• Amy Adams (American Hustle) is in early talks to star in Story of Your Life, a sci-fi thriller based on a Ted Chiang short story about a linguist who is hired to determine whether the aliens who have just landed on Earth are a threat. During her communication with the visitors, she beings to experience visions that help her determine why they are there. Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) will direct off of a script from Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5). [Deadline] READ FULL STORY
Tag: Sam Rockwell (1-10 of 14)
Going in to the first Sundance showing of The Skeleton Twins, in which Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play a troubled sister and brother coping with the legacy of their screwed-up family, I knew nothing about the film except that it was being billed as the movie that reunited the two former SNL teammates but wasn’t a comedy. Glancing at that photo above, I thought to myself: Hmmmmm, I hope it’s not one of those glum dysfunctional-family indie specials in which gifted comedians blank themselves out for the sake of art. I needn’t have worried. The Skeletons Twins is very much a drama, but it has lots of laughs, too — the kind of good, soul-ticking laughs that emerge, organically, from dramatic situations. Its tone is comparable to that of The Kids Are All Right or Alexander Payne’s films. The Golden Globes would have no problem nominating The Skeleton Twins in the Best Comedy or Musical category. Yet as directed and co-written by Craig Johnson, this is a tenderly sincere, and smart, and beguiling, and penetrating movie about the way that ordinary messed-up people can wind up stumbling through their lives. And let me say right up front: The two actors are fantastic together, every bit as powerful as Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo were as the woundedly bound siblings of You Can Count on Me. But then, we already know from Bridesmaids what a knockout of a leading lady Kristen Wiig can be. It’s Bill Hader who’s the revelation. I think he could become a major screen actor. READ FULL STORY
In director Lynn Shelton’s Sundance film Laggies, Keira Knightley’s character Megan is having a quarter-life crisis until she meets Annika (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her dad Craig (Sam Rockwell).
So what does Star Wars have to do with all this? We’ll let Rockwell, Moretz, and Shelton explain it, in this Sundance interview with EW’s Sara Vilkomerson:
READ FULL STORY
• Miles Teller is making waves. The soulful Spectacular Now star can add another notch to his indie belt. Teller will play the lead role in Whiplash — the Sundance-winning short from writer-director Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) that’s getting the feature treatment. Teller will play a novice drummer in an elite jazz conservatory who is subjected to the wrath of his merciless instructor, played by J.K. Simmons (who will reprise the role that he originated in Chazelle’s short). [Deadline]
READ FULL STORY
We’ve seen Steve Carell do funny. We’ve seen him play crazy. We’ve seen him do awkward. But in Sundance favorite The Way, Way Back, Carell plays mean, and he’s the one picking on the awkward guy: his girlfriend’s teenage son, Duncan (Liam James).
The Way, Way Back follows Duncan through his summer break that’s rather nightmarish whenever he’s with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, but has bright moments whenever he’s at the local water park, where he strikes up a friendship with one of the slacker employees (Sam Rockwell).
The trailer shows off a good chunk of Way, Way Back‘s impressive cast, including Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, and co-director/co-writer Jim Rash.
Check out the trailer, which kicks off with one of Carell’s toolish moments inspired by a traumatic moment in Rash’s real life, below: READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Anne Hathaway and Chloe Moretz might play best friends; Plus, Kate Mara, Peter Fonda, more
• Things have been pretty quiet for Anne Hathaway on the casting front since her Best Supporting Actress win, but we just assumed that she was waiting to line up the perfect post-Oscar project. She may have found that in Lynn Shelton’s (Your Sister’s Sister) next project Laggies — a dark comedy about a late 20-something afraid of growing up. Chloë Moretz, Sam Rockwell, and Mark Webber are also in talks to star. With a script by Like the Red Panda author Andrea Siegel, Hathaway would play Megan, the 20-something in question. When her boyfriend (potentially Webber) proposes to her, she decides to hide from life with her 16-year-old best friend Annika (Moretz). [Deadline]
• House of Cards’ Kate Mara is coming back to the big screen to join Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall in Wally Pfister’s Transcendence. No word yet on her role, but we continue to be very excited for Pfister’s directorial debut. He’s even got the support of his longtime collaborator Christopher Nolan who is serving as a producer on the project along Emma Thomas (Nolan’s wife and producer). Pfister has tapped Jess Hall (Brideshead Revisited) to serve as cinematographer. [Deadline]
When The Way, Way Back premiered at Sundance last month, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s homage to Meatballs was the rare festival offering that had the fun feel of a summer movie. Now, it’s official. Fox Searchlight — which won a $10 million bidding war for the comedy — announced today that the comedy will be released on Friday, July 5. Sam Rockwell stars as a laid-back waterpark manager who takes a young teen (Liam James) under his wing during the boy’s difficult summer vacation with his single mom (Toni Collette) and her mean-spirited boyfriend (Steve Carell). Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, and Rob Corddry also star.
