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Briefly: Doug Liman just directed Tom Cruise in the sci-fi time-warp film Edge of Tomorrow, and now Liman is coming on board a movie that Cruise has been trying to make since 2010. The film is El Presidente, about “a straight-arrow Secret Service agent who is assigned to protect America’s worst former president, an alcoholic and womanizing sleazebag who never won a presidential election but was elevated from VP when the president died.” The two are forced on an awkward road trip when a threat puts them on the run together.

For years, Cruise has hoped to land Jack Nicholson to play the President and in so doing achieve a little A Few Good Men reunion. THR reports that while Liman has come aboard, the two haven’t yet convinced Nicholson to do more than read the script. (That’s by Jesse Armstrong and Daniel J. Goor with a rewrite by Paul Attanasio.) Supposedly Cruise doesn’t want to do the film without Nicholson, but that might just be sales pitch.

There was a point when Robert Downey Jr. might have played the ex-POTUS, back when Jay Roach was going to direct. We don’t have any sense of whether someone similar might be next in line if Nicholson says no.

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Here’s a good bit of trivia appropriate for Halloween: as some people may know, Stanley Kubrick did not create the photo seen at the very end of The Shining. Given the general attention to detail lavished by the director upon his projects, one would assume that the photo was crafted expressly for the film. But the photo was, for the most part, actually a picture from 1923, with Jack Nicholson‘s head added.

A page of a photo retouching book published in 1985 now reveals the original image, before Nicholson was comped in, and on the left side of the image above you can see the original, unknown man who became the stand-in for Nicholson’s afterlife image. Read More »

Warren Beatty‘s return to acting and directing is no small thing, especially since he has chosen to tackle Howard Hughes as the subject of his next film. The currently untitled project will star Beatty, who also wrote, and is reportedly about “an affair [Hughes] had with a young woman in the later years of his life.” While Paramount’s Brad Grey had talked about the film as an exciting project, things have evidently changed, as Warren Beatty tells The Wrap that the film is now at New Regency, which has a distribution deal with Fox. Read More »

Who can save actor Philip Baker Hall when he stands up against Loki in The Avengers? Is anyone crazy enough to get a tattoo from The Dark Knight Rises a year away from the release date? Why haven’t there been any set photos from Christopher Nolan‘s new film in the past few days? What was it like for Robert Downey Jr. to get his butt kicked in The Avengers? Which vehicle is flying over the Man of Steel set? What extras are on the Green Lantern Blu-ray? Read about all this and much more in this week’s final Superhero Bits. Read More »

VOTD: 25 Actors Before They Were Famous, in 3 Minutes

I’ve always had this fascination with seeing current rich and famous figures in their humble beginnings, and the success of tabloid columns and webpages devoted to that very topic suggest I’m not the only one. When some A-list faces are as familiar to us as those of our actual loved ones, seeing long-ago photos or videos of them is amusing in the same way that seeing pictures of your friends as little kids is amusing. “Before They Were Famous: 25 Actors in 3 Minutes” collects some especially amusing snippets of today’s biggest stars, including Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling, Jack Nicholson, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in some of their earliest acting gigs. Watch the video after the jump.

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Warren Beatty’s New Movie is About Howard Hughes

Briefly: We just heard a few days ago that Warren Beatty will be working with Paramount to make a new, as-yet untitled comedy. He wrote and will direct, produce and star in the film. Now Deadline says that he will be playing famously reclusive billionaire and (later in life) total weirdo Howard Hughes. The site says the film isn’t a biopic, but will involve, in part, “an affair he had with a young woman in the later years of his life.” (I.e., when he was a total weirdo. This could be fun.) But, er, sorry, Christopher Nolan. Hope this doesn’t further stall your own Hughes film.

Meetings are reported with Andrew Garfield, Alec Baldwin, Annette Bening, Shia La Beouf, Jack Nicholson, Evan Rachel Wood and Rooney Mara for other roles, though no one is cast. Warren Beatty is beloved and has been away from the screen for a decade, so you can expect that he’ll round up a great cast for the film if his script is solid.

We’ve heard that Matthew Vaughn might do another superhero film after he finishes the race to get X-Men: First Class in theaters this June. We also know that that new film isn’t likely to be a sequel to Kick-Ass.

Instead of making another film about emerging young heroes, it looks like he’ll dive into a story about retired crusaders. Mr. Vaughn says that “a major Hollywood studio is very keen to fully fund” a film based on the forthcoming Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards comic The Golden Age, which Mr. Vaughn will produce and possibly direct. Read More »

In the midst of the holiday season, when big blockbusters abound, audiences expect to hear that effect driven films TRON: Legacy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows or The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader have huge budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We see that money on the screen. It’s easy to forget that, while effects can be expensive, movie stars are sometimes even more expensive.

Take a film like James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know for example. Seems like the typical highly polished Hollywood romantic comedy. It has the Oscar winning filmmaker, the big name cast, the love driven plot and little to no special effects to speak of. How much does the average audience member think How Do You Know cost? $40 million? $60 million? How about $120 million? How do we know, exactly? That’s what The Hollywood Reporter is reporting. Read how and why after the jump. Read More »

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