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Thompson on Hollywood

Will Bradley Cooper and Joel Edgerton Board Soderbergh's Man From U.N.C.L.E.?

Despite the box office failure of his well-reviewed Warrior, which Lionsgate hopes critics will remember at the end of the year, Joel Edgerton continues to be courted as a leading man. Better than his offer to star in 300: Battle of Artemisia, is the chance to star in Steven Soderbergh's The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Bradley Cooper is waiting to commit to the picture (as Napoleon Solo, which George Clooney turned down because of back problems) until it is clear who will be playing Russian agent Illya Kuryakin (possibly Edgerton).
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 7:52 AM
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Trailer Watch: Safe House Stars Badass Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga

Check out Universal's Safe House, from Swedish born director Daniel Espinosa. The plot sounds familiar, but we'll pay to see Denzel Washington in just about anything. Ryan Reynolds appears suitably second fiddle to Washington, and Vera Farmiga plays the tough CIA woman who balances out the requisite underwear-clad hot girlfriend. The film hits theaters February 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 7:17 AM
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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Ratner's Tower Heist Set to Topple Indie Docs & Dramas

Brett Ratner's timely Tower Heist taps into anti-Wall Street sentiment and is just what you'd expect: competent, breezy, escapist entertainment. The well-cast Madoff-inspired comedy--which stars Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda and Eddie Murphy in a supporting comeback bid-- is expected to take in $29 million this weekend, while A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas 3D could score $15.5 million.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 6:34 AM
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War Horse Takes Preview Screening Route to Build Buzz

Disney/DreamWorks is borrowing a page from Paramount's Young Adult pop-up screening playbook by previewing Steven Spielberg's drama War Horse around the country via sneaks, starting Tuesday November 1 (see cities and dates below). (Long-lead press and key critics groups will also see the film ahead of most media, who won't screen it until the end of November.) Positive heartland reactions are already coming in.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2011 9:27 AM
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John Lasseter Gets the 2453rd Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame

While Disney was promoting the Blu-ray and DVD release of Cars 2 on November 1, the day Disney/Pixar animation czar John Lasseter happened to get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was still a happy day and a well-deserved honor. Disney's Rich Ross and Sean Bailey, Pixar's Ed Catmull, Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, voice talent Owen Wilson, Bonnie Franklin, Patton Oswalt, John Ratzenberger and Don Rickles, as well as composer Randy Newman, all showed support for the guy Emily Mortimer called a "genius."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2011 1:32 AM
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Foreign Box Office: Spielberg's Adventures of Tintin Opens Big Overseas

Sony and Paramount's move to open Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin overseas months ahead of its December stateside release --where the Herge comic books are beloved--is paying off. The performance capture film opened overseas with an estimated $55.8 million in 19 markets.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 30, 2011 5:20 AM
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  • 6 Comments

IN THE WORKS: Kidman's Family Fang; Murray Joins Coppola, Sheen; Arndt Writing Phineas and Ferb

Nicole Kidman and her Blossom Films banner partner Per Saari are teaming up again with Rabbit Hole co-producers Olympus Films. They are optioning screen rights to The Family Fang, Kevin Wilson's bestselling first novel about a group of performance artists whose children (who as children were regularly involved in their parents' bizarre activities) return home as resentful and maladjusted adults and are asked to participate in their parents' final performance. Here's more on what else Kidman and Wilson have in the works.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2011 7:52 AM
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Brad Bird Talks Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol: IMAX vs. 3-D, Animation vs. Live Action, Trailer

Several animation directors are trying their hand at live action of late, most notably Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), who talks to Bill Desowitz about Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which boasts a new trailer and featurettes starring daredevil Tom Cruise (below).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • October 27, 2011 12:11 PM
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IN THE WORKS: Independence Day Sequels Want To Take Your Money, Even if They Don't Pay for Smith

Fox will make not one but two Independence Day sequels, fifteen years (and counting) after the original Will Smith pic raked in $800 million across the globe. It's not a new idea -- the studio had wanted to green light a sequel for some time, but both Smith and director Roland Emmerich demanded huge paychecks. So Fox focused on developing scripts and declared that the franchise could proceed with or without them.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 27, 2011 6:09 AM
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John Orloff Talks Anonymous, Shakespeare, Emmerich, Ifans, Redgrave, Stratford vs. Oxford

One of the surprises of the season is Roland Emmerich's Anonymous, which opens Friday amid ongoing controversy over its premise: that William Shakespeare did not write his plays and poems, and the Earl of Oxford did. Screenwriter John Orloff has been obsessed with this mystery since his college days; the screenplay served as his ticket of admission to Hollywood. First, Shakespeare in Love put Anonymous on the back burner, to be resurrected decades later by German digital master Emmerich, best known for such action adventures as Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Emmerich helped, for better or for worse, to turn Orloff's identity crisis into a rip-roaring Elizabethan succession drama, with Queen Elizabeth --played by the always riveting Vanessa Redgrave--at the center of dangerous head-lopping court intrigue. Emmerich was able to deploy his considerable digital filmmaking chops to shoot this elaborate period piece in Germany with an ensemble of character actors-- led by Redgrave and Rhys Ifans, in an uncharacteristically glamorous role--for just $30 million (think George Lucas or Zack Snyder). Emmerich even filmed one scene with three actors at different times and locations and merged them seamlessly. (We reveal the scene below, with trailer.) The movie could nab some tech nominations. Here's Orloff's Q & A for Sneak Previews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2011 5:31 AM
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