2006 Universal Pictures Preview

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Finally, it is here, the last major studio preview for the year 2006 as Universal has just unleashed a ton of new stills for their upcoming 2006 slate of films and there are some good ones mixed in the bunch. The format is set up just as it was with the rest of the studio previews so follow the rules, browse the pics and enjoy!

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CURIOUS GEORGE
(February 10, 2006)

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment bring Curious George, the original “monkey see, monkey do” chimp, to the screen in an all-new animated adventure based upon the beloved tales that have been enchanting readers for more than 60 years. George, the inquisitive little guy with an insatiable taste for adventure, sets off in a brand new tale for the big screen, where his spunky and fun-loving nature endears him to new friends he meets along the way and (of course) lands him in a series of (mis-)adventures.

Originally published in 1941, the book has never been out of print since. Authors H. A. Rey and his wife Margret, creative partners who fled Europe during the Nazi occupation and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote the original seven Curious George tales. In 1998 Houghton-Mifflin began publishing new Curious George adventures and continues to release new titles and formats. Curious George titles have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and have been published in 17 languages, making the little monkey who left the jungle with The Man with the Yellow Hat one of the best-selling and most enduring characters in children’s literature.

Matthew O’Callaghan directs from a screenplay by Ken Kaufman (story by Ken Kaufman and Mike Werb). Will Ferrell lends his voice to The Man with the Yellow Hat. Dick Van Dyke, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright are also among the distinguished cast of voices. Original songs are written and performed by Jack Johnson.

IDLEWILD
(March 10, 2006)

The story of the loves and ambitions of two struggling performers is told through intricate musical numbers and vibrantly choreographed dance sequences in Idlewild, an original musical starring multi-platinum and multi-Grammy winning OutKast members André Benjamin (André 3000) and Antwan A. Patton (Big Boi).

Set against the backdrop of a 1930s southern speakeasy, Idlewild explores the lives of Percival (Benjamin), the club’s shy piano player, and Rooster (Patton), the club’s showy lead performer and manager. Idlewild synthesizes drama, music, cinema and style to bring the tale of struggling singers to life. It is the feature film-directing debut for Bryan Barber, the award-winning director and longtime OutKast music video collaborator, and includes dance sequences choreographed by legendary performer and three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle.

The all-star cast is a roster of some of the most notable performers in film and music today. Cast members include Ving Rhames, Terrence Dashon Howard, newcomer Paula Patton, Faizon Love, Malinda Williams, legendary recording artist Patti LaBelle, singer Macy Gray, Tony Award winner Ben Vereen and Oscar® nominee and Emmy winner Cicely Tyson.

Idlewild includes new songs from OutKast’s upcoming album, the soundtrack for the movie.

INSIDE MAN
(March 24, 2006)

Directed by Spike Lee, written by Russell Gewirtz and produced by Academy Award® winner Brian Grazer, Inside Man is the story of a tough cop, Detective Frazier (Denzel Washington), who matches wits with a clever bank robber, Dalton (Clive Owen), in a tense hostage drama. As the dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds, a wild card emerges: Madaline (Jodie Foster), a power broker with a hidden agenda, who injects even more instability into an already volatile situation.

SLITHER
(March 31, 2006)

Slither is an edgy blend of heart-stopping terror, wry humor and surprising humanity from genre-bending screenwriter James Gunn, whose Dawn of the Dead became one of 2004’s most surprising hits.

The sleepy town of Wheelsy could be any small town in America–somewhat quaint and gentle, peopled with friendly folks who mind their own business. But just beneath the surface charm, something unnamed and evil has arrived…and is growing. No one seems to notice as telephone poles become clogged with missing pet flyers, or when one of the town’s richest citizens, Grant Grant (Michael Rooker), begins to act strangely. But when farmers’ livestock turn up horribly mutilated and a young woman goes missing, Sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) and his team, aided by Grant’s wife Starla (Elizabeth Banks), uncover the dark force laying siege to their town…and come face-to-face with an older-than-time organism intent on absorbing and devouring all life on Earth.

Slither is the feature film directing debut of screenwriter James Gunn and stars Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry and Michael Rooker. It is also written by Gunn. Slither–a Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films presentation of a Strike Entertainment Production–is produced by Paul Brooks and Eric Newman.

