It's the most wonderful time of the year — well, it's wonderful for us, but not so much for everyone who works on a struggling show and the networks who have to decide what to do with them. We already told you that Emily Owens, MD and The Mob Doctor got the ax today, but they weren't the only ones who learned their fate this Wednesday. Find out who is returning, who is saying goodbye, and a snippet of casting scoop below!
Friday Night Funny: ABC has picked up full seasons of Last Man Standing and Malibu Country, but they won't be your usual 22-episode stints. Because the comedies premiered so late in the 2012-2013 season, the network only needs five more episodes of each instead of the traditional back nine. (Networks usually order 13 episodes to start, then expand from there.) Congrats to stars Tim Allen and Reba McEntire! [Deadline]
FX Announces Premiere Dates: Fear not, TV fans: Raylan Givens and his hat will be back on your screens soon enough. Justified will return to FX for Season 4 on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at 10 p.m., in case you want to make a note to set your DVR. Meanwhile, the network's comedies will return Thursday, Jan. 17, with Season 2 of Anger Management debuting at 9 and 9:30 p.m., Archer Season 4 following at 10 p.m., new series Legit at 10:30 p.m., and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell at 11 p.m.
The Inbetweeners Gets the Ax: MTV has decided not to produce a second season of The Inbetweeners — a remake of the British comedy series of the same name, that follows four awkward teenage boys trying to make it through high school in one piece. "While we won’t be moving forward with another season of The Inbetweeners, we enjoyed working with the show’s creators and such a talented, funny cast," an MTV rep said in a statement. [EW]
From One Tree Hill to Southland: Lucas Scott is moving on, y'all. Former One Tree Hill star Chad Michael Murray is finally leaving the angsty teen drama of his past behind and opting for a more age-appropriate role on TNT’s Southland. Murray will join the drama series' fifth season as Dave Mendoza, a likable police officer who is also considered to be a bit of a loose cannon. The former Tree Hill Raven will be sharing many scenes opposite The O.C.’s Ben McKenizie (a.k.a. Officer Sherman), turning the gritty cop drama into a veritable '00s-era teen idol reunion. [TVLine]
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[PHOTO CREDIT: ABC]
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Many of us grew up on film adaptations of Charles' Dickens A Christmas Carol that were somewhat star-studded. Of course, by stars, I mean beloved cartoon and puppet characters. A Muppet Christmas Carol and Mickey's Christmas Carol stick out in my mind, with Kermit in the ever important Bob Crachit role and Scrooge McDuck appropriately taking on Ebenezer Scrooge. respectively. But there are countless versions of the tale that are a little more serious. From the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart to the 1984 version with George C. Scott, to the scratchy old black and white iteration from the 30s to Bill Murray's classic reimagining titled Scrooged, I've seen them all. And being that I'm a bit of a Christmas nut, I look forward to the new versions Hollywood offers up every few years. I was so disappointed with 2009's Jim Carrey scary-animation Disney version, that I've been planning this list for a while. The next Christmas Carol movie should put animation on the back burner and cast these folks in the live-action roles instead.
Ebenezer Scrooge: Michael Fassbender
He's too young, you may say, but need I remind you that a large chunk of the story involves flashbacks to an earlier time when Scrooge wasn't so selfish and heartless? Fassbender occupies a space where he can easily play a man much older than he is (Scrooge is about 50) and play a man much younger (flashback Scrooge is late 20s to early 30s), which is something that always bothered me about various screen versions of the tale - it's always odd to see different actors playing the same man at age 50 and age 30. Plus, if you saw his performance as Rochester, you've got to admit, he's got the recluse crumudgeon schtick down.
Bob Cratchit: James McAvoy
Bob has a bit of boylike wonder and charm about him, despite his dire circumstances. He's a young man made older by his hardships, but he's ever optimistic. James McAvoy has a similar boyish charm about him, though he's anything but a youngster. The 32 year old actor could take on the classic role with ease.
Jacob Marley: Bill Hader
I've always enjoyed it when the Jacob Marley character is played with a little humor. He's the first ghost Scrooge encounters and he's the miser's oldest friend. A capable comedic actor like Bill Hader could lend the eerie warning a veil of goofiness as Marley sends Scrooge on the existential journey of a lifetime.
