February 5, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
It appears shortlist stories are becoming more unreliable and obsolete by the hour because another high profile project has cast its lead, and it’s someone who was not previously reported to be in contention. Deadline reports Marvel has found its lead for “Guardians of the Galaxy” in “Moneyball” and “Zero Dark Thirty” star Chris Pratt.
Pratt beat out the likes of Joel Edgerton, Eddie Redmayne, Jim Sturgess and Zachary Levi for the role of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, the leader of the intergalactic superheroes. James Gunn will direct the Marvel Phase 2 film this summer for a scheduled August 1, 2014 release. Pratt is the second alumn of The WB series “Everwood” to land a major Marvel role. Last week Emily VanCamp landed the female lead in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Abbotts FTW!
Aside from “Everwood”, Pratt is currently a regular on NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation” but has been branching out to dramatic big screen roles, the most current being a reluctant baseball player in Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” and a Navy SEAL in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” Both films received Best Picture Oscar nominations. He recently wrapped up comedy “The Delivery Man” opposite Vince Vaughn.
August 2, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Fast rising star Chris Pratt has signed on to star opposite Vince Vaughn in an untitled English remake of French-Canadian comedy “Starbuck”, according to Variety. Ken Scott, who also directed the original film, has written the script and will direct the remake as well.
Vaughn will play a middle-aged man, played by Patrick Huard in the original, who learns that, as a sperm donor, he has fathered 533 children. As he dodges thugs to whom he owes money and over 100 of his biological children begin clamoring for the identity of “Starbuck”, the pseudonym he used when donating sperm, all while his girlfriend becomes pregnant and decides he’s not mature enough to be a father, he must decide whether or not to step up and reveal his identity. Pratt will play his lawyer who has a large brood of his own. Filming is set for later this year.
Pratt, a favorite of TV audiences for his lovable oaf characters Bright on “Everwood” and currently Andy on “Parks and Recreation”, has begun gaining notice on the big screen after playing troubled catcher Scott Hatteberg in Bennett Miller’s Oscar-nominated “Moneyball” last year. He appeared as a scene-stealing groomsman in “Five Year Engagement” and has wrapped up shooting on Kathryn Bigelow’s Bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.” He’s also set for the live action lead in “Lego: The Piece of Resistance”, which will also feature animation and an all-star voice cast.
July 23, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Comedy heavyweights Shawn Levy, Nicholas Stoller, Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill are joining forces on a new comedy for Fox, according to THR. Still in the development stage, Still and Hill are attached to star, Stoller in negotiations to write the screenplay and Levy attached to direct. Levy, Stiller and Hill will also act as producers.
Plot details are being kept under wraps, but it’s being described as an island-set comedy, with “Aloha” heavily suggesting that island is probably Hawaii. Reunions abound on the film, as Stoller and Hill have worked on a Hawaiian-set comedy before in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, while Levy directed Stiller in “Night at the Museum” and Hill and Stiller co-star in the upcoming “The Watch.”
Newly minted Oscar nominee Hill has unexpectedly become as serious talent to watch as he begins mixing in more prestige projects with his usual comedic fare. After landing a nom for Best Supporting Actor for playing it serious opposite Brad Pitt in Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball”, Hill quickly signed on to work for heavyweight directors like Martin Scorsese on “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Quentin Tarantino on “Django Unchained.” He’s also attached to courtroom drama “True Story” opposite James Franco, while still maintaining future comedic projects, including the sequel to “21 Jump Street” with Channing Tatum.
June 15, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Who would have thought that kid from “Superbad” would be working with some of the world’s top directors back to back and have an Oscar nomination to boot? Jonah Hill has already landed a role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and now Deadline reports Quentin Tarantino wants in on the Hill business too, casting him in an unspecified role in the currently filming “Django Unchained.” Hill stars alongside Leonardo Dicaprio in both films, with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and others rounding out the “Django” gang.
“Django Unchained” – starring Foxx and Waltz as a freed slave and bounty hunger, respectively, who team up to take down Dicaprio’s evil plantation owner Calvin Candie and rescue Django’s wife, played by Washington – isn’t just already filming, there’s a trailer out and everything. Hill had been previously eyed for the role of Scott Harmony, but had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. He’s now worked something out with Tarantino and will play another role instead.
