Images from the set of UNBROKEN by Angelina Jolie!

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Angelina Jolie is currently in the midst of production on her second directorial feature UNBROKEN, and Universal Pictures has now unveiled the first images from the Australian set. The film chronicles the incredible life of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943. Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer. Jack O’Connell leads the film as the young Zamperini, and these images offer a first look at the actor on the ocean set as Jolie watches over the scenes.

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The film also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Finn Wittrock, Garrett Hedlund, Alex Russell, and Carla Thexton. UNBROKEN opens in theaters on December 25, 2014.

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Channing Tatum set for BAD ROMANCE, Bill Murray for B.O.O.!

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Channing Tatum is lining up another producing project, and this time he’ll star as well. THR reports that Tatum is in talks to produce and star in BAD ROMANCE for MGM, with 50/50 and WARM BODIES helmer Jonathan Levine set to write and direct. Details on the film are not given, but if it’s anything like Levine’s previous work it’ll be a swell blend of humor, drama, and of course, romance. Tatum is currently busy filming the comedy sequel 22 JUMP STREET and has a range of roles on the horizon. Next year he’ll be seen in Lana and Andy Wachowski’s sci-fi epic JUPITER ASCENDING and the excellent-looking animated pic THE LEGO MOVIE.

Additionally, Variety reports that Bill Murray will voice the villain in DreamWorks Animation’s 2015 film B.O.O.: BUREAU OF OTHERWORLDLY OPERATIONS. The pic already boasts Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy, Rashida Jones, Octavia Spencer, and Matt Bomer among its voice talents, but Murray makes a very swell addition. The supernatural action comedy centers on two ghosts who join the titular Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which is the ghost world’s elite counter-haunting unit. They eventually face off against the planet’s greatest hunter. Tony Leondis is onboard to direct, and the film will open in theaters on June 5, 2015. Murray will next be seen in George Clooney’s World War II directorial effort THE MONUMENT’S MEN, which opens in February.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to direct PET SEMATARY remake!

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Since his 2011 film INTRUDERS, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has been bouncing around reboots. A couple years ago, he was attached to direct a reboot of THE CROW and HIGHLANDER, but ended up dropping out of both. Now he’s headed toward yet another tested property. According to Variety, he will stick with the horror genre to direct a remake of Paramount’s PET SEMATARY. Based on the novel by Stephen King, the story is about a family that moves in to a home located next to a cemetery (always a bad idea), and they discover that the cemetery can bring its buried creatures back from the dead.

A remake has been kicking around for the past several years, and at one point Alexandre Aja (PIRANHA 3D) was in talks to direct. Mary Lambert‘s 1989 adaptation grossed $57 million on a $11 million budget. She then directed the sequel, PET SEMATARY II, but it didn’t have the same level of success as its predecessor. There are no details about how Fresnadillo and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura plan to proceed, but perhaps they should look at the recent version of Stephen King’s CARRIE and be careful. When it comes to remakes, “sometimes dead is better.”

Happy Halloween: New trailer for THE LEGO MOVIE has arrived!

Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s new film THE LEGO MOVIE. The story centers on Emmet (Chris Pratt), an average LEGO minifigure who is mistaken for the most extraordinary person in the LEGO world and is looked upon to save his people from an evil tyrant named President Business (Will Ferrell). This trailer had me laughing out loud multiple times, which is no surprise when you consider that it comes from the hilariously twisted minds of Lord and Miller, the duo behind 21 JUMP STREET and CLOUDY WITH AN CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. Pratt feels like pitch perfect casting as the film’s optimistic hero, and this trailer highlights some excellent use of LEGO’s more recognizable IP’s like Batman and Wonder Woman. Is it February yet?

The film also features the voices of Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Cobie Smulders. THE LEGO MOVIE opens on February 7, 2014.

STAR WARS EPISODE VII team pushes for 2016 release, Disney refuses!

