Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New Imperial droid revealed for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have recently revealed a revealed a brand new droid for Gareth Edwards' (Godzilla) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – meet R2 unit C2-B5.

The Astromech droid is in service to the Empire and is used to maintain ships and other equipment. But unlike R2-D2, this unit isn't granted independence and is apparently subject to regular memory wipes. As for how this little unit fits into the story, we will have to wait and see.

Set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows a group of Rebel soldiers who set out on a dangerous mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star and bring hope to the galaxy.

Our hero this time is Felicity Jones' (The Theory Of Everything) Jyn Erso, a conflicted fighter who is a rebel in more ways than one. She leads up a cast that also includes Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Gone With The Bullets), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Serenity), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock), Eunice Olumide (World War Z), and Genevieve O'Reilly reprising her role from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) as young Mon Mothma.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released worldwide on 16 December.

First trailer and one sheet for Shut In arrives online

EuropaCorp have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Farren Blackburn's latest thriller, Shut In.

When the first pictures broke of psychological thriller Shut In, which stars Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and Jacob Tremblay (Room), the initial feeling seemed to be that the pair would be facing danger together.

Shut In finds Watts as a child psychologist still recovering from the aftermath of a tragic car accident that left her husband dead and her son (Charlie Heaton) in a comatose state.

She agrees to foster a troubled boy (Tremblay), but as a strong winter storm whips up around her isolated, rural New England home, he suddenly disappears. Yet it is when he is presumed dead that weird things start to happen...

Farren Blackburn directs this one, working from Christina Hodson's script. Shut In will arrive in US cinemas on 11 November, but has yet to secure a UK release date.

First trailer for Raymond Briggs adaptation Ethel & Ernest arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their first trailer for Roger Mainwood's (Meg And Mog) Raymond Briggs adaption Ethel & Ernest.

When you think of Raymond Briggs and animation, chances are your mind drifts towards the bittersweet charm of The Snowman (1982), or maybe Fungus The Bogeyman (2015). But for a new adaptation of his work, it is real life that is key.
The story, drawn from Briggs' own parents' experiences follows lady's maid Ethel and milkman Ernest from their first, chance meeting in 1928, through their marriage and life together, the birth of their son Raymond and – because what would a Briggs tale be without an emotional ending – their deaths within months of each other in 1971.

It looks like a charming story of two people very much in love who nonetheless have to face the trials and tribulations as the world changes around them, including war, the Great Depression and smaller roadblocks put in their way.

Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge!) and Brenda Blethyn (Atonement) voice the titular couple, with Luke Treadaway (Unbroken) as the grown Raymond and the likes of Simon Day (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), Pam Ferris (Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban) and Roger Allam (V For Vendetta) also aboard.

Ethel And Ernest will be out in the UK on October 18.

New clip for Taika Waititi's Hunt For The Wilderpeople arrives online

Madman Films have recently released their latest clip for Taika Waititi's (What We Do In The Shadows) Hunt For The Wilderpeople.

Following the brilliant What We Do In The Shadows (2014), and on the way to much bigger things with Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel, director Taika Waititi has been on the Hunt For The Wilderpeople in between. His quirky indie road movie has just enjoyed its premiere at the Sundance Festival, and with that comes the first teaser trailer, introducing us to Julian Dennison's (Paper Planes) "very bad egg" Ricky.

Based on the 1995 novel Wild Pork And Watercress by Barry Crump, Hunt For The Wilderpeople sees Ricky going on the run after being threatened with a life in foster care. Struggling to make it alone in the wilderness, he is rescued by the curmudgeonly Hec (Sam Neill). But when the pair get stranded, social worker Paula (Rachel House) believes them to have absconded together, and the result is an eventful cross-country chase with Ricky and Hec pursued by Paula and her hapless cohort Oscar Kightley.

Dennison and Neill are both picking up great notices as the odd couple at the heart of the "very serious film", so expect it to make some international inroads in the reasonably near future, although it currently has no release dates outside the festival circuit. Crump's original novel is out of print at the moment, but that will probably change before long.

Hunt For The Wilderpeople is out in cinemas now.

Monday, 26 September 2016

David Tennant set for Bad Samaritan

News arrives via Deadline that David Tennant (Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire) is set to join Dean Devlin's (Leverage) new film, Bad Samaritan.

He has been a hero in the likes of Doctor Who and Broadchurch and a villain in Jessica Jones, but we don't yet know which direction Dean Devlin's new film, Bad Samaritan will send Tennant in.

The movie, which Brandon Boyce (Apt Pupil) has written, follows two young valets who use their business parking cars for wealthy clients as a cover so they can drive off and rob their houses while they are otherwise occupied. Life is good for the two thieves until they target the wrong house, a decision that changes their lives forever. Deadline's report doesn't specify what Tennant will play in the film, though we suspect he will be the wrong party and not one of the two valets...

Devlin is looking to kick off shooting later this year and is finishing off action thriller Geostorm, which should be out next year. Tennant has based on truth psychology drama Mad To Be Normal heading our way at some unknown point and has also added his voice to animated movie Chew.

