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Casting Net: Sigourney Weaver set for 'A Monster Calls'

• Sigourney Weaver has signed on for A Monster Calls, the feature adaptation of Patrick Ness‘ children’s fantasy novel. Weaver joins Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson. In the Juan Antonio Bayona-directed film, a boy retreats to a fantastical world through a tree monster, attempting to escape from bullies and his mother’s terminal illness. Weaver will play the boy’s grandmother, while Jones will play the mother and Neeson the monster. River Road’s Bill Pohlad and Mitch Horwits, Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, and Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairman Patrick Wachsberger will executive produce the film, which hits theaters Oct. 14, 2016. [THR]

Michael Rooker is returning to the jazz biopic Bolden. Production began seven years ago with reshoots in 2009, but the film lost stars, including Anthony Mackie, to scheduling. Now, Gary Carr has taken the title role of New Orleans cornet player Buddy Bolden, and filming is set to start again this fall. Rooker will resume his role as Pat McMurphy, right-hand-man to Bolden’s enemy, Judge Perry. Rooker will have to reshoot a number of scenes with Ian McShane, who took over the part of Judge Perry. Nelsan Ellis (True Blood) also recently joined the cast as Bartley, manager to the Bolden Band. Dan Pritzker is writing and directing. Jon Cornick and Michele Tayler will produce. Leonard Loventhal, Ed Arrendell, and Wynton Marsalis are executive producers. Marsalis, a Grammy winner, performed music for Prtizker’s Louis and will perform music for Bolden as well. [Deadline]

Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Mescudi (better known as Kid Cudi), Mark Feuerstein, Kevin Corrigan, and Juno Temple are heading to Meadowland, which already stars Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Moss, Natasha Lyonne, and Ty Simpkins. The film is being directed by Reed Morano, marking her directorial debut. Meadowland follows Sarah and David, a New York couple coping with their son’s disappearance. The Bron Studios film is being produced in association with Creative Wealth Media. Matt Tauber and Wilde are producing next to Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert and Margot Hand. Jennifer Levine and Jason Cloth will executive produce. Domestic rights are represented by WME and Gersh. [Deadline]

Wes Bentley is joining Zac Efron for We Are Your Friends. The drama follows an aspiring DJ, Cole, who finds his place in EDM. Bentley will play James, a DJ who mentors Cole. Emily Ratajkowski (“Blurred Lines”) will play Sophie, James’ younger girlfriend who becomes the apple of Cole’s eye. Max Joseph (Catfish) will make his directorial debut. Meaghan Oppenheimer wrote the script from a story by Richard Silverman. Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing. Silverman is executive producing. Studio Canal is financing and representing domestic rights. Filming kicked off today in the San Fernando Valley. [Deadline]

Smallville veterans Annette O’Toole and John Glover are joining forces again for We Go On, a modern ghost story written and directed by the team of Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton. O’Toole and Glover are joining Clark Freeman, Laura Heisler, and Giovanna Zacarias. Freeman will play a man who offers $30,000 to anyone who can prove that there is an afterlife. O’Toole will play his protective mother, and Glover will play a “believer” who attempts to find out. Irina Popov, Richard W. King, and Logan Brown are producing. The film began production this week in Los Angeles in Surfridge, an abandoned neighborhood near LAX. [THR]

Lesley Ann Warren has signed on for Michael, joining Zachary Quinto and James Franco. Warren will play Quinto’s mother in the indie drama that stars Franco as an anti-gay pastor who was formerly gay himself. Quinto will co-star as Franco’s ex-boyfriend. Justin Kelly will direct; he co-wrote the script with Stacey Miller, based on Benoit Denizet-LewisNew York Times Magazine article, “My Ex-Gay Friend.” The cast also includes Emma Roberts who plays Franco’s girlfriend, in addition to Chris Zylka, Avan Jogia, and Charlie Carver. Gus Van Sant will executive produce. Franco, Vince Jolivette, Michael Mendelsohn, Ron Singer, and Scott Reed will produce. [THR]

'Need for Speed' premiere, On the Scene: Aaron Paul, more reveal their worst set of wheels

Need for Speed — Dreamworks’ stunt-heavy paean to fast cars and fiercely loyal bros (and a few ladies who love them), loosely based on the popular street-racing video game franchise and hitting theaters on March 14 — came very close to not being Aaron Paul’s post-Breaking Bad vehicle.

“I was hesitant to even read a script called Need for Speed. I had my own preconceived notions about it, but when I started looking at the pages, all of those went away,” Paul explained to Entertainment Weekly exclusively just after arriving to the Thursday premiere of the film at the TCL Chinese Theater in an overheating muscle car. “I was so shocked and surprised that this film had such a good human story behind it and I could relate to these guys.”

It also didn’t hurt that Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Potts, and the rest of the N.F.S. pit crew got to take a road trip in some very sweet rides, including Bugattis, Lamborghinis, GTA Spanos, Koenigseggs, and a brand-new 2015 Ford Mustang GT. “I loved that it gave me the opportunity to drive around this beautiful country of ours. We shot in seven different states, so it was like a mini-vacation taken in some very cool cars.”

Considering this is probably not even close to how most of our readers usually roll, EW was more interested in asking the cast, the director, and a few famous screening guests about the not-so-fast-or-furious cars of their past. Below, they recall, often surprisingly fondly, their worst beaters, clunkers, and lemons. READ FULL STORY

'Need for Speed': Kid Cudi reveals 'Breaking Bad' bromance, secret obsession

Rapper Kid Cudi prides himself on delivering the unexpected. There’s his fourth studio album, Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon, which he recently released without any formal announcement in a Beyonce-like moment. Then there’s the Grammy winner’s burgeoning acting career, which is kicking off in high gear with the racing video game-turned thriller Need for Speed.

It turns out the Ohio native — a.k.a. Scott Mescudi — is more than just a colorful sidekick to lead actor Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) in the action-packed film (out in theaters March 14). In fact, as his character Benny, Mescudi is a comedian, helicopter pilot, and even a bit of an on-screen style savant. He spoke with EW about his offbeat lifelong obsession, how he bonded with his Bad co-star, and whether the musician has a real-life affinity for off-the-wall humor. READ FULL STORY

'Need for Speed' trailer: Aaron Paul on stunts and pushing his own limits -- VIDEO

Need for Speed might be based on a video game, but director Scott Waugh wasn’t interested in digital representations for his feature film. Nearly everything you see on-screen is real, whether it’s a car jumping a medium or flying off a bridge. What else would you expect from a veteran stuntman turned director?

The wild card was getting an actor to sign up for that.

When Waugh first approached Aaron Paul to star in his first post-Breaking Bad film, he didn’t mince words: “I told him, If you really want to do this movie, I need to teach you how to drive. And I’m not talking straight. I’m talking 150 miles an hour drifting,” Waugh told EW in October.

Driving school came next, and Paul was a quick study.”My first true day on the film was out at the race track. By the end of the first day I was doing 360s. Then the next couple of days were learning how to trick around corners or doing reverse 180s,” Paul said.

READ FULL STORY

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