Casting Couch

gattaca_1

Director Andrew Niccol’s 1997 science fiction film about a future where humanity’s genetic makeup is firmly under societal control, Gattaca, still has quite a few fans. To the point where whenever you’re talking about science fiction movies someone will inevitably say to you, “Hey, have you seen Gattaca? You should see Gattaca.” The problem for Niccol is that nobody has liked anything else he’s done since nearly as much, especially recently, as he’s been churning out intriguing-looking but ultimately completely shitty sci-fi schlock like In Time and The Host. Perhaps all it would take for Niccol to step up his game and make another fan favorite film would be a re-teaming with his Gattaca star Ethan Hawke though. After all, once a filmmaker has shown that he’s capable of making one good movie, you know that there’s always a chance he could do it again. Or, at least, these are the things that we should currently be hoping, because Deadline is reporting that Niccol and Hawke are getting ready to team up and make another movie together, and after Hawke just dumped The Purge and Getaway on our heads, he’s a guy who could use a little redemption as well.

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Jamie Dornan

It’s time to be honest about Fifty Shades of Grey. A flash in the pan elevated to feature status, it was always destined for jeers from non-fans (especially since people can write the source material off as terrible slash fiction so easily), and now that the production team at Universal and Focus have opted to sidestep the most vocal fan pleas on the casting front not once, but twice, there’s a real chance that even the people who care about it don’t care about it.

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ronan

It was back in spring of 2012 when we first heard about a film adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s 2010 novel about an Irish immigrant, “Brooklyn.” Back then the story was that it was being put together by the same producing team that made An Education, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara was attached to play the lead, and the search was on for a director. Well, from the looks of the comments made my director John Crowley (Intermission, Boy A) in an interview he recently did with Bleeding Cool [via Dark Horizons], it appears that the suits have finally found the perfect director to bring this story to life, but in the process of making their search for a director, they seem to have lost their star.

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At this point, it feels a little foolish to doubt Tom Hardy‘s transformative properties. Pick any two films from his filmography and you’ll find yourself faced with two drastically different Hardys. He may be rail-thin or bulging with muscle. Soft-spoken or screamingly incoherent. Like snowflakes, no two Tom Hardy performances are ever quite the same. So when the news comes in, as it has (via Deadline Hollywood), that Hardy has officially signed on to play Elton John in the biopic Rocket Man, all we can really do is shrug our shoulders and say “yeah, that sounds about right.” Before too long, Hardy will have made himself over in the image of the famous musician, sporting massive sunglasses and sequin-covered clothing, and will probably learn a thing or two about playing the piano. Although he may not be doing too much singing – according to the official press release, the real Elton John will be re-recording his own songs for use in the film.

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Léa-Seydoux

Jason Clarke, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, and Olivia Colman have all joined forces for Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos‘ first English language film, The Lobster. The futuristic romance is a bit out there, but nothing too strange from the man who brought us 2009′s Dogtooth. In Lanthimos’s dystopian future, being single is illegal and all those caught breaking the law are arrested and transferred to The Hotel. A far cry from The Four Seasons, Deadline Hollywood reports that the hotel guests are forced to find a mate within 45 days; should they fail, they get transformed into an animal and released into the woods. Problem solved! Don’t worry; it’s any animal of their choosing – it’s not like they’re cruel or something. Of course, one of the men taken to the Hotel escapes to the woods and falls in love (with a human? with one of the humans turned animal?), though it’s against all the rules of their society. There’s no word yet on who is playing what role, though it really seems like these four shouldn’t have any problem finding a mate – right? riiiiight? It’s also hard to judge from the simple synopsis what to make of the film’s tone. Billed as an unconventional love story, it has the trappings to either go the deeply sinister route (think about it, a lot of people probably don’t survive in those woods for very long), or darkly comedic (turning people into animals because they’re not married is kind of funny).

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It must be tough, living life in Hollywood as an Australian actor or actress. There will always be that great Pacific gap between work and family, between new life and old, between lush palm trees and an endless parade of lethally venomous snakes and spiders. Strangerland is an opportunity for a few Australians to head back home – specifically, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, and Hugo Weaving, who’ve all been cast in the upcoming film (according to a scoop at Variety). Strangerland, which is billed as a “mystery drama,” is about a couple who loses their children in the harsh and unforgiving terrain of the Australian Outback. If one were to make a few educated guesses about the cast, one might find it likely that Kidman and Pearce will play the worried parents, while Weaving will play some kind of raving lunatic holding the kids at bay. Or perhaps he’ll be a friendly law enforcement officer. Or the film will go the Cloud Atlas route and have Weaving play a menacing Nurse Ratched-type for some reason.

