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Casting Net: Megan Fox takes female lead in 'Zeroville' opposite James Franco

• Megan Fox will take the female lead in Zeroville, starring opposite James Franco, who is also directing. Adapted from the novel by Steve Erickson, the story follows a film-obsessed man (Franco) who arrives in Hollywood in 1969, hoping to break in to the business just as the industry is at a major turning point. Fox will play a Hollywood starlet with an uneasy past who becomes the romantic interest and obsession of Franco’s character. Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Will Ferrell, Jacki Weaver, and Horatio Sanz also star. Vince Jolivette of Rabbit Bandini is producing along with Caroline AragonMichael Mendelsohn, and Franco. [THR]

• Olivia Wilde, Armie Hammer, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Michael Smiley have joined the cast of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire. Set in 1978 Boston, the crime drama stars Wilde as a woman who brokers a meeting between Murphy and Smiley and a gang led by Hammer and Evans. StudioCanal has acquired the U.K. rights to the film. It is being launched for presales at American Film Market by Protagonist Pictures. [THR]

• Lily James (Cinderella) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) are reportedly eyeing the lead roles in Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest Hour and a Half. Based on Lissa Evans’ 2009 novel, the story follows a British movie crew as they attempt to improve spirits after the Blitz during World War II. Gaby Chiappe is adapting the novel for the screen. Wild Gaze’s Amanda Posey is producing as well as long-time associate Stephen Woolley through his Number 9 Films. Principal photography is scheduled for summer 2015. [Deadline]

• Justin Chatwin (Shameless) is joining Pierce Brosnan in Urge. Aaron Kaufman is directing the indie thriller, marking the veteran producer’s directorial debut. The story follows a group of friends who experiment with a new, designer drug while vacationing on an island; the drug makes people lose the ability to control their urges. Chatwin will play Jason, the film’s protagonist, with Brosnan as the creator and gatekeeper of the drug. Ashley Greene, Danny Masterson, Bar Paly, Alexis Knapp, Chris Geere, and Nick Thune also star. Skip Williamson and Mark Neveldine are producing through their Blackmrkt Incorporated banner. Tim Smith, Alastair Burlingham, Lee Vandermolen, Yoram Barzilai, Frank Martinez, Anthony Gudas, Clay Pecorin, Russell Geyser, Gerald Fruchtman, and Peter Fruchtman are executive producing. The film kicks off production in New York in October. [THR]

• Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger) has landed two strong upcoming parts. The actor signed on to play NASA scientist Dr. Chris Beck in Ridley Scott’s The Martian, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, and Kristen Wiig. He has also boarded Jonathan Demme’s Ricki And The Flash as Joshua, the estranged son of his rocker mom, played by Meryl Streep. Diablo Cody wrote the script for the film, which also stars Kevin Kline and Rick Springfield. [Deadline]

2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards to broadcast live on IFC

After time-delayed broadcasts in years past, the Film Independent Spirit Awards will be broadcast live for the first time in several years.

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Warner Bros. to remake hit German film, 'Who Am I'

Warner Bros. is planning to remake the German film, Who Am I, EW has confirmed.

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On seeing 'The Terminator' for the first time: They don't make 'em like they used to

This is what I thought I knew about The Terminator—released 30 years ago this weekend—before I watched it for the first time a few nights ago:

- The title character is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
– He’s a robot who’s been sent back in time to do… something.
– He’s a bad guy. Except they keep making movies about him, so maybe he’s a good guy. Or he starts as one, then becomes the other? Regardless, he is definitely either good or bad. Yep. That much I know.
– Linda Hamilton plays Sarah Connor, a badass with great arms who will someday give birth to Christian Bale.
– SKYNET is… also there. My iPhone corrects “skynet” to “SKYNET,” in all caps, so it has to be a thing.
– The movie features lots of guns, explosions, and guns causing explosions.
– At one point, Arnold says “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista, baby” in a flat, accented monotone.

And… that’s about it. READ FULL STORY

Despite leak, 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' trailer breaks Marvel record

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Understatement alert: It seems people want to see this Avengers movie.

Despite a breakdown in Marvel’s synergistic plans to debut the first teaser for Avengers: Age of Ultron during Tuesday’s broadcast of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when a raw-looking, early leak of the footage hit the web on Wednesday, the film has still shattered the studio’s records for trailer views.  READ FULL STORY

Kaitlyn Dever talks about 'Laggies' and on-set teenage camaraderie

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It’s been a busy fall for young actress Kaitlyn Dever, who appears in Lynn Shelton’s Laggies, out Friday, and stars in Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children.

