Thursday, April 07, 2011

FILM/TV NEWS: Jonah Hill's Directorial Debut, Bieber's First Film, The Hunger Games Casting, and more

Jennifer Lawrence (above) is officially in the big leagues. An Oscar nomination and a role in the huge upcoming comic adapation X-Men: First Class were just stepping stones to the commercial definition of "making it": getting your own franchise. Lawrence has been tapped to star in the adaptation of the raved-about Suzanne Collins teen series The Hunger Games. "The first in a planned trilogy, the story involves a young love triangle playing out against a dystopian future where North America has been divided into twelve oppressed districts, each of which is forced to send tribute in the form of a boy and a girl to compete in a televised battle to the death once a year." Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are Alright) will play Peeta her opponent who has a secret crush on her in the first book, and Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) will play Gale, her best friend who taught her how to hunt.

 • Unfortunately for Avatar fans, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan has made it impossible for James Cameron to do underwater research in the Marianas Trench and start brainstorming the aquatic wonderland that'll be in the second film. Scientists say that there'll be aftershocks for years to come and the waters are far too dangerous for divers or subs.

• There were rumors that Joseph Gordon Levitt was cast in The Dark Knight Rises as Alberto Falcone, a serial killer by the name of Holiday, but recently those rumors were squashed. And soon after, Juno Temple (left) was rumored to have been cast as the female Robin. That would be hella cool, especially on the heels of Kick Ass's Hit Girl and the upcoming Hanna, but the only concrete truth to any of these rumors for the moment are that both actors will be in the film. Besides, how is she supposed to fit all that hair under a costume?

• I am totally game for the rumor of Viggo Mortensen playing General Zod in Superman. Also in the running for an undisclosed villain are Edgar Ramirez (Che and The Bourne Ultimatum) and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road and "Boardwalk Empire"). Amy Adams has been cast as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Mrs. Kent, and Kevin Costner as Mr. Kent.

Edi Gathegi (New Moon) scored a really cool role in X-Men: First Class as a mutant with the ability of reactive adaptation. That means that he adapts to his surroundings so he doesn't die. "For instance if I fall from a building my bones turn to rubber...or if I happen to get catapulted into outer space, my body no longer requires oxygen," says Gathegi.

• I don't know what Tim Burton is cooking up with his next project, the adaptation of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, but as soon as I read the words "Chloe Moretz is in negotiations to play Michelle Pfeiffer's daughter," I knew I was in.

Will Smith is officially old enough to be in a grown-up movie with veteran African American actor Denzel Washington in the remake of Uptown Saturday Night. "Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier starred in the original about two estranged friends who have their wallets stolen at a nightclub. The next morning, they learn that one contained a winning lottery ticket and they set out to find it. The remake will likely diverge from that storyline somewhat."

Smith also intends on re-teaming with his son Jaden for a post-apocalyptic father-son adventure, where a "young boy has to navigate an abandoned planet on a space ship that has crashed [with] his estranged father." Everyone's been wary of this announcement after learning that director M. Night Shyamalan, who hasn't done a critically-approved film since 2002's Signs, will be directing.

Justin Bieber may have scored his first feature film role in the teen comedy What Would Kenny Do? The story is about a 17-year-old who encounters a sentient hologram version of his 30-year-old self who's trying to prevent him from repeating his high school mistakes. Ashton Kutcher might play the adult role.

• For those of you who were indifferent to the news that Mark Ruffalo would be taking over the role of The Hulk for Edward Norton and Eric Bana in The Avengers, because you barely see the actor's face whenever they play this particular superhero, you might want to read on: Ruffalo has been quoted as saying that with motion capture, you'll be able to see his facial features on The Hulk's green mug. Of course, the jury's still out on whether that's a good thing.

• I've been pretty much ignoring all casting news about Rock of Ages because I have no interest in it, even though Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, and Alec Baldwin are set to star. But I am amazed that they're considering 20-year-old Mexican actor and singer Diego Gonzalez Boneta, best known for his stints on "Pretty Little Liars" and "90210," for the lead. That would be quite the leap for him and possibly a star-maker.

• Looks like Drew Barrymore is developing an interest in examining romantic relationships, first executive-producing He's Just Not That Into You, then starring in Going the Distance, and now directing her second feature film, the romantic comedy How to Be Single. It's an adaptation of Liz Tuccillo's 2008 novel about "the love lives and break-ups of a group of New Yorkers over the course of ten years." Sounds like another film with a large ensemble.