Tiny Tim: Asa Butterfield
Sure, he's 14 years old, but the kids who play Tiny Tim often need to be a bit older than the character is meant to be in order to deliver the necessary performance. And kid actors should be used to playing younger characters at this point. Butterfield is a bit of an obvious choice, he's British and he just played a street urchin in Hugo, but you have to admit, it would work.
Fezziwig: John C. Reilly
Old Fezziwig is one of the merriest characters in A Christmas Carol, hosting the raucous, joyous Christmas Ball where Scrooge used to enjoy himself before he became such a grump. Reilly would be perfect - he often skirts the line between drama and comedy and he's one of the most likeable onscreen presences out there.
Belle: Natalie Portman
Scrooge was once in love, but lost it forever due to his insatiable greed. Belle was the object of his affection and she was the sweetest, most beautiful girl you could imagine. In the course of the story, we find that Scrooge broke her heart forever. Portman has played this character countless times and it would be an easy fit for her. Besides, you couldn't throw just any pretty, young actress in this role, Belle has always had a certain air of maturity that Portman exudes.
Fred: Rupert Grint
Scrooge's nephew is his exact opposite. He's joyful, giving and gracious. He loves a good time and gives willingly to the poor, all of which Scrooge chalks up to his inexperience and youth. Who better to bring that out in a young nephew than Ron Weasley?
Ghost of Christmas Present: Armie Hammer
This ghost is the jolly giant, with floor length robes and long mane of curls with a wreath around his head. He's basically your run of the mill Father Christmas. I say slap a beard and a wig on Armie Hammer, and you'd get one of the jolliest Ghosts of Christmas past ever. This ghost has always had a youthful flair to him, so it really shouldn't matter how old the man in the suit is as long as the spirit is there.
Ghost of Christmas Past: Jessica Chastain
The Dickens tale calls for this character to be androgynous, but I've always enjoyed the interpretation of the character as a female. There's a certain maternal element to showing Scrooge his past. Of course, this character is always ethereal and shrouded in white (except when Disney had Jiminy Cricket in the role) and Chastain's classic beauty and manner could easily fit that interpretation.
Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come: Michael C. Hall
This character is essentially the Grim Reaper. There's no face to be seen, so it's all about the voice, and who better to warn Scrooge of his doom than the voice that haunts so many of our dreams as Dexter?
Timur Bekmambetov to Direct Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Ever since I watched Russian auteur Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2004) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) (2006) a few years back, I'd been excited to see what the director would be capable of when he inevitably made his way to Hollywood. So I was somewhat let down when his first American feature was 2008's flashy but uninspired Wanted, a movie that only hinted at the depths Bekmambetov's creativity.
For a while it was assumed that the Russian's next project would be a sequel to Wanted, but in a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Bekmambetov revealed that Wanted 2 has stalled while James McAvoy is shooting X-Men: First Class, and that he has begun working on a new project instead: writer Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Vampire Hunter is a faux-historical epistolary-style book written as a biography of the life of the 16th President, in which Lincoln is reimagined as an axe-wielding politician with a vendetta against the vampires who took his mother's life.
While we've known for some time that he was set to produce the film with the legendary Tim Burton, this is the first time Bekmambetov has confirmed that he will also direct. "[Vampire hunter] I’m prepping to direct myself," he said in the interview. "It is not a comedy at all – it is a very entertaining, epic history lesson for millions and millions of teenagers. If you remember Night Watch, it is maybe in the vein of that kind of movie. We are keeping the traditional look of Lincoln – the big hat and the beard. He has to be historically correct, but with a few special weapons… I hope we will start this winter. We are shooting in America."
Obviously, as a fan of his earlier work, anything "in the vein of [Night Watch]" sounds promising to me. While it's a shame American audiences haven't yet gotten the opportunity to appreciate Bekmambetov's creative genius - which was sadly lacking in Wanted - his upcoming partnership with Tim Burton is certainly an encouraging sign that Vampire Hunter is headed in the right direction.
Bekmambetov also gave Empire a number of updates on his other projects - including a 3D drunk-driving horror movie - which you can read about here or below:
Wanted 2: "We are discussing Wanted 2 every month. We are working on it now, but I think it will be after Lincoln because James (McAvoy) is working on the X-Men: First Class… It’s why I decided to develop Lincoln without a studio, to keep control. It’s a big movie but independent too."
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: "Yes, it is happening. We are in development with a writer and Ridley Scott’s people. It’s early in development. I would like to direct myself – it’s a great tale that I love from my childhood. It will be a modernized version of the famous book."
