Last year Maggie Carey‘s film The Hand Job was announced, in which Aubrey Plaza would play a high school graduate who decides she needs a lot more sexual experience before college, and proceeds to work her way through a checklist of, er, action items. Yesterday many more cast members were announced and today we have even more, and roles for many of them.

Connie Britton will play the main character’s “liberal, free-spirited mother,” Mae Whitman and Alia Shawkat are two of her best friends; and Scott Porter will play a guy in a band that Plaza has a crush on.

Dominic Dierkes and D.C. Pierson (along with their Derrick Comedy co-member Don Glover) will play lifeguards; Bill Hader will be their stoned boss at the pool. Johnny Simmons is Plaza’s classmate and co-worker, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is his sci-fi nerd best friend. There will be a few more roles cast yet, but this is a great cast so far. And after Easy A I very much welcome more efforts to turn the typical male coming of age sex comedy into a story outline that girls can get lost in, too. [Variety]

After the break, Keira Knightley heads to TV — in a way — for the Syfy miniseries Neverland. Read More »

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Roger Rabbit 2 Update and 1998 CGI Test Uncovered

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Robert Zemeckis has been hinting for years about the possibility of a Who Framed Roger Rabbit sequel. In April 2009 he said that he had a good idea for the second installment; on July 22nd he said he’d been discussing the film with Bob Hoskins; and later that month he revealed that the original screenwriters Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price were working on a script for the follow-up. Now we have a very small update from Hoskins and a newly uncovered 1998 test which turned Roger Rabbit into a computer animated character in the live-action world. Hit the jump to see it now.

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Anthony Mackie is in talks to join Man on a Ledge, the cop thriller that already has Sam Worthington on board. The story kicks off with “a female psychologist and a former NYPD officer who threatens to jump to his death,” which sounds pretty eh. But the potential suicide is a smokescreen to obscure a massive diamond heist. Wait, did you say ‘heist,’ and Anthony Mackie? OK, officially more interested.

Asger Leth is directing from a Pablo Fenjves script that is being rewritten by Erich and Jon Hoeber (Red). [Variety]

After the break, a great cast for a questionable sci-fi picture, and more potential shark victims go in the water. Read More »

Robert Zemeckis has been loosening us up for a Who Framed Roger Rabbit sequel for some months now, letting slip the odd reference here and there that he’s been keen to give the follow on a good crack. In April he said that he had a good idea for the second installment; on July 22nd he said he’d been discussing the film with Bob Hoskins; on July 23rd he told the Comic-Con audience that he could neither deny nor confirm any plans for a sequel.

Now he’s just come out and revealed that not only is he gunning for another run at the funny Bunny, but also that writing on the new screenplay already currently underway. Purist fans of the original will probably jump for joy at his revelation on who is wielding the pen, because it’s none other than the scribes of part one, Peter Seaman and Jeffrey Price.

I think that Zemeckis has now been sufficiently loose lipped that we can start to read between the lines a little. Let’s rake over some of his quotes after this break.

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Harry Knowles has today published a telephone interview with Robert Zemeckis at Aint it Cool. For the most part they talk about A Christmas Carol, detailing the shape the film is in today and how it is going to showcase advances in performance capture technology and so on, but the chatter comes around, with seeming inevitability, to one of Zemckis’ past projects.

Bob Hoskins is appearing in Carol as Fezziwig, past employer of Ebeneezer Scrooge. According to Zemeckis, on set (or, perhaps more properly, “in volume”) conversation touched upon Who Framed Roger Rabbit and a potential return for Eddie Valliant, Hoskins’ character therein. The good news quote, simple as it is, lies beyond this break.

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Casting Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolRobert Zemeckis has signed a bunch of new stars for his upcoming performance capture digital 3-D adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Robert Zemeckis revealed in the official Beowulf podcast that Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth and Gary Oldman have officially joined the cast. Robin Wright Penn also announced that she will also be involved in the project.

Hoskins, who will play Mr. Fezziwig, inadvertently and prematurely announced his involvement in the project before Zemeckis had made an official announcement, which I think pissed off some higher ups. And when the project was announced the studio denied that any deal had yet been made with him. But this is the first official confirmation of his involvement.

What we already know: Zemeckis wrote the script specifically for Jim Carrey, who stars as four different characters: Ebenezer Scrooge (at various different ages), the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Tom Hanks (Bob Cratchit), Christopher Lloyd (Marley’s Ghost) and Michael J. Fox (Tiny Tim) are also rumored to be involved in the film, but have yet to be officially confirmed.

And before you ask, I’m not sure if the teaser movie poster to the upper right is legit or fan made. The art makes me believe it’s legit, the lettering makes me think it might be a fan creation.

While I see the potential of performance capture technology, and admire Zemeckis for pioneering the new form of filmmaking, I’m still not sold on the result thus far. The animation feels stiff, the people look like zombies, and the action looks like a highly rendered video game cut scene. And while I loved Beowulf for the 3D, I totally don’t understand why someone would create a character (Angelina Jolie for instance) who looks exactly like the real actor. Doesn’t that negate most of the benefits of the technology?

In Beowulf, I found Ray Winstone and Chrispin Glover’s (who played Grendal) performances to be the most interesting. Maybe because the animators didn’t have to concern themselves with making the animated characters look and move exactly like the performance captured actors. After all, animation is all about exaggeration of movements, and that’s why it works.

Anyway, my point is that the performance capture technology has yet to deliver a product that couldn’t have been made faster, cheaper and better looking using traditional film methods.  I think something like James Cameron’s Avatar might accomplish this feat. And while I like the gimmick of Jim Carrey playing four characters, one of the characters at different ages (taking full advantage of the technology), the rest of the book is mostly talking and walking. And while I’ll anxiously await anything Zemeckis will ever create, I just wish he would pick some more visual and cinematic stories for this new format.

A Christmas Carol will hit theaters on November 6th, 2009.

via: ComingSoon

Photos: Neil Marshall’s Doomsday

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Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) holds vicious marauder Viper (Leanne Liebenberg) at knifepoint

Rogue Pictures just released the first official photo from Neil Marshall’s upcoming thriller Doomsday. Many of you may remember Marshall as the guy who made a pretty sweet horror film released last year called The Descent. As always, click on the images to enlarge. Also, below is the film’s official plot synopsis:

In the action-packed new thriller from writer/director Neil Marshall (“The Descent”), authorities brutally quarantine a country as it succumbs to fear and chaos when a virus strikes. The literal walling-off works for three decades – until the dreaded Reaper virus violently resurfaces in a major city. An elite group of specialists, captained by Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), is urgently dispatched into the still-quarantined country to retrieve a cure by any means necessary. Shut off from the rest of the world, the unit must battle through a landscape that has become a waking nightmare.

Cast: Rhona Mitra, Bob Hoskins, Malcolm McDowell, Alexander Siddig, Adrian Lester

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Writer/Director Neil Marshall on the set of Doomsday

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