Up to this point, Baz Luhrmann‘s been filling his 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby with well-known talents: Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and of course, Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular Gatsby. So it’s surprising and intriguing that the latest addition to his cast is a newcomer — Elizabeth Debicki, who comes straight out of Australia’s Victorian College of the Arts. Debicki will play golfer Jordan Baker, who in F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s classic novel is a friend of Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan) and the love interest of Nick Carraway (Maguire).

In an interview, Luhrmann acknowledged the unusual nature of his selection:

It was a surprising result, but Elizabeth’s grasp of the material and her chemical connectivity to Tobey Maguire, in addition to her striking, athletic appearance, had us in a place where we were fully confident and ready to take the leap of giving the role of Jordan Baker to what, I guess, people would term ‘a discovery’… We are thrilled.

The major characters yet to be cast is Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan (Ben Affleck was in talks, but bowed out due to schedule conflicts). Isla Fisher has been in talks to play Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson. [Deadline]

After the jump, Katie Holmes and Chace Crawford find love, and Alexander Skarsgard signs on for a dramedy.

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The orphaned Miramax films are finding new homes. Last week we heard that The Debt, John Madden’s film that is (partially) about a group of Mossad agents tracking a Nazi war criminal locked distribution via Focus Features. Now Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, the remake of a ’70s TV chiller co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by newcomer Troy Nixey, will go out to US screens via the new company FilmDistrict.

I’m quite happy about this. We loved the footage shown last year at Comic Con, and the film has played well at some small festival appearances. It looked for a while last year like Disney was going to directly distribute the film, and while I wanted to see it hit theaters that didn’t seem like the best way to do it. But Guillermo del Toro has a good relationship with FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney thanks to Pan’s Labyrinth, so hopefully this will work out for all involved. FilmDistrict also has James Wan’s Insidious and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive.

The teaser trailer and info for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark are after the break. Read More »

The Son of No One will close the Sundance Film Festival next week; we had the poster a couple days ago, and now here’s the first very serious trailer. Channing Tatum stars as a cop whose relatively calm life with his wife (Katie Holmes) is threatened by the spectre of an unsolved murder from years in the past. Al Pacino, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche and Tracy Morgan are all on board, too, with Dito Montiel directing. See the trailer after the break. Read More »

Katie Holmes (Batman Begins, The Romantics) and Al Pacino are in talks to join Adam Sandler‘s latest shitty romantic comedy feature, Jack and Jill. The storyline follows Jack, a family man, who must deal with his twin sister Jill, who visits for Thanksgiving and won’t leave.

Steven Koren (Evan Almighty, Click) wrote the screenplay, and Sandler comedy director Dennis Dugan (Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, The Benchwarmers) is directing. Sandler will be playing both the titular Jack and his twin sister Jill. According to THR, Holmes will play Sandler’s wife, while Pacino will play himself. An actor making a cameo as himself in a Sandler comedy…. but, that would be too obvious. This doesn’t sound good. And yes, I chose the above photo of Holmes with a handfull of money specifically because this sounds nothing more than a paycheck film.

Movie Trailer: The Romantics

Paramount Famous Productions has released the first movie trailer for The Romantics. Director and screenwriter Galt Niederhoffer has adapted her own novel, The Romantics, a “zeitgeist love story and generational comedy, takes place over the course of one night at a deluxe seaside wedding.” The cast includes Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Malin Ackerman, Elijah Wood, Candice Bergen, Jeremy Strong, and Dianna Agron. Niederhoffer received the 2007 Sundance Audience Award for producing Grace is Gone. She also produced the Sundance Film Festival films Lonesome Jim, Dedication, Diminished Capacity, Birds of America, and Hurricane.

Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Guillermo del Toro's Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

At Comic-Con, Miramax Films premiered the movie trailer for the Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a horror film remake co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro. The trailer (and additional footage) went over big in San Diego, and now MySpace has the trailer online for everyone to check out. Watch it now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Briefly: When Disney shuttered Miramax last year, one of the handful of films left in limbo was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a remake of the 1973 TV movie of the same name. The remake was written and produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by newcomer Troy Nixey. It’s a good sign that Disney likes the movie enough to keep it in house and release it, and given that this is an R-rated horror film I’m not going to be too worried about the January 21 release date. THR says the film will actually carry the Miramax banner.

As EW says, the film “centers on a young girl (Bailee Madison) who is set to live with her father (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) in an old mansion they are renovating. She unwittingly unleashes malevolent creatures that try to destroy her entire family.” Director Nixey is a former comic book artist and, based on his short Latchkey’s Lament, a promising filmmaker. I’m excited to see the trailer (at Comic Con, hopefully) and am thrilled that his movie won’t be lost in the Miramax morass.

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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