The Woman in Black 2 and Before We Go get release dates; Morgan Freeman joins the Ben-Hur cast; Ang Lee may direct an Iraq War film; and two high profile young actors sign on for Ziggy.
Relativity has set The Woman in Black 2 for a January 30, 2014 release date.
Although the first film debuted to impressive box office numbers, there's no telling whether this follow-up will be able to do the same. Horror films tend to do well in January, but we suspect that The Woman in Black 1's success had a lot to do with Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.
This follow-up, however, features a completely new set of characters and is set about 40 years after the events of the first film. It features Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox as two children who take refuge in the first movie's haunted house during World War II.
In other distribution news, RADiUS has acquired the rights to Chris Evan's directorial debut Before We Go.
The studio hopes to have the film out some time in Q2 2015, but has yet to nail down a firm date. It's ultimately all about marketing with this one, making sure that they know this is the first film directed by Captain America.
Unfortunately, the plot of Before We Go, which sees a man (Evans) and a woman (Alice Eve) spending a single night together in New York, isn't exactly uncharted territory. Still, if Evans hopes to make a secondary career behind the camera, this will be a good barometer of his talents.
Morgan Freeman has signed on for the upcoming Ben-Hur remake from Paramount.
Freeman will play Ildarin, a slave that teaches Ben-Hur the tricks of the chariot-racing trade. As some may remember from the 1959 film (based on the Lew Wallace novel), it was an Arab Sheikh named Ilderim that teachers Ben-Hur, but clearly this upcoming redo is taking some liberties with its source material.
Ben-Hur will reunite Freeman with his Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov, a man known for his visual flair. It is for that reason that we don't expect this version of Ben-Hur to resemble the Charlton Heston film in the slightest.
Ben-Hur will hit theaters February 26, 2016.
Ang Lee is in talks to direct Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk for Film4 and The Ink Factory.
Nothing is official just yet, but The Wrap's sources claim Lee is the frontrunner. If he does sign on, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk will certainly shoot to the top of the Oscar watch list.
Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's chronicles a 19-year-old infantryman's "victory lap" through Dallas after surviving a firefight in Iraq. Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) wrote the script for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.
Source: The Wrap
Dane DeHaan and Rooney Mara are jumping on-board Ziggy, a period musical from fledgling director Diesel Schwarze.
Ziggy tells the story of an escape artist (DeHaan) who falls in love with a medial mogul's fiancée (Mara) in New York circa 1920. If that premise sounds a lot like a Baz Luhrmann picture it's because Schawarze is a student of Luhrmann's, having worked with The Great Gatsby director on Moulin Rouge! and La Boheme.
Alex Da Kid is currently working on the original music for Ziggy, which we can only assume will be influenced by the cultural boom of the '20s. Put that together with a promising young cast and Ziggy could be something really special.