Aubrey Plaza is heading out on Spring Break for her next project.
EW can confirm that the Parks and Recreation star has signed on for a role in Dirty Grandpa, which stars Zac Efron and Robert De Niro. Deadline first reported the news.
• Another big name has been launched into consideration for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi film The Martian. Emmy winner Jeff Daniels is the latest actor in talks to join Matt Damon in the movie about a stranded astronaut struggling to survive. Daniels would play the NASA director dealing with the crisis back on Earth. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Kate Mara may also star in the film written by Drew Goddard (World War Z) and adapted from the self-published book of the same name by Andy Weir. [THR]
• Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Ron Livingston, and Clea DuVall have signed on for Fresno, joining its stars Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne. The comedy, from Jamie Babbit, follows two sisters who work as hotel maids in Fresno. Gamechanger Films is financing in association with Leeden Media, Lakeview Productions, and TALU Productions. Mynette Louie, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger are executive producing. [Variety]
• Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden will face off against Idris Elba in the action-thriller Bastille Day. Written by Andrew Baldwin, the film follows a rogue U.S. CIA operative forced to make a young American man “disappear” after he becomes the prime suspect in an attack on the Paris metro. James Watkins (The Woman in Black) is directing for Focus Features. [Variety]
• Nikki Reed (Twilight), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings), and Joe Jonas will all star in The Highway is for Gamblers. Wright will play Heidi, who uncovers dark secrets and violence while searching for her missing friend, rodeo queen Jane (Reed). Writer/director Alexandra McGuiness (Lotus Eaters) is at the helm on the project going into production next month in California. [Deadline]
• Actor and musician Tyson Ritter has signed on for the dramedy Miss You Already opposite Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. The All-American Rejects frontman and Parenthood actor will play a young love interest to one of the ladies in the film about two best friends struggling to balance their everyday lives with each other. Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine and Jacqueline Bisset will also star in the film directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) from a script written by Morwenna Banks. [Deadline]
• Universal has bought a pitch from Ice Cube to star and produce in a high-concept, big-idea comedy set in Colorado titled Rocky Mountain High. The Ride Along and Friday star is producing with his longtime manager Jeff Kwatinetz and Beau Flynn and if successful, the new film could turn into yet another franchise for the rapper turned actor. [Deadline]
• Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu has landed a major role opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5. No details have been given about the role, but the Rush Hour 3 actress has already begun filming the sequel under the direction of Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) in London. [Variety]
• The Blind Side‘s Quinton Aaron, Edi Gathegi (Twilight Saga) and Gillian Zinser (90201) will all star in Halfway, the feature directorial debut from British writer Ben Caird. Aaron will star as a recently released convict struggling to balance his urban criminal past as the only black man in a white, conservative Wisconsin farming town. Among the executive producers on the film are Aaron and former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha, aka Mr. Kerry Washington. [The Wrap]
• Martin Donovan (Weeds) has landed an pivotal yet unidentified role in Marvel’s Ant-Man. Peyton Reed (Yes Man) is directing the film starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll and John Slattery about con man Scott Lang (Rudd) and his ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength. Gabriel Ferrari, Andrew Barrer and Adam McKay wrote the screenplay for Ant-Man that is scheduled for release on July 17, 2015. [THR]
• Charlie Shotwell, soon to be seen opposite Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, has been cast as the young son of Shia LaBeouf and Kate Mara‘s characters in Man Down. Jai Courtney, Gary Oldman and Terrence Howard also star in the film directed by Dito Montiel (A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints) from a screenplay by Adam Simon about an Afghanistan war veteran searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America. [THR]
• Maddie Hasson (Twisted) has joined the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. Hasson will play Williams’ second wife Audrey in the film directed by Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius). [Deadline]
• Smash actor Emory Cohen is heading west in By Way of Helena. Cohen joins Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson in the picture directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith (Wish You Were Here) about a Texas Ranger in the 1880s sent to an isolated frontier town after a series of unsolved murders. [Deadline]
Everyone knows that love is complicated. But what they don’t know is just how complicated love is when your dead girlfriend comes back to life and slowly starts to turn into a zombie. Welcome to Zach’s world.
