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Nicolas Cage joins Paul Schrader's protest against the film they made together

Paul-Schrader

Paul Schrader, the Taxi Driver screenwriter and director of last year’s Lindsey Lohan un-comeback The Canyons, has lost his battle to release his version of Dying of the Light. A trailer for the action thriller—which stars Nicolas Cage as a CIA veteran who’s diagnosed with dementia but remains determined to hunt down the terrorist he thought he’d killed years ago—debuted on Wednesday, and it’s officially slated for release on Dec. 5.

The trailer proudly advertises itself as a Paul Schrader film, but he claims that the producers took the film away from him during the editing process. Despite being contractually prevented from disparaging the finished result, he, Cage, co-star Anton Yelchin, and executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn have joined in what appears to be a silent protest. On Facebook, Schrader posted photos of the quartet wearing t-shirts that reflect his stance: READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Tom Hardy joins Leonardo DiCaprio in revenge thriller; Plus Kellan Lutz to play William Shatner, more

After months of speculation, Mad Max: Fury Road star Tom Hardy has officially signed on for The Revenant alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Based on the Michael Punke novel, Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) is directing a script he adapted with Mark L. Smith (The Hole) for a fall 2015 release. The 19th century-set film, which will also feature Will Poulter (We’re the Millers), follows the treacherous journey of a fur trapper seeking revenge against his betrayers. [The Hollywood Reporter] READ FULL STORY

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

12 Years A Slave Oscar winner 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]
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Ashley Greene and Anton Yelchin zom-com 'Burying the Ex': A chance to visit set, plus a first look -- EXCLUSIVE

You know the story: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl dies and comes back as a zombie.

Well, that’s the story of Burying the Ex, a new romantic zombie comedy, or zom-com, as the cast and crew call it, starring  Ashley Greene (Twilight) and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek). EW was on set for an exclusive first look and a chance to talk with the stars and director.

Burying the Ex follows Max (Yelchin), an all-around nice guy, and his incredibly beautiful but overbearing and manipulative girlfriend Evelyn (Greene). After they move in together, Evelyn is killed in a freak accident, leaving Max single and free from her controlling nightmare — or so he thinks.
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Academy Nicholl Fellowships: Stars turn out to honor new screenwriters

There’s no such thing as a sure path to success in Hollywood, but the Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting is as close as you’re going to get. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the five 2013 finalists just over two weeks ago, and already the honorees are fielding calls from agents, managers and studios eager to work with them. At least one has already signed with an agent and a manager.

The program, now in its 28th year, allows aspiring screenwriters who have never earned more than $25,000 writing fiction for film or television to submit an original script for the chance to win one of five $35,000 fellowships, intended to allow the recipients the time and money to produce another original script in the next calendar year.

In years past, the Nicholl Fellowships Committee, chaired by Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, held a dinner for the finalists before sending them off to craft their next scripts, but this year the Committee wanted to do something a little more special. So Thursday night, the Academy hosted an event at their headquarters in Beverly Hills for both Academy members and the public, and invited notable actors to read scenes from each of the finalists’ scripts. “This is something we’ve wanted to do for years,” said Hurd. Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs), directed the live reading, Julie Lynn produced, and actors Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Elle Fanning (Somewhere), Anthon Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness), and Taraji P.Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) perform for an audience of 1,500.

“These are new screenwriters, all of whom are so fantastic and imaginative and haven’t yet had their creative edges knocked off of them by the torturous development process,”  Isaacs told EW at a reception before the reading. “All the scripts are original and interesting and have an optimism and a zing that you rarely find with someone who’s been here for too long. We need new blood and new stories and new imaginations to prop up this town. Things, and people, get stale here very quickly. We need a constant injection of fresh approaches, and every single one of these scripts has it.”

