I can hardly keep track of all the projects David O. Russell has been attached to or rumored for since his Oscar nomination for The Fighter, but here’s another one to add to the list. Recent reports claim that he’s signed on for Sony’s American Bullshit, a 2010 Black List script by Eric Warren Singer that Ben Affleck was eyeing earlier this year. The crime drama recounts the true tale of “Abscam,” a Congressional sting set up in 1980 by the FBI in an effort to eradicate corruption. The operation was masterminded by an individual described as “the world’s greatest con man.”

THR writes that Russell may or may not stick with the movie depending on who gets cast in the two lead roles; one rumor names Christian Bale as a potential star for the project. However, according to Deadline, Russell’s reps have flat-out denied that the filmmaker has anything to do with the picture at all. We’ll have to wait and see how this one pans out, but either way, it’s worth noting that Russell’s involvement is far from a sure thing at this point.

After the jump, Jake Kasdan gets sexy with Jason Segel.

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It’s not like Kermit, Miss Piggy, and the gang ever totally disappeared from the public eye, but last fall’s The Muppets definitely went a long way toward reinvigorating the franchise for a whole new generation. The film was a hit both critically and commercially, and it’s in no way surprising that Disney’s now getting the pieces together to move forward on the sequel.

What’s disappointing, however, is that it seems Jason Segel — who not only starred in, but also wrote and executive produced the The Muppets — won’t be involved in a screenwriting capacity. (Don’t freak out, Gary fans — it’s still possible he’ll star.) Instead, Muppets director James Bobin and original co-writer Nicholas Stoller have closed a deal to pen the script. More details after the jump. Read More »

Aside from a brief appearance by Miss Piggy and Kermit and a win for composer Bret McKenzie, this weekend’s Oscar ceremony was tragically light on the Muppets. But in just a few weeks, fans will be able to get their fill of the gang when the film hits DVD and Blu-ray.

Today, we have a preview of some of the bonus features from The Muppets, including a making-of featurette, a blooper reel, and a deleted scene — plus a clip of Kermit and Glee star Darren Criss performing “Rainbow Connection” for E!’s pre-Oscars show, just because. Watch them after the jump.

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Frequent collaborators Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller may have toned down their raunchy humor for The Muppets script, but they could be diving back into adult-themed material with Sex Tape. Stoller is in talks to direct the raunchy comedy, written by Kate Angelo, while Segel has been offered the male lead. Though neither has officially signed on just yet, given the material and their proclivity for working together, it seems reasonably likely they’ll ultimately board the project together.

Less certain is who’ll play Segel’s co-star, should he sign on. Though Reese Witherspoon is Sony’s top choice, the A-list actress is apparently a long shot. Happily, the studio already has a shortlist of other strong candidates, which include some of the usual suspects. More details after the jump.

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stoller-stretch-muppets-update

Nicholas Stoller has made a name for himself as director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the upcoming Get Him to the Greek, but he’s also a writer. His script was the backbone for the Jack Black version of Gulliver’s Travels that is now being promoted at Cannes, and he’s the screenwriter behind Stretch Armstrong and the co-writer (with Jason Segel) of The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time.

While promoting Get Him to the Greek, Stoller explained his approach to writing Stretch Armstrong and talked about the current state of the Muppets. Read More »

Page 2 for April 25th 2008

Here is a round up of stories that just didn’t make the /Film front page, or what we like to call…. Page 2!

T-Rex Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie has updated his MySpace profile with a new image which reads “Tyrannosaurus Rex – 51% Motherf—er, 49% Son of a Bitch” which gives us a couple new clues to his next film.

TwilightShock has new set photos from the upcoming adaptation of Twilight.

