Sunday, 28 February 2016

"Tick tock, your time is up!"

Walt Disney Pictures have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for James Bobin's (The Muppets) Alice In Wonderland (2010) sequel, Alice Through The Looking Glass.





Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Sheen, Toby Jones, Anne Hathaway and Alan Rickman are all returning, with the addition this time of Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator) as a creature of shifting morality called Time. Also on hand is Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter's father. No such character appears in the original books, but any priority along those lines is a distant memory at this point.

Hitting harder than it otherwise might have thanks to narration this time from the late Rickman, it promises more of the brightly coloured madness that helped earn the Tim Buron's original more than $1 billion at the box office.

Produced by Joe Roth (Alice In Wonderland), with a screenplay once again by Linda Wolverton, Alice Through The Looking Glass arrives in the UK 27 May.



New trailer and quad poster for Midnight Special arrives online

Entertainment One have recently released their latest trailer and quad poster for Jeff Nichols' (Mud) Midnight Special.





Having worked together successfully on movies such as Shotgun Stories (2007), Take Shelter (2011) and Mud (2012), writer/director Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon are reuniting once again for Nichols' latest.

Midnight Special finds Shannon as Roy, who discovers that this son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher) has some special gifts – powers, that make him both a boon to humanity and, in the eyes of some, a terrible threat.

Partly that worry comes from government agents (led by Adam Driver) and an extreme religious sect overseen by Sam Shepard's (The Right Stuff) driven leader, who both decide that Alton belongs with them. The government views Alton as a potential weapon, whereas the religious types think he is their saviour... Roy knows he has to go on the run alongside Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia) and Joel Edgerton (Warrior), who provides a little protection as they race for a secret location.





Midnight Special will arrive in our cinemas on 8 April.

First teaser trailer for Sing arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their first teaser trailer 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 due on 24 June, and after that, the company are set to unleash the critter filled world of Sing.

Sing is set in a universe entirely inhabited by talking animals where koala impresario Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is desperate to save the theatre he runs. Buster will do anything to keep it, and decides that the best way is via the world's biggest singing competition.

As the rounds continue, 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?

With the presence of Son Of Rambow director (2007) Garth Jennings calling the shots, we are hopeful this will represent more than just a chance to shoehorn in a variety of popular songs to crowd the soundtrack and generate buzz.





Sing is set to arrive in the UK next January.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

New TV spot for 10 Cloverfield Lane arrives online

Paramount Pictures have just released their latest TV spot for Dan Trachtenberg's feature debut 10 Cloverfield Lane.





In keeping with producer J.J. Abrams' usual methods, the trailers for 10 Cloverfield Lane have adeptly kept us wondering about the central mystery while proving enough to stimulate guesses. The new TV spot continues that tradition.

Described as a "blood relative" to Matt Reeves' found footage monster movie Cloverfield (2008), 10 Cloverfield Lane has Mary Elizabeth Winstead's (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) Michelle waking up following a car accident in what appears to be a secure doomsday shelter. In charge is John Goodman's (Argo) Howard, who warns that everyone outside is dead. The only other person seemingly in the place is John Gallagher Jr.'s (Short Term 12) so far unnamed character, who here says he was trying to get into the shelter.

But Michelle is suspicious of Howard's motives – especially since she regains consciousness handcuffed to a bed – and despite his claim that he is trying to keep her alive, she tries to make a break for it. We will have to wait and see what she truly discovers...

Produced by J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and shot in secrecy by Dan Trachtenberg from a script by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), 10 Cloverfield Lane is out on 18 March.




New trailer and one sheet for The Divergent Series: Allegiant arrives online

Summit Entertainment have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Robert Schwentke's (RED) The Divergent Series: Allegiant.




The Divergent Series: Allegiant finds Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their ragtag group of friends, enemies and undecideds having won their battle against the machinations of Erudite faction leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet). They have discovered, thanks to Tris' ability to unlock a message, that their shattered, dystopian Chicago is not the final refuge for the human race, but was used as an experiment to develop divergents such as our heroine. As for what she can do to save the wider world is a mystery, but she will learn more from the mysterious Bureau of Genetic Welfare, which includes new franchise face Jeff Daniels (Looper) as David.

With Robert Schwentke returning as director from a script that has seen work by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner), Adam Cooper (Exodus: Gods And Kings), Bill Collage (Exodus: Gods And Kings) and Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower), The Divergent Series: Allegiant also features Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Ansel Elgort (Carrie), Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III) and Bill Skarsgård (Hemlock Grove).





The Divergent Series: Allegiant is out in the UK on 10 March.

"We are gonna start a brownie empire."

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest one sheet and red band trailer for Ben Falcone's (Tammy) The Boss.




Originally titled Michelle Darnell, Melissa McCarthy's (Bridesmaids) latest comedy has recently been rebranded The Boss, and now we have our first trailer for the prickly self-help guru.

The monstrous Michelle is a character that McCarthy originally created as a member of the Groundlings sketch comedy troupe a decade ago in Los Angeles. For the film, she has been made the centre of a story in which the wealthiest woman in America is sent to the slammer for dodgy dealing and insider trading. Freshly released, she starts trying to earn her way back to her former glory, but finds that it's not so easy when you've stepped on everyone on your way up.

Among those holding karmic grudges include Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Kathy Bates (About Schmidt) and Timothy Simons (Veep).

McCarthy's husband Ben Falcone is the director and the pair co-wrote the screenplay with Steve Mallory (Identity Thief) and are the producers through their own On The Day banner. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy) are also involved through their Gary Sanchez production company.





The Boss is out in the UK on 10 June.

