Henry Winkler joins the cast of 'The French Dispatch' - Silver Screen Beat
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Henry Winkler joins the ensemble cast of Wes Anderson’s latest project ‘The French Dispatch’

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More than a month after it was first revealed that production on Wes Anderson’s secretive new project The French Dispatch was already underway in Southwestern France, THR is reporting that yet another high-profile star has been added to the film’s ensemble cast.

Henry Winkler, the 73-year-old TV legend who recently picked up an Emmy for best supporting actor in a comedy in September for his role on HBO’s hit series Barry, is said to be joining the cast of The French Dispatch, which already includes the likes of Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton.

The film, which is described as “a love letter to journalists set at an outpost of an American newspaper in 20th-century Paris [that] centers on three storylines,” will also star Benicio del Toro, Jeffrey Wright, Adrien Brody, Bob Balaban, and Timothée Chalamet.

As per usual, Anderson’s latest is being independently financed by Indian Paintbrush’s Steven Rales, the billionaire businessman who has produced each and every single one of the filmmaker’s projects since Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

Fox Searchlight, who has a long-term deal with Indian Paintbrush, is likely to handle domestic distribution.

Winkler, who just wrapped shooting the second season of Barry, leaving his schedule plenty of room to begin work on The French Dispatch, is also up for a SAG Award and a Critics’ Choice Award this awards season.

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Taika Waititi signs on to direct ‘Thor 4’ as the live-action ‘Akira’ movie gets delayed indefinitely

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In a move that will force him to put the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Akira on the backburner indefinitely, Taika Waititi has officially closed a deal to direct Thor 4 for Marvel Studios, sources tell Silver Screen Beat.

The development is a rather surprising one considering Akira — which has been in development at Warner Bros. ever since the studio acquired the rights to the popular Japanese manga in 2002 — was as close as it ever was to getting made.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-production on Akira had been moving along smoothly — despite some concerns with the script that were later resolved — and Waititi had been meeting with and testing young Japanese actors for roles in the film as part of a worldwide search for talent.

But now that the project has experienced yet another major setback, execs can only hope that Waititi will pick up where he left off once he completes Thor 4, which will once again see Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the titular God of Thunder.

Waititi is currently prepping to hop on the fall festival circuit with his World War II-era satire Jojo Rabbit, which he wrote, directed, and stars in alongside Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Fox Searchlight will release the film on October 18.

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Warner Bros.’ live-action ‘Barbie’ movie taps Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach as writers

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As Greta Gerwig prepares to debut her sophomore effort Little Women on the fall festival circuit in the coming months, the Oscar-nominee has been tapped to co-write and possibly direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Barbie movie.

Gerwig will pen the script for Barbie along with Noah Baumbach, while Gerwig is also likely to helm the high-profile project, though negotiations are still underway and no deals have been finalized as of yet.

Margot Robbie, who is on board to star as the iconic Mattel toy, will also serve as a producer on the film along with Tom Ackerly for LuckyChap Entertainment and Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films. Josey McNamara and Ynon Kreiz are also producing.

Gerwig is currently in post-production on her star-studded Little Women adaptation for Columbia. The film, which is expected to be a strong contender in the forthcoming awards season race, stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.

Baumbach, who last directed The Meyerowitz Stories, is also in post-production on his untitled dramedy for Netflix starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple who are getting divorced. The cast also includes Dern, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson.

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Damien Chazelle shops new project ‘Babylon’ to studios as Emma Stone circles lead role

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Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer-director of the 2016 musical La La Land, has begun shopping around the script for his next project titled Babylon, which is yet another story set in Los Angeles that will this time focus on the film industry in the 1920s.

While multiple studios have shown interest in the project — including Paramount and Netflix — Chazelle is most likely to bring Babylon to Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land and ran its extensive awards season campaign that earned the film a whopping 14 Oscar nominations.

Although specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps for the time being, the film is said to be a drama set during the Roaring Twenties that examines Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies and will feature characters both fictional and not.

Emma Stone, who an Oscar for performance opposite Ryan Gosling in La La Land, is circling the lead role in the film — which is rumored to be iconic Hollywood “It” girl Clara Bow — though talks are still preliminary and any type of formal negotiations have yet to get underway.

Despite the attention that Babylon has caught, though, studios are hesitant to move on the project given its rather lengthy 180-page-long script and estimated $80 million to $100 million production budget, which some execs feel might be too big of a risky investment for their studios.

Chazelle, who last directed the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Gosling, is currently working on two other projects in addition to Babylon, including the musical drama series The Eddy for Netflix and an untitled drama series for Apple’s forthcoming service service.

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