Casting Couch

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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Amanda Seyfried

Lovelace and Les Misérables actress Amanda Seyfried has been tapped to join Mark Wahlberg in Seth MacFarlane’s Ted 2. 2012′s Ted, which featured Wahlberg as best friends with an anthropomorphic, filthy-mouthed stuffed bear, voiced by MacFarlane, scored big with audiences, becoming the highest grossing R-rated film of the year, and also the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever, nailing a final box office haul of 549.4 million dollars worldwide. Markedly absent from the conversation is MacFarlane collaborator Mila Kunis, voice of Meg Griffin on his Fox animated series Family Guy, and co-star of Wahlberg in the previous film as Mark’s love interest, Lori Collins. From what has been reported, there’s no conflict between the Black Swan actress and her network television boss, but rather, MacFarlane has simply decided to take the story in a new creative direction. There is still a chance she will appear in a limited role, but as the story is still being plotted, nothing can be definitively confirmed just yet.

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Meryl Streep

By the powers of Athena and all the powerful goddesses who have come before and after her, Meryl Streep, maybe the most righteous female of all, has joined the cast of a film called Suffragette. The film, directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame) chronicles, naturally, the beginnings of the  women’s rights movement that blossomed in the late 19th century. Streep will portray British activist Emmeline Pankhurst, a significant figure in the feminist movement and the suffragettes’ battle to get the right to vote. Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union and caused a firestorm with her rallying; after one particularly volatile outing, she and her fellow sisters in arms were sent to prison for disturbing the peace, where they then staged a hunger strike to secure themselves better conditions.

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Jai Courtney

The character that Michael Biehn made awesome, Anton Yelchin made dumb, and Jonathan Jackson made boring, is returning to the big screen, as Jai Courtney has been cast as human resistance leader Kyle Reese in 2015′s Terminator: Genesis. Skynet’s worst enemy has had quite a crisis of identity since Biehn nailed the nuance of the role in James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi action masterpiece, The Terminator, and his lasting imprint on the character will insure that Courtney has some substantial boots to fill. Courtney’s slim resume may make fans of the Terminator franchise, and Reese in particular, nervous about his capturing the role. His closest competition was model-turned-actor Boyd Holbrook, who while building an increasing film profile, has similarly not had his breakout role as of yet. Nailing Kyle Reese would go a long way in helping audiences forget his wooden performance in John Moore’s A Good Day to Die Hard, an all-around awful experience for most all.

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Goosebumps

There are plenty of scary movies left over from our youth that left us shaking in our moon boots, but the pinnacle of nineties horror will forever be Goosebumps. The book series turned television and home movie franchise from author R.L. Stine was the perfect combination of Nickelodeon-flavored cheese and enough scares and frights to necessitate at least a bathroom night light every once in awhile. A ventriloquist dummy that comes to life only when you’re looking? Don’t even pretend like you’re not creeped out by that. The vengeful spirit of a long-dead summer camper who drags kids to their death while they’re trying to ace their swimming test in the murky waters of the lake? Please. The one thing the franchise has been missing is a full-length feature film, but that’s about to change — a new Goosebumps-centric film has been announced with Jack Black in the lead. Black will star as a very R.L. Stine-like spooky story author named…wait for it…Mr. Shivers. (Is this part of his new renaissance?) As the best-named creepy-crawly tale author in the world, Shivers is faced with a dilemma; his collection of characters comes to life and begins haunting him in the real world. Forced into hiding like the big scaredy cat that he is, Shivers has to rely on help from the least expected protector.

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Things were so much simpler before Matthew McConaughey became a well-respected, critically lauded actor. The world was a brighter, shinier place. It was full of romantic comedies like Failure to Launch and The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, films where McConaughey was little more than a sparkling Southern drawl stuffed into a sport coat. That old Matthew McConaughey is gone now, lost adrift a sea of accolades and acting ability and roles that are all very serious and very sad. The new McConaughey is a serious actor who takes on tougher, more complex roles and aces them, every single time. The new McConaughey is a man who will actually close his drapes before stripping nude, getting high and pounding on his conga drums like an insane person. It’s a whole new world out there. And it’s a world that will continue into Sea of Trees, the latest role McConaughey will, presumably, be really really great in. The film, according to The Wrap, will be directed by Gus Van Sant and star McConaughey as a depressed man who ventures into Japan’s Aokigahara Forest with plans to commit suicide. There, he’ll meet Ken Watanabe, who entered the forest with similar motives but has since undergone a change of heart and wants to live. Together, the two of them will “begin a journey of reflection and survival.”