"One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time."

Sometimes the best punches are the ones you don't see coming. Following the box office failure of the underrated Rocky Balboa (2006), the Rocky series was on the canvas, the count nearing ten. Creed not only gets the series – and Sly Stallone – back on its feet, but completely reinvigorates it.





The smelling salts have been delivered by Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan, the directing and acting duo who made their mark with the excellent Fruitvale Station (2103). That their second act should be to revamp a franchise that started before they were even born is surprising, but certainly welcome. And if, at times, Creed follows the tracks of the first Rocky a little too reverently, it is no mere retread.

Much of that stems from Coogler's direction, flashy when it needs to be – along with cinematographer Maryse Alberti, he shoots one fight sequence in a single unbroken take – and impressively controlled, conjuring up a sense of time and place that feels as authentic and informed by Coogler's experiences as Rocky (1976) was by Stallone's. Race is addressed, of course, but it is never the film's overriding preoccupation – instead, the focus is on the problems that come living with a legacy, and trying to escape from a shadow that seems endless.

As the son of Apollo Creed, the effortlessly charismatic Jordan nails his father's flamboyance, but also gives Donny a brittleness beneath the bravado. He is a young man caught between the desire to turn away from that surname, and the need to know a father who died before he was born. Which is why he reaches out to Apollo's old friend and former rival, Rocky Balboa, for guidance. There is a reason why this film isn't called Rocky VII, but fans of the Italian Stallion certainly won't feel shortchanged by Balboa's role. From the moment Stallone shuffles on screen, weighed down by the baggage of six movies past including the loss of everyone he ever loved, he discovers notes he has never played as an actor.

It is a generous turn as both actor and character, a literally supporting role. Rocky gathers a team to surround his new fighter and takes more delight in Donny's achievements than he ever did in his own. As he is slowly revitalised by Donny's presence, Stallone recaptures Rocky's nobility and sense of decency, allied to a raw and heartbreaking pain. A career of action fodder has often obscured the fact that Stallone can actually act, and here he gives arguably his best performance. A punch nobody could have seen coming.

Coogler has crafted a film that doesn't adhere to the usual fanfare required for a Hollywood ending. Instead, it is the relationship between Rocky and Adonis that we really invest in, rather than who wins or loses. Harking back to the franchise's glory days.

The best Rocky film since the original, Creed honours the Stallone legacy while setting the series in a different direction. Surprisingly effective, punchy and powerful, Creed is a knockout.





George Gaynes: Police Academy star dies aged 98

Veteran actor George Gaynes, best known for his work in the Police Academy series as Commandant Eric Lassard, has died at his family home in Washington State, aged 98. A prolific character actor, his work in film, television and theatre spanned six decades.





Born in 1917 in Helsinki, named George Jongejans at birth, Gaynes was raised in France, Switzerland, and England. After serving in the Royal Navy during World War II, he moved the US, where he earned American citizenship, and remained there for the rest of his life.

During the 1940s and 1950s, he enjoyed a healthy career on Broadway, becoming well known to audiences for comedies and musicals, including a large national tour of My Fair Lady. He became a hard working character actor on television in the 1960s and 1970s, appearing on Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Hogan's Heroes, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Columbo, among many others.

In the 1980s, American audiences came to know him as grouchy foster parent Henry Warnimont in TV sitcom Punky Brewster. Smaller film roles materialised too, including a role opposite Dustin Hoffman in the cross-dressing comedy Tootsie (1982).

But it was not until 1984 that Gaynes, aged 67, earned the role of his lifetime, as the bumbling Commandant Lassard in Police Academy. He was the centrepiece of arguably the movie's funniest scene, in which, for reasons too complicated to explain, he is called upon to deliver a speech while receiving the attentions of a prostitute concealed inside the podium. That was typical of the sort of crude humour that pushed the $4.5m movie towards a box office gross of more than $80m.




Even if the fun waned during the six sequels churned out over the next decade, beginning with Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985) and ending with Police Academy: Mission To Moscow (1994), Gaynes was always a delight. He also played Lassard in one 1998 episode of Police Academy: The Series, a short lived television spin-off.

Married to actress and singer Allyn Ann McLerie since 1953, he was, according to longtime agent Jonathan Howard, "one of the true gentlemen in this business".

He never reached leading man status, seemingly happy to work on the sidelines. When asked in 1984 by the New York Times about his brush with Police Academy generated fame, Gaynes remained philosophical.

"Of course, I'm happy about it," he told the paper. "But knowing the vagaries of the entertainment business, I can't take it too seriously."

Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

New quad posters for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrive online

Warner Bros have just released two new quad posters for Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.








Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, of course, follows the fallout from Man Of Steel's chaotic battles. Fearing the actions of a god like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City's own formidable, world weary vigilante takes on Metropolis' most revered, modern day saviour, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) going toe-to-toe, a new threat quickly arises, as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) exploits the uncertainties about Superman for his own ends.

As well as Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Cavill returning as Clark Kent/Superman, the film also features Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian) as Aquaman, Jeremy Irons (Beautiful Creatures) as Alfred Pennyworth and newcomer Ray Fisher as Cyborg, alongside Man Of Steel veterans Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Snyder will also be finding screen time for Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty), Scoot McNairy, Holly Hunter (Paradise) and Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine).

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrives in the UK on 25 March.

New character one sheets for The Divergent Series: Allegiant arrive online

Summit Entertainment have recently released their latest batch of character one sheets for Robert Schwentke's (RED) The Divergent Series: Allegiant.
