Dever proved her formidable acting chops in last year’s Short Term 12 playing an abused teen in a foster-care facility—look no further than the scene in which she reads a children’s story her character wrote about an octopus. In the scene, Dever let’s her character’s disconnected, tough façade slip away. Her performance in that movie and The Spectacular Now got her labeled the “Summer’s Indie It Flick Queen” by Teen Vogue

Dever, who also stars on Last Man Standing, is good at playing girls with an attitude, and it’s used to comedic effect in Laggies. Dever plays Misty, the no B.S. best (teenage) friend of Chloë Grace Moretz’s Annika. Annika and Misty start palling around with Keira Knightley’s aimless twentysomething Megan after Megan buys them alcohol one night and then begins to crash at Annika’s. Reitman also tapped Dever be in his live reading of American Beauty, telling EW that she “probably would be cast in the Thora Birch role if American Beauty were being made today.”

EW spoke to her in advance of that reading about Laggies, improv, and working with other teens. READ FULL STORY

EW's Horror Quintessentials: The 5 best extraterrestrial movies

With Halloween fast approaching, EW is picking the five best films in a variety of different horror movie categories. Each day, we’ll post our top picks from one specific group—say, vampire movies or slasher flicks—and give you the chance to vote on which is your favorite. On Oct. 31, EW will reveal your top choices. Today, we’re ready to talk about some extraterrestrial horrors.

In space, no one can hear you scream. But on Earth, aliens have been making film audiences hoarse for decades. Sure, there are plenty of friendly, E.T.-esque extraterrestrials—but more often than not, these beings from another planet seem intent on destroying mankind.

Aliens make such ideal villains in horror films because of their inherent unfamiliarity. When they attack, it’s often with superior and unknown forces that humans have no idea how to defend against. So while we continue to wait for concrete signs of alien life outside the fences of Area 51, filmmakers have made sure to warn us that what lies out there likely has little intention of coming in peace.

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Watch a brief history of texting and email in movies and TV

In the last decade or so, as internet speeds have risen and cell phone plans have been pre-packaged to death, texting and the Web have become increasingly reliant sources of exposition in film and television. Sherlock, The Social Network, and more have used texting and the internet to tell story versus the advent of the spoken word. And just recently, texting has been used to expose philandering spouses on How to Get Away with Murder and show how bored spouses seek sexual fulfillment via the Internet in Men, Women & Children.

Technology has become an acceptable way to convey that “This mother in Men, Women & Children is overbearing,” and “This woman wants to sleep with Benedict Cumberbatch“—er, sorry—”Sherlock.”

But it wasn’t always such an effective shorthand. Earlier this year, Tony Zhou created a video explaining the trend of phones and the internet in film and TV, exploring the advent of the floating text message and how visual exposition has developed over the years. (Although it would be interesting to see how this trend is portrayed if there were a period piece regarding dial-up Internet.)

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Why aren't there more serious movies about cheerleading?

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When you Google “cheerleading movies,” the top hits include the likes of Bring It On (and its four straight-to-DVD sequels), Sugar & Spice, Ninja Cheerleaders, and (no joke) Cheerleader Ninjas. When you Google “football movies,” the top hits include Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, Any Given Sunday, The Blind Side, and Rudy, just to mention a few. Why does the entertainment business see cheerleading as a sport that lends itself to comedy, while the world of football’s the idea place to set a drama? Does Hollywood believe that cheerleading isn’t serious enough to sustain a movie that isn’t tongue-in-cheek?

A new documentary called American Cheerleader might just help to change that.The documentary takes a very honest, straightforward look at two high school cheerleading squads—one in New Jersey and one in Kentucky—as they prepare mentally and physically for competition and, hopefully, find their way to nationals. New Jersey-based Burlington Township is returning to the game as the former National champions; Southwestern, the other school, made it to nationals the previous year, but suffered a heartbreaking defeat after one of the girls got dropped during their routine. READ FULL STORY

Watch the first 5 minutes of 'Low Down,' with John Hawkes and Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning is super-excited about her next project: Halloween.

She might be one of the hardest-working actresses in Hollywood—with four films in theaters in 2014, including the blockbuster Maleficent—but she’s still only 16 and her Halloween costume is an elaborate production. “It’s a secret,” she says, when asked about her trick-or-treat dress-up plans. “But I’ll give you some of my greatest hits: I was the Morton Salt Girl. I was Strawberry Shortcake. I’ve been a Barbie Statue of Liberty. I’ve been Mary Poppins. I was a Madame Alexander doll. I was a vampire, but that was like a very glamorous done-up vampire. I was Marilyn Monroe—when I was 7. So yeah, it’s a big deal.”

In Low Down, which opens today in theaters, she gets to dress up as a real person. Amy-Jo Albany was the daughter of Joe Albany, a talented jazz pianist who recorded with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He also was a heroin addict, testing the love of many who cared for him. In the film, set in Hollywood 1974, Joe (John Hawkes) is trying to right his life and then hold it together for the sake of his teenage daughter, who adores him. It’s not an easy task.

EW has an extensive conversation with Fanning, and the film’s opening five minutes, which introduce the father/daughter dynamic and feature Joe jamming with a trumpet-playing Flea. (Beware of one expletive.) READ FULL STORY

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