DreamWorks Animation has recruited a considerable ensemble of actors for its upcoming feature Rise of the Guardians. Not to be confused with Zack Snyder's Lord-of-the-Rings-by-way-of-Woodsy-Owl opus, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole, the Peter Ramsey-directed film will feature the talents of Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin and Isla Fisher for its tale of "childhood legends" such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy as they battle an evil spirit not unlike the Boogeyman.
Pine replaces Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Frost, the star of the story, while Law plays Pitch, the piece's villain. Director Peter Ramsey take on the project after previously helming a short for the DVD release of Monsters vs. Aliens, the spinoff Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space. According to the Variety report, the "heroic" childhood fantasy figures must band together to protect the imaginations of human children around the world. No word yet whether Ramsey plans to enlist the clown from Poltergeist as one of Pitch's henchmen, but if there's a more formidable producer of childhood nightmares, we've never seen him.
Michael Fassbender (Hunger) has joined the cast of Prometheus. The sci-fi flick is set to hit theaters on June 8, 2012.
Noomi Rapace, star of the films in the "Millenium" series (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest), is set to star in Prometheus, Ridley Scott's forthcoming return to the Alien franchise, which he launched in 1979. Rapace is the first actor to be signed for the film, although Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron are reportedly in talks to take on the script's other high-profile female lead. The film is also scheduled for a March 9, 2012 release, which means that casting decisions will have to happen soon in order to get production underway in time to have the film ready for its opening day next year.
According to the story posted Friday on Deadline, Scott said that the film will evoke its predecessors, but take the story in a dramatically different direction. "While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place," he said. "The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien's DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn't be more pleased to have found the singular tale I'd been searching for, and finally return to this genre that's so close to my heart."
Jon Spaihts wrote the initial draft of the screenplay based on Scott's ideas, and then turned his work over to Scott and Lost producer Damon Lindelof to expand the story further. Lindelof said of the experience, "In a world flooded with prequels, sequels and reboots, I was incredibly struck by just how original Ridley's vision was for this movie. It's daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects. When I sat in a movie theater as a kid, feet raised off the floor for fear that something might grab my ankles, I never dreamed in my wildest imagination I would one day get to collaborate with the man responsible for it. Working alongside him has been nothing short of a dream come true."
Brian De Palma is set to direct Passion, a remake of the French psychological thriller Crime d'amour, directed by the late Alain Corneau. The film will be bankrolled by SBS Films, the company that is currently producing Roman Polanski's next film, God of Carnage. De Palma's previous film was the Iraq War drama Redacted, and he told Variety that the film offers him a great opportunity to explore many of the receuurent themes in his earlier work, all at the same time. "Not since Dressed to Kill have I had a chance to combine eroticism, suspense, mystery and murder into one spell-binding cinematic experience," he said.
It remains to be seen whether De Palma can resurrect his career, but the project certainly sounds like it falls into his wheelhouse, giving him material that allows him to exercise his technical expertise and considerable experience with many of the story's themes. SBS head Said Ben Said indicated that the production can flourish precisely because it is being undertaken outside the American studio system. "Movies of this kind are very difficult to make today in the U.S.," he said. "Because the U.S doesn't have coproductions and the studios are not interested in making them."
The original Crime d'amour featured actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. No casting announcements were made for Passion as of press time.
Not content to just make their son Jaden a movie star, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith are developing a starring vehicle for daughter Willow, who scored a surprise hit last year with the single "Whip My Hair." Following the almost unimaginably successful remake of Karate Kid in the summer of 2010, the Smiths along with their Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter Ken Stovitz enlisted rapper and former Def Jam Records CEO Jay-Z to produce a remake of the Broadway musical Annie.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the partnership emerged from a recent dinner attended by Jay-Z, Lassiter, and the Smiths. They previously collaborated on the Boradway show Fela! and invested in a line of beauty products named Carol's Daughter. Jay-Z's 1998 hit single "Hard Knock Life" featured a sample of "It's The Hard Knock Life" from Annie, and while that may or may not make Jay (real name: Sean Carter) exceptionally qualified to help develop the project, his integrity and pop savvy, combined with the Will Smith's own talent and business savvy developing projects for himself and his family members, makes this an interesting and potentially lucrative endeavor in an era where genre pastiche has become standard fare on the radio.
In a statement, Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad said, "The time is right to bring back Annie to the big screen. Of course, we're true believers in Willow's talent and believe she will be perfect in this role." Belgrad referenced Karate Kid as an indicator of the success that the studio will be building upon. "Combining Willow with the Overbrook team that reimagined Karate Kid and the spectacular Jay-Z makes this a dream project. A decade ago, Jay-Z proved that the power of the underlying Broadway property remains, by showing how these songs could be reinterpreted for a new generation with Hard-Knock Life."