Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Hugh Jackman offers a first look at his Front Runner role

Jason Reitman had a lot of fun in a politics adjacent arena with Thank You For Smoking (2005). He is jumping fully into the political side of things with his latest, The Front Runner, which has just started shooting. Now the star of the movie, Hugh Jackman (Logan), has taken to twitter to debut our first look at his role.

Front Runner finds Jackman as real life US politician Gary Hart, who was part of a fascinating, controversial story. Hart, a charismatic senator from Colorado, became the Democratic frontrunner for the presidential nomination in 1988, and all seemed to be going well until a political and personal landmine detonated, with news breaking that he had had an affair, and he dropped out of the race. The rest of the story saw Michael Dukakis scoring the nomination and losing to George H. W. Bush.

Reitman wrote the script alongside political journalist Matt Bai and former Hilary Clinton press secretary Jay Carson, adapting Bai's 2015 book All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid. The focus, besides the story, will be on how the scandal opened up a fresh vein in American politics and the media, with personal stories once more becoming fair game.

The cast for the film also includes J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Vera Farmiga – who scored an Academy Award® nomination for the director's Up In The Air (2009) – Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down), Josh Brener (The Internship), Sarah Paxton (The Innkeepers), Ari Graynor (Mystic River) and Tommy Dewey (The Escort). As of right now, there is no official release date for the movie.

Jamie Lee Curtis set to return for the new Halloween

She has been back in the franchise before, but Jamie Lee Curtis is looking to have one final encounter with Michael Myers, returning as Laurie Strode for the new sequel to Halloween (1978).

Billed by Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures as the 'final' Halloween, the new horror comes from director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), who wrote the script alongside Danny McBride (Your Highness). The original film's writer and director John Carpenter is aboard as executive producer and will also offer his deep knowledge of Myers and Strode as a consultant.

Little else is known about what Green and McBride aim to do with the movie, though McBride has promised that it won't be a comedy horror or reboot and aims to bring the scares. Curtis' Strode will once again be facing the killer who nearly ended her life decades ago. The latest movie has a US release date set for 19 October next year, and it will likely be out around the same time in the UK.

Claire Foy confirmed as new Lisbeth Salander for The Girl In The Spider's Web

With Sony Pictures looking to get back on track with the movies based on the Millennium book series that kicked off with David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), the studio and director Fede Alvarez (Don't Breath) have now confirmed their choice for central character Lisbeth Salander, with news arriving via Variety that Claire Foy (The Crown) will be taking on the role.

She was reportedly in talks back in May, and has now signed a deal to star, with Alvarez aiming to kick off shooting in January in Berlin and Stockholm. Sony Pictures already has the movie scheduled for release on 19 October next year, at least in terms of US audiences.

Penned by David Lagercrantz with continuity to both Stieg Larsson's writing style and his characters in mind, The Girl In The Spider's Web sends Dragon Tattoo's odd couple pairing of hacker Lisbeth Salander and seasoned journalist Mikael Blomkvist on new misadventures. This time they are faced with a ruthless web of espionage, cybercriminals and high level villainy, plus the usual serious threats. Alvarez has worked on the latest draft with Jay Basu (Monsters: Dark Continent), itself based on contributions from Steve Knight (Eastern Promises).

"I couldn't be more thrilled about Claire taking the reins of the iconic Lisbeth Salander," Alvarez says. "Claire is an incredible, rare talent who will inject a new and exciting life into Lisbeth. I can't wait to bring this new story to a worldwide audience, with Claire Foy at its center."

Harry Dean Stanton: Cult American actor dies aged 91

A familiar, weathered and always welcome face in cinema, Harry Dean Stanton was one of the best character actors to grace the screen. He died on Friday at the age of 91.

He died of natural causes at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, his agent John Kelly said in a statement.

He said Stanton was "beloved in the entertainment industry" and earned a reputation for his "meticulous preparation" and easygoing personality.

Stanton was born in Irvine, Kentucky in 1926, heading to the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he studied journalism and radio arts and also started performing in theatre. Deciding between singing and actor, he chose acting hoping that he could eventually combine the two.

A veteran of World War II, Stanton served in the US Navy as a cook aboard a landing ship tank during the battle of Okinawa. After the conflict, he pursued acting, studying at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. He got his first small screen gig in Inner Sanctum in 1954 and would go on to make his cinema debut in Tomahawk Trail (1957).

From there began a long, successful career in film and on TV. Stanton was the sort of actor who always stood out no matter the size of the part, and he appeared in a wide variety of movies and shows, including Cool Hand Luke (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Alien (1979), Escape From New York (1981), Paris, Texas (1984), Repo Man (1984), Red Dawn (1984), Pretty In Pink (1986), The Green Mile (1999) and Alpha Dog (2006). TV-wise, he popped up on Big Love, Twin Peaks, Rawhide and many more.

Close friends with the likes of Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now) and Jack Nicholson (The Departed), he was the best man at the latter's wedding in 1962. His final roles are yet to hit screens, as he has worked on Lucky and Frank & Ava, neither of which have UK release dates yet, though Lucky will screen at the BFI London Film Festival in October.

Twin Peaks creator David Lynch, who cast Stanton in his films Wild At Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999) and Inland Empire (2006), among others, tweeted: "There's nobody like Harry Dean. Everyone loved him. And with good reason. He was a great actor (actually beyond great) – and a great human being – so great to be around him!!!"

Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

"They call them Sparrows. That's what she is."

20th Century Fox have just released their first trailer for Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) Red Sparrow.

Directed by Francis Lawrence, and adapted from Jason Matthews' book by Justin Haythe, Red Sparrow finds Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) as ballet dancer Dominika. Both she and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future when Dominika suffers a career ending injury.

She finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons. After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including American CIA agent Nathaniel Nash (Joel Edgerton) who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.

With Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice), Ciarán Hinds (Munich), Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool) and Mary-Louise Parker (RED) also in the cast, Red Sparrow is due in UK cinemas on 2 March next year.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

James Wan set to produce new horror Sweet Tooth

He has already had great success producing other filmmakers' work, especially with the likes of David F. Sandberg's short to feature conversion Lights Out (2016). Now James Wan is looking to repeat the winning move, with hews arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that he has picked up the rights with New Line Cinema to Dutch horror short Sweet Tooth.

Fellow producer Chris Bender (The Hangover) is also aboard the latest effort, helping to usher Dutch director Nico van den Brink into Hollywood filmmaker status. Van den Brink will work with a writer to turn his short into a feature film, adapting the story of a woman who comes home to her apartment to discover that her neighbours, a mother and two kids, have been killed. She is horrified, but that also turns into terrified when she hears the laughter and movement of the children.

The director has worked on a variety of short films and ad campaigns, but will make his feature debut with the movie, which New Line Cinema will release. Wan, meanwhile, is currently busy on Aquaman, aiming for a 5 October 2018 release date.

"Get it from your father-in-law – he has all the money in the world."

Sony Pictures have just released their first trailer and one sheet for Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) All The Money In The World.

We all know Ridley Scott has been on a real tear of late, churning out film after film. But it felt like he had only just started production on Getty kidnap drama All The Money In The World, and yet we now have our first trailer.

The film chronicles the 1970s kidnapping case that involved Paul Getty (Charlie Plummer), grandson of billionaire American industrialist J. Paul Getty (Kevin Spacey). Swiped during a night out, he was kept chained in a cave for six months and a ransom demanding $17 million was delivered to the family.

Unfortunately for the younger Getty, his grandfather didn't think much of his father or his party lifestyle, and, initially believing the teenager might have staged the whole thing himself, at first refused to pay. He was also unmoved by the pleas of Paul's mother, as Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) had divorced his son and snubbed his money to raise her children alone, so she turns to an unlikely ally in Getty advisor Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg). One of Paul's ears was posted to the family, and eventually a $2.9 million sum was stumped up. It affected Paul for the rest of his life and he died aged 54. Nine of the kidnappers were arrested, and two were sent to prison.

All The Money In The World will be out in the UK on 5 January.

Chris McKay discusses Nightwing movie

Warner Bros and DC Entertainment announced a further extension to their DC Extended Universe back in February, with word that The Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay would be tackling a Nightwing film. Now he has been discussing his plans for the new movie in an interview with Collider.

Talking with Collider while out promoting The Lego Ninjago Movie (which he produced), McKay mentions his history with the character and the opportunities it provides for stories. "I'm a big comic book fan, and being able to do the story of Nightwing, to do a Dick Grayson story, which is a character that every single person in the world knows, but has never really had a lot of screen time," he says. "They make a billion Spider-Man movies and a lot of Batman movies, and they've tried The Hulk. When they were making the Tim Burton movies, they were always like, 'Oh, maybe we'll do Robin in this now. Maybe we'll save Robin for Returns. Nope, we'll save it for the next one.' With Christopher Nolan, people were like, 'Is he gonna do Robin?' When they made Batman V Superman, they were talking about it. I'm a big fan of underdog stories, and he is one of the biggest underdog stories in comics. And he's a character that I grew up with. I like the arc."

He has also got plans for what his take will entail. "It's gonna be a fucking badass action movie with a lot of heart and emotion. It's gonna be a crazy, fun ride. Whoever gets cast as Nightwing, and any of the other actors around, are gonna go through a fucking boot camp experience because it's gonna be a lot. I'm not gonna do a lot of CG. It's gonna be all real shit. It's gonna be real stunt work, and they're gonna need to do all of the stuff on camera and do it credibly."

"For the cast and the crew, it's gonna be a visceral experience, and for the audience. It's not gonna be like a lot of these movies where there's a lot of CG and flying, and things like that. Everything he does is gonna have to be real. His superpower is being really fucking good, as a human being, at fighting and gymnastics and shit like that, so you're gonna see that on screen. It's gonna be fun!"

For more from McKay, head over to the Collider site here.

Obviously, given that that the movie is at such an early age, there is no mention of when it might come out. The next DC Extended Universe release is Justice League, which will arrive in cinemas 17 November.

New redband trailer for The Shape Of Water arrives online

Fox Searchlight have just released their latest red band trailer for Guillermo del Toro's (Pacific Rim) The Shape Of Water.

With one trailer out there in the world and the film enjoying some positive reactions at the Toronto International Film Festival, it is time for another look at Guillermo del Toro's latest, The Shape Of Water.

The Shape Of Water is an otherworldly tale that is set against the paranoid backdrop of 1960s America. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation, looked down upon because she is mute. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified discovery, a creature of the water (Doug Jones).

But when she bonds with the mysterious being, she invokes the suspicion and fear of her bosses, including the likes of Michael Shannon (The Iceman) and Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher).

The Shape Of Water will be in US cinemas on 8 December before heading to the UK for 16 February.

First look at David Harbour as the new Hellboy arrives online

We have been through the usual rounds of announcements and casting, but now the team behind the new Hellboy have released our first look at the central character to avoid leaked blurry on set set shots from random photographers. Launched via the movie's official Twitter feed is the first image of actor David Harbour (Stranger Things) in full Hellboy prosthetics and costume.

We have to say, he looks pretty impressive. There are some nice touches here to make him distinct from Ron Perlman's interpretation, but on the whole, this is still recognisably Big Red.

