Paul Giamatti joins Straight Outta Compton; Sigourney Weaver joins A Monster Calls but passes on Expendabelles; Bradley Cooper to headline Mack Bolan; an animated Noah's Ark movie is on the way; and DreamWorks pushes back The Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2.
Paul Giamatti has signed on to play N.W.A. manager Jerry Heller in Straight Outta Compton.
While most know the faces of N.W.A. – Eazy E, Dr. Dre, and Ice Cube – few are familiar with Heller's work behind the scenes. He signed the N.W.A. to his Ruthless Records label (which he created with Eazy-E) and then managed the group throughout their meteoric rise to stardom in the '80s. Heller was also strongly considered a contributing factor in the group's dissolution.
F. Gary Gray (Kane & Lynch) is set to direct Straight Outta Compton off a script by Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center). The cast includes Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, and O'Shea Jackson Jr. as his real life father, Ice Cube.
Just days after Sylvester Stallone said she would be a perfect fit for The ExpendaBelles, Sigourney Weaver has passed on the all-female action flick.
Stallone reportedly wanted Weaver to play his ex-wife in the film and presumably lead the troupe, but that's obviously not going to happen. No official reason is given as to why The ExpendaBelles couldn't nab Weaver, but we figure the box office struggles of The Expendables 3 didn't help.
Instead of joining The ExpendaBelles, Weaver has signed on for Juan Antonio Bayona's A Monster Calls, about a young boy who copes with his mother's terminal illness by escaping into a fantastical world with a monster. Weaver will play the boy's grandmother, while previously cast actors Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson will play the boy's mother and the monster, respectively.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Toby Kebbell also joined the project this week as the boy's father. Although most will not recognize Kebbell's face yet, he certainly made an impression as the villainous ape Koba in Dawn.
Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the Mack Bolan series of novels and hopes to have Bradley Cooper play the title character.
Things are still relatively early, but if all falls into place this first Mack Bolan film will reunite Cooper with his Hangover director Todd Phillips. Moreover, this could be the next big franchise for the duo, albeit with a decidedly more action heavy focus. That is, if Phillips doesn't tweak the source material to fit his sensibilities.
The Bolan character has appeared in more than 600 novels, but was originally created by Don Pendleton in 1969. Dubbed "The Executioner," Mack Bolan is a deep cover operative who is described as a tougher version of James Bond.
Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson has signed on to direct an animated Noah's Ark movie for fledgling outfit Unified Pictures.
Noah's Ark will be the first animated feature for Unified, and will tell the well known biblical tale from the perspective of the animals. More specifically, the film will focus on Gilbert, an aardvark who reluctantly leads a group of animals to the ark.
It's still early so no voice actors have been cast just yet, but Unified's selection of Stevenson, an Oscar nominee for Panda, suggests they want to get this one right. Tackling a biblical story might make the film a tough sell, but we surmise Noah's Ark will have an easier time not stirring up controversy than Darren Aronofsky's Noah.
Noah's Ark should hit theaters in 2016.
DreamWorks has pushed the release dates of The Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2 to avoid competition from Marvel and DC.
The Croods 2 was originally slated to release in the summer of 2017, between an untitled Marvel film and an untitled DC film, but now the animated sequel will have December 22, 2017 all to itself. Well, for now at least.
Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves is also trading its summer 2018 release in favor of a less jam-packed December 21, 2018 date. The film would have gone up against two different Marvel and DC films, but is in the clear…for now.
DreamWorks acknowledges that mid-December is oftentimes a difficult release window, but they hope to break the mold with these two sequels. They also know that if The Croods 2 and Puss in Boots 2 can hit, then they will likely hold strong throughout the Christmas holiday.