Universal to Release Penelope Cruz’s Highly Anticipated Femme Action Feature “The 355”

Penelope Cruz is heading to the 355 a week earlier…

Simon Kinberg’s femme action feature The 355, starring the 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress, will be released a week earlier, on January 7, 2022.

Penelope Cruz

The film was original scheduled to be released over MLK Weekend.

In the film, five women band together to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could thrust the teetering world into total chaos.

The film was bought by Universal for domestic distribution at the Cannes Film Festival back in 2018 for a reported $20M.

The foreign partners, arranged through FilmNation, are hoping for a global launch for what they hope will be another Bourne Identitylike franchise, this one led by an all female lead cast including Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Cruz and Fan Bingbing, with Édgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan also appearing.

The 355 is directed by Kinberg. He co-wrote the screenplay with Theresa Rebeck.

Javier Bardem In Talks to Portray Desi Arnaz in Amazon & Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos”

Javier Bardem may soon be saying, “Lucy, I’m Home!”

The 51-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor is in talks to play Desi Arnaz opposite Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Amazon and Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos.

Javier Bardem

The film centers on the relationship between the I Love Lucy stars. Having penned the screenplay, Academy Award winner Sorkin also will direct the film from Amazon Studios and Escape Artists.

The film is set during one production week of I Love Lucy — Monday table read through Friday audience filming— when Lucy and Desi face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.

Sorkin originally was going to pen the script only, when Cate Blanchett was circling, but after enjoying himself on the drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, he decided to attach himself as a director as well over the summer.

After The Trial of the Chicago 7 bowed on Netflix in October, Being the Ricardos began to gain momentum with Kidman and Bardem quickly interested in the couple behind television’s first family. Deals still need to close for both actors, but even if and when they do, when production will start is still up in the air as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push productions throughout the country.

After years as one of Hollywood’s most prolific screenwriters with such classics as A Few Good Men, Moneyball and his Oscar-winning The Social NetworkSorkin has found himself more and more behind the camera as well. His directing debut was the drama Molly’s Game starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, and he followed that up with The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Bardem most recently starred in The Roads Not Taken and can next be seen in Legendary’s DuneHe also is set to play King Triton in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid.

Oscar Isaac Attached to Star in Sony Pictures’ Film Adaptation of Konami’s “Metal Gear Solid” Video Game

Oscar Isaac has landed a solid role…

Sony Pictures’ long-awaited Metal Gear Solid adaptation looks to have gained some major momentum as the 41-year-old Guatemalan & Cuban actor has been attached to play Solid Snake in the film.

Oscar Isaac

The film is currently in development at Sony with Jordan Vogt-Roberts on board to direct.

The film is based on the Metal Gear Solid video game created by Hideo Kojima and published by Konami. The script is written by Derek Connolly. Avi Arad is producing. Peter Kang is the executive overseeing for the studio.

The game was first launched on PlayStation in 1998 and follows Snake, a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from Foxhound, a renegade special forces unit. The game has received acclaimed on many fronts, but its storytelling that has a cinematic feel always made it seem like a movie adaptation was inevitable.

Given Isaac’s extremely busy schedule, a production start date is still unknown, but his involvement makes the property a high priority for the studio going forward. As for Isaac, Metal Gear Solid could give him another major franchise, having already starred in the most recent Star Wars franchise.

Even as the industry slowly gets back into production due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Isaac has been busy setting his future slate in recent months. He is set to star in HBO’s Scenes From a Marriage opposite Jessica Chastain, followed by playing the title role in Marvel’s Moon Knight for Disney+.

Isaac will next be seen in the much-anticipated reboot of Dune and Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter. He’s also set to star in and produce the adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn’s Ex Machina comic retitled The Great Machine and star in Barry Levinson’s Francis and The Godfather, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.

Oscar Isaac In Negotiations to Star as Title Character in Marvel & Disney+’s Comic Book-Based Series “Moon Knight”

Oscar Isaac is a (Moon) Knight in shining armor…

The 41-year-old Guatemalan & Cuban actor is in talks to star as the title character in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s comic book hero Moon Knight, the Marvel and Disney+ series based on the comic.

Oscar Isaac

Jeremy Slater, who developed and wrote Netflix’s series adaptation of The Umbrella Academy comic books, has been tapped to develop and lead the writing team on the series for the streamer.

