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Thompson on Hollywood

Interview Watch: Brutal Honesty from Jeremy Renner, Streep & Coen Talk Film in China, Knightley on Dangerous Method & Anna Karenina

Here's some brutal honesty from Jeremy Renner, whose "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" comes out December 21, followed by "The Avengers" in May 2012. Career comes first: "Even now, any woman would take a No. 2 seat to my job.” No thanks, "Transformers": "Thank God I don’t have to do a monologue to a robot. I don’t know how Shia, God bless him, does that.” As for celebrity attention? “I don’t pay attention to that horseshit." And a touch of film wisdom, via his experience building houses:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 22, 2011 1:08 PM
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CASTING WATCH: Game of Thrones' Harington and The Killing's Kinnaman Are Arthur & Lancelot

Thanks to Steven Soderbergh, who pitched Brit Kit Harington (Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones") and Swede Joel Kinnaman (AMC's "The Killing," "The Darkest Hour," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") for his soon-to-be-aborted "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."), Warner Bros. has cast both rising actors in "Arthur & Lancelot," slated for a March 2013 release. Harington landed King Arthur, while Kinnaman is playing Lancelot. The studio has made an odd choice of director for this project, David Dobkin ("The Change Up," "Fred Claus," "Wedding Crashers") who is writing the script. Check out soundbites from Harington at Comic-Con, where we covered the "Game of Thrones" panel and witnessed proof that Harington is already a scream-inducing heartthrob. How does he feel about the thousands of 15-year old girls putting posters of him on their walls? "It scares the crap out of me."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 21, 2011 1:52 PM
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Trailer Watch: Harrelson in Rampart; the Most Corrupt Cop You've Ever Seen

Woody Harrelson may play the most corrupt cop you've ever seen in "Rampart," the second feature from "The Messenger" director Oren Moverman.  (TOH interview here.) But that's not why you should see the film when it broadens January 27 (after an Oscar-qualifying run). Harrelson brings an unexpected vulnerability to his character, and is earning Oscar buzz. But that's clearly no way to sell a film:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 21, 2011 12:24 PM
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Weekend Box Office: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Ignites Moviegoers Worldwide, The Descendants Delivers

Christmas arrived early this year at the box office as Summit’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One” racked up the fifth biggest opening weekend in boxoffice history with an estimated $139.5 million. On Friday alone the total was some $72 million, marking the third biggest single-day gross of all-time, after Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” ($91.1 million) and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” ($72.7 million).
  • By Brian Fuson
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  • November 20, 2011 1:15 PM
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WEEKLY WRAP: Oscar Talk, Box Office, Gender Watch, AFM, Harry Potter, Cleopatra & More

Revisit the best stories of the week from Thompson on Hollywood!
  • By TOH!
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  • November 19, 2011 1:11 PM
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Claymation T is for Toilet Wins Next Great Horror Filmmaker Contest, Joins The ABCs of Death

Drafthouse Films, Magnet Pictures and Timpson Films have named Lee Hardcastle's "T IS FOR TOILET" (watch it below) the winner of their “next great horror filmmaker” contest, which now finalizes the lineup of "The ABCs of Death," their film anthology with segments directed by over two dozen filmmakers. With 26 chapters each designated to a letter of the alphabet, the film was inspired by children's education books and allows each filmmaker to chose a word to represent a form of death based on their given letter. Magnet Releasing will debut the film in 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 18, 2011 2:58 AM
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Will Roth & Fincher Deliver Jolie's Cleopatra?

Let us count the ways that Sony's "Cleopatra" could go wrong. But hiring Eric Roth to write the script for the Angelina Jolie epic (possibly with David Fincher at the helm) is a good sign. We can thank Roth for "Forrest Gump," "The Insider," "Munich," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and many other fine scripts including the upcoming "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Based on Stacy Schiff's sprawling bestseller, this "Cleopatra" is rooted in a complex history and demands a seasoned writer who will not lose sight of the biography's authentic primary sources. Bringing Fincher on board would also set the project on the right course. Exuding the infamous intelligence, charisma and sexuality of Cleopatra will be easy for Jolie, who nonetheless needs a strong director to pull from her a layered and compelling performance. The Egyptian queen--arguably the most powerful woman of all time-- was a master political strategist who deftly manipulated her two life mates, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  (Picking the right two co-stars is also key.) If the movie gods align the elements, this could be Jolie's career-defining role--and her best shot at a Best Actress Oscar.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2011 3:49 PM
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TRAILER WATCH: Pixar's Brave Stars Athletic Feminist Princess

The exciting trailer for Disney/Pixar's "Brave" -- featuring Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk Empire") as the voice of Princess Merida -- has arrived. Merida, complete with Scottish accent, is a free-spirited tomboy with fiery red hair. (Think of her as a young William Wallace in "Braveheart.") Bravo to male-dominated Pixar for finally introducing their first female lead. "Brave" premieres June 22, 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2011 3:27 PM
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HBO Teams with Sports Illustrated, Endgame & Playground for Sport in America: Our Defining Stories - Submit Yours

HBO, Sports Illustrated and Endgame Entertainment, in association with Playground for Sport in America have teamed up for "Sport in America: Our Defining Stories," a documentary series set to air on HBO in 2013. Their goal: "a sweeping cross-platform examination of how the universal thread of sport has shaped America’s character." HBO Sports exec producer Rick Bernstein says: "This is one of the most ambitious sports projects that HBO has launched." Sports Illustrated editorial packages and content on HBO and SI's social media platforms will accompany the series.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2011 3:16 PM
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More: News, Genres, TV, Media, HBO

Exclusive Featurette: A Look Inside the Cult of Martha Marcy May Marlene; Olsen and Durkin Vie for Oscar Slots

Fox Searchlight's mighty marketing machine is in full force right now as they seek to not only push "The Descendants" and "Shame" into movie theaters and the Oscar race, but a less obvious indie contender, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" ($1.6 million in limited release to date). Check out this exclusive featurette, complete with footage, commentary from breakout dramatic actress Elizabeth Olsen (younger sibling of the Olsen twins) and a psychologist who specializes in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They address the nature of Martha's experience both within and outside a cult led by a charismatic, seductive Svengali leader ("Winter's Bone" Oscar nominee John Hawkes). More likely than Olsen landing a slot as best actress is "Martha" writer-director Sean Durkin's shot at scoring an original screenplay nomination--as usual that field is wide open.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2011 11:57 AM
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