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Casting Net: Natalie Dormer signs on for 'The Forest,' Patrick Stewart joins 'Green Room;' more

• Natalie Dormer is set to star in Lava Bear Films and Phantom Four’s The Forest, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed. Jason Zada is directing from a script rewritten by Sarah Cornwell and Nick Antosca that was based on an original idea by David S. Goyer. Set in the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mt. Fuji, the supernatural thriller tells the story of a young American woman who goes in pursuit of her missing twin sister. When she wanders off the path, she is met by the undead. Lava Bear is producing along with Goyer under his Phantom Four banner. Tory Metzger, President of Lava Bear, is overseeing the project. Focus Features acquired the North American distribution rights to the film and plans to release it on January 8, 2016.

• Patrick Stewart has been cast in Green Room, Entertainment Weekly has confirmed. The story follows a punk band who, after witnessing a violent crime by white power skinheads, is trapped in a venue by the perpetrators, attempting to eliminate all witnesses. The actor will play Darcy Banker, the leader of the white supremacist group. Jeremy Saulnier is directing from a script he wrote. The film also stars Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein, and Macon Blair. Broad Green Pictures is producing and financing the film. Its Victor Moyers along with Anish Savjani and Neil Kopp of filmscience will produce. Gabriel and Daniel Hammond of Broad Green Pictures and Vincent Savino of filmscience will executive produce. Principal photography began this month in and around Portland, OR. Broad Green Pictures plans to release Green Room in 2015.

• Kim Basinger is re-teaming with L.A. Confidential co-star Russell Crowe for Warner Bros.’ The Nice Guys. With Shane Black at the helm, the film also stars Ryan Gosling, Matt Bomer, Beau Knapp, and Keith David. Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the film tells the story of a private eye (Gosling) and hired leg breaker (Crowe) who pair to solve the case of a missing girl and the death of a porn star. Basinger will play a chief justice with questionable interests. Joel Silver is producing under his Silver Pictures banner along with Waypoint Entertainment’s Ken Kao. Hal Sadoff and Michael Malone are executive producing. [THR]

• Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) and Talitha Bateman (Hart of Dixie) have joined the cast of The 5th Wave, Sony’s adaptation of Rick Yancey‘s YA novel. The film stars Chloe Grace Moretz as Cassie, a survivor of four alien attacks on Earth, who must rescue her younger brother while an eminent fifth attack is on the way. Siff will play Cassie and Sammy’s mother, Lisa, who suffers from a plague released in the third wave. Bateman will take the role of Teacup, a young girl who is in the child army where Sammy is being held. J Blakeston is directing from a script by Susannah Grant. The film also stars Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe, Liev Schereiber, and Ron Livingston. Tobey Maguire, Graham King, Lynn Harris, and Matthew Plouffe are producing. Denis O’Sullivan and Richard Middleton are executive producing. Andrea Giannetti and Hannah Minghella will oversee for Sony. [THR]

• Michaela Conlin (Bones) has joined Relativity’s The Disappointments Room. DJ Caruso is directing the psychological thriller, written by Wentworth Miller. The  ghost story follows Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and her five-year-old son as they move into a new home, and accidentally unlock horrors in the attic. Conlin will play Jules, one half of a privileged Manhattan couple who doesn’t understand what is happening to Dana. The Disappointments Room is currently filming in North Carolina. [Deadline]

Patrick Stewart explains why he's so much fun now -- LISTEN!

It’s difficult to imagine if you’ve seen even one photo of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen exploring New York City, but according to Stewart, there was a time when he wasn’t the funnest guy around. During the SiriusXM Town Hall with the stars of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Stewart was asked what advice he’d give his younger self. There was no hesitation: “I would say, ‘Patrick, cheer the f— up!'” When Hugh Jackman insists Stewart is the happiest guy he knows, Stewart says he’s become that way with the help of his Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men co-stars.

“I was so miserable when I was a kid. I grew up too fast,” he says. “I could hear adults saying, ‘Oh, you could rely on Patrick. He’s very responsible.’ And really what they were saying [was] I was dull and boring. I had no fun. But I promise you, I am making up for it.”

Listen to the clip below. The SiriusXM Town Hall hosted by Jess Cagle repeats Memorial Day at 1 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET on Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM 105). READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' opens with $36 million on Friday

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the U.S. government is terrified that mutants might one day take over. And that’s exactly what they did on Friday, earning an estimated $36 million on the film’s first day in theaters. That debut makes it the third-highest movie opening of the year. (Last weekend, Godzilla crushed the competition with $38.5 million, while Marvel flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier took in a cool $36.9 million in April.)

Starring veteran mutants Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Ian McKellan, and X-Men: First Class alums James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, the Bryan Singer-directed time-travel movie was the seventh X-Men film to date — and the most expensive, costing 20th Century Fox an estimated $200 million. EW’s Chris Nashawaty gave it a B+, saying: “Singer’s return in the pretzel-logic pop fantasia X-Men: Days of Future Past is so triumphant because of how effortless he makes connecting the dots seem. It’s an epic that couldn’t be more Byzantine on paper but scans with ease on-screen.” With its opening day gross across nearly 4,000 U.S. theaters, X-Men: Days of Future Past looks to be a bonafide summer blockbuster that will likely  continue to dominate over the four-day holiday weekend. READ FULL STORY

James McAvoy reimagines the 'X-Men' franchise as 'Jack-Men' -- LISTEN

The next X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, has a release date (May 27, 2016), but as the stars confirmed when they sat down for a SiriusXM Town Hall, they haven’t officially heard that they’re in it. Patrick Stewart would like to think Charles Xavier will always play a part in the films since the X-Men were named after him — and W-Men, after Wolverine, doesn’t have quite the same ring. James McAvoy, however, suggests they could always do Jack-Men in honor of Hugh Jackman.

