The Maze Runner

YA Adaptations

There’s little question that Hollywood’s “adapt anything YA!” attitude has helped shepherd a new line of strong (or, at least, pretend strong, as is the case with Twilight’s Bella Swan, a bell I will ring until the day I die) young female heroines into the pop cultural consciousness. The Hunger Games has the sharp-shooting Katniss Everdeen (who will soon incite a revolution in the next two films based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling three-book series), while Divergent has the fear-blasting Tris Prior (who will, hey, look at that!, also soon incite a revolution in the nest three films based on Veronica Roths’s bestselling three-book series). Even less popular film franchises, like Vampire Academy, The Mortal Instruments, and The Host are female-led endeavors that may include some cool (read: hot) male counterparts to help their kickass ladies where needed, though they are quite firmly dedicated to portraying ladies in charge. Yet, now it appears that boys are inching their way back into the YA game – not by way of wizardry or godly genetics, but by traveling the same path that the girls have already trailblazed: the gritty one.

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The Maze Runner Movie

Hey, look! It’s a YA movie! Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland! Where a special/chosen boy and girl arrive on the scene in order to save the day! How unusual. And, yes, that picture from the movie makes it feel a lot like the second coming of “Lord of the Flies.” On the other hand, this trailer for The Maze Runner has a lot going for it. At least as a question mark pulsing with action.

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Will Smith

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news column that’s returning after a small vacation. There’s lots of stuff to catch up with, involving many of the most exciting actors working today, so let’s get started. There’s just no time to waste. There’s some good news and some bad news regarding the casting of that movie about con artists Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have been putting together, called Focus. The good news is that they may have finally found a leading man to replace Ben Affleck, who dropped out of the film to focus on other things. Variety is reporting that, of all people, mega-celebrity Will Smith is currently in negotiations to star in the film. The bad news is, given his advanced age, Smith’s potential casting has led to Kristen Stewart seeing the writing on the wall and dropping out as the film’s female lead. When Will Smith becomes involved in a project, it tends to become the Will Smith Show, so we’ll have to wait and see what he has in mind as far as leading ladies goes.

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Sally Hawkins

What is Casting Couch? It’s starting off the week right with a new round of casting announcements. Read on to find out which project is going to unite the dream team of Ellen Burstyn and Luis Guzman. Godzilla has found another puny human to knock over a building onto. Deadline is reporting that Happy Go Lucky star Sally Hawkins has just been hired to take what is being described as the last lead role in Gareth Edwards’ currently-filming Godzilla. Though Hawkins has become something of a big name in the indie world over the last decade or so, this will be her first role in a blockbuster film that utilizes big action and effects work and whatnot, so it should be interesting to see if she’s one of those actors who transitions well into doing larger scale work, or if she’s one of those actors who looks disengaged and out of place whenever they’re involved in something with a big studio label on it. You know, like James Franco.

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