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Sandra Bullock Joins Brad Pitt in Sony’s ‘Bullet Train’

From Variety: “Sandra Bullock is the latest star to come aboard Sony Pictures’ action thriller “Bullet Train,” Variety has confirmed.

Bullock joins an ensemble cast jam-packed with stars, including Brad Pitt, Joey King, Lady Gaga, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman, Bad Bunny, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Masi Oka, Michael Shannon, Hiroyuki Sanada and Karen Fukuhara.

The details of Bullock’s role in the film are currently unknown. Sony declined to comment on the casting.

Based on the novel “Maria Beetle” by Kōtarō Isaka, “Bullet Train” follows five assassins who find themselves on a bullet train in Japan and realize that their assignments are related. “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde” director David Leitch is set to helm the film from a screenplay by Zak Olkewicz.

“Bullet Train” is produced by Columbia Pictures, 87North Productions and Fuqua Films. Leicht is also taking on a producer role, alongside Antoine Fuqua, Kelly McCormick and Kat Samick.

“Bullet Train” will mark the first film that Bullock and Pitt have appeared in together. Bullock earned an Oscar in 2010 for her performance in drama “The Blind Side.” Most recently, Bullock played Debbie Ocean in 2018’s “Ocean’s 8” and Malorie Hayes in the Netflix hit “Bird Box” that same year.

Production on “Bullet Train” is said to have commenced in October in Los Angeles. Though a crew member tested positive for COVID-19 on set in December, Variety learned that production on the film was able to continue uninterrupted.

Deadline Hollywood was the first to report the news of Bullock’s casting.”

Tarantino Breaks Down Why His Once Upon a Time Ending Is More Terrifying Than Silence of the Lambs

From MovieWeb: “Quentin Tarantino believes Once Upon A Time in Hollywood ending was more terrifying than Silence of the Lambs.

Aside from being an acclaimed filmmaker, Quentin Tarantinoo is also an avid movie watcher, who closely studies the various ways in which directors use filming techniques to create the right atmosphere for the audience. In a recent interview for Empire, Tarantino contended that the scene where Cliff Booth enters Spahn Ranch in his movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is more terrifying than the end of The Silence of the Lambs.

“When you watch the movie with an audience the first time… it achieves something I think is difficult to achieve in a movie. It achieves terror. The audience is terrified for Cliff and the air in the theater changes. They are genuinely afraid… That sequence [at the end of The Silence of the Lambs] is magnificent. I would push back on one aspect of it though. I’ve seen some movies before. I did not think Jodie Foster was going to die. At that point in the movie I would have been surprised if it ended with Buffalo Bill killing Jodie Foster. No, I’ve seen too many movies to think that was actually going to happen… One of the reasons that that scene [Spahn Ranch] works so effectively is because Cliff could die.”

For context, in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt in the role of Cliff enters Spahn Ranch, which, unknown to him, is the lair of a murderous cult. Cliff’s investigations lead him straight into the den of the cult, and for some time, a grisly death at the hands of crazed killers seems definitely on the cards for the character. Thankfully, Cliff leaves before anything drastic happens.

On the other hand, the end of Silence of the Lambs saw Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster, entering the lair of the notorious serial killer Buffalo Bill on her own. After a tense battle in which Bill very nearly overpowers her, Clarice finally gains the upper hand. According to Tarantino, the difference between his movie and The Silence of the Lambs comes down to what separates terror from suspense.

“There’s a difference between suspense and terror. On one hand it’s razor thin on the other hand It’s as wide as the Grand Canyon. Suspense is ‘what’s going to happen?’ Terror is [when] you know exactly what is going to happen and you don’t want to see it.”

Clearly, Tarantino has very strong ideas about what constitutes true terror. And now we can’t help but wonder what a pure horror movie made by Quentin Tarantino would look like. The director had addressed the possibility a few years ago, admitting that his fondness for injecting humor into scenes would prevent him from making something like The Exorcist.

“If I had all the time in the world, I would love to make a really, really scary horror film, like The Exorcist. But I don’t know if me taking my sense of humor and putting it in the backseat just to hit a tone of dread from beginning to end is the best use of my talents or my time. I don’t know if I could let go of that humor and be able to make something like The Exorcist and keep that tone of dread all the way through.”

Snatch is getting a 20th Anniversary release on 4K Blu-ray this June

From The Digital Fix: “Snatch is heading to 4K Blu-ray to mark it’s 20th Anniversary with a release date currently set for 1st June 2021. Guy Ritchie’s film takes the formula he first established in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and dials it up with a bigger story and a cast that includes Brad Pitt.

We have no details on what the release will feature, but a full 4K remaster is sure to make this an essential purchase even without full details on the disc contents.

As soon as we know more we’ll share it right here.”

