20th Century Fox Film
Hi, Nancy.Hi, Helen.What's the story, morning glory?What's the word, hummingbird?Have you heard about Hugo and Kim? They were cast in Star Wars: Episode VII, although there's no confirmation just yet. I think Kim's playing Bib Fortuna.
That's pretty much what the last year and change has felt like — rumors upon rumors upon rumors of who might be cast in J.J. Abrams' upcoming addition to the Star Wars series. We've heard tell of Clone War veterans reuniting for the film, blockbuster fixtures like Gary Oldman and Andy Serkis, rising indie mavens drawing notice from their turns in Coen Bros dramas and HBO series. But the waiting is over. Courtesy of TheWrap, we have official news of the 12 performers cast to headline the next Star Wars movie. Here's who they are, where you might know them from, and what we can expect from them in the new film.
Mark HamillBest known as: Luke Skywalker, power converter spendthrift and daddy issues-haver.Age: 62.In the new movie: We know very little of what Hamill will be brought on to do in the upcoming film, though with his standing as the Original Trilogy's central hero and his family rallied at the head of this story (presumably), we imagine that Hamill will have a good amount to do.
Carrie FisherBest known as: Princess Leia Organa, rigid adversary of the nerf herder lobby.Age: 57.In the new movie: We've been told, in only the most tenuous terms, that Star Wars: Episode VII will focus on Han and Leia's kids. So even if she and Ford are sidelined as the parental figures who've seen it all before (hey, it's kind of like that new Boy Meets World spinoff), then they'll likely be around for a healthy sum.
Harrison FordBest known as: Han Solo, alleged Kessel Run record holder and reformed atheist.Age: 71In the new movie: On top of the above, new rumors allow that Ford will have a pretty significant role in the new film. Considering his latter days screen presence, we imagine something in the vein of an extended carbonite nap. A few are actually predicting that Han might bite the dust in VII.
Peter MayhewBest known as: Chewbacca, devoted Life Day celebrant and family man.Age: 69 (though that's only like, 14 in Wookiee years).In the new movie: Some people are already pretty livid that Chewbacca's in the film at all, considering his death in the Expanded Universe, but you don't bring out the Wookiee suit just to have him play canasta.
Anthony DanielsBest known as: C-3PO, buzzkill.Age: 68.In the new movie: I don't know, probably a lot of kvetching.
Kenny BakerBest known as: R2-D2, frequent film extra and Robot Hall of Fame inductee.Age: 79.In the new movie: Doot beep beeeooo doot.
Oscar IsaacBest known as: The titular misanthropic folk musician in the Coen Brothers' 2013 film Inside Llewyn Davis.Age: 35.In the new movie: Isaac's role is anyone's guess at this point, although two call-outs in a casting release from last year speak to his nature. He might be playing "a late 20-something male. Fit, handsome, and confident," or, more likely, "a 30-something male, intellectual. Apparently does not need to be fit."
Adam DriverBest known as: Adam, the Lena Dunham's oddball love interest on the HBO dramedy Girls, or the space cowboy from Inside Llewyn Davis.Age: 30.In the new movie: Rumors surrounding Driver's initial mention in regard to the film had him pegged to be the villain. We had some fun with that one.
Andy SerkisBest known as: Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movies.Age: 50.In the new movie: Considering his mo-cap history, Serkis is probably playing an alien. And that's awesome.
Max von SydowBest known as: Blofeld in Never Say Never Again, the older priest in The Exorcist, or the guy from all those Ingmar Bergman films.Age: 85.In the new movie: Last fall's casting call advertised the film's search for "a 70-something male with strong opinions and a tough demeanor," exempting the necessity for physical fitness. We can't get more specific than this but it seems like von Sydow is going to be taking on some kind of authoritarian position. Maybe at the Academy (training the Solo kids, per chance), or as the penny-pinching new owner of the Cantina.
Domhnall GleesonBest known as: Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies, or the fellow from About Time.Age: 30.In the new movie: Gleeson could rival Isaac in either of the character descriptions mentioned above, though he does seem more the intellectual type (if only for the British accent).
John BoyegaBest known as: The kid from Attack the Block.Age: 22.In the new movie: Boyega could be playing the character Thomas that was advertised in a casting call last year:
"Young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be 18 or over. Has grown up without a father's influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn't have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can't take life too seriously."
Daisy RidleyShe's pretty new.Age: I don't know — 20? In the new movie: Could be Rachel, who was introduced in the same casting call:
"Young woman to play 17-18 Years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multi-racial). Must be 16 or over. Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to make her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead."
So there you have it: still a whole lot of grey area! But at least we know something!
