Cinderella

JACK RYAN- SHADOW RECRUIT

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit isn’t an action movie. Sir Kenneth Branagh‘s reboot of the Tom Clancy-based franchise is a straight-up thriller, and that’s an important distinction to make. The film may have a globetrotting story, which goes from New York to Moscow, but Branagh’s set pieces are all contained, even the motorcycle chase at the very end. If you counted the amount of bullets fired in this movie, it would be drastically less than most spy thrillers. That fact likely spoke to Branagh, who was more invested in Jack Ryan’s quick thinking than the character’s skills in combat. If you asked him about Thor a few years ago, he would’ve expressed more interest in the themes of brotherhood than Thor swinging his hammer around. Branagh has always been a character-driven filmmaker. When you make a juicy four-hour version of Hamlet, you have to be. Everything from that Shakespeare adaptation to even Peter’s Friends seems to play a part in Branagh’s blockbuster filmmaking. The director and co-star (he plays the Russian villain, Viktor) recently discussed his progression towards tentpole filmmaking with us, along with the excitement and education that comes with it.

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IntroOneRole

Imagine if Edward Norton had made Primal Fear and decided to just bounce after that, or if Johnny Depp called it quits after Edward Scissorhands. Even though he was in a few films before that (including Nightmare on Elm Street), had that happened, no one would have thought twice about the guy – not unlike how zero people really think twice about the following actors and actresses…

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cinderella

Disney, as a company, is one of the best that’s ever existed when it comes to matters of marketing and branding. Everyone knows the Disney logo, everyone knows the silhouette of Mickey Mouse’s ears, and, thanks to the merchandising and advertising blitz that’s taken place over the last couple decades, pretty much every little girl you’ve ever met can instantly deduce which Disney Princess they’re looking at just with a quick glimpse at the color of her hair and the dress she’s wearing. Because of this, it was kind of interesting to speculate what the new Lily James-starring, Kenneth Branagh-directed live action remake of Cinderella was going to look like. Disney hasn’t ever really done a live action feature of one of their iconic cartoon properties yet. Would Branagh be under strict restrictions to follow the visual template laid out by the company’s animated classic? Or would such a respected director have more freedom to offer up his own visual and narrative interpretation of the Cinderella story? Well, Disney put out a press release about Cinderella along with the first still taken during the film’s shooting today [via /Film], and from the looks of things it seems like they’re going to be sticking pretty closely to the Cinderella everyone knows and loves.

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skarsgard

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily news column that’s full of all sorts of salacious celebrity gossip, so long as you consider actors being cast in movies to be salacious gossip. Read on to get news about new jobs for Dev Patel, Michael K. Williams, Alicia Vikander, and more. There’s always more. Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Cinderella seems to nearly have all of its casting ducks in a row. It’s got Lily James as the title character, Richard Madden as the handsome prince, Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother, Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother, and Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger as the evil stepsisters. There’s one question that’s still at the tip of everyone’s tongue though—who the heck is going to play the Grand Duke, AKA the duplicitous advisor to the King? Well, according to Heat Vision, Branagh is dipping into his Thor cast and negotiating with Stellan Skarsgard to fill this very important role that apparently exists.

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bonhamcarter

What is Casting Couch? It’s one more shot of casting updates before you’re off to enjoy your weekend. Read on for stories involving Anne Hathaway, Gerard Depardieu, and Scarlett Johansson. Helena Bonham Carter has always had an otherworldly quality to her. That’s probably why she’s spent much of her career playing queens, witches, ape women, junkies, and the like. And it’s probably why Kenneth Branagh has tapped her to play a very magical role in his upcoming live action take on Cinderella. THR is reporting that she’s been hired to play Cinderella’s fairy godmother, the mystical benefactor who’s famous for helping the little servant girl along by turning pumpkins into stage coaches and water into wine, or whatnot. She joins a pretty stacked cast that features names like Downton Abbey’s Lily James as the title character, Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden as the charming prince, and Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother.

