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The Playlist

Casting: James Franco, Emma Roberts & More Join Anti-Gay Priest Drama 'Michael,' Ben Kingsley Helps ‘Tut’ & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • July 15, 2014 9:28 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Palo Alto
James Franco, his "Palo Alto" co-star Emma Roberts, Zachary Quinto and Chris Zylka are all aboard "Michael," which packs a powerful story behind a bland title. Based on the 2011 New York Times article "My Ex-Gay Friend," the story follows an anti-gay "Christian minister from Wyoming who was so entrenched in gay culture before he rejected his homosexuality, he founded a gay youth magazine."

Watch: Steven Soderbergh's 'Psychos,' His Feature Length Mashup Of The 1960 And 1998 Versions Of 'Psycho'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 25, 2014 12:43 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Psychos
"The real trick—as was the case in 'Psycho'—is: can you keep the plot a secret and convince people to go without really telling them why they should go?" director Steven Soderbergh asked during an MSN interview about his final theatrical film "Side Effects." "The best case scenario is people coming in cold. Then you have the most fun." But merely tipping his hat to Alfred Hitchcock wasn't enough for the filmmaker, who has gone a bit further in deconstructing the iconic thriller.

Gus Van Sant To Kick Off BMW's Relaunched Film Series, Watch All 8 'The Hire' Shorts

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 20, 2014 4:26 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Way back at the start of the millennium, luxury carmaker BMW launched the film series "The Hire" with Clive Owen starring in eight short films from top shelf directors — John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan, Tony Scott — to highlight the high priced autos in slick big screen worthy productions. It worked. The film are still referenced today, managed some intriguing guest stars (Madonna, Gary Oldman, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle) and found that sweet spot between commerce and creativity. And more than a decade later, BMW is going to do it again.

WB Want Joaquin Phoenix For 'Batman Vs. Superman' Villain, Actor Also Up For Gus Van Sant's 'Sea Of Trees'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 18, 2013 3:37 PM
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  • 10 Comments
Casting a superhero movie isn't just about finding the right person for the role (though that is a big part of it). It involves finding an actor or actress who will be fine with a production (and post-production) schedule that will run months upon months long, who will tolerate acting against green screens and most importantly, will grin and bear it through a press cycle that will have every media outlet on the planet grilling them about a project they have to (usually) keep secret about. So while it's fun to imagine Joaquin Phoenix being a villain in "Batman Vs. Superman," all we'll say is: fat chance.

25 Films About Lovers On The Lam

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 21, 2013 3:03 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Lovers On The Run feature
“We can make it. We can make it if we run,” whispers Ruth (Rooney Mara) in David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” which, after a limited release on Friday, begins its expansion this week. It’s a film we loved at Sundance, and one that in its gentle subversion of the “Lovers on the Run” subgenre—as the prequel comic makes clear, the events of ‘Saints’ mostly take place after the bank robbin’, outlawin’ part of the story is done—reminded us of all the other great (and not so great) films that have pitted a pair of lovers against the law.

8 Established Filmmakers Who Reinvented Themselves With Risky Low-Budget Efforts

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • August 1, 2013 3:57 PM
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  • 12 Comments
This Friday will see the VOD release of Paul Schrader's much talked about "The Canyons," a film both inspired by and conceived for the post-theatrical era (though it will receive a limited theatrical run starting out in NYC and Toronto). The film, which revolves around a toxic producer (adult star James Deen) and his girlfriend (Lindsay Lohan), is a collaboration between "American Psycho" author/enfant terrible Bret Easton Ellis and "Taxi Driver" scribe Schrader, whose directorial career includes "American Gigolo" and "Affliction." After the duo failed to get a studio-financed shark attack movie off the ground, they decided to pursue something on a smaller scale that would required fewer gatekeepers. Schrader's email to Ellis read, "Enough of this. Let's just do something ourselves. The economics are right. You write it, I'll direct it, we'll pay for it, and we'll make cinema for the post-theatrical era." And so "The Canyons" was born.

Gus Van Sant Shoots Test Sex Scene With Alex Pettyfer In Bid To Direct 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 23, 2013 3:38 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Listen, we didn't like typing out that headline anymore than you liked reading it, but it seems the erotic drama train that is "Fifty Shades Of Grey" is going to keep right on rolling. As you know, Universal paid a staggering $3 million for the rights to the book last year, but so far, development has been quiet. Kelly Marcel ("Saving Mr. Banks") is writing the script, while "The Social Network" producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are shepherding the project. So this bit of news is an interesting turn of events.

Review: Earnest & Well-Intentioned ‘Promised Land’ Doesn’t Quite Convince

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 4, 2013 12:50 PM
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  • 4 Comments
If the narrative of the modern-day salesman in fiction is that of a man who believes in his business but finds his faith shaken once the white lies of his trade begin to grow, a man who loses his moral compass and finds himself along the way, then “Promised Land" doesn’t stray far from that mold. And at the crossroads of America, if big business represents greed, well then small-town communities must clearly represent strength and resolve.

Gus Van Sant Talks Taking Over 'Promised Land' From Matt Damon, The Film's "Spy Scene" & Much More

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • January 4, 2013 10:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Gus Van Sant has always been a director who is hard to pin down, veering from insanely small-scale, personal works like "Elephant" and "Paranoid Park" to larger scale entertainments like "Finding Forrester" and his admirable-if-unsuccessful "Psycho" remake. This week, his charming eco-drama "Promised Land" opens, which casts his "Good Will Hunting" co-writer Matt Damon as an operative from a natural gas company who travels to a small, financially struggling Pennsylvania town to woo them to sell the drilling rights to their land. But his efforts run up against an environmentalist, played by John Krasinski (who co-wrote "Promised Land" with Damon), who tries to alert the citizens to the dangers they might face with the "fracking" process. It's not as showy as most of the movies grabbing for Oscar gold, but it's a solid, well-intentioned drama, beautifully, almost impressionistically directed by Van Sant.

The Weinstein Company Pick Up Former Gus Vant Sant/Tom Hanks Project ' How Starbucks Saved My Life'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 15, 2012 6:50 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Are you ready for the story of how a coffee conglomerate helped save the life of an executive? Man, we can already visualize the synergized tie-in lattes and soundtrack CDs. 

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