Sarah Paulson wanted for Ocean's Eight

With Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Rihanna (Battleship), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech) and Awkwafina (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) already on board, the cast for the female driven Ocean's Eleven spin-off caper Ocean's Eight is really taking shape. Now news arrives via Deadline that Sarah Paulson (Carol) is the latest actress to enter talks.

Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) is overseeing the new movie, which he co-wrote with Olivia Milch and has been developing alongside Ocean's trilogy director Steven Soderbergh, who will act as producer. While Ocean's Eight appears unlikely to be a direct sequel to the three films that Soderbergh made with the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon (that trilogy itself a remake of the 1960 Frank Sinatra entry), there is a chance that folk from the last three films could pop up in cameos.

What exactly Paulson would do in the movie has yet to be revealed, but it is certainly a stellar cast and she would be a great addition. The actress has been in awards consideration for her work on the small screen in particular, especially American Horror Story and now The People Vs OJ Simpson, in which she played prosecutor Marcia Clark. On the big screen, she has worked on biopic Rebel In The Rye, which should be on screens next year.

Neil Burger set to direct The Intouchables remake

While the idea for a remake of 2011 French comedy drama The Intouchables has been floating around for a while, it took a step closer to reality when it was revealed in March that Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Kevin Hart (Ride Along) were in talks to star. With their deals now closed, news arrives via Deadline that Neil Burger (The Illusionist) has come aboard to direct.

Intouchables, as it was known in France, sees Francois Cluzet as Phillippe, a wealthy aristocrat who becomes a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident. When he needs to hire a caretaker and companion, he rejects the seemingly perfect candidates for a charismatic, but troubled young man from the projects (Omar Sy). It has been through the development ringer on the US side, with the likes of Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) considering the project, but The Weinstein Company has turned to Burger to call the shots.

The debate remains whether this one needs remaking, but the combination of Hart and Cranston is certainly interesting, at least in a hypothetical sense, and all involved are apparently happy with writer Jon Hartmere's (The Electric Company) fresh take on the story. The Weinstein Company have pencilled in a January start date for shooting and is hoping to film in New York.

As for Burger, he went on to make Limitless (2011) and the first Divergent (2014) film, and is currently writing a Bride Of Frankenstein movie for Universal Pictures' connected monster universe.

Rupert Wyatt directing original science fiction project Captive State

News has only just broke that the X-Men spin-off Gambit has once again lost another director – now we know what that film's former helmer is up to next. News arrives via Variety that British filmmaker Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) is set to direct science fiction movie Captive State.

The film boasts an original script written by Wyatt and his wife Erica Beeney. Details are still fairly scarce on the project, but the word is cameras will start rolling sometime in 2017.

Wyatt, of course, was attached to direct Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) as the smooth talking, kinetic energy utilising Cajun mutant, but dropped out last year. Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) then came on board, but he has now dropped out as well.

The British director made his name with the well received prequel Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011), and since made remake The Gambler (2014), alongside various television projects, including a small screen adaptation of The Exorcist.

Captain Marvel film close to finding a director

Captain Marvel is already in place, with Brie Larson (Room) unveiled as the new Carol Danvers at this year's San Diego Comic Con. But now she needs a director to bring her to the screen. Marvel Studios seem to have that in hand too, though, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that a shortlist of three female filmmakers have already been drawn up.

The shortlist includes Lorene Scafaria (Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World), Niki Caro (Whale Rider) and Lesli Linka Glatter, who has more of a TV background with credits including Weeds, Homeland and The Walking Dead. She was nominated for an Academy Award® for a short in 1985 and directed Mad Men's iconic Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency episode.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the hiring process won't be done in haste and other candidates may yet be added to the mix. Marvel, of course, are keen to get the pick right candidate and will be looking to ensure the chemistry between star and director is perfect.

Captain Marvel's story sees Larson playing Carol Danvers, a skilled test pilot whose DNA is melded with that of Kree warrior Mar-Vell. Subsequently, she gains powers such as flight, enhanced strength, damage resistance and the ability to absorb and channel energy. Nicole Perlman (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) have written the script.

The absence of female directors making blockbusters has become ever more glaring in recent years, with even a current surfeit of big superhero movies not seeming to open doors to women. Then Patty Jenkins (admittedly, stepping in for Michelle McLaren) took on the Wonder Woman job. Will Marvel follow suit with Captain Marvel? As always, watch this space.

James Gunn discusses Kurt Russell’s role in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

It was announced back in July that Kurt Russell (Death Proof) was set to join James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 as Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) father, a mysterious entity called Ego the Living Planet. In the latest issue of Empire magazine Gunn reveals that Russell's casting was actually Chris Pratt's idea.

"He was actually not in my head initially, but one day Chris suggested him," explains Gunn, "and I would have been really disappointed if he'd said no. Hey, if you have to cast anything, Kurt's a pretty good way to go."

Peter Quill has, of course, been scouring the universe for his dad since the beginning of the first film. Now he has found him, things may not be too straightforward between Star-Lord and his old man. "You're going to see these characters having to endure the realities of being in a family," says Pratt. "You're talking about a guy who's been longing to know who his father is for a long time. He'll discover if that person lives up to the expectations he has in his head."

