Jay Sits Down With ‘Danny Collins’ Director Dan Fogelman to Talk about Pacino, John Lennon and and Explosive Performances

by: Jay Carlson

Indie Revolver recently had the opportunity to sit down with first time director Dan Fogelman to talk about his new film Danny Collins starring Al Pacino, Annette Bening and Christopher Plummer. You might not know Fogelman by name (not yet anyway) but most likely you’ve seen more than one of the films he’s written, whether it be one of the Disney animated films like Cars, Bolt and Tangled or one of his more adult films like Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Last Vegas. Fogelman jokes, “I either do movies for four year olds or eighty year olds.”

 

His track record as and in-demand screenwriter began to open doors for him, giving him more opportunity to branch out into directing. “All the movies were getting made, I was developing relationships with actors so a lot of opportunities were coming at me to potentially direct something. “Would you want to adapt this book to direct it?” or “Would like to meet to possibly direct this movie at a studio? They’re interested in talking to you.” But it wasn’t really something I was chasing and when I wrote this script I felt very strongly that I didn’t want to hand it to anybody else and that it was time. It was kind of coinciding, I felt I was at the experience level where I was comfortable now and the material kind of spoke to me so.. I controlled it. And so I sent it to Al saying I want to direct this and that’s how it kind of went out in the world.”

The script he’s referring to is Danny Collins. Danny Collins stars Al Pacino as aging 1970s rocker Danny Collins, who can’t give up his hard-living ways. But when his manager (Christopher Plummer) uncovers a 40 year-old undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon, he decides to change course and embarks on a heartfelt journey to rediscover his family, find true love and begin a second act.

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As the film’s opening title card informs us, the film is (kind of) based on a true story. “I had just finished Crazy, Stupid, Love and I’d had a great experience on that film and a lot of people really liked the movie and I was kind of stuck, I didn’t know what to write next. And as I was kind of procrastinating at my blank computer is when I came across the real life story that had and I said this is my next thing I want to write.”

The real life story Fogelman is referring to was that of a British singer/songwriter by the name of Steve Tilston who gave an interview to ZigZag, a British rock magazine, in 1971 in support of his first album. Tilston was asked if he thought fame and fortune would prove toxic to his songwriting, to which he replied, “Yes, yes, of course it will. My heart will suffer.”

Unbeknownst to Tilston, John Lennon read the interview and wrote him a response, saying  that the money didn’t change anything, ending his letter “So whadya think of that?”

Lennon mailed the letter to Tilston in care of ZigZag Magazine, but it never made it to the musician. More than likely, someone at the magazine received the letter and realized its value. Tilston only became aware of the letter 34 years later, when it surfaced in 2005 to be authenticated.

It was this premise that got Fogelman’s gears turning, “I saw this story and  I couldn’t stop thinking about it, about the real-life story of this guy who got a letter 40 years too late from John Lennon. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Not the real life guy’s story, that (story) wasn’t that cinematic. The “What If” of wow, what If there’s a kid who’s really worried about his career going off the rails if he got rich and famous and what it would do to his art? And John Lennon had written him a letter, his hero, that he didn’t get until he was in his sixties. I couldn’t stop thinking about that guy. And then I started thinking about Pacino. And right within a week of seeing that story I had sat down and written the screenplay.  I was writing it for Pacino but I had never met Pacino. I was writing it imagining Pacino. You’re actually sinking into a kind of quiet Al, an Al that maybe you haven’t seen in a while on the big screen. But once he gets that letter he starts to come alive. And we modulated how alive he becomes so it never got too crazy. It becomes fun for the audience to watch Al get that charisma and spark and that Pacino swagger, but then never take it too far. I wrote it for him to hopefully be able to flex all of his muscles a little bit.”

Over the years Pacino has become known for his larger than life performances in films like Scarface and Scent of a Woman, something that Fogelman realized going in. “Al is a New York theater actor at heart, he’s a Shakespearian theater actor. And he is one of the most interesting small actors out there. He’s just not known as much for it because people, as he says, like to put a gun in his hand and give him big things to say. And it works really well, as a country and a world we ate it up. But he’s very comfortable doing a David Mamet play or a very quiet play on stage by himself, and he’s beautiful at it. You don’t want to rob him of all the things we love, the charisma and charm and the ability to pull off a big moment. I hate the movies that are like, “Here’s what you want,” and not give you any of that and then you’ve got to give a great critical review even though you’re getting no pleasure from this fuckin movie. It’s like, no I don’t want to see Al Pacino with a gun to his head for two and a half hours just being depressed and quiet so that’s the line and that’s what I told him. I said, “Al, if we get this right it gets you the ability to do everything in one two hour span that you’re so good at.”

