Spy films, especially ones that might turn into series, are like crack for studios. Few efforts actually pay off in regular franchises — if duplicating Bond’s success was easy, every studio would have its own Bond — but that doesn’t stop many from trying.

In 2008, Warner Bros. bought the rights to Jon Stock‘s novel Dead Spy Running, which follows suspended MI6 agent Daniel Marchant and opens with a setpiece in which a bomb is attached to a marathon runner. At the time the novel was unpublished, though it was planned as the first of a trilogy of novels. (The second book, Games Traitors Play, was published in 2011.) McG was attached to direct, and Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) was set to write, which is a big step above McG.

There was a point last year when McG stepped away from directing and was hoping to get Gaghan to take the job. But the screenwriter has other directorial prospects, and now the team is in talks with Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness) to direct. Read More »

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If you have any spare sympathy cards lying around, might want to address one to Nicholas Hoult. The actor had a good turn last year in X-Men: First Class, and had two films set to release in 2012: Jack the Giant Killer and Warm Bodies. But last month Jack was pushed to March 2013, and now Warm Bodies has been pushed from August 10 of this year to February 1 of 2013. Read More »

Here’s the first look at Warm Bodies, which stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer and is directed by Jonathan Levine, whose film 50/50 was released not long ago. (He also made All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and The Wackness.) Warm Bodies has been described in short as a zom-rom-com — that’s a zombie romantic comedy — and this first picture makes it appear to be positioned squarely in the Twilight space. That’s a bit odd, since nothing Levine has done before would have suggested that he might aim for the Twilight audience. But this is a Summit film, so perhaps the company sees this as a successor to the soon-ending vampire series.

See a bigger image and refresh yourself on the basics of the film, after the break. Read More »

John Malkovich is in final talks to join the zombie romance Warm Bodies, directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50). Based on the novel by Isaac Marion, the film stars Nicholas Hoult as an angsty zombie named R who strikes up a friendship with the human girlfriend of one of his victims and sets off a chain of events that eventually affects all of zombie society. On the surface, it sounds like a pretty typical supernatural love story, but I’ve heard very good things about the book, so I’ve got high hopes that it won’t just be another Twilight.

Teresa Palmer and Rob Corddry are also set to star, as the human love interest and another zombie undergoing an existential crisis, respectively. Malkovich will be playing the villainous “General Grigio, who’s obsessed with the destruction of the zombie threat.” Oh, and he’s also Julie’s father. How awkward. [Variety]

After the jump, Gwyneth Paltrow and Abigail Breslin sign on for two different sex comedies. Yes, that Abigail Breslin. Yes, we’re getting old.

Read More »

It’s not a stretch, I think, to call this the ‘fan-favorite actors’ edition of casting bits. Kyle Chandler, Alexander Skarsgård and Rob Corddry all fall into that catergory, I’d say. So after the break, you’ll find:

  • Kyle Chandler joins Ben Affleck’s Argo,
  • Rob Corddry looks set for zombification in Warm Bodies,
  • and Michael Nyqvist & Alexander Skarsgård are among the crew joining the ‘modern communication’ indie story Disconnect.

Read More »

’50/50′ Trailer #2 Plays Up The Comedy

If you were wondering how a film about cancer could get played for laughs, and the first trailer for 50/50 didn’t quite hammer it home, this new one will. Directed by Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the story of a young man diagnosed with cancer at 27 and given a 50/50 chance of survival. It was written by Will Reiser, the person the film is inspired by, and blends a poignant commentary on mortality with some raunchy humor and a touching love story. Co-starring Seth Rogen (who also produced the film), Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston and Bryce Dallas Howard, it’s one of the best films of the year and you’ll get a chance to see it coming out September 30.

But right now, you can see a little more with the second trailer. Read More »

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If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

One of the best films of 2011 is coming soon and we’re happy to exclusively premiere its eye-catching poster. Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the story of a young man diagnosed with cancer at 27 and given a 50/50 chance of survival. Don’t fret, though, 50/50 isn’t some kind of down-trodden, depressing film. It was actually written by Will Reiser, the person the film is inspired by, and blends a poignant commentary on mortality with some raunchy humor and a touching love story. Scheduled for release on September 30, it co-stars Seth Rogen (who also produced the film), Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston and Bryce Dallas Howard. Hopefully you’ve seen the trailer, now check out the poster which takes the above photo one step further. Read More »

The creative team behind September’s fantastic film 50/50 have already agreed to make another movie together. Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonathan Levine and Will Reiser will once again collaborate on the road-trip comedy called Jamaica for Mandate Films. Everyone will be filling the same roles they did in the making of 50/50: Levine will direct, Reiser will write, Rogen and Goldberg will produce the film, which is based on a vacation Reiser took to the Caribbean island with his grandmother when he was only fourteen. Read more after the jump. Read More »