Tag Archives: Shailene Woodley

The Divergent Teaser Is Unveiled; Does It Stand Out In Crowded YA Adaptation Field?

Adding to the almost overflowing list of young adult book adaptations that are trying to capitalize on The Hunger Games and Twilight success, comes another contender in Divergent. Directed by Neil Burger (Limitless), and written by two on the rise screenwriters, Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs), this has potential to be a major franchise. Based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, the film takes place in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five factions based on their personalities. A teenage girl learns that she doesn’t fit into any of the five, instead being ‘Divergent’, which means she matches to multiple factions. She would soon discover that the seemingly perfect society has a sinister plot brewing. In the lead is Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now), followed by up-and-comer  Theo James (Golden Boy), as well as more established stars such as Ray Stevenson (Rome), Kate Winslet (Titanic), and Maggie Q (Nikita).  The trailer debuted at the VMA pre-show, and is only about a minute long, offering just a quick glimpse of what’s to come, check it out:

Knowing very little about the books, I have to say that it reminds me a whole lot of The Hunger Games. Not story wise, but simply aesthetically it looks very similar: the gray army camps, the overly colored-high tech city, as well as the fight training. Also, the recent saturation of YA novels made into films has really made these adaptations feel like cash-ins, but hopefully that is not the case here. That being said, the cast isn’t simply a bunch of good-looking stars. There are some good-looking stars that can act. Especially after seeing The Spectacular Now, which I highly recommend, Woodley has the acting chops to rock a summer franchise film like this, similar to Jennifer Lawrence. The story seems neat with a nice social commentary atop the action, but the biggest worry has to be the love story that is clearly hinted at. These types of films all have them, so fingers-crossed that it isn’t too sappy in this flick. Plus having Kate Winslet in a villainous role is always a plus.

divergent_woodley

The film is due out March 21st next year so we’ll see how it all turns out in the end. Hopefully more Hunger Games and less Twilight for the masses.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 Casts Harry Osborn!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Dane DeHaan. According to multiple sources, such as Hollywood Reporter and EW.com, he’s your new Harry Osborn for this iteration of the Amazing Spider-Man series. He takes over the role that was originated by James Franco in the original Spider-Man Trilogy. He also will probably not sabotage the Academy Awards and star on a soap opera but I’m only venturing a guess at this point.

Back to DeHaan, you might remember him from that unrated Josh Trank pic Chronicle. He played Andrew Detmer, the social outcast turned super emo kid with powers. He turned in a terrific performance in showing his issues and his calm, if not frightening nature as he developed a superiority over others with his powers. He also was in Lawless with Tom Hardy and Shia LeBeouf, which he also did a great job in. Looking even further, you might recognize him from In Treatment and True Blood. He apparently was also ‘Second White Soldier’ in Lincoln so this is definitely the next step up from that.

He appears to be the last of the major castings for the new Spider-Man sequel, with Jamie Foxx slotted in as Electro, Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone returning from the previous movie. Obviously we all should know that Harry Osborn becomes the heir apparent to his father’s villain alter ego, The Green Goblin, but we have yet to see Norman Osborn so perhaps we might see him sooner than we might think. I think DeHaan will be a good addition to the cast as he definitely comes off as a terrific actor in his previous roles and it will be interesting to see how they tackle the Harry Osborn character. This seems to be running along the same lines as the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series so maybe we’ll see…Hobgoblin? I don’t know but I’m excited with this casting news. More so than the Jamie Foxx casting because Booty Call was just on television the other day and…just wow.

Jamie Foxx as Electro for Amazing Spider-Man 2? Blame it on the Ah-a-a-Ah-Ah-Alcohol….

According to various sources, such as EW.com and Hollywood Reporter, Jamie Foxx is in negotiations to join The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie as the villain Electro. This comes as a surprise to some because Electro doesn’t exactly bring to mind Jamie Foxx. Maybe it’s because despite his Oscar-winning performance as Ray Charles in Ray, he will always be Sheneneh from In Living Color. It’s still not final but Foxx, ever the showman, decided to tease the masses on Twitter:

Of course, everyone wanted to consult with Marc Webb to see if he would address this new bit of info and he did. Sort of. According to Comingsoon.net, Webb dropped this quote when it was brought up:

“I think Jamie Foxx is electrifying! I think Jamie Foxx is one of the best actors around today. He’s such a great character actor and he’s a really brilliant guy. I would love to work with him and you’ll be hearing more on that shortly, I’m sure.”

Webb goes on to add that the dynamics of Norman Osborn are very important to him and will be a common theme through this franchise’s movies.