In the film, Al Pacino steps out of his comfort zone and performs onstage as Danny Collins. “I knew he needed to (perform himself). I mean, Al’s not a natural, gifted singer. I was never too concerned about because neither is the character in the film and I had thought it was very important that it be clearly Al and not a fake singer pretending to be Al. I thought that it was really important to see the struggle of a guy who admittedly, I mean, one of his first lines of dialogue in the movie is “I don’t even know if you can call what I’m doing singing anymore.” And that was always scripted and he says “I’ve been abusing my body for four decades.” The craft has left him or the craft that he might have once had and even the songwriting is a muscle he hasn’t used in a while. I think that that’s what’s sweet about the journey. And I think it’s what makes his song that he eventually writes really beautiful and it’s got this Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan vibe to it. It’s a really simple stripped down raw attempt for a guy to recapture something as an older man that he doesn’t have the skillset that he had as a younger man. I think there’s really something kind of emotional about that.. that journey.. musically.”

Al Pacino and Ryan Adams (Pictured with Guitar)

Al Pacino and Ryan Adams (Pictured with Guitar)

Speak of the music, Fogelman puts musician Ryan Adams to great use for the film. The Alt-Country rocker contributes a song to the opening scene of the film. Fogelman says of the song, “Yeah, I believe he altered… but I believe the early, early song, Ryan had said, that.. It’s a while ago now, but I remember him saying that “I have this thing that I’ve always loved but was never sure about, but I feel like it’s maybe what you’re looking for.” And he played it for us and I think, changed it up and adjusted it.”

Adams also contributed by writing the song that Pacino is seen writing throughout the last two acts of the film as well and co-scoring the film with Theodore Shapiro. “The stripped down song that becomes Pacino’s song that carries the second half of the movie, THAT Ryan wrote for us. Like particularly for Al and for the film.” When asked about Adams’ work on the films score Fogelman elaborates, “He worked with Teddy Shapiro, who is a super incredibly talented and accomplished guy who did a bulk of the composing score… We used Ryan’s songs and music all over as score and he took a listen of the movie and just kind of, he basically just kind of creates a bunch of music and then Teddy finds a way to let that inspire score and uses pieces of it and so they share a composing credit on the film.”

Miraculously, the film features numerous original John Lennon songs throughout the film including Imagine and Working Class Hero. “I was putting all these songs in my cut and everyone, including my lovely producers, particularly my main producer Jesse, who’s been with me for six years on this project was going, “Damn, what are you doing to yourself? Can you make a list prioritizing them, at least?” And then Yoko’s camp responded and they saw the movie for what it is, the underpinning of the movie is a bit of a love letter to Lennon. He’s kind of this voice, carrying a through line underneath it all subconsciously. They worked with us and we were able to.. we got the call that we were basically told that we could leave all the music that we had put in, in the film.”

It would seem like making a first film with such an established cast would be daunting for a first time director but Fogelman says, “It was surprisingly not difficult. In fact, in many ways it made it easier because everybody was such pros. It was definitely jumping in the deep end a bit with Pacino starting in the title role for your first one, but he’s the loveliest. He’s really a great guy. You look at the poster and it’s got these five gigantic names on it and especially with Pacino and Annette and Plummer, like these kind of legendary actors who are older than me. They happen to also be the nicest people. I always say when you do this kind of stuff you have to pretend they’re nice but these guys are genuinely nice. And that makes a big difference. You know you spend a lot of time preparing for the film and knowing these people and by the time you’re shooting it’s no longer intimidating because they’re kind and they’re nice and you know them so it makes life a lot easier.” Fogelman jokes, “I mean if I had walked into day one of shooting with Al Pacino and Annette Bening and Christopher Plummer and they were all dicks it would have been different. ”

Working with movie stars one could imagine needing to deal with egos on set but Fogelman says this wasn’t the case “No. None Whatsoever. As Normal as can be other than the fact that they’re incredibly famous and well known.”