Moon Knight, aka Marc Spector, is a mercenary who has numerous alter egos — cabbie Jake Lockley and millionaire playboy Steven Grant — in order to better fight the criminal underworld. But later he was established as being a conduit for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Most recently, the character was a consultant who dresses in all-white and goes by the name Mr. Knight.

Marvel and Disney+ now will look to attach a director to the series. No production start date has been set. Marvel had no comment.

Marvel and Disney+ have been ramping up their development slate as Isaac joins Tatiana Maslany, who was recently tapped to play She-Hulk, and Iman Vellani, who was named the new Ms. Marvel. As WandaVision, eyes a premiere date before the end of the year, the studios are looking to have a strong set of characters to lead these new tentpole series.

With his time as Poe Dameron in the Star Wars franchise coming to an end, Isaac is not slowing down any time soon. When audiences head back to theaters, he has a number of films set to bow that include the Paul Schrader thriller The Card Counter as well as Denis Villeneuve’s retelling of Dune.

He recently signed on to the HBO limited series Scenes from a Marriage at HBO, reuniting with his old Julliard classmate Jessica Chastain.

Universal Pictures Releases First Trailer for Penelope Cruz’s Female-Fronted Espionage Thriller “The 355”

Penélope Cruz is ready to demonstrate her intelligence

Universal Pictures has released the official trailer for the espionage thriller The 355, starring the 46-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress..

Penelope Cruz

In addition to Cruz, the female-fronted globetrotting actioner stars Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, Fan Bingbing, Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramírez.

Universal still has plans to release the film on January 15 in the United States.

Simon Kinberg directs the story that kicks off when a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands. Wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Chastain) will need to join forces with rival badass German agent Marie (Kruger), former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah (Nyong’o) and skilled Colombian psychologist Graciela (Cruz) on a lethal, breakneck mission to retrieve it, while also staying one-step ahead of a mysterious woman, Lin Mi Sheng (Fan) who is tracking their every move.

The action-packed trailer sees Chastain recruit her team of international special agents, who must bond against a common enemy. If they don’t stop them, “they’ll start World War III,” says Chastain’s Mace.

The picture came together during the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, where it was the hottest project in the market. The hope is to launch a franchise based on an idea by Chastain of a Bourne Identity-like thriller revolving around female spies from agencies around the world.

Shooting took place last summer in locations like Paris, London and Morocco — each of which figures lushly in the trailer above.

Theresa Rebeck and Kinberg wrote the script.

Jennifer Lopez to Receive Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Jennifer Lopezis under the spotlight

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar is set to receive the Spotlight Award at the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival for her performance in Hustlers. The award will be presented at the fest’s annual gala on Thursday, January 2.

Jennifer Lopez

The festival, held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, runs Jan. 2-13.

“Jennifer Lopez is a star in every sense of the word, and you will experience this in her latest film Hustlers. Starting with her show-stopping entrance Jennifer brings to life the character of Ramona, an exotic dancer, who leads a group of dancer friends to steal money from their clients,” said festival chairman Harold Matzner. “For this full-force yet grounded performance, deserving of awards consideration, we are thrilled to present Jennifer Lopez with this year’s Spotlight Award.”

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actress include Amy AdamsJessica ChastainHelen HuntAllison JanneyRooney Mara and Julia Roberts

All recipients received Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored, with Janney receiving an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Lopez joins this year’s previously announced honorees Joaquin PhoenixMartin ScorseseCharlize Theron and Renée Zellweger.

From STX FilmsHustlershas earned more than $150 million worldwide at the box office to date. The film follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Brühl In Talks to Star in Jose Padilha’s “Entebbe”

Daniel Brühl is thisclose to lift off…

The 38-year-old half-Spanish actor is in talks to star opposite Rosamund Pike and Vincent Cassel in Jose Padilha’s Entebbe for Working Title.

Daniel Brühl

Participant is also on board as producer and in negotiations to fully finance the film, which was penned by Greg Burke, who wrote Yann Demange’s brilliant71.

It’s the 1976 true story, when four hijackers — two Palestinian, two German — took a plane hostage and diverted it to land in Entebbe, Uganda, while they demanded the release of dozens of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian prisoners.

