Richard Gere is reportedly in talks to join the old-timers checking in for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel sequel. Maggie Smith, her Downton Abbey co-star Penelope Wilton and Judi Dench are expected to reprise their characters in the follow-up to the surprise 2011 hit movie and sources claim Pretty Woman star Gere is interested in joining the cast of pensioners.
Warner Brothers via Everett Collection
There's a whole genre designed to scare the hell out of us — a genre to which we pay particular esteem on Halloween. But even with all the Friday the 13ths and Nightmare on Elm Streets and The Rings (oooh, The Ring...) out there, we still can't help but find terror in a few odd entries in other cinematic categories. Sometimes, movies that intend to make us laugh, teach us lessons, or just take us on whimsical adventures wind up giving us nightmares. Here are a few non-horrors that rattled the Hollywood.com staff in our younger years...
The Pagemaster, Jordan Smith"The Pagemaster, that little Macaulay Culkin movie that hardly anyone remembers, is supposed to be a cute action-adventure story about learning to be brave, but I'm convinced it's really a deeply evil film designed by the film industry lobby to scare kids away from libraries and books. It just doesn't make sense otherwise. There's a moment toward the beginning of the film where Culkin's character is walking around a massive library with thousands of books. All of a sudden, a freaking tidal wave of color chases him around the building. I'm talking about fierce typhoon of evil rainbows that traps him and swallows him whole. That scene scared my little four year old body to the bone. In one fell swoop, The Pagemaster made various colors, running water, libraries, and reading absolutely terrifying. Thanks Macaulay!"
The NeverEnding Story, Casey Rackham"Nope. No thank you. Not for me. I don't know how old I was when I saw The NeverEnding Story, but I know that I watched it on VHS… so I was too young to see this scarring so-called children's movie. I don't remember too much about the plot of the film, but if I'm being honest, I don't really care to. It's bad enough that I remember 'The Nothing': a threatening void of darkness that consumes everything in its path. At that point in my life, the biggest, baddest villain I had met was Cruella de Vil. She's scary, but not nearly as haunting as a black hole of evil. Next up is the 'Swamp of Sadness.' (Come on, why would you name something that?) In possibly one of the most heartbreaking scenes of my childhood, I helplessly watched as Atreyu failed to save his horse who sunk to his death in quicksand in the Swamp of Sadness. And finally, even the character Falkor, a luckdragon that was supposed to be a wise guiding light throughout the movie (and who you were supposed to love), gave me nightmares for weeks. There's just something about a creature who is half dog and half dragon, has flaring nostrils, ruby eyes, and who can 'swim' through air that isn't right. The whole movie gave me a visceral reaction, so no, I would not suggest it to anyone that doesn't want to be entirely wigged out."
Drop Dead Fred, Michael Arbeiter"It was the early '90s, an era during which I spent a lot of after school time watching movies and television with the sociopathic neighbor kids the Rosens. While their tastes usually led us to simply disgusting fare like Ren & Stimpy, we were treated one day to a video viewing of what I would later find out to be Drop Dead Fred. I made it through only one scene of the movie — that in which the title character, a ghost or an imaginary friend or something, squeezed his own head in a refrigerator door. The other kids found it hilarious... I was mortified. For years. In fact, it wasn't until over two decades later that I'd even bring myself to Google the right combination of words to find out what movie it was that enforced upon me such trauma. Not a horror at all, I learned. A kooky, weird comedy. One that I will never watch again. And, needless to say, I don't talk to the Rosens anymore."
Balto, Alexa Smail"Balto, the heroic story of a dog who saved children, right? Wrong. In my childhood, the animated Disney flick was one of the most terrifying movie experiences ever. While, now, I'm not exactly sure why it was so scary, I do remember a giant black bear with eery yellow eyes and a bunch of mean wolves who tried to hurt the sweet and cuddly Balto. There were also a bunch of avalanches, some deathly sharp icicles dropping on the animals, and all the town kids dying from a weird disease that only kills kids… Ok, so maybe I had some good reasons to be frightened, Alaska seemed pretty freaking gruesome."
