As part of his quest to adapt every great American novel ever written, James Franco will be making his Broadway debut in a new production of Of Mice and Men. He will be playing the role of George, the uneducated and ill-tempered migrant worker in 1930's California, while his good-natured but simple-minded friend Lennie will be played by Chris O'Dowd, which officially makes this the weirdest pairing since Lady Gaga and the Muppets. Rumors about the production have been circulating for some time now, but Franco finally confirmed them on Oct. 20, during a live Q&A session at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA.
The play will be directed by Anna Shapiro, who is best known for directing the Tony Award-winning August: Osage County. There is no set timeframe for the play yet, and so far Franco, O'Dowd, and Shapiro are the only cast and crew to have signed on. Though knowing Franco, we wouldn't be surprised if he decided to take on all of the production roles as well.
There's a good chance this production will either be a smashing success or a terrible failure. While Franco has proved his acting chops in the past with his Oscar-nominated turn in 127 Hours, he's mostly followed that up with career choices that make him seem more like a punchline than a capable actor. And since nobody's forgotten about the terrible job he did hosting the 2011 Oscars, he will have to give a pretty spectacular performance in order to wipe it from everyone's minds. He has recently been winning over audiences recently with his stint on The Mindy Project and his Comedy Central Roast, but with early reviews of As I Lay Dying coming in negative, maybe Franco should have attempted a comedy for his Broadway debut. At least, that's where his trademark squinty-eyed grin seems more at home.
Of Mice and Men will also be a more serious undertaking for O'Dowd, who is primarly known and beloved for his work in comedies like The IT Crowd. Physically, O'Dowd seems to be a good fit for Lennie, and he has a great deal of experience playing characters who are dopey but well-meaning. However, while O'Dowd will definitley be able to nail the charm and kindness of the character, he'll have a hard time with the more phsycial aspects of the character. O'Dowd has also mostly played characters who have a sarcastic edge to them, and it will be interesting to see if he carries that over to his portrayal of Lennie.
Fans may be forced to wait a long time for Of Mice and Men to hit the Great White Way, however, as Franco has 14 films in the works in addition to his recently published book, Actors Anonymous, and he'll most likely be picking up a few more doctorates in between. O'Dowd is also pretty busy himself, with 5 films on his plate, inlcuding a lead role in an upcoming Lance Armstrong biopic and a part in Thor: The Dark World. On the bright side, the longer it takes for the play to open, the longer the rest of us have to come up with a clever way to work IT Crowd jokes into Steinbeck.
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.
With the Breaking Bad finale behind us, there is only more major television event of the year to get excited about: the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special. The Internet has been filled with buzz and speculation based on the few pieces of information that have been released, and the infamous trailer played at San Diego Comic-Con this year. In fact, that trailer was apparently so amazing that the show's head writer, Stephen Moffat, made a big fuss to the fans and press present, imploring them not to leak it online. It was considered a divisive move amongst fans - unsurprising, as Moffat himself causes a great deal of debate between Whovians - but it did guarantee that whatever trailer was next released for the special would need to live up to its legend. Well, the BBC has finally released a teaser for the episode and frankly... it's a little disappointing.
And as that is sure to be a controversial statement, allow us to explain: this is not the Comic-Con trailer, which is our first issue. Instead, it's meant to be a celebration of the show's 50 year history and all of the various incarnations of the Doctor. Set to the classic theme, the teaser flies through time and past the 10 previous doctors, all frozen in various poses in order to arrive at Matt Smith's Eleven, standing atop a mountain. While the audience is reminiscing, he delivers a monologue that is the only real clue as to what fans can expect from the special, and hinting at the supreme importance of November 23, the Day of the Doctor. Three companions also make an appearance: Sarah Jane, Clara, and yes, Rose Tyler. Notably missing, though, is John Hurt as the older, alternate version of the Doctor that Eleven will be forced to face off against in the special.
The teaser is a wonderful celebration of the history of Doctor Who, and hardcore Whovians will surely have fun picking it apart for clues and hidden references. However, it's hard not to wish that instead of hints and history, we got to see some actual footage from the special. It makes sense that the BBC would want to build suspense for the episode, and understandably, they don't want to reveal too much and risk spoiling anything for the fans. But, with the premiere less than a month away, it feels like the ideal time for them to release something juicy about "The Day of the Doctor", and to be honest, it's hard to hype up this episode any more than it already has been - not only is it the 50th anniversary, but it will be simulcast in 75 different countries and it will be available in both 2D and 3D.
