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Casting Net: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, and Susan Sarandon board 'Three Generations'

• Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, and Susan Sarandon have signed on for Three Generations. Gaby Dellal is directing the indie from a script by Nikole Beckwith. The story follows a New York City teen, Ray (Fanning), who is transitioning from female to male and her mother, Maggie (Watts), who must come to terms with Ray’s transition. Meanwhile, Maggie’s mother, Dolly (Sarandon), a music manager who lives with her lesbian partner, Frances, has trouble understanding Ray’s decision and Maggie’s inability to move out of the house she grew up in. Big Beach co-founders Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub will produce with InFilm Productions’ Dorothy Berwin. Watts will executive produce with Leah Holzer and Daniele Melia of Big Beach and Peter Pastorelli. Production for Three Generations begins in New York in early November. [THR]

• Jon Bernthal, Catalina Sandino MorenoÓscar Jaenada, and Mehdi Dehbi have been cast in the biopic The Godmother, which stars Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film tells the story of real-life Colombian cocaine queenpin Griselda Blanco. Eva Sørhaug is directing from a script by Frank Baldwin. Daniela Cretu is producing for First Born Films. Nicholas Pileggi is executive producing along with Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, and Kelly McCormick of Sierra/Affinity. Filming begins next spring, and Sierra/Affinity will take the film to international buyers at AFM next month. [Deadline]

• Julia Stiles and Ray Liotta have been cast in Anthony Hopkins‘ action-drama Go With Me. Set in a Pacific Northwest logging community, the story follows a young woman who endures harassment by a crime lord when she returns to her hometown. She looks to an ex-logger (Hopkins) and his sidekick for help. The story is based on the book by Castle Freeman Jr., which Joe Gangemi and Gregory Jacobs will adapt for the screen. Daniel Alfredson directs. Hopkins is producing with Rick Dugdale for Enderby Entertainment, Lindsay Williams and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein for the Gotham Group, and Gregory Jacobs. Shooting kicks off in British Columbia in mid-November. [Variety]

• Eva Longoria and Lily Collins are in talks for the untitled low-riders movie from Universal Pictures, Blumhouse, and Imagine Entertainment. The film reportedly stars Demian Bichir and takes place in the East LA street-culture world. Ricardo de Montreuil will direct from a script by Josh Bierne-Gordon and Justin Tipping, with Cheo Hodari Coker and Elgin James writing previous drafts. Imagine’s Brian Grazer will produce with Blumhouse’s Jason Blum. Kim Roth and Alexandre Dauman will oversee for Imagine, while Couper Samuelson will oversee for Blumhouse. [Deadline]

• Isla Fisher is joining Jon Hamm and Zack Galifianakis in the spy comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses. Galifianakis and Fisher will play a couple who discovers that their seemingly perfect new neighbors, one of which will be played by Hamm, are actually spies. Greg Mottola directs, Mike LeSieur wrote the script, and Walter Parkes and Laurie McDonald are producing. [The Wrap]

• Lucy Liu will take the lead in writer-director Evan Jackson Leong’s Snakehead. Set in New York, the drama stars Liu as a poor Chinese immigrant who, after being mentored by powerful bosses named Snakeheads, rises to the top of Chinatown’s human-smuggling business in an effort to reconnect with her daughter and family. 408 films is financing and producing in partnership with Arowana Films; 408’s Brian Yang, Gregory Chou, and E. Brian Dobbins and Principato-Young’s Allen Fisher are producing alongside Untitled’s Jason Weinberg and Frameworks’ Maryellen Mulcahy. Shooting kicks off this spring. [Deadline]

• Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) will provide the voice for a dog in the live-action family drama A Bollywoof Tale. With Frederik Du Chau directing, the film tells the story of Basil, a pet spaniel who moves with his family from London to Dehli, but gets lost in Kolkata when his crate is misplaced. Basil pairs with Santoosh (voiced by Nayyar) and a cow named Uma to find his owners. Stephen Leslie wrote the script. Jason Newmark developed the project with the British Film Institute and is producing with Nisha Parti. The film will be shot in London and India in the first quarter of 2015. [THR]

• Gal Gadot will not take the female lead in Timur Bekmambetov‘s Ben Hur. The actress had been eyeing the role of Esther, Ben Hur’s love interest, but had to pass due to her Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shooting schedule. Gadot portrays Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder‘s superhero flick and is set to appear in a handful of upcoming Warner Bros.’ Films, including a solo film in 2017. [The Wrap]

Watch the first 5 minutes of 'Low Down,' with John Hawkes and Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning is super-excited about her next project: Halloween.

