This week in movie news:

20 amazing movie secrets that will blow your mind (see above); Ruby Rose, Deepika Padukone and Nina Dobrev join xXx 3; Ben Mendelsohn may sign on for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One; Christina Hendricks joins the cast of Bad Santa 2; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets officially begins production; Aaron Sorkin will make his directorial debut with Molly’s Game; Tessa Thompson joins the cast of the Annihilation film; Free State of Jones gets a new poster; the Baywatch film adds Kelly Rohrbach; Superior comic book adaptation lands a pair of writers; new details emerge on the cast of Trolls; and The Queen of Katwe releases a first look image

Ruby Rose, Deepika Padukone and Nina Dobrev join xXx 3

Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Bollywood star Deepika Padrone, and Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black) are all in negotiations to join the cast of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, the third film in the franchise that marks star Vin Diesel’s return to the series for the first time since the 2002 original film. Samuel L. Jackson is also attached to reprise his role in the project, which is set to begin production in February under director D.J. Caruso.

Although plot details remain scarce, the film is expected to provide Diesel with a supporting cast of characters, taking a similar approach to the star’s Fast and Furious franchise. Dobrev will play a tech expert, and Padukone will play a former lover of Diesel’s Xander Cage. Meanwhile, Rose will play a sniper.

Source: THR

Ben Mendelsohn may sign on for Spielberg’s Ready Player One

Ben Mendelsohn in Killing Them Softly Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Ben Mendelsohn — star of Netflix series Bloodline — may join the cast of Steve Spielberg’s upcoming film adaptation of the 2011 dystopian sci-fi novel Ready Player One. If he does sign on, Mendelsohn would join Olivia Cooke in the film as the central villain, which centers on a treasure hunt within the virtual world known as Oasis.

The film’s lead has yet to be cast, but Cooke will play a Canadian blogger who serves as the main character’s love interest and competitor for the grand prize. Mendelsohn’s role would be as an executive for an Internet corporation with sinister intentions for Oasis. The actor’s previous film credits include Killing Me Softly, The Dark Knight Rises, and this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Source: THR

Christina Hendricks joins the cast of Bad Santa 2

Christina Hendricks in Mad Men Season 7 Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Christina Hendricks — best known for her role as Joan Harris on Mad Men — will appear in this fall’s Bad Santa 2 alongside returning stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, and Brett Kelly as well as new cast addition Kathy Bates. Plot details remain shrouded in mystery, though it has been revealed that Hendricks will play a new character who runs a charitable organization.

Mark Waters (Mean Girls) is directing the sequel to the 2003 hit comedy that centers on a con man who poses as Santa Claus as part of a scheme to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. Filming is set to begin later this month, with Bad Santa 2 set for release on November 23, 2016, opposite the animated Disney film Moana.

Source: Deadline

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets begins production

valerian movie luc besson 2017 casting Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Writer/director Luc Besson has begun filming on his upcoming sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The film is anticipated to be a major summer release and is currently scheduled to hit theaters on July 21, 2017. It marks Besson’s first directorial effort since his hit Scarlett Johansson action film Lucy in 2014.

Based on the French comic book series Valerian and Laureline, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne — who recently posted an on-set photo to her Instagram account — as government operatives on a mission to maintain order throughout the universe. Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, and Kris Wu co-star.

Source: EuroCorp, Cara Delevingne

Aaron Sorkin will make his directorial debut with Molly’s Game

Steve Jobs Michael Fassbender Aaron Sorkin Danny Boyle Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) is set to make his directorial debut with Molly’s Game, the upcoming adaptation of Molly Bloom’s memoir chronicling the story behind her high-stakes underground poker game. For eight years, Bloom made millions of dollars running the exclusive game, which ultimately led to her downfall at the hands of the FBI.

Sorkin was initially tapped to simply write the film but has since decided to make it his first time as director. It marks his first project following the critical acclaim for his last scripted project, Steve Jobs, which failed to make a splash at the box office despite significant awards buzz surrounding its script and performances.