That would be a doubly complex dynamic if dad had his own gravitational pull too. Happily, Ego – "an ancient cosmic being who has been on the edges of the universe for aeons by himself," says Gunn – won't be appearing in his planetary guise. He is a regular looking guy, reformed from humanoid components – including Ego-nads. "I have a penis," he declares in a scene shown at this year's San Diego Comic Con. "It's not bad either."

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 will arrive in cinemas May next year.

Christoph Waltz wanted for Alita: Battle Angel

Now that producer James Cameron (Avatar) and director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For) have found their leading lady for what is now know as Alita: Battle Angel in Rosa Salazar (Insurgent), they have begun to lock in the cast around her. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) is currently in talks to play Doctor Dyson Ido.

Battle Angel, as it was called before is based on Yukito Kishiro's nine-volume manga (known as Gun/Dream in Japan), the story of an amnesiac female cyborg who becomes a bounty hunter, after being rescued from the rubbish dump and rebuilt by a professor of cybernetics. As his name might suggest, Waltz's character – should he actually join the film – will be that professor, who becomes something of a mentor to Alita.

This one has been in the works for years, with Cameron originally looking to direct, but waiting until effects technology caught up with his ideas. With Rodriguez now taking over the job, Cameron is hoping to have the cameras rolling in the autumn for a planned July 2018 release.

Waltz will be seen in Alexander Payne's (The Descendants) Downsizing, arriving on 25 December next year in the US, but with no confirmed release date here yet. He has also worked on the delayed Tulip Fever, which similarly has no scheduled UK arrival on the books.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Director Doug Liman leaves Gambit for Justice League Dark

20th Century Fox's X-Men spin-off Gambit just can't seem to catch a lucky break. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) director Doug Liman, who had been attached to finally make the movie, has now dropped the project in favour of DC Entertainment's Justice League Dark film.

Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) remains on board to star as the smooth talking, kinetic energy utilising Cajun mutant also known as Remy LeBeau. 20th Century Fox have been trying to get this one made for years, with at least one other director – Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), who left late last year. When Liman came aboard, the script was still in need of rewrites, and Liman was actually able to squeeze in another film in the meantime, psychological thriller The Wall.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the latest development was a "mutual parting of the ways", perhaps prompted by yet more script issues. Josh Zetumer (RoboCop) is still at work on the screenplay, which Fox hopes to have shooting in January, though obviously whoever comes aboard now will face more of a time crunch.

As for Justice League Dark, that move is even more of a surprise, though it might play more to Liman's strengths given that it is an ensemble movie made up of characters from the shadier side of the DC Expanded Universe, including John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna and others. Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) developed it to direct, but left to concentrate on his other movies, including The Shape Of Water, which is currently shooting. As for what this means for the planned animated version of Dark Universe/Justice League Dark, that has yet to be revealed.

Liman has Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) drug transport drama American Made (formerly known as Mena) due on 25 August next year, while The Wall has yet to lock in a date.

Community's Dan Harmon worked on the script for Doctor Strange

The Marvel Studios team are fond of recruiting talented people you might not think instantly think of for superhero movies. Case in point, Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Civil War). Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, another unlikely name has been helping out with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Doctor Strange, as Community's Dan Harmon has been providing some additional moments and dialogue during re-shoots.

According to The Hollywood Reporter's source, Harmon was hired to write extra pages after the main shoot finished and was likely involved in adding his particular talents to certain moments when director and co-writer Scott Derrickson (Sinister) returned to fill in whatever else he needed.

Derrickson worked on the script with regular writing partner C. Robert Cargill (Sinister) and finds Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Dr. Stephen Strange, an arrogant New York surgeon whose hands are badly injured in a car accident. Looking to help regain his skills, he turns to an unusual mystic and healer known as The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) is fellow sorcery student (and potential future rival) Baron Mordo, with Rachel McAdams (About Time) as another New York based medic who serves as Strange's main connection back to humanity. And then there is Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) as the villainous Kaecilius.

Doctor Strange will arrive in cinemas 28 October.

Andrew Scott set to star in Steel Country

Usually found causing criminal trouble in the likes of Sherlock and SPECTRE (2015), Andrew Scott is switching to the other side of the law for a new crime thriller called Steel Country. News arrives via Screen International that he will star alongside Branagh Waugh (The Fall) and Denise Gough (Jimmy's Hall).

With a script by Brendan Higgins, the new thriller sees Scott as a small town truck driver who decides to investigate the murder of a young boy. The child was found dead in a sleepy part of Western Pennsylvania, and the further that our man digs into the case, the deeper his obsession grows and the more harrowing the consequences become.

Simon Fellows (Malice In Wonderland) is aboard to call the shots and cameras are currently rolling in Georgia. "We're absolutely delighted to be able to announce this brilliant cast boarding Steel Country," producer Gareth Ellis-Unwin (The King's Speech) tells Screen International. "It's a whip smart script, that I am sure in Simon's capable hands will deliver a fantastic contemporary film with a classic sheen. It's the quality of script I've always dreamt of finding."

Scott is currently on screens in Philippa Lowthorpe (Beau Brummell: This Charming Man) Swallows And Amazons and will be seen in Denial, which arrives on 3 February next year. Waugh has a voice performance in Kickstarter backed drama Axis, which was directed by Aisha Tyler (Hipsterverse), while Gough is set to appear in Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation) produced drama Guerilla.