She might be one of the hardest-working actresses in Hollywood—with four films in theaters in 2014, including the blockbuster Maleficent—but she’s still only 16 and her Halloween costume is an elaborate production. “It’s a secret,” she says, when asked about her trick-or-treat dress-up plans. “But I’ll give you some of my greatest hits: I was the Morton Salt Girl. I was Strawberry Shortcake. I’ve been a Barbie Statue of Liberty. I’ve been Mary Poppins. I was a Madame Alexander doll. I was a vampire, but that was like a very glamorous done-up vampire. I was Marilyn Monroe—when I was 7. So yeah, it’s a big deal.”

In Low Down, which opens today in theaters, she gets to dress up as a real person. Amy-Jo Albany was the daughter of Joe Albany, a talented jazz pianist who recorded with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He also was a heroin addict, testing the love of many who cared for him. In the film, set in Hollywood 1974, Joe (John Hawkes) is trying to right his life and then hold it together for the sake of his teenage daughter, who adores him. It’s not an easy task.

EW has an extensive conversation with Fanning, and the film’s opening five minutes, which introduce the father/daughter dynamic and feature Joe jamming with a trumpet-playing Flea. (Beware of one expletive.) READ FULL STORY

Watch the trailer for 'Low Down,' about pianist Joe Albany

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During the jazz scene of the 1960’s and 1970’s, pianist Joe Albany struggled with drug addiction. His struggle was then captured by the memoir of his daughter, Amy-Jo Albany.

Now, Jeff Preiss is capturing it all on film. Starring John Hawkes as Joe and Elle Fanning as Amy-Jo, Low Down tells the pianist’s story through the eyes of his daughter. The film also stars Glenn Close, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and more.

READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning to star in Ben Affleck's 'Live by Night'

• Once he takes off his Batman cape, Ben Affleck will direct Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning in the Prohibition Era film Live By Night. Affleck has adapted the Dennis Lehane novel himself, reuniting the pair after Affleck’s feature debut Gone Baby Gone, which  was also based on a Lehane novel. The story centers around Joe Coughlin, the police captain’s son who gets himself involved in the world of organized crime. Miller will play Emma, the girlfriend of Coughlin’s mobster boss whom he falls in love with. Saldana has been cast as Graciella Suarez, a woman Coughlin meets in Tampa, with Fanning landing the coveted role of Loretta Figgis, the sheriff’s daughter and an aspiring actress. [Deadline]

• Shia LaBeoufKate Mara (House of Cards) and Gary Oldman will star in Man Down, a psychological thriller from director Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints). The film is set in a post-apocalyptic America as an Afghanistan war veteran dealing with his haunted memories searches for his family. Adam Simon (Synapse) has written the script with filming expecting to begin in Louisiana at the end of next month. [Variety]

• Sons Of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam and The Wolf Of Wall Street star Margot Robbie are in talks to star in The Mountain Between Us, an adaptation of the Charles Martin book. Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad will helm the survival love story about two strangers who meet after their flight is canceled out of Salt Lake City. Robbie is also in early talks to star in the adaptation of the Japanese comic book Ghost in the Shell for DreamWorks. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is directing from a script by Bill Wheeler about a member a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission specializing in technology-related crime. [Deadline, Deadline]

• Danish director Joachim Trier has added Oscar nominees Amy Ryan and David Strathairn to the cast of his English-language debut film, Louder Than Bombs Devin McKenzie Druid, who played a younger version of Louis C.K. on Louie, also joins the cast that already includes Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert about a father and his two sons returning the their childhood home after the death of their wife and mother, a celebrated photographer. [Deadline]

• Nymphomaniac actress Stacy Martin will star in the high-concept thriller Taj Mahal. French screenwriter Nicolas Saada (Sleepless Night) will write and direct the film set during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. The international cast will also include Italy’s Alba Rohrwacher (The Wonders), French actor Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (Superstar) and British actress Gina McKee (Jimmy P.). [THR]

PREVIOUSLY: Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts to star in Demolition 

'Young Ones' poster: Michael Shannon soaks up screen in parched Western

Young-Ones

Whether it’s a Krypton fascist, an ice-blooded hitman, or a conflicted Prohibition-era G-man, Michael Shannon is accustomed to playing menacing. But in Young Ones, the new dystopian sci-fi Western that premiered at Sundance in January, he gets to show another side.

“People are used to seeing Mike play very intense, dangerous characters, but I think he’s much more of a classic movie star than maybe people even realize,” director Jake Paltrow said before the film’s premiere. “I think what you’ll see in Mike is a warmth that maybe you haven’t seen in a lot of things—in this, he’s a flawed man who loves his children so much and is sort of trying to do anything he can to ensure their survival.”