The new movie, which is shooting now, has director Neil Marshall (The Descent) overseeing a story that finds Hellboy and his friends battling an evil sorceress (Milla Jovovich) whose mind is firmly bent on revenge. Ian McShane (John Wick), Sasha Lane (American Honey), Penelope Mitchell (The Fear Of Darkness) and Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent) are also in the cast.

"You want a piece of me? Come and get it!"

Sony Pictures have just released their latest trailer and one sheet for Joseph Kosinski's (Tron: Legacy) Only The Brave.

With the wild weather conditions around the world, we have all been reminded of the heroic work of first responders and those who willingly put themselves in harm's way to protect others.

Only The Brave follows the story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group within the Prescott Fire Department in Arizona specialising in battling wildfires. They were sent into action in June 2013 against the Yarnell Hill Fire, which threatened the Arizona town of Yarnell.

Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad) plays the leader of the ragtag team, who had been training hard for the likelihood of just such a fire, but even they didn't realise the toll it might take, despite earning a reputation as the 'Seal Team Six of firefighters'. Miles Teller (Whiplash) is a new recruit, Brendan 'Donut' McDonough, looking to help his family with the dangerous job.

Joseph Kosinski directs this one, which also features Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Jennifer Connelly Blood Diamond), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter), Andie MacDowell (Four Weddings And A Funeral) and James Badge Dale (World War Z).

Only The Brave will arrive in UK cinemas on 10 November.

Dave Callaham set to co-write Wonder Woman sequel

The gears are really starting to turn on the much-anticipated Wonder Woman sequel. With Patty Jenkins now officially returning to direct, the writing process is in full swing. Now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Dave Callaham (The Expendables) will be joining Jenkins and DC writer Geoff Johns in developing the script.

Jenkins, despite her seeming unofficial status as director, has been working with Johns for a while on a treatment for the new movie, and Callaham is aboard as it moves into the scripting stage. He has also worked on the likes of Godzilla (2014) and the less than loved video game adaptation Doom (2005). But since his work on The Expendables (2010), he has been keeping busy on various movies in development, including a sequel to Zombieland (2009).

Little has been announced for the new Wonder Woman, save that Gal Gadot will be back as the Amazonian warrior princess. Rumours have pointed to another potential look back in time, such as setting the film in the 1980s, but there is also scope for a modern day film that takes place in the wake of the Justice League films.

Wonder Woman 2 is currently scheduled to arrive on 13 December 2019, but with Star Wars: Episode IX recently shifting to a 20 December date that year, chances are that Diana may decide to move. As always, watch this space.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

New one sheet for The Shape Of Water arrives online

Fox Searchlight have just released their latest one sheet for Guillermo del Toro's (Pacific Rim) The Shape Of Water.

The Shape Of Water is an otherworldly tale that is set against the paranoid backdrop of 1960s America. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation, looked down upon because she is mute. Elisa's life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified discovery, a creature of the water (Doug Jones).

But when she bonds with the mysterious being, she invokes the suspicion and fear of her bosses, including the likes of Michael Shannon (The Iceman) and Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher).

The Shape Of Water will be in US cinemas on 8 December before heading to the UK for 16 February.

9 of the most regretted mistakes in movie history... according to the people who made them

Regrets? We have all had a few. Most people's mistakes, however, aren't captured on camera for the rest of eternity. Pity, then, the red faced actors and directors who have made films while quietly knowing that things weren't perhaps going the way they should.

Here are nine movies where the people in front of, or behind, the cameras have had to live with their mistakes making it into cinema history – and their thoughts on what exactly went wrong.

Film: Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The mistake: Venom

Hard as it is to believe now, two reboots on, but there was once a time when a Spider-Man big-screen outing was merely an unattainable Hollywood dream. Evil Dead (1981) creator Sam Raimi cracked it, making two films with warmth, humour and three-dimensional villains. And then he went and spoiled it all with Spider-Man 3.

There is such a thing as villain overload. The conflict with Harry Osborne (James Franco) had been methodically built up over the first two films and reached a head here. The Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), meanwhile, had the makings of a classic Spider-Man foe – as sympathetic as he was sinister.

Alas, Sony Pictures insisted that Raimi also include Venom (Topher Grace), a character beloved of many younger Spider-Man fans, but, crucially, not by Raimi himself. The character simply doesn't fit into the film and, worse, Peter's corruption by the black symbiote suit turns him from loveable dork into peacocking bell-end.

"I didn't really believe in all the characters," Raimi would later admit. "I think [raising the stakes] was the thinking going into it, and I think that's what doomed us."

And in case you have any doubts about what he thinks of the movie, he has since called it "awful".

Film: Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015)
The mistake: Giving the author too much control

EL James' erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Grey caused a global sensation on publication, bringing S&M to book shelves and boosting sales of rope, cable ties and duct tape to boot.

A film adaptation was a certainty, and Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) was hired to direct it, with a little help from the author... whether she wanted it or not.

Most novelists get only minimal say over how their work is adapted for screen. Not so with James, who was granted a high level of power and wielded it over the director, allegedly quarrelling over every diversion from the original text, while demanding that screenwriter Kelly Marcel's script be rewritten to match the novel's – famously awful – dialogue.

Taylor-Johnson has spoken of "lots of on-set tête-à-tetes" with James, and that she is steering well clear of the sequel. "Would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn't. I'd be mad."

Of course, the final cut was a huge commercial success (despite the critical drubbing) so perhaps James was on to something after all.

Film: Blade Runner (1981)
The mistake: Giving in to the money men

Ridley Scott's other science fiction masterpiece turns 35 this year. Nowadays it is available in a plethora of different cuts, but audiences at the time only had one – with an infamously weak final scene.