It’s the first film written and directed by Faxon and Rash, who won an Oscar for co-writing The Descendents with Alexander Payne last year. “Nat and I grew up on John Hughes and Meatballs,” Rash, who also appears on NBC’s Community, told EW at Sundance. “Hughes knew how to explore teen problems without talking down to it. So we really, if anything, wanted to create a nostalgic feeling of a movie that hopefully crosses all those lines for everybody.”
Disney’s Lone Ranger and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (also featuring Carell) are also slated to open that expanded Independence Day weekend, though those two are getting a head start with a Wednesday opening on July 3.
The term “crowd-pleaser” should probably be retired from the movie universe. When a serviceable January horror flick like Mama can make $20 million its opening weekend (and that’s demonstrably in the off season), you can bet that virtually every film that opens week in and week out at number one is, in ticket sales and essence, a crowd-pleaser. So it seems unnecessary, or maybe just redundant, to single out any one film for fulfilling that definition. It would sort of be like referring to Twizzlers or popcorn as “popular movie junk food.” READ FULL STORY
UPDATE: Sources close to The Way, Way Back confirm that Fox Searchlight has settled a deal to distribute the comedy for just under the record $10.5 million the company paid for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006. Terms are settled and negotiations are over, with Searchlight planning an announcement shortly.
Anyone who thought the Sundance Film Festival would suffer a post-first-weekend malaise did not anticipate The Way, Way Back, a throwback summer comedy from Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning screenwriters of The Descendents. There were 1,001 possible versions of Way Back that could’ve been made — 1,000 of them forgettable — but their tale of an awkward teenager (Liam James) whose nightmare beach vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her obnoxious boyfriend (Steve Carell) is salvaged by a gonzo mentor (Sam Rockwell) received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd at Park City’s Eccles Theater Monday afternoon.
Rash, who stars as Dean Pelton on NBC’s Community, was emotional even before the film started, indicative of the eight long years it took to bring their script to the screen and the personal nature of the protagonist’s struggle. In the first scene of the film, Duncan (James) is sitting in the way, way back of an old-fashioned station wagon when his potential stepfather callously asks how the teen grades himself on an attractiveness scale of 1 to 10. When the kid reluctantly answers 6, the grownup corrects him with only a 3. “That was inspired by a piece of a true story from me,” Rash said after the screening. “As I was asked what I thought I was on a scale of 1 to 10 by my stepfather at the time during a car trip to Michigan. We knew that was a great launch for understanding Duncan’s journey.”
Casting Net: 'The Avengers' star Clark Gregg assembling killer cast for 'Trust Me.' Plus: Gael Garcia Bernal to play AIDS patient
• Gael Garcia Bernal is negotiating to star opposite Matthew McConaughey in The Dallas Buyer’s Club, about a Texas man with AIDS who starts smuggling drugs into the country to help fellow patients combat the disease. Bernal would play one of those patients. Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria) is directing from a script by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack (Meet Bill), based on the real-life story of a man named Ron Woodroof. [THR]
• The cast for the big screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County is complete. Julianne Nicholson (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) will play Ivy Weston, the mousy middle daughter of Weston family matriarch Violet (Meryl Streep), who still lives in the same town as her parents and bears the brunt of her mother’s abuse. Julia Roberts and Juliette Lewis will play the eldest and youngest daughters, respectively, meaning either the Hollywood gods or director John Wells (The Company Men) have a real sly sense of humor. Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard, and Misty Upham (Frozen River) will costar. Playwright Tracy Letts also wrote the screenplay. [Deadline]
Casting Net: Seth Green to rock out in ‘The Identical.’ Plus: Aubrey Plaza, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Costner
Casting Net: Elijah Wood to be ‘The Late Bloomer.’ Plus: Miles Teller, Richard Madden
Casting Net: Wes Bentley, Brit Marling join Lincoln biopic ‘The Green Blade Rises.’ Plus: Martin Freeman, Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
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