• Sean Penn is set to direct The Comedian. Robert De Niro will play Jackie Burke, "a raging comic past his prime who clings to any recognition that comes from his days as a beloved TV character as he tries to reignite his stagnant career. Sentenced to community service for hitting a heckler in the head with a microphone, the comic meets Harmony, a dazzling and defiant redhead who turns his life sideways." Kristen Wiig also stars. I'm assuming she's going to show Mr. De Niro how it's done.
• I almost wrote Brad Pitt's upcoming action film off as another shoot 'em up, but I like the angle it's going for: In The Gray Man, Pitt plays a "CIA operative-turned-assassin who is to be terminated." Surviving becomes exponentially more difficult when he must also save the daughters he's never met. Any chance we can squeeze Chloe Moretz, Jennifer Lawrence, and Amber Tamblyn into that situation?
• Guy Ritchie is rumoured to be in talks for the remake of the classic 80's action-comedy Cannonball Run, which followed "a wide variety of eccentric competitors participating in a wild and illegal cross-country car race," and he might tap his Snatch star Brad Pitt for the lead.
• Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are re-teaming for a film about notorious Boston mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger. "Bulger was the brutal boss of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston at the same time he was an FBI informant on the side. He fled New England in 1994 and spent the next sixteen years hiding in Santa Monica until his arrest this past June." Affleck will direct and Damon will star as Bulger in the film, which mob-aficionado Terence Winter ("The Sopranos" and "Boardwalk Empire") is writing. Casey Affleck will be playing William Bulger, aka "The Corrupt Midget," who was a political leader in Boston and the extent of his involvement with his brother remains debated to this day. I swear, this is going to be amazing. Is there anyway that Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Renner, and Alec Baldwin can get in on this?
• Meanwhile, Damon is escalating his bromance with John Krasinski by making his directorial debut with a drama he co-wrote with Krasinski, who developed the story with author Dave Eggers. Damon would play a salesman who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question.
• In the adaptation of the bestselling novel Satori, Leonardo DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, a Westerner raised in Japan by a Japanese general and martial arts expert. "The student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion (sparing him disgrace). Kept in a Tokyo prison for three years, the CIA releases him in return for assassinating the Soviet commissioner to China with the help of a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Betrayed by the Americans, he soon makes his way through early 1950s Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate." It's like ancient Bourne, which is all the more reason to question why DiCaprio is up for the role. He's not exactly a physical actor. Then again, neither was Matt Damon.
• Christian Bale was considering starring in Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy, the critically acclaimed Korean revenge thriller, but the part went to Josh Brolin instead, the guy who brought us Jonah Hex. Yeah, I'm not going to let that go for a while.
• I'm sincerely intrigued by the idea of Jesse Eisenberg as a criminal mastermind. He's been cast in the film Now You See Me, "a tale about The Four Horsemen, the world's greatest illusionists, who pull off daring bank heists during their performances and then give it away to the audiences." And he's going to play their leader. Hmm, intriguing. It sounds like a cross between Inception and Public Enemies. Mark Ruffalo is set to play the FBI agent pursuing them, Morgan Freeman is an ex-magician who is a master at exposing other illusionists, Michael Caine is a magician's sponsor, and Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic) and Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) will play the female leads. Mission keep-'em-guessing is in full swing.
• Seth Rogen and his creative partner Evan Goldberg will make their directorial debut with The Apocalypse. It's about "two guys who, with the end of the world unfolding and the planet invaded by monsters, are ready to kill each other after being cooped up together for too long." It's based on a 2007 trailer they shot, and it'll star Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and James Franco.
• Sandra Bullock is reportedly in talks to play the daughter of Clint Eastwood's character in Robert Lorenz's Trouble With The Curve. "Eastwood would play an aging baseball scout with failing eyesight who travels to Atlanta with his daughter to scout a young prospect." When I first heard about this project, it sounded like a snore, but then I heard Sandy was in it, pictured Eastwood as a grouchy old man a la Million Dollar Baby, and I jumped on-board.
• Looks like Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is already being typecast as a victim seeking retribution. She's been cast in the action thriller Dead Man Down opposite Colin Farrell. He'll play the right hand man of a crime lord who is seduced and blackmailed by a woman out for revenge. Rapace will even be reuniting with her Dragon Tattoo director, Niels Arden Oplev.
