If you guessed the moment David Mamet cast Al Pacino as the lead of HBO Films’ Phil Spector that the movie would essentially be Pacino at his nuttiest under an increasingly bizarre series of wigs, well, you were right on the mark. The first trailer shows just that, along with his Helen Mirren as his competent but uneasy defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden. Watch it after the jump.

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Director Steve McQueen‘s last two films, Hunger and Shame, were relatively intimate affairs with smallish casts anchored by Michael Fassbender. In contrast, his upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, boasts a far more expansive cast — and what a cast it is. In addition to established names like Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Brad Pitt, the lineup also includes up-and-comers like Pariah actress Adepero Oduye and Beasts of the Southern Wild star Dwight Henry. Now, with shooting already underway, Henry’s Beasts co-star Quvenzhané Wallis has apparently been added to the roster as well.

The first photo from the set shows Ejiofor and Wallis alongside an adult actress and a child actor. It looks like the foursome comprise the Northrup family, though we don’t have enough info at this point to say for sure. Check out the image and read more about the film after the jump.

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I’m starting to suspect Steve McQueen watches the same TV we do. The British director of Hunger and Shame has already cast Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, Saturday Night Live‘s Taran Killam, and Raising Hope‘s Garret Dillahunt in his upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, and he’s now added another small-screen favorite. Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. Omar Little on The Wire, has just boarded the cast, which also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. More details after the jump.

UPDATE: A few hours after this post went up, it was announced that Beasts of the Southern Wild star Dwight Henry had also joined Twelve Years a Slave.

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Here’s an update to the developing news on Steve McQueen‘s third film, Twelve Years a Slave, that is pretty minor in terms of word count, but potentially huge for the movie. We know that Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Solomon Northrup, a free black man kidnapped in Washington in 1841 and made to serve as a slave for over a decade. Michael Fassbender, who featured in McQueen’s last two films, Hunger and Shame, will also play a role.

Brad Pitt‘s company Plan B is producing the film, and now the actor will take a role in the movie, too. Read More »

Michael Fassbender is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after actors working right now. He’s got that combination of skill, looks and fearlessness that makes him desirable for any producer or director.

For demonstrations of fearlessness, all you have to do is look to Fassbender’s two films made with director Steve McQueen. Hunger is a searing experience that recreates the 1981 hunger strike led by IRA volunteer Bobby Sands in the Maze prison. And then there is Shame, opening in December, which gained immediate notoriety after festival appearances revealed the sexually explicit details of the drama about a man (Fassbender) “unable to manage his sex life.”

You can also take the in-demand actor’s willingness to make time for McQueen as a declaration of the director’s stature. Now, as Shame moves towards a general opening in US theaters, Fassbender has signed to appear in McQueen’s next film, 12 Years a Slave, which will star Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup, a free black man kidnapped in Washington in 1841 and made to serve as a slave for over a decade. Read More »

Steve McQueen followed his debut film Hunger with Shame, which reunites him with actor Michael Fassbender and will premiere shortly at the Venice Film Festival. Now he’s got his post-Shame project set: a film called 12 Years a Slave, in which Chiwetel Ejiofor will star. Read More »

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Annette Haywood-Carter, a former script supervisor who jumped to directing (Foxfire, with a young Angelina Jolie, for instance), is preparing to shoot the period drama Savannah in the Georgia town of the same name, and has secured the final pieces of the film’s cast. Jim Caviezel and Chiwetel Ejiofor have joined Bradley Whitford, Jaimie Alexander, Jack McBrayer and Hal Holbrook. Read More »

ejiofor-fela

Talk about perfect casting. We’ve mentioned before that Hunger director Steve McQueen is making a film about the life of Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician / activist who essentially invented Afrobeat. Now there’s word that Kuti will be played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. Because, really, was there anyone else who could take the part? Read More »

Salt Movie Trailer: Angelina Jolie Goes on the Run

salt_russian_trailer

Update: An official domestic teaser trailer has been released online, and is now embedded after the jump. The original story follows.

We’ve seen a few photos of Angelina Jolie in character for her lead role in Salt, the political action thriller that was rewritten for the actress when Tom Cruise bailed on the role. Now there’s an international trailer, straight from Russia. First thought: man, they really do some great lip-matching work when dubbing movies over there! Check the Russian trailer after the jump. Read More »