Jóhann Jóhannsson set to score Blade Runner 2

With the final – we assume, as it seems director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is adding people all the time – piece of casting in place for the still untitled Blade Runner (1982) sequel via Jared Leto's (Dallas Buyers Club) hiring, you would assume the announcements about team members would be done. But Iceland Monitor brings word of a radio interview with Sicario (2015) composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who says that he will reunite with the director for the new science fiction film.

The sequel, scripted by Michael Green (Green Lantern) and co-writer of the original Hampton Fancher, is set decades after the original, at a time when Earth's environment is in an even worse condition than it was. Beyond that, we still don't know much about the story, though Harrison Ford is set to return as Rick Deckard alongside new characters played by Ryan Gosling (Drive), Robin Wright (House Of Cards), Ana de Armas (Knock Knock), Sylvia Hoeks (The Best Offer), Carla Juri (Wetlands), Mackenzie Davis (The Martian), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man), Hiam Abbass (Exodus: Gods And Kings), Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Jared Leto.

Villeneuve is reuniting some of his Sicario collaborators including cinematographer Roger Deakins and now Jóhannsson, who has also worked on the score for the director's next release, alien drama Arrival, which has a UK release date of 11 November 11.

With Ridley Scott aboard as executive producer, the new Blade Runner instalment will be out on 6 October next year.

First look Alicia Vikander and Eva Green in Euphoria arrives online

Eva Green (300: Rise Of An Empire) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), the sister act at the heart of Euphoria, are the centrepiece of this first look at the drama released to mark the start of principal photography.

Also joining the pair in the film are Charles Dance (Game Of Thrines), Adrian Lester (Hustle) and fast rising British actor Mark Stanley (Kajaki). There is no word yet on who they will be playing, but we do know that Vikander and Green are playing estranged siblings Ines and Emilie. They reconnect after a number of years apart and embark on a profound journey together.

This one is the first English-language film by writer and director Lisa Langseth. The Swede, who cites Jane Campion (The Piano) and Sofia Coppola (Somewhere) as influences, has worked with Vikander twice before, on her Swedish language dramas Hotel (2013) and Pure (2009).

Euphoria will be released next year.

Patrick Wilson will aid Liam Neeson in The Commuter

There is a The Conjuring (2013) reunion in the works for action thriller The Commuter, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Patrick Wilson is joining the cast alongside Vera Farmiga, who previously signed on to star in the Liam Neeson (Non-Stop) movie.

Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop) is once more overseeing the Neeson action momentum, this time for a film where he plays an insurance salesman who is just trying to get through his daily commute when he is forced by a mysterious stranger to uncover the identity of a fellow passenger before the train makes its last stop. She makes vague threats against other passengers and people in Neeson's life, so the clock is ticking on this one.

As for Wilson, he will be on the opposing side to his screen wife for this one, playing Neeson's trusted friend who helps him out. With a script from Philip de Blasi and Byron Willinger, The Commuter is currently shooting in London.

Wilson, who was last seen in The Conjuring 2, has worked on thriller A Kind Of Murder and McDonald's origin story The Founder, the latter of which will be out here on 17 February.

Jessica Biel, Richard Schiff and more set for Shock And Awe

Director Rob Reiner (The Bucket List) is planning to reunite with Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games), who recently starred for him in political drama LBJ. As Reiner builds the cast around him, news arrives via Deadline that he is now making deals with Jessica Biel (The Illusionist), Richard Schiff (Man Of Steel), Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men), Alec Baldwin (The Departed), James Marsden (X-Men), Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) and newcomer Luke Tennie.

Reiner has rounded up funding for this one, which will focus on a group of journalists who dug into the claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, which were partly used as justification for the invasion of Iraq. With the Chilcott Report that showed glaring intelligence failures now out in public, it has taken on new meaning.

Thanks to Deadline's report, we now know what a few of the cast will be doing – Biel and Marsden will be a couple, while Schiff is making a deal to play a man named 'The Usual', who serves as a deep background source for journalists on the intelligence trail. Tennie, making his film debut, will appear as a paralysed combat veteran who testifies during the US Senate hearings on the circumstances of the war.

Joey Hartstone, who also wrote LBJ, is once again on script duty here. Reiner should have the cameras rolling later this month.

Li Bingbing in talks for shark thriller Meg

After years swimming in the depths, prehistoric shark thriller Meg is finally reaching the surface, with director John Turteltaub (National Treasure) busy gathering his cast. Now news arrives via Variety that Li Bingbing, who knows a little something about dealing with huge dangers after Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014), is in talks to join the roster.

Adapted by Dean Georgaris (The Manchurian Candidate) and James Vanderbilt from Steve Alten's 1997 novel, Meg focuses on an international underwater observation platform, spearheaded by Chinese scientists, that is probing the depths of the ocean. When it comes under attack from an unknown creature (which turns out to be a prehistoric shark related beast known as a Carcharodon Megalodon), the research station's submersible is left disabled and trapped at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Chief oceanographer Dr. Zhang Suyin recruits former Navy captain and expert diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) for a risky rescue mission. Jonas has his own history with the creature, after being forced to abort his mission and abandon half of his crew years ago after an attack. Now he will have to confront his history and his fears as he takes on the deep sea leviathan once again...