AMERICAN DREAMZ
(April 14, 2006)

Filmmaker Paul Weitz–whose comic explorations have ventured into the synergistic halls of corporate culture (In Good Company), the perils of psychological isolationism (About a Boy) and the vicissitudes of losing one’s virginity (American Pie)–now delivers a comedy yanked from right-now popular culture…where the nation’s shrinking attention span is more focused on “what’s hot” than on hot-button headlines: American Dreamz.

On the morning of his re-election, the President (Quaid) decides to read the newspaper for the first time in four years. This starts him down a slippery slope. He begins reading obsessively, reexamining his black and white view of the world, holing up in his bedroom in his pajamas. Frightened by the President’s apparent nervous breakdown, his Chief of Staff (Dafoe) pushes him back into the spotlight, booking him as a guest judge on the television ratings juggernaut (and the President’s personal fave), the weekly talent show “American Dreamz”.

America can’t seem to get enough of “American Dreamz”, hosted by self-aggrandizing, self-loathing Martin Tweed (Grant), ever on the lookout for the next insta-celebrity. His latest crop of hopefuls includes Sally (Moore), a conniving steel magnolia with a devoted, dopey veteran boyfriend (Klein), and Omer, a recent Southern Californian immigrant (who just happens to be a bumbling, show tune singing, would-be terrorist awaiting activation). When both Sally and Omer make it to the final round of Dreamz–where the President will be judging along with Tweed–the stage is set for a show the nation will never forget.

American Dreamz is written, produced and directed by Paul Weitz. Andrew Miano and Rodney Liber also produce; Chris Weitz and Kerry Kohansky serve as executive producers.

ACCEPTED
(April 21, 2006)

High school senior Bartleby “B” Gaines (Justin Long) is on his way to scoring eight out of eight rejection letters from colleges–which isn’t going to go over big with Mom and Dad. At least he’s not alone in the exclusion. Several of his crew of outcast friends are in the same, college-less boat. So…how does a guy facing a bleak career please his parents and get noticed by dream girl Monica (Blake Lively)?

Simple. Open his own university.

B and his band of misfit freshmen take “liberal” arts literally when they fool their parents and peers and create the esteemed South Harmon Institute of Technology. They clean up an abandoned psychiatric facility, employ a buddy’s brilliant?but subversive–uncle (Lewis Black) as the dean and create a fake web site as their campus calling card. Bam! South Harmon, the alternative school of higher learning, is born.

Just as they are settling in, B and company realize they’ve done their jobs too well. Dozens of other college rejects show up for classes at this less-than-lofty institute. Under the scornful eyes of the privileged students from the neighboring college, B and his friends forge ahead with maintaining a fake, functioning university. Their efforts to explore alternative education result in a battle between the South Harmon co-eds and the “sister” school snobs.

With his future in the balance, it’s going to take more than just sleight of hand to keep B out of jail as he strives to get the girl, impress his parents and just become…Accepted.

Accepted is produced by Tom Shadyac and Michael Bostick and is directed by Steve Pink. It is written by Mark Perez, Adam Cooper & Bill Collage.

FLIGHT 93
(April 28, 2006)

Acclaimed filmmaker Paul Greengrass writes and directs an unflinching drama that tells the story of the passengers and crew, their families on the ground and the flight controllers who watched in dawning horror as United Airlines Flight 93 became the fourth hijacked plane on the day of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil: September 11, 2001.

Flight 93 recreates the doomed trip in actual time, from takeoff to hijacking to the realization by those onboard that their plane was part of a coordinated attack unfolding on the ground beneath them. The film attempts to understand the abject fear and courageous decisions of those who–over the course of just 90 minutes–transformed from a random assembly of disconnected strangers into bonded allies who confronted an unthinkable situation.

As 2006 marks the passing of five years since the epochal events of 9/11, the time has come for contemporary cinema’s leading filmmakers to dramatically investigate the events of that day, its causes and its consequences, and the everyday individuals whose fates were forever altered while simply going about their common workday rituals.

Greengrass, known for films such as Resurrected and Bloody Sunday, brings to Flight 93 a history of compassionate filmmaking that has explored some of the most troubled incidents of recent world history–when politics turns to violence, when beliefs slip into zealotry. As there is no perfect record of the hijacking’s exact details and hostage retaliation, Greengrass takes a careful hand and partially improvises the events with an ensemble cast of unknown actors who were given studies of their Flight 93 counterparts.