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larson

Though she’s still a spectacularly young lady, Brie Larson has been a presence in the acting world for quite a while now. If you look back at her filmography, her earliest work came in the late 90s, when she must have still been knee-high to a grasshopper. Still, it’s only been in recent years—let’s say since her reoccurring role on TV’s United States of Tara ended—that her career has started to show signs of giving off sparks that are bound to start a fire. Since 2011 Larson has shown potential in head-turning but small roles in things like Rampart, The Spectacular Now, and most recently Don Jon, she proved herself to be likable on a mainstream level by killing it as the main romantic interest in 21 Jump Street, and she proved herself to have the dramatic chops necessary to anchor a film as its star with the small scale drama Short Term 12. Brie Larson isn’t yet a name that many people know, but she’s starting to become a “that girl” that people recognize, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before she gets that one important role that takes her to the next level and establishes her as one of the hot new faces of young Hollywood. It’s said that cream always rises to the top, after all.

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amanda-seyfried

Are you able to spot any similarities between Amanda Seyfried’s smooth, porcelain doll features and the worn and weathered face of longtime Hollywood tough guy Russell Crowe? Director Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds) seems to be able to, because Variety is reporting that he’s just cast her as Crowe’s adult daughter in his next film, appropriately titled Fathers and Daughters. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that they both have piercing blue eyes. Or maybe it’s just because they’re both famous actors. Fathers and Daughters comes from a Black List script that was penned by Brad Desch, and it tells two New York-set stories that take place 25 years apart. The first features Crowe as a famous novelist and widower who is struggling with mental illness and the task of trying to raise his five-year-old daughter on his own. The second story features Seyfried playing a 30-year-old lady trying to make her way in present day Manhattan, all while carrying around the crippling neuroses that come from being raised by a writer father who had mental issues. Or, for the sake of eliminating redundancy, let’s just call him a writer father. 

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Nick Robinson

Like a herd of startled brachiosaurus, casting announcements for Jurassic World continue to stampede in, and the latest actor to hitch a ride to this dinosaur train is Nick Robinson. The star of this year’s The Kings of Summer and the ABC Family sitcom Melissa and Joey, Robinson will be playing the older brother of yesterday’s addition, Ty Simpkins. This newest piece of news (which we’ve got thanks to Variety) seems to confirm that the central characters of Jurassic World might be one big happy dinosaur-bitten family. Throw Bryce Dallas Howard into the mix as a potential mom and the rumored Jake Johnson as a potential dad and things really start to take shape. Though we don’t know anything for certain about the plot of Jurassic World, the (I’m assuming) family dynamic seems to tie in with the biggest story rumor so far – that the film will see a Jurassic World that’s up and running and very successful, and it’s during a run-of-the-mill day at the park that the dinosaurs decide to start snacking on tourists. We’ve still got a ways to go before Jurassic World hits theaters (the film is set for a June 12, 2015 release date), but at least we can be satisfied knowing that the film is coming together, being cast and will most definitely not be sinking back into the development hell from whence it came.

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The world needs more dinosaur movies. But in order to have more dinosaur movies, we need actors to be chased around and occasionally eaten by dinosaurs. So let us all give heartfelt thanks to Ty Simpkins, the young thespian who has graciously (according to Deadline) volunteered to put himself in dinosaur-shaped harm’s way in Jurassic World. Of course, the dinosaurs aren’t real. And it’s not particularly likely that a Jurassic World will end with its lead child actor mauled to pieces by prehistoric beasts. Also, starring in Jurassic World is likely to give Simpkins’ career a generous boost, so it’s not really so selfless a gesture to begin with. And for an actor who’s only twelve years old, Simpkins already has a terrifyingly great filmography going. Starting off with War of the Worlds and Revolutionary Road, audiences might know him better as either the kid from the Insidious movies or the kid who snarkily back-and-forthed with Tony Stark in Iron Man 3. The latter definitely ups my anticipation of Jurassic World - Simpkins had real chemistry with Robert Downey Jr., and one can assume he’ll have the same chemistry with the 40-foot reptiles trying to consume him for sustenance. Plus, this news seems to imply that Jurassic World will continue the trend of a vague family unit at the heart of a Jurassic Park film. For all we know, the not-confirmed-but-still-likely-to-star Bryce Dallas Howard might be a part of that same family unit.

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Ferrell and Reilly

Like chocolate and peanut butter, or whiskey and Diet Coke, or burritos and Tapatío, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are one of the most magical pairings known to man. The duo previously starred together in Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers (and to a really messed up extent as uncle and nephew in Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie), and now they are teaming up again for Devil’s Night. Devil’s Night is October 30th, the day before Halloween – and the day when the real fun happens. Anyone who has had Monday classes when Halloween fell on a Sunday can attest to this. Ferrell and Reilly will star as Leonard and Gabe, who become best friends on the holiday as children, but are also torn apart by its chaos and destruction. Fifteen years later, they are forced to reunite to save their neighborhood after Devil’s Night grows out of control.

