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Will Smith Drops 'Brilliance,' Rhys Ifans Is Johnny Depp's Dad In 'Alice 2' & More

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by Mark Zhuravsky
May 30, 2014 4:44 PM
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Will Smith has bowed out of the Legendary Pictures' David Koepp-penned adaptation of Marcus Sakey's novel "Brilliance." Set to be helmed by Julius Onah, the film centers on a group of people with remarkable powers (mutants? miracles?) and an endowed federal agent who must stop a rogue "brilliant" from starting a civil war. Smith would have taken the agent lead but now the picture must recast and move forward, while the star will next be seen as a veteran con man training Margot Robbie in "Focus," opening February 27, 2015. [Deadline]

Tim Burton wisely turned down the opportunity to direct the follow-up to 2010's "Alice In Wonderland," the director's most financially successful and most creatively empty-headed picture. James Bobin, of "The Muppets" and "Muppets Most Wanted," has been handed the franchise reigns and he's nabbed an imminently watchable actor to portray Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter's father (we hope the sequel will finally crack open the gritty origin story of a solitary hat maker driven absolutely bonkers. Lewis Caroll by the way of "Shine," anyone?). Rhys Ifans, sadly most familiar to audiences as the under-written Dr. Kurt Connors/The Lizard in the 2012 Spidey retread, will take on the role. The actor's style should mesh well with Depp's own, who makes his return and gets to play lavish dress up. Pay up, moviegoers. [The Wrap]

Katie Holmes, Jonathan Pryce and Elizabeth McGovern will join a cast that includes Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, and Antje Traue in Simon Curtis' "The Woman In Gold." The Alexi Kaye and Alex Campbell-penned drama focuses on Maria Altmann, a Holocaust survivor who brought a case against the Austrian government to recover paintings stolen by the Nazi. Chief among them was Gustav Klimt's "The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," colloquially known as "The Lady in Gold." Prior to her passing in 2011, Altmann and the case served as the subjects of multiple documentaries and featured in 2006's well-received doc "The Rape of Europa." [Deadline/Deadline]

Jack Huston will star in the next inevitable adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, "The Longest Ride," written by Craig Bolotin, Brad Desch, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. "Notorious" director George Tillman Jr. will be behind the camera on this one, the story of two generations of lovers whose lives intersect, leading to revelations and probably people holding one another close in the midst of a torrential downpour. [Deadline]

Wendell Pierce will play the Reverend Hosea Williams, civil rights figure and a close confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., in Ava DuVernay's "Selma," a dramatization of the historic Selma to Montgomery march. He will act opposite David Oyelowo, starring as Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo will take on the role of Coretta Scott King and Tom Wilkinson will employ his impeccable American accent as President Lyndon B. Johnson. Also joining? Cuba Gooding Jr. as activist Fred Gray. [The Hollywood Reporter/Deadline]

Anna Camp is getting ready to sing again, returning for "Pitch Perfect 2." She joins Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Katey Sagal and Hailee Steinfeld in the sequel that has Elizabeth Banks directing. Camp will be reprising her role as Aubrey Posen with the film slated to open on May 15, 2015. [THR]

Sophie Okonedo is joining Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC production "The Hollow Crown." The trilogy of TV films will see the actress playing "Queen Margaret, the wife of Henry VI. Cumberbatch is the evil Richard, who kills Henry VI, and becomes Richard III." Production starts in late September. [Variety]



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