Given the slight switch of setting from Alten's original source novel, adding to the Asian contingent was key. Fan Bingbing (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) had already been cast, but has a schedule clash, with Li as her likely replacement.

With the likes of Jessica McNamee (The Vow), Ruby Rose (Orange Is The New Black) and Masi Oka (Heroes) also in the cast, Meg is taking aim at a 2 March 2018 release in the US, with no confirmed UK date as yet.

Alicia Silverstone set to join Nicole Kidman in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) has recently started shooting his latest, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. And as the cameras start cranking, new arrives via Variety that Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) has joined the likes of Colin Farrell (Total Recall) and Nicole Kidman (Stoker) in the new movie.

With Lanthimos once again sharing script chores with co-writer Efthymis Filippou, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer finds Farrell as Steven, a charismatic surgeon faced with making an unthinkable sacrifice after his life falls apart. It is all due to him taking a teenage boy under his wing, as the youngster's behaviour turns sinister. As per usual with Lanthimos, we would expect a blend of offbeat dark comedy and intriguing characters.

The people bringing those characters to life also include Barry Keoghan ('71), Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland), Sunny Suljic (The Unspoken) and Bill Camp (12 Years A Slave). There is no release date set as yet, but we would expect it to show up next year.

Billy Howle set to join Saoirse Ronan in On Chesil Beach

The 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's Atonement starred relative unknowns like Saoirse Ronan and Benedict Cumberbatch. Now another McEwan adaptation, novella On Chesil Beach, will hope to offer a similar breakout opportunity to another young actor. Billy Howle (Cider With Rosie) has been cast to star as co-lead opposite Ronan in the film.

A story of sexual repression and 1960s social mores, On Chesil Beach will see its director, Dominic Cooke (The Hollow Crown), overseeing a tale of two young lovers, Florence Ponting (Ronan) and Edward Mayhew (Howle), trying to overcome a particularly ferocious case of awkwardness as they begin their lives together.

"I'm very excited about working with Billy on this brilliantly written role," says Cooke of his new male lead in a statement. "He has the perfect mix of charisma, intelligence and vulnerability for Edward and is a subtle and intelligent actor. The chemistry between him and Saoirse is electric and I can’t wait to start working with them both."

Howle will be appearing on movie screens soon in two other literary adaptations, Julian Barnes' The Sense Of An Ending and Chekov's The Seagull. The latter also stars Saoirse Ronan, so they should both be firm friends by the time they head to the seaside for this one.

Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley (Carol) are producing On Chesil Beach for Number 9 Films.

Chris McKay discusses The LEGO Batman Movie

"Just the idea of Batman is absurd. A guy who learns karate and dresses up at night to beat people up is ridiculous." Luckily, this is no bad thing for The LEGO Batman Movie's director Chris McKay (Robot Chicken), who recently talked to Empire magazine about how LEGO Batsman's (Will Arnett) first solo outing "affectionately comment[s] on all that".

February next year will mark the ninth solo Batman film. But, as you can imagine after Phil Lord and Chris Miller's The LEGO Movie (2014), this incarnation will have its tongue placed very firmly in its cheek. But hardcore DC Comic fans shouldn't fret – McKay's film doesn’t mess too much with the caped crusader's formula, making sure Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), Robin (Michael Cera) and The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) are still very much in the frame.

"Ralph committed fully to LEGO Alfred," McKay told Empire. "He told me he was inspired by Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935). It was amazing seeing him in the booth doing all this space work." And what of Galifianakis' Joker, the second (after Suicide Squad's Jared Leto) in as many years? "I wish I had a story about Zach sending us dead rats," laments McKay, "but he's an incredible Joker. I've listened to him riff with Will for hours".

There is also a new spin on the Boy Wonder. "Bruce accidentally adopts him at a party," the director tells us of the movie's main duo. "Robin is a Book Of Mormon-esque character, the ray of light to Batman's brooding, Lord Byronic hero. It's their dynamic that carries the movie, these polar opposites going head to head."

The LEGO Batman Movie swoops into cinemas on 10 February, 2017.

Jon Bernthal and Imogen Poots set for Sweet Virginia

Director Jamie Dagg (River) is sticking with the thriller genre for his next film, Sweet Virginia and he is currently busy lining up the cast. News arrives via Deadline that Jon Bernthal (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Imogen Poots (Filth), Christopher Abbott (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Rosemarie DeWitt (Cinderella Man) and Odessa Young (Looking For Grace) have joined the roster.

Bernthal is playing a motel owner with a dark past, who strikes up an unlikely (and unknowing) friendship with a young hitman who is responsible for a series of killings that has gripped a small town. As for what anyone else's character will be doing, Deadline's report doesn't specify. So perhaps Poots is playing a local woman who falls for Abbott, or even a competing assassin? For now though, your guess is as good as ours.

Dagg is currently rolling the cameras, with Ben and Paul China (Crawl) providing the script, which landed on the Black List when it was first written. That hasn't always been the most reliable indicator of the final film's quality, but it is certainly a start.

