The Casting Couch: Poltergeist, Mad Hatter, LEGOs & More

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Johnny Depp returning as the Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland sequel):

Thumbs Down: I never saw the original, but it looked liked Tim Burton’s Charlie in the Chocolate Factory in Wonderland. Charlie in the Chocolate Factory scarred me for life, and as a result I’ve pretty much written off Tim Burton projects. Even though this sequel will be directed by James Bobin (The Muppets), I don’t care. It’s Johnny Depp in crazy make-up…again. Keep me far away. — DC

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Thumbs Down: Alice in Wonderland was a debacle. It had a terrific cast and
legendary director, but in the end it was just this artificial mess of underdeveloped characters and subpar CGI. Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter was decent but they went way too campy with him — especially when it came to his end “dance.” That was one of the most absurd things ever. His return to the film is probably one of the only reasons a sequel is being made (the other is the first film made a boatload of money) but I think it’s a misstep in his career to return to the franchise. He needs to get gritty and weird and indie again, to build up his street cred. Another big budget make-up piece is not what he needs. –BB

The LEGO Movie Round-up
Jonah Hill as the voice of Green Lantern
Cobie Smulders as the voice of Wonder Woman

Thumbs Up: This movie looks amazing! It’s hard to argue anytime Smulders is casted in something, and Jonah Hill has been really growing on me the last couple years. The idea of him voicing a LEGO version of Green Lantern is pretty damn funny. –DC

Thumbs in the Middle: I think the choice of Colbie Smuthers is going to be awesome. I can just hear her voice behind a LEGO version of the iconic DC super heroine. Now, I love Jonah Hill, I think he’s hilarious, but Green Lantern? That’s kinda making the character more of a joke than what the Ryan Reynolds movie did. I think retaining Nathan Fillion, who does GL’s voice in various animated series/films, would be a better choice. –BB

Sacha Baron Cohen leaving Freddie Mercury (Untitled Queen/Freddie Mercury Project):

Thumbs Up: I love Queen, and am thrilled a Freddie Mercury project is in production. While this is bad news in the sense that it will potentially kill the film, I’m thrilled Cohen will no longer be involved. I’m sure I’m the only one who doesn’t want him to play Freddie Mercury, but I’m sorry…I don’t like Sacha Baron Cohen. I’m not an idiot, and understand this wouldn’t have been him doing his usual shtick, but I don’t buy this whole idea that Sacha Baron Cohen is a good actor. He was forgettable in Hugo, and the absolute worst part of Les Miserables. Although, it does make me nervous that Queen seems to have a lot of creative control over the project which is why Cohen left. I think in the long run we’ll get a MUCH better actor to come in and do this though. –DC

Thumbs Up: When it was first announced that Cohen would be Freddie Mercury, I thought this was a tremendous idea. Now, like Dan mentioned, he’s done nothing that’s been of any merit. He’s been flambeed by critics and I think, while this could’ve been a role that brings him back into the critical limelight, however for the sake the project, I think moving away from Cohen was the right move. –BB

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Rosemarie DeWitt as the female lead (Poltergeist re-make):
Thumbs Up: I’m about to get blasted, but I’ve never seen the original Poltergeist. But please keep in mind, I’m not a horror guy. I know this movie means a lot to a lot of people, and I think most will be happy with DeWitt playing a big role. She’s a talented actress who deserves a good movie. –DC

Thumbs Up: The female lead of the original film, played by JoBeth Williams, was a strong character who went through the depths of hell and back to save her family. So it makes perfect sense for an actress of DeWitt’s character to anchor this film. Also, she’ll be teamed with Sam Rockwell (who’s assuming the Craig T. Nelson role) who’s one of the most charming and engaging actors out there and I think you’ve got a dynamite team. –BB

Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed’s Grandson (Creed, spin-off of Rocky series): *In Early Talks

Thumbs Up: Having just seen Fruitvale Station as well as having seen and loved him in Chronicle and Friday Night Lights I already know this guy is a great actor from. If I just read the news that there was going to be a Rocky spin-off about Apollo Creed’s grandson, I would have been very angry. But with Jordan’s name attached…I’m intrigued.

Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company

Thumbs in the Middle: I just watched the first season of HBO’s The Wire and Michael B. Jordan was phenomenal — and he was just a kid then. My reservations about this casting choice is…will this be a Stallone driven film, someone with Jordan’s upside should probably avoid a film like this. He’s going to be tapped for so many franchises that I think Jordan will probably not end up being the young Creed. –BB

James McAvoy as Victor Von Frankenstein (Untitled Frankenstein Project):
Thumbs Up: I’m not going to argue against James McAvoy in much of anything. In 2011, he starred in the Conspirator, a movie about the Lincoln assassination trial. McAvoy elevated what could have been a very weak movie. Sure, why not have him play Frankenstein. He joins Daniel Radcliffe as Igor, which could make for a very interesting movie. –DC

Thumbs Up: James McAvoy is the cat’s pajamas and can really do no wrong in my book. He’ll be perfect as Dr. Frankenstein. Radcliffe as Igor? Hmm…that could either be genius or a disaster. –BB

Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper (Susan Cooper):

Thumbs Down: Melissa McCarthy is a funny and talented actress, but she needs to get away from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) who’s helming Susan Cooper, which is basically being described as a secret agent comedy with McCarthy playing the title character. I don’t like Bridesmaids, and while I didn’t see The Heat, the trailer gave me nightmares. The idea of this director doing a comedic spy film with McCarthy terrifies me. –DC

Thumbs in the Middle: Eh, I’m neither thrilled or down on this move. McCarthy is still a hot commodity, movie-wise, and this will probably be a film that’s going to be a solid addition to her resume. However, it could also be the beginning of the end of her hot streak a la Will Ferrell did Semi-Pro a few years back. –BB

Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong (Untitled Lance Armstrong Project):

Thumbs Up: Perfect casting. –DC

Thumbs Up: Ditto. –BB

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