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Entries in casting (76)

Thursday
Nov202014

Lupita Nyong'o to Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe'

Great news, Lupita fans! The selective Oscar-winning actress has signed on to a new project, the next film from acclaimed director Mira Nair (Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding). 

Word around the project has been surprisingly quiet-- it's not yet listed on IMDb, nor has there seem to have been an official press announcement-- but Nyong'o and Nair announced the news themselves at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Nov. 11. The project is an adaptation of the sportswriter Tim Crothers' book The Queen of Katwe, which tells the real-life story of Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda. 

The project is set up at Disney, according to Nair, and it seems like a collaboration between these two women has been a long time coming-- Nyong'o was a student of Nair's, and their families have been long acquainted. (You can see footage of the announcement and an interview here.)

Lupita Nyong'o has had such a quick rise to acclaim and stardom, it's easy to believe she's got the bends. It's been hard, as a fan, to be patient during the long wait for new casting announcements, but her selectiveness looks like it may yield results. Between the Star Wars sequel she just wrapped and the adaptation of Americanah underway with Plan B Entertainment, to say nothing of her multi-year contract as the face of Lancôme, her future in the cultural landscape is looking more and more secure. Let's hope the projects keep on coming.

Which upcoming Lupita project are you most looking forward to? What do you hope she'll announce next?

Tuesday
Nov182014

Quick Impressions: "Nervous Intern" in Gone Girl

New Series! In "Quick Impressions" we will be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes. Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors. Have you ever noticed how many people it takes to populate each film's world? So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies, sometimes front and center but off to the side and in the background, too.

Today, we're talking to actor/dancer Brett Leigh who has appeared in two David Fincher movies, The Social Network (2010) and Gone Girl (2014) the latter of which is still in the top five box office six weeks into its release and now the year's biggest hit outside of all those CG franchises.

NATHANIEL: Tell us about your scene in Gone Girl!

BRETT LEIGH: It's towards the beginning when Nick Dunne asks Amy to marry him. I play one of the reporters at the table.  They cut the scene down but kept my line in there along with the girl sitting next to me. 

NATHANIEL:  I love that scene because it feel so performative, as if Nick & Amy are essentially acting out a traditional love story moment for the press. How was the experience and why are you billed as "Nervous Intern"?

BRETT: In scripts, as a general rule, you don’t ‘name’ characters if they aren’t plot changing or show up for several pages or scenes.  So when you have one liners, or help move the scene along as a character for a page or two, writers will just call them what they are:  i.e. ‘Courtier’, ‘Mail carrier’, ‘Nervous Intern’.  I have no idea why I was called ‘Nervous Intern’.  I don’t seem to be nervous OR an intern. [Laughs] The other people were called like, 'Fashionista', 'Above-it-all-Journalist'. I think it was Gillian Flynn's way of staying away from just  ‘Journalist 1, 2, 3, 4’.

I do remember the scene work and was quite pleasantly surprised at how serious Ben Affleck is on set - very good actor, very focused.  And Rosamund Pike was top notch every single take.  We weren’t given the full script, but in taping you could definitely tell Rosamund and Ben knew where they were in the story and where their characters were going.  Of course with David Fincher at the helm it’s quite impossible NOT to know where your character is and where they are going.  

You're also in The Social Network!

I play the frat guy hazing Andrew Garfield in the snow. It’s about 2 minutes and I have the majority of the lines.  

Did you fantasize about further terrorizing him as a supervillain when he got the Spider-Man part?

[Laughs] No, but I would really like to be in a comic-come-to-life movie.

Getting that Social Network part must have been amazing

I was coming back from overseas playing Riff/Action in the International Tour of West Side Story.  

Brett Leigh, center with bandana in the international tour of West Side StoryMy favorite musical !

I got a call for an audition and I was like “They’re making a movie about Facebook?”.  It sounded kind of ‘TV movie’ to me.  It all happened kind of fast.  I was called in about four times for this scene. After getting the role I found out more about who was directing and writing.  Thats when my mind was blown. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin?!  I couldn’t believe I got the role over other Hollywood hopefuls and the timing worked out so well just getting back from a major theatre tour.

I come from a theatre and ballet background so to transition into film with such an amazing director has been awesome.  I feel like I have been in the corps de ballet for two Fincher films. 

I hope you get a third and that we see you in a film musical some day!

Thanks for your attention dear readers. You can follow Brett Leigh on Twitter @BrettLeigh. He is also a Director/Writer and recently completed this short film "American Day". It's funny and sad simultaneously. Check it out...

COMING SOON: You tell us. Do you like this series idea?
Do you ever think about actors way down the cast list that might be one lucky break away from larger roles? 