Bernthal, of course, most recently appeared as Frank 'The Punisher' Castle in Season 2 of Daredevil and is preparing to return to the role in a spin-off about Castle himself. Poots is part of the cast for Cameron Crowe's (Almost Famous) Roadies, which is nearing the end of its first season. Abbott was a recurring character on Girls and will next be seen in Wayne Roberts' directorial debut Katie Says Goodbye. As for DeWitt, she will pop up in Damien Chazelle's (Whiplash) La La Land, while Young has worked on streaming service drama pilot When The Street Lights Go On.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 art reveals a new monster

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not the only outer space adventure adorning the pages of the latest issue of Empire magazine. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Marvel Studios most unconventional blockbuster to date, shares some exclusive new concept art. This one shows what our heroes are up against this time out.

Click here for a closer look.

Resembling a cross between a exogorth and a sarlacc, this furry tentacled beast is menacing Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). We defy you not to enjoy the expression on Groot's face. Everyone's favourite sprout doesn't seem to be taking this confrontation quite as seriously as the rest of the gang.

This so-far unnamed space critter isn't the only – or, indeed, main – threat the Guardians will be facing in the second volume. Elizabeth Debicki's (The Man From U.N.C.L.E) alien Ayesha is hungry for vengeance after they stitch her up early in the piece and has an army to help her on that mission. Then there is Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his Ravagers, still in the picture but, hints director James Gunn, dealing with woes of their own. "There's a mutiny and Taserface (Chris Sullivan) is a character that leads that," he reveals.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. will be strutting into UK cinemas on 28 April 2017. In the meantime, why not take a tour of the set with Chris Pratt right here.

Charlie Hunnam discusses King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

"He calls it fuck-dust. He liberally sprinkled fuck-dust on the film." 'Fuck-dust', according to Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), is the term Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) assigns to achieving just the right amount of magical realism.

For a boy who grew up "carving sticks into swords", it was "a childhood dream come true to play King Arthur", (and for the seemingly unconventional choice of Guy Ritchie) Hunnam affirmed to Empire magazine in their latest issue. "[Ritchie's] created a very rich, exciting world. I describe it to my friends as Lord Of The Rings meets Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998). [It's] an unlikely marriage of two things, but it works." Maybe not such a leftfield choice of director after all.

As expected, the British director has a unique vision for the famous king. "We wanted to make an ignoble Arthur, at least at first," Hunnam says. "We wanted him to feel contemporary, selfish, somewhat rough around the edges."

The director also had a novel way of making sure Hunnam was the right Arthur for his film, pushing the actor so hard about being in shape that he snapped during the audition process. "I said, 'You know what? Fucking stop the camera. I'm starting to lose my temper. I know those other pricks you've got reading for this role (namely Henry Cavill and Michael Fassbender). If you bring them in right now, I'll fucking fight them both at once for the role, and we'll see what's up with the physicality.' Guy said, 'Fucking hell, alright – calm down, mate.'" Though we would surely be foolish to bet against Superman and Magneto, it sounds like Hunnam is certainly ready for the challenge.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is set for release on 24 March 2017.

Power Rangers director Dean Israelite discusses his "grounded" reboot

March 2017 will see a new bunch of acrobatically gifted youngsters popping on their multicoloured helmets and taking on a breed of rebooted baddies and beasts. 20 years after the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had a generation glued to their TV screens, the group are now ready for the big screen.

The man in charge of getting them there is Project Almanac (2015) director Dean Israelite*.

"I grew up on it and I have all the same questions other people have," Israelite explained to Empire magazine. "How are we going to update this? How will it exist in the contemporary superhero cinema canon?" The director goes on to explain how he has "tried to add naturalism and a grounded nature," with an emphasis on everything being very much "character-driven". Of course, with great superpowers comes great supersuits and the director isn't cutting any corners with his new design: "We've made the suits practically with Weta Workshop, with new cutting-edge tech."

After Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), it is easy to be guarded about another well loved 1990s show attempting box office gold. But the addition of Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) gives the impression that, although having a 'grounded nature', the new Power Rangers won't be taking itself too seriously. "Like everybody, [Cranston] was sceptical," Israelite continues, "but he saw a bunch of footage and got excited for the potential. I think it'll be a thrill for fans to see what we're doing with Zordon."

*Israelite's cousin, fellow South African director Jonathan Liebesman, also rebooted another team of TV heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

9 pieces of famous movie trivia that simply aren't true

You would think, what with us all having Google at our fingertips, that easily dismissed myths would have died a death by now. But no – the internet has paradoxically made it all the easier to spread utter nonsense as though it were fact.

This is rumour control. These are the facts.

You can see a dead munchkin in The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

One of the oldest movie myths of them all is responsible for countless blogs, hundreds of YouTube videos, one Irvine Welsh play and more misuse of a DVD pause button than Basic Instinct (1992). Stop the film at just the right time and you can see the apparent shadow of a depressed dwarf swinging from a tree above the Yellow Brick Road. The only problem is, the scene was filmed way before the munchkins were even hired. Also, it is quite clearly a pelican. Several birds were used on set, and they were not always well contained.

