Nine New Cast Members for "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made!" 


Jack Black, Donald Glover (Community), Jane Lynch (Glee), Danny Trejo (Machete), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), John Krasinski (The Office), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Lady Gaga (yes Lady Gaga!), and Paul Rudd are joining The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made!

According to Production Weekly via Collider, Black, Rudd, and Glover have joined the cast but there are no roles attached with them yet. Lady Gaga will be starring as...herself, and part of her entourage will be Helms, Krasinski, and Stonestreet.

Lynch will play a prison guard and Trejo will be one of her prisoners. But wait there's more! Zach Galifianakis will star as Hobo Jo.

Jason Segel heads the cast for director James Bobin. Segel wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller.

"The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" will open Christmas Day of 2011.

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Arrivederci Signor Dino De Laurentiis! 


When I was a kid, I devoured the kitschy fun of producer Dino De Laurentiis' films such as the 1976 "King Kong" remake. His name got branded in my feeble mind. When you see his "Dino De Laurentiis Presents" before a trailer, you know that film would be fun!

So the death of the Oscar-winning Italian film producer saddened me. The Italian media was reporting that Laurentiis, who gave the world nearly 500 films including "La Strada," "Serpico," and "Three Days of the Condor" died in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Here's a lengthy but absolutely wonderful snap shot of Laurentiis' life written by John Gallagher from film reference:

One of the most colorful, prolific, and successful producers in the contemporary motion picture business, Dino De Laurentiis has proven his entrepreneurial skills time and again, growing from an independent Italian producer into an international conglomerate. His product, from low-budget neorealist works to multimillion dollar spectacles, has always stressed entertainment value, and no matter what the era, he has managed to overcome the exigencies of the fickle motion picture industry to produce consistently crowd-pleasing fare. In the 1950s and 1960s it was the epic; in the 1970s and 1980s a flow of Charles Bronson and Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies, and a series of Stephen King horror shows. De Laurentiis has been a popular media figure with his flamboyant personality and high profile; very much a mogul in the tradition of Samuel Goldwyn, he maintains a strong degree of production value with talented directors, actors, writers, and technicians. What other producer, for example, has produced films by Fellini, Bergman, Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Vidor, Huston, Lumet, Forman, Altman, Friedkin, Pollack, Cimino, and Cronenberg, to name but a few? Their films bear the De Laurentiis imprimatur; at the same time, he has shown his fondness for such impersonal, reliable directorial technicians as Richard Fleischer, John Guillermin, and Michael Winner on many of his bread-andbutter pictures.

De Laurentiis attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome at the age of 16, then gained practical filmmaking experience in the Italian film industry as an actor, prop man, assistant director, and unit manager. By the age of 20, he had produced his first major film, L'amore canta , then organized Realcine in Turin in order to arrange financing for his productions. World War II disrupted his progress, and Realcine was destroyed during the war. De Laurentiis was at the heart of the postwar neorealism movement in Italy, helping to revitalize the Italian cinema. He scored his first international success with Giuseppe de Santis's Bitter Rice , a stark drama of the women who work the rice fields of the Po Valley, starring Silvana Mangano (whom De Laurentiis married shortly thereafter). The producer solidified his status when he formed the Ponti-De Laurentiis Production Company with Carlo Ponti in the early 1950s.

Together, De Laurentiis and Ponti produced films by Roberto Rossellini ( Europa '51 ), Vittorio De Sica ( Gold of Naples ), and Federico Fellini ( La strada ). Europa '51 , starring Rossellini's wife Ingrid Bergman, was a bleak disappointment, typical of the Rossellini-Bergman films, but it did give the producers the prestige of a former Hollywood star. They had much better fortune with De Sica and Fellini— Gold of Naples is an exceptional anthology of four vignettes dealing with Neapolitan life, while La strada has become a classic of world cinema, a beautiful and affecting drama of a loutish circus performer and the young woman he abuses, brilliantly directed by Fellini and acted by Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Massina. La strada won De Laurentiis and Ponti an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and worldwide recognition as the preeminent producers in Italy.

De Laurentiis realized the box-office appeal of epics during the 1950s, when small-screen television began stealing motion picture audiences. Another advantage was attracting big-name stars to increase the size of their potential audience, and with this in mind Ponti and De Laurentiis produced two gargantuan spectacles, Mario Camerini's Ulysses , starring Kirk Douglas and Silvana Mangano, and King Vidor's War and Peace with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn. Ulysses , indirectly based on Homer's saga of ancient Greece, sold on the strength of Douglas's marquee value; it is a tedious, talky picture. War and Peace was more successful, with the Tolstoy novel condensed into two hours and 30 minutes, marked by vivid imagery of the Napoleonic Wars, and King Vidor's eye for character and landscape.