It was going to be hard for any trailer to match the extreme expectations set by the secrecy and excitement that surrounded the Comic Con teaser, but without any footage of the special, the teaser feels like a bit of a letdown. It's especially disappointing because the network have confirmed that a special trailer has been filmed and is ready to be released, and so fans were expecting their first look at the event would show a bit more of the action. Hopefully, as the day draws closer, the BBC will give Whovians the trailer they've been waiting for this whole time and finally satisfy everyone's curiosity.
"The Day of the Doctor" will air on November 23.
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Since WikiLeaks exploded into the public consciousness in 2007, people worldwide have been fascinated by its founder, Julian Assange. The new film The Fifth Estate, attempts to understand Assange and show the founding of WikiLeaks — it's sort of like The Social Network, but with classified political documents. Assange is played in the film by Benedict Cumberbatch, but he's not the first to take on the role: Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live's master of characters played Assange on three different shows. In honor of The Fifth Estate, which opens today, we've decided to pit the two against each other and see, once and for all, who makes the best Julian Assange.
The Accent: Although Assange is originally from Australia, he has spent much of his life in Europe, resulting in a distinct accent that is a mix of several influences — meaning that both Hader and Cumberbatch have their work cut out for them when it comes to imitating it. For his part, Hader goes for an accent that sounds like it would belong to the bad guy in a black-and-white horror film, and while it works perfectly in a comedy context, it's just too goofy to be a true imitation of Assange. Cumberbatch fares better, and although it slips in places even in the trailer, it's much closer to a European-influenced Austrailian accent than what Hader's attempting.Winner: Cumberbatch
The Hair: Perhaps Assange's most distinctive feature is his white hair, which lets him stand out from all of those other computer hackers/freedom fighters. Hader's wig on Saturday Night Live is not quite white or floppy enough to be a perfect match for Assange, but it pales in comparison to the tragic series of hairstyles that Cumberbatch rocks in the film. Regardless of whether or not the hair is an accurate representation of Assange's, Cumberbatch has to lose this round, because it distracts from everything else that is happening onscreen. Seriously, watch the trailer for The Fifth Estate and see if you notice anything other than the weird, stringy pieces of hair that are always hanging in Cumberbatch’s eyes.Winner: Hader
Intimidation Factor: When Assange began leaking classified information through WikiLeaks, government officials were scared of the public backlash and about the consequences his actions would have on both the military and civilians. In the film, Cumberbatch revels in the power he gains through leaking the truth, including the ending sequence of the trailer, in which he declares that governments are all afraid of their people. However, Hader takes a different approach, and his Assange uses video messages to threaten the public — the funniest of which is a list of ways in which he plans to mess with popular websites for every day he spends in prison. While Hader is wonderfully funny, it's Cumberbatch who gives the more accurate portrayal. However, we can't completely discount that stroke of lunacy, and so this one is a draw. Winner: Tie
The Persona: Through interviews and profiles, Assange has become a character in and of himself. But who best captured that ideal combination of myth and ego? Cumberbatch tries his hardest, and his version of Assange does seem to see himself as fighting for truth and justice at all costs. However, Hader takes his Assange so far over the top that, with his maniacal laugh and a waggling eyebrow, Assange almost becomes a cartoon villain. It's less hacker-extraordinaire and more silent-film-bad-guy, but somehow Hader makes it work.Winner: Hader
Assange Stamp of Approval: Much of the press surrounding The Fifth Estate in recent weeks has been about Assange’s open letter to Cumberbatch insulting the film and requesting that he not take part in it. In fact, Assange has been quite vocal about the film being, in his opinion, inaccurate and unnecessary. However, he has never once spoken out against Hader's impression. Perhaps he didn't manage to catch any of the SNL episodes showcasing the sketch, or maybe he thinks it's too cartoonish to be taken seriously, or maybe he even finds it funny. Whatever the reason, Hader manages to come out on top here, purely due to Assange's lack of comment. In this case, we’re going to take that as an endorsement.Winner: Hader
So, with a score of 4 points to 2, it appears that Bill Hader does the best job of playing Julian Assange. Sure, it’s a bit ridiculous and over-the-top, but it’s fun, and if there's one thing that Assange could use, it's a sense of humor. To judge for yourself, you can watch one of Hader's SNL sketches below, and catch The Fifth Estate in theaters October 18, and then feel free to let us know who you think makes the better Assange.
If you've ever thought that holiday specials were too boring and safe, we have some good news for you: Lady Gaga will host a holiday special this year with the Muppets — presumably in an effort to keep things both festive and family-friendly. Lady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular will feature songs from the singer's latest album, Artpop, as well as some traditional holiday favorites. The hosts will be joined by special guests Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and RuPaul, ensuring that it will be the strangest holiday special the world has ever seen.
