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Movie News Cheat Sheet: TIFF Hits, Fifty Shades Casting Craze And More


Movie News Cheat Sheet: TIFF Hits, Fifty Shades Casting Craze And More

Things may be slow at the box office now, but based on the rave reviews coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival, there’s going to be more than enough must-see movies arriving just in time for awards season.

In terms of films currently in the making, there are a number must-know updates. You’ve got to be living under a rock to have missed the news that the “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation finally locked its leads and then we’ve also got prime casting information regarding “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Crimson Peak,” Jason Blum’s latest micro-budget production, and more.

Ready for the details? They’re all coming at you in your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.

1.TIFF 2013 Highlights: According to the reactions coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival, we could have quite a few award-worthy contenders coming our way. According to Variety, “Dallas Buyers Club” really could get Matthew McConaughey that Oscar nod, the outlet insisting, “Any doubt that still exists in audiences’ minds as to Matthew McConaughey’s talents as an actor are permanently put to rest by “Dallas Buyers Club.” JoBlo was all about Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” pointing out, “Every once in a while, a genre film comes along that pushes the form to such an extent that it throws down the gauntlet to other filmmakers, daring them to be as audacious in their craft. Alfonso Cuaron’s made two films like this. The first was ‘Children of Men,’ and ‘Gravity’ is the second.” “12 Years a Slave” continues to conjure Oscar buzz after earning a standing ovation. We Got This Covered gave the film five stars and wrote, “‘12 Years a Slave’ provides a new, deeply emotional subject for director Steve McQueen to apply his skills to, and it’s a beautiful and devastating fit.” “The Fifth Estate,” on the other hand, debuted to a lukewarm reception. Variety called it “stimulating but overly frenetic” and noted, “the pic has first-rate tech/design elements that are, like the project as a whole, sometimes too busy for their own good.”

2. Willem Dafoe Added to “The Fault in Our Stars:” Josh Boone’s book-to-film adaptation of John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” gets yet another pitch perfect cast member. The film’s Augustus Waters, Ansel Elgort, broke the news himself via Twitter, writing, “ladies and gentlemen, the legendary Willem Dafoe will be gracing our presence playing Dr.Peter Van Houten in our #tfiosmovie . oh happy day!” Oh, happy day indeed. In the book, Dr. Peter Van Houten is the author of Hazel’s (Shailene Woodley) obsession, “An Imperial Affliction,” an obsession she eventually passes on to Gus. No spoilers here, but when we do meet Van Houten in the flesh in the narrative, he exhibits some outrageous characteristics that Dafoe is just bound to nail.

3. Tom Hiddleston Fills in for Benedict Cumberbatch on “Crimson Peak:” You’d think nothing good could come out of Benedict Cumberbatch dropping out of a project, but it turns out, Guillermo del Toro had no trouble filling the spot with an actor of an equal caliber. Legendary Pictures announced that Tom Hiddleston is officially on board to take Cumberbatch’s spot in “Crimson Peak.” Hiddleston will join Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam on set when production begins on the haunted house thriller in January 2014. (via Legendary Entertainment)

4. Roland Emmerich to Reboot “Stargate:” Even though Roland Emmerich is supposedly actively developing those two “Independence Day” sequels, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the time to make moves to continue another one of his past favorites – “Stargate.” While talking to Digital Spy, Emmerich revealed, “We went to MGM, who has the rights, and proposed to them to do a sequel, but as a reboot … and reboot it as a movie and then do three parts. And that’s what we’re doing right now. Pretty soon we’ll have to look for a writer and start.” The 1994 original starred Kurt Russell and James Spader, and focused on a “Stargate,” an ancient device that activates a wormhole, a path to another Stargate.

5. Will Smith May Return for “Independence” Sequel: Even though Emmerich is clearly making moves to make that new “Stargate” trilogy happen, he is also pushing forward on those new “Independence Day” films. Digital Spy also spoke to Emmerich about the status of those movies as well as the possibility of Will Smith returning as Captain Steven Hiller. Emmerich admitted that the plan changes every month because of the scale of the effort, but that “I will make it either for 2015 or 16, probably right now as it looks 16.” As for Smith, Emmerich explained, “I sometimes say no, Will Smith will not be in it because he didn’t want to do it at first. Now we kind of have a meeting planned. We want to talk about it again, so anything can happen.”