“I like Electro, I’m fascinated by Norman Osborn and the different inflections of him. And Harry. Mary Jane and Gwen are always interesting to me. What makes villains interesting to me is what they bring out in Peter. What challenges they provide for him. What’s great about Marvel and other comics is that often there’s a pre-existing relationship… It’s not just about the physical conflict he has, but the emotional ones as well.”

With the new origin story and reboot in the background of the last movie, Webb still feels an obligation to the Spider-Man canon but also feels he can take it to different places and explore different contexts not yet discussed with this iteration of Spidey, not unlike the Ultimate universe in the comic books.

“What’s exciting about moving forward is that, in the first movie, I had to still honor some of the important elements of the origin story. But I also wanted to redefine the context of it because I’m building a different universe than what we’ve seen before. A lot of the nuance is quite different. Now, as we’re approaching the sequel, it’s really exciting because I feel quite liberated. I have a universe that’s my own. I don’t have an obligation to the origin story. It’s pretty fun and exciting and I can dig deeper into the parents.”

Of course, the movie is starting to take shape with this possible casting, as well as the earlier Mary Jane/Shailene Woodley news. It’s interesting that Electro would go this route because obviously Webb wants to show a connection to Garfield’s Spidey, and I figured they would’ve cast someone more age appropriate to connect the generation gap better. I guess we’ll have to see exactly how this character shapes out, and for an official confirmation. There’s also the whole idea that Electro is Caucasian and not African-American, which I think is an absolute non-issue. Character is character and it shouldn’t change performance and how it is projected on the screen. I would like to think we are progressive enough to get past that but time will tell. He is a good actor so it would be interesting to see what he could bring to the table come May 2nd, 2014 when the movie arrives to blow your minds away. Hopefully it will arrive with this suit below.

Hero Express: Hammer To Play Batman, Silver Samurai on Set, & RED 2 Set Photos!

Welcome back to the Hero Express, your one-stop sometimes SPOILER filled shop through the top five stories in comic based Film & TV news!

Armie Hammer Likely to play New Justice League’s Batman

This interestingly enough isn’t the first time he has been in the running for the role. The last time there was a Justice League film project Hammer was again preferred for the part. Even though that project fell through WB’s still feel he would be the best to play the part of DC’s JL Batman. I believe with this choice that WB’s wants a different style of batman than has been displayed recently in Bales performances. What I mean is that with Batman needing to fight side by side with other superheroes that this time around the character will have to be more of a team player.

I haven’t seen a great deal of Hammers work except for his role in The Social Network so I can’t say how well he would take on the legendary role. However he will be starring in the upcoming Lone Ranger remake coming out next year, and so we should be able to find a good understanding of his acting abilities under a mask of sorts.

News via [Digital Spy]

Silver Samurai, Viper and More Wolverine Images Revealed on Set

First off is a sneaky image of Silver Samurai where to get a good look you have to zoom in a bit, still it looks interesting and the design seems to be based strongly off the comics but we will have to see the front before full judgement. Next we have an image of Svetlana Khodchenkova (That’s a mouth full) playing Viper a rather complicated character from the comics and should be interesting to see how they use her in this film.  Lastly we have some stunt photos of Wolverine with claws out and on stunt wires; he is however a stunt double as you can tell it’s not Hugh Jackman.

Images via [Collider]

New and Recurring Cast of RED 2 on Set

The cast of RED returning to set for the upcoming sequel and we have some new cast members as well. So who can we see new from these pictures. First off Catherine Zeta-Jones getting into a car with Bruce Willis with Willis not looking happy (wouldn’t be my reaction). We also have David Thewlis playing The Frog (not sure what that means yet) who is doing plenty of stunts on a motor bike. We also get a good look at the returning cast with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker.

The Latest synopsis for RED 2:

“The sequel to the action-comedy hit RED, which reunites our team of retired CIA operatives as they use their old-school style to take on a new set of enemies all across Europe.” The film is being directed by Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”) and will star: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Hellen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis, and Mary-Louise Parker.”

Images and Plot via [Collider]

The Oldboy Remake Synopsis and Josh Brolin on set

The Oldboy remake staring Josh Brolin has recently had some set photos leaked of Brolin on set with and without a shirt on, granted there’s nothing shocking about that but it does prove that it’s on track to be released next year. We also have the latest synopsis for the remake and it does shed some light on how this American remake of a popular South Korean film will play out. There has been some concerns over how this remake will be made, however I haven’t seen the original and plan to this weekend.

The latest synopsis for Oldboy remake:

“Spike Lee helms this remake of Park Chan-wook’s grim tale of a man who seeks revenge against his mysterious captors, who held him imprisoned for 15 years. Josh Brolin stars, with Thor’s Mark Protosevich adapting the script.”

