Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad

Before Jesse Pinkman ever fell under the sway of Mr. White, Aaron Paul had already made an impression on TV audiences as Scott, gentle suitor to Sarah (Amanda Seyfried) on Big Love. The cute couple made their last appearance in the show’s 2011 finale, but the actors are now set to team up on the big screen for Fathers and Daughters.

Directed by Gabriele Muccino and written by Brad Desch, the Black List drama stars Russell Crowe and Seyfried as a father and daughter with a difficult relationship. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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FilmDistrict, the company spun off from Graham King’s GK FIlms, has been very busy at Cannes. The company has picked up distribution rights to the 3D version of Arabian Nights that we reported on a while back, starring Liam Hemsworth, as well as the Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel romcom Playing the Field.

And now that the lousy announcements are out of the way, there are these, too: FilmDistrict is teaming with TriStar to release Rian Johnson‘s film Looper (we just had the first still from that one on Friday) and Angelina Jolie‘s directorial debut, which now has the title In the Land of Blood and Honey. More info on all four films, after the break. Read More »

For all you Gerard Butler fans hoping the star of 300 and RocknRolla had grown out of his Ugly Truth/Bounty Hunter romantic rut, we’re very sorry. He’s just signed on to star in Playing the Field, a “soccer comedy,” along with Uma Thurman and Jessica Biel. Butler will play a former soccer pro who agrees to coach his son’s team and finds himself fending off gorgeous soccer moms. Biel will play his ex-wife who is getting re-married and Thurman will be one of the soccer moms. Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds) will direct a script by Robbie Fox (So I Married An Axe Murdered, In the Army Now). Read more after the jump. Read More »

Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Anna Kendrick, Milo Ventimiglia and a few other actors were photographed leaving the Saddle Ranch in West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip on Tuesday morning. The restaurant is famous for its karaoke, crazy parties and a mechanical bull. Some gossip sites were quick to report that it was a four-hour Scientology event, since a good selection of the actors involved are Scientologists. But it was later confirmed to be a table read for a movie called Paper Wings, which is being developed at Smith’s company Overbrook Entertainment.

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When Jon Spaihts was hired to write Ridley Scott’s new Alien film, part of the backstory was that he’d landed the gig on the strength of his script Passengers, which landed on the 2007 Black List of best unproduced screenplays. Keanu Reeves has long been attached to the film, with his shingle Company Films trying to get it made for the past couple years. Now the picture is finally moving forward, and a director is on the verge of being hired: Gabriele Muccino, who directed Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds. Read More »

Post contains spoilers

Want to be seen as an even more exceptional Samaritan than Will Smith‘s pained character in Seven Pounds? Look up the start times for the film at your local cineplex, show up at one or more screenings anytime before the final credits and angrily yell “…of shit!” while shaking your fist and exiting. The majority of the audience, though exhausted from enduring one of the worst films in recent memory, will thank you with a smile or a defeated nod.

Movie stars playing the martyr in films is nothing new (see The Dark Knight, Milk). What is new is the biggest movie star on the planet playing the martyr with such eerie righteousness and penitent disconnect that it may come to (purposely?) affect the public perception of every performance and media appearance that follows. It is difficult to recall a film that manipulates viewers into shamefully disliking its protagonist at an intuitive level. From the odd psych-ward haircut to the weight-of-the-world whimper that Smith wears for the duration of Seven Pounds (reminiscent of Will Ferrell’s kitchen-table snivel in Step Brothers), this guy is Creepsville, USA. Moreover, his illegal, stalker-like behavior is justified (endorsed by the filmmakers, even) by a probable mental breakdown that resulted from a tragic accident. Place Smith’s character in the similarly unstable role of the driving instructor in Happy-Go-Lucky and Sally Hawkins’s character would find herself the happy, burdened owner of a sparkly used car!

By film’s end, we are supposed to take weepy-eyed comfort in the fact that the bogus on-screen relationship between Smith’s IRS agent and Rosario Dawson (absolutely terrible or brainwashed) is not a prolonged segment of Unsolved Mysteries that ends in a forest. You see, director Gabriele Muccino‘s follow-up to The Pursuit of Happyness (a film I liked) is simply the legend of Johnny Appleseed reimagined for these ever strange days as Johnny Bodyparts with a dash of Falling Down. Happy holidays, and remember to put down your Blackberries while driving into oncoming traffic.

Discuss: Many critics are in agreement, but do you think Will Smith’s Seven Pounds is the worst/creepiest movie of 2008? And how about that box jellyfish (e-meter?)?

Seven Pounds Movie Trailer

Last month we posted a trailer for the upcoming Will Smith drama Seven Pounds, only to have it quickly removed by Columbia Pictures hours later. The trailer is back, with a couple editing tweeks. We’ve  also transfered the comments from the previous posting.

Will Smith plays an IRS agent with a secret who will change the lives of seven strangers. The film reteams Smith with The Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino, and features Rosario Dawson as Smith’s love interest, who is suffering from a heart condition, and Woody Harrelson as a blind pianist. Conner Cruise, the 13-year-old adopted son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, makes his acting debut as a younger version of Smith’s character.

The trailer looks promising, but early reviews from test screenings haven’t been nice, calling it “a bit too heavy handed for its own good”, pointing to its predictability and uneven pacing as weak points, and Smith and Dawson’s performance as the film’s strengths. As always, tell me what you think in the comments below.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/7pounds.flv 470 222]

Seven Pounds hits theaters on December 19th 2008.

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“Xyxyz oboboa aoavvba! Haha!”

Don’t get mad at Tropic Thunder! The trades are reporting that Connor Cruise, the 13-year-old son of Tom Cruise, will make his feature debut portraying a young Will Smith in Smith’s emotional drama, Seven Pounds, due this December. It’s said that Connor Cruise will appear mostly in photographs and will not have a speaking part.

Seven Pounds is from Gabriele Muccino, who directed Smith in the rather melancholy and surprisingly sap-less hit drama The Pursuit of Happyness. In that film, Smith’s real life kid, Jaden Smith, played his son (believably). Joining Smith and the young Cruise in the “emotional story of a man who will change the lives of seven strangers” are Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson and Barry Pepper. Oh yeah, and Connor Cruise is black.

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