There is a ghost visible in Three Men And A Baby (1987)

No one noticed the ghostly figure on the cinematic release, but when the film was released on home video, viewers spotted a blurry figure standing by the window of the men and baby's house and obviously assumed he was the ghost of a small boy who killed himself with a shotgun. But no, the figure is in fact a promotional cardboard standee of Ted Danson's actor character. It was part of a storyline about a dog food commercial he was filming that was later (mostly) cut from the film.

A stunt man died during the chariot race in Ben Hur (1959)

This one is not so easy to debunk. While it is true that no stunt men were harmed during Charlton Heston's famous chariot race, most of the rumours seem to stem from the original Ben Hur movie made in 1925 – when quite a lot of stunt men were harmed. It was a nightmare shoot from start to finish – horses were shot, real fights broke out, people were set on fire and one rider was crushed to death during the hellishly violent chariot race scene.

People who saw the first moving picture of a train ran out of the theatre screaming

Remember your reaction the first time you saw a 3D movie? Or an IMAX film? The exact same thing happened in Paris in 1895 when audiences watched the first grainy, shaky footage of L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat. The short silent documentary, directed and produced by cinematic pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière, shows a train moving directly towards the camera. But bad history and urban legend have since turned the spectators perfectly normal reactions into shouting, screaming and running for the hills.

The gunshot that killed Brandon Lee is in The Crow (1994)

Possibly the most unbelievable of all movie myths, yet if you were a goth type back in the 1990s it was a stone cold fact that The Crow contained the actual moment when Brandon Lee was killed by a misfiring prop gun. The real footage was turned over to the police for investigation – who concluded that it was in fact a horrible accident, and not an elaborate murder plot by the Chinese mafia, as some conspiracy theorists still believe.

Walt Disney's head is cryogenically frozen under Disneyland

Although Walt Disney had expressed an interest in cryogenic freezing, he clearly forgot to tell his family, who assumed that he would rather be cremated and left in an urn in the middle of an LA cemetery.

The rain in Singin' In The Rain (1952) was actually milk

Water never shows up too well on camera, so it stands to reason that a few tricks were used for the most famous rain scene in movie history. Giant arc lamps were brought in to backlight the sprinklers, and poor old Gene Kelly spent so long perfecting the same puddle splash that he ended up singin' with a 103°F fever. Milk, though, was never added to the water to make it more visible. Director Stanley Donen has the last word: "There have been a lot of stories about how we put milk in the water so you could see the rain. It's not true."

A Japanese woman died looking for the Fargo (1996) money

Fargo is not a true story. It is an easy mistake to make, particularly as the opening line literally reads, "This is a true story". So when Takako Konishi lost her job in Tokyo, booked a holiday to Minnesota – where she had previously travelled with an ex-lover – downed two bottles of champagne and decided to kill herself in a snowdrift, the press thought that her death was just too Coenesque not to be related to the film, even though she left a suicide note in her hotel. Lies were told, myths were believed and families were devastated. Her story was later adapted into the indie film Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (2014).

The MGM lion killed a crowd of people after shooting the ident

It is a great story. Alfred Hitchcock was filming a ferocious lion for the famous MGM logo when two burglars broke onto the movie set. The animal looked at the camera, roared with rage, and jumped out of frame to rip the crooks to shreds. The truth, however, is less great. Hitchcock had nothing to do with filing the big cat, a total of seven tame lions have been used for the ident over the years and none of them have ever ripped anything to shreds. In fact Slats, the first Leo the Lion (1924-1928), didn't even bother roaring.

But there is one piece of trivia surrounding the indent that is true. Since 1957, the MGM lion footage has used a lion actually named Leo. But Leo has a dirty little secret. In the 1980s, sound designer Mike Mangini collected a series of cat roars to add to the scary aural ambiance of his latest movie project, Poltergeist (1982), and he offered the tracks to MGM so Leo could have a new, higher fidelity roar. He has since adopted that new roar for digital and 7.1 surround sound. But Leo has been lip-synching. The roar is "actually that of a tiger," says Mangini. "Lions don't make that kind of ferocious noise, and the logo needed to be ferocious and majestic." So you are actually hearing a tiger roar every time you settle in to enjoy a new film from MGM.

New one sheet for Wild Oats arrives online

The Weinstein Company have recently released their first one sheet for Andy Tennant's (Hitch) Wild Oats.

After mistakenly receiving life insurance cheque made out for $5,000,000 instead of the expected $50.000, Eva (Shirley MacLaine) and her best friend Maddie (Jessica Lange) travel to the Canary Islands for a fun filled adventure of a lifetime.

With Billy Connolly (The Last Samurai), Judd Hirsch (Independence Day) Howard Hesseman (About Schmidt), Matt Walsh (Ted), Rebecca Da Costa (The Bag Man) and Demi Moore (G.I. Jane) also in the cast, Wild Oats is out in the US now but has yet to secure UK release date.

New trailer and one sheet for Jack Goes Home arrives online

Momentum Pictures have recently released a new trailer and one sheet for Thomas Dekker's (Whore) Jack Goes Home.

