1.) 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]
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.