According to ABC, the show will be an "avant-garde twist" on traditional holiday variety shows, and is apparently a "dream come true" for Gaga, who has always wanted to perform with the Muppets. She is set to duet with Kermit the Frog and have the creatures join her for a new interpretation of her lead single, "Applause." And for those who would rather watch the puppets than the pop star, the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal will be on hand to put a Muppet-y twist on classics like "Deck the Halls" and "Jingle Bells." The special will also feature a sneak preview of the upcoming film Muppets Most Wanted, which will hit theaters in 2014.
Gaga has a long history with the Muppets, having taken Kermit as her date to the 2009 VMAs and used pieces from Jim Henson's Creature Shop on her tours. However, her most famous Muppet-collaboration is the jacket she wore in 2009 that was made entirely of Kermit puppets, and might actually beat out the meat dress as the strangest thing she's ever worn. Hopefully, Gaga will avoid turning her co-hosts into clothing this time around, although we predict there will be some kind of fashion showdown between her and Miss Piggy. Gaga was also supposed to have made a cameo in 2011's The Muppets, but the sequence was cut for time.
This is the second holiday special that the pop star has hosted for ABC, after she headlined A Very Gaga Thanksgiving in 2011. That event featured a duet with Tony Bennett, a sit-down interview with Katie Couric, and a cooking segment with celebrity chef Art Smith, in addition to Gaga performing several tracks from her second album, Born This Way. She even got into the holiday spirit with a performance of White Christmas — although, in true Gaga fashion, she wrote a whole new verse for the song (which you can see below). It's hard to imagine how the superstar will manage to top A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, which was equal parts insane and entertaining, although we're personally hoping it involves an homage to the greatest Christmas movie of all time, The Muppets Christmas Carol.
Lady Gaga & the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular will air on November 28th at 9:30 pm.
Somebody call Emma Pillsbury, because Gleeks may soon need some counseling: Glee's sixth season will indeed be its last. Creator Ryan Murphy confirmed the news at the Paley Center event on Wednesday night, when he talked about the impact that the death of Cory Monteith and his character Finn Hudson had on the show, saying "The final year of the show, which will be next year, was designed around Rachel and Cory/Finn's story. I always knew that, I always knew how it would end. I knew what the last shot was – he was in it. I knew what the last line was – she said it to him." Murphy and the show's writers are currently trying to figure out how to rework the show around Monteith's absence.
Fans of Finn and Rachel will be pleased to know that they were always meant to be together in the end, and Murphy has promised that the new ending will "honor" Monteith. He's apparently planning to present his new plan to the network next week. Rumors that the show might be coming to an end started appearing around August, when Fox president Kevin Reilly said that they weren't thinking about the show past its sixth season. However, with the death of Monteith looming large over the show and the show's slow decline in popularity and quality, Glee's departure has started to seem inevitable.
With Finn no longer in the picture, fans have been speculating about the new direction the show will be forced to take. A popular theory is that the new ending will center around Kurt Hummel and his on new fiancé Blaine. Since Murphy has previously stated his affection for both characters, this seems like a probable ending. Rachel will most likely end up a big star, and without Finn to return to Lima for, we wouldn't be surprised if her final storyline centered on her career. Hopefully, some of the show's original cast can return again, and the audience can finally get some closure about Mercedes' singing career, Quinn's success at Yale, and what Brittany could possibly be getting up to at MIT. After all, does anyone actually care about the new group of glee club kids? And, in a perfect world, Tina would finally be able to get a plot where she can be successful without everyone around her tearing her down.
No matter what happens, we're sure Miss Pillsbury has some pamphlets that will help Gleeks through this tough time. Maybe something along the lines of "Moving On After Your Favorite TV Show Ends?"
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Michael Bay might not be the most well-liked of celebrities, but two brothers recently took that dislike way too far. The director sustained minor injuries after he was attacked on the set go the fourth Transformers film in Hong Kong by the pair. The brothers allegedly approached Bay and demanded HK$100,000 (which is about $12,900 in American currency), and during the ensuing discussion, they attacked Bay and three police officers.
Bay recieved minor injuries on the right side of his face in the skirmish, but appeared to be okay, and refused any medical attention. The assailants were arrested — the younger brother on suspicion of blackmail and assault and the older brother on suspicion of assault. It is not known why they wanted the money in the first place, or whether or not the officers were injured in the attacks.
Transformers: Age of Extinction will star Mark Whalberg and Nicola Peltz and is set for a 2014 release. Bay is also currently producing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesreboot, with Megan Fox starring as April O'Neill.