One role that proved a little more difficult to cast was that of Danny’s grown son, Tom, played by Bobby Cannavale. “Originally, very early on, coming off Crazy, Stupid, Love. (Steve) Carell was involved with it and even considered playing the son.”  Pacino then brought up Cannavale, “Al very early always wanted Bobby. They had done Glengarry Glen Ross together and I’ve been an admirer of his since, like, Station Agent. So it was just a matter of would we be able to pull off the financing for that version of the film? It’s such a big part in this movie. It’s ostensibly where you end the movie. It’s the core relationship in the film. I’m so glad it worked out because there’s such a genetic coding between them. I think they feel like father and son in real life. They love each other like father and son a little bit, they have a very close relationship, Bobby and Al. Al really admires him, I think he’s somebody like an actor that Al has given the next generational seal of approval to. He really thinks he’s the real deal, which I do, too. He’s a heavyweight actor. He’s got a real alpha-male masculine presence, which is not common. At an age and a type that doesn’t always get necessarily represented. Our movie stars tend to be a lot prettier and he’s got, there’s just a real man there. A man’s man. That was very important for this film, a kind of salt of the earth dude. Allowing Bobby and Al, who are both most known in their respective careers for these big, showy performances, whether it be Scarface and Scent of a Woman or whether it’s Bobby killing people in Boardwalk Empire, I thought this was an opportunity. Most of their scenes are very, very intimate, quiet scenes. . I like that both of them have the chance to flex that muscle when they’re known for BIG SHOWY STUFF and it’s a lot more quiet. They’re explosive actors, and with that you get iconic, explosive parts and then you become known for that. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not all they can do either. “

On finding his niche, Fogelman elaborates, “To me, Crazy, Stupid, Love and this film are most in the zone of what I set out to do when I decided this was what I was going to do for a living. I don’t know what you call that type of movie. It just feels like… a movie. My dad really likes this movie and my fiancé’s parents really like this movie but also my fiancé really likes this movie. I like those type of films. So, I don’t know what that all means. It’s interesting, I’ve been thinking a lot about it a lot with the animated films. You get more leeway to do stuff that’s unabashedly heartfelt and sweet with animated films. In our increasingly cynical world with more and more internet, it’s harder to put a live action adult movie out that wears its heart on its sleeve because you get hit for it. There’s just no way to pull it off without getting hit. To make a commercial heartfelt film is scary but I’m going to keep trying. I don’t know what you call them and I don’t know what the market is for them anymore, but it’s what I like. You just have to keep chasing that.”

Danny Collins opens tomorrow. I highly recommend you give it a look. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Ryan Reynolds Channels his Inner Burt Reynolds in the Costume Reveal for ‘Deadpool’

By: Jay Carlson

 

Ryan Reynolds took to his official Twitter account to give the world its first look at what his Deadpool will look like when it hits the big screen on February 12th 2016

In keeping with the humor of the character, Reynolds struck the pose of another famous Reynolds for the costume unveiling.

What do you think? I hated the Deadpool we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I have faith that Reynolds and company are very capable of nailing the character.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Ethan Suplee and Jeremy London Returning for Kevin Smith’s ‘Mallrats 2’

mallrats poster

by: Jay Carlson

As predicted the pieces are all falling into place for Kevin Smith’s Mallrats 2.

Yesterday, Ethan Suplee was confirmed via Smith’s official Instagram account, followed by Jeremy London this morning.

 

They join already announced cast mates Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty, Michael Rooker, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes and Smith himself.

According to Smith’s count he has eight of the twelve cast mates confirmed. It’s safe to assume that  the remaining four would be, Ben Affleck, Claire Forlani, Joey Lauren Adams and Renee Humphries.