‘Nobody’s going to make this film’: Terry Gilliam, ’12 Monkeys’ screenwriters look back on oddball sci-fi favorite 25 years later

From Yahoo: “Despite a remarkable run of idiosyncratic classics that included Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) and The Fisher King (1991), Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam still doubted the plausibility of making 12 Monkeys, the predictably odd and ambitious sci-fi favorite that would become the filmmaker’s biggest box-office success.

“I thought, ‘Nobody’s going to make this film,’” Gilliam tells us during a recent virtual interview in which he reunited with the movie’s husband-and-wife screenwriting duo, David and Janet Peoples, ahead of its 25th anniversary this month (watch above). “It just didn’t fit into what Hollywood was known for doing. And I was blown away by [the script], because I thought, this is a challenge. I thought if anything’s a challenge, this is one.

“And it touched on so many elements that appealed to me: time travel, the idea of something that wipes out half of humanity, if not more. I’ve always been a great fan of the idea of a big cull of the human species. … We are the most dangerous creature on the planet. We’re f it up.”

12 Monkeys, which like several other disease-oriented films has seen a spike in interest during the coronavirus pandemic, follows a convict (Bruce Willis) from a dystopian future sent back to the past (in this case 1996) to gather information on a man-made virus that has forced humanity to live underground. While there, Willis’s James Cole memorably encounters Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt), the insane asylum resident thought to be a suspect for his ties to the activist group The Army of the Twelve Monkeys, and Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), a psychologist Cole kidnaps who later becomes an ally.

While Gilliam directly referenced time travel, the Peoples couple insist they always viewed the story to be more about “mind travel.” As David Peoples puts it, “It was not a sci-fi picture about magic traveling from one time to another. It was about, what would happen if you could travel? And what would it do to your mind? … What is the future? And if you had a dream that you were in the future, could you really have been there? How would you know you hadn’t been there? And that was the dilemma of poor Cole. Did he just have a bad dream, and now he’s stuck trying to warn everybody about something?”

Loosely based on the French 1962 short film La Jetée, the Peoples’ conceived their story after witnessing animal rights protests outside a research lab near the neighboring University of California, Berkeley campus.

“The script was a mess. … It was so dense and so weird,” David Peoples admits about the project before Gilliam came onboard. “We realized that Terry was the only person who could’ve made that movie. Nobody else could’ve got that narrative, along with all those visionary [elements]. Terry had us make some changes in the script, and unusually in the motion picture business, they were improvements.”

That included one of the film’s key twists. In the original script, the Army of the Twelve Monkeys did actually release the virus.

“It was very conventional,” Janet Peoples says.

“And Janet suddenly pointed out, ‘They can’t send out the virus. That’s absurd, it’s somebody else. It’s just a big McGuffin.’ And from there on we had a story that was working.””

Babylon: Paramount Sets Damien Chazelle’s New Film For 2022

From “According to Deadline, Paramount Pictures has decided to change the release date for director Damien Chazelle’s upcoming period drama film Babylon. Originally scheduled for Christmas 2021, the Brad Pitt-led film has now been pushed back to December 25, 2022 for a limited release which will then be followed by wide theatrical release on January 6, 2023.

Babylon is described as an original drama set in period Hollywood, a “bold auteur piece with a significant budget.” Lionsgate was previously in the lead to land the movie at auction until Paramount came through with the winning bid.

The film will be led by Oscar winner Brad Pitt with his Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood co-star Margot Robbie in talks to replace Emma Stone for the female lead. Li Jun Li (Wu Assassins, Evil) has also been cast as Anna May Wong.

Chazelle, whose credits include 10 Cloverfield Lane, Whiplash, First Man, and The Last Exorcism Part II, wrote the script and will direct. Olivia Hamilton, Matt Plouffe, and Marc Platt will serve as producers.”

MGM and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Team Up for Films With ‘Minari,’ ‘Bad Education’ Directors

From Variety: Metro Goldwyn Mayer has signed a two-year second-look film production deal with Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner’a Plan B Entertainment.

As part of this new pact, Plan B has set several projects with MGM, including a love story from “Minari” writer and director Lee Isaac Chung. The pic centers on a young man lost in New York City’s corporate drudgery, who finds love with a beautiful young woman from Hong Kong, only to break up with her out of fear of settling down. He sets out on a madcap quest to find himself, which leads him to realize he had already discovered true love in her. When he returns to rekindle their romance, he learns it’s too late, so he travels to Hong Kong to get her back.

MGM will also team with “Bad Education” director Cory Finley on an adaptation of National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson’s novel “Landscape With Invisible Hand.” The movie is described as a dark, surreal comedy set in an alien future. It’s Finley’s follow-up to “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman, and “Thoroughbreds” with Anya Taylor-Joy. Annapurna Pictures will produce with Plan B.

Plan B teamed with Chung on “Minari,” based on his story about growing up on a small farm in rural Arkansas. “Minari” won the grand jury and audience awards at Sundance 2020. “Minari” opened on Dec. 11 in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and will expand beginning on Feb. 12, 2021.