The Jungle Book (live action version), Julia EmmanueleLike most children, I was obsessed with Disney films growing up. As long as a movie has animated characters and some upbeat musical numbers, I was on board. When I was about five, while looking for a new movie to rent from my local Blockbuster, I came across the 1994 live action version of The Jungle Book. I'm not sure if I thought it was actually the animated film, which I loved, or if I just assumed that this one would also be lighthearted fun involving singing bears, but I convinced my mom to rent it. Once I sat down to watch it, though, I quickly found out that actual jungle animals don’t sing Louis Prima songs, and are actually quite terrifying. It only took about 10 minutes before I began screaming and crying hysterically, presumably because I thought that the panthers were either going to kill and eat Mowgli, or come out of my television screen and attack me. There was one scene in particular, in which the panther pounces on its prey, and I threw such a fit that my mother had to come in and turn the tape off. Not only did it take me forever to calm down that day, I refused to watch Disney's Jungle Book for years afterwards because I thought that the scary panthers would be in that one too. To this day, I've never seen past the first 10 minutes of the live action Jungle Book, but I hear it's a great film.
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Spike Lee might be teaming up with a certain pop mega-star. The controversial director is being considered to helm Spinning Gold, a music biopic based on the life of record producer Neil Bogart, with Justin Timberlake attached to star. Bogart was a legendary music mogul who helped release records from a mix of '70s music royalty including KISS and Donna Summer. The screenplay was written by Neil's son Tim Bogart, so it still remains to be seen whether the family link will cloud the story's authenticity.
Lee is a deceptively versatile filmmaker who has applied his directoral knowhow to a diverse number of movies, from bank caper Inside Man, to his solemn ode to post-9/11 New York 25th Hour. Lee has gained a stigma for always putting his politics at the forefront of his films, but he also knows when to rein them back when a picture suits it.
While certain sects of the Internet are quite sure Lee will destroy Korean cinema forever with his upcoming American remake of Oldboy, a wildly inventive revenge flick from Chan-wook Park, we have confidence that Lee can pull off both Spinning Gold and Oldboy sucessfully. People forget that Lee is a talented director when he's not ranting on Twitter, or stirring the pot outside of the director's chair. After the unmitigated disaster that was Runner Runner, we should be less worried about the filmmaker, and more worried about JT's ability to carry a film.
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We've seen him play a sex addict, a villain, a scientist, and a soldier, but never have we seen Michael Fassbender play a gangster. However, that may soon change; according to sources, Fassbender is in talks to star in the upcoming crime flick, Trespass Against Us.
Deadline is reporting that Fassbender in currently in talks for the role of Chad Cutler, a man who wants to leave his outlaw family's ways. If Fassbender signs on, Trespass Against Us could potentially turn into a Hollywood hit, which would bode well for directing newcomer Adam Smith. While Smith, a United Kingdom native, has had some directing experience (including episodes of Doctor Who, Skins, Little Dorrit, and the documentary The Chemical Brothers–Don't Think), he has never directed a narrative feature film. And although he is new to the world of film fiction, Smith is already jumping into production and using his previous directing connections to get The Chemical Brothers to agree to write and perform the original score for Trespass Against Us.
Along with Smith, screenwriter Alastair Siddons is also a Hollywood newbie. While Siddons has previously directed the documentaries Turn It Loose and Inside Out: The People's Art Project, this will be his first fiction screenplay.
Shooting for Trespass Against Us is excepted to begin in 2014 in the United Kingdom. Film4 will co-finance the film, while Protagonist Pictures will begin pre-selling the film at the American Film Market (AFM) next week.
Fassbender is currently shooting John Maclean's Slow West in New Zealand, and can be seen in The Counselor, in theaters now.
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Voyager Entertainment via Everett Collection
The next big thing in sci-fi might be the perplexing sight of a World War II-era battleship hurtling through the endless vacuum of space. As ridiculous as that sounds, Skydance Productions has tapped Christopher McQuarrie to write and direct Star Blazers, an American live-action adaptation of the classic '70s Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. The original anime series was translated for American television audiences under the name Star Blazers, but this will be the first time the series will get the American big screen treatment.
In Star Blazers, a future Earth comes under attack from an alien menace that destroys the Earth's atmosphere, forcing humanity to burrow underground to survive. A crew is tasked with blasting into space in a battleship retro-fitted with alien technology in order to retrieve a piece of alien technology that will revive the Earth's ecosystem and save the human race.