What do you think? Are you at all excited to see all these Gen X’ers Twenty years older. It sounds kind of depressing to me…

Trailer: First Look as Jake Gyllenhaal in Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Southpaw’

 

From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and starring Academy Award® nominated Jake Gyllenhaal (NIGHTCRAWLER, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) comes a story of tragedy, loss and the painful road to redemption… Billy “The Great” Hope (Gyllenhaal) is the reigning Junior Middleweight Champion whose unorthodox stance, the so-called “Southpaw,” consists of an ineloquent, though brutal, display of offensive fighting…one fueled by his own feelings of inadequacy and a desperate need for love, money and fame. With a beautiful family, home and financial security, Billy is on top both in and out of the ring until a tragic accident leaves his wife dead and sends him into a downward spiral. His days now an endless haze of alcohol and prescription drugs, his daughter taken by Child Services and his home repossessed by the bank, Billy’s fate is all but sealed until a washed up former boxer named Tick agrees to take the bereaved pugilist under his wing so long as he agrees to his strict ethos. Relentless and utterly committed to a fighter that thinks as much as he throws punches, Tick rebuilds Billy into a new man: one that is agile, fearsome and uncompromising in the ring while thoughtful, loving and disciplined outside of it. Now, as he works to regain custody of his daughter and mounts a professional comeback, Billy must face his demons head-on as he learns that, sometimes, your greatest opponent can be yourself.

IR FILM REVIEW: Dan Fogelman Hits All the Right Notes in Directing Debut ‘Danny Collins’

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by: S. Scott Stanikmas

In Dan Fogleman’s directorial debut, Danny Collins, the screenwriter-turned-director has made a heartwarming film that goes through some of the tropes of a  “guy looking back on his life and trying to correct his mistakes” movie without feeling formulaic.

We first see the titular Collins in the early 70s, a budding musician just coming into his own but scared of the possibility of success and what that may do to him. The scene feels like comes straight out of the same universe as Cameron Crowe’s love letter to 1970’s rock and roll, Almost Famous. From there we jump ahead forty years into the future where the young man is now an aged lounge lizard (Al Pacino), living off of his past and content to be an act in the vein of Wayne Newton or Neil Diamond (he even has a “Sweet Caroline” sounding theme, the infectious “Hey Baby Doll”, which gets the blue dot crowd singing and swaying).

With Danny’s upcoming birthday, of course he’s bound to feel reflective as to what his life has become. When his longtime friend and manager (Christopher Plummer) gifts him with a letter written to Danny by John Lennon forty years earlier, the singer begins to take stock of his life and question the choices he’s made. You see, Lennon saw a bit of himself in Danny Collins and told Danny to stay true to himself and never let the business dictate who he should be. Unfortunately, due to an unscrupulous journalist, Danny never got that letter. Now he’s left to contemplate what his life could have been had he decided to stay true to his craft and not the almighty dollar.

Setting out for New Jersey of all places, Danny Collins begins the journey of finding his true self and getting back to his roots. Part of that involves holing up in a hotel room at the local Hilton and flirting with the manager (Annette Benning). The second half of that requires Danny to reconnect with Tom, the (now adult) son that he was never there for (Bobby Canavale), and the family he missed out on, including his son’s wife Samantha (Jennifer Garner) and daughter Hope (Giselle Eisenberg).

Al Pacino as the spray tanned and pompadoured singer was as excellent a role as the actor has portrayed recently. He can certainly dial it up to the max and become the wild and crazy guy we’ve all seen before – you know, the one who gets lampooned by every impressionist in clubs and on TV sets across America – hands flailing about, voice volume rising and falling intermittently. Here, Pacino certainly keeps up his gift for gab; smooth talking everyone from the valet at the hotel to the prestigious doctor that runs a special school for kids with special needs. Where he excels is with the smaller moments where he dials it back, and we see the more subdued, more restrained Pacino of his earlier years.

Much of these quieter moments are played out through Pacino’s eyes. He just has this look throughout the movie of a sad puppy dog, the kind of eyes that say deep down he hurts, but he doesn’t know how to say it because everyone expects him to be “ON” all the time and all he wants is to just slip back and be human. It’s especially on display as he lies awake in bed after receiving the Lennon letter, wondering what path his life could have taken, had he been given the chance to be saved from the commercial side of the business by the former Beatle.

Dan Fogleman certainly has a gift for words. His dramatic scenes had real resonance and feeling to them. They seemed familiar but not forced. The screenwriter of past hits like Crazy, Stupid Love and Last Vegas crafts a wonderfully heartfelt tale that has crackling dialogue and sharp wit.

Music producer Don Was and musician Ryan Adams collaborate on the original ballad “Don’t Look Down”, a lovely song that serves as Danny’s personal redemption, his proof to himself that he still has a soul deep down. The rest of the soundtrack is made up of a plethora of post-Beatles John Lennon songs, of which Fogleman made the best use of. At a Q&A in Boston, he spoke of being surprised by getting the rights to whatever he wanted to use, but made sure that he didn’t just put a song in because he could. He felt like the music should feel organic and (coming from someone who doesn’t much care for the Beatles or Lennon’s music) it truly does, never intruding, always feeling like it rises and falls naturally.

