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Casting Net: Jason Statham joins Melissa McCarthy comedy; Plus, Josh Gad, Kevin James, more

• Jason Statham is set to team up with Melissa McCarthy in the secret agent comedy Susan Cooper. The action star, best known for roles in high-octane projects like The Transporter and Crank, had been circling the project for some time, but was reportedly weighing other options before committing. Paul Feig, who worked with McCarthy on Bridesmaids and The Heat, is set to direct the pic for 20th Century Fox. Statham will appear next in The Expendables 3 (out Aug. 15). He’s also reprising his role as Ian Shaw in Fast & Furious 7. [Variety] READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: 'Wish I Was Here' cast talks Zach Braff's return to Park City -- VIDEO

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Zach Braff hasn’t brought a movie to Sundance in a decade — 2004′s Garden State — and his fans have been patiently waiting for his return. Another group that’s pretty excited about Braff’s latest, Wish I Was Here, is his cast, seven of whom (including Braff himself) piled onto one couch in Park City, Utah, to talk to EW’s Anthony Breznican about the film.

Below, watch Braff with Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Donald Faison (Scrubs reunion alert!), Joey King, and Pierce Gagnon:
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Sundance 2014: Zach Braff returns with 'Garden State' follow-up, gets standing ovation

Ten years after Garden State became a breakout hit — and the unofficial soundtrack — of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Zach Braff returned to Park City yesterday with his long-awaited, Kickstarter-financed follow-up, Wish I Was Here. Braff said when he made Garden State that he “just wanted to write a movie that describes how I felt about being 28 in 2004.” With Wish I Was Here, which he co-wrote with his brother Adam, he’s taken a similar approach. He plays a struggling commercial actor whose judgmental, conservative Jewish father (Mandy Patinkin) is dying of cancer. When he and his overburdened working wife (Kate Hudson) can no longer afford tuition for their two children’s private school, he decides to home-school them in an unconventional way while clinging to hopes for a resurgence in his acting career.

Garden State was all the things me and my [20-something] friends were obsessing about and talking about and worrying about, and I put it into a movie,” Braff told the audience after the film’s premiere. “And with this, my brother and I were sharing the things that we’re talking about. He’s got two young children. What are the things he’s wrestling with in teaching them. And with me, it’s my own spirituality. I find the films that I love the most — as a film lover — are the ones that are someone’s unique story. This isn’t a film that anyone else could’ve directed, or something that got passed around and got eventually made. No one else could tell this story that my brother and I wrote.”

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Josh Gad sets sail for 'Gilligan's Island'

Josh Gad will co-write and star in a big-screen adaptation of Gilligan’s Island for Warner Bros. Gad’s publicist confirmed a Deadline report that the Tony-nominated star of The Book of Mormon and the voice of Frozen‘s talking snowman will pen the script with 1600 Penn writers Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez. No one is saying which character Gad is keen to play, though. Lloyd and Ross Schwartz, the children of Sherwood Schwartz — who produced the original TV series and died in 2011 — will executive produce alongside Tracey Silvers and Cathy Silvers.

Gilligan’s Island ran for three seasons on CBS from 1964-67. It was the comic story of seven shipwrecked passengers of the S.S. Minnow: Gilligan, the Skipper, the Professor, an actress Ginger, Mary Ann, and millionaires Mr. and Mrs. Howell. Gilligan (Bob Denver) was a mishap-prone doofus who always inadvertently spoiled their plans of escape or rescue.
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Critical Mass: We know the kids will like 'Frozen,' but will you?

Young children don’t pay much attention to critics’ reviews, but you can bet their parents do — especially when there’s a good chance they’re going to be dragged to the cinema by the tots during Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do the adults want to research the potential movie of the week to see if it’s age-appropriate, but they also want to prepare themselves mentally for what might be 90 minutes of mindless dreck.

Relax, moms and dads. Disney’s Frozen, fortunately, looks to be one of those treats that the whole family can enjoy. Not only are there princesses (Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) and a talking snowman sidekick (Josh Gad), but the Broadway-caliber songs were written and composed by Robert Lopez, who won Tonys for Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

Very loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Frozen tells the story of two princesses. The elder, Elsa, is gifted/cursed with the ability to turn everything she touches into ice and snow. When her secret talent becomes known, she blankets the kingdom in ice and retreats to a forest fortress of solitude. Her younger sister, Anna, ventures into the tundra to retrieve her sister and fix the ice weather before it’s too late. Along, the way, Anna meets a talking snowman and a handsome ice-salesman (Jonathan Groff), who, Oz-style, help her complete her journey. “The journey is a little generic,” writes EW’s Owen Gleiberman. “[but] the exploding-ice-crystal visuals are spectacular: You can almost feel them freeze-burning your fingers.”