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Richard Madden

Briefly: As previously promised, Disney has casually rolled out another tidbit of casting news via unassuming press release. The studio has just sent around word that their once-stalled live-action Cinderella now has a prince to join its recently-cast princess. The announcement reveals that Game of Thrones’ dreamy King of the North Robb Stark, Richard Madden, has just been cast in the film, where he will star alongside Lily James as the eponymous glass slipper-wearing lady love and Cate Blanchett as that evil stepmother, all directed by Kenneth Branagh. We can only assume he’s playing the prince role, because obviously.  Yes, most UK Cinderella ever. (Yes, we know Blanchett is Australian, but we also all know that Australia is a former British colony, so let’s go with it.)

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Brad Pitt

What is Casting Couch? It’s casting news. A bunch of it. All in one place. Today we’ve got the short list of young ladies who may be playing Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Disney film, among other things. People seemed to love watching Brad Pitt don military garb and do a World War II movie for Quentin Tarantino, so it stands to reason they should be willing to line up to watch him go period again for David Ayer. According to Heat Vision, the director is looking to sign the star for his upcoming WWII-set project, Fury. If he becomes official, he’ll be taking the lead role of the film, which is an ensemble piece that will follow the 5-man crew of an American tank. More specifically, it follows the 5-man crew of an American tank in the waning days of the war, as they come across a battered and desperate division of German soldiers. Ayer wrote the film and sold it to QED on spec, which is going to start to look like a smart investment on their part if a star as recognizable as Pitt becomes official.

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KennethBranagh

After Disney hired Mark Romanek, a director who makes dark movies, to helm their upcoming live action Cinderella, and then fired him because all of the ideas he was coming up with for the movie were too dark, one had to wonder just exactly why they were making a live-action Cinderella movie in the first place. Did anybody behind the scenes want to revisit the Cinderella story for any particular reason, or was this just a cynical ploy to churn out some product and get one of their merchandise producers back out there in the public eye? And, given such greedy corporate motivations, was it likely they were going to make a movie worth watching in the first place? Turns out they might still make a Cinderella worth watching, and perhaps they do really have a commitment to putting together something that’s good entertainment and not just good corporate synergy. This newfound optimism stems from a Vulture report that the studio is currently negotiating with Kenneth Branagh for him to come in and be Cinderella’s new director. In addition to being a well-respected filmmaker due to his helming of impressive versions of stuffy Shakespeare plays, Branagh proved with Marvel’s Thor that he could take material that had the potential of coming off as cheesy and ridiculous and present it in a manner that made it resonant and entertaining, so his potential signing would have to be seen as a smart move by Disney.

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romanek

I would love to meet the executives at Disney who ever said, “Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo? This guy Mark Romanek reeks of Disney goodness!” Nobody at the studio probably said that, sadly, but I’m sure more than a few Disney folks were conscious of what they were getting with the director. It looks everyone was just now hit with the realization that he’s not an atypical Disney protégé, as the director has left the high-profile Cinderella project. According to Deadline Hollywood, Romanek’s intentions were a tad too dark for Disney’s taste. This isn’t the first time this situation has gone down with him. If you recall, Romanek also dodged a big silver bullet by dropping The Wolfman right before shooting began. Let’s hope Cinderella isn’t met with the same quality fate as The Wolfman, but thankfully for Disney, they have more time to find a replacement before the possible summer start date than Universal did getting Joe Johnston to take Romanek’s place. The question is who it will be.

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Saoirse Ronan

What is Casting Couch? It’s just trying to cram its foot into this shoe. Just last week, we learned that Cate Blanchett was likely to be Mark Romanek’s wicked stepmother in the new Cinderella movie that he’s doing for Disney, and now Variety gives us word that the project is closing in on its Cinderella as well. According to the trade, Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan, Anna Karenina actress Alicia Vikander, and The Three Musketeers’ Gabriella Wilde have all been in to see Romanek for screen tests. So, clearly, the sweet spot for getting this role is to have an interesting accent and some period work under your belt. Keira Knightley better watch her back, because it looks like there’s a whole upcoming generation of ladies gunning for her roles.

