May 7, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty redo “Maleficent” continues to get more star-studded with every new announcement. Angelina Jolie is already toplining as the titular villain with Elle Fanning as the slumbering princess and Sharlto Copley as her half-fairy father, and today THR reports joining them will be some of England’s most revered: Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Lesley Manville, Kenneth Cranham and rising star Sam Riley.
In the Robert Stromberg directed re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, “Maleficent” will explore Jolie’s character’s backstory and tell the tale of why she decides to curse the innocent princess to 100 years of slumber. Staunton and Melville play two of three pixies who look after Fanning’s Aurora while Richardson will be a fairy queen who is Maleficent’s aunt. Cranham plays Copley’s father and human king who plans a takeover of the fairy kingdom, while Riley will play Diaval, Maleficent’s right hand man who can transform into a raven. Confused yet? Same here.
British thesp Riley earned high marks for 2007′s “Control” and even in the less well received “Brighton Rock” in 2010, and is poised to have a breakout year when he stars in in the lead role of Sal Paradise in Walter Salles’ long-gestating adaptation of “On the Road”, heading to Cannes next week. He also recently completed work on Neil Jordan’s vampire flick “Byzantium” opposite Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan.
April 27, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
“Twilight” star Kristen Stewart seems to have developed a taste for gritty action roles, as Variety reports the actress will follow up “Snow White and the Huntsman” with indie thriller “Cali”, from a script by “30 Minutes or Less” writer Michael Diliberti. Stewart will also try her hand at producing for the first time here.
Stewart will play Mya, who, along with boyfriend Chris, likes to live dangerously and acclimate income through sometimes less than savory methods. Their latest con is the selling of a fake snuff film starring Mya. They live nicely off the profits, but when her sister gets into trouble years later, Chris and Mya must “return from the dead” to save her. The couple “contends with angry former business partners, homicidal porn stars, stoner vet techs, an unstoppable killing machine in a cowboy hat and their own contentious relationship.” Producers are talking to directors and are eyeing a late summer start.
“Kristen is a talented and dynamic actor, with a proven box office draw,” producer Craig J. Flores tells Variety. “Her role in ‘Cali’ will be edgy and sexy. It will no doubt push the envelope on the public’s view of Kristen’s wide-ranging abilities. Voltage is thrilled to have her as a partner on this fantastic film.”
Stewart has stuck mainly to small, dark and indie outside her role as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” saga, which concludes this November with “Breaking Dawn Part II.” This May she is headed to Cannes for the first time with Walter Salles’ “On the Road”, in which she stars opposite Garett Hedlund and Sam Riley. “Snow White and the Huntsman”, in which she plays the titular princess, opens in June, and plans are already underway for a sequel.
March 9, 2012 | Posted by Rebecca Lewis
One of my most anticipated films this year is Walter Salles adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s generation-defining novel “On The Road”.
An adaptation thirty years in development, the film finally moved into pre-production in 2010, with Salles behind the camera and Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley in front as Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise.
This evening, the official Facebook page released the first trailer and I have to admit that despite my many, many, reservations Salles may have just about pulled this one off.
It’s slick and highly stylised (and I’m wondering where the promised black and white is), but Riley looks convincing as Sal, Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical character who goes on a journey of booze, drugs and self-discovery, and Hedlund as Moriarty (based on real life Beat icon Neal Cassady) looks to have nailed all of Cassady’s mannerisms.
With a great supporting cast including Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams, we’re looking forward to the reviews coming out of this year’s Cannes Film Festival where the film is expected to premiere.
Watch the trailer below, and let us know your thoughts on this long-awaited adaptation.
February 29, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
After more than thirty years in development, a big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s iconic “On the Road” is finally headed to theaters this year. British up and comer Sam Riley plays Sal Paradise, Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical portrait of a Beat Generation writer who goes on a journey of booze, drugs and self-discovery with his best friend, Dean Moriarty, played by Garrett Hedlund and based on real life Beat icon Neal Cassady. Kristen Stewart joins them for part of the journey as Dean’s wife Marylou, and others including Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge and more meander in and out of the path of the two friends.
