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Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s The Lego Movie opens this weekend and it is awesome. We’ll have more later this week on the film, including an interview with the directors. Even though the film isn’t out yet, Warner Bros. is already celebrating. The studio has reportedly hired Jared Stern (The Internship) and Michelle Morgan (Girl Most Likely) to begin work on a sequel.  Read More »

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Warner Bros. was once a studio synopymous with animation thanks to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon lines. But it has been a long time since WB was particularly commanding in theatrical animation. (The studio does have a healthy direct to video animation arm, however.) Other studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks have taken center stage there.

Pixar is famous for its “brain trust,” and the concept of having some individual or group of people to guide other projects, beyond the basic producer capacity, has spread to Marvel, which has Joss Whedon, and Fox, which hired Mark Millar to emulate Whedon’s “godfather” duties with superhero projects.

Now Warner Bros. is assembling its own group of creators to act as a sort of brain trust, with the filmmakers behind Crazy, Stupid, Love., Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Muppets formed into a new feature animation think tank that will hopefully create one animated feature per year for the studio.  Read More »

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Briefly: Jim Carrey is starring in an adaptation of the childrens book Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which is set to shoot in New York. (Based on some photos I saw yesterday, the film may be shooting now, or very soon.) And now Carla Gugino has taken up a role in the picture.

Variety summarizes the film’s plot, slightly altered from that of the book (of course) as “Mr. Popper is a high-powered, New York buisnessman who suddenly inherits six penguins. Taking care of the animals is no easy matter, and he quickly hits major hurtles, both at home and at work. But along the way, he learns the value of family and friendship–human and otherwise.”

We don’t know Gugino’s role, but it is reasonable to expect she’ll be the female lead / love interest. Nice bump for Gugino if the film turns out well. Mark Waters is directing based on a script by Jared Stern, who rewrote the Sean Anders and John Morris script. There was a point where Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller were looking to make the film, but if you’re recalling that info, they’ve moved on.

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Paul Giamatti is moving from one historical television project (John Adams) to another: he’ll play former Soviet Union premier Nikita Khrushchev in K Blows Top. The odd name of the HBO film might be your first clue that this won’t be an ordinary revisitation of the cold war. The film will be based on Peter Carlson‘s book of the same name, which details Khrushchev’s two-week American trip in 1959.

That’s the time period when the Premier was denied a trip to Disneyland because of security concerns, and during which a visit to IBM headquarters ignited a fancy within the premier for IMB’s self-service cafeteria. Khrushchev brought self-service back to the USSR afterwards. Khrushchev had a long and occasionally pivotal career, and I’ll be curious to see how much context can be crammed into the film. I’ll happily watch Giamatti try to make it work. [Variety]

After the break, Russell Brand picks up a sword and Joel Schumacher’s film with Cage and Kidman gets a new player. Read More »

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