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Life in the center of a hotly anticipated (by middle-aged women) fan fiction adaptation about rough sex might not be all it’s cracked up to be. At least that’s the case for Charlie Hunnam, who announced this past weekend that he would no longer be playing Christian Grey in the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey. Now, the official reason for Hunnam’s exit is the actor’s “immersive TV schedule, which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role.” Makes sense, right? The man’s got motorcycles to ride and slight Shakespearean parallels to act out on Sons of Anarchy. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, there was a far more personal motivation for Hunnam’s departure. It seems being cast in 50 Shades put the actor in a far brighter and more unforgiving spotlight than he intended, so much so that he required a set of bodyguards just to make it into a recent Sons of Anarchy premiere, fielding 50 Shades-related questions all the while. If Hunnam can maintain a high-profile acting career while avoiding that kind of crazy, more power to him (and in all honesty, avoiding 50 Shades might be a better move in the long run anyway).

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wife

Since its release this June, A.S.A. Harrison’s novel “The Silent Wife” has quickly become a pretty huge hit, though unfortunately the author passed away in April, a few months before its release, and never got a chance to enjoy its success. She did leave behind an estate, however, and it seems that said estate has been having some dealings with Hollywood over the past few months. Deadline is reporting that Nicole Kidman and frequent literature adaptors Mazur/Kaplan have teamed to acquire the film rights to the book, and they’re currently setting it up as a starring vehicle for the actress. The story is described as being a psychological thriller that details the dissolution of a marriage from the alternating perspectives of both the man and the woman, though just saying that it’s about a marriage ending doesn’t quite seem like it does the thing justice. When you dig a little deeper, it begins to become clear that there’s something dangerous at the heart of this tale that transcends a couple of people deciding who gets to keep the couch.

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Beer ads may be a cornucopia of cheap jokes, swimsuit models and burly bearded men stirring great barrels of barley, but it’s not always easy cooking up those brews. Especially if you’re Freddy Heineken, the grandson of the Heineken beer founder and a victim of kidnapping in 1983. But the world will soon become far more acquainted with the Heineken heir and his story, as the aptly titled Kidnapping Freddy Heineken has just filled out its cast with a slew of recognizable names. The most recognizable being Anthony Hopkins, who’ll be portraying the titular victim. As well, The Hollywood Reporter has Jim Sturgess, Sam Worthington, Ryan Kwanten joining the cast, along with the lesser-known Dutch actor Mark van Eeuwen and the Australian Tom Cocquerel (who’ll be making his debut performance in a feature film). Heineken was kidnapped by five men, so it’s fairly safe to assume that at least a few of these new male additions will be stepping into the shoes of his kidnappers. Heineken’s driver was also kidnapped alongside him, though, so expect at least one more name to be added to the cast. Daniel Alfredson, director of the first two Swedish Dragon Tattoo films, will be helming Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, and filming will take place in Belgium, Amsterdam and New Orleans, so the film will likely have some Northern European flair to go along with its Dutch protagonist.

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Potential Fantastic Four

Variety is reporting that the shortlist for Fox’s new Fantastic Four reboot is skewing young. The breakdown of testing actors includes Michael B. Jordan still being floated as The Human Torch; Miles Teller, Kit Harington and Jack O’Connell (Skins) for Reed Richards; and Saoirse Ronan, Kate Mara and possibly Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) for Sue Storm. Granted, Mara is 30, and Jessica Alba was 24 when she was cast in the role less than a decade ago, but the rest of the list tops out at 26 years for several of the gents while Ronan (the most veteran of the crew) won’t be able to drink legally in the States for a year and a half. In the previous incarnation, Ioan Gruffudd brought some grounding maturity, but the new vision may be looking to bring in adult supervision solely with Ben Grimm — unless they cast another 20-something for The Thing, too. Honestly, all of this is kind of cool. At the very least it brings a different angle to a franchise whose renewed existence is aggressively shrug-worthy. It’s also a way to make a natural through line for Chronicle director Josh Trank as he takes on legacy superheroes for a change.  There are a ton of middle-aged heroes out there, so maybe it’s time for a different flavor in the buffet of spandex and capes. Of course, regardless of who they cast, it’ll still be a superhero movie produced by Fox and written by the guy who wrote This […]