The film's investors were unhappy with the bleak implications of the ending, which suggests that Rachael (Sean Young) is reaching her termination date and that Deckard (Harrison Ford) himself may be a replicant.

One of them told the director to insert an "uplifting" ending where the two escape to the country. Scott argued, "Well if they go off into a beautiful wilderness, why do they live in this dystopian environment?"

He was overruled.

An infuriatingly hand-holding epilogue was hastily assembled using spare location footage from The Shining (1980) and a flat voiceover from a plainly furious Ford. "Tyrell had told me Rachael was special, no termination date. I didn't know how long we'd have together. Who does?"

Thankfully, Scott has since excised it from the film, restoring the appropriately fatalistic edge he had planned.

Film: The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014)
The mistake: Rushing it.

Anyone would have a hard time living up to Peter Jackson's epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – including, it turns out, Jackson himself. Originally conceived as two films, The Hobbit hit a rocky patch when director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) quit the project, forcing Jackson to return to Middle-earth.

The Lord Of The Rings was in pre-production for three and a half years before filming even started. Not so with The Hobbit.

"Because Guillermo del Toro had to leave and I jumped in and took over, we didn't wind the clock back a year and a half and give me a year and a half prep to design the movie, which was different to what he was doing," Jackson revealed in a frank interview on the The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies Blu-ray.

"It was impossible, and as a result of it being impossible I just started shooting the movie with most of it not prepped at all."

We would like to say it doesn't show, but...

Film: Diana (2013)
The mistake: Playing Diana.

Oliver Hirschbiegel's (Downfall) biopic of Princess Diana had the air of disaster about it from the off, but few would quibble with the casting of Academy Award® nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible) – a serious actress who brings credibility to any project.

As the film was released to universally poor reviews, however, it became clear that the actress was unhappy, to say the least.

While Hirschbiegel has said he has no regrets about making the film, it is clear that his star has. Watts walked out of an interview with Simon Mayo while promoting the movie and has since referred to it as "a sinking ship".

She later told Harpers Bazaar: "I got seduced by the fantastic character. Ultimately there were problems and it ended up taking a direction that was not the one I was hoping for. With risk there is every chance it's going to fail." And fail it did.

Film: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
The mistake: Including footage of real violence.

This infamous Italian horror flick frequently shows up on lists of the most violent films of all time. Director Ruggero Deodato's tale of a documentary crew who fall prey to a man-eating tribe is arguably the first found footage feature – and so realistic its director almost ended up in jail, after it was suspected he had really killed his cast.

He hadn't, but the film does include several scenes of genuine cruelty to animals.

There is no getting around it – the film is nasty. Monkeys, turtles and other animals are all shown being killed on camera. Deodato has said he regrets filming those sequences, justifying it by saying: "The death of the animals, although unbearable – especially in a present-day urban mindset – always happened in order to feed the film's characters or the crew, both in the story and in reality."

Recent edits of the film, however, have notably trimmed back some of these sequences.

Film: Battlefield Earth (2000)
The mistake: Getting involved with Scientology.

What more is there to say about Battlefield Earth? It is arguably the pinnacle of Hollywood folly and a film that prematurely tarnished John Travolta's resurgent career post Pulp Fiction (1994). The trash science fiction outing, based on Church of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard's novel, was an enormous flop.

And its screenwriter knew that it was going to fail.

In a 2010 essay for the New York Post entitled 'I penned the suckiest movie ever – sorry!', screenwriter JD Shapiro spilled the beans on what went wrong with the film. And it started with his motives for getting involved – he had heard the Scientology centre was a good place to meet women.

After that, things got much worse when John Travolta's people began to tinker with his script.

"My screenplay was darker, grittier and had a very compelling story," Shapiro wrote. "They changed the entire tone... [Their] notes wanted me to lose key scenes, add ridiculous scenes, take out some of the key characters."

When he refused to comply, he was fired, leaving us with the glorious disaster we know and love today.

Film: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
The mistake: Lying about Khan.

Before a single frame of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009) sequel had been shot, fans were speculating that it might feature Khan Noonien Singh, the superhuman villain originally played by Ricardo Montalbán.

Not so, said Abrams – Benedict Cumberbatch (War Horse) was playing a rogue Starfleet officer named John Harrison and not Khan.

Then, half-way through the film Harrison, locked in a cell on the Enterprise, hisses "My name... is Khan!" Cue a fatigued sigh from fans worldwide – and a deep sense of irritation that they had been lied to.

"I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront, 'This is who it is,'" Abrams has since admitted, while laying part of the blame at the studio door. "It was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you've really got to know what Star Trek is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting."

Film: Rocky V (1990)
The mistake: Forgetting Rocky's root.

The many Rocky sequels are of variable quality, but most are at least fun. Not so for Rocky V, which supplants the robots and Russians of Rocky IV (1985) for a dose of grim reality as Rocky loses his hard won fortune and ends up back at square one, re-opening Mickey's Gym and training up-and-coming fighter Tommy Gunn.

Sylvester Stallone – who, let us not forget, is the star of such legendary turkeys as Rhinestone (1984) and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) – has called the film, "Without a doubt one of the biggest disappointments in my life."

The series had reached its natural conclusion with Rocky IV and Balboa's defeat of Ivan Drago. Going back for one last round forced Stallone to take his beloved boxer to new, dour and joyless places – in this case brain damage, parental neglect and street brawls.

"The audience didn't want to see the downside of the character," he has since said. "They wanted him to remain on top. I should have known that. I fell into a sense of self-parody."

