Casting Couch

Very few of us get to hang out with talking raccoons. Or Morgan Freeman. Or Batman. Chris Pratt gets paid to do so. And next year, we’ll all get to experience the fruits of his so-awesome-you-can-hardly-qualify-it-as-labor labor, as both The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy offer up heaping helpings of that infectiously giggly Chris Pratt humor. Now you can go ahead and add “dinosaurs” to that great big list of reasons to be jealous of Pratt. According to The Wrap, the actor is in talks for the lead role in Jurassic World. Now, these are still very early talks (so much so that The Wrap put the word “very” in italics) – Pratt’s commitment to Parks and Recreation takes up a considerable amount of his schedule, so he’ll only be allowed into Jurassic World if everyone gets the timing right. If Jurassic World knows what’s good for it, though, it’ll take the extra steps necessary to ensure Pratt comes on board. Man cannot live by dinosaurs alone- the folks being chased by prehistoric beasts are just as important as the beasts doing the chasing. And while Josh Brolin (who was originally in talks for the role, but has apparently dropped out) would bring a certain goateed charm to the film, it’s hard to deny that Chris Pratt and dinosaurs are a match made in heaven. Irrfan Khan is also in talks for a role; he must still be irked that his “eaten by a giant lizard” scene was […]

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Plain ol’ everyday Christopher Walken is terrific just the way he is. The strange deadpan. The madness in his eyes. All great. But Christopher Walken set to music is even greater, and Little Rootie Tootie may provide us all with something we didn’t know we desperately needed. Walken has, according to Deadline, signed on to star as a virtuoso jazz pianist who slowly spirals into madness after losing his wife. One has to ask, of course, whether Walken would really “slowly spiral” into madness, or just “take a slight step to the left” into madness, but that’s hardly the point. Little Rootie Tootie may provide the opportunity to see a far jazzier Walken than we’ve ever experienced before (at least, not since 1981’s Pennies From Heaven, which features a Walken-centric musical number you absolutely track down on YouTube). Alongside Walken is Lenny Kravitz, who joins Little Rootie Tootie as the unstable pianist’s son. Kravitz’ character, along with his wife (who hasn’t been cast yet) are developing their own musical careers in Europe, when they’re forced to return and tend to Walken’s crumbling mental stability. Little Rootie Tootie will be directed by Dan Algrant, who with last year’s Greetings from Tim Buckley proved he can merge music and family tragedy with ease. With luck, he’ll provide the same gravitas to Walken’s delivery of the words “Little Rootie Tootie,” which I assume he’ll be uttering at some point in the film.

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Jake_Gyllenhaal

Over the course of its development, the boxing drama Southpaw has become just about as much of an underdog as the fighter who serves as its main character. What started out as a sports drama that was supposed to star Eminem and be tied closely to his experiences coming up in the rap world has now slipped through the hands of several studios and lost its original star, but still seems to be fighting to earn the right to go in front of cameras and become a real life feature film. And probably with good reason, because it was put together by a couple of talented people. From the very beginning this film was going to be helmed by Training Day and Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua, and back when it was in development at DreamWorks it got a script that was penned by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, so clearly there has to be some material here worth salvaging. Despite the project’s pedigree, however, it’s already been dropped by DreamWorks, picked up by MGM, and then eventually put into turnaround there. But with its recent acquisition by the Weinstein Company, it’s looking like there finally might be some new work being done in the casting department that could actually lead to getting this movie made.

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assbender

We’ve recently seen him play an unhinged plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave and a morally compromised lawyer in The Counselor, and now it’s looking like Michael Fassbender is going to make his next role that of a reluctant gangster in a movie called Trespass Against Us that’s coming from screenwriter Alastair Siddons and first time dramatic feature director Adam Smith. A report from Variety says that Fassbender is currently in negotiations to play one of the lead roles of the film, that of a character named Chad Cutler. Trespass Against Us is set to detail the lives of three generations of a family full of law breakers, with Fassbender’s character being the young black sheep who wants to turn his back on the brood’s rowdy ways in order to become more respectable. Due to the Cutler family’s lives being so out there, Siddons’ script is said to be “infused with action, crime and a strong sense of humor,” but it’s nice to hear that Fassbender would be joining as a more conflicted character. He’s too much of an actor’s actor to be stuck playing a one note devilish rogue. Why not give him the chance to add some pathos to his sly grin?

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hirsch

When it got reported last week that there was new movement on a potential John Belushi biopic that was going to be put together by writer/director Steve Conrad, everyone’s initial reaction was to brainstorm what working actor would be the best choice to hire to play Belushi. The reports were that Conrad had met with Emile Hirsch and Adam Devine, and that there may have been some interest in Joaquin Phoenix. These were interesting choices that pointed to the fact that Conrad was more interested in hiring an actor who could convey the dramatics of Belushi’s private moments rather than one who could recreate the unique power and physicality of his comic performances, and they gave us a hint as to what to expect in regards to what this Belushi biopic will be all about. The new development in the story is Borys Kit’s report that Emile Hirsch has beat out the competition and has been hired for the Belushi role. On the surface, this seems like a completely fine choice that’s pretty hard to complain about. Hirsch is one of the most talented young actors in the business, he’s shown a good deal of versatility to date, and he’s likely a better choice than going with whatever chubby comedian is currently the most en vogue (Maybe Galifianakis? Could he stop winking long enough to play a role like this?) like most productions would. But once you actually picture him in the part, it starts to become clear that it’s […]

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Seeing Septuple

The threat of overpopulation (and the strange-yet-potentially-necessary child-limiting laws that follow) are already a part of today’s terrifyingly modern world. So it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine a future time where the entire Earth is regulated with a strict “one baby per set of babymakers” policy. That’s the idea behind What Happened to Monday, a new science fiction film that’s just been reported (by Deadline Hollywood) to have cast Noomi Rapace in its lead role. Or, to put it more precisely, its seven lead roles. Rapace will be playing a set of septuplets who have to keep themselves concealed from society, as their very existence is a great big no-no in the film’s future world. Director Tommy Wirkola states that he originally intended Monday‘s multiple protagonists to be male, but when considering to the complexities of playing so many separate roles, “Noomi was the ideal actor – male or female – to bring them to life,” which is something fairly refreshing to hear these days.

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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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