The Divergent Series: Allegiant finds Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their ragtag group of friends, enemies and undecideds having won their battle against the machinations of Erudite faction leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet). They have discovered, thanks to Tris' ability to unlock a message, that their shattered, dystopian Chicago is not the final refuge for the human race, but was used as an experiment to develop divergents such as our heroine. As for what she can do to save the wider world is a mystery, but she will learn more from the mysterious Bureau of Genetic Welfare, which includes new franchise face Jeff Daniels (Looper) as David.


With Robert Schwentke returning as director from a script that has seen work by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner), Adam Cooper (Exodus: Gods And Kings), Bill Collage (Exodus: Gods And Kings) and Stephen Chbosky (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower), The Divergent Series: Allegiant also features Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Ansel Elgort (Carrie), Maggie Q (Mission: Impossible III) and Bill Skarsgård (Hemlock Grove).

The Divergent Series: Allegiant is out in the UK on 10 March.

New one sheet for The Forest arrives online

Icon Films have recently released their latest one sheet for Jason Zada's feature debut The Forest.





Set in the same location as Gus Van Sant's Sea Of Trees, The Forest finds a young American woman (Natalie Dormer) searching for her vanished twin sister in the Japanese forest of Aokigahara. It is a foreboding place at the foot of Mount Fuji where people traditionally end their lives. But though she is seeking answers, what she actually discovers is a forest full of the angry souls of the dead who have perished there previously.

Jason Zada directed this one, and the ubiquitous David S. Goyer (Man Of Steel) contributed to the script and is among the producers.

The Forest is out in the UK on 26 February.

New one sheet for London Has Fallen arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest one sheet for Fredrik Bond's (Charlie Countryman) London Has Fallen.





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 grizzled Secret Service man 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 arrive in the UK 4 March.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Battlestar Galactica movie moving forward with new producers

After several false starts, Universal Pictures are finally pushing ahead with a movie version of the acclaimed science fiction franchise Battlestar Galactica, and now news arrives via Variety that Michael De Luca (The Social Network), Scott Stuber (Ted) and Dylan Clark (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) have all boarded as producers.





Battlestar Galactica originated as a TV series in 1978, followed by a short second series entitled Galactica in 1980. It is probably best known now, however, for the 2003 three hour miniseries and 2004 follow-up series, which won huge critical acclaim and enjoyed a healthy life as boxsets.

Various other spin-offs and web series have followed, but a movie version has never materialised until now.

All the incarnations of the show detailed the Twelve Colonies in a distant futuristic outpost of the universe – the early noughties show focused on the near extinct human race, on the hunt for a mythical planet known as Earth.

There is no word on cast, director, or release date yet, but the fact that three high profile producers are now involved means the wheels seem to be turning on this one. As always, watch this space.

Zoe Kazan set for The Big Sick

Scoring Judd Apatow (This Is 40) to produce your script can be a bonus for any writer, and Kumail Nanjiani (Life As We Know It) and Emily V. Gordon (The Meltdown With Jonah And Kumail) have recently snagged his services. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) will co-star in The Big Sick with Nanjiani.




Usually found these days either running his own series The Meltdown or as part of the main cast of Silicon Valley, Nanjiani has based the script on his and Gordon's real life marriage. The plot of the movie will follow the trials and tribulations that a Pakistan-born man and his girlfriend have to get through to be together.

This one appears likely to be padded out with reliably funny folk – the director is The State veteran Michael Showalter, who has a few films under his belt, and between him, the writers and Apatow, they certainly have plenty of contacts to fill the rest of the cast.

Kazan, who was last seen in Our Brand Is Crisis (2015), has Bryan Bertino's (The Strangers) There Are Monsters and comedy My Blind Brother awaiting release.

Danny McBride in talks for Alien: Covenant

News arrives via The Wrap that Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down) is in talks to join Michael Fassbender and new lead Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) for Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012) follow-up Alien: Covenant.




There are no details at all so far about the role McBride would play, but the situation has apparently come about through director Scott and McBride bonding over their mutual love of film.

It is easy to make the obvious cracks about the hapless egocentric drug addled sweary slacker pratfalling that McBride might bring to the Alien universe. But this could also be his opportunity to display a significant broadening of his range, in something like the way his fellow Seth Rogen (This Is The End) cohort Jonah Hill has done recently in Moneyball (2011) and The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013).

Whatever the character, he will somehow fit into a story that sees the crew of the colony ship Covenant heading for a remote planet at the edge of the galaxy. They discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world, the sole inhabitant of which is the android David (Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.

Alien: Covenant is set to start shooting in Australia next month for a 2017 release.

Legal case brought against Star Wars company for Harrison Ford's injury

Just when they thought The First Order was the most threatening thing to strike back since the Empire, the production company behind the latest Star Wars entry have been hit with criminal charges from the Health and Safety Executive over Harrison Ford's leg injury during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.




The company in question is Foodles Production (UK) Ltd, a legal subsidiary of Walt Disney Pictures and formed to handle legal and financial issues such as this. The Health and Safety Executive has brought four criminal charges relating to the incident in June 2014 when a hydraulic metal door on the Millennium Falcon set in Pinewood Studios fell on Ford's leg and broke it. He was airlifted to hospital for surgery and made a full recovery, but the Health and Safety Executive sees the production company as liable for not maintaining proper level of protection for workers on the set.

Representatives of Foodles Production (UK) Ltd have been summoned to appear at the High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 12 May. A Foodles representative released a statement on the matter via the BBC: "Cast and crew safety is always a top priority. We provided full co-operation during HSE's investigation into the on-set accident that occurred in June 2014 and are disappointed in HSE's decision."

