One of the biggest hits at this year’s SXSW Film Festival was also one of the most pleasant surprises: The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s new film based on Greg Sestero’s book of the same name, which recounts the making of 2003’s The Room. In addition to directing, Franco stars in the film as Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric (to say the least) filmmaker behind the so-bad-it-might-be-genius cult favorite. While many have praised The Disaster Artist as a weirdly touching love letter to filmmaking, there’s arguably only one opinion that really matters: That of Wiseau himself.
On the heels of last week’s Aladdin update comes another exciting bit of casting news for another big Disney remake. This time it’s Jon Favreau’s take on The Lion King, which has enlisted Alfre Woodard as the voice of Sarabi — head lioness, partner to Mufasa, and mother of Simba in the upcoming live-action (ish) version of the studio’s beloved animated classic.
Now this is a thrilling combination of nouns: Amazon Studios has snatched up Lucy and Desi, an upcoming biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Cate Blanchett as TV icon Lucille Ball. A masterful actress playing a masterful comedian in a film scripted by a masterful screenwriter is quite a catch, to say the least — all that’s missing is Desi himself, and given the talent involved so far, you have to imagine it’ll be someone great.
Atomic Blonde is an easy sell: It’s Charlize Theron in a stylish spy thriller from one-half of the directing duo behind John Wick. But the first solo directorial effort from David Leitch is a little more James Bond than Blonde Wick — James Blonde, maybe, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly more plot-driven (and at times, slightly convoluted) than John Wick, but no less enjoyable, and though the action scenes are every bit as awesome as you’d hope, it’s not quite the film you might be expecting.
Nicholas Hoult might be adding another iconic author to his filmography. The star of the upcoming J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye is reportedly the frontrunner for the title role in Tolkien, which will explore the life of the man whose beloved novels introduced readers all over the world to Gandalf, Hobbits and Gollum — and inspired countless works of fantasy fiction for decades to come.
An animated film featuring anthropomorphic emojis like Poop and High Five is probably not the best, um, vessel for a parody of a dystopian series in which fertile women are forced to procreate with wealthy men. But that’s exactly what happened late yesterday afternoon, when the marketing for The Emoji Movie took a decidedly dark and exceedingly ill-advised turn. In a tweet that has since been deleted, the film’s official account shared a promotional photo parodying The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s acclaimed series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel. Unsurprisingly (and delightfully), the public response was swift and savage.
With Dunkirk hitting theaters this weekend, you’re probably well-aware that a certain mega-famous pop star has a role in Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama. Those unfamiliar have likely wondered, “Who the hell is this Harry Styles person?” But casting the former member of wildly popular British boy band One Direction (there it is) has the potential to attract a different sort of army: Thousands of Harry Styles fans who may not have been interested in seeing a war movie from the guy who made those Batman films. Sounds sensible enough, and yet if your familiarity — like mine — with Harry Styles begins and ends with a vague awareness obtained from Twitter, you might have trouble spotting him in Dunkirk.
And in other Spider-Man news…It looks like Sony and Marvel are just as pleased as the rest of us with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Following the box office success of the web-crawler’s latest reboot, the studios are reportedly sticking with director Jon Watts for the untitled sequel, slated to hit theaters in 2019. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait that long to see Tom Holland’s charming high school superhero back on the big screen, as the actor is set to reprise the spectacular role in Avengers: Infinity War.
In what has now become something of a bi-annual tradition in Hollywood, yet another person has come forward with yet another claim that Steven Spielberg was the real director of Poltergeist. This time around it’s John Leonetti, the filmmaker behind the new horror film Wish Upon, who outs himself as a Poltergeist truther with his not-entirely-shocking assertion about who actually directed Tobe Hooper’s spooky 1982 classic.
Like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, the latest installment in the franchise is yet another prequel exploring the blood-soaked origins of the iconic horror movie villain. As you can see in the first, long overdue trailer for Leatherface, this one features a scene in which the eponymous character’s mother (Lili Taylor) presents the famous weapon of choice to her son on his birthday before he even has a chance to enjoy some cake. You aren’t going to find a scene like that in the previous prequel, that’s for sure.
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