Consider this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet a casting cheat sheet because besides the trailers, box office report and Shia LaBeouf being weird at the Berlin Film Festival, it’s one casting update after the next.
We’ve got big-name actors screen testing for the “Fantastic Four” reboot, another admitting he’s been approached about a role in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” and yet another choosing to back out of a franchise that he’s partially responsible for starting.
Ready for the details on all of that, an “Avengers: Age of Ultron” addition, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill’s planned reunion and loads more? It’s all coming your way right here.
1. Shia LaBeouf’s Bizarre Behavior at Berlin: After taking loads of flak for plagiarizing someone else’s work to make a short film and then even more for his unusual response to getting caught, Shia LaBeouf continues to suggest he might have lost all composure at the Berlin Film Festival. During the press conference for Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac,” LaBeouf sat quietly in what Variety dubs “a filthy truckers’ cap, a hoodie and purple socks” until he was asked his first question roughly 10 minutes in. However, rather than discuss his approach to the sex scenes as the journalist requested, LaBeouf replied, “When seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea,” got up and left. Shortly after that display, LaBeouf hit the red carpet for the premiere of the film donning a paper bag over his head that said, “I am not famous anymore.” For someone professing that he isn’t famous anymore, he’s doing an awfully good job at attracting even more attention to himself. (via Variety)
2. Leonardo DiCaprio & Jonah Hill Take “American Nightmare:” Now that both locked in Oscar nominations for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are on to their next collaboration, “American Nightmare.” As reported by Deadline, Fox just secured the rights to the Vanity Fair article, “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.” The adaptation will feature Hill as Richard Jewell, the security guard responsible for finding a suspicious backpack at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Initially, Jewell was dubbed a hero for making the find and then helping to clear the area before the pipe bombs in the bag exploded, but shortly after, he was pegged as a suspect. DiCaprio will step in as an acquaintance of Jewell’s who happens to be a lawyer. Even though his area of expertise is real estate, he did manage to guide Jewell through the media-driven onslaught and help clear his name. You can read the full Vanity Fair piece right here.
3. No Will Smith for “Independence Day 2:” Even though it seemed like there was still a shot of Will Smith returning to reprise his role of Captain Steven Hiller in “Independence Day 2,” now Deadline is reporting that it isn’t going to happen. The outlet’s source(s) claims that Smith simply told director Roland Emmerich and co. that he would not be part of the new film. Deadline insists that the project can still move forward and that Fox is “keen” on doing so. Apparently Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin wrote two first drafts, one with Captain Hiller at the heart of the narrative and another without him, so even if Smith’s exit is a done deal, there still are options. However, Deadline also points out that Smith might not have had his final conversation with Emmerich just yet and even though it looks as though he won’t be part of the project, he’s wavered enough thus far that there is the slightest chance that this report may not be definitive.
4. Paul Bettany is Vision in “Avengers: Age of Ultron:” We’ve got another big name to add to the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” roster – Paul Bettany. According to Variety, Marvel just snatched him up to portray the android, Vision. As reported by The Daily Mail, Bettany was spotted alongside Jeremy Renner at Shepperton Studios for a meeting with director Joss Whedon during which they did some costume, hair and make-up tests and even worked with stuntmen and armorers. In the source material, Ultron, who is to be played by James Spader, creates Vision as a weapon, but ultimately, Vision sides with the Avengers, eventually going on to marry Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). There’s no word on exactly which piece of the Vision mythology will make it into the film, but regardless, it’ll be nice to see Bettany get some face-time in a Marvel movie rather than just voicing Tony Stark’s artificially intelligent computer, Jarvis. Filming is set to begin next month in the UK and South Africa.
5. Anna Kendrick & Rebel Wilson to Return for “Pitch Perfect 2:” “Pitch Perfect 2” has a director, a release date and now it has two leads, too! Universal Pictures officially announced that both Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are locked to return for the sequel and even included a teaser image of the two in character as Becca and Fat Amy. After producing the first film, Elizabeth Banks is going even bigger and making “Pitch Perfect 2” her feature directorial debut. Kay Cannon is back as well and is currently writing the screenplay so the project can begin making its way towards a May 15, 2015 debut. (via ComingSoon)
6. Gary Oldman for “Star Wars: Episode VII?:” Here’s yet another “Star Wars: Episode VII” casting rumor for the collection. While promoting “RoboCop,” Gary Oldman sat down with Sky Movies and when the outlet asked if he’d follow up his work in the “Harry Potter,” “Batman,” “Planet of the Apes” and “RoboCop” franchises with “Star Wars,” Oldman replied, “They’ve called, yeah.” He also added, “I’m more cynical about it now, you know? I’ll believe it when I’m on the plane home. You know, the deal isn’t done. But yeah, they’ve inquired.” Production is expected to begin soon so hopefully concrete casting details aren’t far off. Click here to catch Oldman talking about his “Star Wars” potential for yourself.
