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'Frank' trailer: Michael Fassbender covers up with giant, fake head -- VIDEO

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Michael Fassbender plays a musical genius who can’t seem to face life “face on” in the film Frank.

The offbeat comedy directed by Lenny Abrahamson premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and tells the story of the avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender) as they travel to perform at the South by Southwest Festival in Texas. Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal star as Frank’s bandmates. The story, written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), is loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

The film will be released in the U.K. May 9, with a domestic release planned for later this year. Watch the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

'Neighbors' with Seth Rogen, 'Space Station 76,' more join SXSW features lineup

Funny or Die friends Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Dave Franco are bringing their brand of humor to the SXSW Film festival this year in Neighbors, directed by The Muppets scribe Nick Stoller. Neighbors is about a young couple (Rogen and Rose Byrne) who are forced to live next to a fraternity house after the birth of their newborn baby. The comedy joins already announced films including Jon Favreau’s food truck sendup Chef and the much-anticipated premiere of the Veronica Mars movie at this year’s fest. The full lineup includes 68 films from first-time filmmakers, 76 world premieres, 10 North American premieres, and seven U.S. premieres.

Also debuting are Space Station 76, a sci-fi feature starring Patrick Wilson, Matt Bomer, and Liv Tyler; Cesar Chavez, the biopic about the iconic California labor activist from actor/director Diego Luna, starring Michael Pena; and We’ll Never Have Paris, written by The Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg and starring Helberg and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

As for the choice of Neighbors to premiere at the fest, it’s hardly Rogen’s first time at SXSW, having appeared in Knocked Up in 2007 and Observe and Report in 2009. Comedies are not unusual for the festival, but Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson says they have to have unique slant to work. “We like stuff that has an edge to it, where you can really feel the hand of the writer/director,” she says. “We try not to go too broad with comedy but we love to include it when we can.”

Space Station 76 is among several films that feature sci-fi and time travel prominently, Pierson points out, noting that Predestination starring Ethan Hawke, and Australian film The Infinite Man have similar elements. “Sometimes you don’t show a film because it has something another film has, but this time we went with it. It’s in the zeitgeist,” she says. Space Station 76 “is really unique, really different, and kind of wonderful,” Pierson adds.
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'Love is Strange' and 'Frank' both get post-Sundance deals

After premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, two films have been acquired for theatrical release.

Sony Pictures Classics announced Friday that they have acquired all North American, German, and Scandinavian rights to Ira Sachs’ feature Love Is Strange starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a longtime couple who lose their New York City home shortly after getting married and, as a result, must live apart, relying on friends and family to make ends meet. “Filmmaker Ira Sachs, one of our most acute observers of humanity in modern times, has made his most accomplished film featuring two of the greatest actors in the English speaking world at the peak of their form. It is a privilege to collaborate with them on releasing Love Is Strange,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement. The all-star cast also includes Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan, and Cheyenne Jackson.

The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures also announced Friday that they have acquired North American rights to Frank, an offbeat comedy directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Frank stars Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gylenhaal, Scoot McNairy, and Michael Fassbender as the titular character, a brilliant and eccentric musician who wears a giant fake head at all times.

“All of us at Magnolia were completely taken with Frank,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “It reaffirms the considerable talents of Lenny Abrahamson, who has delivered a beautiful, poignant, and hilarious film that speaks on many levels about being an artist. That Michael Fassbender can be so affecting while encased in a papier-mâché head proves that he is one of the greatest actors working today.” Magnolia is eyeing a summer 2014 theatrical release for the film.

'Frank' star Maggie Gyllenhaal joins Michael Fassbender's head at EW Sundance Lounge

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Director Lenny Abrahamson and his stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy came by EW’s Sundance Lounge Saturday to talk about their movie Frank, which also stars Michael Fassbender as a musical genius… wearing a giant ceramic head… the entire film.

Fassbender himself couldn’t make it, but we did get to spend time with the head. Check out the video interview below. READ FULL STORY

'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: Maggie Gyllenhaal joins Michael Fassbender's band in 'Frank.' Plus: Ashley Tisdale, Stephen Lang, Vinnie Jones

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s been a quiet week in Hollywood, so here’s the top casting news of the last few days:

• Maggie Gyllenhaal will star opposite Michael Fassbender in Frank, an indie comedy about a wild band lead by the titular character (Fassbender) and his fearsome right-hand woman (Gyllenhaal), as seen through the eyes of the group’s newest addition (Domhnall GleesonAnna Karenina). Scoot McNairy (Argo), and Jack White drummer Carla Aza costar. Leonard Abrahamson (Adam & Paul) is directing from a script by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare At Goats). [THR]

