Casting Couch

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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Gerard Butler

Because even he’s not immune to the allures of a Sun-In mullet and a half wetsuit, Gerard Butler is in serious talks to star in the long-gestating Point Break remake. Vaya con dios, brah. Butler will take the Patrick Swayze role, Bodhi, the ringleader of the merry band of surfers and bank robbers who take on the disguises of former presidents to pull off their heists. While Bodhi will still be the most bitchin’ surfer slash criminal mastermind to ever grace these shores, he’ll also be some kind of alternative sports hero, as the film is now set in a new, as of yet undisclosed extreme sports world, where Bodhi “seeks nirvana through the conquest of a series of athletic feats such as surfing 100-foot waves.” Please let it be parkour. A gang of rubber-masked Ronald Reagans jumping off buildings and barrel rolling into banks with pizazz seems like almost as ridiculous a movie as its predecessor. BMX bikers? Oh! Skydivers. They could just capitulate on the skydiving scene from the original and continuously do that beautiful bonding thing where they come together in a circle, as one. As bros.

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stanfield

There was some kind of strange alchemy going on when they put together the trailer for The Purge that convinced mainstream audiences that this was absolutely the next movie thriller they needed to go out to the theater to see. Whether it was just the weird masks that the bad guys wore, or the fact that the home invasion angle played on a deep-seated fear that afflicts most people, there was something in there that had every person I talked to for a month leading up to the film’s release asking me if I’d heard anything about it yet. And then the fairly thrifty production went on to earn somewhere around $89 million worldwide after its release. The sad part of that success story is that the movie just didn’t end up being any good though. It spent way too much time explaining a premise that didn’t hold up under scrutiny, it tried to get too heady when it should have been a survival romp, and in general it was just a big bummer for all of the people who went into it feeling excited. Of course, seeing as the film was so profitable, the less than ideal reactions it got aren’t stopping it from getting a sequel, and though original writer and director James DeMonaco is all set to return for The Purge 2, there has been some indication from the casting process that the sequel could end up being a lot more engaging than the original.

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jackman

After Hollywood heard the resounding cries of “I guess that would be okay, whatever!” in response to the barrage of Peter Pan films slated for revival, the writers behind one of the films have decided to do us one better and add double the pirates to the mix. The origin story Pan, directed by Joe Wright, will include the traditional character of Captain Hook, but will also feature the fearsome pirate Blackbeard to antagonize the poor little orphan Peter. Stepping into that role? Hugh Jackman is in negotiations to take the part after Javier Bardem passed. The film follows a young orphan (presumably one who never wants to grow up?) who is brought to the magical world of Neverland, where he becomes a hero to the native people by leading a revolt against the dreaded pirates. In previous incarnations of Peter Pan, Captain Hook took the reins in leading the pirates to torture Peter and his band of misfits. However, this new vision realizes Blackbeard as the main villain with Hook serving as Pan’s “close ally” before turning evil himself. Hey, every villain has their origin story too.

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Paul Rudd - The Shape of Things

There’s your Hank Pym everyone. To be fair, he could be Scott Lang or Eric O’Grady, but he’s definitely Ant-Man. According to The Wrap, Paul Rudd has begun negotiations to play the shrinking superhero for Edgar Wright‘s 2015 film. The only thing the article gets wrong is in calling Ant-Man a comedic character. There’s no doubt that Wright will bring some dry humor to the project, but the main character is a committed man of science, often singularly-focused, majorly conflicted and (thanks to Ultron) sometimes deeply unstable. But it’s easy to make the comic connection to Rudd. In the past few years, he’s settled into a public image as a semi-Straight Man comedian. Judd Apatow and Anchorman have ensured that, but his range as an actor is far larger than a disarming smile and unblinking delivery. For some, be’ll always be Josh from Clueless (or some grown-up variation), but the reason Rudd’s casting in Ant-Man is so perfect is his work as the desperate loser Adam Sorenson in The Shape of Things. Weakness, aggression, massive inner conflict, uneasiness and a profound lack of self-esteem were all present alongside genuine joy and kindness. I’m not saying those attributes will color Ant-Man, but it’s reassuring to know that Rudd can build a rounded character with the ability to drop jaws and break hearts. If you don’t need that in your CGI-fest, no sweat. Personally, I think it’s time we expect more from our superhero movies. Marvel has earned a lot of trust with their track record […]

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Indie film and Hollywood are still two very separate worlds. One puts out smaller films where the filmmaker’s artistic vision is key; the other is filming three Avatar sequels back-to-back-to-back in an attempt to give James Cameron complete control of the Earth’s economy. Yet a strange overlap exists between these two extremes, and it’s one that’s been growing in recent times. Where does one categorize 12 Years a Slave? Its cast is a staggering list of star actors and its budget was in the eight digit range, yet it released under Fox Searchlight (Fox’s go-to distributor for indie films) and had one of those newfangled limited releases that don’t go to movies trying to bring in copious amounts of dough. Those who inhabit this odd gray area- your Steve McQueens, Terrence Malicks and Alexander Paynes- often become minor celebrities in their own right (many times have we seen the groupies desperate for Malick to pen his autograph on their body and/or children). Yet there’s another director with the same laurels, who makes top-quality films with that weird “best of both worlds” mixture, that lacks the same star power: John Hillcoat.

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PORTRAITS  BEST OF

Some stories are so simple and so timeless that they’ll forever be a part of cinema. Boy meets girl. A stranger comes to town. A man is raised by apes, yet upon closer inspection, is not actually an ape himself. Samuel L. Jackson is clearly a fan of that third idea, as the actor is now in talks for a co-starring role in the live-action Tarzan film that director David Yates has been trying to get off the ground for some time now. Back in April, budgetary concerns threatened to de-vine Tarzan for good, but the addition of Jackson, the confirmation of Christoph Waltz (who entered talks for the film in September), and the already-on-board star Alexander Skarsgard mean things are looking a little brighter. The film still hasn’t been greenlit yet, however – and only after doing so will it begin casting its Jane. Right now, Margot Robbie is said to be the frontrunner there. So now Tarzan‘s got its grade-A, top choice cast. It’s got a budget (or had a budget, at one time) that was enough to make Warner Bros quake with fear and slam the panic button. How exactly will the film balance its blockbuster leanings with the somewhat ridiculous image of an actor cavorting around in nothing but a small piece of brown fabric? I don’t mean to harp on Tarzan, or his fashion choices. And obviously, there’s a level of audience appeal in a mostly nude well-built actor doing a little cavorting. But over the […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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