Thursday
Oct302014

The Honoraries: Harry Belafonte in Carmen Jones (1954)

Welcome to "The Honoraries". We're celebrating the careers of the Honorary Oscar recipients of 2014 and the Jean Hersholt winner (Harry Belafonte). Here's longtime TFE reader and new contributor Teo Bugbee, whose work you might have read at The Daily Beast, on Belafonte's biggest film...

Even in the fantastic canon of classic Hollywood musicals, Carmen Jones is a standout. It’s got all the colors—Deluxe, not Technicolor, which as any John Waters fan will tell you is the real deal—it’s got the timeless score by Georges Bizet, but before we talk about the film itself, let’s take a minute to look at the backstory, if only because what was going on behind the scenes in Carmen Jones is at least as interesting as what made it on film. 

Though he never really made particularly political films, director Otto Preminger was a modern man when it came to his politics, and he proposed the idea of adapting the Broadway smash Carmen Jones into a film as a means of showing off the black talent that he felt Hollywood was excluding. But despite Preminger’s substantial box office clout, no major studio wanted to take on a film with an all black cast. So Preminger took Carmen Jones to United Artists and set out making it basically as an independent film.

Harry Belafonte was brought on immediately as Joe, but Preminger took a longer time to find his star, testing a number of black actresses. 

Lusty affairs and a singular film after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct232014

Key & Peele Head to the Movies

 

Margaret here with your update on comedy greenlights. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of the eponymous highly-rated Comedy Central sketch show, are making time in their busy schedule of routinely putting SNL to shame to produce and star in their first joint film project.
 
They just inked a deal with New Line to make Keanu. No, it's not the long-overdue biopic following the rise and fall of the actor who brought us Neo, Ted "Theodore" Logan, and a very Sad Meme. The script, penned by Peele and Community writer Alex Rubens, follows two friends who pretend to be drug dealers to get back a stolen cat (named, you guessed it, Keanu). Peter Atencio, veteran director of Key & Peele, is in talks to direct, and production is slated to begin in April. Says Peele:
"The movie should resonate with a large audience as almost everyone has had a house pet stolen by a street gang, right?"
He also reassured fans that no K&P characters will be harmed in the making of the film. That will have to be left for another planned movie project in the pipeline, a spinoff of the popular sketch Mr. Garvey, Substitute Teacher. They've also signed on to produce a Police Academy reboot, and are attached to an untitled Judd Apatow production. 
The dynamic comedy duo have been working together for about fifteen years, from Chicago's Second City to several seasons of MadTV to supplying a welcome oasis of humor in this year's brutally dry Emmy telecast, and they've got their chemistry down to a science. They've got a formidable arsenal of incisive humor and devastatingly funny physical bits, plus a love of the movies:

 

 

It's always exciting when fresh comedy voices get a major platform. Since every sketch comedy star who has taken a shot at the big screen has without exception met with critical raves and great financial success, this has to be a slam dunk, right? Do you think that Key & Peele can become our next bankable comic movie stars? 
Friday
Oct102014

Linkman

Empire The London Film Festival has commenced with Benedict Cumberbatch opening the festivities
Kenneth in the (212) Harrison Ford in 1978 
Logolog This one is for the linguistics and trivia nerds: Last week's box office top ten featured the first ever "pangram" -- I didn't know what that was but the article explains it
Film School Rejects will "Vs" movies be the next franchise trend? God help us all 


Guardian claims that The Imitation Game might be the queerest film for the mainstream in ages. I don't want to do that math because, if so, how depressing because it's not all that queer
/Film a Labyrinth sequel in development?
Pajiba Jennifer Garner talks about Ben Affleck's penis on the Ellen show. Hold me. Why, Jennifer, why?
Esquire Gone Girl as the story of Ben Affleck's career. Undeniable connections!
Vulture theorizes on how all the seasons of American Horror Story could be connected. I guess they mean, besides the famous actors?
/Film First images of Margot Robbie and Will Smith in Focus. Hey, do you remember when there was a movie with that title with William H Macy and Laura Dern? Anyone?
Guardian So, you guys, it turns out that that Effie Gray movie starring Emma Thompson and Dakota Fanning does actually exist and its now playing in the UK 
HitFix Sean Durkin of Martha Marcy May Marlene fame will direct a film version of Little House on the Prairie. Bizarre. 

Casting News
The Playlist Léa Seydoux is your next femme fatale Bond girl. YAS! Great choice, 007 team
Variety Gabriel Luna joins Ellen Page in Freeheld
The Playlist Jennifer Jason Leigh takes the largest (only?) female role in Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight

Retweet
I take it you've heard about American Crime Story, a new Ryan Murphy series that will take on true uh... American crime stories.

