Joel Courtney

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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Despite the fact that he had no prior acting experience before entering into the Super 8 casting process, young actor Joel Courtney ended up being cast as the star of that high profile, J.J. Abrams directed film. And, beyond that, he gave a strong, authentic performance that did a great job anchoring the film and probably turned the heads of a lot of casting people in Hollywood. So, naturally, there’s starting to be some word about what his next projects will probably look like. Firstly, Courtney is set to play Tom Sawyer in Jo Kastner’s adaptation of the Mark Twain novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. We’ve seen him dressed up as a movie geek from the 80s and he pulled it off well, I guess it’s time to see if he can embody barefoot river rat from the late 1800s as well. That film is set to start shooting in August.

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There’s nothing quite like returning to the old neighborhood to find that your childhood playground hasn’t been torn down. You run your hand along rope ladders deemed “unsafe” by modern standards, feel the crunch of pebbles beneath your feet that did more to cut than soften a fall, sit in the swing and think for a moment about jumping out at the highest point. Super 8 is the cinematic equivalent of unearthing a time capsule and finding everything inside is still impossibly shiny and new. It’s impossible to remove the film from its own nostalgia, except for its intended audience of children discovering this type of filmmaking for the first time (and maybe even seeing their first Amblin logo). That’s a pretty powerful thing. With everyone clamoring to tap a market of adults eager for their own past while simultaneously getting kids into seats, J.J. Abrams‘s latest is one of the few that actually succeeds.

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