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Ice Cube to Co-Write, Produce, and Star as Fagin in Oliver Twist

Here’s a sentence for you: “Disney Studios is teaming up with Ice Cube and Tommy Kail, the Tony-winning director of Hamilton, for a modern and musical take on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.” And by teaming up, The Hollywood Reporter specifically means Ice Cube will co-produce a new film version of Twist, that he will also appear in as Fagin, the leader of a pickpocket gang in London who takes in the orphan after he escapes a life of being a child laborer. And in case it didn't sink in before, yes, this will be a musical, and Ice Cube is helping to write the screen treatment with producer Jeff Kwatinetz. But does that mean there will be rapping in the new Oliver Twist? According to THR, the project will be “a modern musical with sources describing it as crossing many genres, including hip-hop,” and we're taking that as a yes. Who could have predicted in 1990, the same year he released his debut solo EP called Kill At Will, that Ice Cube would grow into being the cuddliest, most family friendly alumnus of the seminal hip-hop group N.W.A. A merry old gentleman indeed!

How Modern Horror Is Breaking the Rules of the 1980s

All week on Vulture, we're examining '80s pop culture, and how it lives on today.

The blessing and burden of being a horror filmmaker is that mainstream audiences don’t expect much of you. Studios treat scary movies as a low-cost, low-risk investment, and many moviegoers consider them worthwhile so long as they're not terrible. On the occasions where a horror film achieves greatness, it's quickly followed by a swirl of subpar entries that repeat its same formula. For better or worse, many of the expectations for what horror movies should be are a legacy of the genre’s last boom time — the slasher explosion of the 1980s. It was an era when masked super-killers reigned supreme and sin-addled dead teenagers piled up like old newspapers, and it established a strong foothold in the popular consciousness that horror films of the present day must still reckon with. But today, an independent horror insurgency is pushing the limits of horror narratives, and upending expectations of what makes a scary movie great.


The Hidden Significance of Moonlight’s ‘Chiron’

The protagonist of Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight — played at various points of his life by Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes  is called many names. When he's a child, he's “Little”; when he's with his first love, he's “Black”; too often, he's “faggot.” But it’s his given name that’s the most compelling: Chiron. (In the film it's pronounced Shy-rone — fitting, given his demeanor.) Moonlight's Chiron shares his name with the immortal centaur from Greek mythology, the son of the titan Cronus and a half-brother to Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, among others. The centaur Chiron was an outsider in both worlds: He was abandoned by his nymph mother because of his appearance, and yet, because he was the son of a god, he was different from the other centaurs: gentler and less wild. In some Greek art he is depicted with the front legs of a human. In the world of mythology, Chiron isn’t like anyone else. He's a character without a peer.


Jack O’Connell to Wear Many Stylish Outfits As Alexander McQueen in Biopic

Six years after his death, the groundbreaking fashion designer Alexander McQueen is finally getting a biopic, and a former Skins bad boy has been tapped to star. EW reports that Jack O'Connell will play the late McQueen in a film directed by Andrew Haigh and adapted from Andrew Wilson's McQueen biography, Blood Beneath the Skin. McQueen, whose brand has been worn by everyone from British royalty to Lady Gaga, was famous for his avant-garde style; he committed suicide at age 40 in 2010. O'Connell, known and adored by Skins diehards as Cook, most recently starred in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken and Jodie Foster's Money Monster, which, sure, are both great to have on your résumé when you're after a role like this. But, like, have you seen the man rock a suit and suspenders? Swoon.

How to Get the Most Out of the Criterion Collection Before It Leaves Hulu

After five years on Hulu Plus, the Criterion Collection will jump ship from the streaming service on November 11. The impeccably curated selection of films will be moving to FilmStruck, a new joint venture with Turner Classic Movies that promises themed programming, bonus features, and other attempts to justify yet another monthly subscription fee. Now that the Criterion Collection's days on Hulu are numbered, the prospect of catching up on all those movies may seem too overwhelming to even attempt. Luckily, Vulture is here to help.