But there are arguably bigger issues at heart here. Sure, the health and safety team picked up on this, but what about the handrails at the side of walkways on Starkiller Base?

Pinewood Studios remains home to the Star Wars team, and Episode VIII has now kicked off shooting at the studio.

First trailer and character one sheets for Criminal arrive online

Lionsgate have just released their first trailer and batch of character one sheets for Ariel Vroman's (Iceman) action thriller Criminal.














Criminal continues Kevin Costner's recent thriller kick, following Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) and 3 Days To Kill (2014). It is also Ryan Reynolds' second body swap movie in two years, following Tarsem Singh's Self/less (2015). Costner plays a ruthless career criminal (hence the title) who, rather than face the rest of his life in jail, volunteers for an experimental procedure to have the memories and skills of a murdered CIA field agent transferred into his own mind... with predictably unpredictable consquences.

The producers are Chris Bender and J.C. Spink (We're The Millers), with Avi Lerner (The Expendables) among the executive producers. Director Ariel Vroman previously made the excellent The Iceman (2010), and the screenplay is by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg (The Rock).

Costner and Reynolds are part of an impressive cast that also includes Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6), Tommy Lee Jones (No Country For Old Men), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), Jordi Mollà (Riddick), Antje Traue (Man Of Steel) and Scott Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum).





Criminal arrives in the UK on 15 April.

"What're you gonna do, take on two evil sisters and their entire army?"

Universal Pictures have just released their latest trailer for Cedric Nicolas-Troyan's The Huntsman: Winter's War.





Chris Hemsworth is back for the film which is set years before Kristen Stewart's Snow White challenges the the Ravenna (Charlize Theron), and begins when Ravenna's sister Freya (Emily Blunt) flees the kingdom after suffering a heart breaking betrayal. The young ice queen, blessed with the ability to freeze any enemy, has spent decades in a remote, snowy palace, where she has been busy raising a legion of deadly huntsmen including Eric and Sara (Jessica Chastain), her top warriors. But despite her demand that her soldiers forswear love, the prime pair have been unable to deny their feelings. Angered, she returns to the kingdom (we can assume the film becomes a sequel at this point, given where the plot goes from here), raises her sister from the Magic Mirror's golden depths and together the sisters threaten the world with twice the dark magic.

The Huntsman: Winter's War will arrive on 22 April and features Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) veterans Sam Claflin and Nick Frost, alongside new arrivals Sheridan Smith (Hysteria), Colin Morgan (Legend), Sam Hazeldine (The Raven) and Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service).




First look at new Ghostbusters Ecto-2 motorbike

Recently spotted roaring around the streets of Boston, Columbia Pictures have released our first look at the Ecto-2 motorbike, one of the vehicles being used by the new team in Paul Feig's (Bridesmaids) Ghostbusters.





As built by Madhouse Motors for the movie, the bike shows off the even more home made aesthetic of this fresh breed of busters. It is certainly an interesting and fun addition to the Ghostbuster crew's equipment, supplementing the usual Ecto-1 car for when they need to tear around the streets of New York.

Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy (The Heat), Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) and Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live) as the women who must defend New York against a surge in paranormal activity that McCarthy and Wiig's characters initially detect but are laughed out of academia for revealing. They eventually decide to recruit the others to form their own unit.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Michael Kenneth William (12 Years A Slave), Andy Garcia (Ocean's Twelve), Matt Walsh (Ted) and Neil Casey (Saturday Night Live) are also all part of the cast and we can expect cameos from original Ghostbusters (1984) stars Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver.

Ghostbusters arrives in the UK on 15 July.

New trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their latest trailer for Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.





The heated political situation and conflicts in Kabul might not make it the easiest place to generate laughs, but Tina Fey (Date Night) is aiming to do just that with the new war reporter comedy drama Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are directing this one, which Fey's 30 Rock collaborator Robert Carlock adapted from Kim Barker's real life memoir of life as a war correspondent. The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days In Afghanistan And Pakistan charts her time as a journalist in Kabul in 2002, where with no foreign languages among her skillset and precious little idea how to get between Pakistan and Afghanistan, she was thrown in at the deep end. Slowly but surely, she grew to love the region, even as she became increasingly worried about its future.

Fey is playing Barker, agreeing to head overseas on assignment partly so she can change what she sees as a singularly unsatisfying life and career. Upon arrival, she discovers that she is suddenly a sex object (mostly thanks to the lack of women in the area aside from fellow correspondent Margot Robbie) and that she will have to navigate both the politics and the fact that it is a war zone. It promises some typically witty Fey material and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug) as a dedicated photojournalist who might just have a thing for her.




Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is out here on 4 March.

"Do you know the oldest lie in America? That power can be innocent."

Warner Bros have recently released their final trailer and IMAX one sheet for Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.




Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, of course, follows the fallout from Man Of Steel's chaotic battles. Fearing the actions of a god like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City's own formidable, world weary vigilante takes on Metropolis' most revered, modern day saviour, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) going toe-to-toe, a new threat quickly arises, as Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) exploits the uncertainties about Superman for his own ends.

As well as Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Cavill returning as Clark Kent/Superman, the film also features Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian) as Aquaman, Jeremy Irons (Beautiful Creatures) as Alfred Pennyworth and newcomer Ray Fisher as Cyborg, alongside Man Of Steel veterans Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Snyder will also be finding screen time for Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty), Scoot McNairy, Holly Hunter (Paradise) and Tao Okamoto (The Wolverine).





Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrives in the UK on 25 March.

First trailer for Our Kind Of Traitor arrives online

StudioCanal have just released their first trailer for Susanna White's (Nanny McPhee Returns) Our Kind Of Traitor.





