Romeo and Juliet header

These days, teen romances are as likely as not to involve vampires, werewolves, zombies, aliens, and/or hellish dystopian landscapes. At their heart, though, so many of them are about forbidden love of one kind or another. In other words, they’re essentially Romeo & Juliet with supernatural bells and whistles.

Now along comes the original Romeo & Juliet to (hopefully) show us all how it’s done. Carlo Carlei‘s apparently faithful adaptation stars Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the iconic star-crossed lovers. Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Ed Westwick, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also star. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Romeo and Juliet

Since her Oscar-nominated breakthrough performance in 2010’s True Grit, Hailee Steinfeld has mostly kept out of the limelight. In fact, she hasn’t appeared in a single movie since then. But with half a dozen releases planned for the next couple of years (including Ender’s Game, Can a Song Save Your Life, and Three Days to Kill) she now looks ready to make up for lost time.

Among the many projects on her slate is the Carlo Carlei-directed, Julian Fellowes-scripted Romeo and Juliet. Steinfeld and rising star Douglas Booth play the iconic star-crossed lovers, surrounded by a talented if somewhat random cast that also includes Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Natasha McElhone, Ed Westwick, Kodi Smit-McPheeStellan Skarsgård, and Lesley Manville. Check out the new trailer after the jump. Read More »

Whether the world really needs another Romeo and Juliet adaptation is up for debate, but Carlos Carlei‘s upcoming film boasts some intriguing talent, at least. The script comes from Gosford Park and Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, while young up-and-comers like Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Ed Westwick, and Kodi Smit-McPhee are lined up to star.

The latest addition to the project is the always welcome Paul Giamatti, who’s set to play Friar Laurence. A confidant to both Romeo and Juliet, the character plays a key role in the star-crossed lovers’ fates. Shooting on the film, which is rather discouragingly being described as “Romeo and Juliet for the Twilight generation,” is slated to begin this month in Italy. [Variety]

After the jump, Dr. John Watson and the Earl of Grantham book big-screen gigs.

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Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. decided to skip this fall’s festival circuit with the biopic J. Edgar. While a good many of the other major fall studio releases have been seen and reviewed in the past three weeks via Telluride, Venice and TIFF, we’ve seen nothing from this biography of America’s most powerful lawman, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover.

Now the shroud is off the film as Warner Bros. released the first trailer for Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays the FBI chief and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) appears as his second-in-command and rumored love, Clyde Tolson. See the trailer below. Read More »

Briefly: I get the idea that yet another version of Romeo and Juliet isn’t something that people are wildly keen to see, but that isn’t putting the brakes on the film that Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) will direct based on a script by Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park).

The main reason to be interested in the movie, for me at least, is that it is looking like it will be the sophomore feature from True Grit breakout star Hailee Steinfeld. She’s playing Juliet, and Holly Hunter, Ed Westwick and Kodi Smit-McPhee are also set for roles. Now Douglas Booth (Pillars of the Earth, the upcoming Great Expectations) will be her Romeo. Variety says he took the job over hundreds of other young applicants, but again, I’m not convinced that this one really has much heat. Still, the cast is shaping up well and there are few pieces of more proven material. If Carlo Carlei can make it feel like a fresh telling, no matter what style he adopts, it might surpass expectations.

Naomi Watts Joins Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’

After a couple months of speculation that Charlize Theron would join the cast of Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar as Helen Gandy, the longtime secretary to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio), the actress finally moved on. But there is a replacement: Naomi Watts will play the part instead. Now the cast for J. Edgar is pretty much set. Read More »

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As the saying goes, “when one window closes, another one opens” and such is this case with both Clint Eastwood‘s new film J. Edgar and actress Charlize Theron. Reports were that Theron was a basically lock to star as Hoover’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) longtime assistant Helen Gandy but, apparently, her agents jumped the gun and she will not be taking the role. She’s as good as signed up to star in Snow White and the Huntsman and with this change of events is now a major target for Ridley Scott and his Alien prequel. As for the pivotal role of Gandy, Eastwood is now said to be looking at either Naomi Watts or Amy Adams.

