The Word Garage

The Word Garage

Baz Luhrmann Picks Carey Mulligan for ‘Gatsby’s’ Daisy Buchanan

There’s joy in East Egg today: Baz Luhrmann has settled on British star Carey Mulligan to take the coveted role of Daisy Buchanan in the director’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic ‘The Great Gatsby.’

Until recently, a bevy of young actresses were queuing up to test for the role, a lineup that included Keira Knightley, Amanda Seyfried, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman and Rebecca Hall. According to Deadline, which broke the story, Luhrmann broke the news to Mulligan shortly after he showed her audition footage to Sony Pictures Entertainment executives Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad.
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Disney Taps Michelle Williams for the Good Witch in ‘Oz’

Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Oops, wrong production. That’s an incantation by the three witches from ‘Macbeth.’ There’s three other witches lurking about, though, the ones lined up for Disney’s ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’: the two wicked witches and one good witch. Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis have been cast as the bad ones and, according to Variety, Disney has now tapped Michelle Williams to play Glinda, the good witch.
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5 Leading Ladies Line Up to Woo Tom Cruise

Oh that lucky Tom Cruise. Not only has he acted opposite some of Hollywood’s most attractive leading ladies, he’s dated and married some of them too (See Tom Cruise’s Ladies, Past and Present: Oh, the Horror!). And though his career may wax and wane, the boyish actor still draws the females. Witness his latest endeavor, the Universal sci-fi thriller formerly titled ‘Oblivion’ that’s now called ‘Horizons.’
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Oscar Has Red Carpet Seats for Lucky Fans

Hey kids, ready for the Oscars yet? Though the Academy Awards are a good six months away (Feb. 26, 2012), Hollywood is already gearing up for the big event. Studios are jostling around, preparing their best films for late-year Oscar-qualification runs, and PR departments are getting ready to run overtime to promote stars, directors and films for next year’s campaign. Where does that leave you, the fan? Well, if you’re lucky, in the bleachers on Hollywood Boulevard. Continue reading

Alcon Entertainment Sets Up ‘Point Break’ Remake

Another day, another remake. Alcon Entertainment — home to ‘The Blind Side,’ ‘The Book of Eli,’ ‘The Wicker Man’ remake, and the upcoming new Ridley Scott ‘Blade Runner’ project — has announced it has acquired the rights to Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 buddy boy action pic ‘Point Break.’ Vaya con dios?
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Early Edition: Whitney Houston Has Big Screen Comeback; Juliette Lewis Preps Rock Doc; More

Here’s another remake to add to your list: ‘Sparkle,’ a redo of the 1976 music drama about three sisters who begin singing in their church choir in Harlem in the late 1950s and go on to become a successful girl group. Whitney Houston is in negotiations to join ‘American Idol’ winner Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps in the production, which is being put together by Sony and will be released on the studio’s Tri-Star Pictures label. Sparks will play the lead character and Houston will play her mother; the remake will take place in 1968 Detroit. Continue reading

Actor to Plead Guilty to Leaking ‘Black Swan,’ Other Titles Online

As The Shadow used to say, “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.” Just ask Wes DeSoto, a member of the Screen Actors Guild. DeSoto was caught allegedly leaking Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan,’ as well as four other feature films, to BitTorrent last year, a case of piracy that’s going to cost the man some heavy duty jail time since he’s agreed to plead guilty to the crime. Continue reading

Critics Pick Top Blu-rays of All Time — or Do They?

Posted Sep 15th 2011 9:00AM

As the last quarter of 2011 approaches, it cane mean only one thing: awards. Academy Awards. Golden Globes. SAG awards. BAFTA awards. Cesars. Independent Spirit awards. Which raises the question: are there just too many kudos and nods out there? Case in point: The Broadcast Film Critics Association has just announced its picks for the greatest Blu-ray discs of all time. Sounds pretty cool, right? Wrong. Continue reading

Brad Pitt Joins the Mob for ‘Cogan’s Trade’

Brad Pitt is going from one side of the law to the other. After playing hero Metro Man in the upcoming ‘Megamind’ and losing out to the super villain of the title, Pitt is eyeing a role as a mob enforcer in ‘Cogan’s Trade,’ a comedic crime saga that re-teams Pitt with Andrew Dominik, who directed the star in the 2007 Western ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.’