Moby Dick: "I’ve developed the whole world, but we’re still working on the script. To fight a supernatural creature, you need people with supernatural abilities. It’s the same story but with a different take, much more mystical. The whalers are not ordinary people, and yes, the whale will be done digitally."
Red Asphalt. "I am working on that with Lionsgate. It’s a movie about drunk driving… in 3D! 3D is the only way to recreate what you feel when you drink and drive."
"It’s my original idea – I wrote the treatment. Everyone drinks and drives once, and I want to make a horror movie about it. It’s one big car chase. People will feel what it’s like when you’re drunk and driving, and it’s really scary. The world is not exactly the same."
The Knights Templar: "That is a project I am developing with Universal. I wrote the treatment but it’s not something I am doing in the near future. It’s a great story, but… It’s why I’m producing, because there are too many stories. I have to give them to other people sometimes.
Twilight Watch [The sequel to Night Watch and Day Watch - unrelated to the Twilight Saga]: "I hope it happens. It’s like first love – we created this world and now I’m watching the Twilight movies, I feel like we missed something by not doing Twilight Watch. Because there are a lot of ideas in those films that we were going to use. But we didn’t finish the story. It would be good to get around to it one day. "
The Last Witchhunter: "I am not working on that one. It was in discussion but is not happening now."
Black Lightning: "We are talking with Universal about producing an English-language remake, but I am not directing it."
Source: Empire Online
July 1 marks the halfway point of the movie year, and there is a clear winner among the major Hollywood studios. With the top 3 grossing movies of 2008, Paramount is riding high with both Marvel’s Iron Man and Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull topping $300M and DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda at $181M now and a cinch for $200M+. The Melrose gang will be the first studio in history with back-to-back-to-back $200M+ grossing movies.
With an estimated $1.054 billion in domestic box office, it will be impossible for anyone to catch Paramount in the market share race for 2008, especially when the studio has 2 sure bets for $100M+ due in the next 6 months. First comes the much buzzed-about DreamWorks comedy Tropic Thunder in August, featuring another standout Robert Downey Jr. performance and a scene-stealing turn by Tom Cruise. Then comes Madagascar 2, also from DreamWorks, in November, which I am hearing very positive reports about.
Paramount is likely to exceed the $1.49 billion in domestic box office it generated last year, and they have an outside shot at surpassing the all-time record $1.71 billion generated by Sony in 2006. To do it, the studio would need Madagascar 2 to be huge and to get help from DreamWorks’ DJ Caruso/Shia LaBeouf re-teaming for Eagle Eye in September, David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in December and perhaps Joe Wright’s follow-up to Atonement, The Soloist, starring Robert Downey Jr. (again), Jamie Foxx and Catherine Keener, which is expected sometime this fall with plenty of Oscar buzz.
The battle is on for the year’s #2 spot, which Fox now holds with almost $650M domestic. Horton Hears a Who ($154M domestic) has led the way for Fox, and the rest of the studio’s year has been comprised of good solid hits like 27 Dresses, starring Katherine Heigl ($76.8M), Doug Liman’s Jumper ($80.15M) and the Ashton Kutcher-Cameron Diaz vehicle What Happens in Vegas ($79M). The always smartly run Fox even managed to wring about $60M out of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening so far.
Meet Dave, starring Eddie Murphy, is Fox’s next release with director Brian Robbins trying to recapture the box office glory of Norbit ($95.6M domestic). If Murphy scores, Fox will have a leg-up on the competition for the year-end 2nd-best market share, although they follow with the animated Space Chimps on July 18 and the long-awaited X-Files sequel on July 25, both of which are viewed as less-than-sure things. The studio’s late year breakout hit candidates include Bill Murray and Tim Robbins in the futuristic City of Ember in October, Baz Luhrman’s highly anticipated Australia at Thanksgiving, a remake of 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still (featuring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu) in December and Marley & Me, based on John Grogan’s bestselling memoir and starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, at Christmas.
The surest blockbuster in the second half of 2008 is, without question, The Dark Knight. With $200M all-but-assured for the Christopher Nolan sequel and Get Smart a safe bet to exceed $100M, Warner Bros will have three $100M grossing films (Sex and the City is the 3rd) and one near-miss with Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 B.C., which topped out at $95M domestic. The studio is currently #3 in market share with an estimated $505M in U.S. theaters.
