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Casting Net: Shia LaBeouf to 'Rock the Kasbah' with Bill Murray; Plus, Bill Hader in talks for 'Trainwreck', more

• Shia LaBeouf is not retiring, it seems. The Nymphomaniac star, thrust into the spotlight recently by an ever-escalating plagiarism controversy, has signed on to Barry Levinson’s Rock the Kasbah alongside a host of high-profile names including Bill MurrayBruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Danny McBride, and Kate Hudson. The film follows a past-his-prime rock manager who takes his sole client on a USO tour in Afghanistan. While in Kabul, the manager discovers a young talent and enters her into the Afghan Star contest — Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. [The Wrap]

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Sundance 2014: Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler give rom coms an 'Airplane!' twist in 'They Came Together'

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If Airplane! and You’ve Got Mail went on a blind date, got liquored up, and had a baby…that baby would look like David Wain’s rom-com spoof They Came Together. Making its world premiere on Friday night at Sundance and adding some star power to the tail end of the festival, the silly send-up of formulaic Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks meet-cute movies and their ilk reunites the gang from Wet Hot American Summer – with some new faces sprinkled in.

Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer had its debut at Sundance 13 years ago. And it’s good to see that Wain hasn’t grown up much since then. They Came Together feels like a movie made by a guy who still thinks like a 13 year old and that rapid-fire Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker sight gags and “Don’t call me Shirley”-style puns are the height of comedy gold. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that some of his old pals have become really famous since his cult summer-camp flick came out in 2001.

The film kicks off in typical genre style with Paul Rudd’s Joel and Amy Poehler’s Molly on a double date with Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper, recounting how they met. Rudd explains how if it were a corny movie he’d be the not overtly Jewish, handsome leading man. Molly adds that she’d be the adorable klutz leading woman. From there, it’s an 82-minute rat-a-tat riff-fest on every cliche you’ve ever seen Nora Ephron and company commit to celluloid.

Molly owns a small-business candy shop with a quirky, punny name (Upper Sweet Side); Joel works for a ruthless candy conglomerate that wants to put her out of business. Molly’s a single mom; Joel’s just been jilted by his icy girlfriend. But when they meet, it’s love-hate at first sight. How could it not be? They’re both dressed like Benjamin Franklin for a Halloween party…and they both like “fiction books”!

Some of Wain and cowriter Michael Showalter’s gags are real groaners. But most mildly land near the target, and a few hit the bullseye. It doesn’t hurt when you have folks like Rudd and Poehler selling them. Plus, when you’re throwing this much spaghetti at the wall, some of it’s gotta stick, right?

With a cast that includes Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Chris Meloni, Max Greenfield, and Michael Ian Black, They Came Together is never quite as laugh-out-loud funny as you want it to be. But if you’re a fan of Wain’s knowing brand of sophomoric slapstick silliness, his “When Joel Met Molly” satire will send you into “I’ll have what she’s having” fits of ecstasy.

Sundance 2014: Bill Hader talks 'Skeleton Twins' and his Bond-villain dream -- VIDEO

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At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Saturday Night Live alum Bill Hader is one-half of the Skeleton Twins. The other half is a familiar face: His fellow SNL vet Kristen Wiig.

Hader and director/writer Craig Johnson talk about the sibling drama, and how Hader would be (almost) perfect as Daniel Craig’s next foe, in the interview with EW’s Anthony Breznican below:
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Sundance 2014: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are fantastic in 'The Skeleton Twins'

