As is often the case with the movies of Joel and Ethan Coen, the cast of the siblings’ next work, Hail, Caesar!, is comprised of favoured actors from their previous work – those who are fluent in the peculiar language that is Coen – and some curious newcomers. The film, which typically no-one can definitively confirm is either a comedy or a drama, is set in 1950s Hollywood, when the studio system was alive and unwell. George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) plays a fixer for a leading studio (which one did Barton Fink work for?), with the supporting cast including other Coen veterans Tilda Swinton (Burn Before Reading) and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men), as well as introductory roles for Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street), who will play respectively a director and a screen star.
There will be blood
Russian filmmaker Fyodor Bondarchuk, the son of Sergei, will follow up his World War II blockbuster, 2013’s Stalingrad, one of the most commercially successful domestic films in Russian cinema history, with Battalion of Death, an epic drama (although not in 3-D this time) about one of the all-female fighting units formed in the latter years of the Great War to inspire Russian troops and fill gaps in the front line with Germany. Those contributing to the hefty budget include the Russian state.
Mara picks up Trash
Rooney Mara’s capacity for uncompromising emotion will be tested in the biopic A House in the Sky, where the actress will play Amanda Lindhout, the Canadian journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia in 2008 by a rebel terrorist group and held for 18 months under abusive conditions until her family paid a ransom. The film is based on Lindhout’s memoir of the same name, and still requires a suitable director and a male co-star to play fellow captive, photographer Nigel Brennan. Mara will next be seen in Trash, a third world drama from Stephen Daldry (The Hours), and has finished Carol with Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), a 1950s-set drama for Todd Haynes (Safe, I’m Not There).
DiCaprio vs. bear
Now that his dark Broadway comedy Birdman – which may or may not have a continuous 40 minute shot in it – is awaiting release later this year, Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) is returning to the period drama The Revenant, the story of an 1820s fur trapper on the American frontier who is left for dead by his employer and workmates after a bear attack on an expedition, only to survive and pursue his former friends and colleagues. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) will play the lead role of the mauled Hugh Glass, with the supporting cast to possibly include Tom Hardy (Bronson). No word yet on whether Bart the Bear II (Into the Wild, We Bought a Zoo), son of legendary Bart the Bear (The Edge, Legends of the Fall) will be playing, you guessed it, the bear.