Transformers 2 is set to begin shooting on June 2nd 2008 (presumably in Philadelphia?). [tfw2005]

Nick Stoller has been hired to write and direct Get Him to the Greek for Judd Apatow and Universal Pictures. The film will star Jonah Hill as a fresh-out-of-college insurance adjuster who is hired to accompany an out-of-control rock star (Russell Brand) from London to a gig at L.A.’s Greek Theater. [variety]

Kevin Smith
will release a series of online short behind the scene videos in the lead up to Zack and Miri Make a Porno. [MMM]

Crocs plan to release footwear inspired by WALL-E. I’m guessing they will still look like clown shoes. [pixarplanet]

Wesley Snipes
‘s tax-evasion hobby will cost him three years in jail. [defamer]

HulkThe Incredible Hulk has been spotted selling EAS’ Myoplex in Magazines. [SHH]

The founder of the first ever British Jedi Church and his brother were attacked by a Darth Vader impersonator while being filmed talking about Star Wars by a local TV documentary crew. District Judge Andrew Shaw demanded that police track down the impersonator and said: “I hope the force will soon be with him.” I kid you not. [telegraph]

Filmmaker Spike Lee has hooked up with Nokia to direct a movie made with cell phone footage from everyday people in what he calls the democratization of film. Sounds like Spike Lee got a Nokia payday. [UGO]

io9 has a look at Toxic Avenger: The Musical.

Jason Segel talks New Muppet Movie

Muppets

When we reported last week that Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nick Stoller and writer/star Jason Segel had signed on to develop the next Muppet movie, I speculated that these would be the guys to get it right (“The early Muppet films were absolutely genius, but the last few failed due to an attempt to dumb down the plot/jokes to appeal to young viewers”). Segel spoke with MTV, and his views seemed to mirror my early thoughts.

“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ‘Muppets in the Old West,’ ‘Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies. I just want to go take it back to the early 80′s, when it was about the Muppets trying to put on a show. That’s what I’m trying to bring back,” said Segel, who also wants to bring back the big name cameos of the earlier films. “All of our friends that I’ve brought it up to are pretty excited by the prospect of it. Everyone loves the Muppets; they’ve got a warm place in most people’s hearts. We want a lot of cameos. You look back at Charles Grodin, Charles Durning, there were just such great performances in those movies.” “We’ve got a great plot. I think if we can execute it right, it will be terrific. But I can’t tell you more – it’s top secret.”

When asked if he plans to star as the lead human role in the new film, Segel admitted “We haven’t figured that out yet. Right now, we’re just focused on trying to turn in an amazing script.” Segel would only say that the plot would focus on Kermit the Frog (duh). And if Segel has not yet convinced you that he might have the vision to make the next big muppet film, I think this next quote will:

“I remember thinking that Kermit was the original Tom Hanks – he was the everyman for a kid. I remember watching Kermit and thinking ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’ I don’t think I realized he was a puppet.”

One of the fey factors of the original muppet movies was that the muppets were treated like normal people in the real world, and I think Jason gets that. The later films focused on Muppets being part of these magical fantasy worlds (be it Pirates, Oz, or Treasure Island).

Forgetting a New Muppets Movie

The Muppets

After seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall the other night at SXSW, it was no surprise to me that Disney had hired the star/writer Jason Segel and director Nick Stoller behind Judd Apatow’s latest to develop the next Muppet movie. Segel and Stoller will write the screenplay and Stoller will direct.

A major sequence in Sarah Marshall features a huge vampire love story stageplay acted out with puppets, which were created by the Henson puppeteers. Also at one point Segel’s character also sang/played The Muppet Show theme song on the piano. Segal pitched an idea for a new Muppet movie during a general meeting with executive Kristin Burr.

The early Muppet films were absolutely genius, but the last few failed due to an attempt to dumb down the plot/jokes to appeal to young viewers. I’m sure Segel and Stoller understand what direction to take the franchise, it’s just a question of if Henson/Disney will allow them the chance to actually make it happen.

Discuss: Could Segel and Stoller create another great Muppet movie, or is the Muppet franchise dead?

source: Variety

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