Hill, known for highly comedic roles in “Superbad”, “Get Him to the Greek” and most recently “21 Jump Street”, landed an unexpected Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor when he played it straight in Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” opposite Brad Pitt. His future slate looks to be a promising mixture of comedy and drama, with ensemble comedy “The Watch” alongside Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn awaiting release this summer, the aforementioned Scorsese flick “Wolf of Wall Stree” and the aptly named courtroom drama “True Story” opposite James Franco still to shoot.
May 4, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Gotta hand it to Jonah Hill, who’s making a lot of smart and timely decisions after being nominated for his first Oscar for Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” last year. Now firmly a rising star who’s not stuck in the gross-out comedy box that propelled him to fame, he’s just landed perhaps the highest profile role of his career thus far. Deadline reports Hill has landed a role in Martin Scorsese’s next film and will star opposite Leonardo Dicaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Terence Winter adapted the memoir by Jordan Belfort, which chronicles Belfort’s dramatic rise and fall as the head of notorious Wall Street investment firm Stratton Oakmont: “By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius” that will be played by Dicaprio. Hill will play his close friend who becomes his business partner after Belfort convinces him to quit the slightly less exciting and volatile furniture business.
Hill, known for highly comedic roles in “Superbad”, “Get Him to the Greek” and most recently “21 Jump Street”, landed an unexpected Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor when he played it straight in Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” opposite Brad Pitt. His future slate looks to be a promising mixture of comedy and drama, with ensemble comedy “Neighborhood Watch” alongside Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn awaiting release and the aptly named courtroom drama “True Story” opposite James Franco still to shoot.
February 27, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Oscar nominated “Moneyball” was a tremendous success so it seems Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are eager to go back into business together. Deadline reports Pitt’s production company Plan B has set Hill to co-star with James Franco in another fact-based feature, aptly titled “True Story.”
If you thought the stats and numbers in “Moneyball” were confusing, just try wrapping your mind around this twisted, convoluted tale. Hill will play former New York Times writer Michael Finkel, whose memoir “True Story” revolved around his entanglements with accused murderer Christian Longo (Franco). In 2002 Longo was arrested in Mexico for murdering his entire family, but he was living under an assumed name: Michael Finkel. On the very next day, the real Finkel was fired from his writing job after being accused of twisting facts in an earlier story on the African slave trade. After Longo’s arrest, the only reporter he will speak to is Finkel himself. The two begin a months-long face-off via correspondence, phone calls and face to face meetings as Longo insists he can prove his innocence and Finkel seeks to uncover the truth. Rupert Goold will direct.
Wow! Sounds like an intense and riveting story and it’s another step into more serious acting for the former comedian Hill, and a return to more traditional fare for the free-spirited Franco. The project is looking for studio backing and Deadline reports it should come together fast, perhaps by next week. Hill and Franco each have one Oscar nomination, with Hill attending last night’s festivities as a first-timer for “Moneyball” and Franco nomm’ed the year before for “127 Hours.” Hill has “21 Jump Street” opposite Channing Tatum opening soon and recently completed work on Ben Stiller comedy “Neighborhood Watch.” Franco recently wrapped up playing Hugh Hefner in porn star biopic “Lovelace” and a mob boss in serial killer drama “The Iceman.” He’s got the titular role in Sam Raimi’s “Oz The Great and Powerful” opposite Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams out later this year.
February 24, 2012 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
in Awards, Features
In this new series “Oscar Spotlight” we take a look at four rising stars who have this year become Oscar nominees for the first time. In a year filled with incredible performances, only one of our chosen actors was a shoo-in. The other three were all (welcome) surprise nominees. Taken from each of the four acting categories, we present …
Jonah Hill Gets Serious
As Melissa McCarthy captures her first Academy Award nomination for a comedic performance, for funny man Jonah Hill it took playing against type to garner his first nomination.