But as the Oscar-winning director loses one actor, he gains another. Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick has signed to play a “major supporting role” in the film as an FBI agent who is tasked with writing Hoover’s memoir. Read more about all of this after the jump. Read More »


At least in terms of teen appeal, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights was the Twilight of its day… but seeing as that was way back in 1847, when teens were a little different and less OMG!OMG!, you shouldn’t be put off the latest film adaptation just yet. The Hollywood Reporter tell us that this new adaptation is to star Bond’s oil-slicked Strawberry Fields, Gemma Arterton (also in the upcoming Prince of Persia and Clash of the Titans) and Gossip boy Ed Westwick. As a result, what will set this version apart from any of the others, including the Oscar-winning 1939 film starring Laurence Olivier, is that at 23 and 21, respectively, its stars are pretty much the same age as their characters.

This Heights is to be directed by Peter Webber, previously responsible for Girl with a Pearl Earring and the young Hannibal movie though, earlier on, John Mayberry was set to direct with Michael Fassbender attached. Natalie Portman had also been attached to the project for quite a while before dropping out, being replaced with Abbie Cornish who then dropped out herself. I’m not so sure that’s not a bad thing. I was very much impressed by Arterton’s turn in last year’s Tess of the Durbervilles, yet another 18th century period period piece, so I think she’s more than up to a bit of Bronte.

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Donnie Darko

I’m a huge fan of Donnie Darko. Richard Kelly‘s debut film is not only one of my favorite films of 2001, but it’s probably somewhere on my list of favorite films of all time. So when I learned this morning that a sequel was being made, I seriously began to doubt my commitment to sparkle motion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti sequel at all. I’ll be happy to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and enjoyed watching Live Free or Die Hard. If the original people are involved, and it doesn’t suck as a movie (forget about comparisons to the original) then I’m in. But that’s where the sequel to Donnie Darko goes wrong.

Apparently the sequel is being made completely without the involvement of Richard Kelly. The press release reads:

“Producers have spoken to Richard Kelly about the project but he is not involved in any official capacity at this stage.”

But I’m guessing that this is just PR speak for Velvet Octopus probably called Richard Kelly, who explained he was not interested in being involved in a sequel. I just sent an email to someone I know over at Darko Entertainment, and they assured me that “Richard, Sean, and every ounce of Darko Entertainment are 150% NOT INVOLVED”. This can’t be good.

“Why do you wear that stupid Woman suit?”

S. Darko PosterThe sequel follows Donnie’s younger sister, Samantha Darko, a role reprised by Daviegh Chase (of such direct to dvd classics as Beethoven’s 5th: Big Paw and the animated Stich! The Movie). The story picks up seven years after the first film and Donnie’s death when his now 18-year-old sister Samantha and her best friend Corey go on a roadtrip to Los Angeles, where along the way they are plagued by bizarre visions. And if that doesn’t sound bad enough, guess what they’re calling it? Donnie Darko 2? Nope. S. Darko! What? They couldn’t even call it Samantha Darko?

But they probably nabbed an unknown filmmaker who has an incredibly unique vision, and ability to think outside of the box. Someone who was discovered in the world of music videos or some other visual medium, right? They wouldn’t have hired a hack to direct the sequel, would they? They have. Chris Fisher, who previously made Nightstalker and Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders, will direct.

Producers told ScreenDaily that “Donnie’s not in [the new film] but there are meteorites and rabbits.” Oh, great. The budget is pegged around $10m, and production begins on May 18th. The supporting cast includes Ed Westwick (Son Of Rambow, Gossip Girl), Briana Evigan (Step Up 2) and Justin Chatwin (Dragon Ball). Fox has already nabbed the North American distribution rights. Avoid at all costs.