Skydance Productions is hoping that Star Blazers becomes the next massive franchise hit. Director and writer McQuarrie has a fair amount of action films under his belt, but nothing as large scale or just downright kooky as a flying warship from the 1940's. McQuarrie has written screenplays for Jack Reacher (which he also directed), The Tourist, Jack the Giant Slayer, and most notably, The Usual Suspects. Hopefully his flair for screenwriting will help us buy into the ridiculous idea that throwing a battleship into space is humanity's best option in an alien attack.
It’s finally time to see how far the Internet's dollar goes. Veronica Mars was a superb teen mystery comedy drama (if that genre conflation makes any sense) that centered around high school gumshoe Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), the daughter of a private investigator who solved mysteries centered around her hometown of Neptune, California. The series was two parts Nancy Drew, one part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with a dash of Twin Peaks and Raymond Chandler for flavor. Veronica's story ended well before it’s time, but the show was revived by a now infamous Kickstarter campaign that proved that the crowd-funding website could fund a feature film with fan’s dollars. And whether or not that's entirely ethical way to fund a movie is a question we'll be pondering for years to come.
But now we're getting an extended preview at what at all those donations look like on film, and it seems like we're in for a familiar stroll though Neptune, but one that shows the characters a little older, but not necessarily a little wiser. It's been 10 years since the last episode of the series and Veronica is living in New York with her good guy boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell). But, as Veronica finds, one never leaves a place like Neptune behind for good. Veronica is swiftly called back to town when her old boyfriend, and the show's resident bad boy Logan (Jason Dohring) is charged with murder. The teaser hints at the love triangle brewing between the three friends, and has the cast place their votes on who should win Veronica's heart: Piz or Logan?
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The cast still feels like the same people we loved from the show, albeit older, but they still haven't quite moved on from their complicated relationships from high school. Even Veronica is seen falling into her old teenaged traps, especially when Logan, as slick and dangerous as ever, comes to her door fully draped in the promise of adventure. It's fun to see the cast come together to relive the show that they clearly had a blast filming, but it's really special to see creator Rob Thomas revisit his beloved characters for one last romp through Neptune's many mysteries.
Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith will be re-teaming once again for a sequel of surprise box office success story The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The movie, about a group of British pensioners who set out to retire in India, topped the U.K. film charts upon its release in 2012 and took more than $134 million (£89.3 million) worldwide.
Now Dench and Smith, along with co-stars Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Tom Wilkinson and Penelope Wilton, will head back to India in January (13) to start shooting a follow-up.
Downton Abbey star Wilton tells the Radio Times, "We had a wonderful time shooting this film the first time and I am thrilled we will be going back in January to do another one. As far as I know everybody will be returning."
As well as the film's first outing, Dench and Smith have worked together on Tea with Mussolini and Ladies in Lavender.
British singer Gary Barlow has teamed up with top designer Paul Smith to create special products to raise funds for the U.K.'s Children in Need charity. The pair has designed a bag, T-shirt and notebook which will be sold through Smith's website, with profits going towards the annual BBC fundraising drive.
The Take That star says, "BBC Children in Need is a cause close to my heart and for each campaign we think up new ideas to top those from years before.
"As one of Britain's most successful designers, Paul Smith was a stand-out choice for the project and I'm thrilled that he agreed to do this without hesitation, helping to support young people across the U.K."
Smith adds, "It's absolutely brilliant to contribute to this fantastic cause. We hope you like the range, please buy them and support the great work the charity does!"
The Children in Need telethon will take place on 15 November (13) and raises money for needy youngsters across the U.K.
"Lou was a very special poet... One thing I got from Lou, that never went away, was the process of performing live over a beat, improvising poetry, how he moved over three chords for 14 minutes. That was a revelation to me." Patti Smith adds her tribute to fellow punk icon Lou Reed, who passed away on Sunday (27Oct13).
Photos of baby animals will always be the catnip of the Internet. After all, who can resist tiny porcupines and baby puffins? Not since our collection of safari trading cards were we this excited about the animal kingdom.
So in between the oohing and awwing, Buzzfeed released this helpful video to educate yourself on the terms for these squee-inducing creatures. Learn how to differentiate your Goslings: one is a feminist meme, the other a fuzzy goose. See what a real puggle is, and not some crossbred lapdog. Also we much rather carry around a group of kittens (called a kindle) than some boring old e-reader on our next flight.
So if you're ever having a rough day, take a minute to listen to the sounds a baby porcupine makes and it will make everything better.