The new stills show Riley doing what Paradise does best, writing and wandering, while the poster, unfortunately, mostly looks like a messier and more nonsensical version of the artful and understated teaser poster released last May. The concept is there, but the execution has us scratching our heads and wondering why a magical rearview mirror is floating in the sky.
Nevertheless, the Walter Salles directed film has been receiving very positive early buzz and is expected to bow at the Cannes Film Festival this May, with a France release date to match, while we’re betting a date that’s a little more Oscar-friendly is being eyed for its US release. See the poster and new stills below.
January 9, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
“Akira” getting pushed back may be a blessing in disguise for Garrett Hedlund (some would say flat out blessing, but we digress). Variety reports the star now has an open slot in his schedule and has promptly filled it with something awesome: Hedlund is jumping on board the Coen Brothers’ next directorial vehicle, the 1960s set folk music drama “Inside Llewyn Davis”, which already stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman.
Isaac plays Davis, a fictional character loosely based on 1960s Greenwich Village based musician Dave Van Ronk, nicknamed “Mayor of MacDougal Street”, whose circle of friends and fellow musicians included Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Joni Mitchell. Despite being talented and passionate, he can’t make ends meet just playing music. Timberlake has the role of Jim, a fellow folk musician who is married to Mulligan’s character Jean. Hedlund’s character is unknown, but after having done some impressive crooning in “Country Strong”, it should be no problem for him to pick up a guitar and jam with his co-stars.
Hedlund, who is still attached to “Akira” whenever the risky, big budget remake finally gets its act together at Warner Bros, and also has the similarly long-gestating, controversial adaptation of “On the Road” in the can ready for release this year. His past couple of high profile projects, “Country Strong” and “Tron: Legacy”, weren’t exactly big breakout moments for him, but it’s clear bigger successes lay just beyond the horizon for the talented and underrated actor.
November 28, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
British rising star Sam Riley has joined the cast of Neil Jordan’s vampire flick “Byzantium”, according to Twitch Film. In May, Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan signed on to play a duo of bloodsucking vampires in the story that revolves around a mother vampire who turns her own daughter into a vampire and the two “form a lethal relationship”, often posing as sisters while immortalized in their youth and beauty. In August they were joined by Caleb Landry Jones, and with Riley now on board, the film will finally begin shooting in December.
It had been reported that Jones had the male lead of a teenager dying of leukemia who causes Ronan’s vampire to begin questioning her own immortality, but Riley could certainly logically be the other male lead, being closer in age to Arterton and a potential romantic foil for her. The film will finish production in February 2012 and should be ready for the fall festival circuit.
Riley made his feature film debut in the well-received “Control” in 2007, and headlined the less well-received “Brighton Rock” in 2010, but it’s 2012′s Walter Salles adaptation of “On the Road” that should propel him to another level in his career. He plays Sal Paradise, Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical portrait of a Beat Generation writer who goes on a journey of booze, drugs and self-discovery with his best friend, Dean Moriarty, played by Garrett Hedlund and based on real life Beat icon Neal Cassady.
November 15, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
Warner Bros continues to dream big and reach out to strictly A-list talent to round out the ensemble cast of its risky, bid budget remake of Japanese manga “Akira”, with offers out to the likes of Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter still pending. Thus far the only actor to officially sign on is Garrett Hedlund, who will star as Kaneda in the futuristic actioner, and while previous reports indicated Keira Knightley had been offered an unspecified female role, Twitch now reports it’s “Twilight” series star Kristen Stewart who has the offer for the female lead. Presumably this means Knightley has passed on the role. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn into the next “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
Stewart, who just recently worked with Hedlund on the equally controversial, long-gestating adaptation of “On the Road”, has been offered the role of Kei, a young medium and love interest to Hedlund’s Kaneda. Kaneda’s story mainly revolves around an attempt to save his little brother Tetsuo from becoming a government science experiment and weapon after the younger man begins developing telekinetic abilities. Ezra Miller and Alden Ehrenreich are among the actors being eyed for the role of Tetsuo. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct.