De Laurentiis and Ponti went their separate ways after these films, and De Laurentiis created a new independent production company. Nights of Cabiria , a Fellini film about a wistful prostitute (played by Massina), won De Laurentiis another Best Foreign Film Oscar, and later served as the basis for the Broadway musical and film Sweet Charity. Although he still produced Italian movies such as Cabiria and Mario Monicelli's The Great War , a comedy-drama set during World War I, De Laurentiis continued with a policy of U.S.-Italo co-productions, frequently releasing in America through Paramount, filming in Italy with English-speaking stars and directors. In the early 1960s, he constructed a vast studio complex outside Rome and used it as a base of operations for production, as well as leasing it to other independents. In addition to such steamy dramas as Martin Ritt's Five Branded Women and René Clément's This Angry Age , De Laurentiis made money from epics such as Richard Fleischer's Barabbas and particularly from The Bible . . . in the Beginning , directed by John Huston with an all-star cast reverently recreating the great tales of the Old Testament. De Laurentiis had another prestigious blockbuster with Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. For once the Shakespeare tragedy was correctly cast with teenagers in the leads, and the picture struck a chord with the rebellious young generation of the late 1960s.

De Laurentiis moved to America in the early 1970s, after Italy imposed tight tax restrictions on the film industry. Since then his career has expanded rapidly. He continued to support individualistic filmmakers such as Fellini ( Casanova ) and Ingmar Bergman ( Face to Face , The Serpent's Egg ), and experienced noble failures with Robert Altman's Buffalo Bill and the Indians and William Friedkin's The Brink's Job , but began to rely more and more on sure-fire mass appeal material. A series of Charles Bronson action films— The Valachi Papers , The Stone Killer , and Death Wish —were huge moneymakers, and employed a graphic, streetwise realism. Although De Laurentiis still made important films such as Sidney Lumet's Serpico . (the true story of New York police corruption), Sydney Pollack's CIA thriller Three Days of the Condor, Don Siegel's The Shootist , (a nostalgic Western and John Wayne's last movie), and Milos Forman's impressive turn-of-the-century epic Ragtime , he found it profitable to exploit more popular genres.

For a time in the 1970s, it seemed as though the producer was dedicated to such overwrought kitsch as Mandingo , Orca , and Hurricane. Of these only Mandingo was a resounding box-office hit, spawning a sequel, Drum. While he had enjoyed a science-fiction success with Roger Vadim's sexy Barbarella , De Laurentiis's other sci-fi films, Flash Gordon and David Lynch's $50 million Dune did not perform well. Much stronger were the Conan films; Robert E. Howard's classic sword and sorcery adventures were faithfully transmitted to the screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role. John Milius directed Conan the Barbarian; Richard Fleischer handled the inferior sequel Conan the Destroyer , as well as a related adventure, Red Sonja. After a well-mounted remake of The Bounty with Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian and Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh under Roger Donaldson's direction, De Laurentiis opened new studios in Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1985 he acquired Embassy Pictures and formed De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, a new distribution and production company, making many of its films at the North Carolina studios. Again, there was a familiar pattern to the De Laurentiis product, with prestigious films ( Crimes of the Heart ), epics ( Tai-Pan ), action movies ( Desperate Hours ), and occasionally the offbeat ( Blue Velvet ). Horror pictures have been the mainstay of De Laurentiis's output in recent years, especially the successful Stephen King movies— The Dead Zone , Firestarter , Cat's Eye , Silver Bullet , and Maximum Overdrive. De Laurentiis has seemingly beat the system by surviving as an independent producer for 50 years, capping his career with a thriving distribution company. It is no surprise. For 50 years, De Laurentiis has been making movies, not just deals, and his prodigious body of work is rare indeed in today's film industry. Few producers possess his sense of daring—he was the only producer to hire Michael Cimino, for example, after the Heaven's Gate debacle, and their film, Year of the Dragon , helped Cimino back on his feet—or his sense of showmanship, whether promoting the sublime or the banal.


In commemoration of his passing, I'm in the mood to see "King Kong" again when I get home tonight. For now, let's watch the original trailer:



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Why Jim Carrey is Leaving "Three Stooges" 


The Farrelly brothers' dream of making a big-screen project of the "Three Stooges" may just be a dream. Let's follow the production's trajectory shall we?

First, it was announced that the Farrelly brothers would embark on their "Three Stooges" film back in November of 2008. Then, in March of '09, the dream cast was revealed -- Sean Penn would play Larry, Jim Carrey as Curly, and Benicio del Toro as Moe! Then in June of that year, Penn threw a wrench when he quit the project.

Not to mention the film's distributor would be the beleaguered MGM.

So now, Carrey is the one saying goodbye to the "Three Stooges." In an interview with MTV News, the actor said "I think it's dead," then quickly added, "It's dead at least with me."

His reason? He'd have a hard time gaining weight! That's not a problem for most of us though right? :tongue

The actor continued, "For me, I don't really want to do anything halfway, and I don't feel like a fat suit does it...I started experimenting with it a little bit, and I gained 35, 40 pounds. I wanted to gain another 30, 40. When you're [Robert] De Niro in your 20s or early 30s, you can kind of come back from that. It's a tough thing to come back from when you're upwards of 30. Your body can't carry it or you can have a cardiac arrest.

Below is the video of Carrey's interview with MTV News:



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Rumor Alert: Will Zooey Deschanel Reunite with Director Marc Webb for "Spider-Man" Reboot? 


