Dominic Cooper

Universal Pictures

Origin stories have become synonymous with Marvel films and other cinematic superhero adventures, but Hollywood’s love of the idea has long extended well beyond caped crusaders. The concept of taking an established character and delving into their narrative birth has, for better or worse, resulted in origin tales for literary creations as diverse as Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter and Jesus Christ. It’s an (often unnecessary) opportunity to detail the events that led them to becoming the character we’re familiar with, and the best ones enrich the person while staying true to their persona. An example of the opposite tact is Dracula Untold. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) is the beloved yet misunderstood leader of the Transylvanian people who after years of battle has delivered his country into a time of peace. It’s a tenuous calm though as the Turkish kingdom — a powerful empire under which Transylvania serves — is led by a cruel man named Mehmed (Dominic Cooper). When the power-thirsty ruler demands a testosterone-fueled donation of one thousand boys for his army Vlad refuses thereby dooming his people to destruction at the tips of Turkish swords. But Vlad is nothing if not a strong supporter of “the ends justify the means” and after making a deal with a monster in the mountains returns to open a can of supernatural whoop-ass on the Turkish Empire.

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Need For Speed Movie

Need for Speed, I’ve seen all the Fast & Furious films. I know the Fast & Furious films. The Fast & Furious films are friends of mine. Need for Speed, you’re no Fast & Furious. The name may come from the popular video game franchise, but director Scott Waugh and his cohorts are unmistakably shooting for a piece of that F&F pie. Unfortunately, this movie doesn’t have a tenth of the brazenness, the chewy homoeroticism, or the un-self-conscious fun of even the least of its inspirations (no, it’s not even better than the fourth F&F). Aaron Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and street racing savant who, through a series of unnecessarily complicated events, gets framed for vehicular manslaughter. As soon as he steps out of prison, he breaks parole and heads off to take revenge on the one who wronged him: former friend Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Rather than taking a tire iron to Dino’s head or some similarly straightforward action, Tobey plots to earn his way into the DeLeon, a top-secret race held only for the studliest drivers with the most expensive cars. Dino, a previous winner, is competing again, and Tobey wants to beat him and earn the millions in prize money. Assisting him are a trio of friends (Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, and Ramón Rodriguez) and a love interest named Julia (Imogen Poots).

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Fleming The Man Who Would Be Bond

Fleming won’t be the first time that the romantic espionage-tinted life of Bond author Ian Fleming has been used for entertainment outside of 007’s exploits, but it definitely looks like the slickest version of events yet — effectively casting the writer as “the man who would be Bond.” It’s part of BBC America’s programing, meaning that a writer whose spy novels became a movie franchise will be the centerpiece of a TV show. And yet it still lacks Spymaker‘s ingenious stuntcasting of  Sean Connery’s son playing Fleming. Fortunately, it features Dominic Cooper — an actor who seems to have perpetually walked out of an oil slick. He’s joined at the hip by Lara Pulver who was a shock to the system as Irene Adler in Sherlock. Check out the trailer for yourself.

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Need for Speed

Do you feel that? The need? The Need for Speed? The full trailer for the adaptation of everyone’s favorite  racing game (besides Mario Kart, obviously) has arrived, bringing Aaron Paul out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and back onto the streets for some good ole fashioned car revenge. Much like the first trailer, it remains unclear which crime Paul’s Tobey Marshall has been framed for, but by far, the most important information you’re going to glean from this entire movie is that the man who framed him is named Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). In order to stick it to his enemy, Tobey must make it cross country to an insane underground racing competition where they’ll do battle one more time. But clearly, he’s made the mistake of thinking that a guy named Dino is going to let this just happen, as it turns out that the Michael Keaton-narrated death road to the race is the true test of his skills; really, isn’t life all about the journey and not the destination?

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brosnan-love

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news roundup that’s solely concerned with actors getting cast in movies. Today we have news about the war against the machines as well as the war against the vampires. In a career move that has to be seen as a huge victory for a man the age of Pierce Brosnan, he has just signed on to play a role that will see him impregnating Jessica Alba. It’s a “passion project,” by his own admission. The news comes from Variety, who reports that Brosnan, Alba, and Kristin Scott Thomas will be the stars of How to Make Love to an Englishman, a romantic comedy from writer Matthew Newman and director Tom Vaughn that casts Brosnan as a Cambridge University professor, Alba as a graduate student, and Thomas as the Alba character’s stepsister, a lady who steps in after the miracle of life occurs in order to knock some heads around and straighten everyone out. Sounds like a situation ripe for creating age-appropriate romance.

