• Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights alum Jesse Plemons is the latest name to emerge in the Star Wars: Episode VII casting rumor mill. According to The Wrap, Plemons is flying to Los Angeles to audition for director J.J. Abrams for the highly secretive Disney/Lucasfilm project, which is scheduled for a Dec. 18, 2015, release. Franchise originals Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill are all expected to return, but the cast still remains a mystery. Other recent rumors have included Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Sullivan Stapleton. [The Wrap]
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Tag: Alexander Skarsgard (1-10 of 13)
It’s sounding like Fifty Shades of Grey fans will have to wait longer than expected to find out which actor will replace the departed Charlie Hunnam in the role of 27-year-old billionaire kink enthusiast Christian Grey. The rumor mill ran rampant over the weekend that Focus/Universal would immediately announce who would fill Mr. Grey’s expensive shoes. While the studio still hopes to meet their mid-November start date on director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation, word is that no recasting announcement is imminent. For now the studio remains committed to the movie’s August 4, 2014, release date.
One interesting name said to still be on the short list is True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard. Never mind the fact that at 37, he’s a decade older than the character in the book. Skarsgard brings with him a smooth and easy sex appeal, at once capable of seeming aggressive and damaged. Perhaps even as important, the man has zero qualms about acting in the buff and is beloved for his low maintenance, relaxed off-screen nature. His rep didn’t return a request for comment. READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Meryl Streep in talks to join 'The Giver,' set to reunite with Robert De Niro; Plus more
• You know filmmakers mean business when they cast two Oscar winners to star in their adaptation of a best-seller. Meryl Streep is set to star as Hildy Good, the main character of Ann Leary’s The Good House. Hildy is a grandmother, a real-estate broker, and an alcoholic. The book is set a year after her family tried to intervene, when Hildy starts to immerse herself in the sordid secrets of her Massachusetts town as she befriends, and then tries to protect, a younger transplant named Rebecca, who has yet to be cast. Robert De Niro, who starred with Streep in The Deer Hunter, Falling in Love, and Marvin’s Room, will play Frank, a fellow resident of the town who Hildy reconnects with. Michael Cunningham (The Hours) is writing the adaptation, and there is currently no director attached. [Deadline]
• Streep is also in talks to join Jeff Bridges in the adaptation of The Giver, where she’d play the part of the Chief Elder. Bridges plays The Giver and relative unknown Brenton Thwaites will play Jonas in the big screen take on Lois Lowry’s new classic. Production is expected to begin in South Africa in two months, with Phil Noyce directing. [Deadline]
The East, a new high-stakes, big-ideas eco-thriller starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, and Ellen Page, closed out the SXSW Film Festival on Saturday and EW was invited to join director Zal Batmanglij and the cast for the long night of celebration. The evening began at the Four Seasons lobby bar with Batmanglij, a vegan, sitting on a sofa covered in cow pelt. “I honor this animal,” he said with a laugh.
He first met Marling at Georgetown University, and the two, along with fellow filmmaker Mike Cahill, quickly became best friends and collaborators. In 2011 the trio revealed the potency of their creative force with Another Earth (written by Marling and directed by Cahill) and Sound of My Voice (written by Marling and directed by Batmanglij), both purchased by Fox Searchlight. That same year, Marling and Batmanglij sold their spec script The East, about a private investigator (Marling) who infiltrates an anarchist collective and quickly feels her loyalties waver and shift. READ FULL STORY
A new trailer has been released for What Maisie Knew, the Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård-starring divorce drama that premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
A reimagining of the 1897 novel of the same title by Henry James, What Maisie Knew tells the story of a child shuffled back and forth between her two self-involved divorced parents, played by Moore and Steve Coogan. This new trailer — which has a rather bright tone given the heavy subject matter — showcases child actress Onata Aprile as Maisie finds herself amid the confusion of a changed family situation with new stepparents, played by Skarsgård and Scottish actress Joanna Vanderham. Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY
Kramer vs. Kramer continues to stand as one of the most memorable, heart-wrenching dramas about divorce and the battle for child custody. But way before the Dustin Hoffman/Meryl Streep-starrer, there was What Maisie Knew, a 1897 book by Henry James about a child shuffled back and forth between her two divorced parents every six months. That turn-of-the-century novel has now been updated for a modern retelling on the big screen, in a film starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård.
EW has the exclusive poster for the movie that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. On the new one-sheet, Moore and Skarsgård peek in from the edges, while young actress Onata Aprile (Maisie) is front and center, boring her big eyes “Mona Lisa”-style into anyone who catches a glance of this striking poster — check it out below. READ FULL STORY
The SXSW Film Festival announced Wednesday that Zal Batmanglij’s (Sound of My Voice) film The East will close the Festival on Saturday, March 16. Batmanglij co-wrote the script with Brit Marling. Starring Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, and Patricia Clarkson, the film follows a private intelligence operative trying to infiltrate a group of anarchists who are planning attacks on major corporations. But the operative’s loyalty to her mission wavers when she falls for the leader of the group.