The only fault I found was wanting to see more between Bening and Pacino. This duo’s time onscreen together was too short, as those two had tremendous chemistry and “good patter” between them.

In the end, Danny Collins is an excellent film from this rookie director. With a tight script, excellent cast and wonderful story I’m excited to see what Dan Fogleman comes up with next.

 

GRADE: A

Marvel Reveals Lineup for All-New, All-Different Avengers!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

So we know that Marvel is axing 33 titles during the universe-ending Secret Wars event. We figured that a lot of the titles would get rebooted or reimagined in some way. Well, thanks to the Wired UK, we now know the lineup for one of Marvel Comics’ post Secret Wars book, All-New, All-Different Avengers.

The new comic will boast a rather diverse lineup. We’ve got Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Vision, Nova and Miles Morales a.k.a. Ultimate Spider-Man 2.0.

Not a bad membership. Marvel senior VP and executive editor Tom Brevoort said that this new team “more closely reflects the world outside your window,” referencing that the team is a mixed bag of superheroes (i.e. not all Caucasian males).  The cover art for the debut issue also confirmed that Marvel plans to use the newest incarnations of Thor (female) and Captain America (Sam Wilson) that were recently introduced.

He also called the lineup “an all-new, all-different Avengers for an all-new, all-different Marvel universe,” which fuels the speculation that Marvel will get a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style reboot when all is said and done.

The new team, written in their first adventure by Mark Waid with art by Mahmud Asrar, will debut in Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offering, which will be available in comic store on Saturday, May 2.

What Does Amanda Waller Have in her Trophy Case in ‘Suicide Squad’??

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

So we’ve got another bit of news about Suicide Squad from the guys at Latino Review. This one is definitely SPOILERish, so I’d proceed with caution if you don’t want to have a potential plot point from upcoming films unleashed upon your mind.

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Still with me? All right. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Apparently in the deep, dark recesses of the prison where Amanda Waller keeps her meat human prisoners (and potential Squad recruits) she also has a trophy case. And in that trophy case is Aquaman’s trident, as seen in the promotional poster wit Jason Momoa.

 

How does Waller come into possession of the trident? No one knows at this point in time. All we do know is that she has it and that can’t bode well for the King of the Seas.

The Aquaman movie hasn’t even come out yet and already the character is in potential trouble. If this pans out to be true, it will be interesting to see if David Ayer shows us how Waller gains this powerful artifact. Stay tuned for more on this as it develops.

Is Ben Mendelsohn set to Co-Star in ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’?

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Australian actor Ben Mendolsohn just jumped on a lot of people’s radars. The actor is being rumored to be up for a role in the upcoming Star Wars-universe stand-alone film Rogue One, according to Deadline.

The film has already cast Felicity Jones in the female lead. Gareth Edwards, director of the awesome sci-fi flick Monsters as well as the 2014 American version of Godzilla, is signed on to helm this film from a script by Chris Weitz.

No word yet on who Mendelsohn will play, but he’d be a fool not to climb into the cockpit for Disney and LucasFilm. A Star Wars film can only work for his exposure to the American movie-going audience. Most people may already recognize him from his roles in the films Exodus: Gods and Kings and Black Sea or his critically acclaimed Netflix series Bloodline, which debuted last week.

The first planned non-episodic Star Wars film is set to hit theaters December 16, 2016.

Is Idris Elba Looking to Foil Those who Boldly go Where no man has Gone Before?

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

With the recent Star Trek films, it’s been half “what are they going to mess with,” and half “who’s playing the villain / which bad guys are they using?” So far they’ve knocked it out of the park twice. Eric Bana was damn near Shakespearean as Nero, a Romulan miner whose seething hatred spanned the space-time continuum to search for his revenge on Spock. And Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan was brutal and visceral. So of course now fans are wondering who will be challenging the crew of the Enterprise when the third installment hits theaters.

Well the wait is almost over. Variety is reporting that Idris Elba is nearing final talks to play the main villain in the tertiary Star Trek film.

