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Nicole Kidman on Stage

"Any chance this transfers to broadway I wonder?" - Joseph

"As a long term Kidmaniac, this is just the type of comeback I was hoping for." - allaboutmymovies


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Entries in casting (107)


Welcome Back Andrew Garfield

Murtada is happy that Andrew Garfield is no longer a superhero. You?

Vince Vaughn and Garfield in the first picture from Hacksaw Ridge

Andrew Garfield recently started production on Mel Gibson's World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge in Australia. The movie is based on the life of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor after saving dozens of soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.

Hacksaw Ridge will mark Andrew Garfield’s third post Spider-Man film. Coming in 2016 is Martin Scorsese’s Silence and he’s currently in cinemas with 99 Homes. From 28 to 31 years of age, Garfield was only the web-slinger. Some think he squandered the promise he showed in Boy A and The Social Network. Garfield himself was torn about what he had accomplished, saying in a recent interview:

I never felt like I was able to do enough. And I couldn’t rescue those films…even though I didn’t sleep. [laughs]. And I wanted to…not to say that I needed to rescue those films, but I couldn’t make them as deep and soulful and…life-giving as I could ever dream. And I’m never gonna be able to do that, with any film. It was especially difficult in that situation because…well, just because. And it was especially important because that character has always meant so much to me.

Garfield in 99 Homes

If 99 Homes is any indication there’s no reason to worry. Playing a construction worker who loses his home in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis, Garfield is effortlessly affecting as he deals with the shame and grief of losing everything and hitting rock bottom. While he is overshadowed by Michael Shannon’s blistering embodiment of “Americana”, the movie works because Garfield grounds it with a natural soulfulness that reminded this viewer of Mark Ruffalo at his best.

Garfield is obviously someone who feels a lot. Read that quote above again. Doesn’t the story of a heroic conscientious objector seem like a perfect fit? To prove the point about all the feels he feels, we’ll leave you with what he said about working with Emma Stone.

"Working with Emma was like diving into a thrilling, twisting river and never holding on to the sides. From the start. To the end. Spontaneous. In the moment. Present. Terrifying. Vital. The only way acting with someone should be."


Ellar Coltrane and the Burden of the Iconic Role

Kieran, here. Ellar Coltrane, the boy at the center of Richard Linklater's much heralded Boyhood has landed his next role, a supporting part in The Circle, an adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel about privacy paranoia in the age of social media. Tom Hanks is already attached to star in the thriller, which will be directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now). Coltrane will reportedly play Emma Watson's boyfriend who wants to go off the grid, out of the grasp of the eponymous Circle (which is not, repeat NOT Google). That's kind of funny, considering Mason's somewhat self-conscious, adolescent arrogance screed against social media and smart phones in Boyhood

The Spectacular Now suggested that Ponsoldt has a gift for pulling great performances from young actors, stretching our imaginations as to what they're capable of. Can he do that again for Ellar Coltrane?

Let me just say that I was an enthusiastic fan of Boyhood and I quite liked Coltrane in it. Er...maybe that's an entirely honest appraisal of my feelings about Coltrane's performance. I thought the movie acquitted itself well while working around a performance with very clear peaks and valleys. Coltrane's doe-eyed befuddlement works really well in certain key moments of the film, as when he witnesses the domestic abuse inflicted on his mother. That same blankness (and the role of Mason does require him to be somewhat blank) tends to fail him in moments when he's expected to communicate a clear persepctive, like the aforementioned scene where he's railing against Facebook. I didn't leave Boyhood with a clear idea of his acting chops in either direction. Boyhood was such a specialized project in conception and execution that it's hard to extrapolate how someone might perform beyond that. (Especially with very little frame of reference. Other than a very brief appearance in Fast Food Nation, Coltrane hasn't appeared in anything else.)

Are you curious to see what we get from Coltrane going forward?

From Quinn Cummings (The Goodbye Girl) and Justin Henry (Kramer vs. Kramer) to more recent examples of Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) it's rare that young actors who have their debuts or breakthroughs in heralded projects go on to have careers that match that initial acclaim. One can certainly debate the merits of each (and my opinion ranges from very warm to very cold), but these famous examples all demonstrate that it can be very hard to crawl out from under the weight of a culturally resonant breakthrough performance. 


Emily Blunt is on a roll

Here's Murtada on a long time TFE favorite...

Blunt earlier this week at Sicario's London premiere

It’s a good week to be Emily Blunt. Her latest movie Sicario opened to strong reviews and scored the year’s best on screen average for a limited release indicating it might become a substantial hit when it goes wide. She’s one of the favorites mentioned for that Mary Poppins sequel. And her next movie The Girl on the Train just got a couple of high profile co-stars; an Oscar winner and Captain America himself.

