Casting Elliott in ET

I really love what The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences has been doing lately with their Academy Originals series of videos which take a look at the art and stories behind the making of the movies we love. The latest video features Casting director Marci Liroff (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mean Girls) recounting the story of how Henry Thomas was cast as the lead in Steven Spielberg‘s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

As it turns out, Thomas was not the first choice for the role of Elliot. Liroff describes how a game of Dungeons & Dragons at screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who is finally returning to screenwriting for Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG) changed the corse of a cinema classic, leading to the audition video I’m sure you’ve seen before. Hit the jump to watch the video now.

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Dungeons Dragons

After the success of the Lord of the Rings films, The Hobbit and now Game of Thrones, Warner Bros. is looking to kick off another major fantasy franchise. They’ve just purchased the rights to Dungeons & Dragons, the incredibly famous tabletop role playing game in which players create characters and go on adventures through mystical worlds.

Screenwriter David Leslie Johnson is writing the film based on his own script, Chainmail, which was itself based on a fantasy game that predated D&D. Now that Warner Bros. owns the rights to the more popular brand though, Leslie¬†Johnson is retrofitting his script to fit that game. One of this film’s producers, Courtney Soloman, actually directed a D&D film released by New Line 13 years ago. (There have also been two direct-to-DVD sequels.) That 2000 release was a financial and critical disaster, but WB is going to try again.¬† Read More »

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