EXCLUSIVE: The Crow will fly with Welsh actor Luke Evans playing the title role in the F. Javier Gutierrez-directed franchise reboot for Relativity Media. Evans was the original choice, but he has been incredibly busy. He was just cast as the lead in Dracula Year Zero, he is the villain in Fast & Furious 6 and is Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Evans seemed to be unavailable because of production on Dracula and promotion on The Hobbit. The distributor looked at Tom Hiddleston and more recently Alexander Skarsgard, the latter of whom has a bunch of offers after Warner Bros halted Tarzan. Ultimately, they have decided to push the start date to early next year to accommodate his schedule in order to secure Evans, who is currently promoting the release of Fast 6. So hey junket guys, be sure to ask him about it. They are now in negotiations and I expect the deal to make. He seems an ideal fit for the role originated by Brandon Lee, who died tragically during production on the 1994 Alex Proyas-directed revenge story based on the James O’Barr comic book series. He’s repped by WME and United Agents.
Oscar winner Jim Broadbent will play Tommy Butler, the detective who relentlessly sought to bring the gang behind the infamous August 8, 1963 robbery of a Royal Mail train to justice. The BBC‘s two-part drama The Great Train Robbery kicks off with The Robbers’ Tale, the story of how the heist was planned and executed. Luke Evans will play Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the heist. The second part, A Coppers’ Tale, will feature Broadbent leading the Scotland Yard team Butler assembled to bring the thieves to justice in a race against time. Also joining A Coppers’ Tale are Tim Pigott-Smith (Downton Abbey, Alice In Wonderland), Robert Glenister (Law & Order: UK, Hustle), Tom Chambers (Waterloo Road), Tom Beard (Salmon Fishing In The Yemen), James Wilby (Titanic) and James Fox (W.E., Utopia).
Fast & Furious 6‘s Luke Evans stars in Dracula, about Prince Vlad, the man who would become the mythological bloodsucker. Gary Shore came aboard as director more than a year ago after the studio scrapped the film because of budget concerns; Sam Worthington had been attached to star with Alex Proyas directing. The latest script draft was from Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless. Michael De Luca remains the producer on the pic, for which Universal has set an August 8, 2014 release. That puts it alone for now on the date but comes a week after Disney’s Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Created by Broadchurch and Camelot exec producer Chris Chibnall, the two 90-minute movies will tell the story of the gang behind the crime and the team of detectives who sought to bring the perpetrators to justice. The first part, The Robbers’ Tale, will be directed by Julian Jarrold (The Girl); James Strong (Broadchurch) will direct part two, A Coppers’ Tale.
Also joining the cast as members of the criminal team are Jack Roth (Bedlam), Neil Maskell (Utopia), Paul Anderson (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows), Martin Compston (Line Of Duty), Del Synnott (The Silence) and Jack Gordon (Panic Button).
What’s in a name? Well if the name is Adolph – and it’s what you plan to call your new baby – you can be sure there’s a hornet’s nest. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Alexandre de la Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s hit Parisien play Le Prénom (The Name) which Pathé is bringing to the bigscreen. I’ve learned that the French major is co-producing and will begin international sales on the feature next week at the Rendez-Vous With French Cinema in Paris. The film stars Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Guillaume de Tonquédec and Judith El Zein. The premise is this: Expectant father Bruel is interrogated as to the baby’s name during a dinner at his sister and brother-in-law’s home. When he announces he’s chosen “Adolph,” the family is plunged into chaos. He defends the name on an intellectual basis – it is after all the title of a famous piece of 19th century literature by Benjamin Constant – but the family is having none of it. The bourgeois-bohemian living room satire extends to other discoveries about the family and was a hit at Paris’ Théâtre Edouard VII last year, drawing comparison to Harold Pinter.
Michael Luisi, who until this year ran the day-to-day operations at Miramax as EVP Worldwide Operations, has been tapped as president of WWE Studios, where he joined in January as EVP Business Development and General Counsel. He will report to WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Luisi will be charged with expanding the WWE portfolio worldwide on multiple platforms — theatrical, home video and VOD. The first project he will oversee is No One Lives, a co-production with Pathe Pictures that stars Luke Evans and is directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. The horror thriller, which Luisi brought to the company, is in postproduction.
Deadline told you last week that Luke Evans would play Bard in The Hobbit and that Benedict Cumberbatch would play Smaug. But Peter Jackson revealed a couple more casting surprises as he continues production. One is Lost‘s Evangeline Lilly, who has been under the radar since the conclusion of that series and who has been sparing in her movie work during production of that series, aside from the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker and the upcoming Real Steel. She’ll play a Woodland Elf named Tauriel. Barry Humphries, best known for his alter ego Dame Edna, will play the Goblin King. Here is Jackson’s Facebook missive:
EXCLUSIVE: After reporting today that Luke Evans will play Bard in the Peter Jackson-directed The Hobbit and wondering who’ll voice the dragon Smaug, Deadline can now tell you that it will be Benedict Cumberbatch. He’ll portray Smaug via motion capture. He is already on the picture, providing the voice of the character Necromancer. This comes as Cumberbatch is getting buzz for his supporting performances in the Steven Spielberg-directed War Horse. And Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, in which he stars opposite Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and Colin Firth. After drawing raves for his performance in Danny Boyle’s stage production of Frankenstein, Cumberbatch was just set to star in the five-part miniseries Parade’s End. Cumberbatch continues his role as Sherlock Holmes on the BBC/PBS series, which just won the BAFTA for Best Drama. He is represented by UTA and Conway Van Gelder.
