Ready for your last Movie News Cheat Sheet of July 2011? Just as we’re heading into the home stretch of the summer season, a slew of films are priming to snag the spotlight as their big debuts are on the horizon.
Not only do we have a ton of images from a selection of Toronto International Film Festival participants like the Jason Segel starrer Jeff Who Lives at Home and Francis Ford Coppola’s supernatural horror thriller Twixt, but Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Judge Dredd, too. Entertainment Weekly also gave us our very first look at Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson all decked out in their Gale and Peeta attire as well as the very first stills from The Hunger Games.
A slew of highly anticipated productions also dropped trailers this week, the lot including New Year’s Eve in which director Garry Marshall takes pride in showing off his famous cast, Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron and Abigail Breslin to name a few, and the big screen version of the beloved board game Battleship.
Sure, visuals are great, but we’ve also got some intriguing casting news, my favorite of which involves two actors on the rise, child star Joe Mazzello and the underrated Alia Shawkat. Read all about what they’ve got coming up and much more in this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. New Images: A bunch of brand new images have come our way, and particularly stimulating ones courtesy of some wild costume design. First up is a look at Karl Urban as our new Judge Dredd as well as a shot of Olivia Thirlby as Cassandra Anderson, a telepath who keeps an eye on Dredd, via Bleeding Cool. Now how about a flaming skull? The Film Stage snagged some scans from a new issue of Empire Magazine with a spotlight on Ghost Riser: Spirit of Vengeance. Sure, a flaming skull sounds like fun, but the image is so clearly Photoshopped, it’s more laughable than anything. At least Idris Elba looks pretty wicked riding a motorcycle and rocking glowing yellow eyes in his image. On a much more realistic note, Cinema Blend also has a fantastic collection of brand new stills from not one, but 13 somewhat more down-to-earth upcoming productions, all set to play at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. In less official image news, we finally got a look at Bane’s (Tom Hardy) full getup in The Dark Knight Rises courtesy of Just Jared.
2. Casting Continues for The Dark Knight Rises: Like Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a big enough cast already. Stargate fans will be thrilled to learn that Teal’c, Christopher Judge, snagged a role in Batman’s next big adventure. The actor revealed the news himself via Twitter writing, “I can finally confirm: I have been cast in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.” No word on who he’ll play in the film, but this is a pretty big guy we’re talking about here; he’d undoubtedly make a useful henchman.
3. Neil Burger To Revamp Bonnie and Clyde: When this story first popped up I thought perhaps Neil Burger took over for Tonya S. Holly on The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, but no; we’re getting two new Bonnie and Clyde films at once, that is if Holly’s version ever goes into production. According to Deadline, Burger is in talks to join writer Sheldon Turner to bring Jeff Guinn’s book Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde to the big screen. The book shows our heroes in a far less romantic light than the 1967 Arthur Penn film. Apparently the public can handle multiple films covering the same subject matter as Snow White and The Amazing Spider-Man amongst others have proven, but it would be a bit of a blow for The Story of Bonnie and Clyde if this version gets rolling first. However, Burger must shoot Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune first, so if the folks at Cypress Moon get it together ASAP, they could edge out Go Down Together.
4. Nicolas Cage vs. John Cusack in Frozen Ground: Scott Walker is making his feature debut and he’s looking to do it with a bang with the help of some big names. Walker penned the script, which is based on the true story of Robert Hansen, an Alaska resident that killed between 17 and 21 people in the early 80s. Cusack is up for the role of Hansen, while Cage is in talks to play the Alaska State Trooper who finds Hansen’s sole surviving victim and works with her to take the serial killer down. Gritty material, but should these casting efforts go through, we could have a production worth keeping an eye on. (via Deadline)
5. Joe Mazzello Goes Joe: Joe Mazzello’s star power has certainly decreased since his younger years when he starred in films like Jurassic Park and The River Wild, but the now 27-year-old actor is making a push to get back into the spotlight and has successfully taken some steps towards doing just that over the past few years having snagged a part in the mini series The Pacific and a small role in The Social Network. Apparently Mazzello is making the push to go blockbuster because, according to Deadline, he’s been recruited to play Mouse in G.I. Joe 2. No, this doesn’t sound like a role worthy of such a talented actor, but, as someone with a major soft pot for Jurassic Park, I’ve got hopes this could be the push Mazzello needs to get himself back on top.
