Casting Couch

Doctor Strange

Everyone, calm down. It’s finally happened. Maybe. Probably. Oh, you know how these things go. Earlier this month, we reflected on the long, strange trip that had brought us to this crucial juncture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a Doctor Strange movie without, well, a Doctor Strange. Those days may now be over. Deadline reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is “the studio’s choice for the superhero pic, and negotiations are about to begin.” Again, no formal offers have been made, Cumberbatch has not accepted anything and nothing has been officially announced. Still, it’s no surprise that Marvel has acted relatively quickly to line up a new Sorcerer Supreme after their long-gestating chats with Joaquin Phoenix proved fruitless.

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Patrick Stewart

There’s something inherently calming about Patrick Stewart. The rich Shakespearean importance of his voice. His association with characters like Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier, characters we cherish for their stern, all-knowing wiseness. Even his baldness is soothing (mostly because trying to picture Patrick Stewart with hair is so unsettling — Google Images and the phrase “Patrick Stewart with Hair” will supply you with a few of his rare hairpieced performances, but he doesn’t really look like Patrick Stewart…just somebody’s dad). Because of this, Stewart is almost always the hero, the voice of reason, the wizened old sage instructing our heroes with nuggets of English wisdom. And he’s almost never the villain. How could he be? We’d love and respect him too much, and end up supporting his plans for world domination or killing all the koalas in the eucalyptus patch or whatever his villain goals are. So it’s with great surprise that Stewart has just signed on (which we know thanks to The Wrap) for a very ungood role in Green Room.

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Rachel McAdams

See? We told you guys to just wait — and, yes, we had to take that advice to heart, too — because, no matter what the addition of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn to the True Detective second season roster meant, it didn’t mean that casting was over. Now, well, casting still isn’t over, but it’s getting there, and it’s certainly moving in a very nice direction. Variety reports that, as has been rumored off and on for awhile now, Rachel McAdams has been offered one of four lead roles in the HBO series’ second season. The part will reportedly see McAdams playing “a Monterey sheriff with a troubled past that has led her to a gambling and alcohol addiction.” The part is one of three law enforcement types on the new season — Farrell is on board as one, Taylor Kitsch is still expected to play the other, and Vaughn is set to star as a “career criminal” — and it marks a very important step forward in the realm of complicated female characters on the small screen.

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Peter Dinklage

The Thicket is the adaptation of a crime thriller by the same name from Joe Lansdale, and while it is infinitely badass that Peter Dinklage has, per The Hollywood Reporter, signed on to star as a bounty hunter in the film, it’s just a bit too expected that he’ll be portraying a character named Shorty. Stay close to the source material, of course. But is it possible to take a noted and respected and at times terrifying actor (in the greats of ways) and not condescend to his height. Shorty? Come on. The story, set in East Texas in the early 20th century, centers on a young man who has seen his share of tragedy already. His parents were killed while he’s a young child, leaving he and his sister in the care of their grandparents. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident shortly after his parents died, while his grandpa got murdered by a vicious band of bank robbers. This is where the story picks up. The same menaces who kill his grandfather kidnap his sister, and he enlists actually the best help he could ever hope for in tracking down her assailants and bringing her back. Shorty (Dinklage) is described as a “crafty” bounty hunter, a grave-digging alcoholic and the son of an ex-slave and a prostitute who knows her way around the streets — this guy isn’t messing around here with who he’s hiring, and Shorty is obviously not your normal gun for hire, either.

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Emma Roberts American Horror Story

High school is rough for everyone, but things get a little more complicated when your prestigious all-girl prep school is severely isolated across a frozen landscape and your parents mysteriously fail to pick you up for winter break. No calls or anything. Such is the case for Rose and Kat, the unfortunate teens at the center of Osgood Perkins‘ upcoming film, February. Described as a coming-of-age horror thriller, the film follows Rose and Kat along with a third young woman named Joan — identified as “beautiful and haunted,” always a great yearbook superlative — who starts a journey to come save them. But as she gets closer, Kat starts experiencing terrifying visions, and Rose is only able to silently watch as she becomes possessed by a sinister, unseen energy. Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka have just signed on to star in the film, but it’s not clear which two of the trio they’ll be playing. Since their casting was listed together, it seems most likely that they’re playing Rose and Kat, the unhappiest prep schoolers with the most negligent parents and school officials in history. Who leaves a couple students unattended at a giant spooky school without checking to see when their parents are retrieving them first? That’s ground for a solid lawsuit.