While nothing has been set in stone yet as to who or what the antagonists will be, Variety did have the following tidbit in regards to the role itself:

Details of Elba’s role are keeping kept under wraps. Early rumors suggest that Klingons would be the main villains in this movie, as they have not had a full presence in previous installments, but sources would not confirm if that was the case.

Elba has had some awesome supporting roles on the big screen in recent years. With films like Prometheus, Pacific Rim and the last two Thor films under his belt, audiences have had a chance to see his commanding prescence in the multiplex. I think he’d make a great foil for Kirk and company.

Now it was rumored that Bryan Cranston was supposed to be up for the main villain role and that it would be the Borg that would go up against the Federation. When it comes down to it, I’m actually kind of torn as to who I’d rather see. Both Cranston and Elba would make cool bad guys for the Star Trek universe. This time around though, I’ve got to give the edge to Elba.

Star Trek 3 is on point to have a finished script by June (according to Simon Pegg in an interview with Collider). Director Justin Lin will then start shooting to get the film in theaters by the projected date of July 8, 2016.

Warner Bros set to run ‘The Billion Brick Race’!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

And Warner Bros has added another brick to their growing LEGO film empire.

The studio has just signed Jason Segal and Drew Pearce to co-write and co-direct the next LEGO franchise movie, titled The Billion Brick Race, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This will be the fourth sequel / offshoot film in the theatrical LEGO saga, following the Ninjago movie in 2016, LEGO Batman in 2017, and the official sequel to The LEGO Movie in 2018.

Details are being kept under wraps at the moment, but the studio green lit the film on a premise from Pearce that got them pretty excited.

Jason Segal, the actor famous for playing Marshall on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother, was responsible for the resurrection of the Muppets at the box office recently. He’s also been branching put into writing studio films, mostly comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Sex Tape. Drew Pearce is known mostly for writing action films, most notably Iron Man 3 and the upcoming Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

This is both Segal and Pearce’s first time helming a studio feature film.

I like this combo. With Jason Segal’s comedy chops and Drew Pearce’s eye for action beats, we could get an action packed comedy much like The LEGO Movie from last year.

The Billion Brick Race currently has no release date and is in the earliest stages of development at the studio.

Steven Spielberg Drops his Quarter in for ‘Ready Player One’!

ready_player_one_by_lerms-d51yrzj (1)

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

It looks like director Steven Spielberg is headed back to Warner Bros after a 14 year hiatus. And he’s coming back to helm the movie adaptation of the hit sci-fi book Ready Player One, Deadline is reporting.

Ready Player One, the first book from author Ernest Cline, is set in a dystopian future where the much of the world escapes into a virtual reality simulation known as the OASIS. It’s co-creator, upon his death, enacts an Easter Egg hunt of sorts based on his love for everything 80’s. The first person to solve his intricate puzzles and find the man prize will become the heir to a vast fortune.

Our main character is young Wade Watts, an egg hunter (or “gunter” in the vernacular) who happens to stumble upon the answer to the first clue. After completing the first stage Wade now has to navigate a virtual world where other gunters (along with a power-hungry corporation that isn’t above killing a few hundred innocent people to prove a point) are all searching for the same prize he is.

Word is that this will be Speilberg’s next project after The BFG, his adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl children’s book.

This could be a difficult film to adapt. I just finished reading this the other day. I absolutely loved it. It was chock-full of references to old-school video games, music and movies, including Spielberg’s catalog. The only problem I forsee would be attaining the rights to so many varying properties. It’s possible that a lot of the rights-holder’s will be easy to persuade what with the promise of exposing their work to a whole new generation. And the ones who don’t will probably get worked around (and if it’s a success that rakes in the money, will be kicking themselves for not being involved).

Zak Penn is working on the current version of the script. No production start date has been discussed as of this writing.

Bryan Singer Casts his Jubilee for ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Remember the other day when it was reported that Jennifer Lawrence said she wouldn’t be coming back for any future X-Men films? I shared my feelings that there was a large list of other mutants to pick from to fill the spot of the departing Ms. Lawrence. And with his casting for X-Men: Apocalypse, it looks like Bryan Singer is giving one young lady the chance to make or break her career with a possible breakout performance.

