinfeld's (True Grit) high schooler is wrestling with some serious issues in Edge Of Seventeen and she is taking few prisoners as she does it.

The movie finds Steinfeld swapping Barden University of Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) for a high school life she is not entirely comfortable with as junior Nadine Byrd. He best friend (Haley Lu Richardson) is dating her cool older brother, she has an irritating mother (Kyra Sedgwick), and her mentor and history teacher is Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games). She is probably not getting a lot of sympathy there.

Happily, there is a boy too. Specifically a shy, thoughtful one (Hayden Szeto) who may offer a confidante (or more) for Steinfeld's sparky, smart teenager.

Originally called Besties, Edge Of Seventeen is a coming of age comedy directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. The debutante director is pitching for a John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) style mix of pathos and comedy.

Edge Of Seventeen is out in the UK now.

New one sheet for 20th Century Women arrives online

Entertainment One have recently released their first teaser trailer for Mike Mills' (Beginners) 20th Century Women teaser.

Beginners (2010) director Mike Mills' latest features several generations of women and arguably some of the best actresses working today, including Annette Bening (American Beauty), Elle Fanning (Maleficent) and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha).

The year is 1979 and California's ever changing seaside town of Santa Barbara is a complicated place to grow up in for the teenage son of Dorothea (Bening), whose world is changed forever by the arrival of Billy Crudup's (Watchmen) former hippy turned handyman.

As the boarder living in the bungalow outside single Dorothea's home, he attracts the attention of not only Dorothea, but also Julie (Fanning), a provocative friend of the boy, and punk photographer Abbue (Gerwig).

"The film is an ode to the women who raised me – my mom, my sisters, the girls I was in love with or looked up to at school and in the punk rock scene where I really learned about the world," Mills told Variety.

20th Century Women will arrive on US screens around Christmas and will be out in the UK 10 February.

New one sheet for The Founder arrives online

The Weinstein Company have recently released their latest one sheet for John Lee Hancock's (Saving Mr. Banks) The Founder.

Michael Keaton has certainly been choosing some interesting work of late, and seeing real results including an Academy Award® for Birdman (2014) and acclaim for his role in Spotlight (2016), which itself took the Academy Award® last year. He has followed that with The Founder, another based on truth tale, of canny salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton), who saw a golden opportunity and launched one of the world's largest brands.

The Founder looks at the creation of McDonald's, and sees Kroc as the Illinois businessman who saw something in the small restaurant owned and operated by brothers Richard 'Dick' McDonald (Nick Offerman) and Maurice 'Mac' McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) in the 1950s. He subtly manoeuvred himself into a position to take over the company, buying up the burgeoning chain for $2.7 million in 1961 and turning into the fast food behemoth we know today.

With a script by Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler), The Founder also stars Laura Dern (Wild), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) and Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age Of Ultron).

The Founder will arrive in the UK on 17 February.

New one sheet for Underworld: Blood Wars arrives online

Sony Pictures have recently released their latest one sheet for Anna Foerster's (Criminal Minds) Underworld: Blood Wars.

Written by Cory Goodman, Underworld: Blood Wars finds Kate Beckinsale back in the catsuit as the iconic vampire warrior Selene, who must not only battle a resurgent Lycan clan – led by the powerful Marius (Tobias Menzies) – but also the vampire faction that betrayed her. And this time around, both the shapeshifting enemies and her own side are after Selene's blood – literally: it appears to possess some special, pure powers.

Of course, she is not all that thrilled with the idea of either side – including Charles Dance's (Game Of Thrones) vampire leader – taking her life blood, especially when she now seems to be able to channel some new superpowers.

Underworld: Blood Wars will be bringing the fight to us on 3 February 2017.

New character one sheets for Sing arrive online

Universal Pictures have recently released a batch of character one sheets for Garth Jennings' (Son Of Rambow) Sing.

Having conquered the world with Despicable Me (2010) and Minions (2015), Illumination Entertainment are hoping you will fall for their animal adventures too. The Secret Life Of Pets is already out in cinemas and now the company are set to unleash the critter filled world of Sing.

Sing finds Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) as Buster Moon, the dapper koala impresario who oversees a theatre that was once a grand entertainment venue, but is now falling on hard times, with peeling paint and dodgy plumbing. In a final attempt to restore the venue to its former glory, he decides to stage the world's greatest singing challenge, throwing the doors open to members of the public who think they have what it takes.