In the project, which is being unveiled at the American Film Market in Santa Monica this week — and has already engendered considerable buzz — Pitt would play Cogan, a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that takes place during a high stakes poker game under protection of the mob, according to Deadline.
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2010 Box Office Wrap: Hollywood Has Second-Best Year Ever

This is the time of year when motion picture industry pundits weigh in on two important issues: The best films (and actors and directors and etc.) of the year and the year-end box office results. The former is a gauge of popularity and art; the later a gauge of popularity and business.
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Kathryn Bigelow Gets Backing for Black Ops Thriller

It’s been almost a year ‘The Hurt Locker’ director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal won Oscars for Best Director and Best Screenplay, respectively (and the film took home Best Picture Oscar as well). Until now it was assumed that the pair’s next project was ‘Triple Frontier,’ a big-budget Paramount action-adventure story set in the border zone between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
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Critics’ Choice Awards 2011 Winners: ‘The Social Network’ Wins More Friends

The movie awards season officially moved into high gear Friday night with the 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, put on by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing about 250 television, radio and online critics.
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Shia LaBeouf Sprouts ‘Horns’ for Mandalay Black Comedy

Shia LaBeouf, still getting his toes wet as a serious dramatic actor, is attached to star in Mandalay Pictures’ big-screen adaptation of Joe Hill’s best-selling novel ‘Horns,’ according to a report in Variety.

The story revolves around Ig Perrish, a 26-year-old who awakens from a black-out hangover to find horns sprouting from his head. If that weren’t enough, Ig has to contend with the unsolved murder of his girlfriend, a murder everyone thinks he committed. Continue reading

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg Set to Play in ‘Turkey Bowl’

The Other Guys are back.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are reteaming for Warner Bros.’ ‘Turkey Bowl,’ a comedy about a pair of guys from football-obsessed towns who lead rival teams in an annual tackle football game, according to Deadline.
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James Franco Heads Up ‘Cherry’ Cast

James Franco is nothing if not out there. The avant-garde artist, actor and writer recently optioned Stephen Elliott’s 2010 ‘The Adderall Diaries,’ a memoir that starts out as a cracked-out chronicle of a bizarre murder trial, and now he’s starring in ‘Cherry,’ an indie film directed by Elliott in which he will play a cocaine-addicted lawyer. Heather Graham, Dev Patel (‘Slumdog Millionaire’) and Lili Taylor are in negotiations to take leading roles.
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They Walk: Disney Releases Poster for ‘The Muppets’

It’s been way too many years since the Muppets have graced the big screen — 11 and a half to be exact — but all that will be remedied in November when Disney (which owns so many franchises it’s getting impossible to keep track of them, from the Muppets to Pooh to Marvel) brings ‘The Muppets’ to theaters everywhere. Though the release date is six months away, the folks at Disney have graced us with a poster hyping the Nov. 23 debut of the film.
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Early Edition: Vin Diesel Becomes a ‘Machine’; Another ‘Carrie’ in the Air; More

We always knew that Vin Diesel was one mean machine — from Riddick to Dominic Toretto — and now the actor gets a chance to play one in the appropriately titled ‘The Machine.’ Diesel will play a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon to be the world’s first ultimate weapon. Some 20 years after it was decommissioned and buried, the machine is discovered, reactivated and befriended by a kid. When the government learns that the machine is back in operation, the ultimate weapon’s mission becomes to protect the family that is harboring him. Continue reading

Tom Cruise Ready for Sci-Fi ‘Oblivion’

Tom Cruise Ready for Sci-Fi ‘Oblivion’

Tom Cruise loves his science fiction. The star of ‘Minority Report’ and ‘War of the Worlds’ has just signed on to topline Universal’s sci-fi film ‘Oblivion,’ which was written and will be directed by ‘TRON: Legacy’ helmer Joseph Kosinski.

The film, a post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place on a devastated Earth, was originally set up at Disney, but that studio put it into turnaround and Universal snapped it up, tacking a $100 budget on the project, according to Deadline.
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Early Edition: Abigail Spencer Plays With ‘Oz,’ Giovanni Ribisi Joins ‘Gangster Squad,’ More

‘Mad Men’s’ Abigail Spencer has joined Disney’s ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful,’ Sam Raimi’s prequel of sorts to ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ In the film, James Franco plays Oz, a sideshow magician who has to flee town in a hot air balloon, landing in a strange land that is in the midst of a battle between three witches, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spencer will play a young woman who is a willing subject of Oz’s magic tricks in Kansas. Production begins later this month in Michigan.
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Early Edition: ‘Space Invaders,’ the Movie; David Schwimmer, the Muckraker