Jared Leto and Chris Evans are set to join Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett in the adaptation of the best selling novel that will be directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. The book, written by Paula Hawkins, is a publishing sensation, a la Gone Girl, having spent 20 weeks at the top of the hardback fiction charts. The plot is about alcoholic Rachel Watson (Blunt) who still pines for her ex husband (Evans) who is now married to Anna (Ferguson) while concocting a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple (Bennett & Leto) she watches from the train on her daily commute. The story chronicles Bennett’s character disappearance and its effect on both Rachel and Anna. Though the book was set in London and Blunt will keep her English accent, the movie has been transplanted to the suburbs of New York City.

Clockwise L-R : Bennett, Leto, Ferguson and Evans

It’s exciting to see Blunt mixing it up. It would’ve been easy to be pigeonholed in action roles after her much lauded turn in Edge of Tomorrow. Even Sicario in which she plays an FBI agent is very different than her “full metal bitch” in Edge. Her Kate Macer is aces at her job but also overwhelmed by the grim reality of the drug trade along the US-Mexico border, a more nuanced characterization than the straight action-heroine of Edge. In a recent interview with Indiewire she talks about why only a handful of women are sought for all the action roles :

I think it’s because the list is very short, because we don’t see women in these kind of roles. So I think as soon as you do a role like that, like Charlize did or I did, or Rebecca’s done -- there’s like four of us or something. And Jen Lawrence. So I feel like us four, we get talked about -- and Angie, Angelina. So it’s a list of like, four women who are going to be considered for those kind of roles. So I think that’s why the rumors happen, because they’re like, "who else? Surely not another girl can wield a gun," you know what I mean? "A woman doing push-ups? There’s only one who can do that."

Sicario should take her to the next level, whether or not it brings her that first Oscar nomination. The film succeeds as both a vivid and violent thriller and a brilliant character study. At the center of it is Blunt’s Kate Macer who is by turns ferocious, steely, determined and also vulnerable and uncertain. It’s a great showcase of not only Blunt’s giant talent but Denis Villeneuve’s assured direction. Excellent word of mouth should translate into box office gold soon.

Have you seen Sicario yet? Isn't it funny that the two actresses who stole movies from Tom Cruise are going to be on screen together?


What's Next for Jennifer Lawrence 

Murtada here with some casting news. With commitments to her two franchises coming to an end soon, Jennifer Lawrence is getting busy considering all types of movies. November 20th brings The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 her 4th and last outing, for now, as Katniss Everdeen. Next summer’s X-Men Apocalypse is supposedly the last time we will see Lawrence as Mystique.

This week came news that she is attached to an adaptation of the book Red Sparrow about a Russian intelligence officer trained as a seductress and her handling of a rival CIA operative. This movie could re-team her with Francis Lawrence her first Hunger Games director. It’s a hot property in Hollywood that previously had director/actress combos of Darren Aronofsky/Natalie Portman and David Fincher/Rooney Mara interested.

More projects and some recent Lawrence quotes after the jump.

Click to read more ...


McDreamy is Bridget Jones' Baby

Here's Murtada with some casting and sequel news.

Patrick Dempsey is joining Bridget Jones’ Baby, the third movie about the charming British singleton played by Renee Zellweger. Is this the first announcement about his movie? Filming starts pretty soon, October 2nd to be exact. Did we miss something? Is Zellweger returning to major movies and the headlines are about McDreamy? Both Zellweger and Colin Firth are expected back but not Hugh Grant hence Dempsey. Although there are no details yet on who Dempsey is playing, it’s clear from the casting this may be another love triangle.

Zellweger aside, are we ready for for Bridget to come back? It’s been more than a decade since the last movie. Are people really going to see this? From the recent long-after-first-few reboots and sequels people really wanted to see Jurassic World  while no one cared for the Terminator reboot. Like the latter the last Bridget was in the mid-aughts. Not a good sign. People who loved it at the time might not feel nostalgic for it yet while younger audiences wouldn’t care.

The first film, Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), is a romantic comedy gem that came at a time when those were made regularly and some were made well. The book which of course came before the movie was a phenomenon. We loved Bridget’s self deprecating voice and wanted her to have the Elizabeth Bennet fantasy she dreamed of. Zellweger was aces in the part calming down everyone who was mad an American was cast as this quintessentially British woman. The second film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) followed shortly. In addition to the preposterous title, it's a trifle. Coming with an unnecessary sojourn into a Bangkok prison (is this a remake of both Bangkok Hilton and Brokedown Palace?) it presented nothing new. Just went on repeating all the best beats of the original including the fun and childish rivalry between Mark Darcy (Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Grant). Let’s just forget about it and watch that fight scene from Diary again.