Hill got his big break working with producer/director Judd Apatow in 2005, in a small supporting role in “The 40 Year Old Virgin“. They worked together again in “Knocked Up”, so it was perhaps unsurprising when Apatow upgraded Hill to play the lead opposite Michael Cera in a little movie you may have heard of called “Superbad”. Hill’s ability to mix crass high school humor with a serious coming-of-age friendship won over audiences and critics alike, and Hill began to get his pick of comedic roles, going on to work with Russell Brand in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and the sequel “Get Him to the Greek” and then with Apatow again in 2009′s “Funny People”.
In 2010, Hill worked with John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei in “Cyrus”, a film about a mother and son’s unconventional relationship. Though it garnered mixed critical reception, it was perhaps a bit of foreshadowing that something more serious was in Hill’s repertoire. Even so, Hill flew in the face of all of our expectations by successfully taking on the role of Peter Brand, a genius number cruncher who helps Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) recruit baseball players on a budget for the Oakland A’s in Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball”, a film that had been in development hell for years, going through three rewrites and three different directors. It was worth the wait for the filmmakers though: “Moneyball” garnered a total of six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
January 24, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
It certainly was a morning full of surprises and snubs as the Academy Awards announced their nominations this morning. There was plenty to be ecstatic about and plenty to scratch your head over, so let’s dive in to some of the biggest reveals.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of the 9/11 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, had been deemed down and out by most prognosticators after getting severely mixed reviews and not being lauded by any other group aside from the Broadcast Film Critics, but the Academy clearly fell for the emotional movie (sidenote: so did I) and it landed the biggest shock of the morning as the final Best Picture nominee announced. Max Von Sydow, in a riveting mute performance, also landed a well-deserved (but quite surprising as well) Best Supporting Actor nomination. Similarly, Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” was a movie that seemed to be missing out on key precursors and thus had little shot at any nominations in major categories, but came on strong and landed Best Picture, Best Director and – most deservedly – Best Cinematography.
December 14, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have announced the nominees for the 2011 year in film. Summer blockbuster drama “The Help” leads the way with four well deserved nominations, including breakout stars Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress. “The Artist” also continues to dominate, with Jean Dujardin (Best Actor) and Berenice Bejo (Best Supporting Actress) both landing nods, as well as the entire ensemble. Snubbed in the Supporting Actress category is Shailene Woodley, who gave a brave and powerful performance in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants.” The film did garner two nominations, and Woodley is still represented in its Best Ensemble nomination.
Looking less and less like a longshot every day and with every new announcement, Melissa McCarthy landed another Best Supporting Actress nod, but the big surprise may be “Bridesmaids” itself, which also landed on Best Ensemble, to the snub of plenty of other, perhaps more serious, Oscar hopefuls. Another surprise but welcome inclusion is Jonah Hill, a formerly broadly comedic actor himself, landing a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his dramatic turn in “Moneyball” opposite Brad Pitt (Best Actor nominee). Also showing up unexpectedly is Armie Hammer for his role in Clint Eastwood’s critically panned “J. Edgar.” It perhaps shows some strong support within the industry for the film, as Leonardo DiCaprio landed a Best Actor nomination as well, to the frustration of Michael Fassbender/”Shame” fans everywhere (including here).
The full list of nominations, including TV categories, are below.
December 13, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
and Rebecca Lewis
Thank you for joining us again if you listened to our earlier podcasts or if you are new to the program, welcome! Once a week, Linda and Rebecca will take to the internet airwaves to discuss a variety of subjects, including all the latest news, movies we’ve seen recently, the Oscar season and more topics that interest us (or you! Please send us your suggestions for topics to talk about).
This week’s podcast WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS so please read below for the specifics before hitting PLAY.
• 00:00 – 09:00 – Slow news week, so we quickly discuss the “Les Miserables” castings and Armie Hammer’s new role.
• 09:00 – 29:00 Plenty of movies watched this week. We talk about “Moneyball”, “Immortals”, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (14:30 – 18:00 will have SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING), “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “War Horse.”
• 29:00 – END – We each count down our Top 10 Movies of 2011. There are minor spoilers for each film, but nothing too drastic, and we obviously don’t want to spoil the surprise of what movies made our lists, so… just take a listen!
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