The Weinstein Company
Idris Elba, possibly the coolest actor currently working, is rumored to be in talks to join the cast of Jurassic World. According to CinemaBlend, Elba's name has appeared in conjunction with the film in two different places: on the site ActingAuditions, where Elba is mentioned twice in a casting call, and on Jurassic World Movie News, which cites a source "fairly close" to the film who claims that the actor is in the running. And if that isn't enough to convince you, Jurassic World also appears on Elba's Wikipedia page, under his filmography. And as we all learned in school, if it's on Wikipedia, it has to be true.
So far the only two cast members who have been confirmed are child actors Ty Simpkins, who played Harley in Iron Man 3, and Nick Robinson, who is best known for the film The Kings of Summer — both the young performers will play lead roles in the sequel. Other names who have been tossed around for Jurassic World include Bryce Dallas Howard, Josh Brolin, and Jake Johnson.
Rumors that Elba might be joining the film have sent the Internet into a frenzy, as it's somewhat impossible to find someone who isn't a fan of his. If there is some kind of truth to this news, though, Elba would be a solid choice to star in Jurassic World. He's a big draw for movie-goers, as he has amassed a fan base that is willing to see anything he's in simply because he's in it — including us. Recently, he's topped the fantasy casting list for almost every project that the Internet has put together, and any time he is confirmed for a project, it's possible to feel the giddy excitement raditiating through your computer screens. It's always good for films to cast actors who will guarantee a solid turnout, and Elba's mere presence will be able to fill seats.
He's also an asset for the film due to the time he's spent working on serious dramas like The Wire and Luther, as he will probably be able to draw in audience members who prefer more serious films to adventure flicks. Jurassic World will certainly benefit from the varied audience that Elba can draw, and he will be able to provide the film with a sense of gravitas. As anyone who's seen Pacific Rim can attest, he has the ability to make speeches that would sound cheesy when performed by any other actor inspirational and powerful. When Elba declares that humanity will be canceling the apocalypse, audiences are ready to hop into a Jager and make it happen. Plus, Pacific Rim has given him experience fighting CGI monsters, which will most likely come in handy when it's time for him to outrun dinosaurs.
But with Simpkins and Robinson cast in leading roles, Jurassic World may be aiming for a younger audience, in order to draw in viewers who may have missed the first three Jurassic Parks when they came out. Not only does Elba's presence balance out the youth of the cast, but it also allows him to play the cool father figure that the boys will probably look up to. While most of his fans might skew older, Elba is awesome enough to appeal to a younger audience, and will give them a movie hero to look up to as well. Alternatively, he could play a more disciplinarian role, which would allow him to inject the film with a more serious tone, while still being able to appeal to a wide variety of movie-goers.
Really, it shouldn't take much to convince the Jurassic World producers to cast Elba in the film. Not only does to appeal to pretty much every demographic of movie-goer, but he is also incredibly talented. With Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom about to open, Elba has been surrounded by Oscar buzz, and if he recieves a nomination, it will only make him a bigger name and a bigger draw, which means a bigger box-office return for them. And for those rare beings who aren't captivated by dinosaurs, Elba will fill the void of frightening, mystifying, and wholly beautiful.
The Kings of Summer/Facebook
Nick Robinson is in talks with Universal for a leading role in Jurassic World, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
18-year-old Robinson recently starred in the drama The Kings of Summer, which follows three boys who build and live in a house in the woods. If Robinson officially signs on, he will be playing the older brother to Ty Simpkins' (Iron Man 3) leading character.
Another actor in talks for the Colin Trevorrow-direct sequel is Bryce Dallas Howard. Additionally, there is rumor that Jake Johnson (New Girl and Drinking Buddies) is also being considered for a role.
Jurassic World is expected to hit theaters June 12, 2015. Robinson can currently be seen on the ABC Family series Melissa and Joey.
If you've been waiting impatiently for news about Jurassic World, the upcoming fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, we finally have some news for you. And it's big news, too: Ty Simpkins, best known for playing the role of Harley in Iron Man 3, has been cast as the film's lead. Despite being only 12 years old, Simpkins has racked up an impressive résumé, with roles in Stephen Spielberg's remake of War of the Worlds, Revolutionary Road, and both Insidious and its sequel. Jurassic World would be his first leading role. Rumors are also circulating that New Girl's Jake Johnson and Bryce Dallas Howard will also be cast in the upcoming blockbuster.
Fans were divided in opinion over Simpkins' Iron Man character: some thought he did a good job of helping explore Tony Stark's character, others thought he was a merely tolerable child sidekick, while still others thought that the character was useless and annoying. In general, adding a child character to an action film is going to cause a great deal of complaint and debate, as it is one of the least popular film tropes. For Jurassic World to make a kid the hero of the film is a risky move. There is bound to be a great deal of overlap between audiences who enjoy both franchises, and the film may be setting itself up for a loss if most of that overlapping audience disliked Harley. Plus, it's always difficult to make a child the protagonist of a story that is catered towards adults, and could result in grown-up movie-goers skipping Jurassic World because it seems like too much of a kid's film.