Plan B has produced “12 Years a Slave,” “The Tree of Life,” “World War Z,” “Selma,””The Big Short,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Vice” and Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire.”

“We are incredibly thrilled to have Brad, Dede, and Jeremy join the MGM family,” MGM Motion Picture Group Chairman Michael De Luca and MGM Motion Picture Group President Pamela Abdy said in a statement on Friday. “Their decades long commitment advocating for a filmmaker’s vision knows no equal. All of us at MGM are excited to join with them in bringing these incredible filmmaker’s visions to life and to be a home for theirs and so many singular voices who are making movies today and, in the years, to come.”

Plan B said, “We very much look forward to working with Mike, Pam and the MGM team as we head into the next decade with our company. We are equally thrilled to be working again with Lee Isaac, and to collaborate with Cory, and to join with MGM in sharing their uniquely original films with audiences the world over.”

Chung is represented CAA. Finley is represented by CAA and Mosaic.

Margot Robbie in Talks to Replace Emma Stone in Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’

From The Hollywood Reporter: Emma Stone is exiting Damien Chazelle’s Golden Age Hollywood epic Babylon, with Margot Robbie in talks to replace the Oscar winner.

If a deal makes, Robbie would be reteamed with her Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-star Brad Pitt, who is attached to the Paramount project.

Set in the late 1920s, the movie is said to take place during the movie industry’s transition from silent films to talkies. The rise and fall of fictional and historical characters figure into the proceedings.

Robbie would portray Clara Bow, the early sex symbol and box office star who was Hollywood’s first “It” girl. Pitt would play a fictional character, a silent film star who fails to make the transition to the new technology that, sources say, is based on real-life figure John Gilbert.

The period drama, which landed at the studio prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, was shopped with a Chazelle-penned script that clocked in at a massive 180 pages and a budget in the $80 million to $100 million range.

Marc Platt, who produced Chazelle’s La La Land, will produce Babylon, with Olivia Hamilton, Matthew Plouffe and Tobey Maguire.

Robbie, repped by CAA, will next be seen in the Suicide Squad sequel, reprising her role as Harley Quinn.

Michael Shannon Joining Brad Pitt in Sony’s ‘Bullet Train’

From The Hollywood Reporter: It’s all aboard for Michael Shannon. The actor is joining the Brad Pitt assassin movie Bullet Train, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The Sony Pictures film has an ensemble cast that includes Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Joey King, Zazie Beetz and Andrew Koji.

Filmmaker David Leitch, who last helmed the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, is in the director’s chair for the contained action thriller, which is an adaptation of Kotaro Isaka’s popular Japanese book Maria Beetle. The film centers on a group of assassins with conflicting motives on a train in Tokyo.

Fear Street scribe Zak Olkewicz penned the script. Kelly McCormick is producing Bullet Train through 87North and Antoine Fuqua is producing through his Fuqua Films. Brittany Morrissey is overseeing for Sony Pictures.

Shannon, a two-time Oscar nominee for Nocturnal Animals and Revolutionary Road, is in production on the Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers. He will next be on screen in the coming-of-age drama Swing and the Michael Maren comedy Shriver.

Shannon is represented by CAA, Range Media Partners, and Morris, Yorn, Barnes, Levine, Krintzman, Runbenstein, Kohner & Gellman.

Zazie Beetz Joins Brad Pitt Action Movie ‘Bullet Train’

From Variety: “Deadpool 2” star Zazie Beetz will join Brad Pitt in the cast of Sony’s action movie “Bullet Train.”

Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry and Andrew Koji are also boarding the pic. “Hobbs & Shaw” helmer David Leitch is directing with Kelly McCormick producing through 87North and Antoine Fuqua through Fuqua Films. Zak Olkewicz wrote the script, based on the Japanese novel “Maria Beetle” by best-selling author Kotaro Isaka. The book centers on a group of hitmen and assassins with conflicting motives on a train in Tokyo.

Pitt boarded the project in early July. He had been weighing his options since winning his first acting Oscar for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” for playing stuntman Cliff Booth. Pitt is also attached to co-star with Emma Stone in Damien Chazelle’s movie “Babylon,” which moved back the start of production to 2021, creating an opening in his schedule for “Bullet Train.” Brittany Morrissey is the executive overseeing the project for Sony Pictures.

Beetz is currently filming Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall.” Her most recent film, “Nine Days,” premiered at Sundance. Her other movie credits include “The Joker,” opposite Joaquin Phoenix; Noah Hawley’s “Lucy in the Sky” for Searchlight with Natalie Portman; “Wounds” opposite Armie Hammer; and Steven Soderbergh’s “High Flying Bird” with Andre Holland. Beetz was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in Donald Glover’s “Atlanta.” She played the character Domino opposite Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool 2.”

She is repped by CAA, Management 360, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.