Disney-Fox pulls 'Ad Astra' from May 24 release date - Silver Screen Beat
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Disney-Fox pulls Brad Pitt sci-fi drama ‘Ad Astra’ from May 24 release date, eyes new fall debut

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Ad Astra Brad Pitt
20TH CENTURY FOX

In a less than shocking move, Disney-Fox quietly pulled the Brad Pitt sci-fi drama Ad Astra from its release calendar yesterday, just three weeks before the movie was scheduled to open during the Memorial Day weekend. The studio had no comment on the film’s disappearance.

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time Ad Astra has been moved around on Fox’s release calendar; in October of last year, the studio decided to push the film back from its original January 11, 2019 slot to the most recent May 24, 2019 slot.

While Disney-Fox has yet to announce a new release date for Ad Astra, studio insiders tell Silver Screen Beat that the film, which is still in post-production and undergoing extensive VFX work, will likely be done in time for a debut on the fall festival circuit, where it could hit fests such as Venice and Toronto before making its way into theaters.

Ad Astra is directed and co-written by James Gray and follows space engineer Roy McBride (Pitt) as he travels through the solar system to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones), who left on a one-way mission to the planet of Neptune more than 20 years ago in order to find signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

The film’s cast also includes Ruth Negga, Jamie Kennedy, and Donald Sutherland.

Pitt, in addition to starring in the film, also serves as a producer under his Plan B banner along with partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. Rodrigo Teixeria, Anthony Katagas, and Gray are also producers.

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David Fincher, Robert Towne begin development on ‘Chinatown’ prequel series at Netflix

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PARAMOUNT PICTURES

A prequel series to Roman Polanski‘s 1974 neo-noir classic Chinatown from David Fincher and Robert Towne is in early development at Netflix, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

Per Deadline, Fincher and Towne — the latter of the two having won an Oscar for his screenplay for the film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway — have closed deals to begin working on a pilot script for the series.

The duo will also executive produce the project, which centers around “a young Jake Gittes (played by Nicholson in Polanski’s film) as he plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involves areas like land, oil, and gangs.”

Fincher has reportedly expressed interest in directing an episode of the yet-to-be-titled series, though his current deal with the streamer only includes the pilot script and his handling of directorial duties would have to be negotiated into the agreement.

Netflix has developed quite a relationship with Fincher over the past several years, having collaborated with the director on series such as Love, Death & Robots, House of Cards, and Mindhunter.

Fincher’s latest collaboration with Netflix — a feature film about the life of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz titled Mank — stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Collins, and is expected to begin shooting in Los Angeles later this month.

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Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver to be honored with acting award at Santa Barbara Film Festival

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Marriage Story Scarlett Johansson Adam Driver
NETFLIX

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced Monday that it has selected Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Performers of the Year award for their work in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

The two stars — both of whom are considered to be major players this awards season — will be honored during a ceremony at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on January 17, where Martin Scorsese and Renée Zellweger are also set to receive awards.

“Scarlett and Adam have had such admirable arcs to their careers — making smart choices between independent films and big Hollywood franchises. They both are such lyrical performers, imbuing their acting with keen sensitivity and intellect. Together in Baumbach’s Marriage Story, they regaled us with their best work to date,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.

Previous recipients of the award include Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney for I, Tonya, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for La La Land.

Marriage Story, which features an ensemble cast that also includes that likes of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Wever, is currently playing in theaters in select cities and will begin streaming on Netflix next month on December 6.

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Nicolas Cage to play Nicolas Cage in meta drama ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

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Nicolas Cage
SASCHA STEINBACH/GETTY IMAGES

In a rather extremely unexpected development, Lionsgate is close to nearing a deal to acquire the rights to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will find Nicolas Cage playing none other than Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, centers on a fictionalized version of Cage who “is desperate to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.”

The plot only gets more bizarre from there, however, as Cage “is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire, who happens to be a fan of Cage’s work.”

It isn’t long, though, before Cage finds out that the billionaire “is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee,” and that he will need to go undercover for the United States government to gather intelligence.

Gormican and Etten’s script reportedly features references to Cage classics such as Face-Off, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gone in 60 Seconds, and is tonally similar to JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme and Get Shorty starring John Travolta.

Cage is currently in talks to join the meta movie project, which has Gromican attached to direct and Kevin Turen to produce along with Cage and Mike Nilon.

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