Actors want to work with American independent director Lynn Shelton. 2011's Your Sister's Sister drew great performances from Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark DuPlass, and Shelton quickly followed that up with Touchy Feely, which features Ellen Page (Juno), Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly) and DeWitt and is still on the festival circuit. Now Shelton is preparing her fourth feature, Laggies, which is the story of a twentysomething woman who panics when her boyfriend proposes and runs away to hang out with a 16-year-old who becomes her new best friend. Shelton has two prominent actors for the lead roles, with recent Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) to appear opposite Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Hugo).
Tanovic picks iron-strong story
When the Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic (No Man's Land, Hell) read a newspaper report about a Romani (or roma gypsy) family where the wife was denied life-saving medical treatment in Bosnia-Herzegovina despite losing a baby due to a miscarriage and the lengths her husband, a collector of scrap metal, had to go to save her, the director knew he had the basis of his next film. But fearing that securing a budget would delay production getting underway, Tanovic instead cast the couple, husband Nazif Mujic and wife Senada Alimovic, as themselves and recreated their ordeal with a small volunteer crew over a 10-day shoot. The no-budget An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker has already played the Berlin Film Festival and drawn strong reviews for the amateur cast.
Blanchett goes blue for Woody
Woody Allen's annual movie can be great entertainment or merely mildly amusing – sometimes in consecutive years (see 2010's Midnight in Paris and 2011's To Rome with Love), but no other filmmaker assembles such impressive casts every 12 months, especially when it's invitation only and no-one gets to see a finished script in advance. For this year's release, currently titled Blue Jasmine, Allen may be returning to New York for the story of a fashionable Manhattan housewife, to be played by Cate Blanchett (Little Fish), going through a crisis in her life. The supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin (The Departed), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead), Bobby Cannavale (The Station Agent), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) and one-time misanthropic comic Andrew Dice Clay (The Adventures of Ford Fairlane).
And, finally, a Jane's Got a Gun update. When we last checked in on this troubled western Scottish director Lynne Ramsay had departed, which inspired Jude Law to jump ship, while Michael Fassbender had gone some weeks prior due to scheduling conflicts. That left star and producer Natalie Portman, who plays the frontier wife who turns to a former love to protect her wounded husband from a vengeful gang, awfully alone. But the movie is obviously meant to be, as new director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) is already shooting scenes with Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show) as the felled husband, Australian Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty) as the conflicted gunfighter, and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) as the black hat looking to take a life. If the film's no good, there should at least be a great book in how it got made.