Furthermore, while Harley was an important character in Iron Man 3, he serves primarily as a plot device for Tony Stark, rather than as a separate entity. The character is designed to help explore Tony's PTSD, and his own childhood issues. Harley — precocious, inventive, and alone most of the time — is a parallel to Tony himself, and therefore exists as a way to help the audience understand Tony's psyche better as well as to give him someone to whom he can be a role model. With the exception of bailing Tony out of trouble, Harley has no real influence over the plot, and exists mostly as a way to explore what's going on inside Tony's head.
Whichever character Simpkins takes on in Jurassic World, then, will hopefully be more fleshed-out. It's possible, of course, that Simpkins could be playing another version of Jurassic Park's grandchildren characters, played in the 1993 film by Joe Mazzello and Ariana Richards, and serve a more supporting, plot-servicing part in the film. However, if his character is indeed the hero of the film, it will be interesting to see whether Simpkins can carry a whole film by himself. It's a difficult undertaking for any actor to support a franchise, but the pressure will be even greater for Simpkins, who is not only playing his first lead, but will barely be a teenager when he does it.
A great deal of the film's success relies on Simpkins' character, which puts pressure on both the writers and the actor. Sure, dinosaurs can make up for a multiple of sins, but without a compelling lead, any film will fail, regardless of how invested its fans are or how many velociraptor attacks occur. That being said, having a kid as the hero of Jurassic World could work, and work well, with the right approach. As long as Simpkins' character is fully realized and multi-dimensional, then the film should have no problem getting good reviews in addition to the big box office numbers it's destined for.
Or, failing that, just scrap the human characters all together and make a film solely about the dinosaurs. Everyone should be happy with that.
Shadows and the dark, the purest representation of mystery, the unknown manifested. Director James Wan is at his best when playing with those simple elements. His sequel to the mostly creepy and mysterious Insidious, simply titled Insidious: Chapter 2, works best when characters must confront the dark. "In my line of work, things tend to happen when it gets dark," says a young Elise Rainier (Lindsay Seim), a medium in Wan's film. She seems to be channeling her director here.
Wan's horror comes from the psychological baggage of his characters. He is more interested in nightmares than in ghosts. "I've seen things with my own eyes that most people have to go to sleep to conjure up," says Rainier's former assistant Carl (Steve Coulter). It's the unconscious that brews up spirits for Wan, hence his interest in childhood traumas and how they serve to encumber our lives and ultimately make them terrifying. Transporting childhood fears to adulthood is key to Wan’s talent, even if he relies on tropes like musical stings, swish pans, and the anticipation of that frightful thing hiding in the dark. Beyond these devices, the Insidious films work best when they play with the edges of threat and mystery. Wan also deserves extra credit for keeping the frights pure and not resorting to gore, a cruel gimmick that hurts the audience more than it thrills them.
The sequel opens with a scene hinted at in the first film: like his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), our hero dad Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) was haunted as a child by a malicious spirit. Enter the younger version of Elise, who lost her life in the supernatural struggle to rescue Dalton in the first film. To find the source of the spirit, young Elise hypnotizes young Josh (Garrett Ryan), and he guides her to his bedroom closet. When she opens the door and pushes aside some clothes to reveal nothing but pitch black, she tells the darkness: "Who are you, and what do you want?"
Those are the film's best moments: when it confronts the sublime via literal darkness and mystery. Wan pushes these moments of dread from the unknown in some scenes to the point of comedy, mostly via Elise's surviving assistants, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). "You can't be in here," one spirit, a little girl in pigtails, tells them. "If she sees you, she'll make me kill you." The threat of the unknown from forbidden trespass is encapsulated in those lines. The fact that Specs and Tucker take this warning very seriously verges on humorous because it satisfies that urge to tell the characters on screen to "get out" before anyone can yell their advice at the screen.
If there is fault in Insidious: Chapter 2, it comes in the form of further rationalizing this world Wan has created with writer/actor Whannell. The better horror movies plummet further into the darkness of mystery rather than trying to shed light on the motivations of evil spirits. This second chapter offers further explanation of the spirit world journey that closed the first Insidious. Though some may find relief in this, over-explanation also saps the film of its creepy energy, which Wan works so shrewdly to draw up.
Even though he leans on some cinematic horror tropes, as noted earlier, the film's eerie atmosphere has a signature stylistic flourish. He uses low angles to present his looming haunted houses in shadowy darkness, but Wan serves up a subtle new ambiance for the genre with the help of production designer Jennifer Spence. Bright patches of color here and there liven up the sets, especially a reliance on red accents, be it on doors, stained glass or parts of clothing. But the rest of his world features darker shades of color, often painted thick on nice solid, creaky wood. There is also a whimsy to his sets featuring clouds of fog billowing from out of nowhere and slow fade outs and fades to black, lending a surreal atmosphere to the happenings in Insidious: Chapter 2. There is nothing like the irrational to pull the rug out of reality and unnerve the audience, and the film is at its best lingering and peering at that edge.