Jack-Men sounds like a different kind of movie, host Jess Cagle, editorial director of People and EW, jokes. “I make those movies all the time,” Jackman says, laughing. “I hope no one sees them.” McAvoy has a plot: “It would be a bunch of dudes, desperate people, who’d all been like shunned from society because they were intensely charismatic and buff. They were like, ‘We’ve got nowhere to go. We’re so charismatic!'”

Listen to the full exchange below.

In the second clip, Jackman is asked by an audience member who he’d like to see play a young Wolverine and gives Channing Tatum a thumbs up as Gambit. READ FULL STORY

Watch James McAvoy threaten to hand the Avengers their asses, punch Hugh Jackman -- VIDEO

Do the stars of  X-Men: Days of Future Past want to see a crossover with the Avengers? That’s one of the questions James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman field in their SiriusXM Town Hall hosted by Jess Cagle (premiering May 23 at 7 p.m. ET on EW Radio). Because you really need to see McAvoy’s answer to get the full effect, you’ll want to watch the sneak peek below.

He likens the situation to a boxing match — if the audience interest is there, someone’s going to make it happen. “I would like to see us fight them, though. I’d like us not to team up. I’d like to see us fight them and, you know, annihilate them, as we surely would,” he says, laughing. “Be like, ‘Hey, Robert Downey. Oh, here you go. There’s your ass.’ ‘Sorry, I’ve got a bunch of asses in my hand. I think they belong to you Avengers?'”

In the second clip, McAvoy steals the scene again by massaging Stewart and punching Jackman. Enjoy. READ FULL STORY

Patrick Stewart has a secret past in Tribeca movie 'Match' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

match-01.jpg

In Match, which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 18, Patrick Stewart plays a renowned former dancer and Juilliard teacher, who welcomes the opportunity to tell old stories when a graduate student (Carla Gugino) and her husband (Matthew Lillard) arrange an interview for her dissertation on contemporary-dance history. But their conversation soon shifts and becomes more tense, as it becomes clear that the couple has ulterior motives for tracking him down.

Stephen Belber adapted his 2004 Broadway play — which starred Frank Langella in the lead role — and directed the film, which sticks to the strong three-character dynamic that was the basis of the play. “It’s been opened up a little for film,” says Stewart, who didn’t see the stage version. “The development within the film is all linked to what people say rather than to what they do. There are three people, talking to each other. One of the principle things in the screenplay that powerfully drew me to this project was that a situation arises where a man is forced to analyze and reconsider incidents in his past that have changed the lives of many people, and this is what gives Match ultimately its power and its drama.”

Click below for an exclusive clip from Match: READ FULL STORY

Tribeca 2014: Katie Holmes, Robin Williams, and Patrick Stewart headline world premieres

The 13th Tribeca Film Festival has announced its complete lineup for next month’s New York celebration, which runs April 16-27. Culled from more than 6,000 submissions, Tribeca 2014 includes 55 world premieres, 37 first-time filmmakers, and 22 female directors. Half the slate had been announced on Tuesday, with Spotlight, Midnight, and Storyscapes films unveiled today, as well as special screenings. “Spotlight and special screenings are an especially dynamic aspect of this year’s program, both in range of styles and stories,” said Genna Terranova, Tribeca’s director of programming. “Many films feature real-life personalities who’ve accomplished extraordinary feats, while in other films we see personal relationships at pivotal moments of transition. We look forward to sharing these engaging stories with audiences.”

Highlights in the Spotlight section include Jon Favreau’s Chef, which co-stars Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, and Scarlett Johansson; Courteney Cox’s directorial debut, the comedy Just Before I Go; and Katie Holmes playing a schoolteacher who’s not as dainty as she appears in Miss Meadows.

The Midnight section will open with the feature film Preservation, the frightening story of a hunting trip gone awry. But let’s all agree that this category starts and ends with Zombeavers. “Whether they made us laugh, squirm, or plain scared the heck out of us, each of the seven films in this year’s Midnight section never failed to genuinely surprise us with wildly original and unexpected reimaginings of classic genre stories,” said Cara Cusumano, a Tribeca programmer. “From ghost stories to creature features, and even an underdog sports comedy, we’re proud to present an eclectic and adventurous slate of films that we believe represent the year’s most interesting new voices in genre filmmaking.”

Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about the making of Nas’ 1994 album Illmatic, will kick off the Tribeca Film Festival this year on April 16. A performance by Nas himself will follow the world premiere.

Click below for the Tribeca movies, with credits and descriptions courtesy of TFF. READ FULL STORY

'X-Men' first look: 'Days of Future Past' posters split the difference

Duality and split personas have been part of superhero cinema for years but usually it’s one actor playing two parts (Superman and Clark Kent, Batman and Bruce Wayne, etc.) not two actors sharing one name in the credits.

That comes across in these intriguing new promotional posters for the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past and it came across this weekend in San Diego at Comic-Con International panel featuring four actors who inhabit two mutants; Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy as a melded Professor X and Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender as a polarized versions of Magneto.

NEXT: Xavier x 2
READ FULL STORY

Two generations of X-Men visit the EW.com Comic-Con studio

James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, and X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer visited the Entertainment Weekly digital studio at Comic-Con today to talk about the two generations of X-Men in the Marvel movie universe. Watch the video below.

READ FULL STORY

Patrick Stewart on 'X-Men' set: Is Professor X standing up?

X-Men: Days of Future Past officially began filming today, uniting the various strands of the decade-old X franchise into one glorious sequel/prequel/interquel/quelquel/maybe-reboot package. To celebrate, franchise steersman Bryan Singer tweeted an image of Sir Patrick Stewart on the set. Check it out: READ FULL STORY

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