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Making a movie is not an easy undertaking. There’s extended development of the script, assembling the creative team, casting, the actual shooting of the film, editing, prolonged post-production work, and everything in between. In most cases, this all adds up to about two years total on any given film. In the case of something like STAR WARS bringing such a massive property to life is even more intense. One year ago, Disney announced that it had purchased Lucasfilm and was planning a new trilogy of STAR WARS films, with EPISODE VII due for release in 2015. This January, J.J. Abrams was hired to direct the pic under the stewardship of producer Kathleen Kennedy.

Official news on the EPISODE VII front has been scant in the ensuing months, and last week we learned that Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan were taking over scripting duties from Michael Arndt, thus hinting at a script that is very much still in flux. How can EPISODE VII still possibly be barreling towards a 2015 release date, then? It turns out the Star Wars team actually requested a delay to 2016, but was denied.

While no official release date for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII has been announced, Disney has reiterated over and over again that 2015 is the target date for the film. Reports have pegged an early 2014 production start-date in London, but with the script apparently going in a different direction and casting yet to be firmed up, that deadline looks to be cutting things very close.

The folks over at THR are hearing that Kennedy and “most of the film’s creative team” have asked Disney to push the release of EPISODE VII to 2016 in order to give them ample time to deliver a worthwhile effort, but Disney CEO Bob Iger is unflinching in his desire to get the film out in 2015—likely a result of shareholder pressure to have the revenue from both the film and merchandizing by the end of 2015, the date promised from the very beginning.

The report notes that Abrams is said to be “more in sync” with Iger’s 2015 target than Kennedy, with some sources saying Abrams has been taking more authoritative control over casting from Kennedy in recent months. Other sources, however, dispute this notion, saying Abrams and Kennedy have been very much working in concert on the casting sessions.

Another interesting tidbit gleaned from the THR piece is word that screenwriter Michael Arndt apparently penned a 40 to 50-page treatment of EPISODE VII before Lucasfilm was even sold to Disney, confirming that plans for a new trilogy have very much been in the works for some time. The report doesn’t spend too much time on Arndt’s departure from the project, only saying that the TOY STORY 3 scribe was “ready to move on to other projects.”

All this to say that the pressure is very much on for EPISODE VII to meet (or exceed) extremely high expectations, and all involved are working around the clock to bring the film to fruition. Whether the tension between Abrams and Kennedy is being exaggerated or is completely unfounded, the producer has plenty of experience working with very high-profile directors on very high-profile projects (Kennedy has been Steven Spielberg’s longtime producer for many years), so I imagine the collaboration between Abrams and Kennedy will be fine. Hopefully the added pressure from Disney to get the film out in 2015 doesn’t result in a rushed or half-baked finished product. Whatever the case, expect to hear official word regarding STAR WARS: EPISODE VII before the holidays or after the New Year, assuming the early 2014 production start-date sticks.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson confirmed as Quiksilver in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON!

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Though the actor made no secret of the fact that he was in ongoing negotiations to join the ensemble of Joss Whedon’s Marvel sequel THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, Aaron Taylor-Johnson had thus far yet to be officially announced as one of the film’s castmembers. Now it appears that scheduling issues have all been worked out, as The Wrap reports that Taylor-Johnson has closed his deal to play Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver in THE AVENGERS sequel. Taylor-Johnson is one of three new castmembers to be added to the Marvel universe, as Elizabeth Olsen is onboard to play Quicksilver’s sister Scarlet Witch and James Spader will be playing the pic’s baddie, the titular evil robot Ultron.

There was concern over whether the filming schedule of AGE OF ULTRON would conflict with Taylor-Johnson’s promotional duties on GODZILLA, which opens next May. All is well, though, and the actor will be fighting alongside Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Co. when THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON opens in theaters on May 1, 2015.

Awesome IMAX poster for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE!

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These posters will be handed out at the early showings of THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE on Thursday, November 21, 2013. The Arena scene of the film were actually shot using IMAX cameras, so as Katniss ascends the launch tunnel the screen will expand to full size.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE hits IMAX on November 21 and regular screens on November 22, 2013!