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Casting Net: Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson in talks to star in 'The Jungle Book'; Plus, Zooey Deschanel, more

12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o and The Avengers‘s Scarlett Johansson are both in talks to lend their voices to Disney’s upcoming live-action/CG adaption of The Jungle Book. Nyong’o is currently in talks to play Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli, while Johansson is in early negotiations to lend her voice to the character of Kaa, a python who eats its victims by hypnotizing them. Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau is set to direct the film based on the classic novel by Rudyard Kipling which will also star Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s Idris Elba as the voice of Shere Khan the tiger. [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Peeps Man Adam Rifkin on why sugary marshmallows are the next big movie opportunity

Only in a world where Legos can be the subject of a hit movie and Transformers toys the centerpiece of a hit franchise, can we imagine a movie based on sugary marshmallow candies. But for better or worse, that is the film culture we live in now and writer/director Adam Rifkin is prepared to take advantage of it, announcing Tuesday night that he has optioned the rights to Just Born’s Peeps, that colorful sugary goodness that annually generates $2 billion in revenue, primarily around Easter time.

Rifkin, whose varied career includes script duty on family-friendly films like Small Soldiers and Mouse Hunt and more recently as the writer/director on the Showtime series Reality Show, intends to center his film, which has yet to nab a distributor, in the already-existing world of the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest. (Turns out there is a whole world of Peeps aficionados who turn marshmallows into historical figures for cash prizes. This year, the newspaper’s winner depicted Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech all in Peeps. Check out the contest winners here.) READ FULL STORY

Capsule Movie Reviews (Apr. 23): 'A Promise' and four more


A Promise
Director Patrice Leconte seems to have cribbed from the Merchant Ivory playbook for a lukewarm tale of repressed desire set in 1912 Germany, where a young engineer (Richard Madden) comes between his sickly boss (Alan Rickman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall). It’s well made but drearily familiar, what with its stolen glances and pleas of “No, we mustn’t!” (Also available on VOD) B-Chris Nashawaty READ FULL STORY

Jared Harris talks new horror movie 'The Quiet Ones'


In the ’70s-set The Quiet Ones, Jared Harris (Mad Men) portrays a British professor determined to prove that there is a scientific explanation for the seemingly supernatural phenomena besetting a young woman, played by Bates Motel actress Olivia Cooke. As The Quiet Ones, which opens this Friday, comes to us from the famously horror-obsessed U.K company Hammer, it does not spoil things too much to reveal that the prof’s plan goes wildly awry. READ FULL STORY

Barbie is hitting the big screen in a live-action comedy from Sony


Barbie is constantly being talked about. Whether it’s a debate about body image issues, human Barbie, or just another day at the toy store, the iconic toy is nothing if not recognizable. And now, Barbie will expand her enterprise when she takes over the big screen.

EW has confirmed that Sony Pictures has partnered with Mattel and Parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation for a live-action comedy featuring Barbie. Sony considers this its next “big, global franchise” and plans for the project to go into production by the end of the year, according to a press release.

The live-action film will be written by Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City) and produced by Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. The story will follow Barbie through many of her more than 150 roles, not limited to but including mermaid, princess, and president. READ FULL STORY

'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants': Another sequel, 'Sisterhood Everlasting,' in development

The recent YA rush strikes again!

Alloy Entertainment is developing the final Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book, Sisterhood Everlasting, for a big-screen adaptation. This film will follow the 2005 original, as well as the 2008 sequel, both of which starred Alexis Bledel, America Ferrera, Blake Lively, and Amber Tamblyn. No word on whether the ladies will reprise their roles (reps didn’t immediately respond), but all four real-life friends have seemed open to the idea in the past. “The characters are all basically the ages that we are now,” America Ferrera told EW when we reunited the cast last fall. “I know that the four of us would love [to make another film], and it would be wonderful.” READ FULL STORY

'Midnight Rider': After on-set death, William Hurt withdraws from film

William Hurt has withdrawn from a bio-pic of southern rocker Gregg Allman that has been targeted with a boycott by Hollywood crew workers following the death of a camera assistant in February, his representatives tell EW.

“The show must go on” is a maxim that has been around for as long as there have been shows – a rallying call for casts and crews who lose someone in the midst of a production. But the opposite call to action – “The show must stop” — is being directed at Midnight Rider. READ FULL STORY

'Jurassic World': See the first images from the set of next summer's dinosaur flick -- EXCLUSIVE


On April 14, filming began on Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise (due June 12, 2015), and EW has already scored the very first photos from the secretive set in Hawaii. Details on World — which stars Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) and Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) and is exec-produced by Steven Spielberg — are scarce, but director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) promises plenty of paleontological action. “Yesterday I was under a construction crane with Chris Pratt, covered with dirt, eyeballing the exact height of the dinosaur trying to kill him,” he says. “We both cracked up laughing. Sometimes you just have to stop and let the joy take over.” READ FULL STORY

Hopeful Y.A. franchise 'Seeker' gets screenwriter

Throw a teenage girl into a dystopian adventure and Hollywood will come calling — in this case, even before the book is officially published.

Hollywood already has adaptations of Daughter Of Smoke And Bone and The Fifth Wave in the works, and today Sony confirmed they have hired a screenwriter, Callie Kloves, for Seeker, an upcoming sci-fi/adventure tale based on a book by Arwen Elys Dayton that hasn’t even been published yet. (It’s expected to be released in 2015.) READ FULL STORY

Fox rebooting 'Flash Gordon with 'Star Trek 3' writers

Eighty years ago, polo-playing Yalie Flash Gordon first appeared in his own comic strip in newspapers throughout the country. No one under the age of 20 understands half the words in that sentence, yet Flash Gordon endures. Originally created by Alex Raymond as a ’30s-era pulp hero, the character inspired the retroactively beloved 1980 film and, more recently, a shortlived sci-fi series. The strip itself ran through the mid-’00s (you can get a closer look at it here) — and he could be staging a return trip to the big screen: EW has confirmed the news, originally uncovered by The Hollywood Reporter, that Fox has made a deal with producer John Davis for the screen rights to Flash Gordon, with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay currently working on the script. READ FULL STORY

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