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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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While today certainly feels like a slow news day, the Internet has provided a ton of great links to share with you all. I’ve felt compelled to keep my links strictly film related over the past couple of days, but I think you’ll appreciate some of the geeky, non-film stuff today.

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Matrix Origin

This content series is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. Where do movies come from? At the risk of sounding like Lucas from Empire Records (although “What’s with today, today?” is a perfectly valid question), there’s something genuinely incredible about the spark that leads to a multi-million dollar piece of art, crafted by thousands of people that a massive audience can enjoy. Someone reads a book or hears a story or finds an old family heirloom in a basement. Someone wants to recognize a figure that made a profound impact on our world. Someone stumbles across an old idea or has a Eureka Moment in the shower. It all gets put through the ringer and ends up as the only source of light in a darkened room. So, yes, there’s a magic to it all. Movies take their ideas from anywhere and everywhere (including other works of art and other movies). To celebrate that, here are five great films made just a bit more incredible by exploring where they come from.

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There’s totally nothing wrong with a bonding between man and beast, but it feels like such relationships are often trivialized thanks to how sensational we make them in films. Teaching your dog to sit and stay is cool, but in the movie world you’d need to at least teach him to solve crimes or play basketball to really turn heads. Anything less is just everyday stuff. It’s because movies tend to over-personify animals that we often forget just how extraordinarily talented they’re portrayed as, and how weird some of the relationships are. Here are some of the weirder ones…

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The new trend in Hollywood seems to be live action adaptations of tales starring Disney princesses. First Disney hit it big themselves with their Tim Burton directed 3D version of Alice in Wonderland. Then, a couple of other studios got the jump on them for the next round by announcing several different Snow White projects. Eventually Disney threw their hat into that ring with their own take on the tale, The Order of the Seven, and not one to be outdone for long, they’ve become to first one out of the gate for the next wave of princess movies as well. If one of those other studios wants to put a Cinderella project in the works, well they’re just going to have to get in line behind the mouse. Work on a live action Cinderella started last year when Disney paid The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna big money for her treatment on the material. That pitch seems to have come together nicely, because word from Deadline Fantasyland is that Disney is courting director Mark Romanek to helm the project. Romanek has directed films like One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go before, and his work has always gotten a fair amount of critical acclaim, but it should be remembered that the last time he was attached to a big studio property it resulted in him walking out on Universal’s The Wolfman not long before shooting was scheduled to start. Seeing as nothing has been officially signed, […]

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The romantic comedy is, in many ways, as “pure” as genre as there ever was one, as it requires the strict adherence to owning up on an audience’s specific set of expectations – you know going in that the two central characters are going to end up together, the slight variation (and appeal) of the genre takes place in the journey to that anticipated point.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been anxiously awaiting the days when princesses, enchantment and fantastical adventures overtake the dark, brooding, vamping trends in teen-targeted entertainment.

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Walt Disney

It is safe to say that many of you are fans of Sin City, or at least warm-blooded enough to be interested in the scintillating ladies that graced it’s posters. As well, we have all grown up with such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White. So when I tell you that someone, namely artist Curt Rapala, decided to combine the two into a set of six posters, you should all be just a little interested. I know that I was. Below you will find his entire gallery, six posters taken from the exact posters for Sin City, but this time with popular Disney femmes in place of the real life actors. My personal favorite is the one pictured above as well, in which Ariel from The Little Mermaid stands in for Jessica Alba as Nancy. As Rapala explains on his website, this is one of those projects that really has a unique appeal: I loved the idea from the moment I thought it up, so I had to pursue it. There’s just something so incredibly awesome about the idea of juxtaposing something brutal, harsh, sexy & violent, like Sin City, with something wholesome, fun, and child-friendly, like Disney. Have a look for yourself at some of the brilliant posters below, and be sure to visit Rapala’s website NotAFishingLure.com for the high resolution versions and other cool art.

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