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Dueling Everest movies: Jake Gyllenhaal film begins shooting; Sony's 'The Summit' still in base camp

When it comes to ascending a summit, first to the top usually wins. News this week confirmed that Working Title’s Everest, to be released by Universal, is a go. The film, from director Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns) began production Monday in Italy, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes playing four of the climbers who attempted the disastrous 1996 ascent of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, only to be thwarted with terrible conditions that led to the loss of many lives.

Now that this film is in production, will it kill a competing Everest film at Sony?

Sony declined to comment on its project, which takes place in the 1920s and chronicles British climber George Mallory’s attempts to scale the world’s tallest mountain. One source close to the production says the studio is still committed to the movie, but the film, which Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is set to direct after finishing the upcoming Tom Cruise-starrer Edge of Tomorrow, will no longer begin production in the next couple of months as originally planned.

Rather, the start date on the film — which now carries the title The Summit and still has Tom Hardy (Inception) attached to play Mallory and Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) to play his Australian rival George Finch — has been pushed to either early summer  or perhaps even to 2015.

According to another source, the studio’s hesitation on the project centers on concern over how to sell the the film domestically. Overseas, the film’s prospects appear much healthier considering the storyline and international cast but in the U.S. audiences are often reluctant to give period films a chance.

Complicating matters, a schedule change may force star Hardy to drop out. As reported earlier, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is still interested in the lead role should Hardy need to leave.

Sony is also being more cost conscious after a rough 2013 and launching a $60 million movie with a competing film in the pipeline may not look too appealing. Last summer the studio was on the wrong end of dueling White House disaster movies. Their White House Down with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx opened at the end of June, earning $73 million. It had followed Film District’s Olympus Has Fallen, which opened in March and grossed $98 million.

Still, sources close to the project says the film, which was scripted by Sheldon Turner (Up in the Air), is still important to the studio.

The trick now is to keep that enthusiasm from falling off the mountain.

Casting Net: Sandra Bullock in talks to join a George Clooney project; Plus, Jason Segel cast as David Foster Wallace, more

• Sandra Bullock, who just picked up a SAG nomination for her work in Gravity, is in early talks to star in the comedy Our Brand Is Crisis for producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Peter Straughan wrote a script based on a 2005 documentary about the use of American political campaign techniques in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. EW’s Entertainer of the Year is currently voicing the lead role in The Minions, set for a July 2015 release. [The Wrap]

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Casting Net: Jerry O'Connell joins 'Veronica Mars' movie; Plus, 'Gone Girl' still trying to find its girl, more

There’s a new Lamb brother in town. Jerry O’Connell (Burning Love) has joined the cast of the Veronica Mars movie as Dan Lamb, Sheriff Don’s (Michael Muhney) brother. In the Kickstarter update announcing the news, creator and director Rob Thomas traced his interest in O’Connell back to the movie Pirahna. “The performance in that movie that I couldn’t get over was Jerry O’Connell’s take on an amoral, coked up and soon-to-be penis-less smut peddler. I just kept wanting to get back to scenes of Jerry chewing scenery.” O’Connell even recorded a video for fans on the shoot. Welcome to Neptune, Sheriff Dan.
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Casting Net: Benedict Cumberbatch teams up with Guillermo del Toro; Plus, Omar Sy, Jacki Weaver, more

• Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) has signed on to star in Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak. The English actor is joining Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) for the project, which is being described as a gothic horror story set at the turn of the century. Cumberbatch has been a cult favorite amongst Sherlock fans, but till recently he’s stayed mainly on the margins with his film roles. But with upcoming roles in Star Trek Into Darkness, August: Osage County, and Twelve Years a Slave, he will be a household name in no time. [Variety]

• Speaking of future household names, Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Omar Sy (The Intouchables) have both joined the cast of The Candy Store. Directed and co-written by Stephen Gaghan (Traffic), the action film will follow multiple storylines set in the criminal underworld of Brighton Beach. Clarke will play a former covert operative who decides to do some work on his own and ends up finding some of the leaders, including Sy’s king pimp. [THR]

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'White House Down' trailer: Channing Tatum will save us all

No one kills a peaceful, normal day like Roland Emmerich.

In Emmerich’s White House Down (the other White House under attack movie of the season) John Cale (Channing Tatum) just wants the opportunity to protect the President (Jamie Foxx). After he’s denied that job, he takes his daughter to the White House for a tour on the same day it comes under attack, and he gets the chance to prove himself. Good thing he wore his John McClane outfit.

From screenwriter James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) it’s a somewhat irresistible formula, combining the contained chaos of Die Hard and raising the stakes by putting the leader of the country in danger. We’re especially excited to see Zero Dark Thirty star Jason Clarke lead the group of mercenaries trying to overtake the White House. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Woods also co-star as Secret Service Agents.

Check out the first trailer for the summer blockbuster below and let us know what you think.