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Han Solo

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that’s been talking way more about a movie based on a racing video game than it imagined it would be. Read on for more information. It’s bound to get pretty annoying following every rumor that pops up about the new Star Wars movie between now and 2015. But, let’s face it, when comments start getting thrown around about Harrison Ford playing Han Solo again, even vague rumors start to get pretty interesting. So, when Inside Movies announced that they have sources claiming that Ford has reversed his famously grumpy position on Star Wars being lame, and that he, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are now all “upbeat” about more movies getting made, geeks everywhere instantly started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Let’s try to not let this Star Wars thing get out of hand—but Harrison Ford might play Han Solo again, y’all!

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Benjamin Walker in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Poor ‘lil Stevie Spielberg. Come Oscar season he may have a tough act to follow with his Daniel Day Lewis-starring Lincoln pic, the one which probably won’t feature Lincoln’s finest achievements: chopping off vampire heads, marrying Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and getting Anthony Mackie to somehow be your sidekick. All in all, that’s quite the life, as this bloody red band trailer for Timur Bekmambetov‘s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shows. Check out Abraham Lincoln acting like a “mad man”:

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Cannes. Day one. And the deals just keep on rolling. Next up from the international film festival is word that Pierce Brosnan’s production company, Irish DreamTime, has signed on for a multi-picture financing and distribution deal with The Solution Entertainment Group. Right out of the gate, the companies have announced their first picture – a film that will put Brosnan make where he should be: with a gun in his hand and someone shady at his back. Brosnan will star in November Man alongside Dominic Cooper. The film will be directed by Roger Donaldson (The Recruit, Dante’s Peak, Cocktail, and The Bank Job) from an adapted script by Michael Finch (Predators) and Karl Gajdusek (Trespass), who will be drawing from Bill Granger‘s 1987 book “There Are No Spies,” one of many espionage novels by the late author. With so much material to draw from, November Man is being viewed as the first film in a potential franchise. The film “tells the tale of an ex-CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and finds himself pitted against his former pupil in a deadly game involving high level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect.” Intrigue!

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French actress Isabelle Huppert has been a force in the film world for quite a while now, winning Best Actress awards at Cannes for her work in Violette and The Piano Teacher, and a César for her role in La Cérémonie. Though she’s really only appeared in I Heart Huckabees and episodes of Law & Order: SVU in English-speaking roles (as far as I know?), she’s been a top international actress long enough that most everyone interested in acting and such Stateside should have an idea of who she is. Niels Arden Oplev hasn’t been around the scene for quite as long, but after he took the world by storm directing the Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, he solidified his place on the list of filmmakers that everyone is keeping their eyeballs on. His success launching that franchise has led to his latest project, Dead Man Down, signing mainstream names like Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, and Dominic Cooper to its cast. Though shooting on the film started last week in Philadelphia, apparently we’re not at the end of the good news when it comes to its cast.

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Though he won’t be exacting his revenge on any baddies in Motor City, Dominic Cooper appears to still be in the market to take down some double-crossing criminals in a new film. Variety reports that Cooper is currently in negotiations to take what sounds like a supporting role in Niels Arden Oplev‘s Dead Man Down. Both Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace are on board the action-thriller (which, yes, will reunite Rapace with her The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo director), so the project certainly has some solid talent around it. The film follows Farrell’s character, who “infiltrates a crime syndicate capable for the death of his family.” Rapace is set to play “a mysterious, scarred beauty with intimate knowledge of his past.” The role Cooper would take sounds to be a bit less dramatic, that of “Darcy, a family man who works as Farrell’s partner on the street.” Hmm, a family man in a revenge thriller? Yeah, I think it’s a safe bet that Cooper’s precious family just might get caught up in some dirty, vengeful business.

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Albert Hughes’ next project, Motor City, is in a bit of a pickle. You see, Dominic Cooper was all set to star in the movie, playing a recently released prisoner going about the business of tracking down the men who framed him and thus sent him away. There have been some scheduling conflicts, however, and Cooper has now been forced to drop out. So what’s a director to do? In this case, Hughes is solving his problem by looking at an even bigger name to step in and take over. Variety is reporting that Jake Gyllenhaal is currently in negotiations to become Motor City’s new leading man. Gyllenhaal is an actor who hasn’t been working much lately, so there shouldn’t be any further scheduling conflicts if he signs on. Then again, Gyllenhaal hasn’t been working much lately, and clearly that must be his choice, so what’s it going to take to get his name on the dotted line? You have to imagine that Motor City’s producers are pretty intent on getting Gyllenhaal signed, sealed, and delivered, as he’s one of the few people out there who still has enough star power to guarantee a few extra box office dollars on opening night, so whichever way this one goes, we should know the results soon.

