This week in movie news:
Bad Santa 2 secures the director of Mean Girls; a new trailer for Secret in Their Eyes has been released; Johnny Depp will lend his voice to Sherlock Gnomes; Liam Neeson and Diane Lane have joined the cast of Felt; Will Brittain signs on for Kong: Skull Island; Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cera are among the voice cast for Blazing Samurai; and Lily James will star in Young Woman and the Sea.
Mark Waters will direct Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa 2, the sequel to the 2003 dark comedy. The filmmaker's previous credits include Freaky Friday and Mean Girls. His most recent theatrical release was last year's Vampire Academy.
Based on a screenplay by Johnny Rosenthal, Doug Ellin (Entourage), and Shauna Cross (If I Stay), the film will pick up the further adventures of Thornton's misanthropic Willie Stokes. Tony Cox and Brett Kelly will also return for the sequel as well. Filming is set to begin in January 2016 for a late 2016 release.
Source: Miramax/Broad Green Pictures
STX Entertainment has just released a new trailer for its upcoming crime thriller Secret in Their Eyes. The film -- which hits theaters on November 20, 2015 -- stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts and explores the aftermath of a team of FBI investigators following a shocking discovery.
Secret in Their Eyes is the third directorial effort from writer/director Billy Ray. In addition to directing Breach and Shattered Glass, Ray has contributed script work on such varied films as Flightplan, Captain Phillips, and The Hunger Games.
Source: STX Entertainment
Johnny Depp has joined the cast of Sherlock Gnomes as the title character. The film is a sequel to 2011 hit Gnomeo and Juliet -- which earned $194 million at the worldwide box office -- and will mark the return of original stars James McAvoy and Emily Blunt.
The titular detective is brought in to solve a string of mysterious disappearances throughout London, and the film reunites Depp with the Oscar-winning team behind Rango. Sherlock Gnomes is set to hit theaters in January 12, 2018.
Liam Neeson and Diane Lane have joined the cast of director Peters Landesman's Felt. The historical espionage thriller will see Neeson portray the famous informant known as Deep Throat, while Lane will play his troubled and brilliant wife Audrey.
The film marks Landesman's third directorial effort, following the 2013 historical drama Parkland and this fall's Will Smith drama Concussion. The filmmaker also wrote Felt, which delves into the story behind one of history's most notorious whistleblowers. The film is set to begin filming in March 2016.
Source: MadRiver Pictures
Will Brittain -- whose credits include the Sundance drama A Teacher -- has joined the ensemble cast of Kong: Skull Island. He joins stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Thomas Mann, and John Ortiz.
In the film, Brittain will play a pilot alongside Hawkins and Mitchell, as a team of explorers arrives on a monster-filled island and home to the titular king of the apes. Jordan Vogt-Roberts is directing the film, which is currently filming in Hawaii.
Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cera are among the ensemble voice cast for the animated family comedy Blazing Samurai. The pair join Mel Brooks, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., and Heavenly Joy Jerkins in the film, which hits theaters on August 4, 2017.
The film centers on a dog named Hank (Cera) as he fights to save a small town from a feline warlord and become a great warrior in the process. Jackson plays a cat named Jimbo who becomes Hank's mentor. The action-packed comedy was largely inspired by Brooks' classic 1974 Western spoof Blazing Saddles.
Lily James will lead Young Woman and the Sea, the upcoming film adaptation of the Glenn Stout novel. The story -- written by Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) -- focuses on Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle, the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel.
James starred in this year's megahit Cinderella for Disney and will next be seen in the much-anticipated Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel. She also has Edgar Wright's Baby Driver in the queue, with a March 2017 release date already announced.