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Two of Your Favorite TV Actresses Might Be in the New Star Wars

Big news: The Wrap has got the scoop on the actresses on the short list for the new Star Wars movie! Wait — didn't we just do this a few months ago? Well, that was for Star Wars: Rogue One, and this is for Star Wars: Episode VIII, but you're forgiven for the confusion: Both short lists include Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany, who lost out to Felicity Jones for Rogue One, and is back again to be considered alongside the likes of Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl's Olivia Cooke for a major role in Episode VIII.

All three have reportedly been scheduled for "chemistry reads" with John Boyega, which sounds like it's maybe a love-interest part, but who knows? And if Maslany doesn't get this one, no worries: There are Star Wars films scheduled for every year until 2019, which means that this cycle of rumors, leaks, and announcements is just going to go on and on and on.

  • Posted 9/2/15 at 10:16 AM
  • Death

Beasts of No Nation Nearly Killed Idris Elba and Cary Fukunaga

Idris Elba and Cary Fukunaga, the very handsome men behind Neflix's upcoming Beasts of No Nation, are on the cover of Variety together this month, sharing slightly less physical contact than fans may have wanted. But inside the issue, they share something else: harrowing tales of almost dying during the film's shoot in Ghana.

For Elba, his brush with death came when he absentmindedly leaned against the wrong tree, and nearly plummeted off a cliff. "I remember slipping and catching onto this big branch that was sticking up, and I literally was like, 'Whoa!'" he tells the mag. "It was a moment where I was like, 'This is the real deal.'"

Not to be outdone, Fukunaga chose a more subtle path toward meeting his maker. Namely, malaria: "It’s like someone gave you a sleeping pill, along with a pounding headache and a hot-and-cold fever." He also lost 20 pounds during filming, some of which he attributes to a parasite he only just discovered, and once nearly stepped on a poisonous snake. Oh, and his camera operator got hurt, his extras were thrown in jail, the film went over budget, and he had to resort to a voice-over to fill in the gaps of scenes he couldn't shoot.

But everything's okay now, because Beasts was bought by Netflix and will be entered into this year's awards-show race, where it is expected to compete with The Revenant for the coveted Most Harrowing Shoot trophy.

Report: The Concussion Filmmakers Tried Not to Piss Off the NFL

Those affiliated with Sony's Will Smith–starring Concussion went to meticulous lengths to avoid angering the NFL throughout the football-centric film's production and marketing run-up, according to a report from the New York Times. The movie, directed by Peter Landesman, is based on the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian forensic pathologist who first identified chronic traumatic encephalopathy in professional football players. The movie hopes to be true and fair to Omalu's life — as well as that of the league's.

In a comprehensive review of dozens of past emails from last year's Sony hack, the Times discovered that Smith was to be positioned as a supporter of the sport; the film was to be marketed as a whistle-blower story (more about the man, less about the sport and its dangers), unflattering details involving the league were to be cut, and the long-term effects of the game were to look less threatening, among other conservative strategies. All of this to reportedly appease the NFL. The initial idea behind the movie, like Omalu's pioneering work, was viewed as contentious because it shed light on ugly questions the league has been dealing with for the last decade or so: Is CTE, because of participation in the sport, leading to death? And is the sport, therefore, a long-term threat to its players?

Here's what a couple of the emails said: »

  • Posted 9/1/15 at 12:06 PM
  • Video

Neil LaBute Explains a Provocative Clip From Dirty Weekend

For his new film Dirty Weekend, Neil LaBute found the title first — a British term for a weekend spent away in secret — and went from there. “I think life is that way for a lot of people, where their private life is different than their public persona,” LaBute told Vulture, who constructed his film around two such characters: Les (Matthew Broderick), a repressed family man who vaguely remembers his own drunken dirty weekend but can’t even recall what gender he romped with, and his co-worker Natalie (Alice Eve), who needles Les to open up during a company layover. In this exclusive scene from the film (opening in theaters and on VOD this Friday), she reveals quite the provocative secret of her own.

Watch the clip. »

Watch Eddie Redmayne Try to Win Another Oscar in The Danish Girl Trailer

In The Danish Girl, physical transformer Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, one of the first transgender women to successfully undergo sex-reassignment surgery. After winning a Best Actor Oscar earlier this year for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne could make it two in a row — a neat trick last pulled off by Tom Hanks in '90s, when he won for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. The Academy loves a transformation!

  • Posted 9/1/15 at 10:11 AM

New Macbeth Trailer: Something Oscar-y This Way Comes

In the confusing parlance of trailer language, the new Macbeth preview that debuted today is the "official U.S. trailer," even though Americans were perfectly capable of watching the European trailer we got way back in June. Give it no mind — film marketing is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Noted Babe Nicholas Hoult to Play Noted Non-Babe J.D. Salinger

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know about the upcoming J.D. Salinger biopic is who's starring in it, and what kind of lousy title they gave it, and if anyone you've heard of is occupied with it, and all that Hollywood Reporter kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Just kidding — the answers to those questions, respectively, are: Nicholas Hoult, Rebel in the Rye, and Empire's Danny Strong, who is writing and directing a script based on Kenneth Slawenski's 2011 Salinger biography. And that's why you don't tell anybody anything.