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Unlike our own Kate Erbland, I don’t loathe Seth Grahame-Smith‘s writing with every fiber of my body. In fact, I quite like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a book that’s less tongue-in-cheek than you’d expect. Tonally, it’s challenging material. And based on this first trailer for the book’s cinematic adaptation, it’s slightly difficult to tell which way the film’s going to go. This could either be another Van Helsing or (probably) something we haven’t quite seen before. If one thing’s for sure, director Timur Bekmambetov has nailed the atmosphere of the book. The director’s got a great eye, so it’s no surprise this trailer has visual ass-kicking going for it. Take a look at Abe kicking some unholy arse:

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Simon Curtis’ My Week with Marilyn isn’t really a bio pic. Underneath the core love story of a naive dope, it’s about a clashing of two actors. In one corner, there’s Miss Marilyn Monroe, wanting to be taken seriously. In the other (and more respectful) corner, there’s Sir Laurence Olivier, possibly wanting the fame Marilyn has, at least according to a few characters. Marilyn needs to “find” the character, while Olivier believes it’s all on the page. The veteran actor sticks to his classical roots, while the blonde bombshell attempts more unusual methods. Kenneth Branagh, who portrays an artistically frustrated Olivier, sympathizes with both sides. Underneath their differences, the two portrayals of Monroe and Olivier are similar at heart: they’re both simply trying to create something, but they use the opposite methods. My Week with Marilyn is a deconstruction of what it means to be an actor, and those types of discussions seem to be the kind Branagh revels in. Here’s what Kenneth Branagh had to say about faking the truth, the fright of acting, and how you don’t have to be a murderer to play one.

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Despite the fact that her latest television turn went bunny tail up with the cancellation of The Playboy Club, actress Amber Heard isn’t letting that slow her down, as she’s just signed on for next starring feature role. Heard will play the female lead in Albert Hughes‘ Motor City from a script by newcomer Chad St. John (newcomer or not, Motor City was one of two St. John scripts that landed on 2009’s Black List). The film will mark Hughes’ first solo effort, having directed no less than four features and one documentary with his brother Allen as The Hughes Brothers (including From Hell, The Book of Eli, and Menace II Society). The film is described as a revenge thriller, with Dominic Cooper playing the male lead, “a man released from prison who goes on a revenge mission, hunting down the people who framed him.” While this is not necessarily a very original idea, it will be somewhat refreshing to see an on-screen anti-hero that’s not Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel or similar. Cooper is a vastly talented actor (his dual work in The Devil’s Double is proof positive of that). And, pardon me while I succumb to my ladyhood here, but Heard and Cooper are likely to turn in some scorching chemistry. [Deadline Ferndale]

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The life of a celebrity (regardless of what they are famous for or what era we may be in) is a confounding and, at times, seemingly crazy circus of people, cameras, and lights. We have seen it with the young starlets rising (and falling) today to those featured in films like Country Strong, which try and show what it is like to live in the eye of that storm. Surrounded by yes-men and an unquestioned supply of pills, you begin to wonder what is fantasy and what is reality. In the trailer for My Week With Marilyn we see Marilyn (Michelle Williams) ask Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) if she “should be her,” meaning what the public thinks of when they think of Marilyn Monroe – the eyes, the lips, and the hips – hinting at the idea that there is more to Marilyn when she lets you behind that closed dressing room door. Based on the real-life memoirs of Clark, My Week With Marilyn follows Colin as he falls in love for the first time – with both filmmaking and a beautiful woman. Growing up in a successful and pressure-filled family, Colin found solace at the theater and decided he wanted to pursue a career in the film business. After refusing to take no for an answer (and thanks to his puppy dog eyes that charmed any woman in his path), Colin landed a job as the third Assistant Director on Laurence Olivier’s (Kenneth Branagh) film, The Prince and the Showgirl, starring none other than Marilyn Monroe.