• In the rom-com He's Fuckin' Perfect, "a social media savvy girl, who is pessimistic about love, vets her friends’ dates to find flaws. When that process leads her to uncover the perfect guy, she decides to use her internet research skills to turn herself into his perfect match." This would normally sound stupid, but Emma Stone is starring, so I'm game.
• Colin Farrell will reteam with his In Bruges director Martin McDonagh for Seven Psychopaths. In it, he'll play a screenwriter with writer's block, who gets "drawn into the dog kidnapping schemes of his friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) who've taken the beloved Shih Tzu owned by a psychopathic gangster (Mickey Rourke). When the hound goes missing, the writer must stay alive long enough to write all this drama down." This is some great casting. Pet-lover Rourke probably barked yes upon hearing an animal was involved, and Rockwell and Walken are pros at playing zany and inept. Also, glad to see Farrell's still diversifying. In Bruges was some of his best work.
• Dear Zoe Saldana, I heard you just signed on for the supernatural thriller Dominion, where you play a woman who is half human and half angel. Please, rent Megan Fox's Passion Play, and abort.
• Jason Segel and Reese Witherspoon are being pursued to star in the comedy Sex Tape, where "a married couple, who take a night off from their kids, decide to get adventurous and spice things up by making a private sex tape. When they wake up, the tape is gone and they go on a desperate search to find it." Honestly, who's rushing to see that sex tape?
• There's an untitled comedy referred to as Trading Places meets Grumpy Old Men, which will star Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Honestly, as long as it isn't Wild Hogs 2, my interested is piqued.
• Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Judy Greer, Sarah Silverman and Jessica Biel are all in contention for the female lead in Don Scardino's comedy Burt Wonderstone, where Steve Carell and Jim Carrey play rival magicians on the Las Vegas strip. If you want high-profile, you go Wilde, but if you want gut-busting laughter, you go Greer.
• In A Giant, "a girl, broke and running from a series of bad relationships, moves back home to reconnect with her brother. Instead, she forms a relationship with a 20-foot-tall man-child (Shia LaBeouf) who lives next door. " Weird, quirky, indie romantic drama with damaged female lead? Paging Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene).
• Somehow some way Justin Timberlake has managed to catch the eye of the Coen brothers. They want him to play one of the lead roles in the film Inside Llewyn Davis, which will focus on the 1960s folk music scene in Greenwich Village. The title character (Oscar Isaac from Drive) is loosely based on Dave Van Ronk, a folk singer who was friends with Bob Dylan, among other famous musicians.
• Ben Stiller is aiming to remake the late 70's British children's comedy series "Rentaghost" as a film. In the original, a recently deceased loser who feels he can find work for ghosts whose lives were as failed as his starts up a temp agency where he rents out ghosts to the living. Stiller is actually replacing Russell Brand, which means the ghost just went from inappropriately funny to neurotically funny. I would've preferred more of a Beetlejuice type.
• Abigail Breslin will star in the teen comedy Normal Adolescent Behavior, where she'll play a girl who vows to have sex with her best friend (Carter Jenkins from Valentine's Day) if they both don't lose their virginity by the time they're 18. I. Cannot. Watch. My Little Miss Sunshine. Have. Sex. Not. Fucking. Happening.
• Billy Crystal and Bette Midler will star in Us and Them as grandparents left alone to care for their grandkids, and whose old-school methods soon clash with the more modern parenting style of their daughter (Marisa Tomei). I feel like grumpy, nagging, corny, old coot is the role Crystal has been training for all his life.
• Uh oh looks like Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt have succeeded in making cancer funny, and Hollywood is going to run it into the ground. Helen Hunt, Samantha Morton (Minority Report), Rashida Jones, Maggie Grace (Taken), Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad"), and Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris) will star in the indie dramedy Decoding Annie Parker. "Based on a true story, the film follows geneticist Mary Claire King (Hunt) who discovered a gene linked to breast cancer. Annie Parker (Morton) is a woman who resolves to fight her cancer diagnosis."
• Bruce Willis will play a general who commands the elite special forces unit in G.I. Joe 3: Retaliation. NOW, you have my attention.
• Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song), Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad"), James Badge Dale ("24"), and D.J. Cotrona (Dear John) are rumored to be the finalists to play Bruce Willis’ son in the sequel A Good Day To Die Hard. Whoever gets chosen has to be able to carry another trilogy on his own. Hemsworth has yet to prove his star power and won't truly get to until The Hunger Games hits theaters. Paul isn't really charismatic enough. Dale isn't famous enough. And Cotrona could never deliver one-liners as effortlessly as Willis. I think the producers are better off continuing their search.
• Jason Statham has debunked rumors that he'll be featured in Fast and Furious 6 & 7. Naturally. I mean, he still hasn't done the sequel to The Italian Job. And until he DOES...sorry, I'll calm down.
Dear Mr. Diesel,
Mr. Statham is currently unavailable to join your 20-person cast for he needs to rejoin his own in The Brazilian Job. ASAP!
Mrs. Handsome Rob
• District B13 is an awesome French action film that mostly serves to showcase the art of parkour. It's being remade with Paul Walker and redubbed as Brick Mansions. In it, he'll play a detective trying to track down a stolen weapon of mass destruction in the ghetto known as Brick Mansions. He enlists the help of Lino, a fearless man who knows the slum like the back of his hand, which will be played by David Belle, the founder of parkour and the star of the original.
Dear Mr. Statham,
Your agent should've gotten this for you.
District B13 fan
• Sylvester Stallone wants Taylor Lautner for The Expendables sequel. I would be enthusiastic about this if it were like the young guns vs. the older meatheads, but I have this sneaking suspicion that Stallone just wants to throw Lautner around.
• Cam Gigandet is getting a steady gig on the TNT drama "Gateway," a series about "three brothers forced to pitch in and save their Colorado hometown from a wealthy cattle magnate after their father, the sheriff, is murdered." Zzzzzzz
• Marc Guggenheim (Green Lantern) has been set to write the sci-fi fantasy adventure Time Zones. "The story is set in a time after an event has caused space-time to fracture, with various segments of the world now replaced by the same area but from a different period in history - China in 300 BC, France during the Revolution, or New York fifty years from now. It's in this environment a man realizes time travel is now a simple matter of geography, so sets about trying to change the past and save the life of his wife with the help of his estranged daughter." Let's hope it's more exciting than Green Lantern's incredibly unimaginative "giant fist" ending.
• In the adaptation of Anne Fortier's Juliet, "a young adult woman learns she is a descendant of one of the feuding families made infamous in Romeo and Juliet. She travels to Italy and discovers that a 600-year-old curse has tied her fate to that of literature’s greatest lovers." That kind of sounds like Letters to Juliet. And will probably be equally ignored, unless they cast girls like Carey Mulligan or Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), and a dashing Romeo, like Max Irons (above, Red Riding Hood). Or maybe we should start a campaign to get Nicholas Hoult ("Skins") to be charming again. I feel like he's retired to a world of make-believe (Clash of the Titans, X-Men: First Class, Jack the Giant Killer, Warm Bodies, etc.) and he's forgotten how good he is with characters who have depth (About a Boy and "Skins").
• In the video game Assassin's Creed, "Desmond Miles, a bartender captured by a secret corporation called Abstergo Industries, is forced to go back in time to various historical periods to relive the memories of his ancestors—all assassins—in order to recover ancient artifacts. It ultimately deals with the conflict between Templars and Assassins, two secret organizations with different ideologies who have influenced major historical events." The first game takes place around Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre during the Third Crusade in the 12th century. The Hemsworth brothers could flip a coin OR Chris Pine could show Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince of Persia) how it's done.
• The innovation of handheld cameras in genres like horror (Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity) and sci-fi action (Cloverfield) is now extending to natural disaster films with Category Six. "The story revolves around the worst tornado in American history and a group of high school students who've survived. Most of the action will be captured via the group's cell phones and other recording devices." It'll probably look like a really expensive Youtube video with more dialogue.
• Apparently Ghostbusters-lovers are growing impatient. There's currently a darker, grittier version in the works known as Spectral. In it, a special ops group hunts evil ghosts that have taken over Manhattan.