The festival has also added a number of panels and films, including talks with the directors and casts of Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Check out the complete schedule here, and some of our picks from the new additions after the jump.
The film may be a thriller, but the cast of The East — which stars True Blood‘s Alexander Skarsgard and Juno‘s Ellen Page as founding members of an eco-anarchist group that is infiltrated by an FBI-trained corporate spy (cowriter Brit Marling) — ended their visit to EW’s Sundance interview lounge today with a laugh. Enjoy their conversation with director/cowriter Zal Batmanglij and EW’s Anthony Breznican below. READ FULL STORY
Toronto Film Festival: 'What Maisie Knew' 7-year-old Onata Aprile, and costar Alexander Skarsgard, on being 7, 'weird' fame
When you’re a 7-year-old actress in a movie with A-list actors and actresses, what captures your attention most on a day off? A white balloon.
Onata Aprile, the big-eyed, incredibly cute, pixie-sized girl who stars as Maisie in What Maisie Knew, a sad, nuanced story about parental disregard directed by Bee Season filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel that just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, had the time of her life chasing one around while doing press in Toronto for the film. She skipped around in little black boots and an A-line Perskickety long-sleeved dress, rubbed the balloon on the heads of journalists (including this EW one), as well as her costar Alexander Skarsgard, and shrieked with laughter like a mini hyena.
“I liked hanging on his arm!” yelled Aprile about filming with Skarsgard, who plays her goofy, caring bartender stepdad, the new husband of Maisie’s selfish, rocker mom, played by Julianne Moore. “He’s a human jungle gym!”
Based on the Henry James novel, What Maisie Knew also stars Steve Coogan as Maisie’s funny British dad, equally as negligent as her mom. Aprile, who spent seven weeks filming the role, plays Maisie with deeply quiet, heart-wrenching concern, opposite of the grinning kid in real life running around who loves Junie B. Jones books, is starting second grade, and says Moore’s character was “really yell-y!”
“I want to be in movies, but I don’t know what they’re going to be,” said Aprile, in her little voice, throwing her balloon into the air, her mom standing close by. “She helps me learn my lines. She says them her way, and then I say them mine!”
Lanky, slim Swedish True Blood heartthrob Skarsgard, in town at Toronto taking a quick break spending the past two months in a fallout shelter filming the intense Warner Bros. movie Hidden, and being “emaciated,” losing 16 pounds for it, he said, laughed easily with Aprile, who jumped and sang around him.
“I adore Onata. Even though I’m physically exhausted, I’m just so thrilled to be here,” said Skarsgard. “The whole thought of maybe not being here with her broke my heart. I hadn’t seen the movie before the premiere, and neither did she. To see it with her was amazing. I love her, love working with her.”
Skarsgard remembered starring in his own first role, when he was 7, Aprile’s age, and what it’s like being a child actor. He worked from age 7 to 13, and then took a break. Fame, Skarsgard said, “is f—king weird, and especially when you’re 13, and you have no idea what’s going on, and who you are. There’s nothing natural about being a celebrity. When I was that age, it made me paranoid. I didn’t like it at all.” As for Aprile, just starting out her career, Skarsgard said, she was a talented natural. Not to mention loving balloons.
“She’s so sensitive, and real. I work for months, and I think about my character, I analyze everything. Then you show up on set, and she’s a million times better than I am. I’m like, ‘Come on!! This is not fair!’” said Skarsgard, smiling. “You work so hard, trying to sound and be natural, and she shows up and it’s not at all false. It’s all spot-on and real. She wasn’t aware of the camera. She couldn’t care less. When I got over the fact that this [then] 6-year-old girl was so much better than me, it was so great, because that’s what acting is, when you get so much from someone.”
Skarsgard grew up with five younger siblings, and his actor dad Stellan has a 10-day-old baby, the second child with his second wife, Skarsgard said. He lived with about 35 cousins in his south Stockholm neighborhood growing up, plus a grandmother, uncles, aunts.
He knows how to get along with kids.
“A normal Tuesday night dinner would be 15 people. It was social, very loud. That’s how I grew up, what I’m comfortable with,” said Skarsgard. “I’m on my own now, a home, and it’s weird being alone.”
As for being a stepdad in What Maise Knew, Skarsgard said it was truly a welcome challenge, along with breaking out of his sweaty, lusty vampire mode on True Blood.
“There’s got to be something interesting, a discovery, in roles. If there’s no exploration, then what’s the point?” asked Skarsgard. “Especially on a show like True Blood, there’s so much attention. It’s easy for you to become that character. Many scripts sent my way are similar. That’s why I don’t play a different version of Eric Northman every year. I do that seven months out of the year. When I have a hiatus, I want to do films like this, that are different, where I learn something.”
For more film news, including coverage of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival follow @solvej_schou
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