Whenever I saw Stephen Collins on 7th Heaven, my first thought after ranting about the name of the program was "how in the hell is he not thinking inappropriate things about his fictional daughter Jessica Biel?" But I guess that is the power of ACTING!
Anyway, Collins has joined the cast of the Farrelly Brother's The Three Stooges, playing someone who shows up at the orphanage where the trio of funny men are to adopt one of them. Larry David and Jane Lynch are nuns in this orphanage and the stooges are played by grown men Sean Hayes (sure), Will Sasso (ugh), and Chris Diamantopoulos (who?). So how exactly does Collins plan to adopt a grown man? Oh god, does this mean they’re pulling a Little Man? Oh god, the horrors, the horrors.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
UPDATE: According to the lovely lady herself, she has indeed landed the role and not a moment too soon. I was beginning to think that Jennifer Lawrence would be the only person in the movie to sex things up. Banks should be able to help her shoulder the burden. My only complaint is that I won't know who to ogle over more when they're sharing the screen together. I lead a tough life, I know.
EARLIER: Elizabeth Banks can do virtually everything. Comedy or drama, film or TV, acting or producing: there's no job in the entertainment field she's incapable of mastering. And even though she's got a gaggle of projects of her own in the pipeline, she's now circling a role in Gary Ross' adaptation of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (just like everyone else in the business these days). It would mark the first reunion between the director and star since 2003's Seabiscuit.
According to Variety, Banks is negotiating for the role of Effie Trinket, a "flighty bureaucrat who wrangles the young death-match contestants to their fates." If cast she would join Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi in Lionsgate's future franchise hopeful. I have not read the novel yet, but my colleagues here at the Hollywood.com offices believe that Banks is a spot-on pick for Trinket.
As previously stated, I can watch Banks in anything and I'm a firm believer that she's one of the best talents we have in showbiz at this time, so her involvement in what's sure to be a huge hit is a great move for her and a major coup for the filmmakers.
The Hunger Games, the first film in a planned trilogy, is set to hit theaters on March 23rd 2012.
Movie studios have been investing heavily in Taylor Lautner, signing the young star on to every exciting action project in development without seeing whether or not he can truly open a film on his own. It's a risky move, considering the lack of success that his Twilight co-star's Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have had with their films outside the tween-friendly franchise, but by the look of this explosive new trailer for Abduction, he might be able to break the mold.
John Singleton directs this thriller, co-starring Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Maria Bello and more. It focuses on Lautner's character Nathan, who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised; not just because it doesn't look like the piece of crap that I figured it's be, but because I'm a fan of Singleton and he hasn't put out a picture since Four Brothers in '05. He's back in good form here and I'm interested to see what this flick will do when it hits theaters on September 23rd. Check out the trailer below and tell us what you think.
WonderCon is turning into a wonderful place for breaking film news, as Lily Collins revealed to the world that she's seized the starring role in Relativity Media's developing Snow White project at the Las Vegas shindig. She joins Armie Hammer and Julia Roberts in the Tarsem Singh-directed fantasy epic.
This is, of course, not to be confused with Universal Pictures rival project Snow White and the Hunstman, which is starring Kristen Stewart as the fair-skinned young lady and Charlize Theron as the evil queen. That version is still without a male lead, as Viggo Mortensen, who was rumored to be taking the role of the heroic Hunstman, dropped out recently. Relativity, with pre-production well underway a more complete cast than Universal, aims to shoot in May for an earlier 2012 release (possibly June 29th) than Snow White and the Huntsman's December 2012 bow.
Collins is a rising star; daughter of famed musician Phil Collins who made her big-screen debut in 2009's The Blind Side and who next stars in May's Priest and John Singleton's Abduction opposite Taylor Lautner. She's also readying a leading role in Screen Gems' Mortal Instruments adaptation, another genre project that should project her further onto Hollywood's must-have list.
Source: Coming Soon
In either another great casting or another terribly annoying April Fool's joke, Kick-Ass star Chloe Moretz has signed on for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows. The young actress joins an already tremendously talented cast, featuring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Eva Green, as Carolyn Stoddard. For those familiar with the TV show from which Dark Shadows is based, you'll know that Carolyn is the daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Pfeiffer), the matriarch of the family. Right now, Dark Shadows (we think) is still aiming to start shooting soon and will probably release sometime in 2012. Unfortunately, we can't yet confirm if Moretz's character will channel her inner Kick-Ass and stab someone in the forehead while watch the blood drip down their face; but hey, this is a Tim Burton film, so maybe!