Enough already. Do we really need another game — board or video — ported to the big screen? Well, if you’re the producer of the ‘Transformers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ movies, anything goes: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who marshalled those toys into movies, has optioned the rights to the classic 1980s ‘Space Invaders’ arcade game. That’s right, the quintessential shooter game that propelled video games from geekdom to middle-class obsession. Continue reading

‘Prometheus’ Unbound at Comic-Con: First Image Revealed, Scott Talks ‘Alien’

Though Ridley Scott didn’t show up in person for the much-anticipated Comic-Con panel on ‘Prometheus,’ Fox execs kindly provided footage, revealed the first photo from the set (see above) and sent screenwriter Damon Lindelof and co-star Charlize Theron to San Diego to talk about the production. Continue reading

Hugh Jackman Reveals Next Wolverine Villain: The Silver Samurai

Marvel Comics’ next big-screen adaptation of the Wolverine (called ‘Wolverine 2’ but going under the official title ‘The Wolverine’ — for now) has had some production setbacks, mainly due to the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan (where filming on the production takes place).
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Shawn Levy Leaves ‘Voyage’ to Rebuild ‘Frankenstein’

You can’t keep a good monster down.

The Frankenstein monster and Dracula (and his vampire variations) used to be the main staples of the horror film market (in particular the Hammer Films variety), but lately the tall guy with electrodes in his neck has taken a back seat to more blood hungry types. Continue reading

Early Edition: James Hong Joins ‘R.I.P.D., Shelved Julia Roberts Film Released, More

As we round the bend into a very hot weekend in Hollywood, East Coasters are waking up to a hurricane watch. But whether it’s wet and wild or hot and dry, your best bet this weekend is to duck into your favorite neighborhood movie theater for a couple of hours — making sure you read Moviefone’s weekend movie preview beforehand. In the meantime, here’s what happened Thursday night: ‘R.I.P.D.’ digs up new cast members, a shelved Julia Roberts film finally gets distribution, Universal cuts another project loose, ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’ sees more change, and more. Read on.
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Zoe Saldana Enters Supernatural ‘Dominion’

Is Zoe Saldana going to be one of those talented actresses who gets roles that are below her level until her once budding career is wasted away in one genre film after another? These may seem like harsh words, but after Saldana’s great turn in ‘Avatar,’ we were looking for her to get much more challenging roles. Instead, she’s been under-used in ‘The Losers,’ ‘Takers’ and this weekend’s ‘Colombiana’ (‘Colombiana’ has been drubbed by the critics — getting a 33 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but the reviewers love the actress).
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Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, William Monahan Reteam for a Remake of ‘The Gambler’

Here’s a triple threat: The very busy Martin Scorsese (he just finished his first family film, ‘Hugo,’ which will hit theaters this Thanksgiving; he’s putting the finishing touches on ‘George Harrison: Living in the Material World’; he’s getting ready for an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel ‘Silence’; and there may be a ‘Sinatra’ in his future) has signed on to Paramount’s remake of ‘The Gambler,’ a 1974 film starring James Caan. And who should be attached to star in the redo? Continue reading

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis Ready to Join ‘Expendables 2’

You can’t keep old action stars down. With production moving forward on Sylvester Stallone’s ‘The Expendables 2,’ the only thing left for producer Stallone and director Simon West to do is to firm up a couple roles that had been lighting up the rumor mill ever since the decision was made to develop a sequel to the $275 million worldwide grossing original. Continue reading

Ryan Gosling Embarrassed Over Street-Fight Video and His Hero Status

It wasn’t until we saw Ryan Gosling in ‘Blue Valentine’ that we realized what a talented actor he was (OK, so we’re behind the curve sometimes). And it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that we found out that he’s a real-life hero and good Samaritan when the viral video of him breaking up a street fight inundated cyberspace. Now, we find out the star of the upcoming ‘Drive’ is humble, too. According to an interview at, Gosling has been rather embarrassed by the whole thing. Continue reading

Early Edition: John Malkovich Wants ‘Warm Bodies,’ Seth Rogen Skips ‘Knocked Up’ Sequel, Lars von Trier Eyes Male Stars for ‘Nymphomaniac’

John Malkovich is in negotiations to join ‘Warm Bodies,’ Summit Entertainment’s adaptation of the book by Isaac Marion about an existentially tormented zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult), who begins an unlikely friendship with the human girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) of one of his victims. Jonathan Levine (’50/50,’ ‘The Wackness’) is directing. Malkovich has most recently appeared in ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ and co-starred in 2010’s action movie ‘Red.’ He’ll play one of the bad guys in ‘Warm Bodies.’ [THR] Continue reading

Mel Gibson, Joe Eszterhas Team for Film About Jewish Hero

Here’s a very, very interesting pairing — and concept: Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas are teaming on a Warner Bros. project to bring the biblical story of second century Jewish rebel Judah Maccabee and the tale of Hanukkah to the big screen.

