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Matt Damon thriller 'Elysium': Plot details revealed

Elysium, director Neill Blomkamp’s first movie since 2009′s District 9, is a project that remains shrouded in mystery despite a high-profile cast that includes Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and D9‘s Sharlto Copley. But not anymore, thanks to the sleuths over at Collider, who got their hands on a test-screening invitation that includes a detailed plot summary:

In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

Sounds very WALL-E meets Land of the Dead, with loads of possible wink-wink parallels to modern-day issues. (Don’t you just love when sci-fi flicks have those?) Honestly, you had us at Jodie Foster as a “hard line government official” — it’s about time she took on a juicy bad-guy role. Elysium doesn’t come out until March 1, 2013, but odds are you’ll be hearing more about it long before then: The movie’s sneaky viral marketing campaign was already under way almost a year ago when a fake recruitment site for a tech company called Armadyne popped up online in July.

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Kenny G, film composer? How Matt Damon led two filmmakers to a surprising doc about the smooth jazz superstar — VIDEO
Matt Damon postpones directing; Gus Van Sant steps in

'Bourne Legacy' trailer: Get busy living, or get busy dying

“You think that Jason Bourne was the whole story? There’s a lot more going on here.”

That’s the sales pitch for The Bourne Legacy, the Matt Damon-less side boot starring Jeremy Renner as another confused assassin. But in the second trailer for the August action movie, we see plenty of Bourne’s fingerprints. We even see his name etched in wood, as if he were Treadstone’s version of Brooks from The Shawshank Redemption.

Judging from some of the other familiar faces and scenes from the original trilogy, it looks as if writer/director Tony Gilroy is borrowing the gimmick from the third film and building scenes that we later learn occurred simultaneously. “Jason Bourne is in Manhattan,” reports a stunned government office drone to David Strathairn’s evil group leader. So how was Renner’s Aaron Cross involved in those events, or the assassination of a British journalist (Paddy Considine) at the train station? Watch below. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Taylor Swift nearing noteworthy role as Joni Mitchell, plus Mark Wahlberg, Guy Pearce, Jaden Smith

Mark Wahlberg will come a-knockin’ for Avon Man. Hugh Jackman was supposed to headline the long-in-development project, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with his X-Men spin-off The Wolverine. Wahlberg is now looking to produce and star. [Deadline]

• Lockout lead Guy Pearce is in final talks to join Robert Downey Jr.Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, and Don Cheadle in Iron Man 3. Pearce will play geneticist Aldrich Kilian, who develops nanotechnology that can spread viruses and sells it to terrorists. [Variety]

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Kenny G, film composer? How Matt Damon led two filmmakers to a surprising doc about the smooth jazz superstar -- VIDEO

KENNY-G

He’s one of the top-25-selling musicians of all time in the U.S. His name arguably defines an entire genre of music for many listeners. He reportedly holds the record for the longest sustained note ever played on a saxophone. But it turns out that what Kenny G really wants to do is break into movies.

That’s in part the premise of Kenny: A Documentary in G, an in-the-works film by directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn about the smooth jazz icon, chronicling his attempt to launch a second career as a feature film composer. Fittingly, it was a surreptitious encounter with a movie star, Matt Damon, that helped bring the project together. McGinn was working on another documentary, American Teacher, that Damon had signed on to narrate. “We needed a [recording] studio near where Matt was shooting We Bought a Zoo,” says McGinn. “Kenny’s house, funnily enough, was the closest studio.”  READ FULL STORY

Matt Damon postpones directing; Gus Van Sant steps in

Matt Damon has postponed the opportunity to direct his first film, handing the project he co-wrote with John Krasinski and Dave Eggers off to Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant. Entertainment Weekly can confirm a New York Magazine report that Damon, who will still star opposite Krasinski and Frances McDormand in the film, stepped back when he realized he was unable to commit to the extensive preproduction that would be required of him as the director. Production is tentatively slated to begin this April.

