Helena Bonham Carter in Great Expectations - Header Image

To be totally honest, we kinda forgot that Mike Newell‘s Great Expectations existed at all. Can you blame us? The project started casting two and a half years ago, released a trailer and got a TIFF premiere a year ago, and since then we’ve heard next to nothing about it. But now it’s getting ready for a U.S. theatrical opening at long last, and distributor Main Street Films is eager to remind you of its charms with a brand-new trailer.

Jeremy Irvine leads the classic Charles Dickens tale as Pip, an orphan plucked out of poverty by a mysterious benefactor. He falls for beautiful but unattainable Estella (Holliday Grainger), the adopted daughter of bitter Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter). Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, and Robbie Coltrane also star. Watch the video after the jump.

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Christoph Waltz didn’t get to play one important figure from history, as he had to fall away from playing Sigmund Freud for David Cronenberg in A Dangerous Method. But roles out of history have to be thrown at an actor of Waltz’s capacity on a daily basis. Now he’s lunged at one, and  will join Michael Douglas in the film Reykjavik. Douglas will play Ronald Reagan, and Waltz will appear as Mikhail Gorbachev, who was Chairman of the Supreme Soviet and then President of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev essentially led the USSR out of the Cold War. Read More »

We’ve heard a lot lately about actors being courted to play US Presidents, but most are for one film, Lee Daniels’ new movie The Butler. That one has Alan Rickman set to play Ronald Reagan, and Jane Fonda controversially set to be Nancy Reagan.

Over in a different corner of the indie landscape, Mike Newell has taken up the directorial reins of a film called Reykjavik, and has set Michael Douglas to play Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. Read More »

There are a handful of classic tales that seem to get reinterpreted for the screen every few years, and among them is Charles DickensGreat Expectations. The most recent theatrical version you probably recall is Alfonso Cuarón’s 1998 modernized version featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft, and Ethan Hawke, and since then there have been at least two other adaptations for TV.

Now the latest director to tackle the Victorian coming-of-age tale is Mike Newell, who brings the story back to its original 19th century setting. Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) stars as Pip, a poor orphan boy whose life takes an unexpected twist when a mysterious benefactor arranges for him to become a gentleman. Up-and-comer Holliday Grainger stars as the unattainable object of his affections, Estella, while Helena Bonham Carter tackles the iconic role of spiteful shut-in Miss Havisham. Watch the first international trailer after the jump.

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Back when MGM’s financial woes put plans for Bond 23 on indefinite hiatus, director Sam Mendes signed on to direct a quick feature titled On Chesil Beach, based on a 2007 novella by Atonement author Ian McEwan. But now that those Bond issues have worked themselves out, Mendes is hard at work on Skyfall, and On Chesil Beach has fallen into the hands of another filmmaker. Mike Newell is now attached to helm the picture, an intimate drama about a young couple on their wedding night. More details after the jump.

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If you ask me, Helena Bonham Carter playing bitter Miss Havisham in Mike Newell‘s Great Expectations has sounded like ideal casting from the very start. But if you had any doubt in your mind whatsoever as to Bonham Carter’s suitability, let these new photos put those worries to rest. Two new stills from the film have been released, showing Bonham Carter looking right at home as the shut-in of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. After getting ditched at the altar, the character wastes away in her decaying wedding dress for the rest of her life.

Also starring in Newell’s adaptation are Ralph Fiennes, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, and War Horse actor Jeremy Irvine as protagonist Pip. Check out the images after the jump.

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The theme of this Casting Bits seems to be “rising stars,” as All My Children‘s Ambyr Childers stakes out a spot in an all-star cast, War Horse star Jeremy Irvine leads a movie starring Britain’s finest, and Thor actress Jaimie Alexander signs on to co-star with the Governator himself. Read more after the jump.

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Oliver Stone is quickly locking down the cast for Savages, the adaptation of Don Winslow‘s novel about two pot dealers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) whose mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped by a drug cartel (Salma Hayek and Benicio del Toro) in an effort to coerce the guys into bowing to the cartel’s will. John Travolta and Uma Thurman also signed on, with that casting announced just hours ago.

Now Emile Hirsch, the great young(ish) actor who seems to do a spate of films then drop off the radar for a while, is in the film playing a role that is yet to be announced. That makes quite a cast so far — while it is difficult to get excited about John Travolta of late, the collection of people is a pretty serious lineup. Is this going to be the movie where Oliver Stone really roars back to life? [Variety]

After the break, while Ralph Fiennes remains a possible addition to the next James Bond film, he’s also in line for a part in Mike Newell’s new version of Great Expectations. Read More »

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