Elias Koteas has never been one of the more high-profile character actors out there, but he’s always one of my favorites. (Not because of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where he played Casey Jones, but for films like Crash and The Adjuster.) Directors like David Fincher and Martin Scorsese have started using Koteas, which has increased his profile, and now he’s cast in Winnie, the biopic about Winnie Mandela.

He joins Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson, who play Nelson and Winnie Mandela. Koteas will be De Vries, “an overzealous officer in the apartheid police stage who rises in power and becomes intent on stopping Winnie and the black anti-apartheid activists from gaining power.” So not a role that audiences will look kindly on, but a major role. I’ll take it. [THR]

After the break, Green Lantern gets a dad and Fred Ward and Jessica Chastain book new roles. Read More »


Jennifer Hudson made a splash on American Idol, then quickly went on to win an Oscar for her debut role in Dreamgirls, but we haven’t seen much of her onscreen since. Now she’s got a follow-up role to her big breakthrough: in Winnie, she’ll play Winnie Mandela, wife to South African president Nelson Mandela.

Directing is South African filmmaker Darrell J. Roodt, who was behind Yesterday and Sarafina! The script is from Roodt, Andre Pieterse and Paul L. Johnson, from the biography Winnie Mandela: A Life, by Anne Marie du Preez. Winnie Mandela fought apartheid alongside her husband, and was jailed for demanding his release, but she faced legitimate legal troubles down the road. Variety also reports that Hudson is expected to sing the theme for the film.

After the break, another Winnie movie, more for the Christina Aguilera film Burlesque, and Stephen Root bolsters two already solid casts. Read More »

Winged Creatures Movie Trailer

Peach Arch has released the trailer for Rowan Woods’ ensemble indie drama Winged Creatures. The film has a fantastic cast which includes Forest Whitaker, Kate Beckinsale, Jackie Earle Haley, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Hudson, Dakota Fanning, and Josh Hutcherson, but the story seems a big forced and reeks of Oscar bait. It also has a kinda low-fi Crash vibe. The story follows five traumatized people as they struggle to regain their trust in the ordinary world. The official plot synopsis follows:

“A moment of random violence erupts in an ordinary Los Angeles diner. The survivors (Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Forest Whitaker, Josh Hutcherson) find that the meanings of their lives have changed. No matter how much their families and friends (Jennifer Hudson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Embeth Davidtz) attempt to understand, these individuals must follow their own paths to recovery seeking to regain trust in a world that now seems chaotic.A story of tragedy and hope for our times, Winged Creatures is a powerful ensemble drama that explores the notion that our lives are fleeting, like birds in flight, like winged creatures.”

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/wingedcreatures.flv 470 254]

The Frog Princess Anika Noni Rose

Dreamgirls star Anika Noni Rose has signed on to voice Maddy in Disney’s The Frog Princess. Rose will become Disney’s first black princess in the first hand-drawn film Disney has committed to since the Pixar purchase. The film promises to return to the Broadway-style musical in the likes of the successful Disney animated films such as Walt’s classics.

Written/directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the animated musical scored by Randy Newman, is set in New Orleans. The movie follows Maddy, a young African-American girl who lives in the infamous French Quarter. The new movie will feature a soulful singing crocodile and voodoo spells.

“This movie is gonna be a classic as you’ve never seen before.” – John Lasseter

Earlier this year it was reported that Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys were also being considered for the role. I’m wondering why Hudson passed? I’m sure she was probably the studios first choice. The Frog Princess will hit theaters in 2009.

Jennifer Hudson Finds Her Next Oscar Nominated Role

Jennifer hudson

I thought Jennifer said she was talking time off to concentrate on her music? Well apparently not. The Academy Award winning actress has been cast as Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker’s daughter in Winged Creatures. The movie follows a group of strangers who form a unique relationship with each other after surviving a random shooting at a Los Angeles diner.

Oscar nominee Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) is also in the film, as an abusive husband and father. The movie also stars Guy Pearce (Memento), Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Embeth Daviditz (Schindler’s List) and Josh Hutcherson (Bridge To Terabithia). Talk about a stacked deck. I’m betting this film will be released in December, because it sure smells like Oscar bait.

According to Hollywood WireTap, the indie drama is currently shooting in Los Angeles.

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Jennifer Hudson in Grindhouse?


Did You Know: Dreamgirls star and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson auditioned for Quentin Tarantino Death Proof segment of the Grindhouse exploitation double feature.

“Jennifer auditioned for my movie GRINDHOUSE, and it didn’t work out. But I love her,” admits Tarantino.

I bet Tarantino is regretting his casting decision now. I’m guessing that Hudson was probably gunning for the role that eventually went to either Rosario Dawson or Tracie Thoms.


Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson has turned down a $3 million role in a Warner Bros. movie because of a nude scene. Ready for the twist? It wasn’t Jennifer’s character that gets naked.
Read More »

Editors Blog: Oscar Notes


Random Notes from the Editor:

Errol Morris’ short film which opened the Academy Awards show was fantastic. If you didn’t see it, you can check out the video at Oscar.com.

Ellen DeGeneres is not funny (with exception of the Jennifer Hudson/Al Gore joke, but I have a feeling someone probably wrote that for her).

Read More »

2007 Academy Awards Winners

Let’s look at the results from the 79th Academy Awards ceremony:

Best Motion Picture of the Year:

The Departed
  • Babel
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Queen

Achievement in Directing:

Martin Scorsese for The Departed
  • Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Stephen Frears for The Queen
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu for Babel
  • Paul Greengrass for United 93

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond
  • Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson
  • Peter O’Toole for Venus
  • Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:

Helen Mirren for The Queen
  • Penélope Cruz for Volver
  • Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal
  • Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada
  • Kate Winslet for Little Children

Read More »

Little Miss Sunshine

Yesterday we reported that movie critic Roger Ebert was spreading a rumor that Little Miss Sunshine would cause a major upset at the 2007 Academy Awards. Well it looks like Vegas visited the same rumor mill.
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