We may live in a world of superheroes, YA adaptations and remakes, but come November 26th, some original indies will assume the spotlight. The Gotham Awards nominations are out with “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Bernie,” “Middle of Nowhere,” and “Moonrise Kingdom” all snagging double honors.
But, of course, there’s also quite a bit to report in the way of superheroes, YA and remakes. Shailene Woodley looks to be our new Mary Jane Watson and is also set to lead the adaptation of “Divergent.” Over in remake territory, Spike Lee lost Nate Parker, but picked up James Ransone for “Oldboy” while “Transformers 4” may shake things up for the franchise, ditching Sam Witwicky for a female lead.
Ready for all the details? Here comes your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet!
1. Shailene Woodley x 2: Shailene Woodley may have gotten overlooked at the Academy Awards last year, but should these deals go through, she’ll be firmly in the spotlight soon enough. According to Deadline, Woodley is about to seal the deal to star as Beatrice Prior in Summit Entertainment’s adaptation of “Divergent.” Yes, it’s one of many in the world of YA book to film adaptations, but “Divergent” is much more likely to be of a higher quality than the lot. As reported by THR, Woodley also snagged the role of Mary Jane Watson in the “Amazing Spider-Man” sequel. It’s reportedly “a very small part,” but will likely grow should the franchise roll into a third iteration and the storyline, “The Night Gwen Stacy Died.”
2. Gotham Awards Nominations: The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) has unveiled its nominees for the Gotham Independent Film Awards with “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Bernie,” “Middle of Nowhere,” and “Moonrise Kingdom” all snagging two of the 30 total nominations. “Bernie,” “The Loneliest Planet,” “The Master,” “Middle of Nowhere” and “Moonrise Kingdom” will duke it out for the honor of Best Feature while “Beasts of the Southern Wild” finds its place in the Breakthrough Director and Breakthrough Actor categories. Little Quvenzhané Wallis will be up against Melanie Lynskey for “Hello, I Must Be Going,” Thure Lindhardt for “Keep the Lights On,” Emayatzy Corinealdi for “Middle of Nowhere” and Mike Birbiglia for “Sleepwalk with Me.” Click here to check out the full list of nominees.
3. Hateship, Friendship Gets Wiig, Steinfeld, Nolte and Pearce: In come four reasons to keep an eye on Liza Johnson’s latest, “Hateship, Friendship.” According to THR, Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld and Nick Nolte are all locked to star in the indie dramedy. The film is based on Alice Munro’s book of short stories, “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage,” and focuses on a nanny (Wiig) keeping an eye on a wild teenage girl (Steinfeld). The girl sets the nanny up with her father (Pearce), a recovering addict, who’s still shunned by the girl’s grandfather for the death of his daughter.
4. Breaking Dawn Might Not Be the End of “The Twilight Saga:” There’s been talk of continuing “The Twilight Saga” for quite some time, and now that the film franchise is actually nearing its end, more details are starting to surface. Movie Hole’s sources claim that continuation possibilities include a “TV show or film spin-off, merely set in the same world as the one in the movies but not featuring the main trio.” Apparently The Wolf Pack is a prime option to take the spotlight. Even as someone who isn’t really into “The Twilight Saga,” it’s tough to deny the push for more. The films aren’t of a high quality, but with over two billion at the worldwide box office, how could Lionsgate/Summit not keep it going? And who knows? Perhaps there are quality stories and characters behind all of Bella, Edward and Jacob’s romantic melodrama worth exploring.
5. James Ransone Takes Nate Parker’s Spot in “Oldboy:” It can be a tough break to lose an actor over scheduling problems, but in the case of “Oldboy,” swapping Nate Parker for James Ransone is a solid trade. Hot off a particularly memorable supporting role in “Sinister,” Ransone is filling the recently vacated spot and joining the “Oldboy” cast as a doctor who works alongside Elizabeth Olsen’s character, a social worker who strikes up a relationship with Josh Brolin’s advertising executive who was held captive for 20 years and then inexplicably released. “Oldboy” will mark Ransone’s third collaboration with Spike Lee having appeared in “Inside Man” and “Red Hook Summer.” (via Variety)
6. Aaron Paul to Lead “Need for Speed:” Could we finally get that quality game-to-film adaptation we’ve been waiting for? With “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul on board to lead “Need for Speed,” I’m more inclined to bet on it. According to EW, “Act of Valor’s” Scott Waugh is set to direct the film that has roots in the racing game, but isn’t based on any one game of the series. Production is due to begin early next year with the film heading towards a February 7, 2014 release.
7. “Transformers 4” Might Have a Female Lead: With Sam Witwicky out of the picture, it’s time to usher in a brand new “Transformers” lead and, according to Spoiler TV (via ComingSoon), it might be a leading lady. Apparently Michael Bay is currently on the hunt for an actress to play a high school senior. She’d be the fourth film’s main characters, but there’s also a call out for an actor to play her boyfriend, a racecar driver from Texas. Still quite exhausted from “Revenge of the Fallen” and “Dark of the Moon,” I’ve got little to no interest in the continuation of this franchise, but shaking the format up with a female lead does hint at potential. Now we’ve just got to hope Bay doesn’t turn the character into a mindless Barbie doll rather than a human being.
8. Andy Serkis to Direct “Animal Farm:” Most know Andy Serkis for his motion capture work as Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” but Serkis has been busy honing another trade, directing. He worked as the second unit director on all three “Hobbit” films and 266 days later is ready for his own feature. According to THR, Serkis is locked to direct an adaptation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Serkis explained, “I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it,” and added, “It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environments.” Serkis’ “Animal Farm” also looks to be a film for the whole family, Serkis noting that his iteration of the story won’t delve deep into the politics and he’ll focus more on presenting the tale in a “fable-istic” manner.
9. Trailers: “Iron Man 3,” “Jack Reacher,” “Carrie:” Normally trailer previews don’t make it into the Trailers section of the Movie News Cheat Sheet, but this is “Iron Man 3” we’re talking about. There isn’t much there, but considering the full trailer is due out on Tuesday, it’s enough to hold us over for just a little while longer. A brand new trailer for the Tom Cruise-starrer “Jack Reacher” also arrived and it’s got a bit more in the way of story to offer than the one released back in September. The action is on point and the plot is engaging, but it’s tough to imagine Cruise managing to lose his massive persona in Reacher. The teaser for the remake of “Carrie” debuted at New York Comic Con also hit the web and while it is on the short and sweet side, it does offer a nice sense of how Kimberly Peirce went about adapting the Stephen King novel.
10. Box Office: $30 million is a nice chunk of money, but when you’re part of the “Paranormal Activity” film franchise, you expect something more along the lines of a $40 million+ opening weekend. With none of the newcomers performing particularly well, the door was wide open for “Argo” to take in a nice chunk of cash and it certainly did. The film dropped a mere 14.6%, earning another $16.6 million, bringing its domestic grand total to $43.2 million, just shy of its $44.5 million budget. “Hotel Transylvania” continues to enjoy its long legs, losing just 21.7% of its weekend three profits for a $13.5 million fourth weekend out. Even “Taken 2” managed to hold on strong. After dropping a whopping 55.8% from weekend one to two, the sequel only lost 38.7% of its weekend two profits, giving it a total $13.4 million this time around. Rounding out the top five is new entry “Alex Cross,” a major disappointment with a $4,628 per theater average and $11.8 million opening total, an all-time low for Tyler Perry. (via Box Office Mojo)