7. Evangeline Lilly in Talks for “Ant-Man” Female Lead: With Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Michael Pena all officially on-board for “Ant-Man,” it’s time for Marvel to lock in a leading lady and according to Variety, Evangeline Lilly is the top choice for the role. No word on who she’ll play, but many suspect that her character could be Hank Pym’s (Douglas) daughter and Scott Lang’s (Rudd) love interest. Some are also suggesting that she could wind up playing Janet van Dyne, also known as Wasp. In the comics, Wasp was married to and fought alongside Pym, the original Ant-Man, but, of course, adjustments could be made. Lilly is currently in early talks for the role, but if the deal goes through, Marvel will release an official statement and hopefully that will include more details.
8. Kate Mara, Emmy Rossum & Miles Teller Testing for “Fantastic Four:” The casting craze continues with “Fantastic Four.” The latest comes from THR, which claims that Fox is in the middle of screen testing potential stars to determine who’d make the ultimate foursome for the Josh Trank-directed reboot. Apparently Michael B. Jordan is officially attached as Johnny Storm (aka The Human Torch), but auditions are underway for the roles of Sue Storm, Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. Even though there were claims that Saoirse Ronan and Elizabeth Olsen were vying for the role, now they’re out and Kate Mara and Emmy Rossum are testing for the Invisible Woman. There’s also no more Kit Harington for Mr. Fantastic, but Milles Teller is still in the mix. And as for The Thing, the only actor mentioned in the article that’s tested for the part is Christian Cook. Dr. Doom is reportedly the villain of the film and Fox is currently on the hunt for a “big name” and also isn’t opposed to switching the gender of the role. THR’s piece concludes by warning that Trank will hold additional auditions in the coming days and weeks, letting even more actors read for the roles.
9. Trailers: “Under the Skin,” “Divergent,” “Captain America: The Winter Solider:” If you like your movies sans story and with lengthy looks at morphing eyeballs, “Under the Skin” is for you. The promotional effort has done little to nothing to sell the film as an entertaining experience at the theater, and therefore, this new red band teaser fits into the campaign perfectly. “Divergent,” on the other hand, takes a big step forward with its final theatrical trailer, a cut that finally doesn’t feel like a hollow attempt at cramming in as much backstory as possible. The narrative basics are there, but this time around, they’re rather well-embedded in compelling visuals, hints of drama and loads of action. Last up is another marketing standout, the new trailer for “Captain America: The Winter Solider.” Whereas the film’s first trailer offered up no information on Captain America’s new adversary, a detrimental omission for those unfamiliar with the source material, this new one functions as a character piece of sorts, presenting the Winter Solider as a believable threat, and it raises the stakes tenfold.
10. Box Office: “The Lego Movie” has officially earned that sequel announced earlier this week. The film opened huge, taking $18,307 per theater and nearly $70 million in total on a $60 million production budget. Even better, between the high praise and the fact that none of the upcoming Valentine’s Day releases are poised to become big moneymakers, “Lego” should get the chance to show off some strong legs. “The Monuments Men” didn’t pull in as much as you’d expect from a film featuring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman, but $22.7 million on a $7,363 per theater average isn’t a terrible start. “Ride Along” held exceptionally well, dropping just 21.9% moving through its fourth weekend out. The additional $9.4 million brings the film’s domestic total to over $105 million, which is above and beyond its $25 million production budget. Even though “Lego” hit it big, “Frozen” continues to hold strong. It’s in its 12th weekend out, but still sitting pretty at #4 with another $6.9 million to take to the bank. Thankfully “That Awkward Moment” managed to maintain a significant amount of its opening profits because after that disappointing $8.7 million start, it needed every penny it could get. The film dipped 36.6% making its move from weekend one to two for a $5.5 million second weekend out. The sad story this weekend is poor “Vampire Academy.” The film didn’t underperform like “Beautiful Creatures,” “The Host” and “The Mortal Instruments;” it absolutely crashed and burned, posting just $1,533 per theater for a mere $4.1 million start. (via Box Office Mojo)