• Ashley Tisdale will play Nicolas Cage‘s daughter in Left Behind, a remake of the popular faith-based novel series about what happens after the Rapture removes all Christians from the Earth. Longtime stunt coordinator and second unit director Vic Armstrong (ThorI Am Legend) will direct. [Deadline]

• Stephen Lang (Avatar) and Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand) have signed up for The 34th Battalion, an Australian production about an Aussie army unit during World War I. Luke HemsworthEmilie de Ravin (Lost), and Charles Mesure (Desperate Housewives) costar. First-time director Luke Sparke penned the script with his father, Ian Sparke. [Deadline]

Read more:
Casting Net: Ricky Gervais in talks to star in ‘The Muppets’ sequel. Plus: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Eddie Redmayne, Berenice Bejo
Casting Net: Mireille Enos, Scott Speedman sign on for ‘Queen of the Night.’ Plus: Jon Bernthal to play Robert De Niro’s son
Casting Net: Penn Badgley signs on for drama ‘Parts Per Billion.’ Plus: Michael Shannon, Samantha Morton, Scott Bakula

Casting Net: Emma Watson boards 'Noah.' Gyllenhall headed to the White House, and more

• Emma Watson is in talks to climb aboard Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. The Harry Potter alum would play Ila, who has a relationship with Shem (Douglas Booth), Noah’s son. [Deadline]

• It seems Jamie Foxx and Maggie Gyllenhaal are both Washington-bound for the Roland Emmerich thriller, White House Down. As reported Wednesday, Foxx will play the president. Gyllenhall is in talks to play the female lead. Channing Tatum was previously announced as playing a Secret Service agent who intercepts a plan to takeover the White House. [Deadline]

• And speaking of the White House: Matthew McConaughey has dropped out of the new Lee Daniel’s film, The Butler. He had been slated to play JFK in the film about longtime White House butler Eugene Allen. Instead, McConaughey will star in Dallas Buyer’s Club, a film that has been long in development and is now moving forward, about a Texas man who contracts HIV in the 1980s and tries various experimental remedies. [L.A. Times]

'Hysteria': You're in good hands with Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

In Hysteria, Hugh Dancy plays a 19th-century London doctor tasked with “pleasuring half the women in the city.” He’s not necessarily bragging to the boys about it, mind you. After all, he’s a man of science, and his “pelvic massage treatment” is used purely to cure women suffering from hysteria, a catch-all misdiagnosis that described female malaise and anxiety. But his Mortimer Granville has a gift, and business is booming.

Mortimer is an unusual candidate for such an intimate skill set, as he’s a stuffy, stammering gent whose adorable charm is of the Hugh Grant variety. In this exclusive clip from the film, which opens this Friday in New York and Los Angeles, Mortimer finds himself cornered by someone willing to return the favor: the crudely flirtatious maid Molly the Lolly (Sheridan Smith).

In the second clip, Mortimer crashes-cute with Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Charlotte Dalrymple, a thoroughly modern woman who sees right through the doctors’ malpractice and gives as good as she gets. “I wanted her to be almost out of [her] time,” Gyllenhaal said at the September premiere of the film in Toronto. “I just wanted to make somebody who was wildly free and just this beating heart — and yes, fierce, but her fierceness is motivated by love. I loved being her — like my cheeks were always flushed.”

Watch both actors’ cheeks flush below. READ FULL STORY

'Hysteria' trailer: Turns out, the vibrator began as a motorized feather duster

Thanks in large part to Downton Abbey, American audiences seem once again hungry for light, soapy romantic comedy set amid the plummy accents and fancy waistcoats of British high society. Add in the invention of the vibrator, and you’ve got Hysteria, about a young doctor (Hugh Dancy) who runs afoul of a spirited feminist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as he strives to invent a device to cure his female patients of the titular ailment. Hmm. What’s this motorized feather duster invented by his buddy (Rupert Everett)? Wonder if that has any other possible uses…

Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

How's this for a gift basket? Vibrators for everyone on the set of 'Hysteria'!

Director Tanya Wexler says that her new movie Hysteria, which stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, is a deliciously easy sell at dinner parties. “It’s a romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator in Victorian England,” says Wexler of the prim-meets-pleasure juxtaposition. “And people always laugh.” Dancy plays an earnest young doctor charged with stimulating away women’s blues, or “hysteria” as it was then known. He meets his match in Gyllenhaal’s character, a feminist who calls bollocks on medicine’s catch-all diagnosis for her gender’s dissatisfaction. READ FULL STORY

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