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News and gossip on films in the works...
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|F I L M N E W S|
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I N T H E U K . . .|
I N T H E U S . . .
Emma Watson will play Belle in the live-action remake of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Bill Condon is directing the movie, which is the latest revamp of an animated classic after Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent and the forthcoming Cinderella.
David Oyelowo will reteam with Selma director Ava DuVernay for a film about HURRICANE KATRINA. The story is reportedly a relationship-based drama, with elements of romance, mystery and thriller, set around the devastating tragedy in 2005 New Orleans.
Stanley Tucci has landed the bad guy role in PATIENT ZERO, an action thriller about a global pandemic involving a super-aggressive strain of rabies, resulting in the emergence of a new species. Matt Smith and Natalie Dormer star in the film, with is being directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Kaya Scodelario has landed the lead female role in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, the fifth adventure for Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. Costars include Brenton Thwaites and Javier Bardem, plus possible returnees Orlando Bloom, Groffrey Rush and Jack Davenport. Filming starts next month in Australia.
Rose McGowan will make her feature directing debut with THE PINES, a psychological thriller that will be filmed in upstate New York. There's no word on the plot, but the script is by Alex Mar (American Mystic).
David Henrie (The Wizards of Waverly Place) will play the young Ronald Reagan in a biopic cleverly titled REAGAN. The story will be told from the point of view of a KGB spy (Jon Voight) who kept an eye on Reagan throughout his career as an actor, governor and president. The script is by Howard Klausner (Space Cowboys) and Jonas McCord (Malice).
Alexandra Shipp (House of Anubis) will play Storm, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) will play Jean Grey, and Tye Sheridan (Mud) will play Cyclops in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, the third in the First Class trilogy also starring Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman and Nicholas Hoult. Also on board for this adventure are Channing Tatum and Oscar Isaac.
Danish actor Pilou Asbaek (Lucy) has landed the role as Pontius Pilate in the BEN-HUR remake, which stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro, Moises Arias, Sofia Black-D'Elia and Ayelet Zurer. Timur Bekmambetov is directing.
Meanwhile, Lucy costar Amr Waked is joining Gerard Butler, Ed Harris, Andy Garcia and Katheryn Winnick in the sci-fi blockbuster GEOSTORM, which is currently filming in New Orleans with director Dean Devlin. It's about the chaos caused when Earth's climate-control satellite system fails.
And Edgar Wright is writing a sequel to Oliver Twist. The steampunk-style action movie will be called DODGE AND TWIST, and will pick up the story 20 years later as Oliver is now a cop, while Artful Dodger is still a thief. Other screenwriters have taken a stab at the material, which confusingly isn't based on the Tony Lee novel.
Zac Efron will star in the comedy MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, somewhat obviously about two brothers who post an ad online to find women to take to an upcoming marriage ceremony. Jake Szymanski is directing.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is the latest actor being mentioned to star in DOCTOR STRANGE, possibly as a villain opposite Benedict Cumberbatch's superhero surgeon-sorcerer. Scott Derrickson is directing.
Simon Pegg is now cowriting the script for STAR TREK 3, in addition to reprising his role as Scotty alongside Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin and John Cho. Pegg is working with Doug Jung (Dark Blue) on the screenplay for the sequel, which will be directed by Justin Lin.
Dakota Fanning will star in BRAIN ON FIRE, based on the memoir by Susannah Cahalan about a young woman's horrific descent into mental illness over the course of a month. Gerard Barrett (Glassland) is writing and directing. Charlize Theron is producing.
Bruce Willis will star in the thriller EXTRACTION as a former CIA operative working with his son to develop a new super-weapon. Then he's kidnapped and his son leads the rescue mission. Director Steven C Miller (Submerged) starts filming next month in Alabama.
