Uncasting Couch

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Right from its very beginning, Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming spaghetti Western wannabe Django Unchained was a project whose casting rumors involved far more actors than could have actually been included in its cast. In addition to names being thrown around that just turned out to be wishful thinking, actors like Jonah Hill and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were said to be close to taking roles in the film, but ultimately never signed up due to scheduling conflicts. Even Kevin Costner, who had signed on to play the role of Ace Woody, eventually had to be replaced by Kurt Russell because of scheduling issues. What’s the deal with all of these scheduling issues? What does Tarantino have going on out there in the desert? There may be no hard and fast answers to that question coming, but what is clear is that, even though shooting on the film has commenced, two more names have now dropped out of the cast. The Film Stage brought to our attention that, during an appearance on Howard Stern, Sacha Baron Cohen announced that he wouldn’t be able to make his planned appearance in the film due to promotional commitments for The Dictator. Soon after, Variety’s Jeff Sneider broke the news on Twitter that Kurt Russell had also left the cast.


Dwight Yoakam

There’s some more bad news for director Gore Verbinski’s seemingly cursed venture The Lone Ranger. This film, that Verbinski is making with Disney, has been in development for quite a while now, and it’s sure seen its share of ups and downs. Though it has a proven successful actor/director duo in Johnny Depp and Mr. Verbinski, and it’s dealing with the sort of  already-established source material that Hollywood feels most comfortable with, this film was also, at one point, coming in with a $250m budget. Five years ago, when the world was in considerably better shape, that might not have been a problem, but in today’s dicey climate, Disney decided that the financial risk was too great, and they ended up shelving the thing. That wasn’t the end of the road, however. Verbinski vowed to do whatever it takes, including making big budget cuts, to get some form of this film onto the big screen. It seemed like a long shot, but eventually it worked, and the once-$250m  movie got the go-ahead to move forward with a new, slightly tweaked script and a new, slightly trimmed budget of more around the $215m mark. When the new go-ahead was announced, it was said that the whole of the cast was still going to be in place, despite the extreme shift in scheduling, and that the film was going to begin shooting in February (which is now). At the time I had my doubts. Could a movie with names like Johnny Depp, […]


Lily Collins

The girl with the eyebrows won’t be playing the man with the chin. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “scheduling issues” (which they also put in quotation marks) have forced Lily Collins to back away from taking the lead role in the remake of Evil Dead being produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Fede Alvarez. On the one hand, this is good news. On the other, it seems likely that the production team is still trying to make the film about a young drug addict trying to get clean when bad people with melting faces start biting at her. Why they’re moving so far away from the original concept is unknown, and whether or not the finished product will even resemble the original movie is also unclear. The real victim here? Alvarez – who has the impossible task of recreating a cult phenomenon. Too much to the right, and he’ll have a bland retread with no outside appeal. Too much to the left, and he’ll piss off fans. If he teeters both ways, he might fall off the tightrope altogether. Can’t we just pop in the discs in our Book of the Dead Box Set and forget about all this?



Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming spaghetti western type movie Django Unchained includes a lead role that calls for a mean man to do mean things. The character’s name is Ace Woody, and he’s a slave owning creep. Up to this point it was pretty much a lock that the role was going to be played by Kevin Costner, it was even the opinion of this writer that Tarantino might be looking to give Costner’s career a shot in the arm, much like he’s done with a couple aging actors before. But now it’s looking like Costner will be dropping out of the role, and it’s because his career doesn’t need any resuscitating after all. Deadline Chuichu is reporting that due to his duties playing Pa Kent in Man of Steel and his work in the History miniseries The Hatfields and McCoys, Costner’s schedule isn’t going to allow for him to take part in the lengthy two month film shoot that Tarantino has planned. That means Tarantino is going to need to find someone else to play Ace Woody. My unsolicited advice would be to go after either Woody Harrelson or Tom Hanks, both great actors who have lots of experience playing characters named Woody. No need to thank me Quentin. In my heart you already have.



A few weeks ago I interviewed Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, and at the time, he told me something I thought had already been reported: that he won’t be appearing in Marc Forster’s zombie epic, World War Z. IMBD had him listed and it was reported virtually everywhere that Cranston would have a small role in the film. Sadly, those reports are wrong. I talked to the Breaking Bad star a few days before speaking with Forster, so naturally, I asked how that collaborating was going. As Cranston pointed out, it’s not going, and for understandable reasons: “I didn’t work with Marc Forster. I was supposed to, but scheduling got in the way, so I’m not able to. I regretted the omission. I sent him an email, wished him well, and said I was sad it didn’t workout. You know, on some other project we’ll hopefully — will you please tell him I said hello? And tell him the zombies are coming to get him.” Of course I told Marc Foster that the zombies were going to get him — and like Cranston — he was disappointed the actor won’t be a part of the film. It’s a real shame Cranston isn’t in WWZ, because it would have been cool to see him fighting off some brutal, fast-moving zombies.