The problem is water, or the lack of it. Two decades or so in the future, water is scarce and drought has scorched the American west, where a family has stubbornly stayed behind with the hopes of revitalizing their farm—if Shannon’s Ernest can persuade the industrial drillers in the nearby mountains to run a water-line to his place. Elle Fanning plays his rebellious daughter, who falls for a rebel on a motorcycle (Nicholas Hoult) who wants some of the same things Ernest does. Crown prince of the dystopian cinematic future, Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), plays Ernest’s loyal but distant son. “The core of the movie—at least in the beginning—is really this friendship between this father and son,” said Paltrow.

Click below (or on the above photo) to see the exclusive new poster for Young Ones. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Jamie Foxx to play Mike Tyson

• Jamie Foxx will reportedly play Mike Tyson in an untitled biopic. Terence Winter is set to write. Rick Yorn, Foxx’s manager, will produce. The project is still in the works and is currently without a studio. Though HBO released 1995’s Tyson, this is the first feature film to follow the controversial boxer. [Variety]

• Dakota Johnson will star in the Luca Guadagnino-directed A Bigger Splash. Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes have signed on as well, and Michael Costigan will produce. The film, based on the 1969 French crime drama La Piscine, follows a triangle that develops between a couple and a younger woman on the couple’s vacation; it doesn’t end well. David Kajganich is writing the script. Shooting begins in Italy next month. [Variety] READ FULL STORY

Video: Nicholas Hoult fights Michael Shannon for water in 'Young Ones' trailer

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Water is scarce in Young Ones, Jake Paltrow’s latest film, but tension is everywhere as the world fights over the now-precious resource.

The futuristic film, which first premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, stars Michael Shannon, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as a family struggling to find water in the barren Western-like wasteland opposite Nicholas Hoult, a teenager trying to take over the family’s land for himself.

READ FULL STORY

'The Boxtrolls' trailer: There's nothing to fear -- VIDEO

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Get ready for trolls! The big mythical beings get a makeover as sweet and stout creatures in the newly released trailer for the stop-motion, animated adventure film The Boxtrolls.

In the trailer,  viewers can get a glimpse at the underground mechanics and high-flying action of the trolls, as well as the extreme love of cheese by Cheesebridge’s townspeople, all of which is portrayed in a unique, eye-catching animated style. Based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls tells the story of a young orphaned boy, Eggs (Isaac Hemstead Wright), who is raised by underground, cave-dwelling trolls.

The townspeople of Cheesebridge believe the trolls to be monsters who are out to steal its children and fine cheeses, when in reality, the trolls are sweet oddballs — who wear boxes, hence the title — interested in dumpster diving and mechanical junk collecting. When Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), an evil exterminator, is out to get the trolls in order to enter the high society of Cheesebrige, Eggs and his friend Winnie (Elle Fanning) must come to the defense of his adopted family.

Can’t wait until The Boxtrolls‘ Sept. 26 release date? Check out the trailer, and its adorable trolls, here: READ FULL STORY

Critical Mass: Are the critics under Angelina Jolie's spell in 'Maleficent'?

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In nearly 80 years of delicious Disney animated villains threatening princesses, nobody’s ever been as truly frightening as Maleficent, the horn-headed sorceress who could transform into a dragon and cursed baby Aurora in 1959’s Sleeping Beauty. But much as Wicked did for the evil witch of The Wizard of Oz, Maleficent digs deeper into the backstory of the sharp-cheeked villainess, with Angelina Jolie bringing her to vivid life.

Of course, such revisionist fairy tales have become increasingly common. As EW’s Keith Staskiewicz notes in his review, “The first line of Maleficent [”Let us tell an old story anew and see how well you know it”] could be emblazoned on a sticker and slapped onto the back-bumper of Hollywood, an industry that has at this point become more interested in recycling than Ed Begley, Jr.”

But with a story credited to Linda Woolverton (Beauty and the Beast) and directed by Avatar production designer Robert Stromberg, Maleficent creates a different beast altogether, all the while staying true to the Disney brand. Elle Fanning plays the princess who really shouldn’t spin thread before turning 16 — but it’s Jolie, of course, that you’re aching to see at the baby’s christening. I’m sure she has her reasons for cursing a child, but I just want to hear that maniacal, echoing laugh.

Read more from Staskiewicz’s review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY

'Maleficent': Five new character posters released

Less than a month before Angelina Jolie casts her spell on us as Maleficent, Disney has released five magical new character posters. Along with stars Jolie and Elle Fanning, the posters showcase Sam Riley as Diaval (Maleficient’s right hand man), Sharlto Copley as Aurora’s father King Stefan, and Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, and Lesley Manville as the tale’s three fairies (along with some other fantastical-looking forest creatures).

READ FULL STORY

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