The ticking-clock thriller follows the hijackers, hostages, then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and future PM Shimon Peres trying to decide whether to negotiate or launch a raid to free the hostages, as well as the French crew led by the pilot who refused to leave when they could with the other French hostages.

Given Europe’s own summer of terror, with the wave of attacks in France and Germany — not to mention devastating attacks in Iraq, Turkey, Orlando and elsewhere — the picture is likely to have strong contemporary relevance even with its historical setting.

Padilha, who shot to prominence with his gritty police crime tale Elite Squad — which won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2007 — will bring his research-based documentary background to bear as he did so successfully in both Elite Squad films, his searing documentary Bus 174 and, of course his brilliant Pablo Escobar Netflix drama Narcos. Padilha will examine the story from multiple points of view – the German and Palestinian hijackers, the Israeli (and other nationalities) hostages, as well as Israeli officials like Peres and Rabin.

The story of the Entebbe raid and hijackings has been told before on TV and in numerous docus. Peter Finch and Charles Bronson starred in the 1976 NBC movie of the week Raid On Entebbe directed by Irvin Kershner, while a rival TV movie Victory At Entebbe was produced the same year at ABC starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.

The latest project reps the first time the story will be told for the big screen by a filmmaking team at the absolute top of its game.

Brühl has The Zookeeper’s Wife opposite Jessica Chastain in post and is also set to star in the JJ Abrams-produced God Particle alongside Elizabeth Debicki, John Krasinski and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Isaac Named This Season’s Best Actor by the National Board of Review

It’s a most memorable year for Oscar Isaac

The National Board of Review has bestowed its Best Actor honors to the 33-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor for his performance in J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year.

Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

The crime drama about thuggish New Jersey-New York oil cartels was also chosen as the Best Film of 2014.

Isaac tied with Birdman star Michael Keaton for the Best Actor honors.

Clint Eastwood was named Best Director for American Sniper, his biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

In all, A Most Violent Year grabbed three awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain.

A Most Violent Year is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances and an elegant cinematic style,” National Board of Review president Annie Schulhof said in a statement. “J.C. Chandor has given us a new and provocative perspective on the American Dream.”

Established in 1909, the National Board of Review is a nonprofit organization comprising knowledgeable film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students. The group’s awards will be handed out January 6 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Lara Spencer will host the event.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell, Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing and starring in Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma

Top Films
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Fury
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie
Nightcrawler
Unbroken 

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Leviathan
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

 Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films
Blue Ruin
Locke
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Snowpiercer
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

Participant Media Releases Trailer for Isaac’s Thriller “A Most Violent Year”

Oscar Isaac’s most violent role could finally earn him an Academy Award nomination…

Participant Media has released the trailer for the 35-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor’s latest film “A Most Violent Year.”

A Most Violent Year

Isaac and Jessica Chastain star in the film, which was written and directed by J.C. Chandor (All is Lost).

“A Most Violent Year” is set in New York City during the winter of 1981 — one of the most violent years in the city’s history. The film follows the lives of an immigrant family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities amid violence, decay and corruption.

A24 has given an awards-season release date of December 31 for the thriller.

It will open in Los Angeles and New York on New Year’s Eve before expanding during January.

Dawson Reportedly in the Running to Join HBO’s “True Detective”

It seems Rosario Dawson may be headed to pay cable television…

The 35-year-old Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban American actress is reportedly among the actresses in the running to join HBO’s True Detective season 2.

Rosario Dawson

According to The Wrap Dawson is among the list of at least seven more actresses being considered for the role after Elisabeth Moss and Rachel McAdams were previously eying the part.

In addition to Dawson, who appears in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the site says Jessica Biel (“Total Recall“), Malin Akerman (“Watchmen“), Jaimie Alexander (“Thor“), Kelly Reilly (“Eden Lake“), Brit Marling (“The Keeping Room“) and Oona Chaplin (“Game of Thrones“).

Insiders say Moss and McAdams should not be ruled out of contention yet. At some point, Jessica Chastain was linked to the part too, but reps for the Zero Dark Thirty (2012) actress quickly denied it.

In addition to a female lead, the upcoming new season of the Nic Pizzolatto-created anthology series will feature three male leads. Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch and Vince Vaughn are said vying for the roles.