We’ve got a ton of big casting updates for you this time around including two Walking Dead cast members taking on big screen roles as well as director Rob Reiner. Robert Rodriguez has solidified plans to turn Charlie Sheen into the United States President, but it doesn’t look like Warner Bros. and New Line will be able to get the Dumb & Dumber sequel off the ground with both Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunner.
In non-casting news, Jurassic Park 4 takes another baby step forward getting a pair of writers while Michael Bay dishes on plans for his fourth go-around with the Transformers franchise. We’ve also got the very first trailers for Taken 2 and Dredd.
Are you ready for it? Here comes your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Sarah Wayne Callies Goes From Zombies to Tornados: She’s already got some feature films on her resume, but, according to Deadline, New Line’s tornado thriller will mark Sarah Wayne Callies’ first commercial feature with her Walking Dead clout under her belt. She recently finished filming Black November alongside Mickey Rourke, but the still untitled Steve Quale-directed feature will likely be done on a much larger scale. She’s set to take on the role of Allison Stone in the found footage piece focusing on a group of high school students after a tornado devastates their hometown. Apparently the shoots will overlap, so Callies will have to juggle both Walking Dead and this feature at the same time.
2. The Wolf of Wall Street Gets Two: In other Walking Dead casting news, Jon Bernthal just snagged a part in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir, the film will star Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, a fast-rising broker on Wall Street who descends into a life of heavy partying, drugs and securities fraud. According to THR, Bernthal is set to portray a drug dealer and money launderer. Also joining the cast is Rob Reiner. Deadline reports that the director is in negotiations for the role of Belfort’s father, Max. Reiner does have quite a few acting credits to his name, but hasn’t done much of note in quite some time save for a cameo in 30 Rock. Having read The Wolf of Wall Street, I can’t imagine this being a particularly big role and, more disappointingly, the same is true of Bernthal’s role as well.
3. President Charlie Sheen: Can Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills get any bigger? He’s already got Machete veterans Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez and Jessica Alba as well as an impressive list of newcomers including Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Demian Bichir and Mel Gibson, but now he adds yet another powerhouse to the bunch, a now impeccably infamous powerhouse, Charlie Sheen as none other than the President of the United States. Rodriguez made the announcement himself via Twitter and included a photo of the two to go along with it. Machete Kills will see the return of our hero who must join forces with the US government in order to stop Gibson’s weapons dealer from launching a weapon into space. Production is currently underway, having kicked off earlier this month.
4. No Jim Carrey for Dumb and Dumber To: Dumb & Dumber fans were thrilled when the Farrelly Brothers dropped the news of Dumb & Dumber To while promoting The Three Stooges, but now THR reports that the film will have to move forward without Lloyd Christmas. Apparently Jim Carrey told Entertainment Tonight that he feels that Warner Bros. and New Line aren’t enthusiastic enough about the project. While talking about his upcoming show The Newsroom, MTV asked Jeff Daniels if he’ll do the movie without Carrey and Daniels flat out said, “Nobody’s doing it without Jim.” Will the movie happen at all? Despite the September shoot plans the Farrelly Brothers announced back in April, I’m much more inclined to believe that Carrey’s exit is definitive and if that’s the case then there’s no Daniels and if there’s no Daniels does anyone even want the movie anymore?
5. Jurassic Park 4 Gets Writers: Is Jurassic Park 4 ever going to happen? Considering Universal has now hired a pair of writers to pen the script, there’s much more of a possibility now! According to Deadline, the studio recruited Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver for the job. The duo don’t have many titles to their names having penned Eye for an Eye and The Relic together back in the 90s and then going without feature work until 2011’s Rise, but, should Rise represent the potential quality of Jurassic Park 4, their hiring is fine by me. Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are set to produce.
6. Highest Paid Actresses: Forbes just unveiled their list of the highest paid actress in the business and the chart topper may surprise you. It isn’t Hollywood powerhouse Angelina Jolie or Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, although they do come in at # 4 and #8 respectively, rather The Twilight Saga’s Kristen Stewart. Turns out the pay raise from film one of a franchise to film four and five is pretty significant. While Stewart likely kicked off her Twilight run with a sub $1 million paycheck, she reportedly took home $12.5 million for the final two films – each! Between May 2011 and May 2012, Forbes has Stewart taking home $34.5 million, followed by Cameron Diaz with $34 million, Sandra Bullock with $25 million, Jolie with $20 million and Charlize Theron with $18 million.
7. Mia Wasikowska or Zoe Aggeliki for Johanna Mason?: And so The Hunger Games: Catching Fire casting rumors continue. But at least it’s refreshing to hear some news about the sequel’s new female character rather than Catching Fire’s heartthrob, Finnick Odair. As reported by The Playlist, Mia Wasikowska and Zoe Aggeliki are both in the running for the role of Johanna Mason, the sassy and brash District 7 tribute. It seems as though Aggeliki might be the frontrunner because The Playlist notes, “We hear that Aggeliki could sign in the coming days.” Between the two, it’s tough to want Aggeliki over Wasikowska considering her lack of big screen credits, but she did recently snag a role in R.I.P.D. and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters so she’s got to have some talent.
8. Transformers 4 Plot, Cast and Budget Revealed: While checking out Transformers: The Ride – 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood, the LA Times caught up with franchise director Michael Bay who offered an update on round four. It looks like we can say goodbye to Sam Witwicky because Bay noted, “It’s a new cast,” and, “We’re moving on to something different.” And apparently that something different applies to much more than casting because Bay said there’s a chance the story might take place in the future and involve a robot redesign. But, Bay insists, “It’s not a reboot.” He continued, “We’re taking the story that you’ve seen — the story we’ve told in three movies already — and we’re taking it in a new direction. But we’re leaving those three as the history. It all still counts.” When asked if some of the story might take place beyond Earth, Bay replied, “That feels like the way to go, doesn’t it? I want to go a little off but I don’t want to go too sci-fi. I still want to keep it grounded.” Grounded or not, you’d think heading off into space would likely come with a bigger price tag, however, Bay noted that’s not the case and “our mandate is to cut about $30 million.” Check out the LA Times’ full write-up on Bay right here.
9. Trailers: Taken 2, Dredd, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: While it’s quite clear that Taken 2 was made for Taken fans, the film’s first trailer raises concern that the sequel may just be the original all over again. Sure the first film is an absolute blast, but can we really take the whole “you’re gonna be taken” thing seriously again? We’ve also got the very first trailer for Dredd, a video that gives you a moment to adjust to this new world before jumping into an intricate and intriguing plot. Some of the dialogue is laughably blunt, but the film’s dark tone makes for interesting juxtaposition, suggesting Dredd will be a vicious blast. Lastly we’ve got the first full trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 and while it should suggest the pinnacle of an entire franchise is coming, this trailer is sadly one note, cramming too much high stakes material and booming music in a mere minute and 18 seconds, leaving no room for any sort of build.
10. Box Office: Pixar has done it again. Not only did Brave snag the top spot at the box office this weekend, but it brought the studio its fifth highest opening, $66.7 million. Despite the strong animation competition, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted held on fairly strong, dropping just 40.7% for a $20.2 million weekend three total. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is off to a lackluster start, earning just $16.5 million. Prometheus took another rather rough hit, dropping 51.7% for a $10 million third weekend while Rock of Ages only fell 44.6%. Then again, Rock of Ages didn’t have all that far to fall anyway. It’s $8 million weekend two haul brings its domestic total to just $28.8 million, a sad story on a $75 million budget. (via Box Office Mojo)