EXCLUSIVE: Luke Evans has bagged the role of Bard in The Hobbit, a last major part that Peter Jackson hadn’t cast in a production that’s underway in New Zealand. Bard the Grim is a skilled archer, and the heir of King Girion of Dale. The king was killed by the talking dragon Smaug. The character plays a greater role in the second film, and is somewhat reminiscent of the action-hero exploits of Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn, I’m told.
It seemed evident that the Welsh actor was going to win one of these roles that involve a competition between multiple young thesps. He was a finalist to play the lead in Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy that went to Jeremy Renner, and was a finalist for the role of Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, which went to Joel Edgerton. Evans plays Aramis in the upcoming Three Musketeers, after supporting roles in Immortals, Robin Hood and Clash of the Titans. He’s repped by WME and Ruth Young at United Agents in the UK.
That leaves the voice of Smaug as the major casting yet to be revealed. I’d heard early on that it would likely be Bill Nighy, but have heard nothing since then.
The young male Role To Die For at the moment is the lead in The Bourne Legacy, the Bourne Identity spinoff film that will be directed for Universal by Tony Gilroy. The field is narrowing, and I’m told that the following are set so far to test: Joel Edgerton (The Thing), Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) and Luke Evans (The Amateur American).
There could be another name or two (Logan Marshall-Green comes up as speculation), but that’s who’ll test first week of April. Now the choice could always come from an actor who doesn’t test. Among the established names in the mix has been Shia LaBeouf (will not test, per insiders) and Battleship‘s Taylor Kitsch (has met with Gilroy and is a possibility). I don’t think the studio feels this needs a big star. It’s hard to find a better branded movie, and while it’s not Matt Damon starring, Gilroy’s writing work has provided the spine for the original series. That gives this some franchise cred.
FilmNation Entertainment is building the action-thriller The Amateur American around British actor Luke Evans. The pic, written and to be directed by Ross Katz, is scheduled to shoot in September. It’s another case of a financier speculating on an actor it thinks will turn into one of the next young stars, and also another in a growing trend of offshore thesps tapped to play Americans. That has become a regular occurrence in superhero movies from Batman to Superman and Spider-Man, among others. What has happened to the American action hero gene pool?
FilmNation was sold on Evans after watching his work in its just-wrapped The Raven, in which he starred alongside John Cusack. Evans also played Apollo in Clash of the Titans, plays Zeus in the upcoming Immortals, and Aramis in The Three Musketeers.Writer-director Katz produced such indie films as In The Bedroom and Lost In Translation, and made his directorial debut on the Kevin Bacon-starrer Taking Chance for HBO.
The action-thriller is about a young American living in Paris who accepts a job working for a shadowy employer and soon finds himself framed for murder and caught up in a web of deceit. The pic will be produced by FilmNation Entertainment’s Aaron Ryder and Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman. FilmNation will begin selling foreign territories. No domestic deal has yet been set.
FilmNation just wrapped House at the End of the Street with Winter’s Bone star Jennifer Lawrence and Likely …
The hot role for young actors right now is the lead in The Bourne Identity spinoff that will start production this fall with Tony Gilroy directing his script for Universal. Here are the names I’ve heard have met with Gilroy or are otherwise in the mix: Joel Edgerton, Josh Hartnett, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Paul Dano, Michael Pitt, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Luke Evans, Alex Pettyfer, Taylor Kitsch, Benjamin Walker. Gilroy will pare the list quickly. Several of the actors might have availability issues. Stay tuned.
Luke Evans has been set to star alongside John Cusack in The Raven, the drama that will be directed by V for Vendetta’s James McTeigue. Production starts later this year in Eastern Europe. Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe in stylized revisionist take of the last week of the poet’s life, written by Hannah Shakespeare and Ben Livingston. Evans will play a detective who teams with the poet to track down a serial killer who’s kidnapped Poe’s fiancée. I’m hearing Alice Eve is likely to play the female lead.
Evans is an up and comer who played Apollo in Clash of the Titans, plays Zeus in the upcoming Tarsem-directed The Immortals, and is in production playing Aramis in the Paul WS Anderson-directed 3D The Three Musketeers. Evans also stars in the Stephen Frears-directed Tamara Drewe. The coproduction between Intrepid and FilmNation will be produced by Trevor Macy, Marc D. Evans and Aaron Ryder. CAA will broker a domestic distribution deal shortly, with FilmNation’s Glen Basner selling foreign. The picture shapes up as an under $35 million film meant for wide distribution, which has become a sweet spot for independent distributors.