Happily, Stallone got to rectify the mistake with the superior Rocky Balboa (2006), and again in the  terrific Creed (2015) – a far better take on the Rocky as a mentor tale.

"He's an old man running circles around the lot of us!"

STX Entertainment have just released their latest trailer for Martin Campbell's (Casino Royale) The Foreigner.

The Foreigner finds Jackie Chan (The Karate Kid) as a restaurant owner in London's Chinatown who has a dark past and is mourning his family. So you can understand his reaction when his teenage daughter is killed in an attack orchestrated by rogue Irish terrorists. When the justice system brings him no satisfaction, he decides to track down the people responsible himself. Pierce Brosnan (The Ghost) is Liam Hennessy, a former IRA member who is now a government official.

With David Marconi (Die Hard 4.0) adapting Stephen Leather's novel The Chinaman, the film has been through a few development wobbles and has taken a while to reach screens. But after securing Martin Campbell for the director's chair, it is finally on the way – in the US at least, where it will land on 13 October, following a launch in China on 30 September. As for UK audiences, we will have to wait and see if and when it makes it to our shores.

New trailer and one sheet for Coco arrives online

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios' have just released their latest trailer and one sheet for Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Adrian Molina's Coco.

Written by Molina, Coco is the story of young Mexican Miguel (Antony Gonzalez), who wants to be a music legend like his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But there is a problem – music has been banned in Miguel's family for years, but no one will quite tell him why.

Yet when our hero (accompanied by loyal canine Dante) accidentally finds a way into the Land of the Dead, he teams up with a trickster named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) and sets out to discover the truth.

Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, Renee Victor and Sofia Espinosa also feature in the voice cast for the film, which is heading to US cinemas for Thanksgiving, but frustratingly now won't reach UK screens until 19 January next year.

Director Angela Robinson set to adapt Strangers In Paradise

She has Professor Marston And The Wonder Women heading to screens this year, but writer and director Angela Robinson (True Blood) already has her eye on a future project. News arrives via Variety that she is aiming to adapt Terry Moore's graphic novel series Strangers In Paradise for the screen.

Robinson will work with the writer and artist on the script for the film, adapting the long running illustrated series. The story follows Katchoo, a beautiful young woman living a quiet life with everything going for her. She is smart, independent, and very much in love with her best friend, Francine. Then Katchoo meets David, a gentle but persistent young man who is determined to win Katchoo's heart. The resulting love triangle is a touching comedy of romantic errors... at least until Katchoo's former employer comes looking for her and $850,000 in missing mob money.

"I've been wanting to adapt Strangers In Paradise for over a decade, since the first time I read it and couldn't put it down," Robinson tells Variety. "Terry Moore writes real female characters with such breathtaking sensitivity. With Strangers In Paradise, he pulls off the nearly impossible – a sexy, stylish crime story with tons of heart. I look forward to our collaboration!"

Professor Marston And The Wonder Women, which chronicles the man who created Wonder Woman, and the women in his life who inspired the character, has premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and will hit the London Film Festival in October ahead of a 13 October release in the US and a 10 November arrival in UK cinemas.

Star Wars: Episode IX release date moves to December 2019

Like the destiny of our heroes in that galaxy far, far away, so it has come to pass that with J.J. Abrams   (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) now aboard to write and direct Star Wars: Episode IX, Lucasfilm have announced via Twitter that the film's release date has been shifted back to 20 December 2019.

The man who made Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and who helped to launch Star Wars back into the world clearly believes he needs that extra time to start from scratch on the script and Lucasfilm agrees. It is hardly a shock that all involved would want to chance to finesse this one – like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is a lot riding on wrapping up the current trilogy.

Star Wars shifting about the schedules will likely cause other studios to make release adjustments down the line so as to avoid the behemoth too. Right in the movie's sights at the moment is the Wonder Woman sequel, which, even with its own first movie's success, might not want to tackle the coming threat.

And the new date for Episode IX was just one of the various release slots announced or confirmed by Walt Disney Pictures, with Guy Ritchie's (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) live action Aladdin landing on 24 May 2019 – replacing the Star Wars entry – Marc Forster's (World War Z) Christopher Robin movie expected in August 2018, Ken Branagh's (Cinderella) adaptation of Artemis Fowl scheduled for August 2019 and the Santa Claus daughter outing, now known as Nicole, aiming for 8 November 2019. Less lucky is comedy Magic Camp, which had been set for an April 2018 release but is now without a date.

Jack Huston joins The Irishman

Jack Huston has already worked with Martin Scorsese on one project, as he was part of the cast for Boardwalk Empire, which Scorsese produced and helped to launch by directing the pilot. Now, though, the actor is getting his shot at a big screen job for his old boss, with news arriving via Deadline that he is set to join the cast of The Irishman.

Scorsese already has an impressive cast on hand for the film, with Robert De Niro (Casino), Al Pacino (Heat), Joe Pesci (Goodfellas), Harvey Keitel (Mean Streets), Ray Romano and Bobby Cannavale (Vinyl) all locked in place.

Adapted by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) from Charles Brandt's book I Heard You Paint Houses, ('painting houses' being slang for victims' blood spray) the film will follow the life of mob hit man Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran (De Niro), whose career allegedly included the slaying of union leader Jimmy Hoffa.

Netflix is backing the film, though the company is obviously planning a quick theatrical release, in the hopes that this drama could score some awards.

Huston has worked on Alexandre Moors' (Blue Caprice) The Yellow Birds and will be seen in An Actor Prepares.

"What kind of person are you?"

StudioCanal have just released their first trailer and one sheet for Jaume Collet-Serra's (Non-Stop) The Commuter.

