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Casting Net: Emilia Clarke to headline indie psychological thriller; Plus Jason Momoa, Anna Kendrick, more

 Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke will play the lead in the psychological thriller Voice From the Stone, based on the Italian novel La Voce Della Pietra by Silvio Raffo. Eric D. Howell will make his feature directorial debut with the story adapted by Andrew Shaw set in 1950s Tuscany about a nurse (Clarke) who gets caught up in an evil force inside the castle where she is taking care of a young boy dealing with the trauma of his mother’s sudden death. Shooting is scheduled to begin in Italy in November. [The Hollywood Reporter] READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Jack Nicholson may reunite with Tom Cruise for a comedy; Plus, James Brown biopic casts its Mick Jagger, more

• Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman are reportedly courting Jack Nicholson for the Warner Bros. comedy El Presidente, about a by-the-books secret service agent assigned to protect “America’s worst former President” who boozes and womanizes with abandon. Nicholson would play the part of the President, a VP who assumed the Commander-in-Chief’s job after the President died. According to the report, the project has been in development since 2010 — originally with Jay Roach in the director’s chair. Nicholson and Cruise appeared together previously in 1992′s A Few Good Men, which earned Nicholson a Best Supporting Actor nomination. The three-time Oscar winner has not appeared in a movie since 2010′s How Do You Know. [THR]

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Casting Net: Salma Hayek shows Pierce Brosnan 'How To Make Love Like an Englishman,' Plus; Lake Bell, more

• Salma Hayek (Frida) has joined the cast of the indie sex comedy How To Make Love Like An Englishman, about a hedonistic, romantic poetry professor at Cambridge (Pierce Brosnan) who questions his lifestyle after he meets the perfect woman (Hayek, of course). The only complicating factor is that he’s just impregnated her stepsister, a grad student played by Jessica Alba. Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas, Starter for 10) is directing the comedy, which is slated to begin shooting this fall. [Deadline]

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From Sundance to the multiplex: Women directors are taking the spotlight

Long before she directed the summer comedy The To Do List, Maggie Carey was a Division I soccer player at the University of Montana. That was back in the 1990s, when for the first time in her life, she had a female coach.

“It was really refreshing to see a woman in a leadership role and that kind of clicked with me – maybe there was something missing that I wasn’t aware of. And I think seven of the girls [I played with] went on to coach,” Carey says.

Now, as a film director, Carey finds herself at the helm in a profession also historically dominated by men. But like the sea change she witnessed playing soccer earlier in her life, Carey sees things opening up for women who want to get behind the camera.

“The next generation of [soccer] players,” she says, “they’re not going to even think twice about having a female coach. With access and filmmaking, girls who are in high school now aren’t going to think twice about [becoming directors] because they’re going to see women in those positions. It won’t be a barrier because they won’t know there was a barrier.”

Maggie Carey is one of a small group of up and coming female filmmakers in Hollywood who are starting to gain recognition for their work. But it is still a very small group.
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'In a World...': Lake Bell on creating her comedy dream team -- POSTER EXCLUSIVE

It’s impossible to read the title of Lake Bell’s feature directorial debut In a World… without mimicking the iconic voice of Don LaFontaine, the godfather of movie trailers. While trailers have moved from in-theater events to online exclusives, Bell says in our short-attention span culture they serve as a way to get people excited and engaged.

“A good trailer is a good trailer, there’s no arguing that, whether you’ve seen it online, whether you’ve seen it in the theater,” Bell told EW from the set of the upcoming comedy Million Dollar Arm. “We culturally are very in tune to trailers and turned on by them because they are like mini movies and they satisfy even the shortest attention span.”

The film follows the story of Carol Solomon (played by Bell), a struggling vocal coach who happens into a string of voiceover successes — something the voiceover experts, including her father, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed, A Serious Man), the presumed king of the voiceover after the passing of LaFontaine, deem impossible for a woman. The father-daughter competition is surrounded by a host of supporting cast, including Carol’s sister Dani (SNL regular Michaela Watkins) and brother-in-law (Rob Corddry).

Check out the poster for the upcoming film exclusively below:
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'In A World ...' with Lake Bell gets new trailer

Lake Bell (Black Rock, What Happens in Vegas) just wants to be a voiceover actor, and In A World … where she wrote, directed and starred in her own film there is a good chance her dreams might come true.

Bell’s character in the film, Carol, wants to follow in her father’s (Fred Melamed) footsteps, and become a the voice of a generation of movie trailers. Although he is encouraging of her voice work, he thinks movie trailers are the big leagues where only the boys can play. He even appears to be coaching her nemesis, who is played by Ken Marino with sexist bravado. The film also stars Rob Corddry, Nick Offerman, and Demetri Martin.

To quote Bell’s father in the film. “I love that. It’s just so random.”

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award, the film was lauded at the Sundance Film Festival for its loud humor and social commentary. It was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Michael Fassbender for 'Macbeth'; Plus, Jamie Foxx in talks for 'Annie', more

• Michael Fassbender (Shame) is attached to play the title role in a film update of Macbeth, William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy about a scheming nobleman intent on ruling Scotland. The play has been adapted for the big screen a number of times, including Orson Welles’ 1948 version in which he also played the character of Macbeth, and Roman Polanski’s 1971 version which starred Jon Finch. Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders) will direct the Fassbender update which will reportedly use the original language. The part of Lady Macbeth has not been cast yet. [Screen Daily]

• Jamie Foxx is in talks to star in Will Gluck’s (Easy A) film update of Annie, alongside Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis. The Django Unchained star would play Benjamin Stacks, an update on the Daddy Warbucks character, famously played by Albert Finney in the 1982 John Huston film. Foxx is no stranger to musicals, having appeared in both Dreamgirls and Ray. Will Smith and Jay-Z are producing the film, which is aiming for a 2014 release. [THR]

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Lake Bell's Sundance film 'In a World…' sells to Roadside Attractions and Sony

The Sundance Film Festival wrapped up nearly a month ago, but films that debuted at the prestigious film fest are still scoring distribution deals. Lake Bell’s directorial debut, (cue deep, dramatic voice) In a World…, has finalized deals with Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, EW confirmed.

Roadside will distribute the film in the U.S., while the Sony subsidiary acquired international rights. A summer 2013 release is planned for U.S. theaters. READ FULL STORY

'Black Rock': This ain't your mom's Ya-Ya Sisterhood -- EXCLUSIVE POSTER

Black Rock starts out looking like a typical chick flick, with three lifelong girlfriends played by Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth, and Katie Aselton reuniting for a roughing-it retreat in the sticks of a semi-remote Maine island. Girls weekend! Wahoo! But they’re soon forced to practice a more serious brand of bonding when they’re discovered by a group of pseudo-threatening male hunters at their campsite. “It gets all Deliverance-y,” said John Cooper, the director of the Sundance Film Festival, where the psychological thriller debuted in 2012.

Aselton, who’s best known for being one of the boys on TV’s The League (and being married to actor/filmmaker Mark Duplass, who penned the script), directed the movie. “Things go terribly wrong,” Aselton told EW at Sundance. “And it’s the worst-case scenario.”

Click below for the exclusive poster, which features a mountain silhouette that only emphasizes Paramount’s missed marketing opportunity in not acquiring the film. (LD Distribution snapped it up at Sundance for a reported $1 million.) READ FULL STORY

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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