ben-affleck-2012

Just this morning there were gossip rag reports about Ben Affleck having a meeting with David Fincher, and here’s the result: the director has offered the actor a plum role in Gone Girl. Fincher is directing an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel for Fox, with an eye towards production this fall. With the role being tossed Affleck’s way, the big question is how this works with Affleck’s plan to direct his own new movie, Live by Night.

Affleck would play a man who becomes a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, after she goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Reese Witherspoon is among the film’s producers, leading to suspicion that she might play the missing woman. That casting isn’t confirmed at this point.

Variety reports that the current idea is to push back Affleck’s directorial effort so that he can shoot the lead role in Fincher’s film this fall. Then he’d go into Live by Night in January.  Read More »

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Reese Witherspoon

Paul Thomas Anderson has a habit of getting his stars Oscar nominations, so it’s no wonder he’s got some big names interested in his next project Inherent Vice. Reese Witherspoon has just boarded the Thomas Pynchon adaptation, joining Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, and Benicio Del Toro. Jena Malone and Martin Short round out the cast. Get the details after the jump.

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(Note: This is a reprint of our Mud review from Sundance 2013. The film opens in a limited run today.)

For his follow-up to Take Shelter, director Jeff Nichols smartly casts Matthew McConaughey as a violent drifter who slides into the lives of two young boys whose families eke out a bare existence on the Mississippi River. Using the gift for gab that any character played by McConaughey must automatically possess, this outlaw wraps the boys up in his plan to achieve true freedom.

While Take Shelter trafficked in heavy ambiguity, Mud does away with uncertainty, at least with respect to the story. This is a straightforward tale that rides on the shoulders of McConaughey and two excellent young actors, Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life) and newcomer Jacob Lofland.

Mud is a riff on Mark Twain, and an exploration of the relationships between generations of men. It could be a Tom Waits song, perhaps a long-lost cut from Swordfishtrombones, revolving as it does around a man with a dark past who seeks to build an escape engine out of cast-off parts, with love as his fuel. The film casts a keen eye on people living a mostly bygone lifestyle, and wraps those observations in a rollicking little adventure that you might find in the yellowing pages of an old pulp novel.

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David Fincher In Talks To Direct ‘Gone Girl’

David Fincher is in talks to direct an adaptation of the popular book Gone Girl. Variety is reporting that no offer is on the table yet, but the filmmaker is very interested to make it happen if 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea doesn’t go into production.

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With the releases of Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, 2012 may very well have been the best year of Matthew McConaughey‘s career. And don’t expect to see that momentum flag in 2013. McConaughey is starting the year off with Mud, a coming-of-age tale directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter).

The Tree of Life actor Tye Sheridan and newcomer Jacob Lofland play a pair of friends who come across a mysterious man named Mud (McConaughey) hiding out in the woods along the Mississippi. While he soon admits that he’s on the run for killing a man, they’re charmed by his romantic tales and agree to help him out. Their boyish adventure takes a sour turn, however, when Mud’s real problems entangle them in some very adult complications. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Say what you will about the neverending stream of Twilight-esque YA sagas, comic book sequels, and gritty fairy tale reboots — at least they’re working off of actual narratives. Thanks to the success of He’s Just Not That Into You, the really irritating new trend in Hollywood is adapting plotless advice books. That film may not have been the first to take inspiration from a self-help tome, but it’s likely responsible for the recent rash of similarly themed entertainments like Think Like a Man and What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

And the next relationship guide to make it to theaters could be the biggest one yet. An adaptation of John Gray‘s 1992 bestseller Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus has been in the works at Summit since 2010, and now it’s picking up speed as star Reese Witherspoon and commercial directing whiz Bryan Buckley join the project. More details after the jump.

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If I needed to I could come up with two films more different than Kathryn Bigelow‘s “kill Osama Bin Laden” movie Zero Dark Thirty and Atom Egoyan‘s West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot. But for the sake of argument let’s note that despite being fiction based in truth, they’re still pretty seriously different projects.Both films do have one other thing in common, in that they will rely on relative unknowns for pivotal roles.

First, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which recounts the successful attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, will actually feature an actor as the terrorist figurehead — something we weren’t sure about at one point. Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with some TV experience, will play the part. He’s already shot the role, according to Baz Bamigoye.

The film is still shooting, however, with a December 19th opening planned. The cast also features Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, Frank Grillo, Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Duplass, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez , and more.

After the break, Atom Egoyan has chosen a newcomer to play Damien Echols, one of the convicted West Memphis Three. Read More »

Save for a few of the original directors, few people can give you a better snapshot of what’s going on at Pixar than Katherine Sarafian. The production coordinator turned director of marketing and now producer has been with the company since 1994 and their first film, Toy Story. For the past five plus years, she’s been working on Brave, Pixar’s upcoming feature about a wild Scottish princess whose fate is tied to the family kingdom. Sarafian has been with the production from its inception and has intimate knowledge on the controversial directional change, massive story rewrites, cast changes and more.

Recently, I was at Pixar to see the gorgeous first thirty minutes of the film (read about that here) and spoke to Sarafian not only about those things, but the surprising power of being a producer at Pixar, the marketing of the film (including when we might see a new trailer) as well as the company’s feeling facing their first critical disappointment: Cars 2. Check out the interview below. Read More »

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