This week in movie news:
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers) may join the cast of Jack Reacher 2; Dave Franco is returning for next year's Neighbors 2; Mike Flanagan will direct Annalise Basso in Ouija 2; Natalie Portman's A Tale of Love and Darkness receives a new trailer; Naomi Watts will star in director Colin Trevorrow's Book of Henry; Aaron Eckhart has joined Captain Sully biopic Miracle on the Hudson; and Edgar Wright's Collider is being rewritten by the writer of The Revenant.
Cobie Smulders - who plays Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - is in early talks to join the cast of Jack Reacher 2. She would play a character named Danika, and though further details have yet to be revealed, Smulders would be the female lead alongside returning star Tom Cruise in the title role.
Aside from her role in the MCU, Smulders is best known for the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) starred with Cruise in the first film, and Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai) will direct the sequel, which is based on Lee Child's novel Never Go Back. The film is currently set to begin production in November for a late 2016 release date.
Source: The Wrap
Neighbors 2 has already secured the return of stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron. Now Dave Franco will reprise his role as former frat boy Pete, best friend of Efron's character. This addition brings the returning cast to six, as Carla Gallo and Ike Barinholtz will reappear as Rogen and Byrne's friends.
The sequel - which is set to hit theaters on May 20, 2016 - will add Chloe Grace Moretz to the cast and center on a sorority, though plot details have not been confirmed. Nicholas Stoller will once again direct. Franco will next be seen on the big screen in another sequel: Now You See Me: The Second Act.
Source: The Wrap
Ouija 2 has found its director in Mike Flanagan, who is also co-writing the film. He previously directed Oculus, also produced by Blumhouse, and Annalise Basso - who appeared in that film - has been cast as one of the female leads of the Ouija sequel. Basso also has Captain Fantastic and Pretty Face with Patrick Schwarzenegger on their way to theaters in the next year or so.
Last year, Ouija earned more than $100 million worldwide against a production budget of $5 million. Like its predecessor, the sequel is set for release just in time for Halloween, on October 21, 2016. Plot details are unclear, though the story will again center on the board game that lends the films their name.
A Tale of Love and Darkness - a new drama written, directed by and starring Natalie Portman - has just received a new trailer, though the footage is in Hebrew and does not feature English subtitles. The film is based on the autobiography by Amos Oz, which chronicles his childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel.
Marking Portman's directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival and currently has no U.S. release date. She plays Fania Oz, Amos' mother, and stars alongside Makram Khoury, Shira Haas, Neta Riskin and Gilad Kahana.
Source: United King Films
Naomi Watts has joined Book of Henry, the next project for director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World). The film is based on an original screenplay written by best-selling novelist Gregg Hurwitz, with shooting set to begin next month in New York.
Plot details for Book of Henry remain under wraps, though the project would be a strong vehicle for the Oscar-nominated actress, who appeared in last year's award-winning Birdman opposite Michael Keaton. Watts has a number of projects on the way, including Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal and the next two films in the Divergent series.
Aaron Eckhart is joining Tom Hanks in the Clint Eastwood-directed Miracle on the Hudson. Hanks stars as Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed his plane full of 155 passengers in the Hudson River after both engines were knocked out by a flock of geese in 2009. The film's script - written by Todd Komarnicki - is drawing in part from Sullenberger's life and memoir.
Eckhart will play Jeff Skiles, the first officer and co-pilot who helped Captain Sully safely land the plane. He'll next be seen in London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013 action hit Olympus Has Fallen.
Mark L. Smith - whose screenwriting credits include Vacancy and The Hole - has been brought on to tackle the next draft of Collider. The film currently has Edgar Wright attached to direct and J.J. Abrams producing.
Plot details for the film are currently under wraps. Smith's next film is Leonardo DiCaprio drama The Revenant, the directorial follow-up from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman). That film is set to arrive in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2015.
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