The “Twilight” films, the second to last installment of which – “Breaking Dawn” – opens this Friday, made an international superstar out of former indie actress Stewart, who now seems to be more keen on big budget blockbusters, currently filming next summer’s fantasy epic “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Could “Akira” be next?
November 3, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
UPDATE: THR reports Keira Knightley has been approached to take a role in the film as well, but like Bonham Carter and Oldman, has not entered any formal negotiations yet.
It’s really happening. Warner Bros is moving full speed ahead on a project that many people have hoped would just go away. Last we heard, “Akira” had been officially greenlit and filmmakers were looking at Garrett Hedlund for the lead role. Well, now it’s official. Twitch reported earlier this morning that the offer had been made to Hedlund to take on the role of Kaneda, and Variety updated a few hours later that negotiations are now formally underway.
In Japan, “Akira” was set in a post-apocalypric Neo-Toyko, but this new Americanized adaptation will take place in New-Manhattan, “where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” There is no word on who might play that friend, Tetsuo. Hedlund’s name endured from a much earlier shortlist of young actors, so could Tetsuo be Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield or James McAvoy, who were all being looked into for the role back in March? Time will tell but two acting veterans, Gary Oldman and Helena Bonham Carter, do have formal offers for unspecified roles as well. Jaume Collet-Serra will direct.
Hedlund has a bit of a streak going with controversial big screen adaptations lately. “Tron: Legacy” was the sequel to the iconic 1982 nerd classic “Tron”, which a lot of people didn’t want. Water Salles’ long-gestating, upcoming “On the Road” is an adaptation of the Kerouac classic that even more people didn’t want. So really, Hedlund of all people taking “Akira” should come as no surprise.
October 19, 2011 | Posted by Linda Ge
It’s been quite a roller coaster for Warner Bros’ ambitious big budget adaptation of iconic Japanese manga “Akira”, and it looks like the journey is not over, as perhaps many fans had hoped. The production began casting a net for young actors as potential leads in March, then the studio apparently got nervous with the lack of star power and offered it to Keanu Reeves… who promptly turned it down. Director Albert Hughes then vacated the chair, and in July “Unknown” helmer Jaume Collet-Serra stepped in, but whether the project would ever get off the ground was still very much in doubt, due in part to its high $100+ million budget. But now it appears the studio is keen to get the project going once and for all, as Variety reports it has been officially greenlit, with a trimmed down $90 million budget and a front-runner for the lead role in rising star Garrett Hedlund.
In Japan, “Akira” was set in a post-apocalypric Neo-Toyko, but this new Americanized adaptation will take place in New-Manhattan, “where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.” Hedlund, who was said to be in the running for the role of carefree gang-leader Kanedu back in March, does not have an offer on the table yet, but both studio and director are keen on him and something official should be imminent. There is no word on who might play his best friend Tetsuo. Could it also be someone from the March shortlist, which included Robert Pattinson, Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy? Decisions should start happening soon as the pre-production process has been fast-tracked in preparation for a rapidly approaching March 2012 shoot.
Hedlund is no stranger to long-gestating, controversial films and iconic characters. Not only did he play son of Jeff Bridges’ ultimate nerd icon Kevin Flynn in 2010′s years-in-the-making “Tron: Legacy”, a sequel to the 1982 classic, he also has Walter Salles’ decades-in-the-making adaptation of “On the Road” coming up. That, of course, is based on the Jack Kerouac classic that many people believe simply can’t be adapted for the screen, and he’ll play Dean Moriarity, based on legendary Beat generation icon Neal Cassady. Sounds like “Akira” could be right up Hedlund’s alley.