Images via [Collider]

Shailene Woodley Likely to play MJ Watson in the Amazing Spider-Man 2

Shailene Woodley Playing Spiderman’s new love interest Mary Jane is a little shocking. I really wouldn’t have picked her from other options for May Jane but Webb probably knows what he is doing in the cast roles, what with casting Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. Shailene Woodley maybe an unusual choice for the role of the feisty Mary Jane but will most likely display a greater acting ability than the previous Jane played by Kristen Dunst (her see through tops where pretty good though). This isn’t all the news though in terms of new characters for The Amazing Spider-Man sequel.

We have also got confirmation from the studio that the sequel will have Harry Osborn involved and Electro set to be the main villain. The studios have started looking for cast members to fill the roles of both the villains to Spider-Man’s world. Electro is an interesting choice for the main villain since he has never been on the big screen before and is a weird character to base a film around if he is indeed the main villain. One last thing I would like to say is that my prediction for the way this series is going is looking more and more likely. Osborn will be introduced in this film and will then be the Green Goblin in the third film killing Gwen in the last scene (totally called this!).

News via [Super Hero Hype]

Grizzly Review: The Descendants

The saying, “Blood is thicker than water”, is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It’s a statement that I’ve been able to apply to my life more times than I care to count. Sometimes, family is all you’ve got; the single thread holding your entire life together. Many people take their family for granted, but I’ve always felt that it’s when you need them most do they show their true colors. Sometimes they’re your guardian angel, other times they’re you worst enemies, but family needs to stick together, regardless.

Alexander Payne seems to be a master of the art of adaptation. His second film, Election, starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, was based off of a novel of the same name, and received critical acclaim. This marked the beginning of a trend that would follow with Payne’s next three adaptations, About Schmidt, Sideways, and this year’s, The Descendants.

The Descendants stars George Clooney as Matthew King, a lawyer who is given the decision of what to do with an extremely large property that his family has owned since the 1860’s. While this is happening, his wife, Elizabeth (Patricia Hastie), suffers a severe boating accident, putting her into a coma, as well as being forced to go on life support. King is now in charge of the land, his wife’s condition, and his two children, Scottie (Amara Miller) and Alex (Shailene Woodley), one a precocious ten-year-old, the other a seventeen going on thirty year old who’s been in boarding school since the previous Christmas. Along with the family is Sid (Nick Krause), Alex’s closest friend, a somewhat dim-witted but good-hearted kid who is sometimes the only thing keeping everyone from killing one another.

Matt soon finds out that his wife will not be waking up from her coma, and it’s his duty to notify everyone of this, including her father, Scott Thorson (Robert Forster), who’s got a tough exterior, but is more patient and sympathetic than almost any character in the film. The rest of Matt’s family continues to pressure him about the specifics of the deal, and all Matt wants to do is make his decision alone and at peace.

Early in the film, Matt learns that his wife was having an affair with a man named David Speer (Matthew Lillard), a realtor in Hawaii. I’ve always felt that Lillard is an extremely underused and underrated actor, and even though his appearance in The Descendants is merely an extended cameo (if that), he has a presence that, to me, steals the show no matter what he’s doing.

The film itself is brilliant, with the ability to be quite plot heavy and yet play out so effortlessly and with such hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking results, that you can’t help but get attached to the characters. The characters themselves are layered and real; enough to the point where you feel you know them by the end of the film. They’re realistic people with actual problems, and we can sense this and we feel for them. The acting by every actor involved is absolutely brilliant. George Clooney gives another fantastic performance, as does the entire supporting cast.

The Hawaiian setting adds a level of both peace and tension. The film makes it very clear that this place is no permanent vacation spot. I have a friend who was raised in Hawaii, and from what he’s told me, and what I saw in the film, the little Hawaiian nuances are captured perfectly, from the very specific and sometimes subtle dialect, to the mannerisms and common household rules, it’s all quite mesmerizing how they managed to perfect it all.

As I mentioned before, The Descendants is based off of a 2007 novel of the same name. As a fan of the source material, the film adaptation does more than justice to the original novel, by being faithful enough to please fans, but not too faithful to the point where it’s a carbon copy of the novel, therefore singling out viewers who may have not read the novel.

The Descendants is a beautiful and heartbreaking portrait of a dysfunctional family that will give us all something to relate to. As for its R-Rating, yes its themes are heavy, but other than the language, I feel as if The Descendants is akin to a film released earlier this year, Terri; a movie that both kids and adults can relate to, sometimes in different ways, sometimes in the same. Regardless, The Descendants is a must watch for anyone who’s ever breathed in air. It may possibly be the best film of the year, but I can’t speak too soon.

5/5 Bears