Last week, we told you that Martin Sheen and Sally Field were both in talks to play Uncle Ben and Aunt May respectively for Marc Webb's "Spider-Man" reboot.

Now, the big "Spider-Man" rumor is that Zooey Deschanel will return to the loving arms of her "(500) Days of Summer" director to star as...Betty Brant.

Brant was played by Elizabeth Banks in the Sam Raimi version, and now, Deschanel may play the character who's known to be J. Jonah Jameson's assistant in Daily Bugle. Showbizspy broke the news and posted:

“Betty was a minor character in the previous Spidey movies but Marc has big plans for her,” a movie insider told Showbizspy. “He wants a strong performer to carry the role and Zooey fits the bill perfectly. The role is hers if she wants it.”


If all the stars align, Deschanel will be joining Sheen, Field, Andrew Garfield (Peter/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), and Rhys Ifans who will play the film's unnamed villain.

Here's Betty Brant's biography from Wiki:

Betty Brant was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother had originally been the "girl Friday" of Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, and Betty took the position after her mother's death. Peter Parker (secretly Spider-Man) and she were attracted to each other because Betty wanted a normal, ordinary man, and they were romantically linked. However, her brother was accidentally killed during a fight with Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus, and she blamed Spider-Man. Later she forgave Spider-Man when she realized he was trying to protect them.

A year later, Betty broke up with Peter due to his inability to commit time to her- the two going on to develop a more sibling-esque relationship-, and she eventually married Bugle reporter Ned Leeds. However the marriage proved turbulent as Ned was often posted overseas.

When he was stationed in Paris she found the life impossible and left Ned to return to New York. She turned to Peter Parker once more but Ned followed her home and she was caught between the two men. Peter regretted getting involved with Betty again and allowed the affair to break abruptly, driving her back into the arms of Ned.

Later on in the series, it became clear that Ned Leeds was in fact the villain Hobgoblin, although it later turned out that he was a pawn of the real Hobgoblin. As Leeds became more hostile, Betty drifted into the arms of old friend Flash Thompson. A jealous Leeds framed Thompson as the Hobgoblin after he insulted Hobgoblin in a televised interview, but when the two battled, the Hobgoblin's mask slipped, and Betty discovered that Ned and the Hobgoblin were one and the same. This revelation, coupled with Ned's murder by the Foreigner, sent Brant over the edge into insanity.

Betty joined the Students of Love cult, led by the Teacher, before being saved by Flash and Spider-Man. Because her house had been sold during her time with the cult, Betty stayed with Flash for a time. During this, the demonic events of Inferno happened, overwhelming much of New York City. Betty and Flash were attacked by demonic duplicates of Spider-Man and Ned Leeds. Betty overcame physical and psychological barriers and succeeded in destroying the monsters.

Flash and Betty drifted apart as Betty's recovery continued. She rejoined the staff of the Daily Bugle as an investigative reporter whose newfound courageous assertiveness and investigative skill impressed her colleagues. She finally cleared Ned's name when she revealed that Roderick Kingsley was the real Hobgoblin. She remains a recurring character in the Spider-Man comics.

Currently, she has met up with one of Peter's old college friends, Debra Whitman, during a book signing event for Debra's new book Two-Faced. The book described her relationship with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, which ended in Debra being the victim. However, when it was later revealed that the book was actually altered by the Bugle's staff to make Spider-Man look like he ruined Debra's life, Betty secretly leaked information to the Daily Globe, exposing the fraud. Her boss, J. Jonah Jameson, furious with the possible libel suit, now orders Betty to find out who had given the information.

She manages to keep her role even after J. Jonah Jameson's heart attack forced his wife to sell the Bugle to Dexter Bennett, who renamed it The DB. As Dexter is trying to sidestep Betty and make her his "Girl Friday" again, Peter Parker drops hints of a fake family relationship between Betty and the deceased actor Marlon Brando, bolstering her position in Bennett's eye as a gossip reporter.
Recently, she celebrated her birthday and asked Peter to organize for her friends to come over for a dinner, but due to her work at the new DB, nobody feels like befriending her. Betty is initially furious at Peter, angrily accusing him of ruining her night until he tells her the truth. She is sad, but he reassures her that everyone will forgive her soon. Betty realizes that Peter really is her best friend.[1]
Betty and Flash Thompson have resumed their previous romantic relationship.[2]


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Celebrities Line Up for Wes Anderson's New Film 


Respectable actors will go to the moon for a chance to work with director Wes Anderson. Now, Deadline is reporting that Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton are all in talks to star in the director's "Moon Rise Kingdom."

Anderson co-wrote the script with Roman Coppola and he wants to go on production late next spring. According to Deadline, "Moon Rise Kingdom" is "set in the 60s. Two young adults fall in love and run away. Leaders in their New England town are sticking the idea that they've disappeared and go in search of them. Norton will play a scout leader who brings his charges on a search. Willis is in talks to play the town sheriff who’s also looking, and who is having an affair with the missing girl’s mother, the role McDormand is in talks to play. Murray, a regular in Anderson films, will play the girl's father, who has his own issues."

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