July 30, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
The cast of Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” is still growing. Today Deadline reports Daniels has found his MLK in “True Blood” actor Nelsan Ellis, who joins a cast that already includes Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Liam Neeson, Nicole Kidman, Minka Kelly, Cuba Gooding Jr, Alex Pettyfer, Terrance Howard and Lenny Kravitz in the true historical tale.
Whitaker plays Eugene Allen, the White House butler who started out as an entry level “pantry man” in pre-Civil Rights 1952 to serving eight presidents over 30 years and witnessing firsthand such historical events as the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. Winfrey and Oyelowo play his wife and son, respectively, while the rest of the cast all play real life historical and political figures, which now includes Ellis as the iconic Civil Rights leader. Filming is underway.
Ellis appeared in “The Help” with Oyelowo, as well as sports films “Secretariat” and “The Express”, though he’s most well known for his role as short order cook and gay witch Lafeyette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood”, now in its 6th season. He recently wrapped up shooting indie films “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” opposite Keiefer Sutherland and Kate Hudson, and “Gods Behaving Badley” with Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone.
June 26, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Another day, another “Hunger Games” casting update. Today EW jumps into the fray, reporting that actress Jena Malone is also in the running for the role of Johanna Mason in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” While it was reported last week that Mia Wasikowska and model/actress Zoe Aggeliki were among the names being considered for the pivotal supporting role opposite Jennifer Lawrence, EW says Wasikowska, at least, is not in contention, and does not have the time in her schedule to shoo the film.
Like that other big casting question mark Finnick Odair, Johanna is in her twenties, and is a former Tribute and survivor of the Hunger Games. She hails from District 7, and has lost everyone she knows, making her jaded and dangerous – she’s got nothing left to lose. She and Lawrence’s Katniss have an antagonistic relationship at first, but she ultimately becomes an invaluable ally. Francis Lawrence will begin directing the sequel in the fall, with Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz and more of the original cast all returning to reprise their roles, and “Catching Fire” already has a release date of November 23, 2013.
Malone, last seen on the big screen opposite Emily Browning in Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch”, also recently appeared on hit TNT mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys.” She’s attached to play acclaimed novelist Carson McCullers in “Lonely Hunger” later this year, as well as indies “A Doll’s House” and “The Go-Getters.”
May 23, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Looks like it will be Minka Kelly – and not Mila Kunis – who will be playing Mrs. JFK in Lee Daniels’ historical drama “The Butler.” The director tells ScreenDaily that he has chosen the “Friday Night Lights” star for the role of Jackie Kennedy, to play opposite Matthew McConaughey as John F. Kennedy. Forest Whitaker stars in the film as Eugene Allen, the titular White House butler, with Oprah Winfrey as his wife and David Oylowo as his son.
Based on Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election”, the story will follow Allen as he goes from an entry level “pantry man” in pre-Civil Rights 1952 to serving eight presidents over 30 years and witnessing firsthand such historical events as the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy. The rest of the cast includes John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan, as well as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Nicole Kidman and Lenny Kravitz in unspecified roles.
Kelly broke out as cheerleader Lyla Garrity on critically acclaimed NBC series “Friday Night Lights”, which ended last year. After a starring role in horror flick “The Roommate” turned out to be a dud, Kelly has mainly stuck to TV, with a recurring role on hit NBC series “Parenthood” and as one of the new “Charlie’s Angels” in a reboot of the 1970s series.
March 6, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
One thing that’s been really great about the marketing for “The Hunger Games”, is that each trailer and clip released thus far have fittingly and wisely focused on the more universal, action/political themes and less on the girly love triangle aspects of the story. We’ve seen Katniss and her archery, and now we get a glimpse at the beginning of one of the most crucial relationships in the saga, between two people who will never make out. Jennifer Lawrence sits in a bare but still futuristic feeling room in a hospital gown, greeted by Lenny Kravitz, who introduces himself as Cinna, who will be designing all of Katniss’s costumes in the pageantry that precede the Hunger Games. Immediately, she realizes there’s something more than just being pretty and fashionable going on.
Kravitz plays Cinna as a bit more serious than the character in the book, though it’s not an unwelcome change, and the chemistry between the two also seems pitch perfect. All in all, it’s an enticing new tease of a movie that seems to be trying to strike a weird balance between wanting to be taken seriously for its serious subject matter, while simultaneously cashing in on some “Twilight” business with tween-friendly mall tours featuring its pretty young cast, merchandising that includes nail polish and more. We’ll see which side it falls on when “The Hunger Games” is released on March 23rd.
Gary Ross directed the film that also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and more. See the new clip via Yahoo! Movies below.
February 2, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
A new trailer has arrived for “The Hunger Games”, the Gary Ross film based on the best-selling teen novels that’s increasingly being marketed as The Next Twilight. Just like in the first trailer, the focus is put squarely on the shoulders of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, the unwitting Games participant who sparks something bigger than anyone realizes when she volunteers to go into the arena to fight other kids to the death in the place of her sister. Thankfully, Lawrence seems more than up to the task in the new footage shown here.
Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and more co-star, but “The Hunger Games” is clearly Lawrence’s show.
