Here’s one more film to watch crawl towards the screen in the coming months, thanks to the American Film Market. Elvis & Nixon is an indie based on the real-life meeting between the crooner and the President, and will mark the feature directing debut of actor Cary Elwes, who co-wrote with Joey Sagal and Hanala Sagal. (And who is probably still best known for his role in The Princess Bride.)

To play Elvis, Elwes and his producers have landed Eric Bana — strike that, Bana is one of the producers. Meanwhile, Danny Huston (The Proposition, Clash of the Titans, John Adams) will play Richard M. Nixon. And if this week’s release of  J. Edgar proves anything, it is that you don’t need someone who is a dead ringer for a famous figure. Actually, I’m not sure that J. Edgar really proves that, but regardless, Huston will probably make a better Nixon than does J. Edgar‘s Christopher Shyer.

The full press release, with some story detals, is below. Read More »

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There’s some bad and some good in today’s TV Bits, but I’d say there’s more of the latter — more Shameless, more Homeland, more Jennifer Coolidge, and Olga Kurylenko in late ’50s Miami all count as pluses, right? After the jump:

  • Showtime’s Shameless get a Season 2 trailer — and invites fans to play Truth or Dare with one of the characters
  • Starz debuts a trailer for Magic City, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, and Danny Huston
  • CBS gives full season orders to Unforgettable and Person of Interest
  • Showtime renews freshman series Homeland
  • Jennifer Coolidge signs on for CBS’ 2 Broke Girls
  • Jenna Elfman boards the fifth season of DirecTV’s Damages
  • Starz’ Boss loses its two showrunners
  • ABC’s Pan Am gets a new showrunner

Read More »

Actors signing on to play real-life figures is nothing new, but casting, say, Jesse Eisenberg in the role of ordinary-looking dude Mark Zuckerberg is one thing. When the character in question is a larger-than-life icon whose unique looks and mannerisms are recognized all over the globe, that’s something else entirely, whether it’s Michael Douglas playing Liberace, Michelle Williams doing her best Marilyn Monroe — or Eric Bana rocking the King’s pompadour.

The Aussie actor has signed on to star as Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon, the directorial debut of Cary Elwes. Bana will also executive produce, through his shingle Pick Up Truck Pictures. Meanwhile, Danny Huston is in final negotiations to play the other title role, of U.S. president Richard M. Nixon.

The story, which was written by Elwes with Joey Sagal and Hanala Sagal, revolves around a real-life visit that Presley paid to Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. The meeting came about after Presley wrote Nixon a letter requesting that he be allowed to visit and suggesting that the President make him an agent at large with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Presley brought family photos and a Colt .45 pistol to give the President as gifts. Elvis & Nixon will begin shooting in Los Angeles and Louisiana at an unspecified date. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, Robert De Niro also tackles a true-life tale — that of Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff.

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The Clash of the Titans sequel, which has been referred to as Wrath of the Titans but a press release today calls Clash of the Titans 2, started shooting this week under the direction of Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles). Sam Worthington returns to star as Perseus, but it looks like Gemma Arterton‘s commitment to Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters means she definitely won’t be in the film, as her name is MIA from the release. We’ve now got a pretty full cast line-up, and a full plot for the film, after the break. Read More »

Danny Huston will join Nicolas Cage in the Taken-like action thriller Medallion. The film has Nic Cage as a thief whose daughter is abducted and shoved in the trunk of a NYC cab. With help from another thief who is also his ex-girlfriend (Malin Akerman) the guy faces a ticking clock if he wants to rescue his girl.

Simon West directs, from a script by David Guggenheim and the film is just about to shoot in New Orleans. We don’t yet know Danny Huston’s role. [The Playlist]

After the break, Luke Evans is an Amateur American, and Rock of Ages opens up a key role to newcomers. Read More »

One of the more promising projects for the next couple years (don’t expect this until 2012 at least) is The Congress, in which Waltz With Bashir director Ari Folman liberally adapts a story (‘The Futurological Congress‘) by revered speculative fiction author Stanislaw Lem. The film is planned as a mix of live-action and animation, and we’ve already seen a taste of what the animation will look like.

Robin Wright stars as a struggling actress whose image has been bought and co-opted; she’s essentially outmoded and unnecessary. As the film moves forward, animation takes the place of live action and Robin Wright’s character is seen in what appears to be a dystopian future of sorts, where manufactured pharmaceuticals play a big role in life. Details are thin right now and, honestly, that’s OK. It’s good to be tantalized by a film like this, and with Ari Folman directing I’m happy to be along for the ride. But there are new details: Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In) has been cast, and it appears that Danny Huston, Paul Giamatti and Harvey Keitel have parts, too. Read More »

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Ray Winstone is currently starring in 44 Inch Chest, which was written by Sexy Beast writers Louis Mellis and David Scinto. Mellis and Scinto have since stopped working together, and Scinto is now poised to make the jump to director. As leading man in his debut Night Flower, he’s tapped a reliable presence: Ray Winstone. From there the cast gets better, as Ben Whishaw and Andrew Garfield are currently in talks to join.

We don’t have many details on the script, which Scinto wrote and is called a “terrifying romantic thriller” in THR‘s report. As shooting is not scheduled to start until this fall we’ll probably have to wait a bit before hearing any more. But having Winstone, Whishaw and Garfield together should be great, and I’m excited to see what Scinto comes up with on his own.

After the break, the young version of Conan the Barbarian is cast, and the animated pic Monster in Paris gets some good voices. Read More »

thornton-huston-milla

The casting news tonight is all over the place: First we have Billy Bob Thornton teaming up with Dwayne Johnson in Faster, a George Tillman Jr. (Men of Honor, Notorious) action drama vehicle. Johnson will star as Driver, an ex-con out for revenge  following his brother’s murder. Thornton plays Cop, a (you guessed it) police officer tailing Driver. There’s also Killer, a hitman who’s after Driver for some reason (my god, maybe he killed Driver’s brother?!). The latter role remains uncast.

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