From now until November 11, here is one essential Criterion viewing per day, with plenty of suggestions for further exploration. Hulu only hosts a fraction of the total Criterion Collection, and this is not an attempt to list the 17 best films on the service — that would be madness. Instead, we're giving you an eclectic buffet of options, to demonstrate just how vast and magnificent this selection is, and how much will be lost once it becomes another walled garden. (A note: Criterion may be phasing out some of these films earlier than expected, so keep an eye on the calendar and shuffle this order around if there’s something you’re absolutely dying to see.)

Get ready to dive in. »

Shaun the Sheep to Fill Up Your Charming Stop-Motion Animal Quota With a Sequel

The Wallace and Gromit franchise is gearing up to make an extremely cute expansion. The stop-motion maestros at Aardman Animations have announced that Shaun the Sheep will be getting a sequel, with work on the film expected to begin in January. Both the original CBBC series — which is still airing — and the first film revolved around the many misadventures of the mischievous and clever titular sheep, with the film proving so popular that it netted a nomination for Best Animated Film at the Oscars earlier this year. Because who could possibly resist that adorable ruminant mammal?!

Ruth Wilson’s I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House Trailer Seeks to Permanently Ruin Houses for Everyone

Well, houses had a good run while it lasted. A great run, even. They beat caves and lean-tos by a mile. From The Conjuring 2 and The Boy to Darling and Don't Breathe, the surge of haunted (or otherwise malevolent) house movies crested in 2016. At the top of that wave is Oz Perkins’s (son of the late, great Anthony) upcoming horror movie I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, which will debut on Netflix on October 28. Ruth Wilson stars as Lily, extremely nervous nurse to famous author Iris Bloom. After reading Bloom's 19th-century murder novel The Lady in the Walls, Lily becomes convinced its protagonist Polly is not only a real murder victim, but extremely active within the home itself despite being, you know, not alive. Which, of course, is why we all live in tree forts and human-sized bird nests now. Can't risk it. Too much stuff going on in houses.

How Viola Davis Just Changed the Oscar Race

One of the biggest open questions of this Oscars season finally has an answer. Yesterday, the Playlist's Greg Ellwood broke the news that Paramount will position Viola Davis as a Best Supporting Actress contender for Fences, the highly anticipated August Wilson adaptation she stars in alongside Denzel Washington. Davis won a Tony in the same role during Fences' 2010 Broadway revival and, based on the film's artful trailer, looks to be giving the sort of powerhouse performance that could leave other Oscar-contending actresses quaking in their heels. Still, there were all sorts of mixed signals about where Davis would be slotted this awards season, and I'd been hearing rumors since August that she would likely forsake the Best Actress race.

When it comes to laurels, the role itself has a complicated history. »

  • Posted 10/24/16 at 10:07 AM
  • Biopics

Velvet Underground Singer Nico’s Life Is Getting the Extremely European Biopic It Deserves

If in your music biopic pool you've been betting on Lou Reed's life making it to the big screen before the rest of the Velvet Underground, prepare to cough it up. Variety reports that the band's early collaborator, Andy Warhol muse, and elusive German femme fatale Nico is getting the biopic treatment before all the rest. True to Nico's status as a European icon, Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli will helm the film, Nico, 1988, about Nico's final years before her death at 49 in 1988. And she'll be played by Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, who won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. Though Nico is remembered as a cult figure when she was in her prime, the film will look to study Nico's life after fame — and the heroin addiction that derailed it — in her forgotten years. The story will rely largely on interviews with Nico's son Ari and last manager, Alan Wise; it'll also use flashbacks, dreamlike sequences, and the music that inspired Nico, plus her own songs performed by Dyrholm and not Drake (sorry). As for that Lou Reed biopic, well, uh, there's always Prozac Nation.

