So far, the footage we’ve seen from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has been, well, pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a movie called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The “secret history” of our 16th president’s double life as a hunter of supernatural monsters is a premise that’s deeply silly but potentially entertaining, and accordingly, the first trailers have been both kind of dumb and kind of cool.

But I do have one big quibble, and it’s that we haven’t seen nearly enough actual vampire hunting. Honest Abe (Benjamin Walker) wields his axe pretty much constantly in the footage we’ve seen so far, but where’s the satisfying splatter of blood and guts? Fortunately, the new red-band trailer rectifies that situation, offering up plenty of bloodshed, several explosions, a couple of decapitations, and even a bit of what the MPAA might call “brief sensuality.” Watch the NSFW video after the jump.

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Briefly: Brian De Palma is nearly set to roll on Passion, his remake of Alain Corneau’s thriller Love Crime, with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace in the lead roles. The film watches as a young businesswoman turns murderess when her boss and mentor steals one of her ideas.

Now Dominic Cooper (The Escapist, An Education, The Devil’s Double) and Karoline Herfurth (The Reader) are signing on to the film as well.  We don’t have any info on what parts they’ll play, though Herfurth may be a character named Dani, perhaps a gender-altered version of the character played by Guillaume Marquet in the original.

De Palma is known for a heightened visual style, and I’m now more excited to see footage from Passion because it is being shot by veteran cinematographer José Luis Alcaine, who may be best known for his extensive collaboration with Pedro Almodovar. (On Volver, The Skin I Live In, Bad Education, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and more.) That’s a great pairing. [MediaBiz via De Palma A La Mod and The Playlist]

Yesterday we got our first look at footage for Timur Bekmambetov‘s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, scripted by and based on Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel of the same name. Now we’ve got a trailer for international audiences that has a lot more footage, and also offers some dialogue from Dominic Cooper. Check it out below. Read More »

For a while there it looked like Ariel Vromen‘s The Iceman was on the verge of falling apart, as James Franco dropped out of the project. But the hitman biopic is moving along with David Schwimmer and Chris Evans added to the cast in recent weeks, and now Winona Ryder has boarded the picture as well in a role once slated for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Ryder will play the wife of mob contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a. The Iceman (Michael Shannon), who’s unaware of the true nature of her husband’s career. Ray Liotta and Ryan O’Nan will also star.

Based on interview footage and Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the picture is scheduled to begin production early next year in Louisiana. [Deadline]

After the jump, a former Everybody Loves Raymond star gets fired by a former The Office star, a Broadway adaptation casts a Broadway star, and a trio of rising Brit talents sign on for an artsy romance.

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Amber Heard Will Star in ‘Motor City’

Briefly: The next movie from Albert Hughes — and his first solo effort without brother Allen — is set to be Motor City, which sounds like a straight-up revenge story based on quick descriptions of the script by Chad St. John. Dominic Cooper stars as a guy just released from prison, who is out for revenge against the guys who framed him for a crime. I’m told the script is one of the most spare to go into production in a long time, with very little dialogue. Hopefully that will result in a film that is more distinguished than the basic logline makes it sound  — perhaps a companion piece to Drive and The American.

Now Amber Heard is set to play the lead female role, though we don’t know anything about the specifics of the part. Heard has been on the verge of breaking out for a while, starting with her starring role in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, moving through her clothes-free scenes in The Informers, and films like Zombieland, The Ward, Drive Angry and The Rum Diary. She was also a lead in the short-lived show The Playboy Club, which was canceled after only three episodes aired.

Fresh from his turns in Captain America and The Devil’s Double, Dominic Cooper is getting bigger roles. One is looking like the lead part in Motor City, the revenge thriller that Joel Silver is producing and Albert Hughes will direct. The film is about “a felon who, after being released from prison, begins tracking down the men who framed him.” Hughes bounced to this after leaving Akira; Chad St. John wrote the script. [Variety]

After the break, new actors for Django Unchained, Paradise Lost and Neighborhood Watch. Read More »

The development of a film about father and son crime figures John ‘The Teflon Don’ Gotti and John Gotti, Jr. has already turned into something of a saga, with Nick Cassavetes set to direct, then departing and leaving a void ultimately filled by Barry Levinson. John Travola, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were cast, and now Joe Pesci is suing the production, which we’ll get to in a moment. Lindsay Lohan was reportedly cast, then quite or was fired, then cast again, and now evidently not part of the project. There’s probably more, but that’s enough to start with.

Fiore Films has now announced what may be the final title for the film, Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, along with a shoot date for January 2012. And there’s a rumor that Dominic Cooper will join the cast as well. Read More »

Sacha Gervasi is looking to follow up his hit documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil with an intriguing sorta-biopic called My Dinner With Hervé. The film will follow the final days of Fantasy Island TV star Hervé Villechaize, based in part on the interviews that Sacha Gervasi actually did with the actor just before his suicide in 1993. So it’s an unusual setup — essentially Mr. Gervasi has written and will direct a film in which an actor plays him in a dramatization of the interviews and circumstances that surrounded them.

Peter Dinklage has long been set to play the title role in the film, and now it looks like Dominic Cooper is set to play Sacha Gervasi’s role. Read More »

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