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How 'Hunger Games' star Elizabeth Banks brought Effie Trinket to life. (Katharine Hepburn helped.)

Hunger Games super fans, you’ve met your match. Elizabeth Banks, who plays bubbly Capitol minion Effie Trinket, the woman charged with shepherding Katniss and Peeta from District 12 into the Games, can meet your passion head-on. “I was a really early adopter of The Hunger Games,” she tells EW of her long-term love affair with Suzanne Collins’ best-selling YA trilogy. “I’d read a book called The Maze Runner that’s similarly themed and I loved it. And this friend in publishing said ‘Well then you’ll probably really love The Hunger Games.’ Which I devoured. Then immediately had to read Catching Fire, and then I was on the wait list on Amazon for Mockingjay.”

It was Banks who first reached out through a mutual friend to director Gary Ross, whom she’d worked with on Seabiscuit. “I love Effie Trinket,” she said. “So tell Gary that if he’s talking to Lionsgate about the movie that I want to do it.’” When Ross invited her to his office to talk about the role, she came prepared with a fully fleshed-out vision for Effie. “I always saw her as a very three-dimensional, very unique character,” she said. “Even in the book she can be written off as sort of comic relief.” READ FULL STORY

'Hunger Games': Katniss and Peeta ready to set the Games on fire -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Everyone who has read Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games has a specific mental image of what this world and its characters should look like, especially certain crucial scenes like the opening ceremonies of the Games. Well, bravo, Gary Ross and company. In this exclusive photo from the moments just before their introduction, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) readies a final flaming flourish to Peeta and Katniss’s black costumes. “This is one of those moments where Cinna’s character syncs up with the creativity of our costume designer Judianna Makovsky,” says Ross. (Makovsky earned Oscar nominations for her work on Ross’ previous movies Pleasantville and Seabiscuit.) “What Cinna was trying to do was create something that came out of District 12, out of a coal mining world, with a fresh, bold look to it. So Judianna went to this wonderful black reflective material that glistened like coal or graphite and would obviously work well in the Tribute parade where Katniss becomes the Girl on Fire.”

See the stunning image below: READ FULL STORY

Viola Davis has 'The Personal History of Rachel DuPree' in her sights

Viola Davis may be fresh off the red carpet earning rave reviews for The Help, but the ever-ambitious star is never one to sit pretty. Davis told EW at The Help‘s Tuesday night premiere that the production company she started with her husband, actor Julius Tennon, is busy optioning the rights to Ann Weisgarber’s 2008 book The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.

“We want to have imaginative roles,” she said. “Especially for people of color — women of color.” The role in question is that of DuPree, a fictional early 20th-century Chicagoan who leaves home to become a rancher’s wife in South Dakota’s Badlands. READ FULL STORY

Morgan Spurlock dishes on his new Comic-Con documentary and book

Spurlock-fans-only-hope-cover

It’s about time someone made a documentary about Comic-Con, and that’s exactly what Morgan Spurlock — the Academy Award-nominated director of Super Size Me — has done. Spurlock’s new documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, was filmed during last year’s convention. The filmmaker followed seven die-hard Comic-Con fans as they wandered the colorful, crowded, and malodorous halls of the San Diego Convention Center.

The film, which is being produced by Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, and Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles, is due in theaters this fall. But if you’d like a sneak peek, check out the film’s recently released companion book, also called Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. The coffee-table book features hundreds of photographs that show off every facet of Comic-Con — from Preview Night to the convention’s own dismantlement. Also included are dozens of interviews with celebrities (such as Kevin Smith, Todd McFarlane, Guillermo del Toro, Ellen Page, Seth Rogen, Nathan Fillion, Olivia Wilde, and Frank Miller) and attendees alike. READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' star Giancarlo Esposito talks his role as a new crime lord in 'I, Alex Cross' -- EXCLUSIVE

Part of what makes Giancarlo Esposito so chilling on Breaking Bad is his stillness.

As Gus, the fast-food entrepreneur and secret, psychopathic meth crime lord, he employs such economy in his movements, such softness in his speech, that it magnifies his ferocity by belying it. (Wait until the Season 4 premiere of the AMC series, July 17, to see just how much Esposito can do by doing almost nothing at all in one intense, savage — and utterly silent — 10 minutes of screen time.)