Matthew McConaughey to Be Honored by Napa Valley Film Festival, the Most Matthew McConaughey–Sounding Festival There Is

According to Deadline, Matthew McConaughey is set to be feted at the sixth annual Napa Valley Film Festival on November 10, a pairing that fits like a gorgeous linen suit unbuttoned all the way down and, well, Matthew McConaughey. In addition to sipping a liquid ton of Merlot and screening his upcoming gold-mining drama Gold, the actor will receive the Caldwell Vineyards Maverick Actor Tribute, the exact award name Matthew McConaughey himself would have chosen if the title Chillest Daddy Medal of Honor was politely declined by festival organizers.

Tyler Perry Crosses Over As Boo! A Madea Halloween Wins the Box Office

The Main Story
Tyler Perry owes Chris Rock a beer: Boo! A Madea Halloween — a movie based on a joke in Rock's Top Five — came in at No. 1 at the box office this weekend, pulling in an estimated $27.6 million in its first three days of release. That's Perry's fourth-best opening ever, after Madea Goes to Jail, Madea's Family Reunion, and Why Did I Get Married Too? Like most of Perry's movies, Madea Halloween was panned by critics, but it also has the distinction of attracting a more diverse audience than usual: Variety notes that, while most of Perry's movies pull in a crowd that's between 80 and 90 percent black, Madea Halloween's audience was only 60 percent black, leading Lionsgate's David Spitz to boast to the mag that the movie had "crossed over."

In one further irony, in Top Five, the fictional Madea Halloween is seen competing at the box office with Rock's character's movie about the Haitian slave uprising, which flops. Rock spent that movie's press tour talking up his dream to make a movie about Nat Turner's uprising, only to see Nate Parker get there first with The Birth of a Nation — which hit theaters around the same time as the real Madea Halloween, and also flopped.


Viola Davis Submitted As Best Supporting Actress for SAG Awards, So All You Best Actress Oscar Contenders Can Finally Breathe

Fish your Best Actress speech out of the trash, wring out the whiskey, and thank your lucky stars you are not going up against Viola Davis for Best Actress this time around. The Playlist confirms that the Fences star has been submitted to the SAG Awards as Best Supporting Actress, an indicator that she will campaign in the Best Supporting category throughout the 2017 awards season. The How to Get Away With Murder star won a Best Lead Actress Tony for her role in the 2010 Broadway revival of Fences, the August Wilson play on which the film is based. Her co-star Denzel Washington took home Best Lead Actor. Somewhere, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone light a candle and say a prayer of thanks.

United Nations Staff Members Aren’t Too Happy About Wonder Woman Being an Honorary Ambassador

Wonder Woman might be a bonafide demigoddess, but staff members of the United Nations aren't exactly falling under her superhero charm. As reported last week, Wonder Woman was appointed as an honorary UN ambassador for "the empowerment of women and girls," simultaneously honoring gender equality and women's empowerment while celebrating the 75th anniversary of the fictional character. What at first appeared as a fun, creative idea was soon met with a heavy bout of online criticism the UN itself hasn't had a women president in its 70-year history but the critics didn't solely come from anonymous comment boxes. Numerous UN staff members have expressed sharp disapproval over the honor, with more than 600 of them signing an online petition to condemn the superhero's ambassador status. In the petition, the staffers urged Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to reconsider their choice, writing that Wonder Woman's "overtly sexualized image" is not "culturally encompassing or sensitive." As they explain: "The bottom line appears to be that the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of all women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment."


Sky Ferreira to Do a Lot of Rockin’ and Headbangin’ in a Black-Metal Film

Talk about some very on-brand casting. Dream-pop, dance-pop babe Sky Ferreira has joined the cast of Lords of Chaos, an upcoming biopic about the black-metal scene in early ’90s Norway from Jonas Åkerlund, one of the maestros behind Beyoncé's Lemonade. Deadline reports that Ferreira who recently appeared at David Lynch's Festival of Disruption to reinterpret original Twin Peaks songs will be starring alongside Rory Culkin and Emory Cohen in an as-yet-unannounced role. The film, which is being adapted from the popular book written by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, will follow a young Norwegian band called Mayhem that "popularized a form of heavy metal music known as 'True Norwegian Black Metal,' with a flair for publicity, church-burning and even murder." Rock on, Sky.

