Christopher Meloni

42 Trailer

The historical drama, the meditation on race relations, and the inspirational sports story: separately they’re all crowd-pleasing film genres that tend to do well at the box office and earn plenty of recognition during awards season. But put them all together and you get some kind of unstoppable super movie. Or, at least, that’s probably what writer/director Brian Helgeland was hoping when he made 42, a biopic of baseball player Jackie Robinson. For anyone out there whose nerdom doesn’t travel over into the sports world, Robinson was the first black player to cross the color line and play in Major League Baseball during the modern era. Which, you might imagine, was something that a number of tobacco-spitting ballplayers and drunken fans in the stands didn’t take kindly to back in the late 1940s. 42 seems to focus on the struggle of going somewhere you’re not wanted, so that you might pave the way toward opportunity for those who come after you; a noble goal that’s ripe with dramatic potential.

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Jack Reynor

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting roundup that’s knee deep in nostalgia as it reports on movies based on comic books and toys from its childhood. Due to a little bit of inspiration from the Internet, Michael Bay gave Mark Wahlberg a pretty big part in his upcoming fourth Transformers movie. It’s always been understood that Wahlberg was playing a placeholder character though, who would pass the franchise off to a couple of young kids who would be pushed into the forefront as it went forward. Well, today Bay announced that he’s found the male half of this new duo. Apparently little known Irish actor Jack Reynor is his guy. Bay says that he saw Reynor in an Irish movie called What Richard Did, which a quick Googling tells me has nothing to do with acting opposite giant robots, so let’s all hope he knows what he’s talking about.

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Cate Blanchett

What is Casting Couch? It’s a round-up of Hollywood casting news, not one of those porn videos where a 19-year-old gets exploited in a grimy-looking office. Move along, perv. Now that we’ve got all of those live action Snow White movies out of the way, it makes sense that we would move down the fairy tale lineup and start seeing a rash of new Cinderella projects popping up. And, if Disney has their way, their Mark Romanek-directed Cinderella script from The Devil Wears Prada scribe Aline Brosh McKenna will be the hit that starts the trend. They’re trying to get casting for the film off on the right foot with the acquisition of a big name, as Deadline reports that the House of Mouse is in serious negotiations with Cate Blanchett to come on board to play a character called Lady Tremaine, known in some circles as the wicked stepmother. Given her experience playing a creepy elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, this seems like something of a perfect fit.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that has a theory casting agents are kind of just coasting going into the Thanksgiving holiday. Bryan Cranston. For a long time he was viewed as being an under appreciated character actor, or even “the dad from Malcolm in the Middle,” but these days he’s basically the most universally beloved actor in the business. It’s amazing what cooking meth in your tighty-whities can do for your career. What a coup for the upcoming crime drama, Eye of Winter, then, that it’s landed Cranston as its lead. He’ll be playing a blind criminal who takes a struggling motel owner (Alive Eve) and her daughter hostage so that they can be his eyes while he attempts to retrieve a package from a crooked cop (Logan Marshall Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct and has co-written alongside Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon. [Variety]

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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When it was recently mentioned in Movie News After Dark that Christopher Meloni would be joining Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman film Man of Steel I was left struggling with an overwhelming mix of emotions. There was joy at what an awesome actor Meloni is, whether he’s fondling sweaters in Wet Hot American Summer or looking grim as a detective on Law & Order: SVU. But there was also pain at being left in the dark about exactly which role he would be taking. Would he be playing a big role in the Superman mythos that we hadn’t hear the casting for yet, could he be doing a super secret cameo as a character we’re not supposed to know appears in the film, or would he just be playing a guy in a hard hat who looks up and says something like, “it’s a bird …”?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly round-up of movie news and informational links that will marry whomever it damn well pleases, male, female, alien or otherwise. Except /Film’s Page 2, that bitch never called it back. She thinks she’s so cool because she’s on a “legitimate” film site that “people actually read.” Bitches be trippin’. Our most photogenic story tonight, a first official look at John Cusack in The Raven (working title) as the tormented Edgar Allen Poe. Lets face it, if that hair (facial and cranial) is real, we should be impressed. Also impressive is the expansive amount of Cusack-related news included in tonight’s edition of Movie News After Dark, so stick around.

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Ten years ago the Law & Order franchise was the king of the cop show castle with the mother ship at the peak of its ratings dominance, Law & Order: SVU well into a successful third season and the new series Law & Order: Criminal Intent finishing up a successful freshman year. All seemed well in the world that Dick Wolf had birthed, but everything was starting to change. In the following ten years, the unstoppable force that was the mother ship series was cancelled after a hefty twenty-year run (had it gone on for one more season it would of surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest running scripted drama on television), Criminal Intent dropped in ratings and was forced to shift to the USA Network, new spin-off series Trial By Jury and Conviction were ratings bombs and the monstrosity of this past year known as Law & Order: LA was, well, a monstrosity. The only glimmer of hope the franchise had left lied in the hands of Benson, Stabler, Fin and the rest of the Special Victims Unit. The question is whether that’s a hope they should hold on to.

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Two years ago NBC threatened to replace Law & Order: Special Victims Unit stars Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay when the two were at a stand still during contract negotiations. Over the last few months the same threat was issued. But unlike two years ago where an agreement was eventually reached, it has been reported by Deadline that Meloni has walked out of negotiations and he will indeed not be returning next season. The exit certainly comes as a shock considering Meloni’s twelve year run on the show. The exit was also reportedly one of a personal decision for Meloni who’s reps have stated “he is ready for the next chapter of his life.”

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This editorial contains spoilers for the season finale of Special Victims Unit so consider yourself warned. Before continuing with this piece I want you to take a long, hard look at the screencap below. Now sit back for a moment and take in everything that’s happening at that moment in time. Two dead bodies are on the floor, Olivia is over one and Elliot is over the other. Three dead bodies in the cage, Fin is on the phone trying to get EMS to the station, cops are running left and right trying to make sense of the chaos, and through it all we all know that we will return to the Special Victims Unit in September and it will be like nothing happened. But none of the characters in that moment will forget what they’re witnessing right now. And that’s the beauty of Law & Order: SVU and why it’s one of the standards of how to do episodic television the right.

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