Via his Instagram account, Singer announced the actress set to play Jubilation Lee a.k.a. Jubilee, a quirky fan favorite that grew from a scared rookie to a seasoned veteran in the Marvel Comics Universe. The mutant who can generate explosive plasmoids from her hands was a central character in the 90’s X-Men cartoon as well.

And the person playing Jubilee is…Lana Condor?

I'd officially like to welcome our newest mutant #JubilationLee, #Jubilee @LanaCondor to #XMEN #Apocalypse

A photo posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Mar 25, 2015 at 11:57am PDT

This is the very definition of up-and-comer. Condor will make her big screen debut in the upcoming mutant adventure. This will be a veritable pressure cooker for the young actress as the X-Men films are always scrutinized by fans. Hopefully she’s up to the challenge.

The character has already been played by two different actresses (Katrina Florence in X-Men and Kea Wong in X2 and X-Men: First Class). Because she wasn’t a central focus point, this gives Condor a chance to pretty much paint on a blank canvas and really define who Jubilee is.

I like Singer’s casting choices so far. Combining newcomers to the franchise like Sophie Turner as Jean Grey and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler alongside returning favorites like Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Evan Peters gives fans a chance to see characters they like while also being introduced to the next generation of mutants on the silver screen.

X-Men: Apocalypse is set to hit theaters May 27, 2016.

Bruce Campbell to get Presidential for FX’s ‘Fargo’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Before fighting Deadites for the STARZ network, The Chin will make a detour through Fargo.

Bruce Campbell has been signed to play presidential hopeful (at that time) Ronald Reagan on the second season the crime-drama anthology Fargo for the FX Network according to TV Line.

The second season takes place in 1979, many years before the first season. In his role, on the presidential campaign trail, Reagan (Campbell) will make his way through the town of Fargo, having interactions with various characters along the way. The main story of the season itself involves a crime that was alluded to by Keith Carradine’s Lou Solverson in the first season. the action will take place not only in the titular town, but also in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota.

Campbell joins an already stacked cast that includes Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Nick Offerman, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons.

You can catch Bruce Campbell as The Gipper when the sophomore season of Fargo drops on FX this fall.

Foxx OUT, Elba Now Cast to set off Harmony Korine’s ‘Trap’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

With Jamie Foxx now on the outs, Idris Elba has stepped up to the plate and landed the lead role in Hamrony Korine’s upcoming film The Trap, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The Spring Breakers director’s latest project is a revenge drama set against the Miami music scene. Also signed on to the cast is Benecio Del Toro, the other half of the coin in this tale of vengeance. In final talks to join are Robert Pattinson, Al Pacino and James Franco.

The Trap is the story of Rico (Elba), a rap artist at the height of his career. Right before he’s set to enjoy a night at the Grammys, he finds out his friend Slim (Del Toro) has just been released from prison after 14 years. Slim went to jail after taking the fall for a robbery the two committed together. Now out of jail, Slim finds Rico has amassed fame and fortune in his absence, as well as married his girlfriend and is raising Slim’s son as his own.

Slim recruits a colorful gang of mecreants to help him exact revenge, including an UZI-toting surfer (Pattinson) and his crew and Rico’s cocaine-fueled manager (Franco). The only person not in on the plot seems to be Slim’s parole officer (Pacino).

This sounds like a crazy film. It’s like Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces – take a bunch of stars, throw in a dash of violence and a sprinkle of insanity, shake well and let the fur fly. This is on my radar now, especially with the thought of Idris Elba and Benecio del Toro possibly throwing down. Color me intrigued.

The Cover to Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Revealed!

by: Jay Carlson

People has revealed the cover to, Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s upcoming sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, originally published in 1960. The new novel will pick up the narrative on iconic original characters, Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch.

Watchman has been mired in controversy due to the declining health of 88 year old Lee. Some reports state that Lee has been forced into releasing the book as a cash grab for the estate by her lawyer.

Previously, Lee had stated that she did not want to release another book but “she may not be able to stop others from doing so”. Lee has not published a novel since 1960.

Go Set a Watchman’s cover certainly evokes the feel of the classic book covers of yesteryear.

Go Set a Watchman will be released in July.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/06/harper-lee-home-town-monroeville-surprised-bemused-sceptical

 

First Look At Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’!

by: Jay Carlson

Entertainment Weekly has provided our exclusive first look at  first look at Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

He’s certainly rocking a very Luthor-looking dome.