The film finds Rory Culkin (Signs) as Jack, who travels home to Colorado to help nurse his mother back to health following a car crash that injured her and killed his father. There, he uncovers long buried secrets and lies within his family history, his parents, his friends and his very identity. Jack's journey to the truth is fueled by madness, sexuality, hauntings and violence. For Jack, there truly is no place like home.

With Lin Shaye (Insidious), Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland), Nikki Reed (Thirteen), Daveigh Chase (Donnie Darko) and Louis Hunter (The Secret Circle) also in cast, Jack Goes Home is set for release in the US and on VOD from 14 October.

New one sheet for Blair Witch arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Adam Wingard's (The Guest) Blair Witch.

Wingard's next film, formerly known as The Woods, is in fact a second sequel to horror sleeper hit The Blair Witch Project (1999).

Wingard brought the film to the San Diego Comic Con back in July, still billed under its original name, only for the surprise to be revealed. "The Woods was our working title," Wingard tells Entertainment Weekly. "When we signed on to it, we knew that the name was eventually going to be changed. To us, it wasn't even going to be part of the marketing. But I think Lionsgate made a really smart decision, using that."

Wingard and his The Guest (2014) collaborator Simon Barrett kept the secret even from some main crew members on the film, which was an effort in itself. The story finds a group of college students venturing into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James' (James Allen McCune) sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realise the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined...

Blair Witch is out in cinemas now.

New one sheet for Ouija: Origin Of Evil arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest one sheet for Mike Flanagan's (Oculus) Ouija: Origin Of Evil.

Following the box office success of Ouija (2014), which conjured up $102.5 million off the back of a small budget, comes the sequel Ouija: Origin Of Evil, though the film is perhaps more accurately described as a prequel.

Mike Flanagan, who had success with Oculus (2013) and Before I Wake, takes over the directorial reins, co-writing the script with occasional collaborator Jeff Howard. Ouija: Origin Of Evil spins the clock back to 1965, to find Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) as a widowed mother running a scam seance business with her two daughters. But when they add a new ouija board to their bag of tricks, they unwittingly invite something very real and very evil into their lives, channelled through youngest daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson).

Soon, aided by a man of faith (Henry Thomas), they are locked in a battle to send the spirit back to the other side. With Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth) helping out on the scare front, Ouija: Origin Of Evil will be lurking in our cinemas from 21 October.

First one sheet for The Disappointments Room arrives online

Rogue Pictures have recently released their first one sheet for D.J. Caruso's (I Am Number 4) The Disappointments Room.

The Disappointments Room sees Kate Beckinsale Dana, who moves with her husband David (Mel Raido) and their 5-year-old son Lucas (Duncan Joiner) away from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, to start a new life in a stately old manor in the quiet countryside. After settling in, Dana starts to experience terrifying visions and dreams that she cannot explain. The mystery grows when she stumbles upon a secret room in the attic. After finding the key and unlocking the door, Dana discovers the dark history of the family that lived there in the 19th century.

Written by Caruso and Prison Break star Wentworth Miller, The Disappointments Room is out in the US now but has yet to secure a UK release date.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

New one sheet for Deepwater Horizon arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest one sheet for Peter Berg's (Lone Survivor) Deepwater Horizon.

Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor) is certainly no stranger when it comes to real world stories of peril on the sea following The Perfect Storm (2000), and Deepwater Horizon represents another ocean set tale of heroism against incredible odds.

Peter Berg is in the director's chair for this one, which charts the events on the BP oil rig in the 48 hours leading up to the 2010 disaster and the day itself. The behind the scenes tale will highlight stories of real life heroism around the incident, which were not made public at the time but appeared in the script's source material, a New York Times article entitled Deepwater Horizon's Final Hour. The newspaper's piece chronicled how 11 people were killed and 16 injured when the rig blew, and gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) has adapted the screenplay for the film, which J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost) had originally signed to direct.

Along with Wahlberg's Williams, we meet his colleagues, including Kurt Russell (Death Proof), Dylan O'Brien (The Maze Runner) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin). The new footage certainly shows off the dramatic moments of the pressure building and what happened as the crew scrambled to either repair the damage or evacuate when it became to great for the massive rig to survive.

With Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Ethan Suplee (The Wolf Of Wall Street) and John Malkovich (Burn After Reading) also in the cast, Deepwater Horizon will be in UK cinemas on 30 September.

New one sheet for La La Land arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest one sheet for Damien Chazelle's (Whiplash) La La Land.

Having brought us the tempo-obsessed J.K. Simmons and browbeaten Miles Teller in Whiplash (2014), Damien Chazelle's next film, La La Land promises to be a more warmly romantic dip into musical territory.

La La Land, as the title might suggest, is set in Los Angeles and finds Ryan Gosling (Drive) as Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, and Emma Stone (The Help) as Mia, an aspiring actress who are struggling to make ends meet as they pursue their dreams. Can their love survive the pressures and strains of life in this creative boiler room?

With John Legend (Soul Men), Rosemarie DeWitt (Cinderella Man), Finn Wittrock (Unbroken) and Callie Hernandez (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For) also in the cast, La La Land will be out in the US this coming December and waltzes its way to UK screens on 13 January next year.