Jennifer Hudson made a splash on American Idol, then quickly went on to win an Oscar for her debut role in Dreamgirls, but we haven’t seen much of her onscreen since. Now she’s got a follow-up role to her big breakthrough: in Winnie, she’ll play Winnie Mandela, wife to South African president Nelson Mandela.
Directing is South African filmmaker Darrell J. Roodt, who was behind Yesterday and Sarafina! The script is from Roodt, Andre Pieterse and Paul L. Johnson, from the biography Winnie Mandela: A Life, by Anne Marie du Preez. Winnie Mandela fought apartheid alongside her husband, and was jailed for demanding his release, but she faced legitimate legal troubles down the road. Variety also reports that Hudson is expected to sing the theme for the film.
After the break, another Winnie movie, more for the Christina Aguilera film Burlesque, and Stephen Root bolsters two already solid casts. Read More »
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It’s casting notes time again. Alan Cumming has joined Steve Antin‘s Burlesque, about “an ambitious small-town girl with a big voice who finds herself at a neo-burlesque club.” Christina Aguilera is the girl, Kristen Bell is the rival dancer, and Cumming is the gender-bending club MC. So this is really a failsafe in case that Showgirls sequel falls through? [Variety]
After the break, news about Helen Mirren, Patrick Dempsey, confirmation on a Gerard Butler role and more for the Ed Helms flick Cedar Rapids. Read More »
Just because Peter is back on the scene with Page 2 doesn’t mean I have to skip the occasional casting roundup. First up, Kristen Bell will appear opposite Christina Aguilera in the musical drama Burlesque, not to be confused with that Showgirls sequel we talked about the other day. The film takes place in “a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club, reminiscent of the nightclub in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret.” Bell will be Nikki, “the loose-cannon lead dancer and main attraction at the club who spirals out of control when Aguilera’s character suddenly gets the spotlight.” A few tickets were probably sold based on that paragraph alone. [THR]
After the break, news on projects for Parker Posey, Mia Wasikowska and Eliza Dushku. Read More »
Christina Aguilera has signed on to make her live-action big screen debut in Steven Antin‘s contemporary musical Burlesque for Screen Gems. Antin wrote the script, which was later revised by Erin Brockovich scribe Susannah Grant. No mention is made of Diablo Cody‘s screenplay involvement in the Variety story, which makes me wonder if any of her contributions have made it to the final draft. Aguilera will play “an ambitious small-town girl with a big voice” who tries to escape a hollow past by performing in a neo-burlesque club in Los Angeles. The film hopes to be Moulin Rouge meets Cabaret, with established songs that will be updated and worked into dance numbers.
Antin has described neo-burlesque as “a contemporary take on the traditional burlesque that derived from vaudeville, with singing, dancing, comedy and more tease than striptease.” Antin’s sister Robin created the burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls in 1995. Burlesque is aiming to begin production in January 2010.
After Juno sent a shock-wave around Hollywood, Hollywood’s new golden screenwriter Diablo Cody has a lot on her plate, and has revealed some new details about her upcoming projects to EW. So we’ve decided to incorporate some of this new information into this development profile:
Girly Style: Diablo immediately started writing this “female response” after seeing SuperBad. Girly Stlye, “named after the wuss version of push-ups, tells the story of some nerdy college women.” Red Eye producer Mason Novick is signed to produce the project for Universal.
Time and a Half: “A satire about the cult of modern-day hipsters.” In an earlier Cinematical interview, Cody described the movie as “a generational, working stiffs kind of comedy” which was sort of inspired by films like Reality Bites, “those films that defined Generation X.”
Jennifer’s Body: A horror movie about a girl who eats boys.” Cody describes the movie as “Juno but with cannibalism and evisceration.” IMDB describes it as “A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?” Megan Fox is attached to star for Fox Atomic.
The United States of Tara: Steven Spielberg handpicked Cody to write the pilot for a comedy idea he had about a woman who struggles to find a balance between her dissociative identity disorder and raising a dysfunctional family. Cody conceived the story, and pitched it to him over the phone at the Universal lot, and has yet to meet the famous director in person. “Isn’t that awesome? It’s like Charlie’s Angels. So we had the call, and he said, ‘Okay, go write it.’ I walked outside and just went numb. E.T. is the first film I ever saw in the theater. I sank down to the curb and put my head between my knees.” Showtime is producing the series with Toni Collette attached to star.
Burlesque: Cody was brought on board to rewrite/revise this contemporary musical which is being called “Moulin Rouge meets Cabaret” for director Steven Antin (The Good Mother). The film follows a young woman who tries to escape a hollow past by performing in a neo-burlesque club in Los Angeles.
The EW article also reveals that one day soon, she hopes to direct.
“If I were a dude, I don’t know that I’d be so eager. But I feel like I have a responsibility to try because there’s such a paucity of female directors. There are worse things you can do in life than direct a bad movie.”
Read the full profile on Cody on EW.com.
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Blogger turned Screenwriter Diablo Cody (NOT pictured right) is the new screenwriting IT girl in Hollywood. If you don’t recall, Cody wrote Juno which is one of the best movies of the year. It’s sure to earn her a best screenplay nomination. She’s working with Spielberg, and now Variety reports that Cody has been brought on board to rewrite/revise a contemporary musical titled Burlesque, which Steven Antin (The Good Mother) will direct.
Burlesque follows a young woman who tries to escape a hollow past by performing in a neo-burlesque club in Los Angeles. The film hopes to be Moulin Rouge meets Cabaret, with established songs that will be updated and worked into dance numbers. Antin describes Neo-burlesque as “a contemporary take on the traditional burlesque that derived from vaudeville, with singing, dancing, comedy and more tease than striptease.”
Diablo knows something about this type of world. Cody quit her day job at an ad agency and “on a whim” became a stripper at one of the raunchiest Minneapolis strip clubs for one year. She blogged about her experiences, which later got retold into a memoir Candy Girl: A Year in The Life of an Unlikely Stripper. This helped launch her screenwriting career.