Tahar Rahim stars in the unusual new film from Fatih Akin.
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31 Jan 2014 - 11:00 AM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2014 - 5:34 PM

The German filmmaker Fatih Akin, whose Turkish heritage has given him a fascinating, if combative, insight into his homeland, loosened up with his last fictional feature, Soul Kitchen, the groove-laden 2009 paean to a Hamburg disappearing because of gentrification. But he returns to the acclaimed dramatic form of Head-On and The Edge of Heaven for The Cut, a film he sees as the concluding part of a loose trilogy formed by those previous two releases. The plot remains under wraps, but Akin has revealed that his new leading man, Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Past), doesn't say a single word in the film, a stance that Akin compared to both Charlie Chaplin and Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name from Sergio Leone's Spaghetti westerns.

King-sized adaptation
Adapting three Lord of the Rings books is easy, so Ron Howard trying to do all eight of Stephen King's Dark Tower novels, a sprawling fantasy/horror/science-fiction opus whose plot I will not try to encapsulate because I'm scared of venturing back into their vast Wikipedia presence. Howard has been working towards this for several years, with a trio of films to be reportedly divided by two entire seasons of television, an idea that that looks more possible as formats and delivery systems intermingle. At various points the key role of magical gunslinger Roland Deschain, whose quest drives the narrative, has reportedly belonged to Russell Crowe and Javier Bardem, but Howard is now looking to fill the role of Eddie Dean, a flawed companion to Deschain, with Aaron Paul, the recent graduate of concluded television series Breaking Bad.

Super Kid
Jeff Nichols, the American writer/director of Take Shelter and Mud, has rounded out an impressive cast for his sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, which is about a father going on the run with his son when he realises the child has special powers the government desire. Joining Nichols' regular collaborator Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) as the panicked parent will be Kirsten Dunst (Bachelorette), Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) and Adam Driver (television's Girls).

Belushi biopic books in leads
The manic inspiration and eventually self-destructive energy of the last comic John Belushi, who died from an overdose at the age of 33 in 1982, lives in on movies such as Animal House, 1941 and The Blues Brothers. Various biographies have drawn different outlines of what was a complex character, but it's the 2005 one put together by his widow and friends that will inform the biopic to be directed by Steve Conrad, the screenwriter who did the adaptation for Ben Stiller's recent The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Conrad has cast Emile Hirsch (Milk) as Belushi, and now it appears that the gifted Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) will play Belushi's close friend and collaborator, Dan Aykroyd. The pair were both founding cast members of the television comedy institution Saturday Night Live in the mid-1970s, which means that a young Chevy Chase and – oh boy – a young Bill Murray may need to be cast as well.