Morning 5

Ford, Fisher and Hamill Signed for 'Star Wars 7', Kenan to Direct 'Poltergeist' and Blanchett in 'Blue Jasmine'

Plus Inarritu's Birdman comes together

Star Wars 7 / Fisher / Hamill / Ford1.) So after yesterday's report of Carrie Fisher saying "Yes" she would return for Star Wars: Episode VII she then went on and said she was just joking. Now, today, George Lucas takes things a step farther and says not only is Fisher signed, but Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are also signed... or at least nearly signed:

"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison--or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation... So I called them to say, 'Look, this is what's going on.' [...] Maybe I'm not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them... I won't say whether the negotiations were successful or not."

Yeah, can't wait for that big announcement. In the age of the Internet keeping a secret is virtually impossible, and when it comes to casting, is it really all that important? [Bloomberg]

2.) Gil Kenan (City of Ember, Monster House) has signed on to direct the Poltergeist remake for MGM. The decision is hardly an obvious one, but then again it's not like a high-profile director would sully his name remaking a classic horror film that doesn't need remaking. Seriously, what can he do with the film outside of having people watch it and, at best, saying he didn't completely mess it up? [Deadline]

3.) Liam Neeson and Giovanni Ribisi have joined the cast of Seth MacFarlane's A Million Ways To Die in the West in which MacFarlane will play a character named Albert, a not very good sheep farmer who chickens out of a duel and gets dumped by his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried). Neeson is attached as the film's villain, a nefarious outlaw whose wife (Charlize Theron) teaches the cowardly farmer the ways of gun-fighting in order for him to win back his lady love. Ribisi, who had a role in MacFarlane's Ted, will play Albert's best friend Edward, a simple shoe repairman who bears up with a girlfriend who won't have sex with him, but as a working prostitute she's doing it with everybody else. [Deadline]

4.) Alejandro González Iñárritu is going from dark drama to dark comedy with Birdman at Fox Searchlight. He previously cast Michael Keaton as a former actor who once played a superhero puts together a play on Broadway based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Unfortunately, the ex-superhero's plans to soar again are threatened by his egotistical lead stage actor (Edward Norton). Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts co-star. [Deadline]

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

5.) Finally, here's the first look at Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's new film Blue Jasmine via the film's Facebook page. Based on appearances, I would say Blanchett just might play a character named Jasmine. The film is set in San Francisco and centers on a fashionable New York housewife (Blanchett) who has her life together and a neurotic (Sally Hawkins) in the midst of the final stages of an acute crisis. Then again, I have been told I have those characters backwards and Blanchett plays the neurotic... We'll find out soon enough when the film opens on July 26 or if it plays at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

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  • Winchester

    Curiously 'Poltergeist' is one of those 'classic' horror films I never really understood the fuss about. I saw it years ago but years after it was made and it didn't really do a whole lot for me.

    I guess a remake here doesn't really bother me.

    I don't think the Wars casting is a total surprise if it were correct though.

  • Torryz

    If casting wasn't important, why you report on it?

  • andyluvsfilms

    I'm sure a lot of actors would take a Mark Hamill career but I'm really pleased that he's back in the spotlight again, his and Harrison Ford's careers pretty much went in opposite directions after Jedi #GoSkywalkerGo

  • Kimberlesk

    Poltergeist is one of my all time fave paranormal films -- I'll see the remake and hope they don't turn it into a mess. I think the original stands the test of time.
    *fingers crossed that Ford, Fisher & Hamill DO sign for the Star Wars film -- would be the only thing that would make me excited to see it.

  • theJackal

    I'm very hopeful about the casting of Fisher, Ford and Hamill for Episode VII. I'm quite confident that J.J. Abrams will utilize them in small rolls that ties the new film to Return of the Jedi, while at the same time being very respectful of their characters. Luke as the wizened old Jedi sends my imagination running in all kinds of wonderful directions.

    Michael Keaton in a Iñárritu film? Sounds good to me. This film has definitely been added to my radar.

    I'm pretty confident we will see Blue Jasmine making the cut for Cannes. The French love them some Woody, as do I. I've been particularly enjoying Allen's latest films (Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris being the standouts); each is a delight.

    Thems the facts