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Death at a Funeral

Making an R-rated comedy about a leprechaun might not look like such a great idea at first glance, but when you’ve got a lead actor as perfect for the role as Peter Dinklage willing to sign on and make the movie happen, suddenly a cursing little man with shiny buckles on his shoes starts to sound like a concept ripe with much more comedic potential than it would have had otherwise. We’ve seen Dinklage play a dwarf in the second Chronicles of Narnia movie, we’ve seen him do comedy in both versions of Death at a Funeral, and Game of Thrones has more than proven that he can be utterly, unapologetically filthy—it almost seems strange that he hasn’t starred in an R-rated movie about a leprechaun already. The news of this new project comes from THR, who reports that Paramount has picked up a pitch for a still untitled R-rated comedy about a man who tries to convince everyone in his life that he’s not just a little person, but is actually an honest-to-God leprechaun. So far Dinklage is attached to star and Andrew Dodge—who also penned the film that Jason Bateman recently directed, Bad Words—is on board as the writer.

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salmahayek

Salma Hayek has been one of Hollywood’s go-to leading ladies for decades now, and she’s somehow still just as much of a saucy little firecracker today as she was when Robert Rodriguez first blew all of our minds by casting her as his female lead in Desperado. If anything, she’s grown even sexier and sassier over time, so it’s probably a cause for celebration that she’s just been cast as the female lead in a new film—and one that’s being described as a “sexually charged romantic comedy” to boot. Your mileage for celebration may vary, but Salma Hayek starring in a sexually charged anything is a ticket sold, at the very least. The news comes from Deadline, who report that she’s just been added as the main romantic interest in the upcoming Pierce Brosnan starring vehicle, How to Make Love Like an Englishman. This one is being brought to us by What Happens in Vegas director Tom Vaughan, and it also has Jessica Alba attached in a featured role.

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Reese-Witherspoon

Because, let’s face it, she’s an actual real-life Disney princess, Reese Witherspoon has signed on to play one in Happily Ever After. The story checks in on that beautiful, aspirational prince and princess we all fall in love with ten years after they ride off into the sunset and the woodland creatures presumably stop dancing in celebration. The project, from Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23 creator Nahnatchka Khan, is a comedic look at what happens after the Disneyified romance wraps up after that blissful hour of singing and courtship; like any marriage, even the ones that are supposed to end up “happily ever after” take work and commitment to stay that way. While Disney may be very self-aware by taking on this tongue-in-cheek idea (that their biggest ideal isn’t realistic), it just seems like Khan would have better luck getting her message across with a different studio, without it getting sanitized. Disney’s probably not going to let Princess Reese talk about her crappy sex life or watch her Prince hit the bottle too hard.

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Every office needs its I.T. person. He or she is always there to lend a hand or suggest that you try turning your computer off and then back on again. But if that friendly neighborhood I.T. consultant had a grudge against you? And ruined your career while threatening your family? Well, in that case the only option would be to wreak bloody revenge against him. And that’s just what Pierce Brosnan will be doing in the upcoming I.T. Billed as a revenge thriller by Deadline, Brosnan will play a book publisher forced to contend with a “disgruntled I.T. consultant” hellbent on destroying his life and livelihood. Who knows to what extent an I.T. person can really destroy one’s entire life, but perhaps all it takes is a few missed memos and server shutdowns for Brosnan to desire the type of full-scale vengeance only a revenge thriller can provide. And I.T. will certainly be worth a watch, if just to see a petty office squabble snowball into something full of death, destruction and heartache. Note that Pierce Brosnan is now old enough I.T. will be helmed by Italian director Stefano Sollima, known mostly for his TV work and last year’s A.C.A.B.: All Cops are Bastards. The screenplay will be written by Dan Kaye.

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elizabeth-olsen-cannes-festival-25

At the end of August, Elizabeth Olsen was reported to be in final negotiations to play Scarlet Witch for Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to Samuel L. Jackson, those final talks are now finalized. Here’s what he told The Wall Street Journal: “I don’t think we begin shooting before March of next year. I know we’re shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. [Elizabeth] Olsen [who will play the Scarlet Witch], but I don’t know what she’s doing, if she’s on the inside or the outside. I haven’t seen a script.” Not only is it great news that she’s definitely in the film, I also like to think that Jackson will continue not seeing a script until the day he shoots. Or never. I want to believe Jackson rolls up in his own good time, knocks out some signature cool, breaks some people’s concentration and then heads back to smash mailboxes with Snoop Lion. Obviously the guy is a dependable workhorse actor with a metric ton of professionalism under his belt, but it’s the scenario I like to imagine. With this reassurance on the table, the next question is whether Aaron Taylor-Johnson is going to indeed be Quicksilver — Witch’s brother and the other new addition to the franchise — or whether the role is going to someone else. As they push toward filming in the spring, look for a lot of new information to come out.

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