If you happened to catch a screening of Attack the Block this summer, you probably walked away thinking the same thing we did: this John Boyega kid is going to be a huge star. Well, Boyega’s now landed his first part since Attack the Block opened, and it sounds like a great one. He’ll play the lead, Donnie, in HBO’s series Da Brick, a fictionalized telling of the earliest days of Mike Tyson‘s boxing career. Spike Lee is set to direct the pilot episode from a script by John Ridley (Three Kings), and will also executive produce along with Tyson, Ridley, Jim Lefkowitz, and Entourage creator Doug Ellin.

Da Brick centers around a young man in modern-day Newark, NJ who gets released from juvenile detention on his 18th birthday. The series will aim to deal with larger issues like “what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America” and “what it means to be a man both for himself, and to those around him.” As long as the British Boyega can pull off a convincing Jersey accent, this seems like pitch-perfect casting. [Deadline]

After the jump, In Plain Sight‘s Rachel Boston faces a possible apocalypse with Julia Stiles and America Ferrera, and Harry Lloyd, a.k.a. Viserys Targaryen, joins Vera Farmiga and Mark Strong in Closer to the Moon.

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At this point I can’t imagine that I have to reiterate the basic facts that have many of us anticipating Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like crazy. There’s the source material: John le Carré‘s jargon-laced cold war novel, which has already led to a great 1979 BBC version starring Alec Guinness. There’s the director: Tomas Alfredson, whose last film was Let the Right One In. And there’s the cast, which speaks for itself: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Svetlana Khodchenko, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke.

This is essentially a shorter version of the last trailer that arrived for the film; you won’t find much (if any) new footage here. But if you’ve missed the previous trailers, or don’t want to see too much too early, this one-minute trailer is a good look at the picture. Read More »

Briefly: Vera Farmiga and Mark Strong are going to Romania. The two have just been cast in a period story set in the country’s communist era. Closer to the Moon will feature the two actors in a politically-charged and strange-sounding tale that, given the insanity that reportedly took place in some Easern Bloc countries during the communist years, could almost be true.

Mark Strong will be Max Rosenthal, once a Bucharest cop and leader of a criminal investigation unity. He and four other men, all Jews, rob a bank right under the nose of onlookers, using a great cover story: “we’re shooting a movie!” (Cinematic immunity to the rescue, as always.) The crew is captured, tried and sentenced to death, with the strict sentence derived in part from their Jewish heritage. But before being killed they have to re-enact their heist for a government propaganda film. Farmiga will be “Max’s former lover and mother of his child, who returns from studying in Moscow as the drama unfolds.”

Nae Caranfil (The Rest is Silence, Philanthropy) will direct; we don’t know the screenwriter at this point. [Deadline]

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ Trailer #2

Movies like this are the reason I’m able to stay optimistic about remakes. The original BBC version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Alec Guinness is a great piece of work. To some fans, it is unimpeachable. But based on the two trailers we’ve seen, the new version looks absolutely fantastic.

This is the second trailer, which gives up a little more of the story and shows off the cast in much more detail. (Includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Svetlana Khodchenko, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke. Do you have chills? I have chills.)

We also get to see a lot more of the period recreation that is displayed in the same cold, almost threatening style we saw in director Tomas Alfredson‘s last film, Let the Right One In. (A film which, ironically, was set to be remade even before it hit the States, angering Alfredson.)

Check out the great second trailer below. Read More »

‘John Carter’ Trailer

One of the biggest question marks on the 2012 tentpole schedule is Disney’s John Carter, formerly John Carter of Mars. Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) directs the live-action film that adapts A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Now that we’re able to see some footage, it appears that he has done so with a sense of grand, old-school fantasy/sci-fi epics. I had no idea what to expect out of this, and so far, I’m impressed.

Check out the trailer for the film, after the break. Read More »

In June, I visited the editing room of John Carter, the big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic sci-fi novel A Princess of Mars (you can watch my video blog here). At the event, director Andrew Stanton and producer Jim Morris gave a presentation explaining how they came to be involved with the project, and described the unique process they took to “shoot” the adaptation. After the jump you will find a complete transcript of the presentation and question and answer session, along with some concept art from the film and photos from the event.

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On June 20th, I flew to San Francisco to visit Barsoom Studios, in an office building minutes sown the road from Pixar Animation Studios, to see the first footage from John Carter, a big screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic sci-fi novel  A Princess of Mars.

In a screening room, Finding Nemo/Wall-E director Andrew Stanton gave us a powerpoint presentation explaining why and how he became involved in the project, and the unique methods they used to “shoot” the film (you can read a transcript of Andrew’s complete presentation and Q&A elsewhere on /Film). We screened a couple scenes from the movie, and the teaser trailer which will be attached to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (expect to see it online on Thursday, July 14th).

After the jump you can read my brief thoughts, followed by  a video blog I recorded with Frosty from Collider (who admits he knows nothing about the source material) and Eric Vespe (better known as Quint from Ain’t It Cool, who knows way way way more than I will ever know about the source material). So we have a good spread of opinions based on a wide range of expectations and knowledge of the source material.

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An international English-language trailer has dropped for Studio Ghibli‘s Arrietty, the directorial debut of animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi. The new spot features the UK voice cast, which includes Saoirse Ronan as Arrietty, Olivia Coleman, Tom Holland, and Mark Strong.

Based on Mary Norton‘s classic children’s series The Borrowers, the film revolves around a 14-year-old girl named Arrietty Clock, who is one of a group of tiny people who secretly reside in the homes of regular-sized people and “borrow” supplies from them as needed. When Arrietty is discovered by a human boy, the two strike up a friendship that has big repercussions for the Clocks’ lives. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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