Lily Collins... Lily Collins... Never heard of her. *Quick Google search* Oh, she was in The Blind Side, no wonder I’ve never heard of her. And she’s the daughter of Phil Collins? Major points! Oh dang, and she’s cute too. Wait, she looks younger. *Quicker Google search* She’s 22! Phew. Let the leering begin!
Anyway, Collins has been offered the female lead in Odd Thomas, the adaptation of the popular Dean Koontz novel. It follows Thomas (Anton Yelchin is attached to play the part), a psychic short order cook who meets a tall dark stranger with a mysterious past. Stephen Sommers, as previously reported, is directing and we wish we could tell you more about the role Collins will play but we just don’t know. I guess you could go buy the book if you absolutely had to, but this is Dean Koontz we’re talking about. I have a general rule that you really shouldn’t read novels that are sold in grocery stores. I'm not sure if the phrase "you don't shit where you eat" applies here, but I'm just going to go with it! You don't shit where you eat!
Three young actresses, all Oscar nominated before they're old enough to legally drink, are now front runners for the hotly-sought after role of Katniss Everdeen in Lionsgate's Hunger Games. According to Variety, it's down to Jennifer Lawrence, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin. Gary Ross is directing the adaptation of Suzanne Collins buzzed up bestseller about a girl who takes her younger sisters place in a televised death match known as the Hunger Games, an annual tribute to the dystopian Captiol that has subjugated various districts of the land.
Lionsgate is behind the adaptation that Billy Ray wrote. The film is due on March 23rd while production should begin in the summer. The source notes that whoever Ross casts in the Katniss role will have a significant effect on the rest of roster. In the novel, Everdeen is described as a woman between 15 and 20. Lawrence's iteration of the character would no doubt skew more mature as she's the eldest of the lot (at 20) while Steinfeld and Breslin, both 14, would give a younger take on the character.
I haven't personally read the book so I can't comment on who's best suited to portray Katniss, but one thing is for sure: like he role of Lisbeth Salander before it, Everdeen is now the most wanted character in Hollywood for young starlets. They all have displayed range well beyond their age in their respective careers, so this would be a tough call for any filmmaker or casting director in the industry. I'm sure that all three of these young ladies would hop in the ring to duke it out for the part like the kids in the Hunger Games do; maybe that's the best way to pick a winner.
There are some filmmakers who work best with men and some who work best with women. Tim Burton is a bit of a conundrum. He's helped actors and actresses like Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jack Nicholson, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp transform themselves in front of cameras. Now what if I told you that he was planning on reuniting with three of those five fantastic performers for his new film Dark Shadows? I bet you'd be pretty excited; I know I am.
Deadline reports that Burton and Warner Bros. Pictures are now in talks to invite Pfeiffer and Carter to join Depp in the big-screen adaptation of ABC's gothic soap opera. Already cast are Eva Green, Bella Heathcoate and Jackie Earle Haley. The story would feature many staples of the supernatual including werewolves, ghosts, zombies, witches, warlocks and more. You couldn't ask for better material from the guy who made Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks and Planet of the Apes.
The source notes that if cast, Pfeiffer would play Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the Collins clan and owner of the Collinwood mansion i which the saga is set. Carter would take on the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, a specialist in psychology and rare blood disorders who initially is a threat to Depp's vampire Barnabas but eventually becomes an ally who might be able to cure him of his thirst for blood. The great thing about having actresses as talented and versatile as these two is that they could literally swap roles without compromising the integrity and legacy of the characters. Having both on the massive set that will be Collinwood will create a dynamic environment for Burton's cast to perform.
Deals aren't definite yet, but we'll let you know when you can start celebrating. The production is gearing up for a tentative April start for a 2012 release.
Screenwriter Jamie Linden has been blessed with an extraordinary cast for his directorial debut, the ensemble drama Ten Year. In fact, he seems to be picking prime talent from his past cinematic endeavors. Starting with just Channing Tatum (who also will produce the picture) and wife Jenna Dewan, the cast has grown to include a slew of young stars, including Chris Pine, Anna Faris, Brian Geraghty, Anthony Mackie, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Justin Long and Scott Porter (Mackie, Mara, Porter, Tatum and Geraghty all appeared in either Dear John or We Are Marshall, both which Linden penned).
Now The Hollywood Reporter says that Rosario Dawson and Lynn Collins have signed up to work on the film as well, rounding out the cast as it prepares to shoot early next year. The story focuses on a group of friends who reunite ten years after their high-school graduation. Sounds a bit like The Big Chill, which can't hurt it's potential to succeed, but I'd like to know a little bit more about where the plot will go before I sing any praises.
Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill are producing along with Tatum and his 33andOut Prods. partner Reid Carolin. The film shoots in New Mexico and all parties are eying a late 2011 release, so keep an eye out for this one.