In the new horror-comedy Life After Beth, Zach (Dane DeHaan) finds himself with a back-from-the-dead girlfriend in Beth (Aubrey Plaza), who seems normal at first, but over time, starts to show off more zombie-like tendencies. EW has an exclusive clip from the film, in which Beth’s deteriorating state causes both anxiety and anger issues. Luckily, Zach is there to calm her with his radio. Turns out smooth jazz is just the thing to relax a zombie. Who knew?
Life After Beth is currently available on DirecTV and will be in limited theaters August 15th.
Ahh, to be a teenage zombie again!
Jeff Baena’s Life After Beth follows Zach (Dane DeHaan), a teen who is heartbroken when his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) unexpectedly dies. When her parents, Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon), resurrect Beth using the Old Testament, Zach gets a second chance to do and say everything he wished he had while she was still alive. As you can imagine, things don’t work out quite the way he plans.
The film’s trailer shows the pair running around the park, hanging out at the beach, and making out, extensively. Beth is a far cry from the rapid, ferocious zombies in 28 Days Later and the slow-paced, completely lifeless zombies of The Walking Dead; she’s much more human-like than zombie-esque, at least at first. READ FULL STORY
Wine, millennials, lingering resentment from college: As Girls has shown, these are the necessary ingredients for a memorable weekend.
Directed by Jesse Zwick, About Alex follows seven college friends who reunite over a long weekend after hearing news that one of their pals, the eponymous Alex (Jason Ritter), has had an emotional breakdown. But as the trailer reveals, About Alex also focuses on how the friends have drifted away from their college closeness. READ FULL STORY
• Robert De Niro is set for Bus 757, a thriller about a card dealer aiming to rob a bank by taking a group of bus travelers hostage and using them as collateral. De Niro’s character is the owner of the casino in question. Scott Mann (The Tournament) will direct. His upcoming projects include the boxing drama Hands of Stone, staring Edgar Ramirez, and the cop thriller Candy Store, with Keira Knightley and Omar Sy. [Deadline] READ FULL STORY
• Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3) is currently in talks to star opposite Johnny Depp (Transcendence) in Warner Bros. upcoming crime drama, Black Mass. The film tells the story of famed Boston mob boss and FBI informant, Whitey Bulger (Depp), who uses his double status as a way of picking off any criminal competition. Pearce is currently in talks to play Bulger’s brother on the project which is being produced by Warner Bros. and Cross Creek. [Variety]
READ FULL STORY
Director Jesse Zwick’s new drama About Alex tells the story of seven college friends who reunite for a weekend after one of them suffers an emotional breakdown.
Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Jason Ritter (Parenthood), and more star in the upcoming film that finds the seven friends realizing that despite keeping up through technology since graduating from college, they really don’t know each other as well as they used to.
EW caught up with Jesse Zwick over the phone to talk about his upcoming independently produced film. Read on to find out what he had to say about the film and to see an exclusive photo from About Alex featuring Aubrey Plaza and Jason Ritter below: READ FULL STORY
There’s a certain kind of oddball film that seems like it could only have its coming-out party at a place like Sundance. Marjane Satrapi’s dark serial killer comedy The Voices is one of those films. The best way I can think to describe it is: imagine Fight Club if Brad Pitt’s part was played by a talking dog and cat.
Tyler Durden comparisons aside, Satrapi, the Iranian director of 2007’s Persepolis, has created a totally unique, genre-defying film. Which isn’t to say The Voices is great. Far from it. It’s wildly uneven and it never finds a tone and sticks with it. But it’s a boldly gutsy and giddy experiment mainly because it gives us a likable, sympathetic, gee-whiz protagonist (Ryan Reynolds) and then spends the next hour and a half showing him go on a psychotic killing spree. The hook of the film –and it’s a doozy — is that through it all, Reynolds is egged on in his homicidal deeds by his cat (Mr. Whiskers) and cautioned against them by his dog (Bosco), both of whom talk to him. Like the devil and angel that hover over all of our shoulders, Mr. Whiskers is a nasty piece of business who speaks in a Fat Bastard Scottish brogue, while Bosco is a dumb-but-moral mutt with a southern drawl.
