Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FILM NEWS: Efron & Rogen, Ferrell & Wahlberg, and Bateman & Vaughn Team Up, and more

Emma Watson may star in Guillermo del Toro's reimagining of Beauty and the Beast. I think all of those frightened expressions she's done in the Harry Potter series are about to pay off.

Zac Efron is going to try his hand at playing a douchebag opposite Seth Rogen in an untitled comedy. He'll play an obnoxious and disruptive frat dude "whose raucous behavior wreaks havoc" on Rogen's family life. I feel like it was only yesterday that Ryan Gosling would've been perfect for that role. He's come a long way.

• For those of you who thought it was odd that someone would agree to marry Seth Rogen, allow me to disspell rumors that she's just after his pot money. Lauren Miller (left) is actually a writer/producer/actress...with a dirty mind. She'll be starring alongside her fiancee and the hilarious Ari Graynor (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Whip It) in her feature film screenwriting debut, For a Good Time, Call..., about two girls who start a phone sex line. I know what you're thinking: A woman who dreams up a reality where girls voluntarily talk dirty to men? Seth's hit the jackpot!

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are re-teaming even though their last film, The Other Guys, barely cleared the budget, grossing $170 mil with a $100 mil budget. This time they'll play football-obsessed rivals who hold an annual tackle football game for bragging and trash-talking rights in the comedy Three Mississippi. According to Dark Horizons, "the grandiose games will be filled with various cameos, akin to the rival broadcaster gang fights in Anchorman," and Alec Baldwin will play Wahlberg's dad. That's...embarrassing, but I'm glad these two will have another shot at bouncing jokes off of each other after their memorable verbal sparring in The Departed.

Jonah Hill is starting to form a pattern of being the sidekick to a dashing leading man. His next project is the action comedy Good Time Gang opposite Mark Wahlberg. "The pair play two party-happy mercenaries who decide to take on a more serious case involving a terrorist, only to find their mission complicated when they discover one of them is related to the target."

Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are teaming up for a dark comedy where they play "two damaged souls fleeing their pasts, who meet and break into empty homes to assume the identities of the absent owners. Over the course of their misadventures the pair fall in love." There's a bit of an age chasmgap, since he's 20 years her senior, but Blunt was so damn good in Wild Target with the prehistoric Bill Nighy that I can't wait to see her play another con artist in a comedy.

 • I feel like Jason Bateman is signing up to do a comedy with every single comedian in Hollywood. Next up is Vince Vaughn for The Insane Laws, where they'll play best friends who have to deal with the aftermath of their kids falling for each other at college and the fact that one got the other pregnant.

• Rumored to be foregoing a return to FOX's "American Idol," Jennifer Lopez has smartly settled for supporting roles in two upcoming films. The first is as Jason Statham's love interest in the adaptation of the Donald Westlake mystery thriller Parker, and the second is as a supporting role in the ensemble comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting. Joining her are Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Elizabeth Banks, Rodrigo Santoro (Che and Love Actually), Brooklyn Decker (Just Go With It), Matthew Morrison ("Glee"), and Chace Crawford ("Gossip Girl").

Kristen Wiig has signed on for the indie Imogene, where she'll play "a moderately successful New York playwright who stages a fake suicide attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, only to end up forced into the custody of her gambling-addict mother (Annette Bening)." Wow! Wiig never fails to score points for originality.

• There's a script circulating for the dark comedy adaptation of Deadly Lovely, which is about two "best friends who go on a trip to the Scottish Highlands to mend their friendship, but a dose of magic mushrooms and some suppressed hostility send things spiraling out of control." I'd like to see Wiig and Drew Barrymore in this. 

• I don't know why no one's ever thought of it before, but now that they mention it, Wiig would be perfect for a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Unfortunately, she lost out to Ana Faris for the starring role alongside the Borat-creator in his upcoming project The Dictator. He'll play "a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. Cohen plays both a goat herder and a deposed foreign ruler who gets lost in the U.S." However, there are still more roles to be cast. Cohen is looking for actors with strong improvisational skills. For some reason Thomas Lennon popped into my head. But I think that's just because whenever I think of someone voluntarily humiliating themselves, I think of Lennon peacocking in 17 Again and being jealous of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel's bromance in I Love You Man. Megan Fox has already shot a bit role—no comment—and Ben Kingsley has a more prominent one.

• There's going to be a film based on Emily Post's etiquette rules. It was described as a reverse-gender My Fair Lady. In it, "a prissy manners coach attempts to turn a guy’s guy into a refined gentleman." My vote for casting is Gerard Butler and Jennifer Garner. You can't get more oafish or prissy than those too.

• Joining the upcoming 21 Jump Street adaptation are the funny men Dave Franco, as a psycho drug dealer, and Jake M. Johnson (No Strings Attached and Paper Heart) as the principal.

• Looks like Kirsten Dunst is taking a break from being "deep" in indie dramas to tickle our funny bone in the indie comedy tentatively titled Bachelorette. In it, she'll play one of three best friends who have been asked to be bridesmaids for a girl they used to call Pigface (Casey Wilson from "Happy Endings"). Adam Scott ("Parks and Recreation") also stars as one of the bridesmaid's (Lizzy Caplan from "Party Down") high school crush, who arrives at the reception with a hotter and younger date. It sounds like the studio is capitalizing off of the success of Bridesmaids, but this film is actually based on an off-Broadway play from last summer. And instead of Apatow backing it, Will Ferrell and his partner Adam McKay are footing the bill.

• Even though Arthur tanked both critically and financially, it doesn't seem to have tainted Greta Gerwig's debut as a leading lady, since she's turning into the new indie queen. Currently, she's filming the indie romantic comedy Lola Versus with Orlando Bloom. It's about a woman "who is dumped just weeks before her wedding by her college sweetheart. She embarks on a series of encounters in an attempt to discover her place in the world as a single woman before she turns thirty."

• I was wondering how they were planning on adapting Steve Harvey's advice/self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, and so far it looks feasible. "The story follows the relationship between a dreamer with culinary talents (Michael Ealy) and a high-powered ad executive (Taraji P. Henson)." Kevin Hart will act as Harvey, playing a soon-to-be-divorced, self-professed relationship expert who doles out advice to the couple.

Justin Long's latest project Lumpy is like a weird mix of The Hangover and Death at a Funeral. In it, a couple discover their best man dead on their wedding day. They forgo their honeymoon to plan his funeral, and along the way discover all of his deepest darkest secrets. Jess Weixler (Teeth), Tyler Labine ("Mad Love" and "Reaper"), and Addison Timlin ("Californication" and Derailed) also star.

Chace Crawford has his first starring role opposite Katie Holmes in the rom-com Responsible Adult. "The story follows a 30-year-old med student (Holmes) who meets and falls for a younger man (Crawford) only to realize she was his babysitter 15 years beforehand."'s kind of like Uma Thurman's Prime without the major shame emanating from Meryl Streep. Somebody should probably tell these two that they're not funny.

• There are plans for an Australian version of Paris, je t'aime and New York, I Love You called Sydney, I Love You. I hope the anthology of love stories will star all the Aussie actors who've flooded Hollywood in the last ten years, from the newbies, like the Hemsworth brothers, to the vets, like Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
Joel Courtney (Super 8) and Jake T. Austin ("Wizards of Waverly Place") have signed on to play the key roles in the (billionth) adaptation of Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn.

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