Our Kind Of Traitor, adapted from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy author John le Carré's novel, finds ordinary English couple Perry (Ewan McGregor) and Gail (Naomie Harris) on holiday in Marrakech when they are approached by the flamboyant and charismatic Russian Dima (Stellan Skarsgard). But after enjoying themselves in his company, he makes an urgent request... Turns out he is part of the Russian mafia yet looking to get himself out of laundering money for very dangerous people, and he needs their help to get classified information to MI6.

Perry and Gail soon find themselves caught in a whirlwind of international intrigue, betrayal and danger, especially when dealing with the driven and determined MI6 agent Hector (Damian Lewis).

With Hossein Amini (Drive) on script duty and Susanna White directing, Our Kind Of Traitor will be out on 6 May.




Anthony Mackie discusses Captain America: Civil War

Loosely based on Mark Millar's comic book version of the story, Captain America: Civil War promises to ignite big changes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and tie together elements that have been simmering across several movies. After the latest Avengers mission causes the now standard collateral damage, government forces (led by General Ross, once again played by William Hurt) decides that superheroes need more regulation. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) disagrees, worried what that might lead to in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra era. Standing on the other side of the argument, still traumatised by what he experienced in New York and then Sokovia in the Avengers movies, is Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Needless to say things spiral from there and the former friends take sides against each other.

On paper, it looks like a straightforward, if colossally powerful, face-off between two former allies and their cohorts. Not so, says the man who will be siding with Captain America as The Falcon. "I would say this one is more of a true suspense thriller," Anthony Mackie tells Empire magazine.




The first Captain America was, of course, a war movie, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) was a 1970s influenced espionage thriller. In its early acts at least, Captain America: Civil War will be doing something different and mainlining simmering tensions into its tapestry of old friends. "The build-up to the fight is what makes it so interesting," explains Mackie, "because there are so many different factions of who's right and who's wrong and who supports who." Fear not, though, this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't be a courtroom drama drama. "Once we get all of that out the way, then it becomes more action-packed and more of us kicking each others' ass."

With the huge cast involved, Captain America: Civil War has a lot of character heavy lifting to be done in those early stages. But, assures Mackie, the fighting won't start until the motivation, loyalties and stakes for this plethora of characters is established. "If it's a civil war, you have to establish why there's a war," he stresses. "You can't just start fighting and expect people to appreciate it."

A slow crescendo building up to a screen shuddering third act may be on the cards, with Mackie neatly capturing the Marvel ethos. "What Marvel is very good at doing is making these stories about characters and story and then layering action on top of that. And this holds true to that."

With Marvel regulars Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Emily VanCamp, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo and William Hurt, alongside new faces Chadwick Boseman (42), Daniel Brühl (Rush), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) and Tom Holland (The Impossible), Captain America: Civil War arives in the UK on 29 April.

Mackie, meanwhile, can currently be seen on screens in John Hillcoat's (Lawless) Triple 9.

"You're capable of more than you think!"

STX Entertainment have just released their first trailer and new one sheet for Ilya Naishuller's feature debut Hardcore Henry.





Hardcore Henry, the movie equivalent of a first person shooter, follows titular cyborg Henry, brought back from the dead by his scientist wife Estelle (Haley Bennett). He is soon under attack from the goons of Danila Kozlovsky's (Vampire Academy) Akan, who kidnaps Estelle as part of his megalomaniacal plan. And Henry will have to get her back while battling a seemingly endless army of mercenaries through the unfamiliar city of Moscow. His only possibly ally is the quirky Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who will try to guide him on this mission.

With an uncredited Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction) also part of the POV mayhem, Hardcore Henry arrives in the UK on 8 April.




Daniel Radcliffe set for psychological thriller Jungle

News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Daniel Radcliffe is set to venture away from civilisation for Greg Mclean's (Wolf Creek) Jungle.




The psychological thriller is based on Yossi Ghinsberg's memoir about an ill-fated trip into the Amazon jungle with two friends and a guide that, needless to say, didn't end well. The story has already been turned into a documentary called I Shouldn't Be Alive for the US Discovery channel but now Mclean has a script in hand from Justin Monjo (Bait) that will ramp up the terror levels.

With the film's distribution rights available to potential buyers at the European Film Market, Mclean is aiming to start shooting later this year in Australia and elsewhere.

Radcliffe caused a splash at this year's Sundance Film Festival with Swiss Army Man, in which he plays a flatulent corpse. He will next be seen here in illusionist heist sequel Now You See Me 2.

Idris Elba considering The Mountain Between Us

Finding the right script and cast has been something of a challenge for drama The Mountain Between Us. Actors and writers have come and gone, but now, with Chris Weitz (About A Boy) providing the screenplay, the movie might finally have found a leading man, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Idris Elba (Prometheus) is in talks to join.





Weitz's script adapts Charles Martin's eponymous novel, which finds two strangers surviving a plane crash in the Colorado woods and braving the elements together. The experience draws them closer and they fall in love. Elba, assuming he takes the role, would be Ben Trace, a doctor and climbing fanatic who helps injured writer Ashley as they make their way down a mountain in unforgiving weather.

Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now) is still the man to direct this one, which has been through a few casting fluctuations already – Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Margot Robbie (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) were in talks previously.

Elba is currently in much demand. He recently picked up two SAG Awards for his work on Beasts Of No Nation and Luther and has several films coming up including Jon Favreau's (Cowboys & Aliens) The Jungle Book, Zootropolis, and Star Trek Beyond, which has him as an antagonist named Krall.

