‘Ben-Hur’ Remake: ‘Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston Lands Title Role

EXCLUSIVE: MGM and Paramount have found Ben-Hur. The studios are setting Jack Huston, and you just knew he was going to get a big, star-making film role after his portrayal of the masked, war-scarred assassin Richard Harrow on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. It would be hard to imagine a bigger-scale picture than Ben-Hur, with Timur Bekmambetov directing the epic remake in Europe next year. Huston joins Morgan Freeman, whom Deadline broke will play the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion-caliber chariot racer.

hestonMGM and Paramount still have to find their Messala, Ben-Hur’s former close friend-turned-bitter rival. Actors have been circling both parts, and it looked for a while there like Huston might have played the latter. He read for that role, but Bekmambetov decided instead he had the sympathetic manner and grit to play the title role, the one that brought a Best Actor Academy Award to Charlton Heston for the 1959 William Wyler-directed pic that won 11 Oscars in total. They’ve set a February 26, 2016, release date on the epic film, which has a script by Keith Clarke that John Ridley rewrote. This one hews closely to the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ – the biggest-selling novel of its time until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind. Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel and Joni Levin are producers, with Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing with Roma Downey.

Messala will be the next major role to be filled.

chariotThis comes after Huston closed a deal to play Wickham in the Burr Steers-directed adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, alongside Lily James, Sam Riley and Bella Heathcote. Huston is wrapping the George Tillman-directed Fox 2000 adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride for Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey. He also scored in a West End production of Strangers On A Train and last year in American Hustle. Huston is repped by UTA, Untitled, The Artists Partnership and attorney Alex Kohner.

jachThis version of Ben-Hur plays up the parallel storyline of Jesus Christ, but the main drama is the blood feud between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire took control of Jerusalem. Ben-Hur was a Jewish prince and Messala the son of a Roman tax collector. After the latter leaves to be educated in Rome for five years, the young man returns with a different attitude and mocks Judah and his religion. When a procession passes by Judah’s house and a roof tile accidentally falls and hits the governor, Messala betrays his childhood friend and manipulates the accident so that Judah is sold into slavery and certain death on a Roman warship, with his mother and sister thrown in prison for life. Judah vows revenge, culminating in the famed chariot races.


‘Batman v Superman’ Photos Tease Explosive Gotham City Gas Chase

Sep 16, 2014 by Brian Gallagher

More Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set photos and video have come online, which tease the epic Batmobile chase we’ve been hearing so much about. First up, Twitter user Tim Malin paid a visit to the Russell Industrial Center set, the site of last week’s night shoots, where he was able to snap images of two Batmobile stunt vehicles, along with an exploded Gotham City Gas tanker. We also get to see the Gotham City Gas building itself. Check out this tease of what is sure to be an explosive moment from the finished film.

I know @treinman already posted a picture of the twins but they were too cool!

— Tim Malin (@D3T0N8R) September 16, 2014

They wouldn’t let @treinman nor I take the billboard home so we had to settle for some photos.

— Tim Malin (@D3T0N8R) September 16, 2014

Bang! Pow! KA-BOOM!!! @treinman and I knew they’d blow one of ‘em up!

— Tim Malin (@D3T0N8R) September 16, 2014

Last week, we were able to show off a very brief video of the Batmobile from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in action, which took place during this week of night shoots near the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. Today, we have another very short video from the set in River Rouge, Michigan, just over 12 miles away from the Russell Industrial Center. It offers a peek at the Batmobile peeling away as it continues to engage in this epic chase.

Take a look at the video below, along with a message from Jeff K, the YouTube user who uploaded this behind-the-scenes look:

[embedded content]

“Behind the scenes footage of a chase scene from the upcoming Batman v Superman movie shot on location in River Rouge Mi. Sorry about the quality as I had to be discreet while taping this.”

Stay tuned for more photos and videos as production continues on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in Detroit.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25th, 2016 and stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons. The film is directed by Zack Snyder.

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‘Lucifer’ TV Show Based on DC Comics’ ‘Sandman’ Heads to Fox

Sep 16, 2014 by Brian Gallagher

Just one day after Fox held their New York premiere for the upcoming series Gotham, which debuts on Monday, September 22, the network has issued a put pilot commitment for another DC adaptation, Lucifer.

Californication creator Tom Kapinos is writing the pilot script, based on the Lucifer character who has appeared in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and has also had its own comic spin-off. The story follows the title character, who has grown bored from reigning as the Lord of Hell. He decides to abandon his post and head to Los Angeles, where he opens a piano bar dubbed Lux. The comic book character is inspired by John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Mike Carey created the DC/Vertigo spin-off, which ran for 75 issues between 2000 and 2006.