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Richard Pryor Biopic

Okay, this isn’t normally the way we do things. An actor gets cast in a role, and we hear about it from some trade magazine of glamorous and shining repute. But not this time. Lee Daniels‘ Richard Pryor biopic looks to have just cast its lead, and we’re hearing the first news…on Twitter. But it’s Lee Daniels’ Twitter, so we’ll take that as slightly more legitimate than most. Here’s the fateful tweet in question: Get ready y’all- #MikeEpps as #RichardPryorpic.twitter.com/0sothu7yVB — lee daniels (@leedanielsent) August 24, 2014 I think it’s safe to assume that, were Stephen Spielberg to tweet “Get ready y’all- #Ryan Reynolds, #RyanGosling and #RyanSeacrest in #SavingPrivateRyan2,” we’d be inclined to believe him. If Saving Private Ryan 2 was real. And probably if he didn’t use the words “Get ready y’all,” which probably mean Lee Daniels has gotten a hold of Spielberg’s Twitter password.

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David Gordon Green

Former indie auteur David Gordon Green‘s jump to the big time started off with such promise. Let’s take a little time travel trip! 2008’s Pineapple Express caught Seth Rogen and James Franco just as the weirdo lovefest that is their comedic team-up was really taking off (with Freaks & Geeks behind them and The Interview way out in the future, it was kind of the perfect opportunity to see what these two could do — which is be weird and lovable and funny with the best of them). The follow-up wasn’t quite as glorious, as 2011 marked a low point in Green’s humorous output (this is a sentiment expressed with admiration and respect, as my DGG fandom has been well-documented in this space), with both Your Highness and The Sitter performing poorly in the domestic market and, uh, also just not being very good. Things have been looking up, however, thanks to Green’s recent edging back into less slapstick fare, with 2013 seeing the release of both the darkly amusing Prince Avalanche and the just damn dark Joe. Oh, and the major star power behind each film hasn’t hurt — which is probably why Green is just going with it, casting some mega stars for his next slew of features.

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Yoga Hosers

Absolutely terrible title aside, it sure sounds like Kevin Smith‘s next film — no, no, not Tusk, not the one about a guy who tries to turn Justin Long into a walrus, which still sounds like the most demented thing we have to look forward to this year and perhaps ever, but the one after that — could be a whole lot of fun. After all, the film is going to be a family affair and the closest thing that Smith has ever come to a comic book movie. It’s also called Yoga Hosers. Oof. The Hollywood Reporter shares that Smith has enlisted the star power of Johnny Depp for the feature, who will also be bringing along his daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, for a leading role. Convenient, really, considering that Smith has also added his own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, to the cast. Cute! Nepotism-tastic! Somewhere in between! The younger Depp and Smith are actually the true stars of the feature, as the film “centers on 15-year-old yoga nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), who have an after-school job at a Manitoba convenience store called Eh-2-Zed. When an ancient evil rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with a legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Depp) to fight for their lives with, according to the producers, ‘all seven Chakras, one Warrior Pose at a time.’” So, they love yoga and they are going to use it to fight an […]

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Bradley Cooper in The A-Team

Although Bradley Cooper was not physically onscreen during this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy as the feisty and volatile Rocket Raccoon, his role voicing the smallest defender of the universe put him squarely on the path to becoming a bonafide action star. That raccoon knew what he was doing around a ray gun. And no, starring in the 2010 reboot of The A-Team definitely does not count. Cooper has never been an actor who has sat idly in his roles, picking parts that run the gamut from comedy, to romance, to drama and satire; it’s a natural progression that transforming into an action star would be next. Warner Bros. has a plan, acquiring the book rights to Mack Bolan, a character created by Don Pendleton, to create a starring vehicle for Cooper. The author chronicled Bolan in 37 novels often referred to as “The Mafia Wars,” but ghostwriters kept him alive in hundred of other serializations over the years. Bolan is a tough as nails anti-terrorist operative who is all-American and bleeds red, white and blue. He’s often in extremely sticky situations, but pulls himself out unscathed — usually with a new romantic conquest at his side at the end of the adventure. Think along the lines if James Bond were from Massachusetts and served as a Green Beret.

