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Toronto: Daniel Radcliffe is damned good at 'Horns' premiere

After one glimpse, the title to Daniel Radcliffe’s newest movie requires no further explanation. But there’s so much more to unwrap in Horns, Alexandre Aja’s subversely funny adaptation of Joe Hill’s macabre mystery novel. Yes, Harry Potter grows horns after his angelic girlfriend (Juno Temple) is brutally murdered and he’s the only suspect. In defense of the town’s quick rush to judgment, there are also scenes where a singed Radcliffe wields a pitchfork and communes with menacing snakes. (Once a parseltongue, always a parseltongue.) Also, he drives a flaming-orange Gremlin, so can you really blame the simple townsfolk for thinking he’s tight with Satan?

Horns, which premiered last night at the Toronto Film Festival, is something totally different and unexpected. Radcliffe plays Ig Perrish, who finds that those grotesque horns suddenly growing out of his head have one useful side effect. Rather than being frightened or disgusted, other people are oddly put at ease by the sight of them and compulsively express their deepest and darkest secrets and desires to Ig. There’s the local floozy who really wants to eat all the donuts after sex, the buddy-cops who want to take their relationship to the next level, and Ig’s mother, who just wants him to disappear because his plight makes her so darn sad. “I bring out the worst in people,” Ig laments. But once he begins to understand the blessing that accompanies his curse, he sets out to use his power to find the real killer.

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' casts Dakota Johnson and Charlie Hunnam

The search is over: Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate, The Social Network) will play Anastasia Steele and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) will take over the high-profile role of Christian Grey in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Author E.L. James tweeted the news this morning. The movie will be released on Aug. 1, 2014.

No clear candidates for the high-profile roles had emerged since Focus Features and Universal paid $5 million in March 2012 for movie rights to the best-selling trilogy — but there were lots of rumors. Earlier this year, Emma Watson’s name hit the mill for Anastasia, which prompted the Harry Potter star to tweet “who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life.”

Armie Hammer also had to fend off speculation earlier this year that he was going to play the handsome lead in what he described as a “mommy porn” flick. “No one actually offered me the movie, but while I was working on Lone Ranger my agent brought it up, and I said ‘Nope,’” Hammer told Playboy. “I mean, come on — it’s just mommy porn. I’m not going to sit on top of the laundry machine in spin cycle reading about putting a ball gag in someone’s mouth. That doesn’t do it for me.”

Johnson gained some critical attention for her role in the Fox comedy Ben and Kate last season but the single-camera confection about a single mom who lives with her brother (Nat Faxon) was cancelled because of low ratings. After her small, scantily-clad part in The Social Network (she went to bed with Sean Parker, aka Justin Timberlake), she went on to appear in The Five Year Engagement and 21 Jump Street. She is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.

For the last six years, Hunnam has starred as Jax Teller in FX’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy. Earlier this year, he was the lead in the movie Pacific Rim.

Script for the 50 Shades adaptation is from Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova).

'Saving Mr. Banks' poster: Mary Poppins casts a long shadow

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And, evidently, so does Mickey Mouse.

This new poster for Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks literally illustrates the film’s central conflict: the struggle between Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), who was firmly against the notion of turning her masterpiece into a feature film, and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who spent years trying to persuade her to change her mind. Spoiler alert: Disney won.

(Extra spoiler alert: Travers despised the Disney version of Poppins, especially its original songs and animated sequences; she agreed to let Cameron Mackintosh adapt it into a stage musical only if he promised to allow only English-born writers onto its creative team.)

The film premieres in limited release Dec. 13 and in wide release Dec. 20. Check out the trailer below.

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'Gone Girl': Rosamund Pike offered lead role

Rosamund Pike, the former Bond Girl who recently starred in Jack Reacher opposite Tom Cruise, has been offered the starring role in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s best-selling thriller about a young wife who goes missing on her fifth anniversary. Sources close to the production confirmed the offer, and the Hollywood Reporter, which initially reported the news, claimed that Pike had won the role over several bigger-name actresses, including Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, and Emily Blunt.

Ben Affleck has already been cast as the cheating husband who is immediately suspected when his wife disappears without a trace. Reese Witherspoon optioned the novel in 2012 and is producing the film.

Laura Dern signs on to 'The Fault in our Stars'

Laura Dern has been cast in the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars. The Enlightened actress joins Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (and the recently announced Nat Wolff)  for the adaptation of the best-selling novel by John Green. She’ll be playing the mother to Hazel Grace—(Woodley) who falls in love with Augustus (Elgort), whom she meets in a teenage cancer support group.

A quick editorial note: isn’t this casting perfect? With just one more major slot to fill—that of Peter van Houten (fantasy pick: Hugh Laurie)—casting is nearly complete. The Fault in Our Stars will begin production next month in Pittsburgh.

