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I’ll say this for James Franco‘s new outing as a director, and his highest-profile directorial gig to date: it takes some balls to tackle William Faulkner. The source material here is Faulkner’s seventh novel As I Lay Dying, which charts a family’s attempt to transport the body of its late matriarch to her preferred burial place, miles away. To grossly reduce things to a simple statement, the journey does not go well.

The film will premiere shortly at Cannes, and this trailer showcases the use of some of Faulkner’s original text in the script for the film. We get some idea of how Franco and the rest of the cast do with the material, but it’s too early to tell if the movie works. The novel is narrated by over a dozen characters, but we also don’t know how Franco, who also scripted, has dealt with the presentation of the story.

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With his Cormac McCarthy adaptation Child of God in post-production, multi-hyphenate James Franco is prepping another literary classic for his next feature. Two winters ago, he was trying to get the William Faulkner estate on board for a movie version of As I Lay Dying. It seems he was successful, as the film’s now begun casting for a fall start. As of this week, Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Jim Parrack (True Blood), and Ahna O’Reilly (The Help) are all lined up to star alongside Franco himself. More details after the jump.

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The very first pictures from Joshua Michael Stern‘s indie Steve Jobs biopic jOBS confirmed what we already more or less knew: that Ashton Kutcher can look a lot like the late tech guru in the right outfit. Now a more recent batch of set photos offers glimpses of some of the rest of the cast as well, including Josh Gad as Apple co-founder Steve WozniakAhna O’Reilly as Jobs’ girlfriend Chris-Ann BrennanLukas Haas as Apple employee Daniel Kottke; and Dermot Mulroney as former Apple CEO Mike Markkula. Check ‘em out after the jump.

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With shooting already underway, Joshua Michael Stern‘s Steve Jobs biopic is filling in some key supporting roles. (For clarification, this is a distinct project from the Aaron Sorkin-penned Jobs movie set up at Sony, which has yet to begin casting.) The latest addition to the cast is Matthew Modine, who’s slated to play former Apple CEO John Sculley. He was hired by Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) for the post in 1983, but the two men famously struggled to get along. Two years later, Sculley removed Jobs from from his managerial duties, leading Jobs to resign from the company shortly afterward.

In addition to Modine and Kutcher, the picture also stars Josh Gad as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Ahna O’Reilly as Jobs’ girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan. Stern’s film is due to hit later this year, but first Modine will be seen grappling with another eccentric visionary — Batman (Christian Bale) — in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. [THR]

After the jump, Dan Aykroyd goes Behind the Candelabra.

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Ahna O’Reilly, one of the stars in last year’s surprise hit The Help, has won the choice role of Steve Jobs’ girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan in jOBS. The film, directed by Joshua Michael Stern, will star Ashton Kutcher in the lead role and “shed new light on Steve Jobs’ most defining and personal moments, motivations, and the people that drove him.” Brennan was a Bay area painter who grew up with Jobs, dated him on and off through college and eventually gave birth to his daughter, Lisa, in the late Seventies. That makes her a major role in the film, the female lead, along with Josh Gad who plays Jobs’ friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Rapper T.I. has done a few movies (Takers, American Gangster, ATL) but has had his cinematic aspirations derailed by little things like county jail and federal prison stints. But he’s back at work, and in an interview conducted at SXSW, T.I. said that he’s got a couple of film projects on the horizon.

Specifically, the rapper said “there is a Marvel Comic franchise that [has] been inquiring about my availability for some time,” and “we also have a new Tom Cruise film with Doug Liman… I have that as well, on the horizon.” That would be We Mortals Are, once titled All You Need is Kill, the film in which Cruise plays a soldier in a future war who is killed, but has to relive his last hours, Groundhog Day-style, over and over again. I liked one draft of the script quite a bit; the film could be a wild, action-packed and slightly weird experience.

Check the video interview after the break, and get news of Christopher Meloni’s new indie, and the dark comedy that has recruited actors like Gillian Jacobs and Ned Beatty. Read More »

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