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On Easter Sunday, I landed in New Orleans to sweat and drop by the set of RED, yet another comic book adaptation, but one packing the following A-list cast:

Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren (as a tea-sipping sniper with a 50-cal machine gun), Mary-Louise Parker, Star Trek’s Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon, and Ernest Borgnine

And I would be remiss not to list the movie’s possible scene hog: a stuffed toy pig with wild eyes toted around by Malkovich’s character…a paranoiac-genius. Shocked? The movie, due in October, is loosely based on a very lean 2003 WildStorm comic book series by Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hammer, whom we spoke with on set. Willis stars as a retired assassin named Frank Moses, a hermetic, once-valuable man now wanted dead by pesky/shady forces. Naturally, Moses seeks defense and camaraderie from a badass crew of vets (Malkovich, Mirren, and Freeman). The film, described as “hard PG-13,” is directed by Robert Schwentke, best known for the Fincher-aping Flightplan.

RED is an acronym for Retired Extremely Dangerous, and the ensemble aspect means the end product should comfortably fit into the current action zeitgeist of grizzled, last hurrah actioners (The Expendables) and specialized, quick-quip posses (The A-Team). However, on set producers compared the tone not to other genre properties but to Ocean’s Eleven with a splash of True Lies. Ellis and Hammer have both publicly endorsed the decision to forgo their comic book’s bloody, quasi-polemic seriousness in addition to much of the storyline (wherein Moses was a lone wolf). After the jump are thoughts from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Constantine), and my own observations (excluding a strip club excursion later that night with various web editors). Look for interviews with several cast members, including an expletive-liberated Willis in top form, closer to release.

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We’ve reported briefly on Coriolanus before — that’s Ralph Fiennes‘ directorial debut, and an update of Shakespeare’s play about a Roman general who attacked Rome after being exiled from the city.  Now we’ve got the first images from the film, and even though an updating of a story about men of war would necessitate seeing the cast in full battle dress, I’m still oddly surprised to see Fiennes kitted out for the war in the Middle East. Read More »

coxhamlet

Brian Cox is one of my favorite actors of all time. The volume of his work is incredible, but his range is also impressive. Today a video has surfaced online (via Gawker.TV) of Brian teaching a two-year old the “To Be Or Not To Be” soliloquy from Hamlet. Apparently, Cox is a great acting teacher as well, although according to Cox, this little tyke is “the best drama student [he’s] ever had.” Hit the jump for the video. Warning: This will probably be the most adorable thing you see all day.
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Brian Cox to Play a Dwarf in The Hobbit?

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There’s enough dwarves in The Hobbit to keep us in casting rumours for a year so I’m almost reluctant to set a precedent in reporting on them. Nonetheless, this particular rumour revolves around Brian Cox and therefore makes me pretty darn happy.

There are thirteen dwarves in The Hobbit, travelling with Bilbo and Gandalf, and the most important of them would be Thorin Oakenshield or Balin. While the rumour doesn’t specify quite which dwarf Cox would be playing, it’s hard to imagine an actor of Cox’s calibre as one of the lesser cast. To relegate Cox to a smaller role Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson and company would have to have a pretty amazing cast up their sleeves. Of course, I can’t think of a more eagerly anticipated film in the pipeline right now* so who’s to say there’s any kind of ceiling on what the team might be able to ask for.

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mcmahon_cox_borgnine_dreyfuss

There are a great many comic books being adapted to film these days, and it’s easy to get lost as you wade through the sea of adaptations, potential projects and also-ran efforts. But a good cast will get and keep my attention every time, and the lineup for Red, Robert Schwentke‘s adaptation of the Warren Ellis-penned comic book. The cast was already stellar, and now a few more excellent names have been added. Ernest fucking Borgnine? That’s crazy! He’s 92! Read More »

Super Troopers

Fans of Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers will be glad to know that things are moving along nicely for a sequel. According to Movie Cultists, they have independent financing and are looking to make a deal with Fox as well. Steve Lemme describes the situation as follows:

We’re like, three drafts into it. It’s funny, because we have an independent financier — we have a lot of independent financiers — who are like, ‘Give us that fucking movie.’  And we’re like, ‘We will, we will but we have to go through a studio first.’  But it’s a great thing to go to a studio and say, ‘We have the money.’

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Trick 'r Treat

Fuck Pointless Remakes.

Fuck Shitty Sequels.

And Fuck Rob Zombie.

(Excuse the vulgarity, as we don’t use it often on /Fim — but when it is used, it is used to effect, to express a point. A bit of a warning, I have one more coming…)

Trick r Treat is the best Halloween movie since John Carptenter’s 1978 classic. X-Men 2 screenwriter Michael Dougherty‘s feature filmmaking debut feels like a film that Steven Spielberg might have made in the 1980’s if he didn’t go all PG. It feels like the Amblin film that Orci and Kurtzman always claim they are aiming to make.

(the rest of the review and a video blog reaction, after the jump)

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Boo! in a duel sense. Bloody Disgusting reported over the weekend that Legendary Pictures has screened their nicely buzzed Halloween-themed anthology flick, Trick ‘R Treat, in hopes of picking up a new distributor. According to STYD, Warner Bros. (Where the Wild Things Are, ahem) has categorically removed the film from its 2008 schedule for theatrical and home entertainment releases after pushing the film off its original October ’07 release date. What gives?

Not only is the film a much needed shot of original horror in a time of glossy mall-kid remakes (Prom Night, April Fool’s Day) and sequels (Saw, TCM), but it boasts respected, recognizable faces (Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Brian Cox) and tested through the roof with fanboys. AICN has loudly championed writer/director Michael Dougherty‘s film for practically ages now. Moreover, mainstream awareness was boosted by the inclusion of a Trick ‘R Treat trailer attached to DVDs of 300. There is speculation on the Nets that an Idiocracy-like situation has gone down, but there’s no evidence as of yet.

The latest release date was set for October ’08, which was a no-brainer. “If It’s Halloween, It Must Be Saw” is the old dude in the club. Warner Bros. had a great opportunity to build a franchise and new moviegoer tradition with this real estate, and a new Creepshow would be next levs. Let’s hope Legendary finds a proper replacement. More on this as it develops…

Discuss: Are you aware of Trick ‘R Treat? If so, what have you heard? Why do you think Warner Bros. put the kibosh on it?

27 New Photos from Trick ‘R Treat

Trick 'R Treat

Warner Bros has released a batch of new photos from the upcoming horror thriller Trick ‘R Treat. Check them out below, along with an updated plot synopsis. We’re looking forward to this one. Not only is it screenwriter Michael Dougherty (X2, Superman Returns) directorial debut, but it’s produced by Bryan Singer. As always, left click for high res and don’t drink and drive.
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