It looks like Michael Bay's upcoming dramatic debut, Pain and Gain, is going to require some comic relief, and Ken Jeong is his man.
The Community/Hangover star, who just last year appeared in Bay's Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, has joined Bay's indie (at least by his budgetary standards) based on the true story of a pair of Miami bodybuilders who get caught up in an extortion-and-kidnapping scheme that goes horribly awry. Yeah, another one of those movies.
Pain and Gain already boasts a formidable cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Ed Harris and Tony Shalhoub. It's due for release next year.
Mark Wahlberg Ripped and Ready for Action - HOT PIC
Michael Bay's Latest Supermodel Obsession: Bar Paly Joins 'Pain and Gain'
Michael Bay Sets 'Pain and Gain' as His Next Movie
The Secret Life of Bees director Gina Prince-Bythewood has signed on to bring the best-selling novel Before I Fall to the big screen.
Lauren Oliver's 2010 book centers on a high school senior who has it all but dies tragically in a car crash. Well, sorta: She gets a chance to relive her final day "during one miraculous week" — and in the process solve the mystery surrounding her death ... and make to some startling realizations about her life.
Prince-Bythewood — who also helmed the 2000 romance-drama Love & Basketball — will rewrite the script originally penned by Maria Maggenti (Monte Carlo), while Jon Shestack (Dan in Real Life) is set to produce.
Young-adult-novel adaptations are kinda 'in' at the moment; just a tad. Could Before I Fall be the genre's next big hit?
From Book to Movie: The Best Young-Adult Fiction Adaptations
Lily Collins Boards 'Mortal Instruments' Adaptation
The all-star cast of Quentin Tarantino's next film, Django Unchained, just lost one of its stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Golden Globe-nominated actor, who was set for a smallish role in Tarantino's highly anticipated slave-era revenge flick, was reportedly forced to drop out due to a scheduling conflict with Don Jon's Addiction, an upcoming film on which he is set to make his directorial debut and star alongside Scarlett Johansson.
As much as we love Gordon-Levitt, and we mean this with all due respect, you may not even notice his absence from Django when it hits theaters this Christmas. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Sacha Baron Cohen are just a few members of the ridiculous cast QT has assembled, as he always does.
Sacha Baron Cohen to Join Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'?
RZA Joins Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'
Kerry Washington Takes the Female Lead in 'Django Unchained'
[EW, MTV News]
Lisa Vanderpump, the only person on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that is not a tragic Tennessee Williams character, has landed her own Bravo reality show. Andy Cohen's cosmo-flavored channel announced today that Lisa VDP (and her little dog too!) will be part of a program that chronicles the shenanigans at her Beverly Hills restaurant, Sur. Oh my gosh, this is going to be just like that old show It's a Living with a bunch of crazy but sexy waitresses and their snobby British boss. Who's going to play the letchy piano player? Maybe Lisa's old gay BFF Cedric will come back!
Bravo didn't announce the name of the show, when it would air, or whether or not Lisa would still be part of RHOBH. After the sad departure of St. Camille Grammer, losing Lisa from the full-time cast would be a crushing blow.
Bravo has made a pattern of giving the most popular Housewives their own shows. It also announced on Wednesday that Atlanta Housewife Kandi Burress show The Kandi Factory, which debuted as a special last month, would become a full-fledged series. This, of course, follows the success of Bethenny Frankel's solo turn, How to Succeed in Business While Really Really Really Trying Hard, and the upcoming Kim Zolciak vehicle, I Got More Wigs Than Braincells. And somewhere, in a Manhattan apartment, the recently fired Jill Zarin weeps inconsolably.
Beverly Hills 'Housewives' Still Haven't Signed ContractsCamille Grammer Exits 'Real Housewives' CastBravo Films Special to Address "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" Suicide
Today is Quentin Tarantino’s 49th birthday. For huge fans, that’s a sufficient excuse to take a look back at the career of one of the most talented, unique directors working today. And to wonder what could have been: Though we've eaten up his bloody style in films like Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, we wish he could have done so much more. Like direct every movie in Hollywood. Oh, that's not possible? Fine — instead, we'll focus on five films we would have loved to see get the Tarantino treatment.
Natural Born Killers
Perhaps the most obvious example. Tarantino wrote the Natural Born Killers script (long before Pulp Fiction made him a star — even though the two films wound up being released just a couple months apart). Unfortunately (according to some critics), Oliver Stone infamously butchered, er, revised it, and the uneven movie we saw was not the one Tarantino had written. While the plot was undeniably interesting and the performances hypnotic (and how about that soundtrack from present-day movie-music maestro Trent Reznor!), some felt Natural Born Killers was self-indulgent, not to mention unfocused, literally and figuratively. We would have liked to see Tarantino stick closely to his original concept of a husband-and-wife crime spree, ditch the heavy-handed commentary on/satire of modern-day media, and churn out a darkly comedic crime romance for the ages.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Oh, the places this movie could’ve gone! Sadly, despite a captivating concept, its off-screen buzz, not director Doug Liman's bland stylings, led to cash at the box office. (Thank you, Bradgelina!) A hypothetical Tarantino offering, however, might have highlighted all the elements audiences wanted to see between the two biggest celebs in the world: sex, violence and action. And God only knows the depraved ways in which QT would’ve contorted the married-couple-with-secrets plot. We can dream, can’t we?