A put pilot commitment almost guarantees that Fox will issue a series order, since the network will have to pay a significant penalty if the pilot episode doesn’t air. Warner Bros. Television, which is behind all of the DC Comics adaptations, will produce alongside Tom Kapinos’ company Aggressive Media.

If Lucifer does make it to the small screen, it will join a sizeable group of DC Comics titles spread throughout a number of different networks, including Fox’s Gotham, NBC’s Constantine and The CW’s Arrow and The Flash. DC is also developing a Supergirl series and a live-action Teen Titans show, which is nearing a pilot green light at TNT.

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‘Gotham’ Trailers Deliver a Tall Order for James Gordon

Sep 16, 2014 by Brian Gallagher

Fox has released three more trailers for Gotham, with just six days until the series finally debuts Monday, September 22 at 8 PM ET on Fox. In addition to the latest footage, we also have a new cast photo featuring James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Taylor), Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Take a look at the latest footage and photo, then read on for details about the show’s second and third episodes.

Gotham Cast Photo

Comic Book Movie noticed new details about the series in Entertainment Weekly’s latest issue, which teases the plot for Episode 2, entitled Selina Kyle and the as of yet untitled third episode, which teases a villain known as The Balloon Man.

“The second episode, for example, takes on a child-snatching ring that targets street kids for overseas export, and the third introduces the Balloon Man, a killer who ties his victims to hundreds of balloons and sets them aloft. The Crime is big and weird and eccentric and often has a lot of dark humour in it.”

Gotham episode 1.2, “Selina Kyle” airs on Fox September 29th, 2014.

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Anthony Daniels Talks New C3PO Costume in ‘Star Wars 7′

If you were wondering whether the new C3PO will be CGI, or if Anthony Daniels is crawling back into that metallic suit on set, the man himself has provided the answer. He will be putting on the iconic costume once again, this time for director J.J. Abrams in Star Wars: Episode VII.

When J.J. Abrams called the actor to return for the movie, it was originally for a voice role only. Anthony Daniels explains how that transpired into what he is currently shooting, describing the new C3PO suit along the way, and why it’s important that C3PO never be CGI again in a movie:

“I will tell you that when [director] J.J. Abrams rang me to ask about filming Star Wars: Episode VII, one of the first things he said after he told me how wonderful I was – and that didn’t take long – but he then said, “Would you be interested in being in the film just doing the voice?” I said, “No,” and he said, “Right!” He knew I’d say that. There’s no way I would just do the voice. I also said that it can’t be the same suit. I will tell you that the team then got together and built a new suit. They made an entirely new look-a-like with changes that you will never notice [on screen] that made my life a lot easier. I can get it on and off very quickly. [During the prequels], the only time [Threepio has] been CG was when it was very dangerous [to act in the scene in a suit] – and it wasn’t very good. In fact, I’m going to say it was awful. One of the difficulties is with a character that you know and love so well is that, as a member of the audience, you go, “Oh no, that’s not right. No, he doesn’t move like that.” With me [in the suit], he’s always going to move the same way and have the same reactions, timing, and so on. With CG, you’re working with some brilliant person on the keyboard who is trying to pretend to be me. The only time that has worked without doubt is Disney’s Star Tours: The Adventures Continue [theme park ride]. There’s an element in the pre-show which is digital and I cannot tell it’s not me. It’s brilliantly done by Disney. In a cartoon series like Rebels, you accept it because it’s not trying to pretend to be reality. It’s an extension, it’s an exaggeration. On that basis, it’s utterly acceptable – providing the characterization is correct.

Anthony Daniels also talks about the connection Star Wars Rebels has to Star Wars: Episode VII:

“It’s very elusive and I’ll tell you: It’s where we’re going now with Star Wars: Episode VII. We’re all back. And it’s great, actually, that Star Wars Rebels is set before Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope because that film is quintessential basic, “This is Star Wars.” And you know George always used to say every time I arrived on set, I would always arrive for the first time back on set in costume, and during the prequels George Lucas would say when I arrived on set that “Star Wars has arrived” – because I was the old fashioned link. Star Wars Rebels is is an old fashion link to the old fashion film, which which we all loved. And you will love Star Wars: Episode VII – I have electrodes strapped to my head to zap me if I say anything more about it.”

Anthony Daniels does go onto reflect on his time spent as C3PO and whether or not the protocol droid has grown any as a ‘person’.

