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Casting Net: Dustin Hoffman teams up with Adam Sandler; Plus, Ron Livingston, more

Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and Golden Globe-winner Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) are set to join Adam Sandler in The Cobbler. Plot details are being kept secret, but The Cobbler is the brainchild of Win Win and The Station Agent writer-director Thomas McCarthy. [The Wrap]


Casting Net: Brie Larson in talks to star opposite Mark Wahlberg; Plus, Amanda Seyfried, more

• Brie Larson, who has had a breakout year with leading and supporting roles in Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now, and Don Jon, is in talks to join Mark Wahlberg in the remake of The Gambler, the 1974 James Caan starrer that was loosely inspired by a the Dostoyevsky novella. It’s still very early in the process, but Larson would take on the role of a student who Wahlberg’s Jim Bennett, a literature professor, is in love with. Rupert Wyatt, who worked with Wahlberg on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is set to direct. Oscar winner William Monahan (The Departed) is penning the script. [Deadline]

'Ass Backwards' trailer: Alicia Silverstone is a beauty queen mean girl

No one wants to run into the mean kid from childhood as an adult. Especially if that mean kid is now a mean adult.

For best friends Kate (Burning Love’s June Diane Raphael) and Chloe (Happy Endings’ Casey Wilson), that person is Laurel. Played with a vicious coolness by Alicia Silverstone, Laurel is a former beauty queen who eviscerated a younger Kate and Chloe at pageants. “I love the way the two of you aren’t embarrassed about where you are in life,” she says to Kate and Chloe.

But, these two don’t seem easily dismayed and accept the opportunity to go back to their old pageant stomping grounds for another chance to compete at the anniversary show. And the girls hit the road with a killer soundtrack, some fabulous hats, and an optimism that we haven’t seen since Romy and Michele went to their high school reunion. Written by Wilson and Raphael, first trailer for Ass Backwards looks like silly fun. There’s even a pantless scene.


'Ass Backwards': Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael on their 'DIY dream project' -- POSTER PREMIERE

When Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and June Diane Raphael (Burning Love) set out to dress in their beauty pageant finest for the poster for their movie, Ass Backwards, they didn’t have to look far to find the right outfits.

“We took to the streets — and by the streets we mean a downtown LA quinceanera shop — to procure the best dresses I have ever seen,” Raphael tells EW. “The look we were kind of going for is like crazy Toddlers and Tiaras-type little girl dresses, and you know, luckily for us those are also quinceanera dresses, they are one in the same.”

The co-writers and co-stars added their own special touches to the dresses. “June went crazy at a Michael’s fabric store to kind of beadazzle and jazz them up, so it’s basically our DIY dream project,” Wilson adds.

The film, which opens November 8, premiered at a midnight showing at Sundance earlier this year. It follows the story of two best friends who ditch the city and road trip back to their hometown to try to win the beauty pageant they lost as kids.

Check out the full poster for the film below.


Sundance 2013: Female directors poised to make their mark at indie festival

Cannes, take note.

Call it feminist, call it a full shift in the zeitgeist, call it the seeds of a movie industry revolution, but the Sundance Film Festival has shoved Hollywood into the 21st century when it comes to the inclusion of women filmmakers.

Last May, the Cannes Film Festival’s competitive Palme D’Or line-up sparked controversy over its dearth of female directors. This year’s annual Sundance fest in Park City, Utah, which runs from Jan. 17-27, for the very first time features an equal number of male and female directors in its 16-film U.S. Dramatic Competition category, ranging from Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely, starring Rosemarie DeWitt (pictured in the exclusive photo above), to Liz Garcia’s The Lifeguard, featuring Kristen Bell, Francesca Gregorini’s Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes, starring Jessica Biel, Jerusha Hess’s Austenland with Keri Russell, Lake Bell’s In a World, also starring the actress-director, and Stacie Passon’s Concussion.

EW connected with Shelton, Garcia, Gregorini, Hess, Passon, and Bell, as well as actresses Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, who co-wrote the saucy Sundance Midnight screening selection Ass Backwards, and Richard E. Robbins, who directed the CNN Films documentary Girl Rising, which will have scenes shown at Sundance. Absolute joy and excitement resonated through phone and email conversations with the filmmakers, who touted the bright future for women directors — Kathryn Bigelow’s name may be the biggest out there these days, but many more are on the horizon.

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