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The Jungle Book

There is a down and dirty street fight a-rumblin’ between The Jungle Book and The Jungle Book: Origins. Both are adaptations of Rudyard Kipling‘s classic boy-meets-bear novel “The Jungle Book.” Both are releasing within a year of each other, with the former (backed up by Disney and director Jon Favreau) coming next October, and the latter (WB and Andy Serkis) set to launch next next October. Prepare yourself for at least a solid year of back and forth Three Stooges eye-gouging between the two. Today is the first meeting of finger and soft, unguarded eyeball. The Hollywood Reporter has the first piece of casting for Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins, and it happens to be really, really stellar casting: Benedict Cumberbatch will play the skulking, boy-hungry tiger Shere Khan. Picture in your mind’s eye, a staggeringly lifelike digital tiger, a la Life of Pi. Except when he opens that fanged maw, a regal Smaug smoothness pours out (probably not as deep in tone as Smaug’s was, but you never know). As he pads about, the slinky English lilt in his voice barely disguises how much he would enjoy disemboweling and consuming us all.

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Kate Lyn Sheil

Remember back when we told you that it was time you started paying attention to indie it girl Kate Lyn Sheil? Well, not to get out braggy on, but we were right. Sheil has got a packed schedule — just look at her IMDb page, which is crammed with “completed” and “post-production” features, shorts and television projects — but the actress has managed to make some room for another feature film, one that’s already been poised to rocket its talented team into the next echelon of indie filmmaking. Needless to say, it’s a good fit for Sheil. Sheil has just joined up with Drake Doremus‘ Equals, the latest feature from the perennial Sundance favorite (the director behind films like Breathe In and Like Crazy, both of which have bowed at the film festival in recent years to general acclaim), a futuristic and sci-fi-tinged project titled Equals. The film is a big step forward for Doremus, a high concept affair that still manages to focus on relationships (Doremus’ speciality). Complete with a script by Nathan Parker (Moon), Equals could be the next big sci-fi romance to hit the box office. Oh, and the rest of its cast doesn’t hurt, with Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult and Guy Pearce already on board.

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Paddington

Creepy or not (and, yes, we still vote “not”), the upcoming Paddington Bear feature film, simply called Paddington, like he’s Cher or Madonna or another one-named pop star, is now in need of something pretty crucial: someone to voice the traveling Peruvian teddy bear. Entertainment Weekly reports that star Colin Firth (that would be “the thoroughly British” actor who, at least on paper, sounds like a nice fit for the curious bear with an exceedingly British fashion sense) has left the project, leaving the animated bear without a voice. Okay, now that is actually creepy. Firth, who will be forgiven for referring to the decision to part ways as a “conscious uncoupling” in a statement to the outlet, shares that he’s left the project for a seemingly simple reason — because he’s just not right for the part. Again, Colin Firth is the wrong person to play an animated teddy bear. Noted. Consider his offer to play Pooh in the next (totally fictional and only exists in our minds) Winnie the Pooh outing rescinded.

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The Disaster Artist

We’ve already determined that the cinematic marriage of James Franco and The Disaster Artist, actor Greg Sestero‘s account of whatever the hell happened during the making of Tommy Wiseau‘s infamously bad (and infamously beloved) The Room is a match made in weirdo heaven and, quite frankly, we didn’t expect that any other bit of news about the film would delight us more than that Franco teaming. Unless, of course, there was another Franco teaming involved. Yup, The Disaster Artist isn’t going to start just one Franco — it will now star two. 3News reports (via The Film Stage) that James Franco’s own baby brother (and current comedic rising star) Dave Franco will also star in the film, playing the Greg Sestero (and reportedly the true lead of the feature) to James’ Tommy Wiseau. Could this possibly get even more weirdly perfect?

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Jem and the Holograms

First off, it seems important that we all take a moment to remember and acknowledge that we’re currently living in a world where a Jem and the Holograms live-action feature film is being made right now. This is something fans of candy-colored, techno-laced, secret-identity-driven eighties cartoons have dreamed of for decades. Ahh. Moment done? Cool. We may have only known about said Jem and the Holograms film for just over a month, but it sure sounds like director Jon M. Chu is not letting any hyper-colored grass grow under his feet, and the project is zooming right along. When the feature was first announced last month, Chu and his producing partners Jason Blum and Scooter Braun made it clear that this thing was going to be a fan-driven experience, and their announcement video also asked for help when it came to just about every major part of the film – from writing music to designing costumes to casting Jem and her Holograms. Turns out, Jem, Kimber, Aja, and Shana have all been cast – and while they’re all relatively green talents, we suspect that they didn’t snag their parts by submitting auditions via Twitter or whatever it is that the kids are using these days.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

One would not have thought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was such a controversy-generating machine. They’re heroes. They’re in a half-shell. Just not that complicated. Until word got out that the 2014 versions of these intrepid Renaissance artists who also beat people up with kung-fu would be outer space aliens instead of mutants, causing a fan outcry so fierce and furious that producer Michael Bay had to author a post on the Official Michael Bay Forums, urging everyone to “take a breath, and chill,” and that the supposed changes were not as huge as our turtle-centric news media made them sound. Problem solved. At least until the trailer came out and people got their first look at the films heroes. The phrase “Jose Canseco in reptilian form” was thrown around. As was “babies with penis heads.” I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the new TMNT actually look like babies with penis heads, and also to decide what babies with penis heads would actually look like. You may also choose to abstain from this line of thought altogether.

