• Meg Ryan will make her directorial debut with Ithaca, an adaptation of William Saroyan‘s novel The Human Comedy, which frequent co-star Tom Hanks will executive-produce. The story follows the teenage Homer Macauley, left at home in Ithaca, Calif., to care for his mother, sister, and little brother, Ulysses, while his older brother fights in World War II. Ryan will also star in the film opposite Melanie Griffith, Sam Shepard, and Jack Quaid (Ryan’s 21-year-old son, who played Marvel in The Hunger Games). Clarence Brown directed a version of the story in a 1943 film starring Mickey Rooney. [THR] READ FULL STORY
Tag: Forest Whitaker (1-10 of 13)
'Black Nativity': Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker talk Harlem-set holiday musical -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK VIDEO
It’s been a long time since there’s been a truly great Christmas musical on the big screen, and Black Nativity is hoping to change that this holiday season.
Director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) discusses the tale of reconnection, opening Nov. 27, in an exclusive First Look featurette. Nativity centers on a Baltimore teen named Langston (breakout Jacob Latimore, whose name pays homage to the film’s source material: a 1961 stage musical by poet Langston Hughes), who is sent by his down-on-her-luck mother mother (Jennifer Hudson) to spend the holidays in Harlem with her estranged parents — her Reverend father (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker) and his church choir-leading wife (Oscar nominee Angela Bassett).
Despite having her own Oscar on her mantle, Hudson admits to being blown away by the star-studded cast, which also includes R&B powerhouses Mary J. Blige, Tyrese, and Luke James: “Some of my favorite artists are here,” says the triple threat. “It makes such a fun project and a fun cast.” For his part Tyrese, was drawn to Black Nativity because “this is a film that everybody in the family can go and see together. What makes this movie powerful is that you can relate and identify with somebody in this movie.”
Below, Whitaker talks overcoming nerves before stepping into the recording studio, Blige sings Latimore’s praises, Hudson talks working with Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq (who composed new gospel and R&B music for the film), and more cast members give insight to the production. READ FULL STORY
• Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who starred as the title character in Kick-Ass, is set to join The Avengers: Age of Ultron where he’ll play the part of Quicksilver — twin to the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and son of Magneto. According to the report, the British actor had to figure out his publicity duties for the new Godzilla (which also stars Olsen) prior to committing to the sequel, which reunites Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jeremy Renner. The Joss Whedon-directed sequel to 2012′s hugely successful The Avengers is set to hit theaters on May 1, 2015. Taylor-Johnson also starred alongside Keira Knightley as Vronsky in Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina and is married to Sam Taylor-Johnson, who is directing Fifty Shades of Grey. [The Wrap]
The new trailer for Out of the Furnace drops us into the life of Russell Baze (Christian Bale): He works, he has a great girlfriend (Zoe Saldana), and he takes care of his sick father. A family man, Russell is thrilled when his brother (Casey Affleck) returns from active duty.
But his bro gets mixed up in a crime ring and goes missing, and Russell’s life quickly unravels. He must confront the leader of the gang, Curtis DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), and demand that his brother be set free.
Watch the action unfold, with shots of the film’s other stars, including Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe, as Russell goes on a desperate hunt to save his brother and put his life back together, all to the tune of Pearl Jam’s “Release.”
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Editor’s note: Variety reports that Warner Bros. won in arbitration and the Weinstein Company will need to choose a new title for “The Butler.”
It seems once you have a good Butler, you just don’t want to let him go.
The Weinstein Company’s upcoming movie The Butler, which stars Forest Whitaker as the African-American servant who worked in the White House for more than 40 years, has tripped over an industry obstacle on the way to its Aug. 16 release in theaters. As Deadline reported Monday, Warner Bros. is claiming protective rights to the film’s title due to a 1916 silent short film with the same name that resides in its archives, and both sides are heading to arbitration to reach a resolution.
Technically, this isn’t a legal issue, since you can’t typically copyright or trademark a movie title. But the MPAA has a voluntary Title Registration Bureau that the industry uses to self-regulate and avoid title conflicts that might confuse audiences. In this case, it’s unlikely that moviegoers are even aware of the 1916 silent film that Warner Bros. is citing, but TWC apparently never cleared the title.
More than likely, The Butler will be released as The Butler, but there’s a a good chance Warner Bros. will gain something in return via arbitration.
Here’s the trailer for director Lee Daniels’ star-studded movie:
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What do Jennifer Hudson, Langston Hughes, and Nas all have in common?
They’re all visiting for Christmas this season in the movie, Black Nativity. Based on Hughes’ 1961 “gospel-song play” about the birth of Jesus, writer-director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) gives the story a contemporary spin and setting by exploring the coming-of-age pains of Langston (Jacob Latimore), who’s sent from Baltimore by his struggling mother (Hudson) to live with his grandparents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in Harlem.
There’s loads of singing, Mary J. Blige plays an angel, and an out-of-his-depth Langston has to navigate the mean streets of Times Square.
Watch the trailer below. READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Johnny Depp exits gangster pic 'Black Mass'; Plus, Forest Whitaker may play Martin Luther King, Jr., more
• Johnny Depp is a busy man. He’s got a major summer release on the horizon with The Lone Ranger, he’s filming Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is expected to start shooting in January, and he’s also gearing up for Disney’s adaptation of Into the Woods. But, the actor did decide to exit the Barry Levinson-directed Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, reportedly due to a salary cut asked of Depp, who had been circling the project for some time and officially committed in late February 2013. Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty) recently joined Black Mass to play an FBI agent who is close with Bulger. Cross Creek Pictures has not yet announced a replacement. [THR] READ FULL STORY
Zulu, a suspenseful political thriller that stars Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker as South African police officers, will close the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 26. Based on the award-winning novel by Caryl Férey and directed by Jérome Salle, the movie digs deep into the urban underbelly of post-apartheid South Africa when a girl is brutally mutilated.
Cannes begins on May 15, with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby scheduled to open the festival. Steven Spielberg will preside over this year’s jury.
Casting Net: Matthew McConaughey rumored for next Nolan project; Plus, a 'Vacation' reunion, B.J. Novak in 'Spider-Man 2', more
• Matthew McConaughey may have been offered the lead in Christopher Nolan’s next film, Interstellar. As with any Nolan project, details are being kept tightly under wraps, but this project has been floating around for years. The story is based on the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who posited, among other things, that wormholes can be used for time travel. Nolan’s brother Jonathan (The Dark Knight, The Prestige) wrote the script, and they’ve already set a release date for November 7, 2014. As for McConaughey, if the reports are accurate, it seems like it would be a no-brainer. [Deadline]
• Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo are in early talks to play the Griswolds once more in an upcoming Vacation reboot. In the film, Ed Helms would play Rusty, who is attempting to take his own family on a road trip. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein — the team who wrote Horrible Bosses — penned the script and also plan to direct the project, which also stars Christina Applegate. Chase and D’Angelo’s roles are reportedly small. [Variety]
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