When you consider that Warner Bros still has Star Wars: The Clone Wars due in August, the re-teaming of Diane Lane and Richard Gere in Nights in Rodanthe in September, Ridley Scott’s House of Lies, based on the excellent David Ignatius CIA thriller Body of Lies and starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, in October, and the next Harry Potter installment set for Thanksgiving, Warner Bros is probably the betting favorite to be 2008’s #2 studio.
With $472M banked so far in 2008, you cannot count Sony out of the battle for 2nd place. Although Hancock will be the studio’s first $100M+ hit of 2008, it certainly will not be their last. The year has featured 3 good, solid box office successes with You Don't Mess with the Zohan ($91.67M so far), 21 ($81.15M) and Vantage Point ($72.26M), and the Will Smith superhero film, which opened last night, is a can’t-miss.
Four major blockbusters loom for Sony starting with Step Brothers, starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, on July 25, followed by Judd Apatow’s The Pineapple Express, which will compete with Tropic Thunder for the biggest late-summer hit. (James Franco, who plays a hilarious stoner, could be one of the breakout stars of the year.) The studio will finish the year with the newest James Bond film Quantum of Solace and Will Smith in the Oscar-friendly-but-still-commercial 7 Pounds.
Universal is currently #6 with $447M domestic, but the year is heating up for them. Although the Marvel-financed and -produced Incredible Hulk appears to have stalled out and will finish its domestic run with less than Ang Lee’s version 5 years ago, it still should reach about $130M. Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, is just beginning what should be a healthy run well above $100M. The studio follows next Friday with Hellboy II, a Guillermo Del Toro sequel to his wildly original 2004 movie Hellboy. The franchise-starter generated a domestic gross of only $59.62M, but the movie found new fans on DVD and cable and Del Toro had a few more dollars to play with this time. If Universal connects with Hellboy II, a streak of five $100M+ grossing films is not out of the question because both Mamma Mia! and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor are good bets to pass that magical threshold.
The end of the year for Universal features a few Oscar contenders, including Flash of Genius and Frost/Nixon, an important prestige film with both Oscar pedigree and some box office upside, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, and the animated Tale of Despereaux.
Disney's biggest 2008 hit to-date is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian with an underwhelming $138M, but Wall-E, after a $60M+ opening weekend, is a game-changer with $250M domestic not out of the question. Disney has generated a total of $475M domestic so far, but its only remaining titles that show blockbuster potential are High School Musical 3 in October, the animated Bolt in November and Adam Sandler's Christmas comedy Bedtime Stories. Because of its strictly limited number of releases, Disney is unlikely to compete for the #2 market share in '08.
Among the 5 studios above, I consider Warner Bros to be the favorite to finish the year with the 2nd-best market share with odds of 5/2. Sony is the next best bet at 7/2 followed by Fox at 6/1, Universal a live underdog at 8/1 and Disney 15/1.
British film Atonement leads the nominations for the 2008 Golden Globe Awards with nods in seven categories.
Keira Knightley has been shortlisted for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) for the romantic epic, and her costar James McAvoy picked up the same honor in the Best Actor category. Joe Wright has also received a Best Director nod for the critically lauded adaptation of Ian McEwan's 2001 novel.
Atonement will be competing for the coveted Best Motion Picture (Drama) award with American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.
Hollywood star George Clooney joins McAvoy in the running for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) prize for his role in Michael Clayton, as do Daniel Day-Lewis, for There Will Be Blood; Viggo Mortensen, for Eastern Promises; and Denzel Washington, for American Gangster.
Knightley will be battling it out with Cate Blanchett, for Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Angelina Jolie, for A Mighty Heart; Julie Christie, for Away From Her; and Jodie Foster, for The Brave One.
Sweeney Todd has been nominated for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Director for Tim Burton and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for Johnny Depp. Depp will be up against Ryan Gosling, for Lars and the Real Girl; Tom Hanks, for Charlie Wilson's War; Philip Seymour Hoffman, for The Savages; and John C. Reilly, for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) are Amy Adams, for Enchanted; Nikki Blonsky, for Hairspray; Helena Bonham Carter, for Sweeney Todd; Marion Cotillard, for La Vie En Rose; and Ellen Page, for Juno.
Ridley Scott, for American Gangster; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, for No Country for Old Men; and Julian Schnabel, for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, will be in the running with Wright and Burton for the Best Director prize.
The awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Jan. 13.
(Click here for the complete list of nominations.)
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