For the five finalists, it’s a pretty significant jolt from anonymity into a promising new career path, made possible partly by the pedigree and promise of previous fellows. Alums include Jeffrey Eugenides, a 1986 Fellow who won the Pulitzer for his novel Middlesex, Susannah Grant, a 1992 Fellow who picked up an Academy Award nomination for Erin Brockovich, Destin Daniel Cretton, a 2012 Fellow whose Short Term 12 wowed critics and festival audiences this year, Mike Rich, whose Nicholl script was made into Finding Forrester, Andrew Marlowe, a 1992 Fellow who created the series Castle, and many others. “One of last year’s winners, James DiLapo, said in his speech last year that he would sell his kidney to write Star Wars VII,” said Academy Nicholl Fellowship director Greg Beal. “That didn’t come about but earlier this year he signed a two picture deal with Warner Bros. The first picture was to adapt The Odyssey…in space.”

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Casting Net: Kirsten Dunst goes for a 'Midnight Special'; Plus Charlotte Gainsbourg, Mel Gibson, more

• Kirsten Dunst has been acting for most of her life, and recently it seems she’s turning to more director-driven projects. These have seen varying degrees of critical and box office success, including Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia and Walter Salles’ On The Road, as well as the occasional raunchy comedy (Bachelorette) and cameo role (Anchorman: The Legend Continues). Now, Dunst is set to join director Jeff Nichols (Mud), as he re-teams with his Take Shelter star Michael Shannon in Midnight Special, about a father and son on the run. Details are scarce, but the report says that along the way, they discover that the 8-year-old son has some kind of special powers. Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) also stars. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen pair up for Sept. 11 drama. Plus: Elizabeth Banks, Diane Kruger, Willem Dafoe

Woody Harrelson and Martin Sheen are set to star in the drama September Morn, framed around the events of Sept. 11, 2001. B.J. Davis is directing from a screenplay by Howard Cohen. The movie revolves around a group that questions the independent investigation into the terrorist attacks. Harrelson has been making comic waves recently as a killer crime boss in the bloody comedy Seven Psychopaths.
[Deadline]

• Comedic blondie Elizabeth Banks has signed on to star in the comedy Walk of Shame, about a news anchor who goes on a zany trek across Los Angeles after a booze-filled one-night stand. Filmmaker Steve Brill is helming the project from his own script. Banks has been on the rise thanks to her role as colorful Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games. The sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is currently filming. [Variety] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Chris Hemsworth boarding 'In the Heart of the Sea.' Plus: Stephen Colbert, Ray Winstone, Anton Yelchin

• Speaking of fact-based films set in the 19th century, Alfre Woodard has joined the formidable cast of Twelve Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen‘s follow-up to Shame about a free man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is dragooned into slavery. The film costars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, and Sarah Paulson. See what I mean about formidable? Yowsah! [THR]

• Stephen ColbertAllison Janney, Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids), Ariel Winter (Modern Family), and Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day) will lend their voices to Mr. Peabody & Sherman, the DreamWorks Animation adaptation of the beloved animated shorts from the Rocky and Bullwinkle family. Colbert will take on the role of Paul Peterson, archrival of Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell); Janney will play Peterson’s wife Paula, and Winter his daughter Penny. Young actor Max Charles (The Amazing Spider-Man) is voicing Sherman. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) is directing. [THR]

• Ray Winstone (Sexy BeastSnow White and the Huntsman) is in talks to play the heavy opposite Russell Crowe in NoahDarren Aronofsky‘s big-screen take on the Old Testament story. Emma WatsonLogan Lerman, and Douglas Booth round out the cast. [Deadline]

• Anton Yelchin (Star TrekLike Crazy) is joining Tilda SwintonTom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and John Hurt in Jim Jarmusch‘s vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive. Because why not a Jim Jarmusch vampire romance? [Deadline]

Alessandro Nivola (Jurassic Park III) has joined the West Memphis Three feature film Devil’s Knot. He’ll play Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the three murdered boys at the heart of the internationally famous case; recent documentaries West of Memphis and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory both allege Hobbs was responsible for the murders, but he has denied any involvement. Reese Witherspoon will play Hobbs’ wife Pam. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Samuel L. Jackson signs on to ‘Robocop.’ Plus: Jamie Foxx, Robin Williams, Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch
Casting Net: Matthew Modine in Jobs biopic, ‘Slave’ adds two more to all-star cast
Casting Net: Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay join new Woody Allen film. Plus: Ashley Tisdale, Elijah Wood, Johnny Galecki

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