I’ve updated the gallery with the latest additions from the upcoming Captain America: Civil War–which is now just two months away from its U.S. theatrical release. I can’t wait to see more!
VARIETY – Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano has joined the cast of DreamWorks’ “Ghost in the Shell.”
The live action Hollywood film is an adaptation of the iconic Japanese anime film originally directed by Mamoru Oshii.
Kitano will play Daisuke Aramaki, chief of Public Security Section 9 — and boss of the cyborg cop heroine played by Scarlett Johansson.
Directed by Rupert Sanders, the live-action “Ghost in the Shell” has been slated by fans and commentators for its non-Japanese/non-Asian casting choices, so the inclusion of Kitano, well known abroad for his award-winning films and powerful performances, usually as a gangster or cop, may calm, if not still, such criticism.
Kitano is one of Japan’s top directors and one of the country’s best known actors and comedians. He usually performs under the name Beat Takeshi.
The “Ghost” role follow his recent lead performance in the Wayne Wang erotic drama “While the Women Are Sleeping,” which premiered at Berlin and is currently on release in Japan. It also Kitano’s first Hollywood film since playing a gangster in the sci-fi thriller “Johnny Mnemonic” in 1995.
Paramount is set as the global distributor of “Ghost,” following a switch from Disney. Release is set for March 31, 2017.
I’ve updated the gallery with screen captures of Scarlett’s role as Birdy Abundas in The Man Who Wasn’t There, directed by the Coen brothers (Hail, Caesar!). Those who have seen the film will know that Scarlett’s screentime is pretty limited, but her character shares some memorable scenes with Ed Crane, played by Billy Bob Thornton.
Film Productions > The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) > Blu-ray Screen Captures
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Michael Pitt, perhaps best known for playing a gangster on Boardwalk Empire, has nabbed the villain role in Ghost in the Shell, the adaptation of the manga series by DreamWorks.
Rupert Sanders is directing the long-in-the-works sci-fi movie, which is eyeing a late February start in New Zealand.
Scarlett Johansson is a special-ops cyborg in a task force named Section 9 that deals in the most dangerous criminals and extremists.
Pitt will play a character known as the Laughing Man in the manga. The antagonist is a bitter and vengeful man with a body that is part robot. He has a unique sense of style and has been described as a bad guy filtered through the lens of a street artist.
Pilou Asbæk is also in the cast.
Ari Arad, Avi Arad and Steven Paul are producing the pic. Michael Costigan, Jeffrey Silver, Tetsu Fujimura and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa are executive producing. Jonathan Herman wrote the script.
Ghost in the Shell has a release date of March 31, 2017, with Paramount distributing worldwide.
Pitt also just signed on to star with Imogen Poots in indie art thriller The Sleeping Shepherd and is part of the ensemble cast of Criminal, a thriller which also features Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Gal Gadot and Gary Oldman.
Pitt is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Schreck Rose.
Almost ten years since her last feature (remember this?) for the magazine, Scarlett is once again gracing the pages of Flaunt–for their [CTRL-C]+[CTRL-V] issue. I’ve uploaded photos of the photoshoot to the gallery and the accompanying interview can be read below. Hopefully further coverage will be available for me to share with you very soon. Enjoy!
FLAUNT – Scarlett Johansson is curled comfortably on a stiff slate couch while she narrates to me the details of a popular YouTube video. “It’s two minutes-old twins and they’re being washed for the first time in warm water,” she says, “they’re in the position they were in in-utero and the warm water recreates the womb for them.” She tells me that the video is amazing, her face has a slight glow as she talks about it. “If you really want to see something miraculous,” she says, “It’s so beautiful.” I vow to watch it when I return home—I’d like to get a better understanding for what it must be like to have another human be a direct copy, a DNA complement to yourself. Having a twin sibling, like Johansson does, is a mystery to those who are unmatched.
“My brother and I started life this way,” she says. “In that sense, I’ve never really been alone—ever—which is interesting and probably affects my whole life. We’re extremely close. You have a witness to your life in my many ways. Even if we’re far apart, we have this deep connection with one another.”Continue Reading
The first official poster for Hail, Caesar!, Scarlett’s upcoming film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen has been released. It’s due for theatrical release on February 5, 2016 and as lovely as it would be to have some promotional appearances from Scarlett, it seems unlikely as production on Ghost in the Shell is reportedly about to begin in New Zealand. I wish Scarlett the best of luck with that, and in the meantime, I can’t wait to see this one!
