Watch Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, & Many More in the Trailer for ‘August: Osage County’

Well, any trailer that opens with narration by Sam Shepard whilst he tends to a boat, is aces in my book. And with the first trailer for August: Osage County, The Weinstein Company gives us the premiere look into the Weston family after a crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in.

Adapted from Tracy Lett’s play of the same title, John Wells takes the directorial helm to bring the dysfunctional story of a family dealing with the aftermath of death, confronting the past, and facing the future, to the screen. Starring Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, and Margo Martindale, August: Osage County is slated to premiere this November, just in time for awards season.

Check out the trailer below.

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Watch a New UK Trailer & See Behind the Scenes Stills From ‘The Great Gatsby’

Last week I expressed how I have finally come around to admitting my excitement for Baz Luhrmann’s grandiose adaptation of The Great Gatsby. And with all his films, it’s not only these opulent and lavish worlds he creates but the massive performances he evokes from his actors. For all of his work as an actor over the last twenty years, there have been few greater moments in Leonardo DiCaprio’s career than when he’s collapsed down on his knees in Mantua screaming, "I defy you stars!" or weeping beside Juliet in her candle-covered casket in Romeo + Juliet. The same goes for Ewan McGregor as the love-obsessed penniless and writer turned tortured and broken lover in Moulin Rouge as he walks the darkened Paris streets belting "Roxanne."

And with a new UK trailer for Gatsby we get a taste of the highly-theatrical and grand performances from Carey Mulligan, Leo, and cast who make up the ensemble based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s beloved novel. Also today, there’s a batch of new behind-the-scenes stills to feast your eyes on and anticipate its release next month. enjoy.

 

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Peruse the Highlights of Danny Boyle’s Reddit AMA

If you’re not already excited for Danny Boyle’s Trance, you should be. As we said earlier in the week, this might be his most visceral film yet, a wonderful collaborator of sight and sound that works you into a dizzyingly hypnotic state of your own. And after last weekend’s SXSW conference and this week’s talk at 92YTribeca, Boyle took to Reddit this afternoon for an AMA—ask me anything—on his work as an iconic filmmaker and speaking to Trance specifically.

Eager fanboys rushed to get their questions in as Boyle scrambled to answer diligently. As to be expected, the queries were a mixed bag—such as one person asking, "Would you rather fight 100 Duck sized Ewan McGregor’s or one Ewan McGregor sized Duck?" To which Boyle responded appropriately (and accurately), "It’s a pleasure working with any Ewan McGregor manifestation." However, others were thoughtful and generally people were just grateful to be able to ask someone so fanatically beloved an inquery of their own. And no, this time there wasn’t a "gofuckyourself@youcunt.com" answer a la Trent Reznor. Here are some of the highlights and best Boyle answers.

When asked about the music he was listening to whilst developing Trance

Bowie, the Low album. Unkle. And Underworld. Fortunately, Rick Smith from Underworld did the whole score for Trance and managed to incorporate these influences and more.

How the commercial/critical success of Slumdog Millionare and 127 Hours has affected his ability to make future films:

They’ve given freedom to pursue the stories I really want to tell. I try and keep the budgets low as well, which helps. There’s no way any studio would make a film about a guy who’s alone for 6 days and then cuts his arm off without the critical financial success of something like Slumdog behind it. So you have to take advantage of your success where you can.

On who/what has cinematically influenced him the most:

1. Apocalypse Now.

2. Nicholas Roeg movies from Performance to Eureka. The Roeg films are a big influence on Trance. None of these films are perfect but they’re interested in something much more interesting than perfection, the mystery of film…

(^^^I agree, Danny!)

When asked about his affinity for genres and where he’s going next:

I’m open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though…28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn’t move… Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it’s all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness.

On what it takes to be a successful filmmaker:

I think passion is as important as intelligence. you need to convince so many people to join you in the making of the film, and you need to use the power they give you to connect with your audience emotionally. Obviously you don’t want to do stupid things, but whatever you do, you should believe passionately, and your audience will experience that as well.

And for those of you that loved The Beach, sorry but if Boyle could go back in time and direct any movie it would be: 

The Beach. I would do it much better than the original guy.

Speaking to the dramamtic environments his films tend to be set in—slums, desolate urban spaces, Jams Franco stuck in a rock, etc.:

Yes, I’ve always been interested in the extremes of human experience. In the new film Trance, it’s not a physical landscape, it’s the interior of the mind, thought it’s manifested as a beautiful idyllic French landscape at one point, as a secret church where all the world’s stolen paintings are collected, and as a space where the character wreaks revenge on those he fears. It’s in extremis where you can reveal our true natures.