Wes Anderson has such a distinctive style and tone to his films that it's possible to identify one of his projects within a few frames. In fact, his style is so uniquely recognizable that it causes normally eloquent reporters to simply describe a film as being "very Wes Anderson." Unfortunately, that is a trope that we will have to employ once again, because the director's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, with its expansive cast of quirky, slightly off characters and the hijinks they get up to just may be, well, the most "Wes Anderson" of his films to date.
Set in between the two World Wars, The Grand Budapest Hotel follows the adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the legendary concierge who runs the hotel and is particularly beloved by the rich older women who frequent it, and his confidante and protegee, lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori). The two find themselves mixed up in the thievery and eventual recovery of a priceless painting, and caught in the middle of the battle for a massive family fortune. The film also stars an enormous ensemble cast, bringing together repeat players like Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody with those who are making their Anderson debuts, such as Saoirse Ronan and F. Murray Abraham.
Based on the trailer, the film appears to be a coming-of-age-tale with an eccentric twist, much like Anderson's recent Moonrise Kingdom, and will likely be a breakout role for Revolori, whose nervously deadpan delivery works well with he offbeat plot. However, it seems as if Fiennes will be the real scene stealer here. Between his constant drawling of the word "darling" and the perfectly timed sprint away from the authorities, Fiennes will be able to showcase his comedic talents in a way that the typically dramatic actor hasn't gotten to before. It seems as if the two leads will play off of each other well, and even in the trailer, their scenes together are a delight to watch.
Even though it's only his second period piece, the European, 1920s setting seems ideal for Anderson's style, allowing him to play with colors and framing the way he does best. The conceit of the film is not a new one, but by showcasing the oddballs that often populate Anderson's films instead of focusing solely on the battle for the painting, he creates something more fun, colorful - even more twee - than other hiest movies or family dramas that are coming out soon. Although, honestly, the director has amassed such a dedicated following that even if he wasn't attempting to subvert or reinvent anything, it would most likely do well with critics and fans.
The Grand Budapest Hotel opens in theaters on March 7, 2014.
If you've been looking for just the right occasion to rock your hair donut, look no further: Girls returns for its third season on January 12, 2014. The show's creator, writer, director and star Lena Dunham announced the date in true Brooklyn-hipster fashion, by writing the date and time on her mirror in lipstick and posting a picture of it on her Instagram account.
The show's third season promises to be very interesting based on the few tidbits of information that has been released about Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa. It seems like Girls will finally address criticisms that it isn't racially diverse enough for Brooklyn with the casting of Fruitvale Station's Melonie Diaz and Danielle Brooks — best known as Taystee from Orange is the New Black — in guest roles. The writers have also had to work around the abrupt departure of Christopher Abbott, who played Marnie's ex, Charlie. However, fans can expect to see more of Elijah, as Andrew Rannells has been confirmed to reprise his role. And in the biggest reveal, the girls are rumored to come into some money this season, and finally enter a period of financial stability. Which, hopefully, will answer the question of how everyone's been managing to pay their rent this whole time.
Girls returns on January 12 at 10pm EST on HBO.
From the moment that he started making his infamous menacing phone call in 2008's Taken, Liam Neeson has become an action hero for the over-50 set. But with two Taken films under his belt and one more on the way, how could the thrill of Neeson shouting into phones and vowing revenge be re-invented? Well, according to the team behind his latest film, Non-Stop, the solution is to combine Taken with Speed and set the whole thing on a plane. Someone should send Samuel L. Jackson a check.
Non-Stop follows Neeson as Bill Marks (which is eerily similar to his Taken character, Bryan Mills), a U.S. Air Marshal who begins recieving threatening text messages while on an international flight. The mysterious texter threatens to kill one passenger every 20 minutes unless someone pays $150 million to a private account. Nobody takes Bill seriously until, in true action thriller style, passengers start dying, the plane starts crashing and someone frames Bill for the whole thing. The film also stars Julianne Moore, Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery, and House of Cards' Corey Stoll.
Based on the trailer, Non-Stop promises to check off every box in the action-movie checklist: fistfights, gunfights, suspense, seemingly insurmountable odds, an unseen, diabolical villain, an attempt to frame the hero, and a literal ticking time bomb. Sure, it's not breaking any ground, but luckily the film doesn't appear to be taking itself too seriously... after all, it's trying to make text messages seem terrifying. Neeson is bringing back his trademark don't-mess-with-me growl, which frankly loses something when it's not being directed at a faceless villain on the other end of the phone. But, it's almost comforting to know that no matter how absurd the hostage situation feels, Neeson is always there to shoot things and rescue people.
Non-Stop hits theaters on February 28, 2014.