Lionsgate announced today that it has picked up the U.S. distribution rights to the Miley Cyrus comedy LOL from Mandate Pictures (which is owned by Lionsgate but runs independently). The remake of the French film Laughing Out Loud co-stars Ashley Green (Twilight), Thomas Jane (HBO’s Hung), and Demi Moore as Cyrus’ mother. The film does not yet have a release date.
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George Clooney will direct and star in The Ides of March, an adaptation of the 2008 Broadway play Farragut North by Beau Willimon, reports Variety. Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood have been cast in the drama, which focuses on a political press spokesman (Gosling) who works for a Democratic presidential candidate (Clooney) and tangles with a rival campaign manage (Giamatti), a reporter (Tomei) and an alluring intern (Wood). Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov wrote the screenplay with help from Willimon.
There will be no Top Gun 2 without Pete Mitchell. (That’s Maverick to me and you.) Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, who’s brainstorming ideas about resurrecting the Reagan-era, need-for-speed blockbuster, corrected reports that Tom Cruise’s flyboy might not be the star of a new film. In an email to New York Magazine‘s Vulture blog, McQuarrie wrote, “There is no Top Gun 2 in which Maverick is not the starring role.”
James Cameron is making his Avatar sequels his top priority. According to Variety, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 will be the blockbuster director’s next projects. The plan is for Cameron to begin writing both sequels early next year, with the eye on release dates of December 2014 and December 2015. “In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of Avatar‘s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters,” the director told the trade.
Casey Affleck and Judd Hirsch have signed on to the seemingly endless cast of Tower Heist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The roster of the Brett Ratner-directed action comedy already includes Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, and Michael Pena. The script follows the disgruntled manager (played by Stiller) of a high-end building who leads its workers in planning a heist of the wealthy tower tenant, a Bernie Madoff-like character played by Alda.
CBS films has signed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo director Niels Arden Oplev to make The Keep, an adaptation of Jennifer Egan’s 2006 best-seller, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The haunting book tells the tale of two cousins who renovate a medieval castle that makes nightmares real. The Danish director’s version of Dragon Tattoo grossed more than $100 million overseas.
Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has signed on to direct Machine Man, based on the upcoming novel by Max Barry, reports Deadline. Mark Heyman (Black Swan) is set to adapt the story, which centers on an high tech engineer who begins giving himself bionic body parts. Barry plans to publish the novel online one page every day, with the final book getting a physical release in the spring of 2011. Aronofsky is also reportedly attached to direct the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2, starring Hugh Jackman.
Last week, Hangover 2 director Todd Phillips released a statement that Mel Gibson would no longer be appearing in a guest spot in the sequel to the 2009 blockbuster, and now Phillips is further explaining the team’s decision, saying that not everyone in the Hangover “family” liked the idea. “I didn’t want anything to come in between that family,” Phillips told Entertainment Tonight. The director did not specify which members of the cast or crew weren’t fans of the casting news, though rumors have swirled that co-star Zach Galifianakis wasn’t on board.
Warner Bros. execs flew to New Zealand over the weekend to talk economic concessions with the Kiwi government in a last-ditch negotiation to keep the two-picture Hobbit production from moving to another country. According to the Wall Street Journal, the New Zealand prime minister John Key is still open to some concessions to keep the $500 million production from leaving, but is not in a position to match bid from other nations. “We have made it quite clear we can’t bridge the gap that’s on the table economically from other countries. It is simply too large,” Key told journalists Tuesday after a two-hour meeting with Warner Bros. representatives.
According to Variety, 17-year-old Suraj Sharma, a student who lives with his academic parents in Delhi, India, has beat out 3,000 other men for the coveted starring role in Ang Lee’s next film, Life of Pi. Sharma will play the hero from Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, a boy lost at sea for 227 days, marooned in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan. Lee took the helm of the project, which M. Night Shyamalan was once attached to, last year. Fox is planning a December 2012 release date.
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