And, of course, where he keeps his Academy Award:

In a shoebox, under the bed. It’s very comfortable and best out of sight.

Trance opens in the UK on March 27th and has its limited release April 5th in the US. 

Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen Join ‘Snowtown’ Director Justin Kurzel’s ‘Our Kind of Traitor’

Back in January, we reported that Justin Kurzel—director of the terrifyingly real drama Snowtown—would be at the helm of Our Kind of Traitor with Ewan McGregor leading the cast. As the sophomore effort from the talented Australian director, the film’s script will be penned by Hossein Amini, scribe for Drive and Snow White and the Hunstman. It was rumored earlier in the year that Jessica Chastain, as well as some other Hollywood heavyweights would be joining the cast but until today nothing was a sure bet. But as of now it appears Ralph Fiennes and Mads Mikkelsen are in final talks to join the picture. Can we get an amen? Those two together. With McGregor. Come on. 

Our Kind of Traitor tells the story of "an English couple who get mixed up with a Russian businessman who turns out to be an oligarch, and one of the world’s biggest money launderers. They get caught up in his plans to defect and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.” McGregor will be playing one half of the English couple with Mikkelson as the money-laundering Russian, and Fiennes as a UK government advisor. 

The film is set to begin shooting this summer in Moscow, Marrakech, Paris, London, Switzerland, for a $35 million fee. Let’s hope for a swift shoot and speedy 2014 release. 

Ewan McGregor Joins the Cast of ‘Snowtown’ Director Justin Kurzel’s Next Film

Watching director Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown feels a bit like being subjected to the Ludovico technique. It is painful, a bit nauseating, as these haunting and disturbing images crawl under your skin, you cannot turn away. But it isn’t a violent or perverse film for provocation’s sake—the story is real, and for that, you feel even more ill at ease. However, his chilling debut showcased his talents as a filmmaker, especially one that could take on a very weighty crime thriller with finesse and a subtle fright that made you actually invest in the people committing the heinous crimes and appreicate how well a story like this could be told. And as it was announced last spring, Kurzel’s sophomore film, an adaptation of John Le Carré’s Our Kind of Traitor has been in the works. Although his last film was populated with unknowns, it was rumored earlier in the year that his new project would feature some of Hollywood’s best dramamtic talent—from Jessica Chastain to Ralph Fiennes. But as of late, the first actor officially on board looks to be Ewan McGregor, according to Baz Bamigboye.

Our Kind of Traitor follows, "an English couple who get mixed up with a Russian businessman who turns out to be an oligarch, and one of the world’s biggest money launderers. They get caught up in his plans to defect and are soon positioned between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service, neither of whom they can trust.” Drive writer Hossei Amini will be at the helm penning the script  and presumably McGregor willl be playing one half of the English couple. When I spoke to Kurzel last year, we touched on the nature of violence in film and his affinity for the crime drama, saying “ I feel so many films that are dealing with violence, portraying it onscreen in a heroic way, and that’s fair enough if you’re making a genre film, but if I’m making a film about real events the violence has to be confronting in a way. But the audience experiences it through the character, and it’s far from titillating. I never wanted it to be exotic. What I found so horrific in the case was how the violence came out of a banality and a domesticity.” Kurzel’s second directorial effort will be an exciting one to watch so in the meantime, we’ll be anticipating just who joins the cast next. 

How to Play a Rock Star in a Movie

The casting of the upcoming CBGB’a movie has been a drawn-out process scored by endless commentary from fans who think they know better than filmmakers. Even the classic bar’s regulars got in the game. Not too long ago, Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys told us, “Hell, get Johnny Depp to play me!” Now it’s been announced that there is a new round of cast members, including former Roseanne star (and current The Big Bang Theory player) Johnny Galecki as manager Terry Ork and actress Mickey Sumner as Patti Smith. Perhaps the most controversial casting, though, is Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who, The Hollywood Reporter found out, will be playing Iggy Pop. 

The musician has plenty of experience behind the camera, having composed music for video games, TV, and movies, and he’s also appeared in plenty of rockumentaries in his capacity as a band member. But can he actually play the role of a musician?

He can start by checking out these clips below, showcasing what we consider fine examples of actors playing rockers.

The Velvet Goldmine 

With Jonathan Rys Meyers as Brian Slade and Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild—clearly Pop influenced—this should be Hawkins’ go-to movie for Iggy inspiration.

