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Rooney Mara to play Tiger Lily in 'Pan'

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is headed to the mystical universe of Peter Pan. Sources confirm that Rooney Mara has been cast as the tribal princess Tiger Lily in director Joe Wright’s live-action epic Pan.

Set during World War II, Pan will be a new take on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale. It follows Peter, a young orphan who is kidnapped by pirates and taken to Neverland. There, he determines he’s destined to help save the land from Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Garrett Hedlund has taken the role of the not-bad-yet Hook in the film and the part of Pan has yet to be cast, but reports say that the studio is looking for an actor between the ages of 10 and 12. Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) wrote the script. READ FULL STORY

Does Scarlett Johansson deserve awards recognition for 'Her'? Co-stars Rooney Mara, Amy Adams weigh in

Scarlett Johansson was nowhere to be found at the Directors Guild of America premiere of Her Thursday night in Los Angeles.

It was almost too poignant an absence, considering Johansson plays the disembodied operating system of our dreams in Spike Jonze’s futuristic love story. As Samantha, Johansson could only rely on her voice — silences and subtle inflections and all — to make us believe that Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore could possibly fall in love with a computer program. She doesn’t even have the benefit of an animated avatar.

Though she’s getting raves for her unconventional but affecting performance, the question of the season is whether or not that counts as an awards-eligible performance. The Golden Globes already said no, even though they gave Her a Best Picture nod. The Screen Actors Guild could have included Johansson in their Best Supporting Actress roundup, but, ultimately, she didn’t make the cut. Same with the Independent Spirit Awards. Now, her only chance to be recognized for the part is the Oscars.

Johansson’s co-stars weighed in on the lingering question at Thursday’s premiere.

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On the scene with Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and more at the premiere of 'Her'

The New York Film Festival screened Spike Jonze’s Her – his first solo writing feature — on its closing night, Oct. 12. Jonze, along with cast members Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde, arrived on the red carpet at Alice Tully Hall to celebrate the film’s world premiere.

The movie centers on Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly, a lonely, big-hearted man who falls in love with his Siri-like operating system “Samantha” (smokily voiced by Scarlett Johansson) while coping with his recent divorce. Set in a futuristic version of Los Angeles, Theodore works as a ghost writer for BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, dictating heartfelt missives from loved ones who can’t string the words together themselves. Sensitive and reclusive, he finds fulfillment through his complicated relationship with “Samantha.”

For director Jonze, the premiere was a special homecoming. “The New York Film Festival means a lot to me,” Jonze said before the screening. “This is where I got to premiere my first film, Being John Malkovich.” Accompanied by his family and most of his cast — except Johansson, who “is in the ether with us as she is in the movie,” he said — Jonze presented his highly anticipated film to a full house.

Though Phoenix showed up to the premiere with Jonze, the elusive actor didn’t stop for comments on the red carpet, instead racing inside early. But Mara, who plays a pivotal, albeit small, role as Theodore’s ex-wife, gamely talked about her part and how Theodore’s lengthy, but failed relationship with her character drives his need. “You see our relationship unfold,” Mara told EW. “We’ve been together many, many years, and you see all the stages of it.”

In fact, Jonze was reluctant to cast Mara as Theodore’s heartbreak because she seemed too young for Phoenix. “Joaquin is older than me, but he feels kind of young, he has a young spirit,” Mara said. “When I read the script, it was just so powerful, I loved it so much, so even though Spike thought I was too young, I went after it and convinced him to hire me.”

Kent Jones, the festival’s director of programming, echoed Mara while introducing Her: “[Spike] made a film that, when we saw it, we instantly fell in love with,” he said. Jones added that the selection committee wanted the film to close the festival because it mixed lighthearted humor with deeply haunting themes of human emotion, loneliness, and melancholy.

And with the diverse subject matter covered in Her, Mara said, it’s tough to pinpoint just one lesson from Theodore’s relationships.

“There’s so many thought-provoking ideas, and I don’t think there’s one thing to take away from it,” the actress said, shaking her head. “Every day while shooting it, I would drive home and have a million things running through my head about relationships, about everything; I think that’s kind of what happens when you see the film as well.”

Her opens in select theaters Dec. 18 and nationwide Jan. 10, 2014.

Casting Net: Rooney Mara boards Todd Haynes project with Cate Blanchett; Plus, Megan Mullally, more

• Rooney Mara (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) just signed on to work with another modern auteur, Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), for Carol, and adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt. She’ll star alongside the venerable Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) in the film about two women in 1950s New York. Mara will play the part of Therese, a young shopgirl with dreams of the future, and Blanchett, an elegant thirtysomething woman in an unhappy marriage. Their relationship escalates when the two decide to take a road trip west. Mia Wasikowska was previously attached to the role. [Deadline]

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'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' director David Lowery on Joanna Newsom, keeping viewers in the dark

On Saturday, New York’s IFC Center screened Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and held a Q&A session with director David Lowery afterward. The 2013 Sundance selection, now in theaters, follows escaped convict Bob Muldoon (Casey Affleck) desperately trying to reunite with his wife and partner-in-crime Ruth Guthrie (Rooney Mara).

