The theme of this week’s Cheat Sheet? Casting. Well, for the most part.
We’ve got the best of the best including J.J. Abrams’ hopes to cast Benicio del Toro as his villain in Star Trek 2 as well as a slew of potential recruits for Warner Bros’ Akira. It’s been confirmed that Jennifer Lopez is producing a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego movie, but now the question is, will she star in it, too? Then there’s Andy Serkis who just earned a solid paycheck for signing on for Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2 as well as subsequent Apes films.
Yes, this Cheat Sheet is certainly casting heavy, but we’ve also got your weekly box office report as well as the best in new trailer releases, plus a brand new video blog from the set of The Hobbit.
Enough talk; let’s get to it. Here are the must-know news stories from the film industry this past week:
1. J.J. Abrams Wants Benicio del Toro for Star Trek 2: While Star Trek 2 is poised to see the return of the majority of the cast from the first film, round two is still in need of a villain and director J.J. Abrams hopes to fill that void with Benicio del Toro. According to Variety, the two have met and, in a desperate attempt to keep the part a secret, Abrams hasn’t even told del Toro who he’d be playing. Hopefully we’ll get some more information soon, as Variety notes the offer should be made official any day now with production set to begin in early 2012. Then again, should the deal go through, I’d like to bet it comes with a vow of secrecy on del Toro’s part for the time being.
2. New Video Blog from the Set of The Hobbit: After a three-month hiatus, Peter Jackson brings us a brand new video blog from the set of The Hobbit. The piece focuses on the use of 3D and kicks off with Jackson admitting, “If I had the ability to shoot Lord of the Rings in 3D, I certainly would have done it.” However, there actually was a hint of 3D on those films, too, as Jackson explains he did have a camera capable of taking 3D photographs on the set, something he hopes to share, perhaps on a 3D Blu-ray. From there, the video gets Hobbit-specific, or rather, RED-specific, detailing the elements that allow the camera to create the 3D effect. Even more interesting than the actually use of the equipment? Jackson names his cameras. Walter for his grandfather and Bill for his dad amongst many others. Get all of the inside information on The Hobbit from Jackson himself in the full video right here.
3. Jennifer Lopez Takes Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Perhaps on the big screen. Who in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Perhaps Jennifer Lopez. There is talk of Lopez starring in the adaptation, but, as of now, Walden Media only confirmed that she’s attached to produce. The film’s logline is as follows: “When the ACME agency’s greatest detective Carmen Sandiego becomes the world’s greatest thief, it’s up to her former partner to follow her clues and track her down. Their cat-and-mouse game leads the partner to confront a greater mystery: Is Carmen really a thief or a hero?” As I only vaguely remember the series from my younger years, a little Googling leads me to believe this plot most closely resembles that of the 2001 game, Treasures of Knowledge, featuring Carmen’s former partner, Julia “Jules” Argent, which would make Jules and her new recruit partner, Shadow Hawkins, the bigger roles. But of course, this is only mere speculation, as it seems as though Walden Media is still without a script. (via Deadline)
4. Drew Barrymore is Forbes’ Most Overpaid Actress: Yet another Hollywood-centric list from Forbes reveals that celebrities make an absurd amount of money, and quite literally in some cases. Drew Barrymore leads the pack as the most overpaid actress in Hollywood not necessarily because she earns more than most, but because for every $1 she’s paid, her films return a mere 40 cents. Right behind Barrymore is Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy who at least makes somewhat of a profit for what he’s paid, $2.70 for each $1. Will Ferrell earns the third spot courtesy of his $3.50 average return, just edging out Reese Witherspoon and her $3.55 per $1. Witherspoon can primarily thank How Do You Know for that. Quite surprisingly, Denzel Washington comes in at #5, only earning $4.25 for every $1 he’s paid. Turns out, even though Unstoppable earned a whopping $168 million at the box office, the film’s $100 million budget and Washington’s supposed $12 million+ paycheck warrant much more than that. Check out the rest of Forbes’ most overpaid actors right here.