Steve Carell and Keira Knightley are set to star in a romantic comedy. Yeah, you just read that. (sigh) In Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, a man searches for a meaningful connection during the end of times. Honestly, it sounds like it could be funny, but why exactly does he have to fall in love with a toddler? Is Amy Ryan busy? How about Diane Lane or Marisa Tomei? You know, someone who isn't young enough to be his daughter.

Jonah Hill might make his directorial debut, becoming the first of the Apatow frat-pack to venture down that path. The project he's interested in, however, sounds like a clusterfuck of everything the kids are watching these days. In the sci-fi horror flick The Kitchen Sink, a group of zombie and vampire teenagers have to team up to fend off an alien invasion. What? No werewolves?

• Speaking of Apatow, not only is he developing a Knocked Up spinoff, but he's looking to add Megan Fox to the cast. Hmm. Since Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are reprising their roles and the film takes place 5 years after their marital hickup, and Albert Brooks is in talks to play Rudd's father, my guess is Fox will either play Rudd's temptation or his father's new girlfriend. What I'm basically saying is, there is very little chance Apatow isn't casting her as a hot piece of ass...unless that's what one of Rudd's daughters grows up to look like. God help him.

• While normally this plot --> "a couple who is getting divorced but wants to remain friends while they pursue new relationships" <-- would sound relatively boring, knowing that Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones are in the lead honestly peaks my interest. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that Rashida is co-writing.

Happythankyoumoreplease scribe/director and "How I Met Your Mother" star Josh Radnor already has his next writing project in mind. He's tapped this year's Sundance Breakout Star Elizabeth Olsen (yes, of those Olsens) to play a 19-year-old college student who falls for his mid-30s, mid-life-crisis-having lost soul in the indie romance Liberal Arts. Since Happythankyoumoreplease was so awesome, I'll let it slide that this basically sounds like a regurgitation of one of that film's subplots.

• I'm happy to report that there will be a sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The villains and the sidekick were horrible, but Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario deserve a second chance. A director hasn't been chosen, Chris Columbus will only stay on as a producer, and this time Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood and Agent Cody Banks) will adapt.

• The plot for Underworld 4: New Dawn has been released: Selene "escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species." Needless to say, humans will play a bigger role in this one, which is why India Eisley (Ashley on "The Secret Life of an American Teenager") and Michael Ealy ("The Good Wife") have been cast along with returning Kate Beckinsale.

• I'm not sure if it's because Sean William Scott was admitted into a mysterious treatment facility, or because Tara Reid recently made a splash on Funny or Die with a fake Big Lebowski sequel trailer, or if it's because Jason Biggs has finally revived his career after 8 years with his new CBS comedy "Mad Love," but there's going to be a fourth American Pie called American Reunion. Either way, we'll see if this taints Biggs' career once more and if it manages to revive anyone else's.

• The only returning characters in the upcoming G.I. Joe sequel are Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) and Duke (Channing Tatum). That sucks. Marlon Wayans was the funniest and most refreshing part of the crappy film.

• Check out the new cast of the "Charlie's Angels" revival: Minka Kelly ("Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood") will play Marisa, a former U.S. Marine who is a 'weapons expert trained in all forms of hand-to-head combat' and will be a 'neat freak' in her everyday life. Rachael Taylor, who is currently playing a baby doc on "Grey's Anatomy," will play the youngest Angel but is a beautiful and privileged daughter of a notorious Wall Street crook who is an expert con artist herself, as well as a Krav Maga expert. And newcomer Annie Ilonzeh plays an ex-cop who is a martial arts master. Meanwhile, Ramon Rodriguez (Battle: Los Angeles & Transformers 2) will play Bosley, the ladies' liason to Charlie.

Josh Holloway ("Lost") will guest-star in a two-part paint ball war episode of "Community."

Tron: Legacy didn't do well enough to warrant a sequel, so instead they'll be making an animated series.

• Looks like the "Wonder Woman" series is going to be female-centric. Even the villain will be a woman. Elizabeth Hurley is coming out of retirement after a 7-year hiatus and a divorce to play the heroine's nemesis. There's a part of me that wishes Lucy Lawless was the villain in this instead of "No Ordinary Family."


  1. juno temple or who ever she is wasn't in either of those movies

  2. I didn't mean Juno was in Kick-Ass and Hanna. I meant a Batgirl would be just as cool as the other recent young female heroines, like Hitgirl and Hanna.