Liam Neeson has been suggesting recently that his time with action movies is coming to an end. He has still got one or two more in the can, though, with The Commuter being his fourth collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra. The pair have previously given us Unknown (2011), Non-Stop (2014) and Run All Night (2015).

Thier latest venture finds Neeson as a insurance salesman travelling by train to work who unwittingly gets caught up in a criminal conspiracy that threatens not only his life, but that of those around him. Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) is a mysterious woman who drags him into the whole affair, offering an enticing opportunity, but one that comes with some deadly downsides... Naturally you can expect phone action from Neeson and lots of running through carriages.

Writers Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi cooked up the concept, and the cast also includes Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul), Sam Neill (Hunt For The Wilderpeople) and Elizabeth McGovern (Kick-Ass). It will arrive in UK cinemas on 19 January.

Anthony Mackie joins The Hate U Give

While some Georgia-based productions – The Walking Dead and Ant-Man And The Wasp among them – have been briefly interrupted by the arrival of Tropical Storm Irma, others are pushing ahead as planned. One example is young adult novel adaptation The Hate U Give, which is also adding Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) and Kian Lawley (The Chosen) to its cast.

Adapted from Angela Thomas' bestseller, the film follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a young woman already caught between two worlds. There is the poor, mostly black neighbourhood where she lives and the rich, largely white prep school she attends. But when Starr witnesses the death of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer, it throws her world into further chaos, especially when she is called upon to speak up about what happened.

George Tillman Jr. (The Longest Ride) is in the director's chair, working from a script by Tina Mabry (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) and Audrey Wells (Under The Tuscan Sun). The cast also features Regina Hall (Law Abiding Citizen), Russell Hornsby (Fences), Issa Rae (Insecure), Sabrina Carpenter (Adventures In Babysitting), Algee Smith (The New Edition Story), Lamar Johnson (Kings) and Common (Selma). There is no sign of a release date for the movie as yet.

"Nobody respects my vision!"

A24 Films have just released their latest trailer and one sheet for James Franco's (As I Lay Dying) buddy comedy The Disaster Artist.

Franco is both directing and starring in this one, which chronicles Tommy Wiseau's plans to make The Room (2003), which became known as a famously hackneyed misfire and is now revered as an unintentional comedy classic. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (The Fault In Our Stars) have adapted actor Greg Sestero's book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, which he wrote with journalist Tom Bissell. The tome chronicles the chaotic creation of The Room, which really needs to be seen rather than described.

With Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Seth Rogen (This Is The End), Alison Brie (Community), Ari Graynor (The Sitter), Kate Upton (The Other Woman), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors), Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) and Andrew Santino (Henry Poole Is Here) also in the cast, The Disaster Artist will arrive in US cinemas 8 December, but has yet to secure a UK release date.

J.J. Abrams now set to direct Star Wars: Episode IX

The circle, it would seem, is now complete. Last week came the surprising news that Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) would no longer be directing Star Wars: Episode IX, after Lucasfilm announced that "our visions for the project differ". Speculation began almost immediately as to who would take over the directors seat. Now we have our answer, with Lucasfilm announcing via that J.J. Abrams will now call the shots.

Abrams, of course, kickstarted the modern Star Wars revival with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), and he will return to the franchise for this currently untitled entry. As well as directing, Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio, the man behind the scripts for Argo (2012) and Justice League. That suggests that Trevorrow's draft for the film has been scrapped, as has any elements that might have been added by previously announced co-writer Jack Thorne (A Long Way Down). Neither Trevorrow nor Thorne are mentioned in Lucasfilm's press release, heavily implying an entirely clean slate for the project.

"With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for," said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy in a statement. "I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy."

With filming due to start early next year, Lucasfilm have moved fast to keep the Episode IX ship afloat, and the hope will be that it can keep to the planned June 2019 release date – though given all this director musical chairs, they may decide to opt for a Christmas release.

In the meantime, we still have Rian Johnson's (Looper) Star Wars: The Last Jedi to look forward to, which is heading towards a 15 December 2017 release date.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

"The small world is filled with things to see"

Paramount Pictures have just released their first trailer for Alexander Payne's (The Descendants) Downsizing.

Alexander Payne's latest film, and his first stab at something with a science fiction take, Downsizing, just premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

The film, which Payne wrote with Sideways (2004) partner Jim Taylor, sees Omaha native Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) low on money, deciding that life would be a lot cheaper and easier if he and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) underwent a procedure to shrink themselves. And while there are clear benefits to life in miniature, there are also challenges...

With Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Jason Sudeikis (We're The Millers) and Hong Chau (Inherent Vice) rounding out the main cast, Downsizing will arrive in US cinemas on 22 December, with the UK release set for 19 January.

Patty Jenkins confirmed to direct Wonder Woman sequel

It is something we all suspected might happen, but now it appears to be official. News arrives via Variety that Patty Jenkins has closed a deal to direct a follow-up to Wonder Woman, returning to the director's chair for the sequel.

Last month, it was reported that Jenkins was in negotiations for the gig. She has finally signed on the dotted line, according to Variety, and if reports are to be believed, negotiated a fee in the region of $8m (£6m) to write, direct and produce the new film – making her the highest paid female filmmaker in history.

It is a significant and extremely welcome moment for Jenkins, who has steered the Amazonian warrior princess to success beyond anyone's expectation. Released in June this year, the first Wonder Woman film has grossed over $800m at the box office, becoming the highest grossing superhero origin movie ever made – and was a critical hit too, earning a not too shabby 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. A sequel was inevitable.

