A few titles have lately dropped out of the ultra-competitive year-end release calendar, but now one more has jumped into the fray. Gus Van Sant‘s Promised Land is getting a limited NY / LA release in late December, in order to give it a shot at the next Oscar race. The film will then roll out to additional markets starting in January.

Promised Land has mostly flown under our radar the past several months, but now that it’s set a release date the talent involved should attract some attention. Matt Damon and John Krasinski wrote the script based on a story by Dave Eggers. The pair also star, along with Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver. More details after the jump.

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Johnny Depp and Rob Marshall are working to make a new version of The Thin Man, the Dashiell Hammett novel about drunk detective socialite Nick Charles, his charming young wife Nora and the unusual family mystery in which they become embroiled.

The question is: who plays Nora? Deadline says there is a shortlist that will begin to meet with Warner Bros. next week. Names on the list include Eva Green, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan, Rachel Weisz, Kristen Wiig, Emily Blunt and Isla Fisher. That is, just about every smart actress with free time in her schedule and an interest in starring opposite one of the few semi-legit movie stars in the business. And without knowing more about what Marshall, Depp and WB are specifically looking for, it seems pointless to try to play the guessing game based on a list that long.

The original The Thin Man, released in 1934, spawned a series of comic detective films and, later, even a TV show, and that precedent is fueling fire that the material might become a hit once again.

After the break, Albert Hughes’ film Motor City might finally have a lead, and Hal Holbrook joins Gus Van Sant’s new film Promised Land. Read More »

After starring with Ben Affleck in last year’s The Company Men, Rosemarie DeWitt is now set to work with Affleck’s BFF Matt Damon in Promised Land. DeWitt has landed the female lead in the “Capraesque” tale, which Gus Van Sant will direct. The script comes from Damon and John Krasinski, based on a story Krasinski cooked up with Dave Eggers. As previously reported, Damon will lead the cast as a sales exec who begins to question his whole life after arriving in a small town, while Krasinski will play a rival exec. DeWitt’s role has not been revealed at this time.

DeWitt’s other upcoming roles include three films due out this summer: Your Sister’s Sister, Neighborhood Watch, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. In addition, she has a role in the drama Nobody Walks, which also stars Krasinksi and is expected to hit theaters this year. [Deadline]

After the jump, Rhys Ifans and Toby Jones get involved in Jennifer Lawrence’s war against Bradley Cooper.

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Matt Damon has been planning his directorial debut for months now — the film would be one he wrote with John Krasinski, based on a timely story that Krasinski cooked up with Dave Eggers. But just this week Damon backed out of directing the film, because scheduling issues, personal and professional, made the project impossible for him.

But the currently untitled film will still get made, and with Damon in the starring role. Krasinski will co-star, with he and Damon playing “rival corporate executives” in what is being called a Capraesque story. And now, Gus Van Sant will direct. Read More »

For a while there, it looked like Taylor Lautner was going to make his name as a young action star, landing high-priced deals in projects like Stretch Armstrong. But after the critical and commercial disappointment of Abduction, Lautner is now exploring a different path. The Twilight star is finalizing a deal to produce and star in auteur director Gus Van Sant‘s next directorial effort, a small-budget picture based on a New Yorker article that Lautner optioned. More after the jump.

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‘Restless’ Trailer #2

Gus Van Sant made one of the bigger missteps of the ’90s with his shot for shot remake of Psycho, but he’s been on a roll in the past couple years with Paranoid Park and Milk. His latest film is Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper as a pair of kids who are obsessed with death. One of them has a friend who happens to be the ghost of a kamikaze pilot. Reviews out of Cannes were mixed, but it’s a film that leads to quite a sweet trailer edit. There is a new, second trailer for the film, which is now scheduled to open limited on September 16. See it after the break. Read More »

Not only is James Franco attached to seemingly every single movie that’s currently in development, not only is he attending school, not only is he hosting the Oscars and not only is he a Best Actor nominee for his work in 127 Hours, Franco has a new art exhibition opening in Los Angeles this week. And it’s a doozy.

Unfinished is an exhibition featuring work by Franco and director Gus Van Sant that will be open at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills from February 26-April 9. It features two films, Endless Idaho and My Own Private River, which Franco edited from unused footage from Van Sant’s film 1991 My Own Private Idaho. Endless Idaho is a 12 hour (yes, you read that right) look at the making of Van Sant’s film while My Own Private River is a portrait of the late, great actor River Phoenix, who starred in Van Sant’s original film. Read more about the films and the exhibition after the break. Read More »

Not only has Terrence Malick make a few damn good movies, he can make a damn good trailer and if you have dinner with him, he might give you a damn good ending to your movie.

In an recent interview, Matt Damon told a story of how he and eventual Oscar-winning writing partner Ben Affleck requested a dinner with Malick when they were working on the script for Good Will Hunting. Malick, who was good friends with Affleck’s godfather, granted the request but didn’t read the script. Instead, Damon and Affleck told him the story and Malick gave a piece of advice that made the ending.

Read the full quote after the jump as well as how Rob Reiner contributed to the story and how the death of a major character was written into the script. Read More »

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