Five main contenders emerge – a mouse (Seth McFarlane) who is a crook with a smooth voice, a teenage elephant (Tori Kelly), a busy mother sow (Reese Witherspoon), who juggles the demands of her 25 piglets with her singing ambitions, a young, tough gorilla (Taron Egerton) and a punk rock porcupine with the proven pipes of Scarlett Johansson (Lucy). But who will win?

Son Of Rambow's (2007) Garth Jennings writes, directs and corrals the talent for this one, which also includes John C. Reilly (Carnage), Nick Offerman (Parks And Recreation), Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Jennifer Saunders (Coraline).

Sing will arrive in the UK on 27 January.

First one sheet for Fences arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their first one sheet for Denzel Washington's (The Great Debaters) Fences.

For his third cinematic turn behind the camera as director, Denzel Washington chose some material he was intimately familiar with – August Wilson's Tony Award winning play Fences.

Wilson's play tackles the story of Troy Maxon (Washington), a Pittsburgh sanitation employee who once dreamed of a baseball career only to be left facing down daily discrimination in a more menial line of work, while grappling with his lost ambitions. Davis plays Troy's wife, Rose (Viola Davis).

Both actors won Tony Awards for their performances on stage, while the play took the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Revival. Troy is a role first made famous by James Earl Jones during Fences' original run in 1987. "It reawakened me about the work, and my commitment to the work," Washington told us about his own take. "I said to myself: 'I've got to dig deeper'. Scott Rudin sent me the script August Wilson wrote - the only one of his plays that he wrote as a screenplay – to act and direct. I really do want to direct this."

Fences will arrive in US cinemas on 25 December but there is no UK release date as yet.

"The good, the extreme, and the completely insane... now that's a team I can work with!"

Paramount Pictures have recently released their latest trailer for D.J. Caruso (I Am Number Four) xXx: Return Of Xander Cage.

The story this time sees extreme sports rebel turned government asset Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) brought out of self-imposed exile to find and take on new warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his group of skilled fighters who have stolen a seemingly unstoppable weapon that carries the somewhat unoriginal moniker Pandora's Box.

Xander will need to recruit his own team to battle a deadly conspiracy that threatens the world. Expect the stunts to be fun and the cast to be diverse – the line-up this time includes Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Rory McCann (Game Of Thrones), Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express), Tony Jaa (Furious 7) and Ruby Rose (Around The Block). Plus, of course Samuel L. Jackson back as Agent Augustus Gibbons. D.J. Caruso directs the madness and the film will leap from an exploding truck into our cinemas on 20 January next year.

"Frank says I'm not supposed to correct older people... nobody likes a smartass."

Fox Searchlight have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Marc Webb's (500 Days Of Summer) Gifted.

After the big clash of this year's Captain America: Civil War, Chris Evans is waging a battle on an entirely smaller, but no less vital front.

Marc Webb, who is also back in small scale drama mode after work on two Spider-Man films, is behind the camera for the movie. Written by Tom Flynn (Watch It), Gifted is a drama about Frank Adler (Chris Evans), a deliberate underachiever, who is raising his niece Mary (McKenna Grace), in rural Florida. When he enrolls her in school for the first time, she is labelled as gifted. All Frank wants is for Mary to have a normal life, but standing in his way is her grandmother, his mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), and the dilemma that he doesn't have custody of Mary. So being proactive for once, he sues to win that custody.

Octavia Spencer (The Help) is playing Frank's landlady, with Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) as Mary's teacher.

Gifted will arrive in UK cinemas on 16 June next year.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New character one sheets for xXx: Return Of Xander Cage arrive online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their first batch of character one sheets for D.J. Caruso (I Am Number Four) xXx: Return Of Xander Cage.

The story this time sees extreme sports rebel turned government asset Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) brought out of self-imposed exile to find and take on new warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his group of skilled fighters who have stolen a seemingly unstoppable weapon that carries the somewhat unoriginal moniker Pandora's Box.

Xander will need to recruit his own team to battle a deadly conspiracy that threatens the world. Expect the stunts to be fun and the cast to be diverse – the line-up this time includes Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Rory McCann (Game Of Thrones), Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express), Tony Jaa (Furious 7) and Ruby Rose (Around The Block). Plus, of course Samuel L. Jackson back as Agent Augustus Gibbons. D.J. Caruso directs the madness and the film will leap from an exploding truck into our cinemas on 20 January next year.