6. Charlie Hunnam & Dakota Johnson for “Fifty Shades of Grey:” After endless speculation, we finally have our Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Book author E.L. James finally broke the news; Charlie Hunnam is locked to play the young billionaire and Dakota Johnson will portray the naïve college grad in the big screen adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The duo will step in front of the lens for director Sam Taylor-Johnson when production begins on November 5th in Vancouver with the film heading towards an August 1, 2014 release. Considering over 70 million copies of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy have been sold, Universal and Focus are prepared for a potential hit and, in turn, a franchise, so have the rights to the next two installments, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” on standby.

7. Blumhouse Gets Jennifer Lopez for “The Boy Next Door:” Jason Blum adds yet another high-profile micro-budget project to his slate. Jennifer Lopez is officially locked to lead “The Boy Next Door,” a project Universal snatched up via Blum’s first-look deal with the studio. As reported by Variety, “Lopez will star as a newly separated mother who begins an affair with a new teenage neighbor who befriends her son. Trouble ensues, however, when she tries to abruptly end the relationship.” “xXx” director Rob Cohen is currently in talks to helm the film, which is scheduled to go into production in the fall so Lopez will be ready for “American Idol” in January.

8. Eli Roth is Working on “Green Inferno 2:” Eli Roth just unveiled his latest directorial effort at the Toronto International Film Festival, but he’s already talking about round two. As reported by THR, Roth and Worldview Entertainment are working on a “Green Inferno” sequel called “Beyond the Green Inferno,” but for Nicolas Lopez to direct rather than Roth. “Green Inferno” follows a group of student activists that survives a plane crash deep in the Amazon, but ten are taken hostage by the cannibalistic locals. The plot for the sequel is being kept top secret, but Lopez did note, “Our plan with ‘Beyond the Green Inferno’ is to make a sequel in the tradition of ‘Aliens,’ where the creative team went bigger, darker and scarier into the unknown.”

9. Trailers: “RoboCop,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “Neighbors:” There’s nothing in the first trailer for the “RoboCop” remake to suggest it’s anything more than a push to make a quick buck off a past hit, but there’s also nothing to suggest it won’t be highly entertaining. “Kill Your Darlings,” on the other hand, could be an acquired taste. Many will undoubtedly flock to the film to catch Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, and co. in action, but as presented in this first promo, unless you’re familiar with Allen Ginsberg’s story, the details of the film may be dense and a little tough to digest. If you’d rather move through a movie on cruise control, “Neighbors” could be a worthy watch come May 9th. The thrill of seeing a frat boy Zac Efron torment the quaint and charming Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen is undeniably appealing, but hopefully the full feature will pack more laugh-out-loud-worthy jokes than the rather familiar ones in this trailer.

10. Box Office: “Riddick” did manage to snag the top spot, but that was basically guaranteed considering it had no new competition. But still, $18.7 million on a $6,010 per theater average isn’t all that bad considering the movie also claimed $7.4 million aboard and only cost $38 million to make. Even though “The Butler” held on relatively well, dropping just 40.2% and taking another $8.9 million to the bank, it almost lost that #2 spot to “Instructions Not Included.” Yes, that random little Lionsgate foreign film hit it exceptionally big yet again, boosting its opening weekend earnings by 3.2%, giving it $8.1 million for its second weekend out. The #4 spot went to “We’re the Millers,” which continues to enjoy a strong run. Weekend five marked a $7.9 million intake for the comedy, boosting its domestic total to a highly impressive $123.8 million. “Planes” just managed to edge out “One Direction: This Is Us” for the final spot on the top five. One Direction’s film was expected to plummet its second weekend out, but 74.1% is an absolutely devastating loss. Whereas that film only managed to earn $4.1 million in its second weekend out, “Planes” secured $4.3 million for its fifth. (via Box Office Mojo)

By Perri Nemiroff

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer's Club

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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,, Shockya, and MTV's Movies Blog.

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