Nicolas Cage will star in the black comedy ARMY OF ONE, based on the true story of a Colorado construction worker who tried multiple times to sneak into Pakistan and Afghanistan to kill Osama Bin Laden. Larry Charles is directing, and apparently plans to use the same improvised style he used with Borat and Bruno.
Joel Edgerton, Jon Bernthal, Joe Manganiello and Gary Sinise are all being mentioned for key roles in David Ayer's SUICIDE SQUAD, about a group of supervillains who are sent on dangerous missions. Also in the cast are Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney.
Meanwhile, Robbie is up for the lead role in DANGEROUS ODDS, based on the memoir by Marisa Lankester, who rose through the ranks to became a top model as well as the head of America's largest illegal betting organisation. She barely escaped with her life. Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center) is writing the script.
Leanne Best, who played the title character in The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, has reported to the set of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS to shoot additional footage. Of course no one is saying anything about her character.
And Elijah Wood and Ben Wheatley are producing THE GREASY STRANGLER, a horror romp about a father and son who run disco tours around Los Angeles and run into a serial killer. Jim Hosking (who made one of the segments in The ABCs of Death 2) is directing.
Jennifer Lawrence will reteam with director Francis Lawrence for THE DIVE, the true story of freedivers Audrey Mestre and Pipin Ferraras, a married couple who competed to dive as deep as possible on one breath of air. James Cameron is producing the film, which is being written by Dana Stevens (Safe Haven).
Emily Blunt will play Chris Hemsworth's nemesis in THE HUNTSMAN, the Snow White sequel that sees Eric the Huntsman go on a quest to recover the stolen magic mirror. Charlize Theron will be back as the Snow Queen, but Kristen Stewart isn't involved.
Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin and Jason Sudeikis have joined the cast of DOWNSIZING, Alexander Payne's sci-fi comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Matt Damon. It's about Norwegian scientists who discover a way to shrink people to an eighth their size to help reduce consumption and overpopulation.
Colin Hanks, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Tracy Letts and Sky Ferreira have joined the cast of ELVIS & NIXON, which stars Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey as the eponymous icons who met at the White House in 1970. Liza Johnson is directing from a script by Cary Elwes.
Michael C Hall has joined the cast of PETE'S DRAGON, the remake of the 1977 movie that combined live-action and animation in a story about a young boy and his best friend, who happens to be a dragon. Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard and Wes Bentley costar.
Rodrigo Santoro is up for the role as Jesus Christ in the remake of BEN-HUR, starring Jack Huston as a Jewish prince forced into slavery by his best friend (Toby Kebbell). Timur Bekmambetov is directing the film, which also stars Morgan Freeman, Ayelet Zurer and Moises Arias.
Wyatt Russell and Alex Karpovsky will star in FOLK HERO & FUNNY GUY, a comedy about a singer-songwriter who takes a road trip with his childhood buddy, a struggling stand-up comic, as his opening act. Costars include Melanie Lynskey, Heather Morris and Men at Work's Meredith Hagner. Jeff Grace (It's a Disaster) is writing and directing.
With The Force Awakens in the can, casting rumours have now begun for the first STAR WARS non-"episode" spin-off directed by Gareth Edwards. Supposedly in the mix for the rumoured Han Solo adventure: Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black). But no one's admitting anything.
Work continues on the script for the WORLD WAR Z sequel, and writer Steven Knight has hinted that the film might take a different approach to Max Brooks' novel. In a recent interview he said that he was starting with a "clean slate", so the film looks like it will be a spin-off parallel story rather than a straight follow-up.
And Jane Goldman is working on the script for a movie based on the FABLES comics, about a group of fairy tale characters living secretly in New York, including Snow White, Cinderella and the Big Bad Wolf. Nikolaj Arcel (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) wrote the first screenplay draft.
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ALSO: Ain't It Cool News. British Film Institute. CNN. Empire. Entertainment Weekly. Evening Standard.
Film Threat. The Guardian. indieWire. Screen International. Sight and Sound. Variety.
© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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