Brett Ratner’s first installment of this East-meets-West action-comedy series represented arguably the high point of his career. But it’s fun to think how great Rush Hour would’ve been in Tarantino’s hands. It’s easy, too: The culture-clash gags would’ve been a whole lot sharper (and less frequent, though not gone completely), the fight sequences and stunt work would’ve blown our minds, and the storyline would’ve actually been compelling, with more than a mere hint of danger for the protagonists, since Tarantino would’ve been working with an R rating instead of Ratner’s box office-friendly PG-13. All that, and Tarantino would’ve had the good sense to stop after one Rush Hour.
With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino showed, among other things, that he won't shy away from a little facial gruesomeness here and there. That could’ve helped John Woo’s Face/Off tremendously: Imagine the many directions Tarantino could’ve taken a story about men on opposite sides of the law who literally switch faces — or how much fun he would’ve had with a twist involving, say, a faceless Caster Troy on the run from a faceless Sean Archer! (Okay, we might’ve gotten a little carried away there.) Plus, parts of Woo’s version — which, don’t get us wrong, is fun and close to greatness on its own — are oddly melodramatic, and Tarantino would’ve no doubt been glad to excise such fat and fill it with scenes that are perhaps less mainstream audience-appropriate. And lest we forget, Tarantino and John Travolta work pretty well together.
The Usual Suspects
To be clear, the Oscar-winning 1995 original was, and remains, a classic that Bryan Singer masterfully directed. We wouldn’t really change a thing. However, there’s no doubt Tarantino would’ve been a great choice to direct as well. Perhaps nobody manipulates the audience more adeptly than Tarantino, and The Usual Suspects is at least partly about, well, f**king with the viewers. Separately, it would’ve been fascinating to see his casting skills — always a strong suit of his. But if he stuck with the original, fantastic core group — oh, the magic he and Benicio Del Toro would’ve created! All in all, Suspects is slower fare than Tarantino might be used to, which could possibly be the most tantalizing aspect of this particular fantasy: How he would handle a change of pace.
Netflix is on a do-or-die mission to make up for its tumultuous 2011. The company has already begun its foray into the television production game, picking up discarded series like Arrested Development and, potentially, Fox's recent castoff Terra Nova. But Netflix has also got some of its own original pieces in the works. The newest in this collection is Hemlock Grove, an hour-long horror series with an impressive team behind it.
Multi-hyphenate Eli Roth, director of Cabin Fever and the Hostel movies, and the bat-wielding Donny Donnowitz in Inglourious Basterds, is helming and executive producing Hemlock Grove, which has Bill Skarsgard (brother of heartthrob Alexander Skarsgard and son of Norse god Stellan Skarsgard) and X-Men's Jean Grey Famke Janssen attached to star. The series is based on a novel by Brian McGreevy, and will follow a Pennsylvania town resident's (Skarsgard) plight to solve a local murder, through mysterious, horrific and supernatural circumstances. Hemlock Grove joins the company of Netflix originals including David Fincher's House of Cards, and Jenji Kohan's Orange Is the New Black. [THR]
Last week, we learned that Modern Family bombshell Sofia Vergara would be hosting the April 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, and today it was announced that Josh Brolin would follow her, on April 14.
It will mark the second time Academy Award-nominee Brolin has hosted, and he'll no doubt be mentioning Men in Black 3, which comes out the following month; Belgian-Australian sensation Gotye will serve as musical guest for the first time in his career.
Although Vergara and Brolin carry with them undeniable star power, there's no telling how it'll translate ratings-wise: Lindsay Lohan's recent, polarizing hosting appearance resulted in the second-highest-rated episode of the season, but Jonah Hill after her and Maya Rudolph before didn't pique viewers' interest nearly as much.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Mad Men star Jon Hamm recently referenced Kim Kardashian in a magazine rant on the celebration of "stupidity" (and "being a f**king idiot"). Kardashian responded publicly on Tuesday, and now Hamm has tried to clarify his comments -- not to be confused with an apology.
Hamm was asked about the incident on Tuesday by E! News, and said: "What I said was meant to be more on pervasiveness of something in our culture, not personal, but she took offense to it and that is her right."
"It's surprising to me that it has become remotely a story," he told E! News. "I don't know Ms. Kardashian, I know her public persona."
So ... your move, Kim!
Source: E! Online
A clip of Oprah Winfrey's upcoming interview with Whitney Houston's family members, including daughter Bobbi Kristina, has made its way online, offering a glimpse of the sure-to-be-emotional sit-down.
The 18-year-old -- whose emotional state has been the subject of much speculation since Houston's death on Feb. 11 -- recently agreed to the Q&A session with her mom's old friend, as did Houston's sister-in-law/"closest confidant," Patricia, and her brother, Gary.
Although the brief video, which you can watch below, doesn't provide much in the way of details, it's clear that Oprah won't steer clear of the questions a lot of people probably want to ask, including: "How did you feel about Bobby Brown?"
Catch the interview in its entirety this Sunday, March 11, at 9 p.m. on OWN.