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dogtooth

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of those filmmakers whose reputation proceeds any new movie he makes, but when you first gain worldwide attention by making something as shocking as 2009’s Dogtooth, that’s bound to be the case. It’s not just the content of Dogtooth that made it so memorable to those who watched it though, it was the way in which Lanthimos was able to introduce his viewers to a world that was intensely jarring and disorienting, all while keeping his eye on the human heart of his story and giving the audience just enough of an emotional anchor to hold on to so that the film didn’t degenerate into substanceless shock or absurdity. The same was also true, though probably to a lesser extent, with his 2011 film Alps. Now that he’s getting ready to make his first English-language film with his first cast of familiar Hollywood actors, however, it’s going to be interesting to see what, if anything, changes about his approach to storytelling. He once again wrote the script for his new film, The Lobster, with his regular collaborator, Efthymis Filippou, so one might think that there wouldn’t be too much of a stylistic shift between it and his past work, but, on the other hand, now that there’s a report that Lanthimos’ new film will be starring names as mainstream as Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is it possible that he could be utilizing their talents to make something as weird and niche as his last few […]

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Dehaan and Radcliffe

Because maybe you’re sick of seeing the same five John Wayne movies over and over again, pilgrim, the fates have aligned and given you something else you and your dad can watch together. Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe, those young sports who played a college-age Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg, respectively, in last year’s Kill Your Darlings, will play a timewarped Karl Rove and Lee Atwater in the buddy comedy of dear old dad’s dreams. College Republicans, which actually comes from the Kill Your Darlings team  (directed by Darlings‘ John Krokidas) is the “based on true events” story from 1973 of the time when Rove (DeHaan) ran a dirty campaign to become the national College Republicans Chairman under the guidance of his campaign manager, Lee Atwater (Radcliffe).  The gruesome twosome take a road trip together to find support for Rove’s candidacy. Zany.

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eisenberg

When Warner Bros. announced that their sequel to Zack Snyder’s Superman relaunch, Man of Steel, was going to be a team-up movie that finally got a live action Superman and a live action Batman together in the same place, the world cheered. You see, Warners owns all of the DC superheroes, and they were kind of late to the superhero team-up party. After that, they announced that Ben Affleck was their pick to play Batman though, and people booed. You see, nobody really likes what Affleck brings to the table as an actor, and everyone was just getting used to liking him as a director. Plus, Batman fans are kind of hardcore, and really would only have been satisfied if it was announced that Batman was going to be played by himself. Affleck was a momentum killer on several levels. After that it was announced that Wonder Woman was also going to be appearing in this movie that, as far as we knew, wasn’t announced as being Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman, and she was going to be played by Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot. Suddenly the world’s comic book fans found themselves simultaneously asking the same question, “Isn’t Wonder Woman supposed to be swarthy and big-boned?” Ha, don’t bet on it. And don’t get comfortable with Gadot’s casting being the biggest curveball this production is going to throw at you, because Warners just sent out a press release that they’ve also cast the villainous Lex Luthor, as well as Batman’s subservient […]

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tatumhair

Fox’s X-Men franchise is unique amongst most of the other superhero movie franchises in that its current incarnation has been a pretty mixed bag, but it still keeps on going without experiencing a reboot. Other franchises like the Fantastic Four movies or Daredevil and its spinoff were terrible from the start, and were put to bed pretty quickly. Or, all of the movies tied into the current Avengers universe are pretty good, so they seem like they’re going to go on forever. Heck, all it took was one stinker in the Spider-Man franchise for it to go from being a huge money-maker to a new series that was rebooted with a completely new cast and a completely new filmmaking team. The X-Men movies have been going ever since 2000 though, with legitimately good movies and real stinkers right next to each other in its catalogue. It seemed for a minute like 2011’s X-Men: First Class was going to finally be a clean restart for the Marvel-created mutants, after a decade of cinematic ups and downs, but by now it’s clear that director Bryan Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is going to be linking that movie into the first franchise, in order to create one big, weird family of movies that it’s always hard to anticipate the quality of. Channing Tatum’s acting career, similar to the X-Men movie franchise, has also seen its share of ups and downs. When his name first started to become known, he was vilified […]

