Ready for loads of big casting news? Per usual, we’ve got a ton of high profile projects in the works and a number made some big moves this past week, picking up top talent.
Ben Foster is officially on board to portray Lance Armstrong in the industry’s third impending film on the doping scandal while Matthew Vaughn went for a fresh face for the lead role in his film, “Secret Service.” Over in “Interstellar” land, Christopher Nolan finally wrapped up casting by adding Wes Bentley to the list and Paul Feig opted to add yet another Melissa McCarthy collaboration to his resume, giving her an offer to star in his female spy film, “Susan Cooper.”
We’ve got the details on those stories, more casting updates, the latest on “Pacific Rim 2,” and loads more right here in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Lance Armstrong Biopic #3 with Ben Foster & Stephen Frears: The Warner Bros. Lance Armstrong project and the Paramount Pictures ones have already been announced, but that didn’t stop Stephen Frears from getting to work on his own big screen version of the infamous doping scandal. As reported by Deadline, Ben Foster is currently in final talks to lead and is expected to begin filming this fall. There’s absolutely no way all three films will wind up with an equal shot at success, so a race to the finish line could determine which production is in the best position.
2. Matthew Vaughn Picks Newcomer to Lead “Secret Service:” Matthew Vaughn has found Colin Firth’s secret agent protégé and surprisingly, he’s a totally unknown actor. Rather than go with Aaron Taylor-Johnson or with someone of a similar star status, Vaughn picked Taron Egerton, a young actor with no agent and a single credit to his name, the TV show “Inspector Lewis.” Once the deal goes through, Egerton will have a second title on his resume and one with quite a bit of potential at that. After making it official, he’ll play Firth’s character’s nephew, a young man that Firth is mentoring to become a secret agent. Next Vaughn will need to lock his female lead and villain to ready the production for a fall start. (via Variety)
3. Wes Bentley Rounds Out the Cast of “Interstellar:” After picking up Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck and Topher Grace, Christopher Nolan finally finishes up casting “Interstellar” by adding Wes Bentley. Nolan penned the script with his brother, Jonathan, which is said to involve time travel and alternate dimensions, centering on a group of explorers going through a wormhole. According to THR, the details of Bentley’s character are being kept top secret, as are all plot details, but their sources call his part “a meaty supporting role.”
4. Melissa McCarthy Might be Paul Feig’s “Susan Cooper:” After working together on “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig could be coming back for more. According to The Wrap, McCarthy is currently in early talks to take the lead role in Feig’s next directorial effort, “Susan Cooper.” The project has been described as a realistic take on a female James Bond with a similar tone to that of “The Heat.”
5. James McAvoy is Victor Von Frankenstein: Daniel Radcliffe’s Igor has his Victor Von Frankenstein. As reported by Deadline, Fox is currently in the deal making stage with James McAvoy for the role. Director Paul McGuigan had both James Huston and Toby Kebbell read for the part last month, but apparently McAvoy was the better fit for this revamp of the Mary Shelley classic. Filming is likely to begin soon as the film is due for an October 17, 2014 release.
6. Petition for “Dredd 2:” At this point we’re all very familiar with the fan-fueled Kickstarter craze, but those eager for more “Dredd” are calling for a sequel by circulating a petition. Even though the 2012 release faired well with the critics and with those who saw it, it was still a box office disaster. “Dredd” ran a $50 million production tab, but only went on to accumulate $35.6 million worldwide. Having amassed a broader cult following after the home video and VOD release, “Judge Dredd” publishers, 2000AD, have initiated a petition to encourage Lionsgate to move forward with a sequel. They’ve accumulated well over 50,000 signatures thus far and have more than 45,000 likes on the associated Facebook page.
7. Rosemarie DeWitt to Lead “Poltergeist:” Just after MGM announced plans to join forces with Fox 2000 Pictures to co-finance and distribute the “revisionist take” of “Poltergeist,” the film takes another leap forward by landing a female lead. According to Deadline, Rosemarie DeWitt took the role in the film about a family forced to move to an old suburban home for financial reasons and winds up going up against a malicious spirit in order to rescue their youngest daughter. Now it’s on to pick a new Craig T. Nelson, the patriarch of the family. The man behind “Monster House” and “City of Ember,” Gil Kenan, is set to direct the script from “Oz the Great and Powerful” scribe, David Lindsay-Abaire with Sam Raimi producing alongside Ghost House Pictures’ Rob Tapert and Roy Lee.
8. Guillermo del Toro Talks “Pacific Rim 2:” “Pacific Rim” was far from a box office failure, but $84 million domestically after three weeks in theaters doesn’t necessarily scream sequel. However, the film’s $140 million international boost does bring it closer and perhaps that’s why Guillermo del Toro is already working out the details for a second go-around. (If you’ve yet to see the first film, skip to the next section now because del Toro’s comments do spoil elements from the first film.) Del Toro told MTV, “We will have Gipsy 2.0 for sure. Second thing is you’re gonna see a merging of Kaiju and Jaeger.” He continued, “Just think about it for a second. We sent Gipsy to the other side, right? It exploded, but whatever remains stays there. And we drifted with a Kaiju brain. Well, then start riffing on that and you’ll get to something.” Even though I can’t say I loved “Pacific Rim” enough to want more, those plans touch on some of the exact ideas I wished the first film had explored further, so perhaps this is an opportunity for a sequel to improve on the original.
9. Trailers: “Gravity,” “47 Ronin,” “Romeo & Juliet:” Ready to experience an overwhelming sense of helplessness and isolation in deep space? We’ve got not one, but two new trailers for Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” the first of which is a full minute and 35-second clip from the film that’ll plague you with panic via the threat of becoming detached and the second that lets the horror of the scenario sink in further as you get a chance to feel what it’s like to be floating in space right alongside Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Stone, alone and totally powerless. After significant release delays and talk of a disgruntled director, the trailer for “47 Ronin” has finally arrived and while it’s got weak spots, namely a lack of story information, the piece looks better than one might have expected. Last up is the trailer for the Hailee Steinfeld-starrer, “Romeo & Juliet.” The star-studded cast is accounted for and while their work does look exceptional, the presentation of this classic tale is as straightforward as they come and that makes the film feel a little unnecessary.
10. Box Office: As expected, “The Wolverine” didn’t open as strong as its predecessor, but it did earn an easy win at the box office with a $55 million start. “The Conjuring” held on rather well for a horror film, dipping just 47.1% for a $22.1 million second weekend out. Not only did “Despicable Me 2” enjoy a particularly minimal decline, but so did its animated competition, “Turbo,” too. “Despicable Me 2” took #3 with a 35.7% loss and another $16 million while “Turbo” grabbed #4, dropping 37.5% for $13.3 million this time around. “Grown Ups 2” rounds out the top five with $11.5 million courtesy of a mere 42.1% weekend two to three decline. (via Box Office Mojo)