Gal Gadot is already confirmed to return in her Amazonian armour and a release date has been set for 13 December 2019. Gal Gadot will next appear as Diana Prince in Justice League, which is out in cinemas 17 November, while Patty Jenkins is also developing a TV series based on the work of Fauna Hodel. Here is hoping her historic deal encourages Hollywood to give female voices a much deserved seat at the table more often.

Daniel Dae set for new Hellboy

There was understandable outcry when Ed Skrein (Deadpool) was cast as Japanese-American Major Ben Daimio in the new Hellboy. Skrein bowed out of the gig and now news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent) is in talks to play the role instead.

The Korean-American actor, still best known for Lost, walked away from his most recent job in June, resigning from TV's rebooted Hawaii Five-0 following a salary dispute after seven years in the main cast. The new Hellboy gives him both a chance to find new employment and play an Asian-American character.

Daimio is a rugged sort who was a consultant with Big Red's employers the Bureau for Paranormal Research that eventually scored a full-time job. And his credentials go further than his Marine Corps training – after a supernatural encounter, he turns into a were-jaguar whenever he is in pain or suitably angry.

With Neil Marshall (The Descent) in the director's chair, David Harbour (Stranger Things) is playing Hellboy, joined by the likes of Ian McShane (Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element), Sasha Lane (American Honey) and, assuming he makes a final deal, Kim. The film hasn't set an official release date, but may be ready in time for release next year.

New details on the next It film arrive online

Anyone who has seen the new adaptation of It – and based on the box office results, that is a fair number of you – knows that it ends with Chapter One appearing beneath the title at the end, heralding the second film. And now Entertainment Weekly have dug up new details on what we suppose is a sequel, but is probably more accurately described as a continuation.

Stephen King's book famously follows the main characters, known as the Losers Club, both as kids and then as grown adults battling the terrifying menace. And while the second film will segue into focusing more on the adult versions of the group in today's world, there will still be time to check-in on the 1980s. "On the second movie, that dialogue between timelines will be more present," director Andy Muschietti tells Entertainment Weekly. "If we're telling the story of adults, we are going to have flashbacks that take us back to the '80s and inform the story in the present day."

And while the new movie doesn't quite have the official green light from Warner Bros and New Line Cinemas just yet, it surely only a matter of time (particularly given that record smashing box office opening), with Muschietti intending to return to direct once again. One of the director's plans is to tinker with the fate of one of the main characters, Mike Hanlon (played by Chosen Jacobs in the first film), who stays behind in the town of Derry to document the horror and keep an eye out for more, just in case. "My idea of Mike in the second movie is quite darker from the book," Muschietti says. "I want to make his character the one pivotal character who brings them all together, but staying in Derry took a toll with him. I want him to be a junkie actually. A librarian junkie. When the second movie starts, he's a wreck."

For more on the new planned movie, head to the Entertainment Weekly website.

Mike Myers joining Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Mike Myers (Inglourious Basterds) already has something of a cinematic history with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, as this clip will testify. Now news arrives via Deadline that he is closing in a deal for the new Bryan Singer (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) film, also called Bohemian Rhapsody.

With Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) playing Freddie Mercury, the film charts the birth and huge rise of Queen to rock superstardom, the film will take the band to the heights of their showstopping appearance at Live Aid in 1985. And it features the involvement of fellow Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, looking to keep the story authentic and the tunes right. They will also be represented on screen too, with Ben Hardy (X‑Men: Apocalypse), Joe Mazello (The Social Network) and Gwilym Lee (The Tourist) as Taylor, John Deacon and May respectively. Deadline's story offered no details on who Myers might play.

Anthony McCarten (The Theory Of Everything) wrote the script, and producer Graham King (Argo) has been shepherding this one through different variations. The cameras are rolling now, and 20th Century Fox will release the movie in the UK on 28 December next year.

Walton Goggins set for Them That Follow

Dramatic thriller Them That Follow already boasts the talents of Olivia Colman (The Lobster), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) and Thomas Mann (Project X), but it was missing its key central role. That is no longer the case, with news arriving via Deadline that Walton Goggins (Django Unchained) is now part of the ensemble.

He is on to play Lemuel Childs, a charismatic, stubborn preacher, who lives deep in the wilds of Appalachia. Believing that the best way to prove oneself to God is to handle lethally poisonous snakes, he finds that way of life is changing and constantly being challenged. When the wider world turns against his tradition, he also faces the possible loss of his daughter Mara (Englert) and has to try to stop his community from splintering.

Brittany Poulton and Daniel Savage wrote the script and will kick off directing the movie next month in Ohio. As for Goggins, he will next be seen in Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which arrives in cinemas 9 February. He also has the new Tomb Raider out on 16 March and Ant-Man And The Wasp arriving 29 June.

Stephen King's Suffer The Little Children heading to screens

Even if It hadn't just enjoyed a huge opening weekend around the world, there would still be someone looking to adapt a Stephen King narrative. But we would imagine there will be an uptick now, and the surge is kicking off with short story Suffer The Little Children.

Writer and director Sean Carter is the man making this one, which focuses on a recently divorced teacher who discovers some disturbing traits in the children who make up her class – flashes of a secret texture beneath their skin and the weird, conspiratorial way they play together in hushed tones. Added to that, people in the town are starting to die mysteriously. Is it all in her head, or is something strange happening to the kids? It is a supernatural tale, so we would assume the latter of the two.

"The Stephen King aesthetic has been imprinted into my psyche since I was a teenager, and Suffer The Little Children fits right into that classic King paradigm: a tragically flawed lead character put into a shockingly unimaginable scenario," Carter says in a statement picked up by Deadline. "It's a tiny peek into a mythology that I can't wait to expand into a full-length movie." As always, watch this space.