Keira Knightley set to play The Nutcracker's Sugar Plum Fairy

With Walt Disney Pictures planning a new take on classic tale The Nutcracker, director Lasse Hallström (Chocolat) is busy hiring the people he needs for the cast. Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)  was recently locked in to play the lead, and now news arrives via Variety that he has just added Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) to play the Sugar Plum Fairy.





Originally written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816 as a story called The Nutcracker And The Mouse King and famously turned into a hugely successful ballet by Tchaikovsky, the basic plot follows a young girl named Clara (Foy) who receives a nutcracker doll from her godfather one Christmas Eve. Seized with the need to see her present as the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Day, she is transported into a fantastical world rent asunder by a conflict between gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

In the 1892 ballet, the Sugar Plum fairy is ruling the Land of Sweets in place of the Prince, who had been transformed into the Nutcracker by a spell. We are betting she will have a little more to do in the new movie. Ashleigh Powell has written the latest adaptation of the movie – which goes by the full name The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – and boasts the skills of ballerina Misty Copeland and Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises).

Knightley was last on our screens in Everest and will return in Collateral Beauty, which is out here on 30 December.

Kate Winslet set for Collateral Beauty

With the film now seemingly out of the development woods, Will Smith (I Am Legend) drama Collateral Beauty is bolstering its cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road) is the latest name to join the expanding cast.




Collateral Beauty finds Smith as a New York advertising executive who suffers a massive personal tragedy. Shocked at how quickly his life is going into a tailspin, his colleagues hatch an unorthodox plan to help him, only to see it backfire in unexpected ways.

Part of their plan is having actors playing living embodiments of the concepts of Love, Time and Death. Keira Knightley (Imitation Game) is in talks to play Love, but The Hollywood Reporter's story doesn't mention what Winslet might be doing.

If they do add their names to the list, they will be joining a cast that also already includes Edward Norton (Birdman), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Michael Peña (The Martian) and Naomie Harris (Skyfall).

With David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) on board to direct Allan Loeb's (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) script, Collateral Beauty faces a challenge at the box office in the States as it is due to arrive on 16 December, the same day as Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Jennifer Jason Leigh in talks for Alex Garland's Annihilation

As he prepares to make his follow-up to Ex Machina (2015), Alex Garland is busy building a great cast for his science fiction novel adaptation Annihilation. Now news arrives via The Wrap that Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) is latest name on his wish list and is now in talks to join the movie.




For this one, Garland has adapted Jeff VanderMeer's book, which 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 all appearances to the contrary. And for all that time, 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? Natalie Portman (Black Swan) will be 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...

Tessa Thompson (Creed) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) are both already aboard to make up the female science team that accompanies Portman, a group that comprises a anthropologist, a surveyor, and a psychologist who also serves as the group's leader. 

Leigh was last seen in The Hateful Eight, which scored the actress her first Academy Award® nomination. And she is also part of the voice cast for Charlie Kaufman's (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) Anomalisa, which itself is up for an award and will be out here on 11 March.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Jodie Whittaker joins boxing drama Journeyman

Paddy Considine (Tyrannosaur) has been developing his second directorial gig, a boxing drama now known as Journeyman, for some time. Now news arrives via Screen International that he has finally secured the final bits of funding and plans to star alongside Jodie Whittaker (Attach The Block), Faraz Ayub (Honour), Tony Pitts (War Horse) and Paul Popplewell ('71).





Considine wrote the script for the new drama, which draws from research into real life boxers – at one point he was planing to adapt a book about the shady world of pugilism in Florida. Now the film will focus on Matty Burton (Considine), who is the middleweight boxing champion of the world looking to wind down his career, make enough money to care for his family and get out of the ring. He agrees to a match against arrogant, controversial fighter Nassar Ali, who is looking to take his title. After a hard fought clash, Matty returns home, only to collapse a few hours later, suffering the delayed effects of a devastating punch. After slipping into a coma, he awakens to a world of memory loss and altered personality, and his real struggle will be against his own health.

With StudioCanal signing on to release the film in the UK, Considine is preparing to shoot and will start production next month. Given how good Tyrannosaur (2011) was, we can't wait to see what he does this time.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Natalie Portman and Nicholas Hoult join The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan

Only 26-years-old and with six films already into his directing career, Xavier Dolan (Mommy) is set to make his English language debut with his seventh. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Kathy Bates (About Schmidt), Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) and Kit Harington (Game Of Thrones) are already part of the cast for The Death And Life Of john F. Donovan, and now news arrives via Variety that Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) are now also set to join the impressive ensemble.





Harington has the title role in the drama, which involves a Hollywood star's career being destroyed when people start making assumptions about his correspondence with an 11-year-old actor. Chastain is set to play the editor of a gossip rag. Portman and Hoult's roles, meanwhile, have yet to be revealed.

Dolan immediately followed his festival hit Mommy (2014) with It's Only The End Of The World. That one stars Léa Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Colour), Marion Cotillard (Rust And Bone) and Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and is currently in post-production for a release sometime this year.

We will next see Portman and Hoult, meanwhile, during the same weekend in the spring. Portman has the long delayed Western Jane Got A Gun, which arrives on 20 May, while Hoult will reprise his role as Beast in Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse on 19 May.

Charlize Theron in talks for Fast 8 villain

Fast & Furiosa? Following her astonishing performance as the amputee heroine in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), the team behind the Fast & Furious franchise are thinking Charlize Theron could be just as entertaining as the big bad. According to Deadline she is in early talks to join Fast 8.




Surprisingly, this latest news has not popped up via Vin Diesel's usual social media channels, and it sounds as though it is still at a very embryonic stage. Universal Pictures are apparently eager to make this work, but it will depend on her schedule and any deal.