So when it was announced last night that he had signed on to the feature film I, Alex Cross as another crime lord, the news almost struck a note of ambivalence: It’s great news for an actor who should be utilized more often in Hollywood and has more than distinguished himself in movies such as Do the Right Thing and The Usual Suspects. But also, he has given life to one of TV’s truly unique villains.

On the other hand, would this I, Alex Cross kingpin just be another quiet, unsmiling menace? READ FULL STORY

Stephen King sounds off on new 'Carrie' remake -- EXCLUSIVE

Thirty-five years after Stephen King’s first best-seller roared into theaters and scared a generation of prom-going teens, MGM and Screen Gems have hired playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to resurrect Carrie with a more faithful adaptation of King’s novel, according to Deadline.

But King, who famously disapproved of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, tells EW he still has a soft spot for Brian De Palma’s original film: “I’ve heard rumblings about a Carrie remake, as I have about The Stand and It. Who knows if it will happen? The real question is why, when the original was so good? I mean, not Casablanca, or anything, but a really good horror-suspense film, much better than the book. Piper Laurie really got her teeth into the bad-mom thing. Although Lindsay Lohan as Carrie White… hmmm. It would certainly be fun to cast. I guess I could get behind it if they turned the project over to one of the Davids: Lynch or Cronenberg.” READ FULL STORY

Amanda Hocking sells Trylle Trilogy film rights

Let’s add another YA series to the list of potential successors to the Twilight throne: EW has confirmed a New York Times report that Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old self-publishing phenom behind the Trylle Trilogy (which includes Switched, Torn and Ascend and chronicles heroine high schooler Wendy Everly’s entry into a paranormal world populated by beautiful trolls), has sold the film rights to the production company Media Rights Capital. Terri Tatchell, co-writer of District 9 (and married to its director, Neill Blomkamp), is reportedly already at work on adapting two out of the three novels for films and will serve as producer.

'Fletch' reboot back on track at Warner Bros.

FLETCHImage Credit: Everett CollectionWarner Bros. and production company Anonymous Content have acquired the rights to Gregory Mcdonald‘s Fletch novels. The two companies plan to reboot the long dormant comedy-thriller series in collaboration with David List, who manages the literary estate of the late Mcdonald.

This is not the first attempt to revive the franchise, which helped make a movie megastar out of Chevy Chase when he first played investigative reporter I.M. Fletcher in 1985′s Fletch (a sequel, Fletch Lives, followed in 1989). Way back in 1997, Kevin Smith showed an interest in making a third Fletch film, with Chase. Since then, various of directors and stars have, at various times, been attached to the project, including Ben Affleck, Zach Braff, and Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink. You can read the full story of this byzantine saga below.

Read more:
The curse of ‘Fletch’

'Hunger Games' exclusive: What the movie will be rated, and how it feels to be called the next 'Twilight'

Hunger-Games-Gary-RossImage Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos It’s never enough, Hunger Games fans! Many of you have been leaving passionate messages on the boards declaring that if Gary Ross’ adaptation hopes to capture the truly brutal nature of Suzanne Collins’ grim new world, the movie had better be rated R. Muttations eat MPAA board members for snacks! But, as director Gary Ross revealed in our exclusive interview, it’s time to get real.

READ FULL STORY

'Lincoln Lawyer' trailer: Matthew McConaughey heads back to court

When I think of Matthew McConaughey as a lawyer, I think of Jake Brigance, John Grisham’s sweaty, beefcake version of Atticus Finch in Joel Schumacher’s A Time To Kill. But after 14 years of playing mostly callow characters, McConaughey doesn’t really have the persona to play idealistic anymore. So it’s just as well that he’s cast as a sketchy attorney in the adaptation of Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer. He doesn’t quite reach the level of Frank Galvin (Paul Newman in The Verdict), but he’s definitely sending out a Richard-Gere-in-Primal-Fear-vibe, especially with a shady client who may or may not be telling the truth. Check it out after the jump: READ FULL STORY

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