5. Garrett Hedlund for Akira: Warner Bros. is really picking up the pace with their adaptation of the Katsuhiro Otomo manga series, Akira. The original is set in a dystopian Neo-Tokyo, circa 2019, and focuses on a biker with psychic powers named Tetsuo. As reported by Variety, Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund is now in talks to star as, Kaneda, the leader of the biker gang and Tetsuo’s best friend. As for Tetsuo himself, according to THR, Ezra Miller and Alden Eherenreich are the most likely options. Jaume Collet-Serra is set to get behind the lens for this one, which writer Steve Kloves moves to New Manhattan where the biker gang leader is on a mission to save his friend from government medical experiments, as this friend has just discovered he has dangerous psychokinetic abilities. THR also mentions that Helena Bonham Carter, Gary Oldman and Keira Knightley have been approached for roles while Deadline clarifies and claims Oldman is the top choice for the role of The Colonel.
6. Andy Serkis Gets Seven Figures For Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2: After a slew of positive reviews, a $54.8 million opening and then a total worldwide box office haul of $453.2 million, it’s no wonder we’re getting a second Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Odds are, 20th Century Fox will opt to continue the story of the first film and that means the studio will require the involvement of the lead. No, not James Franco, rather Caesar, Andy Serkis. According to Deadline, not only is Fox busy working on an Oscar campaign for Serkis in honor of his performance in the first film, but they’ve also committed to paying Serkis a seven-figure sum to return for multiple Apes movies. While director Rupert Wyatt’s original deal came with a sequel option, Serkis’ did not, so, like with The Lord of the Rings films, he winds up with a stellar payday. As for Apes’ live action stars, there’s still no word on whether or not Franco and Freida Pinto will return – or if they’re even necessary.
7. Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard for Lovelace: Watch out, Malin Akerman; there’s another Linda Lovelace in town. Amanda Seyfried has officially entered talks to star as Linda Lovelace in the Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman drama. No, not, Inferno turned Ordeal, the flick that once starred Lindsay Lohan, but now will feature Akerman alongside Matt Dillon, but simply Lovelace, the version that the directing duo behind Howl is working on. According to Variety, Peter Sarsgaard is in talks to be the Matt Dillon equivalent in this one, the actor looking to close a deal to star alongside Seyfried as Lovelace’s pornographer husband, Chuck Traynor. As a fan of both Seyfried and Akerman, it’s tough to choose one Lovelace movie over the other, but, as I wasn’t a big fan of Howl, my money’s on Matthew Wilder.
8. Clash of the Titans 3 on the Way: So, you may not have liked Clash of the Titans and who knows if things will improve with Wrath of the Titans, but, regardless, we’re getting Clash of the Titans 3. According to THR, Warner Bros. is currently developing round three even though the second film isn’t due to arrive until March 30th, 2012. Wrath writers, Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson, are on board to pen a treatment, which would involve the return of Sam Worthington’s Perseus. Apparently Toby Kebbell’s Agenor, Perseus’ sidekick, is also poised to be part of round three. Wrath producers, Basil Iwanyk and Polly Johnson are set to return and, while director Jonathan Liebesman is expected to get behind the lens again, nothing’s been confirmed for him.
9. Trailers: Wanderlust, 21 Jump Street, Project X: How about a trio of comedies? Let’s kick things off with Wanderlust, a Jennifer Anniston-starrer that surprisingly looks kind of funny. She stars alongside Paul Rudd as a hardworking New York City couple who are thrown off their game when Rudd’s character loses his job and they’re forced to relocate. Another surprisingly comedic entry comes from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, 21 Jump Street. Many remember the popular TV show the film is based on, but while the original was most certainly a drama, the big screen version is far from it. Last up is the latest form Todd Phillips, Project X. Just as raucous as The Hangover, Project X shows what happens when a teenager throws a house party that grows wildly out of control.
10. Box Office: Puss in Boots didn’t just take the top spot for the second weekend in a row; it demolished the competition. Falling a mere 3.1%, Puss’ $33 million put it $8 million ahead of newcomer, Tower Heist, which took $25.1 million on a solid $7,455 per theater average. Following right behind in the rankings, but far behind in cash count, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas begins its run in the third position with $13.1 million. Paranormal Activity 3 took another tough tumble, dropping 53% for an $8.5 million week-two intake while In Time held on quite strong, just losing 36.1% of its opening weekend earnings, leaving it with another $7.7 million. (via Box Office Mojo)