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Matt Damon to make the leap
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'We Bought a Zoo' gets Thanksgiving sneak peek

Writer-director Cameron Crowe’s latest film, We Bought a Zoo, has been given an early preview over Thanksgiving weekend, EW has confirmed. The film, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, will preview in more than 800 theaters on Nov. 26. The sneak peek is part of a social media campaign that will allow viewers to post their review online in a contest to win a trip to the San Diego Zoo, and will also include a live chat with Cameron Crowe following screenings. It’s an unheard-of display of confidence for 20th Century Fox execs, who believe the Oscar hopeful is strong enough to generate strong word-of-mouth buzz in advance of its Dec. 23 national release date. Said Crowe, “Holding previews so far ahead of our opening is a bold move — but that’s one of the many reasons I like it.”

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EW Preview: We Bought a Zoo
‘We Bought A Zoo’ international trailer: Now with more hitting on Scarlett Johansson!
‘We Bought a Zoo’ trailer: Why does Matt Damon need a zoo? He just does, okay?
Cameron Crowe goes animal wild with ‘We Bought A Zoo’

'We Bought A Zoo' international trailer: Now with more hitting on Scarlett Johansson!

Sure, the first minute or so of the international trailer for Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo appears to be exactly the same as the first preview we saw back in September: Matt Damon quits his job in a very Jerry Maguire-like fashion and uproots his family to a new home, a literal zoo, while Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More” hums in the background.

But a few things have noticeably been tweaked for the new preview, including way more of the flying-under-the-radar Scarlett Johansson getting hit on by Damon (“You read me pretty well”) and leered at by Thomas Haden Church and John Michael Higgins (and his tape measurer.) There’s also more Patrick Fugit, more inspirational talk (“No, I don’t have a lot, but I do have enough”), and of course, more animals. (Monkeys! Chicks!) Watch the full trailer below and see if you can spot the differences: READ FULL STORY

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to reunite for Boston mob movie

Fourteen years after Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have finally agreed to reunite. Not surprisingly, their new project has a Boston connection. As Deadline first reported, Damon will star as Whitey Bulger, the real-life South Boston crime boss who was recently arrested in California after eluding the FBI for years. Bulger was the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed, in which Damon also played a mole in the Boston police department.

Affleck will direct, co-star, and produce along with Damon under their production company, Pearl Street Films, through their first-look deal with Warner Bros. Casey Affleck, who co-starred in Good Will Hunting and co-wrote 2002′s Gerry with Damon, will also have an on-screen role. Terence Winter, creator and writer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire will write the script, which will focus on Bulger’s troubled youth leading to his incarceration at Alcatraz, and through his rise to become one of the most powerful gangsters in America — while secretly serving as an FBI informant.

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Matt Damon to make directorial debut
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Matt Damon to make directorial debut with small-town drama co-written with John Krasinski

Charles Norfleet/PR Photos; Alberto E. Rodriguez

Matt Damon has been saying for a while now that he’s dying to direct a movie, and given that he’s worked with some of the best filmmakers alive (Steven Spielberg, Steven Soderbergh, and Clint Eastwood, to name just three), it’s easy to understand why. Now he’s finally ready to put everything he’s learned to work. EW has confirmed that, as first reported by Variety, Damon is set to direct an as-yet-untitled drama he has co-written with The Office star John Krasinski.

Damon will star as a salesman who arrives in a small town only to have his whole life called into question. Krasinski came up with the story idea and developed it with A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius author Dave Eggers (who co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 film Away We Go, which Krasinski starred in). Krasinski pitched the idea to Damon, who agreed to co-write it with him and to direct it. The movie, which is being set up at Warner Bros., will be produced under Krasinski’s Sunday Night Productions banner, and Damon and his longtime producing partner Chris Moore will also produce.

Damon is also attached to direct Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, about a criminal on the lam with his daughter, but a source tells EW the project with Krasinski will be his directorial debut.

'Margaret,' the long-stalled drama starring Anna Paquin, pulls in just 624 moviegoers total

Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan couldn’t count on moviegoers to show up for his long-delayed drama Margaret, despite having an impressive cast that includes a much younger-looking Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, and Matt Damon.

Lonergan collaborated with the likes of Martin Scorcese on the film — a post-9/11 drama about a 17-year-old New York City high-school student, played by Paquin, who strongly believes she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that killed a woman — shooting the picture way back in 2005. After its complicated journey to the big screen, it seems moviegoers lost any interest they once had in his follow-up to the Oscar-nominated You Can Count On Me. Playing on just two screens — Landmark’s indie house theaters in New York and Los Angeles – Margaret earned just $7,500 at the box office in its opening weekend. READ FULL STORY

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