Despite his hunky, leading-man good looks and relative box-office currency (Green Lantern and R.I.P.D. aside), Reynolds has always been an interesting actor because he’s at least willing to take chances. Sometimes those chances pan out, sometimes they don’t. But looking at movies like The Nines and Buried, you can’t say that he plays it safe. He had to know going in that The Voices would never be a mainstream multiplex hit, but that doesn’t stop him from delivering a surprising and ballsy performance. Jerry begins the film as a bubbly, optimistic factory worker who we slowly learn through sessions with his court-appointed shrink (Jacki Weaver) has a history of mental illness. And, of course, there’s the whole talking pet thing.
When Jerry develops a crush on one of his coworkers (Gemma Arterton), Bosco encourages asking her out. Meanwhile, Mr. Whiskers only cares about whether or not he will close the deal and have sex with her (well, that and making sure that Jerry feeds him on time: “Where the f—‘s my food, f—face?”). Jerry’s date goes horribly, tragically, fatally wrong. So does the one after that with another coworker (an excellent Anna Kendrick). And as Jerry’s world starts to unravel, Bosco and Mr. Whiskers do their hilarious, chatty push-and-pull routine yanking at the wishbone of his soul.
I wish I could say that the second half of the film lived up to the promise of the first. Or that the film probably won’t offend some folks with its glib, played-for-laughs treatment of mental illness. Still, The Voices is never less than unpredictable and amusing in a that’s-so-wrong kind of way. For those who take their comedy black, you could do a lot worse.
Like Ryan Reynolds, Aubrey Plaza is an actor who’s drawn to rolling the dice and taking risks — usually with a deadpan expression on her face. In Safety Not Guaranteed, The To Do List, and on Parks and Recreation, Plaza has a special and all-too-rare gift for totally committing to embarrassing situations and finding the absurd humor in them. Which is exactly what she does again in the gonzo zombie rom-com Life After Beth.
I could say that Plaza’s new film is the funniest zombie comedy since Shaun of the Dead, but the truth is there haven’t been many decent contenders for that title. I laughed while watching Life After Beth, but not as much, or as hard, as I felt like I should have. Like The Voices, it promises more than it ultimately delivers.
Written and directed by Jeff Baena, Life After Beth stars Dane DeHaan as Zack, who, at the opening of the film, is grieving over the death of his girlfriend (Plaza), who was bit by a snake while hiking. As he mourns along with her parents (a pair of aces John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon), he beats himself up over all of the things he never got to say to her while she was alive. But he soon gets a second chance when Beth reappears. She’s not a zombie exactly — not yet, at least. And the film has fun with the nonchalance with which Reilly and Shannon meet her return. After all, why look a gift horse in the mouth?
At first, Zack is freaked out. But soon he’s taking advantage of his romantic do-over with the girl he loves — even if she is acting a bit…odd. Plaza’s Beth is moody, violent, horny, and what’s the deal with her new sweet tooth for smooth jazz and the strange decomposing rash on her face? Scared that she’s becoming one of the walking dead, Zack asks her: “You don’t want to, like, eat me, do you?” Plaza’s response: “Zack, not with my parents around!”
Things get worse when other deceased folks start turning up wanting to listen to smooth jazz and eat people too. It turns out World War Z has arrived and its soundtrack is Spyro Gyra and Chuck Mangione.
Life After Beth has a slew of strong supporting performances from Reilly and Shannon, Paul Reiser and Cheryl Hines (as Zack’s oblivious parents), and Anna Kendrick (there she is again!). But it’s Plaza who literally and figuratively chews the movie up. With a premise as absurd as Life After Beth‘s is, it’s a testament to Plaza that she gives it everything she’s got. The sight of this wonderful actress — bloody, foaming at the mouth, and lumbering around with a stove strapped to her back is one I won’t forget anytime soon.