 

La Bamba

Lou Diamond Phillips played Ritchie Valens in this 1987 movie about the rocker who died at 18 in a plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper.

 

The Rose

Bette Midler made her screen debut in this movie, based loosely on the life of Janis Joplin. Pop never had Janice’s pipes, so singing like this won’t be a worry for Hawkins, but still a good role to study.

 

Sid and Nancy

For a taste of 1970s rock, what’s better than the Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in this 1986 classic?

 

The Doors

To capture some of pop’s slithering sex appeal, checking out Val Kilmer’s performance in Oliver Stone’s The Doors would be a smart idea. Kilmer’s magnetic, insane, and overwhelmingly alluring Jim Morrison raised the bar for playing rockers.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains

The 1982 punk cult classic featuring a young Diane Lane and Laura Dern is required viewing for anyone who should be allowed to be punk, let alone play one on the screen. Absolutely essential viewing.

The News: Tyler Perry’s Compound is on Fire, Also Dissidents Unhappy Everywhere

Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who escaped house arrest last month and was taken in by the U.S. Embassy, left the safe compound after Chinese officials promised to reunite him with his family, move them someplace safe and allow him to attend university. China’s demanding an apology from the U.S., though, because they don’t like other people playing with their citizen-prisoners without asking. [WaPo

There’s nothing funny about the huge fire that ravaged filmmaker Tyler Perry’s Atlanta compound Tuesday night, causing one building to partially collapse. There’s no word on what started the fire at the money-minting Good Deeds director’s 60-acre estate. [CNN

All over the country yesterday, thousands clashed with police during May Day protests. And it wasn’t all peaceful. In the Bay Area, after a peaceful march ended, activists began throwing bottles at police, who responded with tear gas and “flash-bang” grenades. Protests were held in Seattle, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and more. [WSJ]

One-time club queen Amy Sacco, who was the toast of New York for a hot second thanks to owning clubs like Bungalow 8, got into a scuffle with JD Samson, a member of the queer electropunk outfit MEN and former member of Le Tigre, over what Samson considered to be rude comments at a Manhattan nightclub. Sacco accused Samson of using her for publicity, but that seems like projection to us, considering Samson is rather well known in certain circles and Sacco is the one who’s been off the radar for years and is about to open a new gastropub. [NYP

The Corrections Gets Erased From The HBO Lineup

The decade-plus-long journey to bring Jonathan Franzen’s National Book Award-winning novel The Corrections to first the big, then the small screen, has once again hit a stall. Despite its impressive cast and credits, HBO has decided not to move the project forward following a viewing of the pilot, according to Michael Ausiello.

Ewan McGregor, Dianne Wiest, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Chris Cooper were among the stars of the miniseries, with Wiest and Cooper playing the roles of Enid and Alfred Lambert, respectively, the parents of Franzen’s Midwestern family who recount their history while spending their last Christmas together. Franzen and The Squid and the Whale’s Noah Baumbach, who also directed, wrote the adaptation for the screen.

The Corrections road to the screen had been an arduous one and one of many forms, beginning with Scott Rudin’s purchase of the adaptation rights in 2011. A number of big names were tied to the project in its various incarnations, including Stephen Daldry, David Hare, Judi Dench and Brad Pitt at various points.

Just this week, the network picked up two new shows, Lena Dunham’s heavily dissected dramedy Girls and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy Veep, for second seasons.

McGregor & Blunt Go ‘Salmon Fishing in Yemen’

In the last few weeks, you watched trailers for movies starring Ewan McGregor and trailers for movies starring Emily Blunt. But the two together? Oh, that was just a dream. But today, our brief national nightmare is over: witness the trailer for Salmon Fishing in Yemen, a rom-com-dram that stars both McGregor and Blunt. McGregor plays a fisheries expert who seeks to introduce salmon fishing to Yemen, while Blunt is the no nonsense government official who brings him to the country. Predictable hijinks ensue, and the two fall in love.

Based off a 2007 novel, it’s been adapted by the screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, hence the inspiring words placed over the montage of inspiring scenes. Sometimes that’s all you need, you know? McGregor and Blunt are just a boy and a girl, talking about fish, talking about love, mixing work with pleasure and all good things in between. Learning about the world, learning about themselves. It’s so inspirational, I’m getting ready to believe in life again.

Directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, all of the good ABBA music videos), Yemen will come out next March. You can get ready by watching all of those ABBA music videos, every one of them.