I Am Number Four Pettyfer

I had a long conversation at Fantastic Fest with Evan of Badass Digest about our growing mutual interest in Lee Daniels, director of Precious, The Paperboy and The Butler. Our shared opinion boiled down to the fact that Daniels is a rare man, the sort of director who straddles fringe and mainstream, and who makes weirdly personal exploitation films that still manage to attract a top-flight cast.

I mean, have you seen The Paperboy? It is amazing. Many directors deliberately try to channel a weird, subversive spirit, but Daniels can’t seem to do anything else. I don’t think the guy could make a straightforward movie if you put a gun to his head. His stuff may not be good, but my growing interest in his stuff isn’t ironic — it is genuinely rooted in a fascination that a person exists who thinks that his movie The Paperboy is the way to tell that particular story.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, now Daniels is saying he wants to cast Alex Pettyfer — an actor I think is best suited to playing sculptures carved out of wood — as one half of a gay interracial action duo. What a perfect concept. But beware: according to Daniels, even giving away that concept spoils the movie. Hey, don’t look at me; he did it first. Read More »

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin has yet to get the biopic treatment (well, unless you count Jenna Maroney’s Jackie Jormp-Jomp), but that’ll change soon if Lee Daniels has anything to do with it. The director attached himself last year to a Joplin drama with Amy Adams in the lead, and now he says that the film will be his follow-up to Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

That’s not the only project Daniels has in the works, however. Beyond that, he also wants to make an adaptation of the Broadway musical Miss Saigon, and then a horror movie of some sort. More on the Joplin movie and Daniels’ other upcoming efforts after the jump.

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Breaking Bad - Mike

Following in the footsteps of his old boss Gus, Mike will drop by Greendale in the next season of Community. Also after the jump:

  • Game of Thrones recasts one of its roles for Season 4
  • Lee Daniels is circling a Sammy Davis Jr. movie for HBO
  • History greenlights Houdini mini with Adrien Brody
  • FX is developing a Louie-style comedy for DL Hughley
  • Sony is adapting Robert Rodriguez‘s El Mariachi for TV
  • See trailers for Yahoo series from Ed Helms, Jack Black, and more

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martin-luther-king

You may recall that a couple of years back, Lee Daniels was debating between two civil-rights themed projects. He ultimately settled on the White House drama The Butler, which opens next month. But the other, Selma, hasn’t been forgotten entirely — it’s just in new hands now.

Ava DuVernay, the rising star behind last year’s Sundance drama Middle of Nowhere, has taken over the project. David Oyelowo remains attached to play MLK, as he has since 2010. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Hollywood has been trying and failing to make a Janis Joplin biopic for years, but all of a sudden it looks like two such films are on their way. Over the summer, Martha Marcy May Marlene helmer Sean Durkin signed on to direct Joplin with Tony winner Nina Arianda as the famed songstress. Now the competing project Get It While You Can, with star Amy Adams, has Precious director Lee Daniels circling. If all goes well, production could get going as soon as early 2013. More after the jump.

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It took a couple of years after Precious for director Lee Daniels to get cameras rolling on his follow-up, the lurid Southern melodrama The Paperboy, but he’s barely even taking a breather before heading into his next picture. Even as The Paperboy gears up for its theatrical run, Daniels has already started shooting The Butler with Forest Whitaker in the lead as longtime White House servant Eugene Allen.

Although the film’s drawn quite a bit of attention in recent months for its star-studded cast, which includes Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Terrence Howard, and many, many more, the first official still is a simple one of Whitaker at work. Check it out after the jump.

UPDATE: We now also have photos of James Marsden and Minka Kelly in costume as John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. See them after the jump.

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Matthew McConaughey is having one hell of a year. Having already drawn praise for turns in Richard Linklater’s Bernie, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, and William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, the onetime Failure to Launch star is now heading into fall with Lee DanielsThe Paperboy.

Inspired by true events, The Paperboy centers around wayward young man (Zac Efron) and his journalist brother (McConaughey). When a woman (Nicole Kidman) approaches them for help in getting her death row inmate boyfriend (John Cusack) out of jail, they investigate the murder that put him there. David Oyelowo and Macy Gray also star. The first theatrical trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.

After Precious became a hit, director Lee Daniels ended up looking into dual true-story films with civil rights interests. The first, Selma, lined up an impressive cast (Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, David Oyelowo, Robert De Niro, Cedric the Entertainer) for a tale about the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson, and the desegregation campaigns and civil rights marches that centered in Selma, Alabama in the mid-’60s. The other was The Butler, about a man who worked in the White House under several generations of US Presidents.

Neither film ended up being Daniels’ Precious follow-up — that was The Paperboy, which was savaged at Cannes, but also became a tabloid object thanks to the scene in which Nicole Kidman urinates on Zac Efron. But Daniels is getting The Butler ready to go now, and he’s about to corral former Selma collaborator Hugh Jackman for a new MLK story. This one, Orders to Kill, will have a more confrontational story, as it follows an attorney who insists that King assassin James Earl Ray was not really responsible for the activist’s death. Read More »

Precious director Lee Daniels is putting together The Butler, and he’s handing Robin Williams a razor before signing him on to the film. Williams is now set to play former President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the movie, which traces the true story of Eugene Allen, who served in the White House for three decades, through eight presidencies. This will be Williams’ second Presidential turn, after playing a fanciful version of Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum films. It also appears to be part of one of those good stretches Williams hits every once in while, where he goes for gigs that are more serious than broad. Read More »

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Even as Lee Daniels‘ follow-up to Precious, The Paperboy, makes its debut at Cannes this week, the filmmaker’s wasting no time assembling a stellar cast for his next project, The Butler. The talented Forest Whitaker leads the picture as Eugene Allen, the late White House butler who served under eight different presidents from 1952 through 1986, with Oprah Winfrey and rising star David Oyelowo signed to play his wife and son.

And the cast only gets more buzzworthy from there. The roster also includes Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nicole Kidman, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz, and John Cusack. Now we can add Minka Kelly to the list as well, as Daniels says he’s cast her to play Jackie Kennedy to Matthew McConaughey‘s John F. More after the jump.

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