In July, Oliver Stone is going back to his lurid daylight noir style (think U-Turn) with his adaptation of Don Winslow‘s novel Savages. The film features Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as a couple of pot growers whose business ends up in the crosshairs of a more powerful Mexican drug lord (Salma Hayek). Her henchman (Benicio Del Toro) kidnaps the guys’ shared girlfriend (Blake Lively), which leads to a pretty intense confrontation.

After the break, we’ve got an exclusive behind the scenes video showing the setup and filming of one of the movie’s action setpieces. We’ve also dropped in some of the other videos from the film that have hit in the past couple days. Read More »

Plenty of young talents have attempted the leap from precocious child star to grown-up actor, with severely mixed results, but Chloe Grace Moretz seems to be having an easier time of it than most. Though she’s just 15, she’s already shown a facility for between family-friendly fare like Hugo and more mature entertainments like Let Me In and Kick-Ass over the last few years, and she’s lucky enough to have (apparently) skipped an awkward phase altogether. As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t need to “prove” that she can transition into mature parts.

But that appears to be exactly what she’s doing in Derick Martini‘s Hick. Moretz plays a teenager who decides to ditch her neglectful parents in Nebraska and strike out for Vegas, meeting all sorts of interesting characters (played by Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Rory Culkin, and Alec Baldwin) along the way. Watch the red-band (i.e., NSFW) trailer after the jump.

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Yesterday we saw the first bit of footage from Oliver Stone‘s new film Savages, in which the girlfriend (Blake Lively)of two pot growers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel, the better to get said growers to work for the bigger outfit.

The film features the sort of cast you’d expect to see Stone pull together: in addition to the leads there are Benicio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Demian Bichir, Salma Hayek, Joel David Moore and Emile Hirsch, and it is shot in a style reminiscent of a few of his lurid ’90s entries such as U-Turn and Natural Born Killers. (Speaking of ’90s films, is Salma Hayek cosplaying as Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character Mia Wallace?)

Now we’ve got the full trailer, which sets up the story, offers a little bit of sex and violence, and shoves a knife through John Travolta. Check it out below. Read More »

Good news for those eager to find out exactly why Benicio del Toro is picking on Blake Lively in that first image from Savages: Universal has just shifted the opening date for Oliver Stone‘s latest from September 28 to July 6. Savages is the only film currently scheduled to go up against Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which hits three days before on Tuesday, July 3. It’s a bold move on the studio’s part, but it may also be a smart one — Savages could be ideal counter-programming to the comedies, actioners, and superhero flicks due out around the same time this summer.

Based on a book by Don Winslow, Savages stars Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as a pair of small-time pot dealers who get roped into working for a Mexican cartel that kidnaps their shared girlfriend (Lively). The impressive cast also includes Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Demián Bichir, and Emile Hirsch.

After the jump, new release dates for Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With the Curve, Drafthouse Films’ The FP, and lesser known Oscar nominees Bullhead (also from Drafthouse Films) and Chico & Rita.

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Briefly: Oliver Stone‘s new film is Savages, based on Don Winslow‘s novel of the same name, about two small-time pot growers (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson) and their shared girlfriend O (Blake Lively). Their little world gets messed up when O is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel as a means of strong-arming the two guys into working for the cartel.

This first image from the film shows Lively as she’s held by the cartel, where she is evidently smoked out in a rather menacing way by one primary henchman, played by Benicio Del Toro. The rest of the cast is notable: Uma Thurman is O’s mom; Salma Hayek is the cartel boss and John Travolta is a DEA agent. Emile Hirsch and Demián Bichir have roles as well. Savages doesn’t hit until September 28, so we might have to wait a while for a trailer. [Universal via Empire]

This month’s Haywire marks the first of two collaborations between Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum we’ll be seeing this year, the other one being this summer’s Magic Mike, and it seems we’ll have another to look forward to next year as well. After toying with the idea of teaming up for Warner Bros.’ The Man From U.N.C.L.E. before Soderbergh pulled out, the pair may now be gearing up to reunite on The Side Effects, previously titled Bitter Pill.

Also joining Tatum in the cast will be Blake Lively and Jude Law, the latter of whom recently worked with Soderbergh on Contagion. More details after the jump.

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Blake Lively has just joined the A-list ranks of Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, and Natalie Portman as the latest actress to turn down the opportunity to star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Craig Gillespie‘s beleaguered adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s Jane Austen spoof. Lively’s rejection comes as yet another setback for the project, which has already suffered numerous stops and starts throughout the development process. Are we ever going to see this film get off the ground? More details after the jump.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has had just about every hot young starlet attached at some point or other, and Blake Lively is one of those actresses whose name seems to pop up any time anyone in Hollywood is casting for a female lead. It was bound to happen sooner or later that their paths would cross. And indeed, a new rumor has started making the rounds that Lively has been offered the lead role of Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which which will be directed by Craig Gillespie. More details after the jump.

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The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced the first fifty or so films from its 2011 line-up today, including new works by Alexander Payne, the Duplass Brothers, Sarah Polley, and Madonna, and many, many others. In the process, TIFF also released a crop of brand-new photos from several films from the schedule. Hit the jump for new photos from the following:

  • Derick Martini’s Hick, starring Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz
  • The Duplass Brothers’ Jeff Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms
  • Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston
  • Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman

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Scarlett Johansson may seem like an unlikely lead for a Judd Apatow film, but in this context her casting actually makes a lot of sense. Johansson has signed on to star in Can a Song Save Your Life?, which will be written and directed by John Carney (Once) and produced by Apatow. The film follows “a washed-up A&R man who forms a passionate bond with a young singer-songwriter (Johansson) from out of town.”

The project calls for Johansson to sing, which shouldn’t be a problem for the actress. Johansson is in fact a professional singer, having released an album of Tom Waits covers titled Anywhere I Lay My Head back in 2008 and a collaboration with Pete Yorn called Break Up in 2009. Though the male lead has yet to be cast, Mark Ruffalo and Jim Carrey have been rumored as possibilities. (FWIW, I vote Ruffalo.) Shooting on the film will begin in New York City next year. [The Playlist]

After the jump, new gigs for the stars of Twilight, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the late-’90s/early-’00s teen alien show Roswell. Gosh, remember that?

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