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Alison Brie Mad Men

Writer/director/playwright Leslye Headland has a knack for writing uncomfortably honest characters that aren’t afraid to get messy when it comes to the game of love. Although her Bachelorette didn’t make a fan out of me when it premiered back at Sundance 2012, the film has steadily grown on me over time, and Headland’s recent crack at rescripting About Last Night for a new audience is unabashedly funny and just plain brave. The multi-hyphenate is now turning her particular charms to Sleeping With Other People, her next film project that looks to dive deep into the dark heart of modern love. The film is already set to star Jason Sudeikis, but it recently lost its leading lady (Kirsten Dunst, who previously starred in Bachelorette) when the actress needed to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts. The film centers on a womanizer — played by Sudeikis — who falls for a serial cheater (who would have been played by Dunst), so it’s pretty essential to cast that leading lady ASAP. But who could it be? According to THR, it just might be the sweet-faced Alison Brie.

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Ed Helms

Is it possible to take a film called Epic Fail seriously? It’s been years since that particular piece of slang was big; when any embarrassment or grievous bodily harm was met with a cry of “ha ha, epic FAIL!” Seriously, years- since our legitimate newspapers now chronicle the rise and fall of internet memes (thanks, journalism), we can see “Epic Fail” enter the public lexicon around 2008/09. By 2011, it was already passe. And once “Epic Fail” was included alongside other hep phrases like “Pwn” and “Noob” in a how-to guide for parents to speak like today’s youth (and embarrass the unholy hell out of their children), it was safe to say that “Epic Fail’s” time in the slang spotlight had passed. So when Deadline reports (as it just has) that Ed Helms is starting in a new comedy entitled Epic Fail, any kind of legitimate reaction to the movie has to take a backseat. Excited? Uninterested? Cautiously optimistic? Who cares! The movie’s called Epic Fail- we can talk about the movie once the involuntary, “Epic Fail”-induced groan is over.

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patricia arquette medium promo

The CSI franchise is spawning yet another series, this time set in the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division in Quantico, Virginia. While there’s no official name yet for the new CBS show, there is a lead, as Medium and True Romance star Patricia Arquette is set to be front and center of a team tasked with solving crimes that “start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world.” Arquette’s Medium, a supernatural procedural drama, aired on NBC from January 2005 to January 2011 and coincidentally ran directly against CBS’s CSI: Miami and, in later seasons, CSI: NY. Arquette won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her fictionalized portrayal of real-life medium Allison DuBois in its first season on air.

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david mazouz and camren bicondova

Young Master Wayne and Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, have been chosen for Fox’s Batman prequel, Gotham. David Mazouz will play the tragedy-stricken Bruce, shortly after the murder of his parents and now under the care of Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Mazouz is best known for his role in Fox’s short-lived, ASCAP Award-winning sci-fi series Touch alongside Keifer Sutherland and Danny Glover. That show managed two seasons before being cancelled. Portraying pre-Catwoman Selina will be Camren Bicondova, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, whose major claim to fame is being a runner-up on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with her group, 8 Flavahs. She has also appeared in small roles in the horror flick Girlhouse and Cinedigm’s dance drama Battlefield America. Bicondova’s role as Selina will be as another orphaned teenager, well on her way to master thief as an expert pickpocket living on the streets of Gotham.

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Listen, I know that there’s been a lot of Star Wars apathy lately. J.J. Abrams has kept that damn mystery box shut for close to a year and a half now, and in that year and a half we haven’t gotten a single solid name to attach to Episode VII (at least as far as actors are concerned). It’s put a bit of a damper on the rumor mill, recently. Gary Oldman gets a Star Wars phone call from J.J. Abrams? Shrug. Benedict Cumberbatch rumored for Oldman’s part, with both actors somehow playing the same character? Yawn. Well, allow this sentence to (hopefully) clear away some cobwebs: “Driver, 30, is the first cast member to be revealed for Walt Disney Studios and LucasFilm’s highly-anticipated “Star Wars” installment.”

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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