We’re going into high-profile overdrive this week. We’ve got some major casting news regarding a number of highly anticipated productions including Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Spike Lee’s Oldboy, Stephenie Meyer’s next book-to-film adaptation The Host and more.

In non-casting news, of course, we’ve got the details on the Academy Awards producer/host shuffle and an update on the upcoming Justice League movie from Warner Bros. as well as a little sneak peek at the xnew Toy Story short film set to play ahead of the November 23rd release, The Muppets.

So, want the goods? They’re all right here in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1. Sacha Baron Cohen May Join Django Unchained: It looks like Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Dennis Christopher, Kurt Russell, Laura Cayouette, Don Johnson, M.C. Gainey, Tom Savini, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony LaPaglia, RZA, Misty Upham, Tom Wopat, James Remar, James Russo, Todd Allen and Rex Linn are getting yet another co-star, and it’s someone you might not expect – Sacha Baron Cohen. As reported by Variety, Baron Cohen is about to seal the deal to snag a part in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. The film focuses on a man named Django, a former slave hell bent on rescuing his wife from her slave master. Should Baron Cohen sign on the dotted line, he’ll play Scotty, a gambler who purchases Django’s wife to be his female companion. The film is set to shoot in early 2012, aiming for a December 25th, 2012 release date.

2. The Oldboy Remake’s Villain Could Be Colin Firth: Back in August, director Spike Lee found his Oldboy and now that Oldboy might have found his nemesis. According to Twitch, should everything go to plan, Colin Firth will star opposite Josh Brolin as Adrian, the man responsible for Brolin’s character’s kidnapping and lengthy imprisonment. As of now, the role was merely offered to Firth and negotiations haven’t even begun, but the pairing could be quite the powerhouse for the Park Chan-Wook remake. Just recently news also broke that Rooney Mara was offered the lead female role in the film, but the fast-rising young actress declined.

3. Justice League on the Big Screen By 2015: With The Avengers due to arrive on May 4th, 2012, we’ll have quite a while to go until the Warner Bros. equivalent, Justice League, hits theaters, but now Cosmic Book News reports that wait might not be as long as we expected. The site admits they can’t confirm this information, but do say that they’ve heard that there are plans to release the film in 2015 or 2016. DC Entertainment will spearhead the production, which will then be taken over by both Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures for distribution. DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns will step in as Executive Producer and will write the treatment, too. As for a screenwriter, at the moment, David Goyer is at the top of the list. There are hopes for Christopher Nolan, Henry Cavill and Ryan Reynolds to be involved, but nothing’s been solidified just yet. As for Batman, Christian Bale’s a dead end; we will have a brand new Batman. Again, none of this information is studio-approved, but if you’d like to read more of Cosmic Book News’ report, click right here to check out the full article.

4. Sneak Peek at the Pre-Muppets Toy Story Short: Yeah, the Muppets are cool, but, to be honest, we’ve gotten so much promotional material for the film, I’ve almost lost all interest in seeing the full feature. However, there is a little something that’ll guarantee I purchase a ticket, the new Toy Story short Small Fry. The seven-minute piece introduces us to a new toy, a mini Buzz Lightyear from a fast-food restaurant. Mini Buzz kidnaps the real Buzz and attempts to take his place amidst Woody and the gang. Meanwhile, big Buzz winds up in a support group for unwanted fast-food toys. The usual suspects are back to voice their characters including Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger and Joan Cusack as well as newcomer Jane Lynch who breathes life into the support group leader, Neptuna. Click here to read USA Today’s full piece on the short, which includes a look at mini Buzz and see Small Fry in its entirety when it’s released with The Muppets on November 23rd.

5. The Host Gets Max Irons and Jake Abel: The Twilight Saga may be on its way out, but Stephenie Meyer is here to stay. The author is hard at work on her latest book-to-film adaptation, The Host, and, according to EW, the project has locked two of its main men. Max Irons is on board to portray Jared Howe while Jake Abel will play Ian. Saoirse Ronan has been attached for quite some time to star as Melanie Stryder, one of few humans left after an alien invasion of souls. When the alien Wanderer attempts to enter Mel’s soul, rather than merely erasing her, the two wind up sharing Mel’s body. Naturally, Abel and Irons create a love triangle; Mel loves Irons’ character, but Abel’s character falls for Wanderer in Mel’s body. Shooting is set to kick off in February in Louisiana and then move to New Mexico.