Director Larry Fessenden talks about his monster-fish movie 'Beneath' and its 'black humor'

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In the new monster movie Beneath, a group of boat-trapped teens are menaced by a giant fish — although, as things go from bad to worse to whatever-comes-after-worse, it becomes clear the real monsters are the kids themselves rather than their piscine predator.

“That’s the point of the film!” laughs Beneath director Larry Fessenden, whose previous credits include 2001’s Wendigo and 2006’s The Last Winter. “That’s a little bit about my obsession that people have been parenting wrong. I tried to show some compassion for the characters, but they’re all just in for themselves and it leads to a bad end. The fish is just doing what he does!”

Starring Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison, and Mark Margolis (a.k.a. Tio Salamanca from Breaking Bad), Beneath is now playing in select cinemas (including New York’s IFC Center) and is available on VOD. The movie will be screened on Chiller TV this fall.

Larry Fessenden talks much more about Beneath below.
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'Ender's Game' author Orson Scott Card responds to critics: The gay marriage issue is 'moot' -- EXCLUSIVE

Responding to reports of a nascent boycott against the upcoming movie version of his beloved 1985 sci-fi novel Ender’s Game because of his stated opposition to same-sex marriage, author Orson Scott Card has released a statement exclusively to EW. He declares the gay-marriage issue “moot” due to last month’s Supreme Court rulings. He also makes a plea for gay-marriage supporters to “show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.” His full statement is below.

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.  The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Orson Scott Card

The best-selling author has come under fire in some quarters for his stance on same-sex marriage. In 2009, he joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions. That year, he also wrote a piece in Mormon Times that railed against “dictator-judges” and argued, “Married people attempting to raise children with the hope that they, in turn, will be reproductively successful, have every reason to oppose the normalization of homosexual unions.”

Those views have prompted a backlash. In March, artist Christopher Sprouse backed out of plans to work on a Card-penned Adventures of Superman comic book for DC Comics. More recently, a small online group called Geeks OUT announced plans to boycott Summit’s upcoming $110 million Ender’s Game movie because of Card’s anti-gay-marriage views. “Hopefully, it will send a message that people who are actively vocal against the LGBT community don’t really have a place within the greater geek culture,” says Geeks OUT board member Patrick Yacco.

Steven Spielberg eyes 'Grapes of Wrath'

Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks are in early discussions to acquire the rights to John Steinbeck’s classic Depression-era novel, The Grapes of Wrath. A representative for Spielberg confirmed a Deadline report that the Oscar-winning director of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan is interested in the project, but only in a producer capacity. He would not direct. The novel was famously adapted by John Ford in 1940, with Henry Fonda starring as Tom Joad, the ex-con who tries to help his poor family as they flee the Dust Bowl for a better life in California. READ FULL STORY

'Choose Your Own Adventure' film in the works

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If you turn to the right page, Choose Your Own Adventure is one step closer to the big screen: 20th Century Fox is close to a deal to acquire the rights to the popular book franchise, EW has confirmed. (The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.)

The interactive series, which published over 180 titles between 1979 and 1999, tells adventure stories from a second-person point of view, letting the reader dictate how the story ends. The CYOA website boasts that the series has been “widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers.” How will it fare with reluctant moviegoers? Only time will tell. It is also not clear yet how the concept of the books will be translated to film.
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'Much Ado About Nothing': Choosing Joss Whedon's next literary muse

Back in 2011, between shooting and editing The Avengers, Joss Whedon was supposed to take his wife, producer Kai Cole, on a dream Italian vacation to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Sensing an oncoming crisis of faith in filmmaking — perhaps one reason they’ve been able to achieve 20 years of marriage in an industry that seemingly grinds up and spits out unions just for kicks — she had another idea.

She suggested he finally shoot his dream project, a new black-and-white contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing using the original text with his friends/constant collaborators like Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker and set in his Santa Monica house, during his 12 days off.

“Pretty much making Much Ado was my anniversary present from my wife. It wasn’t so much that she said she’d let me make the movie. She said she was going to make me make the movie,” Whedon explained exclusively to EW at Wednesday night’s Oscars Outdoors screening and Q&A in Hollywood. “We were supposed to go to Venice, [but] she said, ‘I think the best thing for you would be to do Much Ado. We’re ready. We have our micro-budget studio set up. You have a crew. You have a cast. The location is really cheap. And you have a palpable need to reconnect with why you love your job. And Venice isn’t sinking that fast.’ So, yeah, she performed an act of extraordinary sacrifice, and on the first day of shooting, she asked me, ‘Are you happy?’ I smiled so hard that my face broke.” READ FULL STORY

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