Film Productions > Hail, Caesar! (2016) > Posters
FORBES – Chris Evans is a superhero at the box office–and the bottom line. The 34-year-old Captain America star is this year’s best actor for the buck: For every $1 Evans was paid for his recent films, they returned an average $181.80.
Evans leads this year’s ranking of Hollywood’s best investments ahead of Mila Kunis ($87.30 return for every $1 paid) and the world’s second-highest-paid actress Scarlett Johansson ($84.90 return for every $1 paid). The expensive Jupiter Ascending did little to dent Kunis’ returns from Ted and Oz The Great and Powerful, making her the second-best actor for the money.
Four of the top five best actors for the buck are women, illustrating Tinseltown’s gender pay disparity. Female leads are often paid less than their male counterparts but can offer remarkable returns. Take Johansson, for example: Her last three major films grossed a combined $2.58 billion while her aggregate compensation probably hovered around 1% of that, FORBES estimates. These ticket booth triumphs ensure she ranks third on this year’s list, though her rising fees may make her ineligible in the future.
To compile our rundown of Hollywood’s Best Actors For The Buck, we used earnings estimates from our Celebrity 100 list. We looked at the last three films each actor starred in before June 2015 (the end of our Celebrity 100 scoring period). We did not include animated films, movies where the actor appeared in a very small role, or movies that were released on fewer than 2,000 screens.
We then deducted the estimated production budget from the global box office for each film (using numbers from Box Office Mojo and other sources) to come up with a limited definition of each movie’s operating income. We added together the estimated total compensation for each star on the three movies and the operating income from each movie and then divided to come up with the final return on investment number.Continue Reading
THE WRAP – Scarlett Johansson is in final negotiations to star in Sony’s raunchy comedy “Move That Body,” TheWrap has learned.
Sony acquired the script by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs in a heated bidding war over the summer. The project has been described as “The Hangover” meets “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
Aniello (“Broad City”) is set to direct, while Downs is attached to co-star. The duo will also produce under their Paulilu banner along with Matt Tolmach and Dave Becky.
The script, which was voted to the 2015 Black List on Monday, follows five friends who rent a beach house in Miami for a bachelorette weekend and accidentally kill a male stripper.
Johansson is coming off “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and will next be seen in the Coen brothers’ showbiz comedy “Hail, Caesar!” She has Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” and Disney’s “The Jungle Book” on the horizon, and is also attached to star in “Ghost in the Shell” for DreamWorks.
Johansson is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment and attorney Kevin Yorn of Morris Yorn.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Black Widow never has it easy.
Onscreen, Natasha Romanov has an agonizing backstory and is working like hell to do enough good to erase the red from her moral ledger, redeeming a history of bad deeds that we are only allowed to imagine with acts of heroism that defy belief.
Offscreen, much of what Scarlett Johansson’s character does is scrutinized through the lens of gender politics. As one of the few female protagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (until recently), some view her not just as an individual character but as a representative for all womankind. That’s heavy lifting even for a superhero.
Amid accusations that her story arc in Avengers: Age of Ultron was stereotyped and offensive — because, like Tony Stark, she expressed a desire to step back from saving the world (and maybe find someone in it to love, and love her back) — Black Widow became a lightning rod.
Some accused writer-director Joss Whedon of sexism for a storyline that involved Widow developing romantic feelings for Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner in the comic-book version of the Beauty and the Beast folktale. Others were outraged that Widow expressed regret over the juvenile assassin program that forced her to be sterilized. Still others took offense at that complaint, saying the desire to have a family doesn’t mean a woman can’t have a career (beating the hell out of evildoers, or otherwise).
NPR’s pop culture critic Linda Holmes astutely noted that even if you swapped out Widow’s story in Ultron with the arcs of any of her male co-Avengers, each would still “raise questions of whether the story was influenced by gender stereotypes.” If she was Iron Man, she’d be the problem-causer. If she was Captain America, she’d be the uptight one. If she was Hulk, she’d have out-of-control emotions. And so on…Continue Reading
VANITY FAIR – In 2007, Bono helped launch his (Red) organization—which recruited major companies to fork over some of their mall-going customers’ money to fund the fight against AIDS—within Vanity Fair’s very pages. Eight years and $320 million later in its revolutionary crusade against the pandemic, the conscious consumerism effort co-founded by Bobby Shriver is still going strong, and has a new holiday initiative—(Red)Shopathon—that will kick off on December 1, World AIDS Day.
In the spirit of the charitable holiday extravaganza, Scarlett Johansson doffed her movie-star cap for commercial jingle-singing duties, belting out a tune written by Barry Manilow and brokered by Jimmy Kimmel.