Liev Schreiber and Diego Luna join Woody Allen's latest

With his most recent completed film, Wonder Wheel about to premiere as the final screening of the New York Film Festival next month, Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris) is not wasting time finding the cast for his latest undertaking. News arrives via Variety that he has now added Liev Schreiber (Spotlight) and Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

They join an ensemble that already includes Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers), Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon), Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar), Annaleigh Ashford (Rachel Getting Married), Rebecca Hall (The Prestige), Cherry Jones (Signs), Will Rogers (Bridge Of Spies) and Kelly Rohrbach (Café Society), with Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) a fellow recent hire.

In typical Allen fashion, there are currently no details about the film. But we can guess that the jazzy soundtrack and typical title font, will be present and correct, and you would also guess that neuroses might be part of the plot. Amazon is backing the film, and is putting it out in the US.

New one sheet for Fifty Shades Freed arrives online

Hot on the heels on the first teaser trailer and poster for the film, Universal Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for James Foley's (Confidence) Fifty Shades Freed.

This year's Fifty Shades Darker certainly didn't make as much of an impact as the Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015), either in terms of cultural impact or box office. So what lies ahead for Fifty Shades Freed, which promises to bring some sense of climax to the trilogy?

Fifty Shades Freed, which, like Darker, was directed by James Foley, finds Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), getting hitched, which would seem to be what they both want. There is still the chance for high flying demonstrations of wealth and the requisite kinky sex scenes, but also the lurking threat of danger to the couple.

With likes of Tyler Hoechlin (Hall Pass), Max Martini (Pacific Rim), Dylan Neal (Fifty Shades Of Grey) and Luke Grimes (American Sniper) also in the cast, Fifty Shades Freed will arrive in UK cinemas on 9 February next year.

"All that I have is now yours."

Universal Pictures have just released their first teaser trailer and one sheet for James Foley's (Confidence) Fifty Shades Freed.

This year's Fifty Shades Darker certainly didn't make as much of an impact as the Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015), either in terms of cultural impact or box office. So what lies ahead for Fifty Shades Freed, which promises to bring some sense of climax to the trilogy?

Fifty Shades Freed, which, like Darker, was directed by James Foley, finds Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), getting hitched, which would seem to be what they both want. There is still the chance for high flying demonstrations of wealth and the requisite kinky sex scenes, but also the lurking threat of danger to the couple.

With likes of Tyler Hoechlin (Hall Pass), Max Martini (Pacific Rim), Dylan Neal (Fifty Shades Of Grey) and Luke Grimes (American Sniper) also in the cast, Fifty Shades Freed will arrive in UK cinemas on 9 February next year.

Benedict Cumberbatch set to star in Gypsy Boy

We had one look at family pressure among the Romany Gypsy people this year with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson outing Trespass Against Us. Now news arrives via Variety that Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) is headlining another, called Gypsy Boy.

The film, which Morgan Matthews (X+Y) is on to direct from James Graham's (X+Y) script, adapts Mikey Walsh's memoir of growing up in the community. Groomed from a young age to be a boxer, the sheer weight of expectation on him starts to split the family apart.

"I was immediately drawn to Mikey's courageous and heart-breaking story. And his father Frank is unlike any character I've played before," Cumberbatch says. "He's a complex man torn between tradition and his love for a son struggling to come to terms with an identity that's completely at odds with Frank and his culture."

Matthews should have the cameras rolling next summer once an actor is found to play Mikey. Cumberbatch's latest, The Current War, has just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and arrives here on 5 January. He will also be back as Dr. Stephen Strange for Thor: Ragnarok, which arrives in UK cinemas 24 October.

Taron Egerton set for A Private War

Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) is already aboard to play famed war reporter Marie Colvin and now we know who will be joining her in a film about the intrepid journalist, A Private War. News arrives via Deadline that Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) is the chosen co-star.

Arash Amel (Grace Of Monaco) has written the script, which adapts Marie Brenner's 2012 Vanity Fair article Marie Colvin's Private War. It will chronicle the work of Colvin, who filed reports from conflict zones including Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, where she lost her left eye in 2001. She became known for her distinctive patch, and kept working, dying during a rocket attack in 2012 while covering the civil war in Syria. As for Egerton, details are sparse on his character, but we do know he is a fellow journalist, one with a military background, who follows her into various war zones.

Matthew Heineman, who last made the Academy Award® nominated documentary Cartel Land (2015), is in the director's chair, and the film should kick off shooting in November. Egerton has Kingsman: The Golden Circle due here on 20 September.

First look at Ralph Fiennes' The White Crow arrives online

Ralph Fiennes' (The Invisible Woman) latest effort as director and actor, Rudolf Nureyev drama The White Crow, is now shooting, and the first images have arrived on the heels of news that the cast is expanding to include Olivier Rabourdin (Taken) and ballet stars Anastasia Meskova, and Anna Polikarpova.

David Hare (The Reader) wrote the script for this one, which finds actor and dancer Oleg Ivenko starring as Nureyev in a story that adapts Julie Kavanagh's book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life. Rather than tackle his entire life, though, The White Crow will focus on the iconic dancer's defection from the Soviet Union in 1961 and the KGB's attempts to stop him.

Cameras have been rolling in Paris and Russia, and will soon be heading to Croatia and Serbia to finish up production.

Fiennes is also playing Nureyev's mentor Pushkin, and has Sergei Polunin, Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Colour), Chulpan Khamatova (Good Bye Lenin!), Raphaël Personnaz (The French Minister), Calypso Valois (Personal Shopper) and Louis Hofmann (Land Of Mine) in the ensemble, and the rights to the movie are currently on sale at the Toronto International Film Festival.