Ben Foster

With seemingly half of Hollywood racing to bring a Lance Armstrong biopic to the big screen, the first one to reach the starting line is Stephen Frears. His untitled picture began shooting a few days ago, with Ben Foster in the lead role of the disgraced cyclist. A first-look image has just hit the web, and you can check it out after the jump.

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Bradley Cooper

The intensified scandal over the doping actions of Lance Armstrong have irrevocably tainted his participation in cycling. As you might expect, however, the controversy has only increased the speed at which various producers are trying to put together a film based on his story.

One of a few projects in the works about the cancer survivor and disgraced champ is Red Blooded American, housed at Warner Bros. Atlas Entertainment is producing, and Jay Roach is directing, and the development is based on a script by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion). Now Bradley Cooper has come on as a producer. He may also star in the film. Read More »

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight

With a title like Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, you’d think it’d be safe to assume HBO Films’ upcoming release was a sports film. But no, Stephen Frears‘ drama follows Ali’s historic Supreme Court battle to stay out of the Vietnam War.

Ali was drafted in the ’60s but refused to go, citing his religion and declaring himself a conscientious objector. As a consequence, he was convicted of draft evasion and stripped of his title and boxing license. He appealed the conviction all the way to the Supreme Court, which is where Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight picks up.

Christopher Plummer, Frank Langella, and Danny Glover portray some of the Supreme Court justices. Interestingly, Ali himself isn’t played by an actor — he appears only archival footage. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Philomena

Stephen Frears‘ last release, the gambling comedy Lay the Favorite, has the unfortunate distinction of being among the worst-reviewed films of his career. His two films before that, Chéri and Tamara Drewe, failed to make much of a mark at all. Fortunately, his next film Philomena looks like it could be a return to form.

Judi Dench stars as the titular character, an Irish woman who was forced to give up her toddler son in the 1950s. She’s spent the years since then searching for him in vain, and eventually gets some assistance in her quest from journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan).

The moving, fact-based tale seems like perfect prestige pic material, and with Oscar winner Dench and the Oscar-nominated Frears involved, Philomena could potentially make waves this awards season. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Lance Armstrong

The doping scandal lost Lance Armstrong a lot of fans, but it’s won him a lot of attention from Hollywood. Warner Bros. and Paramount already have their own projects about the disgraced cyclist in development. Now Working Title has set Stephen Frears to direct yet another one with Ben Foster in the lead. Hit the jump for all the details.

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Stephen Frears‘ record may not be flawless, but his hit to miss ratio’s high enough that I generally look forward to his movies. His newest project, Lay the Favorite, started out looking as promising as any other. The filmmaker collected a likable cast, including Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Joshua Jackson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones for the dramedy, an adaptation of a favorably reviewed memoir by Beth Raymer about the strange world of sports betting.

Unfortunately, early reviews suggest that the result hasn’t lived up to that promise at all. The new trailer offers some hints as to what exactly went wrong, starting with a strangely off-putting performance by the usually charming Hall. Check it out after the jump.

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As Sacha Baron Cohen‘s new comedy The Dictator strolls towards theaters, I know some have been wondering if his plan to play late Queen singer Freddie Mercury remains intact. As it turns out, that plan has not changed, and now Stephen Frears (High Fidelity) is the frontrunner to direct the film that has the backing of remaining Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. Read More »

An up and comer, a recognizable character actor and a seasoned veteran have all signed on to very different projects. The up and comer, Kodi Smit-McPhee, best known for his awesome work in The Road and Let Me In, is reportedly circling the role of Benvolio in Carlo Carlei‘s new film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet along side Haliee Steinfeld, Holly Hunter and Ed Westwick. Michael Pena, the recognizable character actor, has joined the already impressive cast of Gangster Squad, Ruben Fleischer‘s upcoming true-life gangster film starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin. Then the seasoned veteran, Corbin Bernsen joins the female-centric gambling story Lay the Favorite starring Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn and Rebecca Hall directed by Stephen Frears. Read about each film, and role, after the break. Read More »

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