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Casting Net: Christian Bale in talks for 'Everest'; Plus Jennifer Lawrence and Jason Clarke

• Christian Bale is in talks to star in Baltasar Kormákur‘s (The Deep) Everest. Based on the harrowing ordeal of a group of climbers in 1996 famously documented in Jon Krakauer‘s book Into Thin Air, Everest will source from a variety of books and first-person interviews. Filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears also made a famous Frontline documentary about the tragic climb that claimed eight lives, that included footage from the storm and interviews with survivors.  [Deadline]

 Bale’s Dark Knight Rises co-star Tom Hardy is still attached to play Sir George Mallory in the Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity)-directed adaptation of Jeffrey Archer’s book Paths of Glory, which EW reported in August. Mallory attempted the Everest climb three times in the early 1920s, and disappeared during the 1924 expedition. This project is currently called Everest as well. Anyone up for a Bane/Batman fight to see who get’s that title? [Deadline]

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Controversy builds over 'Zero Dark Thirty' interrogation scenes

Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt-for-bin Laden movie Zero Dark Thirty (out in select theaters Dec. 19) doesn’t flinch when it comes to depicting various “enhanced interrogation” tactics, including waterboarding and other hard-to-watch techniques. In the film, C.I.A. agents Maya (Jessica Chastain) and Dan (Jason Clarke) engage in extended harsh sessions in order to extract crucial information that eventually leads to Osama bin Laden’s location.

But now some people are questioning the film’s treatment of those scenes. In a column in yesterday’s New York Times, Frank Bruni pointed out that the idea that those sorts of tactics produced crucial information is “hardly a universally accepted version of events,” noting “many experts’ belief that torture is unnecessary, yielding as much bad information as good.” And in this week’s New Yorker, former New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkins writes that the film “appears to have strayed from real life. According to several official sources, including Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the identity of bin Laden’s courier, whose trail led the C.I.A. to the hideout in Pakistan, was not discovered through waterboarding.” READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Matt Damon keen on joining George Clooney's 'Monuments Men.' Plus: Seth MacFarlane, Jason Clarke, Marcia Gay Harden

• Together again! Matt Damon is in talks to sign up with The Monuments MenGeorge Clooney‘s next directorial effort, based on the true story of a crew of art historians and museum curators who infiltrate into Nazi Germany during the end of World War II in the hopes of recovering priceless works of art before the Nazis obliterate them. Clooney, who penned the script with writing partner Grant Heslov, will also star in the film, alongside a pack of unknowns like Daniel CraigCate BlanchettBill MurrayJean DujardinJohn GoodmanHugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Bob Balaban (Moonrise Kingdom). [Deadline]

• Seth McFarlane is aiming to direct and star in A Million Ways to Die in the West, a period comedy Western he penned with Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild (Ted). No word on whether it features an anthropomorphized talking cow. [THR]

Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Oscar Isaac (Drive) will star in Mojave, an indie psychological thriller about two men who meet in the desert and decent into a world of crime. William Monahan (London Boulevard, screenwriter for The Departed and Body of Lies) will direct from his screenplay. [Variety]

• Marcia Gay Harden has joined the cast of in Elsa & Fred, about two new neighbors (Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine) who form an unlikely romance. Chris NothJames BrolinGeorge SegalWendell Pierce (The Wire), and Jared Gilman (Moonrise Kingdom) costar. Michael Radford (Flawless, The Merchant of Venice) is directing from a script he wrote with writing partner Anna Pavignano (Il Postino), based on the 2005 Spanish-Argentine film of the same name. [Variety]

• Homeland‘s David Harewood is negotiating to play legendary actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (Show BoatOthello) in the indie biopic Robeson. Producer Richard Akel wrote the script with Terry Bisson. No director is yet attached. [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: George Clooney teaming with Paul Greengrass. Plus: Daniel Bruhl, Guy Pearce, Rosamund Pike
Casting Net: Lenny Kravitz to play Marvin Gaye. Plus: Amy Smart, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz
Casting Net: Laura Linney, James McAvoy circling Benedict Cumberbatch/WikiLeaks movie. Plus: Marisa Tomei, James Corden

Casting Net: Michael Fassbender set to play rock star in 'Frank.' Plus: Jim Carrey joins 'Kick-Ass 2'


Jim Carrey has joined Kick-Ass 2 as Colonel Stars, who joins the motley crew of vigilante masked heroes sparked by the titular green-suited star (Aaron Johnson). Carrey joins Johnson, Chloë Grace MoretzChristopher Mintz-Plasse, and Donald FaisonJeff Wadlow (Never Back Down) is directing from his script. [Deadline/Twitter]

• Jason Clarke (Lawless) will play Abraham Lincoln’s father Tom Lincoln in the The Green Blade Rises, the Terrence Malick-produced biopic about the childhood and adolescent years of the 16th President of the United States. Diane Kruger will play Abe’s stepmother, Sarah. Regular Malick collaborator A.J. Edwards is writing and directing. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Michael Pitt to play Hollywood legend’s husband. Plus: Brie Larson, Thomas Ian Nicholas
Casting Net: Michael Douglas aiming to play Ronald Reagan. Plus: Michael Keaton new ‘Robocop’ villain
Casting Net: Evan Rachel Wood in talks to play female trucker in ’18 Wheel Butterfly.’ Plus: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Frances Fisher

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