Josh Lucas on The Mend and the Challenges of Microbudget Moviemaking

One of the best performances of the year so far comes from Josh Lucas, in the excellent, disturbing new film The Mend. In it, the actor plays the angry, rudderless Mat, who shacks up in his brother’s apartment after finding himself homeless. John Magary’s film avoids the pitfalls of typical odd-couple movies by playing with narrative and rhythm, and Lucas’s performance — alternating between aggression and avoidance — is a key part of the film’s unique effect. This is also an interesting development for the actor, who has had a career that spans big movies like HulkPoseidonSweet Home Alabama, and smaller ones like UndertowWonderland, and Hide AwayThe Mend might be the smallest film he’s ever done, and certainly one of the most personal. He spoke to us recently about how he wound up in a microbudget movie, the challenges of doing such parts, and whether he’d like to direct someday.

"I absolutely want to direct. But I also know that I may never get to do so." »

Concussion Trailer: Are You Ready to Be Depressed by Some Football?

In Concussion, Will Smith stars as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-American neuropathologist who discovered the link between football and the degenerative nerve disease CTE. We're sure it will have a happy ending. Anyway, how's your fantasy team looking this year?

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Bill Murray on Why He Agreed to Make a Ghostbusters 3 Cameo

For a long time, it seemed like Bill Murray was done with the Ghostbusters franchise. After a successful sequel in 1989, Murray dragged his feet on reprising the role of Peter Venkman for a potential Ghostbusters 3. His years-long hesitation eventually scuttled the notion of a direct sequel, paving the way for next year’s series reboot, directed by Paul Feig. It came as a surprise, then, when reports broke weeks ago that Murray had actually taken a part in Feig’s new film. Instead of playing Venkman, it’s rumored that Murray will appear as a character out to debunk the new Ghostbusters crew, played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. When we caught up with Murray at this weekend’s screening of his new film, Rock the Kasbah, presented by Peggy Siegal in East Hampton, we coaxed him to reveal how the role had come about.

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  • Posted 8/31/15 at 9:49 AM
  • Obits

Edelstein on Wes Craven, 1939–2015

The director Wes Craven, who died at age 76 of brain cancer, did primitive things in sophisticated ways. He spent nearly half a century drilling for fresh nerves. Sometimes — surprisingly often — he hit them. The howls of pain were heard around the world.

He was a man of various and unresolved impulses, which could be a prerequisite for making “personal” horror films. At the end of the ’50s, he abandoned his strict Baptist upbringing for a liberal-arts education and dabbled in academia. He left a job as a humanities professor at Clarkson for New York City — and hard-core porn. He made the leap to the (relative) mainstream the way many do — via the grindhouse.

A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of the best gimmick horror films of the last 30 years — if not the best. »

There Are Mad Max Ubers in Seattle Right Now

To promote the new Mad Max video game coming out at the start of September, Uber teamed up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this weekend to give fans in Seattle real rides in real Fury Road vehicles. Through Monday (we know — not enough time, life isn't fair, etc.), those going to and from the city's PAX Prime gaming convention will have the chance to nab a varied set of postapocalyptic chariots that seat either one, three, or four other riders. Demand will be high and availability limited, the company notes, but if you're lucky, you'll be able to pretend that you're Nux and can scream, "Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!" at all the other normal people riding in normal cars you encounter along your trek.

Here's what some of them looked like: »

  • Posted 8/30/15 at 9:48 PM
  • R.i.p.

Wes Craven Dead at 76

Wes Craven, the director, writer, and producer known for such iconic slasher movies as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, and The Hills Have Eyes, died Sunday afternoon in his L.A. home, according to reports. The 76-year-old had been battling brain cancer, according to his family, who made the announcement. The auteur notably created the notorious Freddy Krueger character for Elm Street and reinvented the teen-horror genre over the course of a prolific film and TV career that spanned more than four decades.

He recounted the inception of Elm Street to Vulture last year: »

We Are Your Friends Has Very Few Friends and One of the Worst Openings in History

Despite his chiseled chest and absurd abs and bionic biceps and generally jocular demeanor, Zac Efron didn't make many friends at the box office this weekend, as We Are Your Friends, also known as the Zac Efron DJ Movie, had the fourth-worst wide release opening in history. It made a piddling $1.8 million, which is worse than Eddie Murphy's notorious flop The Adventures of Pluto Nash. Maybe We Are Your Friends should go eat a can of worms. Meanwhile, Minions, a movie about little yellow creatures that babble unintelligibly, crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide. 