Is Dempsey over Grant an upgrade? If we’re being shallow and judging just by how they look today Dempsey wins. However he’s not the caddish charmer that is Grant as Daniel and that's was proven way sexier. Remember his seduction of Bridget and the way he said “absolutely enormous panties”. Can Dempsey match that? Dempsey’s charm is different. Blandly handsome with no gravitas, i.e. the perfect foil for a Disney princess like he was for Amy Adams in Enchanted. He could lay on that wholesome charm but we all know everyone likes the bad boy more.

It’s clear where we stand on the Grant/Dempsey debate but tell us where you are and why.


Lukewarm Off The Presses: About Lucille 

It's surprisingly easy to photoshop Cate's face over Lucille's so basically it works visuallyCate Blanchett playing Lucille Ball in a future biopic has already, rather oddly, taken over two entirely unrelated comment threads so I suppose we should say something official-like? The news of Aaron Sorkin's Lucy biopic to which Cate Blanchett is attached was one of those news stories that happened in those intermittent time periods when I was doing something other than the interweb (shock) for about 12 hours. I think it was dinner with a friend + 2 hours of Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp + sleeping. When I woke up it was like the news had always existed and everyone but me was talking about it. These things happen. Even with our kind of news -- read: 'Actressy And How' -- when we're unlucky.

Undeniably this is a weird project on paper. Can you connect Sorkin's rat-a-tat-tat sober pontificating (even though it has a sense of humor) to Lucille's broad slapstick mixed with indefatigable verbosity? The verbosity sure. But otherwise... What's more, Sorkin's work rarely seems all that interested in women.  Neither can I imagine Cate pulling it off without resorting to technical mimicry absent the silly soul -- Cate can definitely do comedy but this kind of comedy? That seems like quite a reach.

with George Sanders in Lured (1947)with Gene Kelly in Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)

Then again, Lucille Ball is a showbiz icon with more sides than just ditzy Lucy from the beloved 50s sitcom. In fact, there are enough movements in that career to suggest that the way to go would be an I'm Not There approach. You've got the savvy businesswoman, the 40s dramatic starlet (see Lured for the improbable sight of glamorous Lucille Ball in a Douglas Sirk directed serial killer drama!), the sitcom superstar, the late career wanderings (Mame anyone? No?). The bio won't cover her whole life, thankfully but looks to focus on 1940 through 1960 and her marriage to Desi Arnaz. If we don't get a scene from the set of Lured (1947) I'll feel personally cheated. 


What Is It With Ruth Madoff and Actresses?

You've already heard that Michelle Pfeiffer is finally planning to work again for an HBO movie called Wizard of Lies. So let's give the story its proper due.

Pfeiffer in The Family / Ruth Madoff

(I included the Pfeiff News in the last link roundup but the Pfans among you didn't deem that sufficient. (I heard from a pflummoxed pfew by e-mail). Look, stop demanding my bonafides! I have been devoted to La Pfeiff since 1985 in. real. time. I've followed her long enough to take each new probject with a full brick of salt until I see footage. She is so skittish about working.)

For the moment at least she is planning to play Ruth Madoff in Wizard of Lies with Robert De Niro in the leading role of fraudulent financier Bernie Madoff. Aside from cameos and voice work this will be her first TV role since just before superstardom hit in 87/88. In her last film The Family, DeNiro (who is 72) and she had teenage children but they're aging up this time around and delicious/undervalued Alessandro Nivola (who is 43) will play their son. Frankly I'd rather see Alessandro romantically paired with Pfeiffer than playing her biological! She's closer to his age than De Niros (by one year - hee - as she's 14 years older than Nivola and 15 years younger than De Niro - but it counts! Especially since she's so foxy. And especially because Nivola is even hotter (it sounds impossible but it's totally true) when paired with actresses that are older than he is - think Frances McDormand in Laurel Canyon, Embeth Davidtz in Junebug and Emily Mortimer in real life (his wife is just one year older - but for this argument it counts ;) 

But back to the Madoffs.

It's worth noting here that Ruth Madoff has already been played by Cate Blanchett (kinda) in Blue Jasmine, and BEFORE Pfeiffer she'll be played by Blythe Danner in the ABC miniseries Madoff (currently filming) so the disgraced rich lady is really getting around among the actresses. It is kind of an instant classic dream role in the Women Who Lie To Themselves™ subgenre.

Blythe Danner and Richard Dreyfuss in Madoff, coming to ABC in 2016.

If Pfeiffer actually goes through with it, we can hope for an Emmy but won't hold our breath. Despite her fame and acclaim, she has never been an awards magnet only picking up an odd trophy here and there (the BAFTA for Dangerous Liaisons, the Silver Bear for Love Field, and several coveted prizes for Fabulous Baker Boys including the Globe, the NBR, and the holy trinity of critics prizes -- NYFCC, LAFCA, NSFC -- before losing the Oscar for that role. ARGH x ∞).

But after both Blue Jasmine (2013) and ABC's Madoff (2016) will audiences and showbiz voters still be into this story for a third round in late 2016 or 2017?