Going in to the first Sundance showing of The Skeleton Twins, in which Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play a troubled sister and brother coping with the legacy of their screwed-up family, I knew nothing about the film except that it was being billed as the movie that reunited the two former SNL teammates but wasn’t a comedy. Glancing at that photo above, I thought to myself: Hmmmmm, I hope it’s not one of those glum dysfunctional-family indie specials in which gifted comedians blank themselves out for the sake of art. I needn’t have worried. The Skeletons Twins is very much a drama, but it has lots of laughs, too — the kind of good, soul-ticking laughs that emerge, organically, from dramatic situations. Its tone is comparable to that of The Kids Are All Right or Alexander Payne’s films. The Golden Globes would have no problem nominating The Skeleton Twins in the Best Comedy or Musical category. Yet as directed and co-written by Craig Johnson, this is a tenderly sincere, and smart, and beguiling, and penetrating movie about the way that ordinary messed-up people can wind up stumbling through their lives. And let me say right up front: The two actors are fantastic together, every bit as powerful as Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo were as the woundedly bound siblings of You Can Count on Me. But then, we already know from Bridesmaids what a knockout of a leading lady Kristen Wiig can be. It’s Bill Hader who’s the revelation. I think he could become a major screen actor. READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: Bill Hader can count on Kristen Wiig in 'The Skeleton Twins' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader spent seven years together on Saturday Night Live, so when you hear they’re starring in a movie together — playing twins no less — you might expect it to be an outrageous comedy. When you then hear it’s also a Sundance movie, you might conclude that it’s something quirky-funny like Adventureland, the 2009 festival hit in which they played the married couple that runs a rinky-dink amusement park. But The Skeleton Twins is something entirely different — a full-on drama. They play Maggie and Milo, twins who used to be close but now live on different sides of the country. Neither is particular happy with their lives, and when they both narrowly avoid death on the same day, they end up reuniting and confronting the issues that have kept them apart. “Yeah, I would say it’s the Nebraska route,” says Hader, referring to the toned-down performance by his former SNL colleague, Will Forte, in Alexander Payne’s recent movie. “It’s more dramatic than funny. The movie I can compare it to is You Can Count On Me.”

Hader filmed the movie during his final season of Saturday Night Live, a hectic time in his life that had him plumbing some pretty hard-core emotional depths on Skeleton Twins and then racing back to Studio 8H to do a sketch with a guest like Jamie Foxx or perform on Weekend Update as Stefon. “I always liked it when you’d see someone [from SNL] do something different,” he says. “I’m not comparing myself at all to Bill Murray, but I remember seeing Bill Murray in Mad Dog and Glory. I was like, ‘Wow, he was really scary in this.’ That’s so cool that he did that. Beating up Robert DeNiro? It was crazy. I thought that was so awesome.”

Before the 35-year-old actor heads back to the Sundance Film Festival — a special place for him and his wife, Maggie Carey, since they got engaged in Park City — Hader discussed working with Wiig on The Skeleton Twins and the scene that sent him to the emergency room. READ FULL STORY

From Sundance to the multiplex: Women directors are taking the spotlight

Long before she directed the summer comedy The To Do List, Maggie Carey was a Division I soccer player at the University of Montana. That was back in the 1990s, when for the first time in her life, she had a female coach.

“It was really refreshing to see a woman in a leadership role and that kind of clicked with me – maybe there was something missing that I wasn’t aware of. And I think seven of the girls [I played with] went on to coach,” Carey says.

Now, as a film director, Carey finds herself at the helm in a profession also historically dominated by men. But like the sea change she witnessed playing soccer earlier in her life, Carey sees things opening up for women who want to get behind the camera.

“The next generation of [soccer] players,” she says, “they’re not going to even think twice about having a female coach. With access and filmmaking, girls who are in high school now aren’t going to think twice about [becoming directors] because they’re going to see women in those positions. It won’t be a barrier because they won’t know there was a barrier.”

Maggie Carey is one of a small group of up and coming female filmmakers in Hollywood who are starting to gain recognition for their work. But it is still a very small group.
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'The To Do List' red-band trailer: 'Tea bagging? Must be British' -- NSFW VIDEO

Aubrey Plaza plays Brandy Clark, and Brandy Clark really wants to get laid. That’s the basic, umm, thrust of the latest trailer for The Do List, which is NSFW for a plethora of vulgar language and raw sexual innuendo. It’s the ’90s and all your favorite people are here: Donald Glover, Rachel Bilson, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Connie Britton, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alia Shawkat, and Scott Porter, as the sexual peak of the movie’s plot-long sexual mountain.

Warning! Watching this trailer is likely to a) make you have skorts-related nightmares; and b) sing Salt ‘N’ Pepa under your breath for the rest of the day.