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The Second Mother Uses Little Moments of Humiliation to Open Our Eyes

We’ve all heard of humiliation comedy, but is there such a thing as humiliation drama? The new Brazilian film The Second Mother certainly makes a case for it. (The film is Brazil’s official submission for the Academy Awards this year, and it probably has a strong chance at a nomination.) It follows Val (Regina Casé), a longtime maid for a posh São Paulo family. She’s a boisterous, loving woman who dotes over her boss’s teenage son, Fabinho (Michel Joelsas), doing everything from cleaning the overgrown kid’s ears to helping save his pot stash when his mother tries to throw it away. The laziness of privilege is everywhere, like a poison: When the languid, weak-kneed man of the house, Juan Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli), wants a soda from the fridge at lunch, Val goes and gets it for him, even though it’s clearly just a few feet away. (Director Anna Muylaert uses a lot of static shots that are not showoff-y, but elegant and functional; they cleverly depict the mastery Val has over the film’s spaces.)

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Netflix Is Losing a Lot of Popular Movies

If you've been meaning to watch The Hunger Games on Netflix, you'd better do it now while you still have the chance. In a blog post Sunday, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos stated that Netflix isn't renewing its license with Epix, which means they'll be losing such popular films as Rocky, The Hunger Games, Transformers, etc. But don't worry, Sarandos assured readers: You'll soon be getting Adam Sandler's Ridiculous Six, which will surely make up for it.

  • Posted 8/30/15 at 11:58 AM
  • Movies

Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant Is Coming Back to Theaters, Remastered, With New Scenes

Director Brad Bird has put together a pretty [puts on sunglasses] incredible body of work so far, including two beloved Pixar films and the histrionically fun Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. But before he was given mammoth budgets to make what are essentially live-action animated movies, Bird directed the gorgeous The Iron Giant, an animated movie with shades of Stand by Me and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Vin Diesel voices the Giant, giving a genuinely moving performance. (Diesel recently hinted that a sequel may one day happen, but nothing substantial has surfaced yet.) Though lovingly made and impeccably animated (a mix of computer and traditional animation), the film sunk like a heap of scrap in the sea, earning $31 million on a $70 million budget. Now the movie is being rereleased in theaters, remastered, and with two new scenes in a "Signature Edition." It'll hit theaters for two single-night events and screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. A Blu-ray release has also been announced, so you'll be able to watch the movie and cry uncontrollably every night. Either way, if you didn't see it 16 years ago, now you can rectify that mistake. Watch the trailer for the Signature Edition below:

Queen of Earth Mingles Genres and Captures the Details of a Corrosive Friendship

It is very hard to discuss Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth without first talking about its opening scene. In tight close-up, Catherine (Elisabeth Moss), her eyes and cheeks dark pools of running mascara, cries, begs, and hurls accusations as her boyfriend James (Kentucker Audley) breaks up with her. The camera stays close on her throughout, with brief cutaways to the creepily calm James; the calmer he is, the more agitated she becomes. We may not see any blood on the screen, but, emotionally speaking, this might be the most violent scene of any film so far this year.

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  • Posted 8/29/15 at 4:38 PM
  • Movies

The Cast for Lee Daniels’s Richard Pryor Movie Is Comically Good

The Richard Pryor biopic has been gestating for a long time. Director of 48 Hours Walter Hill was set to co-write and direct the movie back in 2005, when Pryor was still alive. Mike Epps gave a killer audition and won Pryor's approval. Pryor died shortly thereafter, and the movie went stagnant. Then Epps was supposed to play Pryor in a Nina Simone biopic that's had so many problems it might as well be cursed. Now the Pryor film has finally been green-lit, Deadline reports. Lee Daniels is at the helm, filming a script by Bill Condon and Empire collaborator Danny Strong. The cast is stellar: Oprah Winfrey will play Pryor’s grandmother, Eddie Murphy Pryor’s father, and Kate Hudson Pryor’s widow. Pryor, the man who once said, “I’m not a movie star, I’m a booty star,” will still be portrayed by Epps, ten years after he initially won the role. Marlon Wayans briefly had the role when Condon was slated to direct and Adam Sandler was slated to produce, but that didn't work out. (Imagine a Richard Pryor movie produced by Adam Sandler. That'd be like a Beatles biopic produced by Nickelback.)

  • Posted 8/29/15 at 1:41 PM
  • Movies

Russia Kills Its Only LGBT Film Festival

A few months ago, Louis C.K. told a story about the time he went to Russia and he hated it. It's hard to blame him, considering the Russian government's lousy stances on many social and equality issues, and now Russia has taken another step backward: Moscow Premiere, a charitable film festival and the only festival in Russia to champion films by members of the LGBT community, has been canceled. Citing economic hardship, Moscow's culture committee pulled funding as the festival was about to begin its 13th year. It will be replaced by a "positive, youth-orientated" festival called the Youth Festival of Life Affirming Film, which enlightens Russia's youth by prohibiting people under 18 years of age from watching movies that depict homosexuality in any way. Moscow Premiere head, film critic Vyacheslav Shmyrov, told Russian newspaper Noviye Izvestia, “We cannot affiliate to the new festival — not least in terms of our self-esteem.” He said Moscow Premiere, which did not charge admission, existed mainly as a “social mission” for those who can't afford to go to the movies. The lineup for the Youth Festival hasn't been announced yet, but expect a marathon of unintentionally homoerotic films with plots featuring teenagers' love and admiration for President Putin.

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