Paradise - Diablo Cody (header)

How has the movie business changed in the past decade? For one, VOD and streaming video have changed the stigma once attached to films debuting at home before they hit theaters, and movies now routinely can be seen on the small screen before they open on the big one.

But the distribution scheme for Diablo Cody’s first turn as a director is still a bit unusual. The movie is Paradise, starring Julianne Hough as a devout young woman badly burned in a plane crash, who travels to Las Vegas to immerse herself in sin city. Octavia SpencerRussell BrandNick Offerman and Holly Hunter also appear.

Cody said today that the film will premiere on August 8 on DirectTV. A theatrical release will still take place in October, and in other responses to questions Cody said that the film will hit other VOD services after theatrical. Get her comments below.  Read More »

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Paradise - Diablo Cody (header)

Diablo Cody has written some of the sharpest female-led dramedies of the past several years, and now she’s taken the next step by helming her own.

The Juno scribe makes her feature directing debut this fall with Paradise, a comedy about a sheltered young woman (Julianne Hough) taking a walk on the wild side. Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Nick Offerman, and Holly Hunter also star. Check out the first pics after the jump.

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Jane Campion‘s last film was the truly excellent Bright Star, and after a movie like that I’d normally leap at any opportunity to see the director’s next effort. But I missed Campion’s new mini-series Top of the Lake at Sundance, because doing the project justice required a seven-hour commitment, and I couldn’t make that work at the fest.

On television, however, Top of the Lake has room to stretch. This trailer for the procedural suggests that the relatively short time investment is one very much worth making. Top of the Lake stars Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) as an investigator who leads the search for a missing girl in an unusual, challenging township. The impressive supporting cast also includes actors such as Peter MullanDavid Wenham, and Holly Hunter, who could be mistaken as playing Campion.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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Terrence Malick‘s movies often aren’t about who is cast, but who makes the final cut. That’s nothing new for the director, but with him out shooting more film more often, and doing so in easy range of photographers, we’re getting to see more of his process than ever.

The latest set pics from Malick’s new film (formerly called Lawless, and currently untitled) feature Natalie Portman, blonde and looking every inch the Texas bar girl. There are shots of her with newly revealed co-stars Michael Fassbender and Holly Hunter, too. Will any of this stuff be in the final film? Your guess is as good as ours. Read More »

Having tackled racism in Civil Rights-era Mississippi with the help of Emma Stone in last summer’s The Help, Viola Davis is now taking on the modern public education crisis with the aid of Maggie Gyllenhaal in Won’t Back Down.

Directed by Daniel Barnz (Beastly) from a script he co-wrote with Brin Hill, the apparently fact-based drama stars Gyllenhaal and Davis as a pair of determined mothers who team up to establish a charter school for struggling children in their Pittsburgh neighborhood. Oscar Isaac co-stars as a ukelele-strumming teacher who takes a romantic interest in Gyllenhaal, because he’s in everything these days. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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There’s still no word on who’ll be playing Éponine in Tom Hooper‘s Les Misérables, but the project has landed yet another well-known star to play her father. According to LondonNetSacha Baron Cohen is set to join Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Eddie Redmayne in the musical, in the role of the villainous inn owner Monsieur Thénardier. Helena Bonham Carter was said to be in talks to play Thénardier’s wife earlier this year, but it’s not clear whether she’s actually attached at this point.

Cohen did a bit of singing in his last big-screen musical, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and is slated to do still more as the lead of that Freddie Mercury biopic from producer Graham King. In terms of non-singing roles, Cohen recently appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, and already has three more movies scheduled to open next year — The Dictator, Madagascar 3, and Django Unchained. Get used to that face, because you’ll be seeing a lot of it in 2012.

Les Misérables opens December 7, 2012. [via The Playlist]

After the jump, a Disney gal decides it’s time to break into more mature territory, and Diablo Cody’s next project finds a mom for Julianne Hough.

Read More »

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As Garrett Hedlund continues his negotiations over the lead role of Kaneda in Warner Bros.’ Akira remake, the studio and director Jaume Collet-Serra are wasting no time filling in the other roles as well. Buried in one report about Hedlund starring in the film was a tidbit about Keira Knightley being approached for the project. Though her possible role has not been revealed, I’m guessing she’s up for the part of Kaneda’s love interest Kei, member of an underground rebel group.

Knightley’s involvement is far from a done deal at this point, as she’s yet to enter talks. Helena Bonham Carter and Gary Oldman, who were also given offers last month, apparently aren’t any farther along in the process either. Still, the fact that they’ve been approached at all suggests the filmmakers are hoping for a certain caliber of talent for the movie. (Not to mention a certain level of British-ness.) Knightley and Bonham Carter have both been nominated for Oscars in the past, and while Oldman has somehow escaped that honor, it’s not for lack of deserving. [The Hollywood Reporter via The Playlist]

After the jump, another potential project for Gary Oldman, while Jane Campion gets Holly Hunter, Elisabeth Moss, Peter Mullan, and David Wenham to sign on for her latest.

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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.

Great Hope Springs, the movie in which Meryl Streep plays one half of a married couple spending a week of marriage and sex therapy with a famous therapist (Steve Carell) has gone through a few possible male leads. Jeff Bridges was mentioned early on, and James Gandolfini looked like a possibility at one point. (Those were when Mike Nichols was going to direct, but now The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel will make the film instead.)

Tommy Lee Jones was next in the casting rumor series, but now he definitively has the gig playing husband to Meryl Streep. That’s a great pairing, and while the director may not be my top choice, I’m still as interested in watching these two actors trade barbs as I was when the idea first came up.

The synopsis for Great Hope Springs is after the break, along with news of new gigs for Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter. Read More »