“Butler” is directed by African-American Lee Gaines, with the script by Gaines and DANNY STRONG, 39. Strong, who began his career as an actor (“Buffy: the Vampire Slayer”), has made his mark as a top-notch political drama writer: Emmy-nominated for writing “Recount” (2008); he won a screenplay Emmy for writing “Game Change” (2012).
Billed as a “high stakes thriller", “Paranoia” stars Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy, a regular guy who makes a costly mistake and is forced by his company’s ruthless CEO to spy on company’s corporate rival, Jock Goddard (HARRISON FORD, 71). Cassidy is well-paid for spying on Goddard, his former mentor. However, he comes to realize that his boss will stop at nothing, even murder, to get his way and he has to find a way to stop him.
Ashton Kutcher has the title role in “Jobs,” about the late Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs. It begins with Jobs in college and ends with his return to head Apple in 1997 and the launch of the first of the “I” products. JOSH GAD, 32, co-stars as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, with LESLEY ANN WARREN, 66, appearing as Jobs’ mother, Clara.
Other Movie-Ish News
Israeli author AMOS OZ, 74, recently told Reuters that NATALIE PORTMAN, 32, will direct and co-star in a feature film adaptation of his memoir, “A Tale of Love and Darkness.” The memoir recounts Oz’s childhood in war-torn Jerusalem in the 1940s and 1950s; his mother’s suicide; and his time on a kibbutz. Oz is helping with the script and agreed, some years back, to allow the Jerusalem-born Portman to make the film because she “is an excellent actor.” Filming will begin later this year and Portman will play Oz’s mother.
On Aug. 6, a publicist for actor DUSTIN HOFFMAN, 75, confirmed that the actor had been diagnosed with cancer, but was “feeling great”. This followed a “People” magazine report in which the same publicist said that the cancer had been “detected early and he has been surgically cured.” The publicist declined to say what type of cancer Hoffman had been treated for or when it had been diagnosed.
Meanwhile, Hoffman has just finished filming the indie film, “Chef.” Directed, written, and starring JON FAVREAU, 46, it represents Favreau’s return to the smallish budget, personal film that first gained him notice (“Swingers”, 1996). Favreau had a big critical and box office hit with the mega-budget “Iron Man,” (2008). However, two of his other directing gigs didn’t do as well. He reportedly blames studio script interference for the lukewarm reviews for “Iron Man 2” (though it made mucho gelt) and the box office and critical failure of “Cowboys and Aliens” (2011).
Favreau plays the title role in “Chef”---playing a guy who loses his prestigious chef job—which leads him to set up his own food truck—so he can regain his artistic promise and repair ties with his estranged family. SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 28, plays a restaurant manager who is a sometimes love interest of the chef. Robert Downey, Jr. is also co-starring, but, as with Hoffman, his character’s backstory has not been disclosed.
Johansson, meanwhile, is the subject of a pretty stunning, high fashion photograph in the September issue of Harper’s Bizarre. She is the “lead woman” in a photographic portfolio entitled “Singular Beauties.” It features 20 quite diverse looking women. The text describes Johannson as “the modern Marilyn.”
ESPN Goes for the Silver
NATE SILVER, 35, will join ESPN later this year. Silver is now most famous for his FiveThirtyEight blog on the NY Times, where he correctly predicted the winner of every state in the last presidential election. But his “roots” go back to statistical analysis of sports. The newly expanded FiveThirtyEight.com, which ESPN will own, will cover politics, sports, culture, and technology. Silver, ESPN says, will be the site’s editor-in-chief and he’ll pick his own website journalism team. Silver says: “This is a dream job for me. I'm excited to expand FiveThirtyEight's data-driven approach into new areas, while also reuniting with my love of sports.”