Deadpool 2 Loses Its Director Over Creative Differences With Ryan Reynolds

As Deadpool himself would say in this situation: [Curses lewdly and frustratingly]. As reported by THR, Tim Miller who directed the first Deadpool, helping the Marvel superhero film achieve major blockbuster success with a $786 million international gross has parted ways with Deadpool 2 in what's being described as "creative differences with Ryan Reynolds." Reynolds, of course, plays the titular antihero Deadpool and also served as a producer for the first film, but THR's sources say Reynolds and Miller "had increasingly butted heads over certain creative issues." Miller's replacement has not been announced, and Miller has yet to issue a statement regarding his departure.

Neruda Trailer: Gael García Bernal Goes on a Wild Goose Chase for the Literary Legend

Pablo Larraín is having quite the year. First, early festival reviews of his haunting Jackie Kennedy Onassis biopic, Jackie, have been sublime, and now, the highly anticipated trailer for his inventive drama Neruda has dropped. Starring Luis Gnecco as Pablo Neruda and Gael García Bernal as a determined police inspector tasked with capturing him, Neruda primarily revolves around their cat-and-mouse relationship after the famed communist poet is forced to go into hiding in Chile. Plenty of hijinks and unexpected European allies ensue. It'll be released in U.S. theaters on December 16.

What Do the Gotham Award Nominations Tell Us About the Oscars?

Long considered the unofficial opening of awards season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards (which announced its 2016 nominations yesterday and will be held at Cipriani Wall Street on November 28), have never been the kind of bellwether of future Oscar success that, say, the SAGs and PGAs have been. Mostly, it's just a great party where all of New York's independent-film scene turns up and gets drunk together.

But maybe they should be.


Chris Pine Joins A Wrinkle in Time; Ava DuVernay Settles the Question of the Best Superhero-Chris

The most sensitive Chris, Chris Pine, has joined Ava DuVernay's epic adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, reports Deadline. He'll play Dr. Alex Murry, the scientist dad who goes missing after working on a top-secret project called a tesseract, completing the hot scientist couple with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays his wife, Dr. Kate Murry. They'll parent the adorable Meg, played by Storm Reid, who will travel through time and space to track down her father. And if that's not enough casting magic for you, may we remind you that Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling will play the trio of powerful, intergalactic beings Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, respectively — and respectfully.

Donald Glover Is Your New Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars Han Solo Prequel

Sound the alarm, Star Wars has made at least one of your fan-casting dreams come true: Donald Glover has officially been cast as a young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo stand-alone movie, LucasFilm announced on Friday. He'll star opposite Alden Ehrenreich, your new Han, as the famous smuggler in the still-untitled film slated for 2018. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations," directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller said in statement. "Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.” Poor guy. On top of a year that's already seen Glover rise to the top of the list of greatest young comedian-auteurs of his time, he's also previously been cast in the Spider-Man reboot, fulfilling all your nerdiest fantasies. Thank him later.

Leonardo DiCaprio Has a New Biopic to Star In As Music Producer Sam Phillips

Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in his fair share of biopics. He’s been an American entrepreneurial billionaire, the first director of the FBI, a Wall Street tycoon, a rugged explorer, a teenage con man, and he’s even played King Louis XIV. But he’s never played a music-industry icon — until now! According to Deadline, DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company has acquired the rights to the book Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll and the newly minted Oscar winner is set to play the title role. Phillips was a producer at Sun Studio in Memphis, and he worked with legendary figures like Elvis Presley, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, and more. Mick Jagger has also come onboard to help produce.