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Casting Net: James Franco to step behind and in front of the camera for 'Tabloid.' Plus: Dwayne Johnson, Ray Liotta

• James Franco is in the early stages of preparing to direct and star in an adaptation of James Ellroy’s 1995 novel American Tabloid, about three members of law enforcement in the years leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Nothing, however, is close to a firm deal. If you’re about to say, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t Franco also recently line up Beautiful People, a biopic about famed hair stylist Jay Sebring, as his next acting-directing venture,” we’re waaaaay ahead of you. [MTV]

• Dwayne Johnson will produce and possibly star in film with the working title of Teddy Bear, about a courageous stuffed animal who defends its owner from all manner of monsters. The project is based on an illustration by Alex Panagopoulous of that very thing — and it’s pretty effing cool — but no writer or director are yet attached. [THR]

• Speaking of adorable creatures from childhood, Ray Liotta has joined the cast to the sequel of 2011′s The Muppets, in an undisclosed role. He’ll join Ricky GervaisTina Fey, and Ty BurrellJames Bobin is returning to direct the film, penned by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. [Variety]

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Casting Net: Charlie Hunnam aiming to join Emma Stone in ‘Crimson Peak.’ Plus: Michael Gambon and Alfred Molina to play a couple
Casting Net: James Franco to direct and star in biopic ‘Beautiful People.’ Plus: Liam Neeson lands action pic, Paul Dano to play Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson
Casting Net: Al Pacino and Brian De Palma to tell Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s story. Plus: Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino, Dylan McDermott

Casting Net: Tim Robbins to star in, direct 'Man Under' with Michelle Pfeiffer. Plus: Benedict Cumberbatch, Gemma Arterton, Kristen Wiig

Tim Robbins will star in and direct the dramedy Man Under, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz on board to play members of a family who deal with the repercussions of a photograph of them getting displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Though he recently directed a couple episodes of HBO’s Treme, this will be Robbins’ first time helming a feature film since 1999′s Cradle Will RockAnn Cherkis penned the script. [Variety]

• Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) has joined, and Benedict Cumberbatch (i.e. Benny Batch) is in talks to join, Absolutely Anything, a fantastical comedy about a teacher who discovers he can do magic. The film is something of a Monty Python reunion, with Terry Jones (Monty Python and the Holy GrailLife of Brian) directing and John CleeseTerry Gilliam, and Michael Palin on board to provide voiceovers, along with Jones and Robin Williams. Jones co-wrote the film with Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers). [TheWrap]

SNL buddies Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are set to headline the comedy The Skeleton Twins, about twin siblings who reevaluate their lives, and their relationship with each other, after they both have a near-death experience on the same day. Luke Wilson costars as Wiig’s doofus husband. Director Craig Johnson (True Adolescents) penned the script with Mark Heyman (Black Swan). [Variety]

• Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche will star in Words and Pictures, a romance about teachers at a prep school in New England. Fred Schepisi (Fierce CreaturesI.Q.Six Degrees of Separation) will direct from the script by first-timer Gerald DiPego. [Deadline]

• Dominic Cooper (Captain AmericaThe Devil’s Double) is in talks to costar with Aaron Paul in Need for Speed, an adaptation of the videogame franchise about the world of underground car racing. Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) is set to direct from the screenplay by George Gatins and John Gatins (Flight). [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: Viola Davis boarding ‘Prisoners.’ Plus: Kristen Stewart to ‘Focus’ on grifting
Casting Net: Jude Law joins Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen of the Desert.’ Plus: Kim Basinger, Nick Nolte, Soairse Ronan, Jason Bateman
Casting Net: Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender to explore ‘Genius.’ Plus: Amanda Seyfried, Patrick Dempsey, Stellan Skarsgard

'The To Do List' red-band trailer: Aubrey Plaza wants to lose her 'v-card' - NSFW VIDEO

Happy early EARLY Valentine’s Day!

CBS Films has announced it’s releasing dry comedy The To Do List, directed by Maggie Carey (Funny or Die Presents) and starring Parks and Recreation‘s resident deadpan expert, actress Aubrey Plaza, on Valentine’s Day 2013. Plaza plays Brandy, an overachieving gal who wants to do a whole bunch of naughty things she didn’t do in high school, and aims to do before college. The movie also sports a bevy of known names, from Bill Hader to Rachel Bilson, Superbad nerdy boy Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover and Connie Britton.
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