Sure May sort of marks the start of the summer movie season, but now that we’re past the summer solstice, June 21st, things are really starting to heat up. Not only are trailers and posters pouring in, but major updates on upcoming projects, too.
Academy Award nominated director David O. Russell is loading up his next cast with famous faces as is Woody Allen and the director of Snow White and the Huntsman, Rupert Sanders. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Joel Courtney is seizing opportunities that came his way, likely courtesy of Super 8, and looks to lock in two upcoming projects.
Sure, there’s an abundance of casting news this week, but as all of it suggests the films involved pack promise, I say, bring it on! But of course, we also have your latest in new trailers and a summary of the weekend’s box office report. So, how about it? Ready for your first official Movie News Cheat Sheet of the summer season? Dive right in.
1. The Silver Linings Playbook Casting Heats Up: While director David O. Russell is sealing the deal with Robert De Niro, he’s got a hefty handful of top-notch potentials waiting in the wings. Elizabeth Banks, Kirsten Dunst, Blake Lively, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, Andrea Riseborough and Olivia Wilde are all screen testing for Russell’s upcoming film, an adaptation of the book The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel. The gang is vying for the role of a woman who deals with the death of her husband by going on a sex romp, putting her job in jeopardy. She befriends the film’s lead to be played by Russell’s The Fighter star Mark Wahlberg. (via Variety and THR)
2. Woody Allen’s Next Cast Revealed: Now that Midnight in Paris is out and making strides at the box office, Woody Allen is gearing up for his next project, which, sure enough, will wow you with its massive cast packed with the best Hollywood has to offer. In addition to Allen himself, The Bop Decameron will feature Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. The film, currently in pre-production, is a contemporary piece inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a series of tragic and erotic love stories. Production is set to kick off on July 11th in Rome.
3. Snow White Finds Her Dwarves: And just like that, director Rupert Sanders has all seven dwarves for Snow White and the Huntsman. The first to enter negotiations is Ian McShane who’ll play dwarf numero uno, Caesar, the leader of the bunch. Eddie Izzard, Bob Hoskins and Toby Jones are all steps away from being officially on board too, but not as familiar dwarves like Sleepy, Happy or Grumpy, rather Tiberius, Constantine and Claudius. Izzard’s Tiberius is the biggest of the bunch, Hoskins’ Constantine is blind and Jones’ Claudius is a bit on the timid side. Ray Winstone is in talks as well to play Trajan, the twin brother of Hadrian to be played by Eddie Marsan. Rounding out the seven warrior dwarves is Stephen Graham. (via THR – 1, 2, 3)
4. Say Hello to Pottermore: Pottermore is officially up and running – kind of. There’s been speculation surrounding this concept for quite some time, but now, the actual site is live with a welcome message and brief definition of the term Pottermore; “Pottermore is a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books.” There’s also a video from JK Rowling herself thanking fans and introducing everyone to this new experience, which keeps the beloved books in tact, but encourages users to “share, participate in and rediscover the stories.” Rowling will join in as well to reveal Harry Potter information she’s kept to herself – until now. Pottermore is also the only place you’ll be able to purchase eBooks of the Harry Potter series. (via Pottermore.com)
5. Jamie Foxx to Lead Django Unchained: For quite a while it was all about Will Smith for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Well, according to Deadline, those plans really did fall through and Jamie Foxx is the actor entering negotiations for the lead role of Django, a slave who’s freed by a dentist-turned-bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) and tries to rescue his wife from the evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). As Tarantino’s now in arm’s reach of locking his leading man, he’s also taking steps towards finding Django’s wife. As reported by Variety, Kerry Washington is at the top of the list to claim the role of Broomhilda.
6. Posters, Posters, Everywhere: Typically trailers are the only promotion material that get their own ranking in the Movie News Cheat Sheet, but this week, we’ve had an impressive showing in the poster department. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark got an eerie new design, bathed in a creepily appropriate red hue. Abduction took a cue from Inception and features Taylor Lautner in the midst of breaking glass and some warped looking skyscrapers in its first poster. Brave is still a year away, but as Cars 2 got demolished by critics, Pixar fans are already eager for the company’s next big production, so Brave’s brand new teaser poster gets a warm welcome. However, my favorite of the bunch are the new character posters for Tarsem Singh’s Immortals. Both Singh and costume designer Eiko Ishioka are known for their incredibly original visual styling, and it’s certainly present in these designs.
7. Joel Courtney Is Tom Sawyer: Newcomer Joel Courtney is already making moves. After his very first big screen performance in Super 8, Courtney’s landed two more roles, one in Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn and the other in The Healer. The former is an adaptation of the classic Mark Twain tale to be written and directed by Jo Kastner. The 15-year-old actor is in negotiations to star as Tom Sawyer. Filming is expected to kick off in August in Bulgaria. The Healer is a piece that’ll be written and directed by Giorgio Serafini and, should all go to plan, Courtney will step in as one of two boys that travel into the woods to rekindle their relationship with their father. Shortly after taking a step in the right direction, a tragedy leaves the father caught between the world of the living and the afterlife. That one is set to go into production in September in North Carolina, so Courtney certainly has his work cut out for him. (via Variety)
8. AWOL Negotiations Begin For Hemsworth, Palmer, Teegarden And More: Based on a true story, AWOL focuses on a soldier in Vietnam who’s dumped by his girlfriend back home where the anti-war movement is in full swing at the University of Michigan. With a buddy, this soldier opts to go AWOL and heads home to win her back. As reported by Variety, Austin Stowell is in talks for the role of the dumpee, Aimee Teegarden for the dumper and Liam Hemsworth for the friend just trying to make all this dumping go away. Teresa Palmer, Chris Lowell and Max Adler are all in negotiations as well. First time director Danny Mooney is set to get behind the lens in Ann Arbor in mid-July.
9. Trailers: Flypaper, Killer Elite, Footloose: What happens when two groups of robbers try to snag some cash from the same bank at the same time and Patrick Dempsey gets caught in the middle? Flypaper. The first trailer for the crime comedy has arrived and while it does suggest there’s quite a bit of cheesy slapstick, Dempsey boasts his usual charm and the concept itself seems, well, fun. If you’re looking for some more serious action, check out the new trailer for Killer Elite, which stars Jason Statham as a former member of Britain’s Elite Special Air Service who has to take out a team of assassins in order to rescue his mentor (Robert De Niro). For some lighter fair, albeit perhaps too light, take a look at the trailer for the remake of Footloose. The concern here is, will this be the 2009 Fame remake all over again?
10. Box Office: Apparently poor reviews didn’t keep many away from Cars 2. The sequel took in $68 million this weekend; that’s about $8 million more than its predecessor. Bad Teacher trailed behind by quite a bit, but the $31 million start is likely more than enough to make the folks at Sony happy. Coming in at #3 is Green Lantern, which took a massive hit, dropping 65.5%, earning another $18.4 million. The fourth position went to Super 8, which is still holding on fairly strong in week three. It only lost 43.6% of its week two earnings, giving it $12.1 million for week three. Mr. Popper’s Penguins rounds out the top five with $10.3 million. The film’s 44.2% drop is modest for week two, but the additional cash still only brings its total domestic haul to $39.4 million, which leaves it shy of its $55 million budget. (via Box Office Mojo)
By Perri Nemiroff