6. Say Hello to Gale and Peeta: Entertainment Weekly is giving The Hunger Games the cover treatment yet again, this time for Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) main men, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson). The main appeal of the front cover is the fact that this is the first time we’re seeing Gale and Peeta in the flesh. The image looks a bit off as something was clearly done to level out Hutcherson and Hemsworth’s height difference, but otherwise, it’s a good start. The better material is inside the issue, which not only features an interview with the actors, but two other images that are The Hunger Games’ first official stills.
7. Alia Shawkat Takes Two: No, this news isn’t as “big” as the material typically featured in the Cheatsheet, but it should be. Over the years Shawkat has secured a nice amount of work, but is still flying under the radar courtesy of lackluster roles like her dialogue-less part in The Runaways and the far underappreciated roller derby movie Whip It. Well, Shawkat is still at it and, as reported by Variety, taking on not one, but two more projects. The first is Fox Searchlight’s He Loves Me in which she’ll play a hipster who’s crushing on Paul Dano’s character. Fingers crossed Shawkat doesn’t get swallowed up in that one as according to the film’s IMDb page, it’s got quite the cast including Deborah Ann Woll, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan and more. The second project, The Brass Teapot, will feature Shawkat alongside Juno Temple and Michael Angarano. She’ll play Louise, a buddy of Temple’s character. Okay, so neither sounds monumental for Shawkat’s career, but hopefully these are projects that’ll continue to nudge her in the right direction.
8. Kristen Wiig’s Imogene’s Got Jersey Shore and Darren Criss: We already knew Kristen Wiig’s next project, Imogene, would feature her as a woman who fakes suicide to get back at her ex, only to get stuck living with her gambling-addict of a mother (Annette Bening), but now, producer Celine Rattray, stepped up to confirm some other rumors and to elaborate a bit more on what Wiig’s going for here. Rattray confirmed that Glee’s Darren Criss is on board and divulged some information about Bening’s character. According to Vulture, here’s the gist of the discussion: “Wiig will be making out with Darren Criss, and Annette Bening is going to look like she’s on Jersey Shore.” Rattray also told them, “Kristen Wiig plays a girl from New Jersey, who … is embarrassed about her family in New Jersey, like it’s Jersey Shore.” She added, “She gets sent back to live with her mother in New Jersey, played by Annette Bening, who is a tacky Jersey Shore mother, and then it becomes about her family reconnecting.” Like Wiig’s involvement wasn’t already enough. Could Imogene achieve a Bridesmaids level of hilarity? Based on this material, the outlook is good.
9. Trailers: New Year’s Eve, Battleship, Red State, Red Tails, The Avengers: How many famous faces can you handle in a single trailer? It’s time to test your tolerance because the trailer for the Valentine’s Day sequel, New Year’s Eve has arrived and, just like its predecessor, it’s oozing with star power. Battleship, on the other hand, is oozing with something else, confusion. It seems like a semi-sensible board game-to-film adaptation at the start, but in the tail end of the film’s first trailer, it takes a turn for the supernatural. Since when do aliens sink your battleships? Going to the extreme in a better way is the red band trailer for Kevin Smith’s Red State. Sure, it’s sick and twisted, but it’s presented in a way that leaves you itching for more. Not only does the new Red Tails trailer rock some impressive looking aerial battles, but a ton of heart, too. George Lucas’ passion project is finally seeing the light of day and, so far, it looks as though it was worth his time and energy. Last up is the much talked about teaser trailer for The Avengers that’s tacked onto last weekend’s release Captain America: The First Avenger. It’s not the complete teaser, just a teaser for the teaser really, but it should hold you over until you can catch Captain America, or perhaps just sneak in post-credits, but shhh, you didn’t hear that from me.
10. Box Office: My predictions were all over the place this week. While I nailed some numbers, others were just way off the mark, particularly with two of the bigger openings. Cowboys & Aliens managed to snag the top spot, but not by much. Box Office Mojo has it a #1, but both Cowboys & Aliens and The Smurfs made an estimate of $36.2 million this weekend with The Smurfs posting the higher per theater average. Captain America: The First Avenger slid 61.7% in week two, taking in just $24.9 million while Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 saw a lesser, albeit still hefty, fall of 53.8%. Potter’s $21.9 million week three intake brings its domestic total to $318.5 million. Crazy, Stupid, Love posted $19.3 million, as expected, which earned it the fifth position on the top ten.