Still, the prospect of Theron as scheming villain going up against Dom and the gang, is certainly a fun and intriguing one.

Not much is official about Fast 8 as yet, beyond F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) directing, Diesel starring and producing and the likes of Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson and Jason Statham reporting back for duty.

Shooting is set to kick off in the spring, with New York targeted as the first likely location beyond soundstage work in Atlanta. The film will be with us on 14 April 2017.

Johnny Depp set to play The Invisible Man

In an effort to relaunch their classic creature features for new audiences, Universal Pictures certainly haven't been shy about looking to land big stars. With Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) already attached to lead their Mummy reboot, news now arrives via Deadline Johnny Depp (Alice In Wonderland) will star in The Invisible Man.




Originally adapted from the H.G. Wells novel in 1933, The Invisible Man tells the story of a scientist who discovers a formula that can cloak him from the world. Unfortunately, as he starts to discover, a side effect of the formula is that drives him insane. Which certainly sounds like something Depp could get his teeth into. 

Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious 6) are still spearheading the overall effort on this one, acting as producers with Kurtzman also directing The Mummy. They haven't announced who will be writing or calling the shots on the new Invisible Man, but Depp's name on the project will hopefully attract some major interest. 

The Mummy is scheduled to arrive on 9 June 2017, but we will have to wait and see when The Invisible Man creeps on to screens.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

"From the studio that inexplicably sewed his fucking mouth shut the first time, comes... me!"

Ever seen a superhero teabag a villain? Sing Careless Whisper? Have a Liam Neeson nightmare? Or wear a Hugh Jackman mask? As Deadpool tells us amid a flurry of irreverent, foul mouthed fourth wall breaking, "I may be super, but I'm no hero."

We have, of course, met Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool before – facing off against Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) with retractable swords melded into his arms and, in an inexcusably left field creative decision, his mouth sewn shut. The 'Merc with a Mouth' reduced to simply the Merc, his character immediately rendered impotent. Thankfully his latest outing heals those old wounds with a wildly entertaining, balls out origin story.





This is an altogether different Deadpool (and much closer to the comic books) – a relentlessly self-referential and quick witted antihero with a fondness for breaking the fourth wall. The film may be set in the same universe as the X-Men franchise, but it has an anarchic spirit that flips the bird to Bryan Singer's (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) serious sensibilities. And smirks to itself as it does so.

The film starts with Wade Wilson already having chosen his superhero name, in costume and midway through a scrap on a freeway. From there the story is interspersed with flashbacks showing him pre-disfiguring mutation, falling in love, being diagnosed with terminal cancer, through to being tortured by Ed Skrein's (Ill Manors) main antagonist Ajax. It is a smart structure, one that neatly sidesteps the major issue with origin stories – the main attraction being absent for the first hour.

In this case, because of the way his backstory is laid out before you, it also disguises how slight the main mission is. But Deadpool is a perfect example of a character who doesn't need world threatening danger to foil. Wolverine or Superman require something interesting to do – for the most part, what Deadpool is up to is less important than the quips he makes as he is doing it.

The film is arguably at its best in the moments of meta humour – Deadpool wondering whether it will be James McAvoy or Patrick Stewart in charge at the X-Mansion, or bemoaning the budgetary reasons that mean the only two X-Men he ever gets to actually meet are metallic giant Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and sullen youngster Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand). But its comedic currency tends to the less cerebral, and your reaction to the relentless stream of politically incorrect zingers will arguably depend on how high Van Wilder: Party Liaison (2002) is on your list of favourite Ryan Reynolds films.

With comic book films currently so popular, and after Green Lantern (2011) failed to ignite a franchise for him, it is obvious why Ryan Reynolds has tried again. Largely covered in either a mask or heavy prosthetics, Reynolds is terrific, relishing the filthy, frantic nature of it all. Morena Baccarin (Homeland) makes her potentially cliched 'hooker with a heart' feel real, while Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6) and Skrein are both more than capable of fulfilling their action duties.

Shaven haired Hildebrand (First Girl I Loved) manages the sullen teenager act well too, while Stan Lee's ubiquitous cameo is an X-rated gratuitous gem.

Only Colossus is a little disappointing, with the digital effects almost as cumbersome as he is. That aside, Deadpool ultimately fulfils its primary mission – pricking the super egos of Hollywood's comic book blockbusters. It certainly won't be to all tastes – which is kind of the point – but it puts its money where its 'Merc with a Mouth' is.

Loud, lewd, inventive and outrageous, Deadpool is a delirious delight. Cue the music!






Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Deadpool sequel in the works

Break out the chimichanga party platter! News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that thanks to record breaking box office returns last weekend, 20th Century Fox are ready to stay in business with Deadpool and that a sequel is already in active development.




Given the tortured tale of getting Wade Wilson to the screen, this will certainly come as a relief to star and producer Ryan Reynolds (Buried) and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland), who have already been working on the script for a follow-up. 

Tim Miller, the visual effects supervisor turned director, isn't officially back for more, but 20th Century Fox are apparently looking to keep the team together.

While Deadpool had scored a lot of positive buzz prior to release, the R-rated nature of the content meant the budget had to be kept thrifty. But following the films record crushing $300 million debut last weekend, the sequel will surely enjoy more cash and a bigger scope. Could we see other characters crossover into Deadpool's world? 20th Century Fox certainly want to encourage a cinematic universe along the lines of Marvel's and that might start to happen with more films. The like of comic book characters Garrison Kane and Cable were certainly considered, so perhaps they will now show up.

We can expect a more formal announcement, and probably some filthy jokes, soon.