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Updated with correction: We posted this rumor earlier, but according to a representative at Lionsgate that we asked for comment, Gillespie is still on board the project. Regarding the rumor, the representative said, “This is not true. [Gillespie] is still set to direct.” We apologize for the error, but the situation doesn’t at all change Kate’s feelings on the project that can be found below: News from our pals at Twitch reports that director Craig Gillespie has left the troubled film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that reimagines the Jane Austen classic as a story not just about the emotional battles of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but those battles as set against a countryside overrun with zombies. If Gillespie is off the project, he joins two other directors who previously jumped ship on the film – David O. Russell and Mike White. Besides not having a director, the film is also sorely lacking for a leading lady, with Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde all reportedly considered for the role or straight out offered it in the past, with none of them ever signing on. Buzz continues to turn back to Natalie Portman, however, as Portman’s production company is co-producing the project and the actress has an open schedule after the recent birth of her son. As of now, Dominic Cooper is apparently set to play Mr. Darcy, making him the only person with a firm commitment at this point. But, considering the revolving […]

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Dominic Cooper‘s portrayal of Uday Hussein comes off the screen like a Universal monster. There’s a distinct physicality and horror that Cooper, suitably, manages to bring to Uday. He completely lacks any redeeming qualities or moral sense. On the other side of Cooper’s dual performance is Latif Yahia, who represents both the eye and moral conscious of the audience. He’s the good son. Unfortunately, I did not get to ask Cooper about his performance as Latif, which is arguably as challenging as playing a live-action cartoon. Uday must be an actor’s dream role, in many ways. Being a larger than life man allows a performer to go to so many places, tonally speaking, and Cooper did just that. Here’s what actor Dominic Cooper had to say about facing challenges, the unhinged nature of Uday, the polarizing reaction the film has received, and how The Devil’s Double is no Scarface:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes retro this week and injects himself with strange chemicals in an attempt to become a World War II era super soldier. Hop over to the Fat Guys at the Movies page to see if his physique has reached the pinnacle of that of Chris Evans from Captain America. After recovering from the procedure, Kevin randomly wandering the streets, looking for hot ladies like Mila Kunis who just want to have sex but with no emotional baggage of a relationship. Sadly, this will probably end up as empty and worthless as his similar attempt last January when No Strings Attached came out.

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The films of Marvel Studios have come full circle, and not a moment too soon. What began with a flurry of excitement over Iron Man, their opening salvo into the world of being an independent studio, has lately been listless in its Avenger-assembling agenda. In their last two outings — Iron Man 2 and Thor — they’ve spent more time focused on the future of the heroes than the heroes themselves. With Captain America: The First Avenger, they take full advantage of the ability to leave all the distractions out of it, allowing them to deliver their most confidently crafted, complete film yet. Sure, the story of Captain America feels bookended by his role in Marvel’s forthcoming team-up movie, and from what we’ve been told, The Avengers is your reason for sticking around after the credits. But in between all that, director Joe Johnston has set out to tell the simple story of a hero named Steve Rogers. The year is 1942, and after five unsuccessful attempts to join the fight against Adolf Hitler, a scrawny Rogers isn’t ready to give up. Luckily his heart and determination catches the eye of a government scientist whose work includes making a Super Soldier serum that will turn an ordinary man into a super-human fighting machine. Desperate to get in on the action, the young patriot from Brooklyn signs on the dotted line. A few doses of steroids later and this scrawny little dude, created with brilliant CG-enhanced, Benjamin Button style effect that […]

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Director Joe Johnston loves good old fashioned fun. The Rocketeer, Hidalgo, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Captain America: The First Avenger don’t contain a dark or cynical bone in their bodies. While some superhero films try to go to darker places nowadays — usually by just having their hero mope around — Johnston has no interest in a sulky hero. Captain America is all about adventure, charms, and simply being a kid from Brooklyn. While many people question if Cap can reach an audience outside of the States, Johnston thinks differently. The Boba Fett and Iron Giant creator didn’t want to make a commercial about America’s awesomeness; he wanted to explore themes that nearly everyone can relate to. Like his previous films, the idea of finding one’s identity and coming of age is present in Captain America: The First Avenger. Despite being a super solider who looks the way that he does, Captain America is like any other kid trying to become the man he’s meant to be. Here’s what Joe Johnston had to say about Raiders of the Lost Ark, fully embracing the color palette of comics, the ego of Red Skull, staying sincere without being cheesy, and why he’s a true film school reject:

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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