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Novelist Richard Yates tried for years to bring his 1961 story of marital trouble in ‘50s suburbia to the screen but died before seeing it finally come to fruition in the form of this scorching adaptation by writer Justin Haythe. April (Kate Winslet) and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) are young marrieds living what appears to be the ideal life in the Connecticut of the 1950s. He has a nice job she is a mother of two with dreams of an acting career. But beneath the surface is a lingering dissatisfaction with their lives; Frank is having an affair with an office worker (Zoe Kazan) and April is terribly unhappy with the way her life is turning out. They engage in ferocious arguments constantly disproving the idea they are the perfect couple. One day April decides the answer to all their problems is to move to Paris and start over. Frank initially agrees but the relationship goes downhill even further from there and things spiral out of control. Revolutionary Road’s brilliant ensemble ignites and delivers on just about every level imaginable. Kate Winslet who seemingly can do no wrong these days is heartbreakingly good as a housewife who foreshadows the feminist movement. Her April is an ambitious confused woman tragically living a couple of beats ahead of her time. Leonardo DiCaprio gives his finest film performance as a man who knows he is not living up to his potential but seems to be in a state of denial trying almost pathetically to keep what’s left of his marriage and family together. It’s the subtext and unspoken words between them that really give power to these tremendously effective performances. After the first 10 minutes you will be so mesmerized by their raw naked acting you will forget you are watching the two young stars who first appeared together in Titanic a decade earlier. Kathy Bates as a cheerful real estate agent with her own family problems is also quite good as is Michael Shannon as her disturbed grown son who seems to know more about the sad state of the Wheelers home life than anyone realizes. He should be a frontrunner for the supporting actor Oscar if there is any justice. Also blending in nicely are Kathryn Hahn and David Harbour as neighbors who are the polar opposite of Frank and April. Sam Mendes who won an Oscar for directing yet another stinging view of suburbia with his Oscar-winning American Beauty does another great job of bringing out the essence of what Yates says about a generation hiding behind a façade of happiness but living on the cusp of great profound social change. Mendes lets long dialogue scenes play out packing them with riveting moments. His filmmaking style should be savored for the insights it provides and the emotional challenges it presents. Mendes also manages to get an extraordinary portrayal of suburban angst from his real-life wife Winslet. Not since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton battled so brazenly in 1966’s Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf has there been a wounded couple’s marriage so deeply and poignantly exposed on screen.
Merging Serpico with an almost Shakespearean sense of tragedy Pride and Glory details an extremely complicated investigation into the gunning down of four New York City cops after an attempted drug bust goes terribly wrong. With increasingly bad PR and an apparent cop killer still at large the Chief of Manhattan Detectives Francis Tierney Sr. (Jon Voight) assigns his son Detective Ray Tierney (Edward Norton) to lead the probe. The younger Tierney is reluctant since he knows all four cops served under his brother Francis Jr. (Noah Emmerich) and brother-in-law Jimmy Egan (Colin Farrell). Ray’s instincts may be right because as he digs deeper he discovers an awkward and uncomfortable connection between Francis Jimmy and the case. Could his own family have been involved in an inside job and tipped off the drug dealers? Soon Ray finds himself having to choose between the greatest moral dilemma of all: loyalty to the job or loyalty to his family. Although Pride and Glory doesn’t break any new ground and is composed of elements we’ve seen in many previous films dealing with police corruption this film is distinguished by some of the finest work in the storied careers of many of its cast. Norton follows up his summer comic-book movie The Incredible Hulk with a far smaller and more focused character in P&G playing a man caught in a moral bind facing the unthinkable prospect of going after his own family members. Norton wears his ticklish predicament on his face and is enormously effective conveying pure angst. Emmerich (Little Children) delivers a rich portrayal of a tortured soul not only caught up in an intense investigation but dealing with a wife (Jennifer Ehle) dying of cancer. Farrell is better than he has been in some time playing a shady officer who seemingly will stop at nothing to get what he needs. Voight as the proud family patriarch and veteran of the NYPD clearly understands the dilemma of this man who is watching his family torn apart. Co-writer/director Gavin O'Connor has spent a frustrating couple of years trying to bring this story to the screen but his perseverance pays off. Pride and Glory is a well-written cop tale that co-exists as an interesting character study about the power of family ties vs. personal pride. O’Connor manages to put us right in the center of the moral conflict at the heart of his story and with several first-rate actors (even in the lesser roles) crafts a film that seems authentic to its core. Incorporating Declan Quinn’s in-your-face realistic cinematography O’Connor resists going for a more obvious audience-pleasing flashier style achieving a look and feel that seems more grounded in the milieu he’s trying to capture. His script co-written with Joe Carnahan (who wrote and directed the equally gritty Narc) is tight and unsympathetic slowly letting layers of a very intricate and complex story peel away to reveal a core that packs a punch right to the gut.