Deadpool, meanwhile, is out in cinemas now.

Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One now set for 2018

It would appear that even a cinematic titan like Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies) would rather shift dates than go up against the franchise behemoth that is Star Wars. In a move that could have been predicted the moment Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm shifted Star Wars: Episode VIII to December 2017, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros have moved Spielberg's Ready Player One to March 2018 in the US.




There is also the sensible thinking that Ready Player One and Star Wars share a similar science fiction focused audience, so a shift arguably makes sense for both films. 

Written by Ernie Cline, the screenwriter behind Fanboys (2009), Ready Player One follows teenager Wade Watts who likes to escape his dreary, dangerous real world by logging into Oasis, a globally networked virtual utopia where users lead idyllic alternate lives.

When the game's eccentric, Steve Jobs style billionaire creator dies, he offers up his fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Wade is pitted against powerful corporate foes and ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the Oasis and the real world, to reach the riches first.

Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) is set to play Sam, a Canadian blogger who goes by the handle Art3mis in Oasis and ends up joining forces with Wade, while Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly) has been cast as nefarious corporate type Nolan Sorrento.

Given that the date had been identical over here, we would expect a similar move for the UK.

Amy Schumer set for dramatic role in Thank You For Your Service

Many comedians who try their hand at acting eventually feel the lure of something a little more serious and it can often lead to good things. Now news arrives via Deadline that Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) is the latest wag to tackle a dramatic role, joining the cast of Jason Hall's PTSD drama Thank You For Your Service.




How Schumer fits into the film isn't yet known, but she will be part of a cast that already includes Miles Teller (Whiplash), Haley Bennett (The Equalizer), Joe Cole (Secret In Their Eyes), Beulah Koale (The Last Saint), Scott Haze (God Of Child), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), Brad Beyer (42), Omar Dorsey (Django Unchained), and Jayson Warner Smith (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues).

Thank You For Your Service finds the American Sniper (2014) writer turning director and adapting David Finkel's book. It will follow what happens when a group of young American soldiers return from Iraq still haunted by their experiences in combat. As they struggle to assimilate back into their families and civilian life, their war memories threaten to destroy them long after they have left the battlefield.

Hall is now rolling the cameras on the film, which has DreamWorks Pictures' backing, but no set release date as yet. Schumer, meanwhile, has recently been filming the latest season of her sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer and developing new movie roles. It will certainly be interesting to see her in a strictly dramatic role, as Trainwreck (2015) and her telly work have proved she can do much more than just deliver jokes.

Keira Knightley in talks for Collateral Beauty

With the film now finally out of the development woods, Will Smith (I Am Legend) drama Collateral Beauty is bolstering its cast. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game) is the latest name to join the expanding cast.




Collateral Beauty finds Smith as a New York advertising executive who suffers a massive personal tragedy. Shocked at how quickly his life is going into a tailspin, his colleagues hatch an unorthodox plan to help him, only to see it backfire in unexpected ways.

Part of their plan is having actors playing living embodiments of the concepts of Love, Time and Death. Knightley is set to play Love. She is joining a cast that also already includes Edward Norton (Birdman), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Michael Peña (The Martian) and Naomie Harris (Skyfall).

With David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) on board to direct Allan Loeb's (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) script, production is already underway with a planned US release date of 16 December this year. Knightley, who was last seen in Everest (2015), is considering several other projects including French writer biopic Colette.

Kristen Stewart, James Franco and more circling biopic JT LeRoy

Controversial figures are always intriguing subjects for biopics, and JT LeRoy is a case in point. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that a film of her story will head before the cameras with James Franco (127 Hours) attached to star and Kristen Stewart (The Runaways) and Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech) negotiating to join him.




Justin Kelly, who worked with Franco on the film I Am Michael (2015), has written the script, which draws from the real life case of literary personal Jeremiah 'Terminator' LeRoy, a transexual figure who wrote for newspapers magazines and produced novels while claiming a background of childhood abuse and prostitution.

But the reality came to light in 2005, when an expose in New York magazine cited writer Laura Albert as the person behind LeRoy, who had worked with actress Savannah Knoop to portray LeRoy in public. After years of tricking celebrities and the fashion world, she was accused of fraud for having signed legal documents in the character's name.

The story has been through the usual waypoints for this sort of tale – legal arguments, denouncement in the press and becoming the subject of a Brazilian rock musical. Kelly should be rolling the cameras later this year.

Arielle Kebbel set for Fifty Shades Freed

The most recent Fifty Shades news has been concentrated on the first sequel, with Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) and Bella Heathcote Dark Shadows) both signing up for Fifty Shades Darker. But with parts two and three of the trilogy shooting back-to-back, we are slowly starting to see reports on the final instalment Fifty Shades Freed. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Arielle Kebbel (The Uninvited) is the first new cast member to join Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan for the grand climax.




Kebbel's most recent TV work has included The Grinders and Ballers, while her most recent film projects include Daniel Schechter's Supporting Characters (2012) and Tim Story's Think Like A Man (2012). She has also paid her horror dues in the likes of The Grudge 2 (2006) and The Uninvited (2009). For Fifty Shades Freed she will play Gia Matteo, dnicknamed "Miss-Provocative-And-Unfortunately-Good-At-Her-Job" by Anastasia. She is the beautiful architect Grey hires to build his new house.

Niall Leonard – husband of book trilogy author E.L. James – has been working on the script with his wife, with James Foley (Confidence) on board to direct both this and final instalment Fifty Shades Freed.

Fifty Shades Darker arrives on 10 February next year, with Fifty Shades Freed landing on 19 February 2018.