Shailene Woodley

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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Recent months have been very kind to the career of young actress Shailene Woodley. Not only did she make herself ridiculously famous basically overnight by standing toe-to-toe with George Clooney in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, but recently she signed on to play the very high profile role of Mary Jane Watson in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man sequel. This freight train of success isn’t stopping with acclaimed dramas and big comic book blockbusters, however, because Heat Vision is reporting that Woodley is now closing in on a deal to star in the next big YA adaptation, Divergent. Divergent, if you’ll remember, is the first adaptation of a planned trilogy of Veronica Roth novels, and is set to be directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist). Amazon’s description of Roth’s novel gives the story the following synopsis:

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Though reactions to Marc Webb’s reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, were mixed, the one thing that nearly everyone was in agreement on was that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone made for an upgrade in principal actors over Sam Raimi’s choice of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for his trilogy. Stone especially seemed like a breath of fresh air, as Dunst’s version of Mary Jane Watson wasn’t written to be like the character comic fans loved from the very beginning, and getting the chance to restart the story using Peter Parker’s real first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy…well, it just felt right. That leaves the question of Spider-Man’s second girlfriend hanging over Webb’s new franchise, however. Everyone knows that the love triangle he gets thrust into with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane is a big part of Spider-Man’s early stories, so do Webb and crew have plans to introduce the confident and vivacious Mary Jane of the comic books into their future films, even if it could mess up the goldmine of chemistry they’ve discovered between Garfield and Stone? If a new report from Variety is to be believed, the answer is yes, and if things end up playing out like they’re looking to, that might be a good thing. According to the trade, Webb and company are currently in negotiations with The Descendants star Shailene Woodley to board the Amazing Spider-Man sequel as the aforementioned Mary Jane Watson. As anyone who saw The Descendants can tell you, despite the […]

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George Clooney may have earned a Best Actor nomination for his work in last year’s The Descendants, but the truly eye-opening performance in that film came not from the king of Hollywood, but from the little known actress playing his teenage daughter. Simply put, Shailene Woodley was the bee’s knees in that film. Her work fleshed out a role that would have played like a cliché of teenage rebellion in most other hands, and she’s going to have quite a few opportunities coming her way in the upcoming year. It’s newsworthy, then, that Variety has word on what her next job is going to be. According to the trade, the actress is attached to star in Smashed (which was reviewed by Allison Loring here) director James Ponsoldt’s next film, which is an adaptation of the Tim Tharp novel “The Spectacular Now.”

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Editor’s Note: This review was published on October 18 as part of our New York Film Festival 2011 coverage. With The Descendants hitting (limited) theaters this week, we’ve gone ahead and republished it for those of you who need further reason to check out a George Clooney film that takes place in Hawaii. After seven years of waiting, Alexander Payne finally has another feature film coming to the big screen. While the wait has been tumultuous and tedious, seven years for films like The Descendants makes the anticipation worth it. Heartfelt, sweet, funny, touching, and every other adjective that describes Payne’s movies applies to his fifth feature. Like his past work, this is another exploration of a search for manhood and meaning. Payne has a real knack for writing men who have been reduced by women. Matt King (George Clooney in another career-best performance) has a line about how all the women in his life bring him down; that applies to the thought process behind all of Payne’s leads, from Sideways to About Schmidt to Election. Both uncomfortably and honestly, the writer-director understands emasculated men who, for lack of a better phrase, are simply trying to get their shit together.

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George Clooney in The Descendants

Sure, what we’re about to show you is a 30-second commercial for The Descendants, the George Clooney led indie comedy that’s beginning to spark up some Oscar buzz. And sure, it will likely be preceded by a 15-30 second advertisement, courtesy of our advertising company and our robust hosting bill. But isn’t it nice, just knowing that you, the reader of Film School Rejects, are seeing something that people who read /Film aren’t seeing… like a commercial with a big pull-quote from Peter Sciretta at /Film? It’s the must-see TV spot of the night, especially if you’re into things that involve George Clooney.

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