Source: Deadline

Tessa Thompson joins the cast of the Annihilation film

Tessa Thompson in Creed Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Creed star Tessa Thompson is in early talks to join the cast of Annihilation, the latest film from writer/director Alex Garland. Natalie Portman and Gina Rodriguez are already signed on for the project, which centers on a group of women embarking on a dangerous mission. The sci-fi thriller is based on the 2014 Jeff VanderMeer novel, the first in what has become known as the Southern Reach Trilogy.

Annihilation would be Garland’s second directorial project following last year’s critically acclaimed Ex Machina. The film is set to begin filming this spring and is one of several projects that Thompson — a rising star who has also appeared in indie hit Dear White People and Oscar winner Selma — is currently considering.

Source: The Wrap

Free State of Jones gets a new poster

Free State of Jones poster Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey is set to star later this year in the Civil War drama Free State of Jones for director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games), which co-stars Keri Russell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle). We now have a brand-new poster for the film — scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 13, 2016 — that calls to mind the most famous image of former Confederate soldier Newt Knight.

Centering on the true story of Knight’s creation of the titular neutral mixed-race community in Mississippi, the film gives McConaughey yet another chance to flex his dramatic muscles following a long string of impressive performances that includes his Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, and season 1 of HBO series True Detective.

Source: EW

The Baywatch film adds Kelly Rohrbach

Kelly Rohrbach Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


That big-screen version of cult 1990s series Baywatch is going before cameras in the next few months, and now the film — which stars Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, and Zac Efron — has cast one of its most critical roles. Model Kelly Rohrbach has joined the film as C.J. Parker, the lifeguard once played on television by Pamela Anderson.

During her time on Baywatch, Anderson rose to stardom and remains one of the most popular cast members from the show. Johnson confirmed Rohrbach’s casting in the role via his Instagram account, and the project marks her biggest role yet, following up several appearances mostly on TV series like Rizzoli and Isles and Two and and Half Men. Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) will direct the new Baywatch.

Source: Dwayne Johnson

Superior comic book adaptation lands a pair of writers

Superior Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Fox has signed writers Brandon and Phillip Murphy to adapt Mark Millar’s comic book series Superior for the big screen. Based on the 2010-2012 seven-issue arc, the story follows a 12-year-old boy with multiple sclerosis who unwittingly makes a deal with a demon to become his favorite superhero, the eponymous Superior.

Superior will be the fourth Millar-written comic title heading to theaters in the past decade, following hit films Wanted, Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Matthew Vaughn — who directed the latter two projects — will serve as producer on Superior.

Source: Variety

New details emerge on the cast of Trolls

trolls movie Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Dreamworks Animation and Fox have announced the full voice cast for the upcoming animated release Trolls, which centers on the popular plastic dolls originally created in 1959. Justin Timberlake stars as Branch and will contribute several songs to the forthcoming soundtrack, in addition to executive producing the album as well. Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn (Shrek Forever After) will co-direct the musical adventure, which tells the story behind the lovable characters.

Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, YouTube personality GloZell Green, Kunal Nayyar, comedian Ron Funches, YouTube personality Meg DeAngelis, and Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop (Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo) round out the film’s cast. Trolls is set for theatrical release on November 4, 2016, the same day as Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Source: Dreamworks Animation

The Queen of Katwe releases a first look image

Lupita Nyongo in The Queen of Katwe Movie News Wrap Up: xXx 3, Ready Player One, Bad Santa 2 & More


Disney has revealed the first image from The Queen of Katwe, the upcoming biographical drama about Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutsei (newcomer Madina Nalwanga). Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) will direct the film, which is based on Tim Crothers’ 2012 book of the same name.

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and David Oyelowo (Selma) also star in the film as Phiona’s mother and a missionary who teaches chess to local children, respectively. The Queen of Katwe was largely shot on location in Uganda and is set to hit theaters sometime in fall 2016.

Source: Disney