6. The Oscars Loses Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner, But Gains Billy Crystal: Regardless of who produces and hosts the Oscars, I’m watching. But, I have to admit; the Brett Ratner-Eddie Murphy pairing did create an unusually intense draw. However, after Ratner’s foul mouth and crudeness got the better of him, Ratner was left with no choice but to step down as the show’s producer and I doubt many were sad to see him go. Soon thereafter, the 84th Academy Awards telecast’s host and Ratner’s Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy opted out as well, stating, “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony,” says Murphy in a statement. “I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.” Just a day later, THR reported that Billy Crystal will step in as Murphy’s replacement. Sure, Crystal’s a funny guy and he’s got experience having hosted the show in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004, but the re-casting definitely gives the event a different tone, something that might alienate the Academy Award’s potential younger viewers. But, then again, the whole Anne Hathaway and James Franco thing didn’t work out all that well anyway.

7. Pre-Breaking Dawn Hysteria: With The Twilight Saga’s continued success, it should come as no surprise that the public’s eating Breaking Dawn – Part 1 right up well before its release. Not only are fans already camping out for the film’s November 14th premiere, but early ticket sales are monumental. Apparently Breaking Dawn pre-release ticket sales are accounting for 72% of Fandango’s weekly purchases. MovieTickets.com also reports that 1,344 are already sold out as of November 9th. Could this be the biggest Twilight release ever? I’m betting on it. Just last year, the franchise’s third installment, Eclipse, opened with an impressive $64.8 million in 4,468 theaters. While that’s most certainly a lot of cash, it isn’t nearly as much as New Moon, which, like Breaking Dawn, had a mid-November release back in 2009. There’s absolutely no reason to think that Breaking Dawn – Part 1 won’t follow in New Moon’s footsteps and completely eclipse Eclipse’s earnings. (via Fandango, MovieTickets.com, Box Office Mojo)

8. The Hunger Games Trailer to Premiere Tomorrow: While The Hunger Games isn’t eligible for the trailer section this week, the mere news of its upcoming debut is most certainly worthy of a spot on the top ten. Just the other day word got out that Peeta Mellark himself, Josh Hutcherson, will unveil the full Hunger Games trailer on ABC’s Good Morning America. Live in New York? You can attend the event in person and watch the trailer make its world premiere on the Times Square jumbotron. Have to go to work? Or, would you rather just not wake up early to catch the big debut? After the show the trailer will appear exclusively on iTunes Movie Trailers so you can watch it over and over again. Let the countdown being! (via Lionsgate, iTunes Movie Trailers)

9. Trailers: Snow White and the Huntsman, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Goon: One Snow White production has officially taken the lead. While Tarsem Singh’s Mirror, Mirror has a very colorful and family-friendly vibe, Snow White and the Huntsman is surprisingly gritty and, for lack of better terms, based on this trailer, will kick some major ass. We’ve also got the very first trailer for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Even though the film rocks an impressive cast including Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine, this one looks as though it’ll fall right in line with the Spy Kids franchise with its cartoonish CGI and juvenile gags. On the other hand, the Goon is most certainly not for younger audiences. Not only does the new red band trailer show off some crude humor and harsh on-ice bloodshed, but also appropriately one-ups the teaser trailer with a nice dose of back-story and character development.

10. Box Office: Poor reviews? These are the Greek gods we’re talking about; of course they can overpower the critics! Tarsem Singh’s Immortals kicked off its run with an impressive $10,283 per theater average and a weekend one total of $32 million. Jack and Jill may not have opened as strongly, but $26 million is still a solid start for the latest from Adam Sandler. Puss in Boots continues to hold on strong, too, barely missing out on that #2 spot and coming in third with about $25.5 million. Tower Heist saw a moderate fall, losing 45.1% of its opening weekend earnings for another $13.2 million. Rounding out the top five is another newcomer, J. Edgar, which managed to pull in $11.5 million in just over 1,900 theaters courtesy of a $6,005 per theater average. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

Toy Story Short Small Fry
Toy Story Short Small Fry

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By Perri Nemiroff

Film producer and director best known for her work in movies such as FaceTime, Trevor, and The Professor. She has worked as an online movie blogger and reporter for sites such as CinemaBlend.com, ComingSoon.net, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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