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kretschmann

You didn’t think that Ultron would be the only villain in the next Avengers movie just because it’s called Age of Ultron, did you? Heck no. With the try-to-top-this attitude that these big, bombastic superhero movies—and really all summer movies in general—have fully embraced over the last decade or so, any movie you try to sell to a summer audience is going to have to be bigger, louder, packed full of more heroes, and more fully swarming with ever eviler villains. To that end, Age of Ultron writer/director Joss Whedon has decided to super-size his superhero sequel by augmenting the evil robot at the heart of his film with one of the most despicable villains both in modern fiction and in modern history—the Nazi. Or, in this case, an ex-Nazi turned current head of HYDRA. That’s right, Age of Ultron is going to include that monocled, bald-headed, Satan-Clawed king of evil, Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, and it looks like Whedon and company have found the actor with enough darkness inside of him to bring the guy to life.

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paxton2

Agents of SHIELD was the new fall TV show that premiered with the largest amount of hype and carrying the burden of the largest amount of expectations this past year, and to understand why that was the case, one needs to look no further than the Marvel in its title. Not only was this a show that was being based off of a series of Marvel comics that had decades of history behind it and legions of pre-existing fans, but it was also going to be taking place in the ongoing Marvel Movie Universe, which has been putting gigantic hit after gigantic hit in the world’s multiplex theaters. Even more than that though, Agents of SHIELD was spinning right out of the events of The Avengers, which is one of the most successful movies ever made. It even had Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon attached to it as a producer and consultant, and a handful of his old cohorts from his TV days acting as showrunners and writers. This was probably the most sure-thing TV show that geek-types had ever seen. A funny thing happened after the show debuted though. Turns out nobody really liked it all that much, and over the course of the following weeks it got discussed less and less here on the Internet, which is a communications platform that was basically created so that we could look at naked people and discuss things like Agents of SHIELD.

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Dr Orpheus - Venture Bros

Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. (as seen looking scholarly above) is a perfect example of Marvel‘s problem with making a Doctor Strange movie. Mostly because his grand silliness is all I can think about when I imagine someone bringing Strange to life on the big screen. Orpheus is a stellar parody which points out that Strange is dated in a way that, say, Iron Man isn’t. A guy in a flying metal suit with a bunch of munitions makes gut-level sense as a hero. Hell, even Thor has a grounding in a real-world mythological structure we’re familiar with, but when you have a guy screaming about Hoggoth and doing magic in a cinematic universe built ostensibly on humans advancing through science, you run into an issue. Specifically, whoever is going to play the character runs into the issue of not looking like Dr. Orpheus. According to Latino Review, that might be Johnny Depp. The rumor is that he’s met with Marvel about the role, and in general it sounds like a good fit for one reason: Jerry Bruckheimer won’t be involved. Yes, it’s another opportunity for Depp to go crazy. John Gholson hit the nail on the head earlier today with this tweet:

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douglas

Fans of Marvel Comics have been wondering how the Marvel cinematic universe was going to handle the character of Hank Pym for a while now. The real confusion started when it was announced that the Avengers sequel would be subtitled Age of Ultron, it would feature the evil robot Ultron as its primary antagonist, and it would be released before Edgar Wright’s long-gestating Ant-Man project could hit theaters. You see, in the comics the Ultron character was created by Pym, who is also one of the founding members of the Avengers and is probably better known as the title character of the Ant-Man movie. So how could the Marvel movies introduce a creation of Pym’s before they introduce Pym himself? Would they actually have the character appear in Avengers 2, before he could be properly introduced in his own standalone film? In a word, no. But fans who have been keeping a close eye on the development of all these Marvel movies can tell you that there are perfectly reasonable answers to all of these questions already out there, and a new announcement that involves Michael Douglas being cast in Ant-Man has just come along and wrapped everything up into a nice little package.

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Glenn Close

Continuing her track record of portraying mentally unstable, fabulously coifed broads (see: Fatal Attraction, 101 Dalmatians), Glenn Close has signed on to play Anna Anderson, the real woman who once claimed to be the famed Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova of Russia. You know, the one who’s definitely dead and not a lady named Anna Anderson. Duchess, helmed by Close’s The Chumscrubber directer Arin Posen, follows the imposter through a “dark road trip comedy based on true events.” Anderson, a formerly institutionalized Prussian woman, changed her name to that of the doomed Russian royal and convinced the public that she was actually the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra, the girl thought to have been executed along with the rest of her family in 1918. Even though people eventually wised up and decided to check that she was actually a Romanov (Surprise! Just Crazy!), the media and public kept the story going because it’s hard to resist the tale of royalty come back from the grave.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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