“It’s a very good question actually. It occurred to me on the set the other day, because I’ve been doing it for so long, being 3PO for so long, I have a kind of confidence about what he would do in a particular scene. I think 3PO might have grown in confidence over the years because he’s survived so many dramas and he’s gained so much knowledge about what’s going on in the galaxy. He may have grown in that way. But generally the way he appears to grow is by being faced by new situations and new conflicts. He’s very much a washing machine – you could put in a set of fine lingerie and he might do it on a different cycle. It’s what you give him to do that brings out fresh attitudes. He might meet somebody who is rude or smelly or just awful and that brings out – I won’t say snobbishness, he is a bit of a snob but … it brings out his reactive quality. That’s always funny for me because I look for new ways to become appalled. A lot of the time in the studio, you should realize, I read the words, my mouth opens, he comes out of my mouth and we all laugh. I laugh. The director laughs, and the engineer laughs. You think, “Yeah, this is really good.”

You can read more at Entertainment Weekly: Click Here!

Star Wars: Episode VII comes to theaters December 18th, 2015 and stars John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o. The film is directed by J.J. Abrams.


‘Problem Child’ TV Show Happening with ‘Hangover 2′ Writer

Sep 16, 2014 by B. Alan Orange

Today’s 90s nostalgia story finds the hit comedy Problem Child being adapted for TV by Scot Armstrong, the writer behind The Hangover Part II and Old School.

NBC is developing Problem Child as a single-camera sitcom. The comedy will be based on the original Problem Child released in 1990, starring John Ritter, Jack Warden, Amy Yasbeck, Michael Richards and Michael Oliver as the title character. Originally envisioned as an R rated romp, the final film was rated PG and took a more family friendly stance on the story of an adopted 7 year-old child, compared to Damien from The Omen, who can’t keep himself out of trouble. The first film was a big hit, grossing $72 million on a $10 million budget.

Problem Child was followed by the 1991 sequel Problem Child 2 and continued on in the 1995 sequel Problem Child 3. There was also a short lived animated TV series that launched in 1993.

The Problem Child TV series is being produced by Universal TV and Peter Traugott’s TBD Productions. Scot Armstrong will produce alongside Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.

And for those curious, here is a ‘where are they now’ photo of the original cast:

Problem Child Cast

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Chris Hemsworth Boards ‘I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive’

Sep 16, 2014 by Brian Gallagher

Chris Hemsworth has optioned the rights to Steve Earle’s novel I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, with the actor both starring in and producing the adaptation.

The novel tells the fictitious tale of Toby “Doc” Ebersole, who is haunted by the ghost of country music legend Hank Williams, after he was involved in the singer’s death in 1953, which lead to his medical license being revoked. The story picks up 10 years later in the red light district of San Antonio, Texas, where Toby supports his morphine habit by performing illegal medical procedures, while still being visited by Hank’s ghost. The project’s title is spawned from a 1952 song that Hank Williams co-wrote, which was the last single to be released while he was alive.

Benjamin Grayson wrote the screenplay and will make his feature directorial debut, with Chris Hemsworth producing alongside Laura Bickford (Arbitrage). No production schedule was given.

Chris Hemsworth recently wrapped production on Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he will next be seen in Blackhat, arriving in theaters January 16, 2015. Benjamin Grayson served as director Kenneth Branagh’s assistant on Thor, and John Lee Hancock’s assistant on Saving Mr. Banks.

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‘Nymphomaniac’ Extended Director’s Cut Debuts This October

Sep 16, 2014 by Brian Gallagher

Nymphomaniac Extended Director’s Cut will be released on VOD on October 2nd in the US, Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia as well as in Lars von Trier’s native Denmark with more territories to follow in the weeks to come. Take a look at the poster below for the new Extended Director’s Cut.

Nymphomaniac Extended Poster

In Lars von Trier’s native country, Denmark, the director’s cut version has received rave reviews in connection with its theatrical release and event screenings. Danish critics have handed out 5 and 6-star reviews to the film which met the audience for the first time at Berlin International Film Festival (Vol. 1) earlier this year and Venice Film Festival (Vol. 2) about a month ago.

The upcoming releases and festivals completes the circle for one of the most unusual and extraordinary releases seen in a long time.

Nymphomaniac is produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa Entertainments31 in co-production with Bettina Brokemper for Zentropa International Köln, Marianne Slot for Slot Machine, Bert Hamelinck for Caviar and Arte France Cinéma, Film i Väst and Group Grand Accord: Arte G.E.I.E, with support from The Danish Film Institute, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Eurimages, Deutscher Filmförderfonds, Centre Nationale du cinéma et de l’image animée, The Belgian Tax Shelter, Swedish Film Institute and Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) and in cooperation with DR, Nordisk Film and TV Fond, Canal+, Arte France, Den Vestdanske Filmpulje and Ciné+.

Nymphomaniac Volume I was released March 21st, 2014 and stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen. The film is directed by Lars von Trier.

Nymphomaniac Volume II was released April 4th, 2014 and stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Jean-Marc Barr. The film is directed by Lars von Trier.

Sources: Magnolia Pictures

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