 

 

True crime instead of the freaky supernatural fiction crime that American Horror Story traffics in, right? I had to have my say on Twitter, you know? Hee

Weekend Watch

 

James Franco's "Making a Scene" a comic mash-up series, fuses Beetlejuice and Batman together. What would Michael Keaton say? Probably "who cares" given his recent comments about the Batman franchise post him.

While we're on the topic of Batman, The LEGO Movie is going to have a solo Batman sequel in 2017. Exactly when do we approach maximum saturation of all things Batman? You'd think it would have been awhile ago. I worry for the the 2020s

Finally
For Towleroad, I wrote up a piece on films of LGBT interest in the big Foreign Film lineup with their trailers and such. Check it out. I'm dying to see Switzerland's The Circle. And I didn't realize until researching this piece that Concrete Night is made by a writer/director pair who are famous lesbians in Finland. How about that?

Stay tuned for more coverage on this category and of course all the others too, right here. Interviews and events are already starting off blog and soon we'll start sharing them. Let's consider Monday/Tuesday the official grand opening of this new awards season here at TFE.

Thursday
Oct092014

Westeros Comes to Hollywood: Casting News for Game of Thrones Actors

Margaret here to talk about Hollywood casting directors' collective infatuation with the actors on Game of Thrones. HBO's fantasy epic is a ratings juggernaut and has been Emmy-nominated a hundred times over. Its enormous cast (more series regulars than any other show on television) is getting a lot of attention, and many of them are landing high-profile movie roles. The prestige cable effect, so often noted for its ability to bring movie stars to TV, seems to be working in the other direction for Game of Thrones

Let's check in on the upcoming projects from our Westerosi friends: 

Carice van Houten

GoT Role: Melisandre, spooky red-headed priestess
Recently Booked: the Jesse Owens biopic Race. The Dutch actress will play legendary German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.

 

Aidan Gillen
GoT Role: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, slippery schemer.
Recently Booked: Recently greenlit sequel The Maze Runner Chapter II: The Scorch Trials. It's reported that he'll be playing the villain, Janson. 

Gwendoline Christie
GoT Role: Brienne of Tarth, lady warrior
Recently Booked: Star Wars: Episode VII. Her role is top-secret, but the movie is about as high-profile as they come. Her combat experience and 6'3" frame are likely to feature. She's also booked a small part in the final Hunger Games film, as a military commander.

More Westerosi movie news after the jump..

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct072014

Familiar Faces: The David Fincher Players

Up until The Social Network (2010), when a version of this article first appeared, David Fincher was, moderately, a creature of habit when it came to casting. Certain character actors would pop up in miniature roles in more than one film though only one star was a recurring lead (Brad Pitt). Since then it's been more of a free for all with (mostly) new faces in his films.

For Gone Girl it's all new faces but for three men who you'll miss if you blink:

Darin Cooper, Brett Leigh, and Lee Norris

Brett Leigh appears as a nervous intern (he was previously a Phoenix Club hazer in The Social Network); Lee Norris, best known for "One Tree Hill" and "Boy Meets World," shows up as "Officer Washington" after a gig in Zodiac; and Darin Cooper, who played one of Facebook's lawyers in The Social Network, returns as  "Moustached Man"

We hope next time Fincher finds a way to reuse these three and pulls more performers from his past, too. Why? When directors apply previous actors like favorite daubs of paint from their auteurial palettes, it adds a little magic, don't you think? It's like the films are all part of the same universe no matter how different they are. Let's investigate further with...

The David Fincher Acting Hierarchy
(Quantitatively Speaking)


4 Films. 
There's a three way tie for the top honor, each beating Brad Pitt by one film, albeit with much much smaller roles...

• Richmond Arquette 
Yes, that's the least famous member of the Arquette clan (brother to Alexis, David, Rosanna & Patricia). Fincher gives him tiny roles but some are key: he makes the dread box delivery at the end of Se7en, makes the first two kills in Zodiac and he's also in Fight Club and Benjamin Button. He recently had a fine co-leading showcase in Chad Hartigan's This is Martin Bonner.

• Christopher John Fields 
He stretches the furthest back with the director, all the way to Fincher's debut feature Alien³ (1992) where he played "Rains" one of the first victims of the acid-blooded beastie (pictured left), poor guy. He's also The Game's Detective Boyle, Fight Club's dry cleaning man and a copy editor in Zodiac. He appears to no longer be working, though.

• Bob Stephenson 
You might recognize this actor from series regular gigs on TV's Jericho or The Forgotten. He's part of the SWAT team in Se7en (pictured left), a security officer in Fight Club and a killer in both The Game and Zodiac. He recently appeared on an episode of both Agents of SHIELD and Mom.

3 Films
Much more and this man that needs no introduction...

Click to read more ...