Deadline reports that Gibson’s Icon Productions will produce the project, and Eszterhas will write the screenplay, with input from Gibson, who has long been fascinated with Maccabee (who was called Judah the Hammer) — so much so that he had considered this as a follow-up project to ‘The Passion of the Christ’ in 2004. Continue reading

Tyler Perry Is Forbes’ Highest-Paid Man in Entertainment

Forbes has come out with its annual list of the highest-paid men in entertainment — just about five weeks after it published its list of highest paid actors (Leonardo DiCaprio topped that list) — and heading the pack is producer-writer-director-actor Tyler Perry, with $130 million earned between May 2010 and May 2011. Perry is a one-man cottage industry, with plays, movies and TV series to his credit. Continue reading


Samuel L. Jackson, Gerald McRaney Saddle Up for ‘Django Unchained’

Quentin Tarantino
is finally fleshing out his cast for ‘Django Unchained,’ his “Southern” about a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams with a German bounty hunter (Christophe Waltz) to retrieve his long-lost love from an evil plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Continue reading

Steven Soderbergh, Warner Bros. Looking for New Men For ‘U.N.C.L.E.’

Despite losing leading man George Clooney and making plans for his retirement, Steven Soderbergh is still moving ahead with his adaptation of the 1960s TV show ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and — with the backing of Warner Bros. — is eyeing some of Hollywood’s emerging young stars to take one of the lead roles. Continue reading

New on DVD & Blu-ray, Week of September 20: ‘Bridesmaids,’ ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Dumbo’

Welcome back to new release hell: The only major theatrical film coming to home screens this week is ‘Bridesmaids,’ though that ensemble comedy about women behaving badly has enough laughs to last seven days. Two Blu-ray debuts, however, will brighten up your week: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Dumbo.’ Continue reading

New on DVD & Blu-ray, Week of September 28: ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Get Him to the Greek’ and ‘Babies’

Action and comedy come to the fore this week as ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Get Him to the Greek’ arrive on DVD and Blu-ray. ‘Iron Man 2’ is, of course, the sequel that all Marvel fans have been waiting for; it’s pumped with action sequences and a story line that actually advances the main character’s motivations and development. Continue reading

Nightly News: Universal Builds Film, TV ‘Dark Tower’; More

Remember “synergy,” that neat watchword that every big media company used to rationalize gobbling up smaller companies or merging and wiping out rivals? Well, synergy is alive and well at Universal, where the conglomerate’s film and TV divisions are joining forces to adapt Stephen King’s fantasy series ‘The Dark Tower’ — as three films and a TV show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ron Howard will direct the first film and first season of the TV show, which will be written by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman. In ‘The Dark Tower,’ Roland Deschain, the last of a mysterious order of gunslingers, travels across a desolate and vaguely post-apocalyptic American landscape, searching for a black tower in an attempt to save the crumbling civilization. Continue reading

Nightly News: Keanu Reeves to Star in ‘Generation Um’

Keanu Reeves has signed on to star in ‘Generation Um,’ an independent film that tracks a day in the life of a man (Reeves) and two beautiful female companions (Bojana Novakovic and Adelaide Clemens) as they immerse themselves in sex, drugs and indecision before embarking on a path of self-discovery, according to a report at TheWrap. The film, which is being directed by Mark L. Mann, began production in New York City on Thursday. Continue reading

French New Wave Director Claude Chabrol Dies

Actor Kevin McCarthy Dies; Starred in ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’

Veteran stage and screen actor Kevin McCarthy died of natural causes at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. He was 96.

McCarthy’s acting career spanned more than 70 years, from Broadway to Hollywood, but he was best known as the family doctor who uncovered the alien pod takeover of a small town in California in 1956’s ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’ Continue reading

Nightly News: ‘Tattoo’s’ Noomi Rapace Takes on ‘Sherlock Holmes 2’

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s’ Noomi-Rapace has been cast as the female lead in the sequel to 2009’s ‘Sherlock Holmes,’ according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Swedish actress has been a hot property since ‘Tattoo’ debuted internationally last year. This will be her first English-language role. ‘Sherlock Holmes 2’ reunites most of the principals from the original: director Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Though the plot has been shrouded in secrecy, it’s expected that Holmes will face off against arch-enemy Moriarty. Continue reading

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