Here are some interesting things we learned about the indie-Western film:

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints began with an image. “The first thing that ever came to mind was that I wanted to make an action movie,” Lowery said. “And my idea of how to start an action movie was a guy breaking out of prison. But that didn’t work out. So I kind of put that idea away for a while. This image of a guy that I put in that script walking around in the woods just surrounded by nature, and that is in the movie, and that quickly corresponded to this other image of the same character carrying a little girl away from the scene of something terrible. And that image wound up in the movie too.”
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'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' poster and director David Lowery on Rooney Mara, violence, and indies

It’s Texas sometime in the 1970s and Ruth Guthrie and Bob Muldoon are in love. But in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, the passionate, earnest couple cannot stay together. There’s a confrontation with the police, and Bob (Casey Affleck) ends up in prison, while Ruth (Rooney Mara) raises their daughter alone. But Ruth’s quiet life is upended when she gets word that Bob has escaped from prison.

With Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theaters on Aug. 16 (and VOD on Aug. 23), director David Lowery crafts a tightly constructed, lyrical portrait of people tied together by love, tragic circumstance, and obligation. And even though there are guns, wounds, threats, and betrayals, Lowery has somehow managed to make nearly every character empathetic. EW spoke with Lowery about the film, his love of Robert Altman, his use of violence in the film, and the state of independent movies. Take a look after the break. WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS.

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Casting Net: Rooney Mara teams up with Martin Sheen; Plus, Lance Reddick, more

 Hopefully Rooney Mara (Side Effects) and Martin Sheen (The Departed) will get a chance to trade Terrence Malick stories when they begin filming Trash in Rio De Janeiro next month. The two actors have signed on to star in the adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s 2010 young adult novel about three homeless boys living in an intentionally ambiguous “third world” country in the near future who discover something in a trash heap worth protecting. Mara will play an NGO worker and Sheen is set for the part of Father Julliard. Rickson Teves, Eduardo Luis, and Gabriel Weinstein will make their film debuts as the three boys.  Stephen Daldry (The Hours) is set to direct the project, which was adapted for the screen by Richard Curtis (War Horse). [Deadline]

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'Ain't Them Bodies Saints': Casey Affleck isn't about to let Rooney Mara go -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

In Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Casey Affleck stars as an escaped convict who sets out for home to reunite with his wife (Rooney Mara) — who is also his former partner in crime — and meet their daughter, who was born while he was in prison. Promising writer/director David Lowery won accolades at the Sundance Film Festival, where his movie received winning comparisons to the early work of Terrence Malick.

Saints is getting a special critics screening this week at the Cannes Film Festival, and will open in U.S. theaters on Aug. 16.

In an exclusive video from the movie, Affleck’s Bob chases down Mara’s stubborn — and apparently insecure — Ruth. Watch it below. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: Soderbergh's 'Side Effects' is no match for 'Identity Thief'

Identity Thief persevered in spite of winter storm Nemo, with an $11.2 million Friday opening. The R-rated Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy vehicle from director Seth Gordon opened wide in 3,141 theaters, and may be on track for a $35 million weekend. Bateman and Gordon scored big with Horrible Bosses, which had a $9.9 million Friday opening in July and went on to gross $117.5 million domestically. This is McCarthy’s first starring role, and could bode well for The Heat, which was pushed back to a June release. McCarthy also recently started a production company with her husband Ben Falcone and already has three projects in the works.

Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects fared less well, opening Friday in 2,605 theaters at $2.8 million–almost exactly on track with Soderbergh’s Haywire, which opened in late January 2012 with a $2.9 million Friday and a $8.4 million weekend. Channing Tatum’s last three movies, 21 Jump Street (March), The Vow (February), and Magic Mike (June), all had Friday grosses exceeding $10 million. Rooney Mara’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opened decently the weekend before Christmas in 2011, but fizzled after that.

The area affected by Nemo represents about 12% of the country’s box office. AMC alone closed 43 theaters in the northeast corridor including in Boston, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. New York theaters will attempt to open Saturday night, but Boston theaters are planning to remain closed through Sunday.

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Sundance 2013: IFC scoops up rights to Rooney Mara-, Casey Affleck-starrer 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints'

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, one of 16 films in this year’s U.S. dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival, has scored a deal for U.S. distribution rights with IFC Films.

Written and directed by Texas-based Filmmaker David Lowery, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster. Set in 1970s rural Texas, the film tells the tale of outlaw couple Bob Muldoon (Affleck) and Ruth Guthrie (Mara). During a shootout in the Texas hills, Ruth wounds a local officer (Foster), but Bob takes the blame, and when he escapes from prison four years later, he sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration. READ FULL STORY

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