What do you think? Does Eisenberg have the gravitas to pull off Lex Luthor?

March 25, 2016 is still VERY far away…

Chloe Sevigny to Check Into ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

And the guest register just keeps getting fuller by the day.

The last time Chloe Sevigny was on the FX anthology American Horror Story, it was during the second season (subtitled Asylum) in a recurring role as a nymphomaniac patient at the Briarcliff mental hospital. Now Ryan Murphy has officially announced the Sevigny will join the fifth season in a regular cast role.

Murphy made the announcement via Twitter:

Very excited to announce that Chloe Sevigny returns to the AHS family as a series regular on “AHS: Hotel.”

The actress joins the already cast Lady Gaga, Matt Bomer, Cheyenne Jackson and Wes Bentley. Jessica Lange, a staple for the past four seasons, will not be returning for the fifth installment.

No word yet on who any of the members of the cast will play, but AHS is known for keeping things under wraps for as long as possible. With the quality shown over the past four years though, I’ve learned to put my faith in the show and just enjoy the ride as it comes.

Trailer: VICTORY! A new Look at ‘Entourage’

 

“Entourage,” the much-anticipated big-screen version of the award-winning hit HBO series, reunites the show’s original cast, led by Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara and Jeremy Piven.

Movie star Vincent Chase (Grenier), together with his boys, Eric (Connolly), Turtle (Ferrara) and Johnny (Dillon), are back…and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold (Piven). Some of their ambitions have changed, but the bond between them remains strong as they navigate the capricious and often cutthroat world of Hollywood.

Also starring are Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment as father and son, Larsen and Travis McCredle. Returning cast from the series also includes Perrey Reeves as Ari Gold’s wife; Emmanuelle Chriqui as Sloan; Rhys Coiro as Billy Walsh; Debi Mazar as Vince’s publicist, Shauna; Rex Lee as Lloyd; Constance Zimmer as Dana Gordon; and Nora Dunn as Dr. Marcus. Emily Ratajkowski appears as herself. Rounding out the cast are Alan Dale, who appeared in the series, rapper Scott Mescudi, and Rhonda Rousey.

“Entourage” creator Doug Ellin is directing the feature film from his own screenplay, story by Ellin & Rob Weiss, based on characters created by Ellin. Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Ellin are producing, with Wayne Carmona serving as executive producer.

The behind-the-scenes creative team reunites several key members who worked on the original series, including director of photography Steven Fierberg, editor Jeff Groth, production designer Chase Harlan, and costume designer Olivia Miles.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Home Box Office, Inc., a Closest to the Hole Production, a Leverage Entertainment Production, a Doug Ellin Film, “Entourage.” The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film is set to open worldwide beginning on June 5, 2015.

The Truth (and More ‘X-Files’) is out There!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Could 13 be their lucky number?

After a 13 year hiatus, FOX has put the rumors to rest and officially ordered a six-episode run of the fan favorite X-Files. Gillian Anderson will reprise her role of FBI Agent Dana Scully while David Duchovny will once again play her partner, FBI Agent Fox Mulder. Series creator Chris Carter will also return to helm the sextet of episodes according to Variety.

“I think of it as a 13-year commercial break,” Carter said. “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

The original show ran for nine seasons and a couple of feature films. While nothing is known yet as to exactly what the current run will cover, with a built in fan base that is anxious for more weird tales, I’m sure the masses will be huddled around their TVs when Agents Mulder and Scully hit the airwaves once again.

AMC Casts Another for ‘Preacher’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

His job is going to suck…a lot.

Joseph Gilgun, from the hit BBC series Ripper Street and the sci-fi space flick Lockout, has been cast in AMC’s upcoming Preacher TV show. Reports state that Gilgun will play the hard-drinking Irish vampire Cassidy.

 

The English actor finds himself joining the already cast Ruth Negga and Ian Colletti. Those two will play Tulip and Arseface, respectively. There has been no official casting for the lead of Jesse Custer, although it was rumored that Dominic Cooper is favored for the part.

The adaptation, based on the long running Vertigo series, has been through many levels of development with many names attached at various points in its storied history. This newest incarnation will be produced by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen,. The duo will also direct the pilot, which was scripted by Sam Catlin, a writer whose credits include a handful of Breaking Bad episodes.

Shooting is expected to start sometime this year with an eye on a 2016 premiere.