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Yes, yes, we know Halle Berry has shown her "guns" before. That's why millions of people went to see the pretty awful film Swordfish. However, we're talking real guns this time. She's in negotiations to join Ben Affleck (if he can stay off the booze) in Gigli, directed by Martin Brest for Revolution Studios. The premise of the film--I've talked about this one before, and it's still a doozy--centers on a lowly hit man (Affleck) who kidnaps the mentally challenged brother of a prominent district attorney. Berry will play a free-spirited gunslinger (please, is there any other kind?) sent in, ostensibly, to supervise the kidnapping but ends up partnering with the guy and going on the lam with him. Of course, through the process, he falls in love with her. Let's hope, through another strange and wild process, the title is somehow explained.
Down on the "Farm"
The newest hunk-o-rama in Hollywood, Colin Farrell, is set to star with Al Pacino in The Farm, a CIA thriller about an agent trainee (Farrell) who suspects his seasoned CIA instructor (Pacino) is a double agent. Production is to begin Nov. 1. OK, first, I'll talk about the movie, which sounds pretty average considering who is in it. But, sometimes, that's a good thing. What I really want to talk about is Irish-born Farrell. He made a big splash last year in the indie Tigerland and has been steadily rising in the ranks ever since. His most recent movie American Outlaws, where he plays outlaw Jesse James, opens in theaters this week, and he just finished wrapping Minority Report opposite Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. For Farm, Farrell will receive a whooping $5 million, nearly double his usual asking price. And did I mention that he was damn cute? I did? OK, just checking.
Bound by "Rules
It's the gang from the WB, together once again. Well, at least parts of them. Jessica Biel (WB's 7th Heaven and the upcoming film Summer Catch) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek) will join Kip Pardue (Driven), Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie 2) and Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight's Tale) in the Lions Gate film The Rules of Attraction. The story, based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero), is set at the height of Reagan's 1980s in a small, affluent, liberal arts college in New England. It follows three students as they sort out a romantic triangle and other such travails of--and this is Variety's description--the "self-consciously postmodern undergrad." Ah. This sounds suspiciously like another movie about three college students who have to sort out romantic problems. Anyone remember the 1994 Threesome with Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin and Josh Charles? Which was actually a pretty good movie. Well, Rules certainly sounds like it should be on the WB. And maybe not on the big screen. But, alas, I'm not the one running the show out there.
Jolie on "Border" patrol
If anyone is truly interested, the film Beyond Borders has had a long history of being on-again, off-again at Mandalay Pictures. Now it's on-again, with Angelina Jolie attached to star and Martin Campbell (Vertical Limit) to direct. It's a love story that takes place during the course of many years and set against the backdrop of humanitarian efforts worldwide. OK, so we don't know too much about the script so far, but I'm sure we will at some point. Here's the history lesson: In 1999, Kevin Costner and Catherine Zeta-Jones were attached to star, with Oliver Stone directing. But the actors had to drop out after awhile to do other stuff. Costner came back in the picture in the spring of 2000, with Meg Ryan as a possible costar. But Jolie wanted it and signed. Still, things were not moving very fast. Costner left for good in fall 2000 to be replaced by Ralph Fiennes. Then production halted at the beginning of the year, so Stone and Fiennes said so long. Jolie went on to do another project but said she was still interested if and when the film came to fruition. And here we are! Welcome to the wacky world of filmmaking.
Miramax has snagged the project My Baby's Mama after an intense bidding war last week. Bidding wars still happen? Remember that much talked about industry practice, where a script is sent to major studios on a Friday, with a lot of hype attached to it, and is frantically bid upon over the weekend by execs who just have to have it . Honestly, I thought that was a late '80s, '90s thing when the Joe Eszterhas' of the writing world ran things and demanded top dollar. Well, I guess I was wrong. Comedian Eddie Griffin's (Double Take) script, a cross between Three Men and a Baby and Soul Food, was bought by Miramax for Griffin to star along with John Leguizamo, LL Cool J and Lil' Kim. Apparently Miramax always had the upper hand in getting the project because of its alliances with several of the factions involved. But I wonder how much they paid for a script that seems less than spectacular.
Just call him "Sloppy Seconds" Frankenheimer
To be fair, the acclaimed director John Frankenheimer has made some action-packed and fascinating films in his career. Films such as the 1962 The Manchurian Candidate, 1966's Seconds and the 1977 Black Sunday. But lately he's been slipping, especially with last year's dismal Reindeer Games. And now he is set to direct the prequel to The Exorcist. What? We find out how the devil gets into little Reagan's attic? No, the story apparently revolves around what happened to Father Merrin during his missionary work in post-World War II Africa, where he first encounters the Big Red Horned One. One will remember Max Von Sydow's account in the original Exorcist, with brief flashbacks showing some poor African being possessed. Honestly, do we care? The most noteworthy part of this deal, however, is that Frankenheimer is once again following the footsteps of director William Friedkin. Most won't remember but Frankenheimer directed The French Connection II, a sequel to the original classic directed by Friedkin. Maybe those powers that be approached Friedkin about doing these sequels and he said, "Naw, I don't want to do it. But ask John. He'll go for it."