It was also announced today that the film will get a limited one week run on IMAX starting on March 23.
January 19, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
It’s one of the most striking and talked-about scenes from “The Hunger Games” and today Entertainment Weekly has our first look at Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss garbed and ready to ignite to become the Girl on Fire (that’s Lenny Kravitz as costume designer Cinna’s hand holding that flame to her outfit) during the opening ceremony of the Games. Hey, you want to look good before you’re sent into the jungle to fight 23 other kids to the death.
Director Gary Ross tells EW, “What Cinna was trying to do was create something that came out of District 12, out of a coal mining world, with a fresh, bold look to it. So Judianna went to this wonderful black reflective material that glistened like coal or graphite and would obviously work well in the Tribute parade where Katniss becomes the Girl on Fire.” Fire, of course, has great significance to the world that Katniss inhabits. In an obvious nod to her Girl on Fire persona, “Catching Fire” is the title of the second book and movie, already set for a November 23, 2013, and details the uprising that begins to take hold of the lower class citizens of Panem in the wake of the Games.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) will get their shot at winning “The Hunger Games” when it’s released on March 23, 2012. The full image of the District 12 duo in their Tribute parade costumes can be seen below.
November 14, 2011 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
With a release date set for March 23rd 2012, promotional material for Gary Ross’s adaptation of “The Hunger Games” has been slowly trickling out, first with an awesome fiery motion poster and then just last month, the first character posters. The first teaser was underwhelming at best, but now, premiering today on Good Morning America, we have the first full length trailer.
Starring Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, the film, based on the first novel of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling teen trilogy, is set in a post apocalyptic North America where an oppressive Capitol randomly chooses 24 children to enter an arena and battle each other to the death. Katniss volunteers herself to take the place of her little sister (Willow Shields), and inside the arena is in turns pursued and protected by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a baker’s son from her neighborhood, as well as 22 other enemies. Surrounded by friends and foes that include Liam Hemsworth as best friend Gale, Woody Harrelson as her drunken mentor, Lenny Kravitz as her costume designer and Elizabeth Banks as her pushy handler, Katniss must use her strength and smarts to ensure she emerges the victor.
November 8, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
I’ve been pretty critical of all the promotional material that has been released by Lionsgate thus far for Gary Ross’s adaptation of “The Hunger Games”, but I must say, this new still of Jennifer Lawrence toting Katniss’s famous bow and arrow left me a bit breathless. She looks great, and it really is a striking thing to see Katniss Everdeen come to life so closely resembling how fans of the books saw her.
The film, based on the first novel of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling teen actioner trilogy, is set in a post apocalyptic North America where an oppressive Capitol randomly chooses 24 children between the ages of 12 – 18 to enter an arena and battle each other to the death until only one victor emerges alive. When Katniss’s little sister Prim (newcomer Willow Shields) is chosen, Katniss volunteers herself to take her place. Inside the arena she is in turns being pursued and protected by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a baker’s son from her neighborhood. Inside and outside the arena she’s surrounded by friends and foes that include Liam Hemsworth as her best friend, Woody Harrelson as her drunken mentor, Lenny Kravitz as her costume designer and Elizabeth Banks as her pushy handler.
“The Hunger Games” will be released on March 23, 2012 with its first sequel, “Catching Fire”, already set for a November 23, 2013 release.
October 27, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
What can we say other than, Holy Photoshop Batman! While “The Hunger Games” remains one of our most highly anticipated upcoming movies, the promotional materials released thus far can justly be described as awful (with the exception of that awesome motion poster). But that first teaser? Underwhelming. And now these characters-in-profile posters that spotlight Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss, Liam Hemsworth’s Gale, Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta and five more strong supporting characters from the film, all airbrushed within an inch of their lives.
Luckily for Lionsgate, the massive success of the Suzanne Collins trilogy of books means the Gary Ross directed film will practically sell itself. And the studio is clearly confident it has the birth of a franchise on its hands, having already set a November 23, 2013 release for the sequel, “Catching Fire.” Let’s just hope the quality of the marketing materials isn’t reflective of the film itself. “The Hunger Games” will be released on March 23, 2012 and you can see all eight character posters below, which also feature Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Alexander Ludwig as Cato and Amandla Stenberg as Rue.
July 27, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
Like they did for Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss, Entertainment Weekly gets the distinct privilege of unveiling in costume and in character Liam Hemsworth as Gale and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta in “The Hunger Games”. Hey, that fake forest background looks pretty familiar.
Unlike Lawrence’s reveal though, the guys that will flank our heroine in Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling teen trilogy are less impressive to this writer. Hutcherson is certainly stocky the way his character is described, but that seems to be where the similarities end and the slightly lighter blond hair doesn’t do much to sway me towards agreeing with this casting choice. Hemsworth, on the other hand, should make a fine Gale, but then again, his role was never as crucial as Peeta’s. After all, Hemsworth is apparently already moving on to his next movie.
Though it seems this photoshoot was taken at the same location as Lawrence’s earlier cover, there’s no word yet if any other actors, including Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, were involved.
“The Hunger Games” is currently filming in North Carolina and will be released on March 23, 2012. See the full EW cover image below and pick up a copy this Friday for more inside!