Click below to see what other leading critics are saying about Frozen before you purchase your tickets. READ FULL STORY

On the scene with Gwyneth Paltrow, Pink, Josh Gad, more at the 'Thanks for Sharing' premiere

“Oh I’m not an actress,” said Alecia Moore (aka Pink) at the Los Angeles premiere of Thanks for Sharing. “I was like, ‘ok, why me?’” she laughed. “You want me to do the soundtrack?”

Modesty seemed to be the theme at the ArcLight Hollywood Monday night, which stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Patrick Fugit, Josh Gad, Moore, and director Stuart Blumberg turned out to celebrate their film that opens in limited release on Sept. 20. Despite the rom-com marketing Thanks for Sharing is actually a somewhat dark multi-story look at the world of sex addiction. Blumberg, who co-wrote The Kids Are All Right, said, “I wanted to explore not just when people go down the rabbit hole, but when they try to come up.”

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See the 'Thanks for Sharing' poster with Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo

We’re addicted to stories about sex addiction.

The ailment gets the romantic dramedy treatment in Stuart Blumberg’s directorial debut Thanks for Sharing, a multi-character story about three sex addicts in therapy and their attempts to live in the world. Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo lead the ensemble cast as Phoebe and Adam, a new couple just trying to make things work in spite of Adam’s addiction.

Josh Gad and Pink also feature heavily in the film as a pair of addicts who seem to find solace and comfort in each other’s company. Co-written by Blumberg (The Kids Are All Right) and Matt Winston, the film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, and co-stars Tim Robbins, Joely Richardson, and Patrick Fugit.

The trailer teased a bittersweet tone reminiscent of The Kids Are All Right, but, how do you make a poster about such a complicated, and seemingly R-rated subject matter? Take a look after the jump and let us know what you think.

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'Thanks for Sharing' trailer: Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow try to make it work

Mark Ruffalo, sex addict? In the upcoming film Thanks for Sharing, Ruffalo stars as one of a group of recovering sex addicts that also includes Book of Mormon star Josh Gad and Alecia Moore — a.k.a. Pink. Ruffalo’s Adam falls for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Phoebe, who’s sworn off dating alcoholics and dismisses his plight by saying what we’re all thinking: “Isn’t that just something guys say they’re doing when they get caught cheating?” Needless to say, she gives in, to the tune of a pretty racy black lace number.

The eclectic cast also features Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous), Tim Robbins, and Carol Kane.

Check out the trailer for the film, which was directed and co-written by Ruffalo’s The Kids are Alright collaborator Stuart Blumberg, below. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Russell Crowe in talks to direct and star in post-WWI pic; Plus, Alison Brie's inter-dimensional romantic comedy, more

• Russell Crowe (Man of Steel) is in talks to direct and star in The Water Diviner, a 1919-set film about an Australian man searching for his sons in Turkey following the Battle of Gallipoli — the Allied attempt, and failure, to capture the Ottoman capital. The Oscar winner’s next projects include Akiva Goldsman’s Winter’s Tale, and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. [Deadline]

• The Salma Hayek-produced animated feature, The Prophet, has lined up a pretty outstanding voice cast that includes Liam Neeson, John KrasinskiQuvenzhané Wallis, Frank Langella, and Alfred Molina. Roger Allers (The Lion King) wrote the script based on Khalil Girbran’s 1923 book, and will direct the narrative, with a number of international directors lending their hands to direct “chapters” based on Girban’s 26 essays. Hayek also voices a character. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: Owen Wilson in heist comedy; Plus 'Veronica Mars' casts another vet, more

• Owen Wilson is joining Jim Carrey in Relativity’s as-yet-untitled action heist comedy from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess. The story focuses on an armored car driver who is pressured into helping steal $20 million and then left high and dry in Mexico. The driver is determined to get even. Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn are producing. [Deadline]

• More in untitled news — Josh Gad (Book of Mormon) and Kevin Hart (Think Like a Man) will co-star in a romantic comedy from Screen Gems and Miramax about a best man-for-hire (Hart) who covers for the socially awkward (shocker!) Gad by providing a best man and a set of groomsmen for his nuptials. [THR]

• Producer Jason Blum already has the biggest movie out this week (The Purge) and just announced its sequel is in the works. But next up is the thriller Stretch and funnyman Ed Helms is in talks take a turn away from comedy by joining the cast of the film about a limo driver (Patrick Wilson) with a passenger from hell, played by Chris Pine. [THR]

• And finally, another announcement in the ongoing Veronica Mars saga. Series creator Rob Thomas announced in an email sent to Kickstarter backers Monday that Francis Capra will come back to play Eli “Weevil” Navarro in the film reboot of the cult TV show. “Playing a wrong-side-of-the-tracks-kid in a town full of privileged peers, Francis found a terrific — and difficult — balance between tough and soulful. I couldn’t be happier that he’ll be back with us for the film,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas also shared the video below from Capra:

PREVIOUSLY: Warner Bros. acquires ‘Rasputin’ pitch with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star

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