There was more than a little confusion when Bradley Cooper was all but signed on to appear as the dark hero of The Crow. For one, the weariness of the remake onslaught is enough to make any recycled narrative raise eyebrows. For two, this was like hiring the high school quarterback to play Puck in the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was either staunchly experimental or profoundly bad casting. Either way, none of that matters now because The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Cooper is not going to be involved in the project due to a scheduling conflict with Silver Linings Playbook and Paradise Lost. So now Relativity Media has a clean slate to work with, so of course the two names hovering over the carrion are Mark Wahlberg and Channing Tatum. Because when you think The Crow, that’s…who…you think…of. Apparently. Hopefully those names are part of the “Anytime We Make a Movie And Need a Male Lead Wish List” because if the counter-instinctual casting continues beyond Cooper, it’ll prove that someone involved in the production has a deep, deep misunderstanding of the character. Sadly, that might be the case because the role was once Wahlberg’s to turn down. It’s unbelievable to think it, but if those are really the frontrunners for the job, it’s a shame Bradley Cooper’s not still on board.



In news that makes my inner twelve-year-old pout and throw a temper tantrum, it looks like we aren’t going to be seeing any new Arnold Schwarzenegger films any time soon after all. Due to the much-publicized (from sites that cover that sort of thing) scandal surrounding Schwarzenegger’s separation with longtime wife Maria Shriver, he’s taking a step back from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to get his house in order. I long for the days when it took Fatty Arbuckle killing someone to put a halt on a film’s production. This love child leading to cancelled movies thing is some real pussyfooting around. A statement from Arnie’s people laid things out like this: “Governor Schwarzenegger is focusing on personal matters and is not willing to commit to any production schedules or timelines. This includes Cry Macho, The Terminator franchise and other projects under consideration. We will resume discussions when Governor Schwarzenegger decides.”



Like false reports of the last golden ticket being taken, a rumor went floating around through the world last week pinning Johnny Knoxville and Andy Samberg to the project as top contenders. Apparently they haven’t even auditioned. Peter Farrelly cleared up the air, telling EW that Three Stooges casting is still open to everyone – even those without any acting resumes. The project starts shooting in mid-April, so you’d better hustle, but if you’re dying to get two fingers shoved in your eyes, you’ve still got a chance at opening up that Wonka Bar and making your way into the factory.


Edward Norton fires back at Marvel

If your eyebrow is raised from the news floating over the weekend that Edward Norton will not be returning to the Marvel fold as the lovable green menace for The Avengers, you’re probably not alone. We fans have been left standing in flustered silence at several of Marvel’s decisions, but this one might be the most nonsensical from an outsider’s point of view. We tried to gain some perspective, but my calls to Marvel went unreturned – either because they don’t care to comment or because I actually called a local pizza parlor to order lunch instead. Luckily, the studio released an incendiary statement and, like an old, shotgun-wielding man being robbed, Edward Norton fired back in a must-read pair of dueling press releases.



At this point, I’m wondering if this production can hold on to its actors long enough to get them in front of a camera. Especially since the camera is already running.



Another bump in the road for a production that has already seen a ton of ups and downs. Now the question remains: who will step into the domino mask and drive Seth Rogen around while they fight crime?



Oscar-winner and potential stooge Sean Penn has decided to take some time off, meaning that the Farrelly Brothers will have to find a new Larry and Universal will need to find a new lead for its thriller Cartel.



After making a religiously based action drama with Scott Stewart, Paul Bettany is going to make a religiously based action drama with Scott Stewart.



Now we know what happens when you attempt to shaft Shaft.


The Green Hornet Gets Redlighted

The Green Hornet might be another victim of the recession. Or the recession might be a good cover for getting rid of a project no one cares about.


Sienna Miller Fired from Nottingham

It’s rare, but it looks like a leading actress has been fired for being too attractive.



Economic stress at Marvel? Is Sam Jackson not getting the money he wants to play Nick Fury, and if he doesn’t…will he walk? And if he walks…can we replace him with Don Cheadle, too?

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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