Flight 93 intends to dignify the memory of those on that flight, the men and women whose sacrifice remains one of the most heroic legacies of the incomprehensible tragedies that unfolded on that autumn morning.

THE BREAK-UP
(June 2, 2006)

Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston star in The Break-Up, which starts where most romantic comedies end: after boy and girl have met, fallen in love, moved in to start their happily-ever-after…and right when they wind up driving each other crazy.

Pushed to the breaking-up point after their latest “why can’t you do this one little thing for me?” argument, art dealer Brooke (Aniston) calls it quits with her boyfriend, Gary (Vaughn), who hosts bus tours of Chicago. What follows is a series of remedies, war tactics, overtures and underminings suggested by the former couple’s friends, confidantes and the occasional total stranger. When neither ex is willing to move out of the condo they used to share, the only solution is to continue living as hostile roommates until somebody caves.

But somewhere between protesting the pool table in the living room, the dirty clothes stacked in the kitchen cupboards and the sports played at sleep-killing volume in the middle of night, Brooke begins to realize that what she may be really fighting for isn’t so much the place but the person.

The Break-Up stars Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston under the direction of Peyton Reed. The writers are Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender and Vince Vaughn, who produces.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT
(June 16, 2006)

From the producer of the worldwide blockbuster hits The Fast and the Furious and its sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, comes the latest installment of the adrenaline-inducing series built on speed–The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Set in the sexy and colorful underground world of Japanese drift racing, the newest and fastest customized rides go head-to- head on some of the most perilous courses in the world.

Sean Boswell (Black) is an outsider who attempts to define himself as a hot-headed, underdog street racer. Although racing provides a temporary escape from an unhappy home and the superficial world around him, it has also made Sean unpopular with the local authorities. To avoid jail time, Sean is sent to live with his gruff, estranged father, a career military-man stationed in Tokyo.

Now officially a gaijin (outsider), Sean feels even more shut out in a land of foreign customs and codes of honor. But it doesn’t take long for him to find some action when a fellow American buddy, Twinkie (Bow Wow), introduces him to the underground world of drift racing. Sean’s simple drag racing gets replaced by a rubber-burning, automotive art form–with an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks.

On his first time out drifting, Sean unknowingly takes on D.K., the “Drift King,” a local champ with ties to the Japanese crime machine Yakuza. Sean’s loss comes at a high price tag when he’s forced to work off the debt under the thumb of ex-pat, Han (Kang). Han soon welcomes Sean into this family of misfits and introduces him to the real principles of drifting. But when Sean falls for D.K.’s girlfriend, Neela (newcomer Kelley), an explosive series of events is set into motion, climaxing with an ultimate high stakes face off.

The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift is directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan, Kario Salem and Alfredo Botello. The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz and executive produced by Clayton Townsend.

YOU, ME AND DUPREE
(July 14, 2006)

Carl and Molly Peterson (Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson) are just starting their new life together–complete with a cute house, boring neighbors, stable jobs and the routines of newlywed existence. There’s just one unfortunate hitch in their perfectly constructed new world…

And his name’s Dupree.

Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson), Carl’s oldest friend and perpetual bachelor, has found himself with nowhere to go after being fired. Carl yanks his jobless/homeless pal out of the bar he’s living in and invites him to temporarily crash on the couch–that’s just what friends do.

At first, Carl is quite pleased to have his good buddy as a permanent couch guest, while Molly bears the brunt of Dupree’s immature antics. But, as Carl becomes buried in his grown-up job, he finds it harder and harder to juggle Dupree and his responsibilities as a husband. To make matters worse, Dupree uses his ample spare time to become a great companion for Molly. Even her dad (Michael Douglas) and the neighbors are falling for his carefree wisdom and charm–frustrating Carl to no end.

Soon, everyone (but Carl) begins to root for Dupree to stick around. But as Dupree starts to become a fixture in the Peterson’s home, three becomes not just a crowd…but a full- blown, hilarious catastrophe.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo tell the wildly comic story of a suburban couple who are just trying to make their new marriage work when her and me unexpectedly becomes You, Me and Dupree.

MIAMI VICE
(July 28, 2006)

The cocaine cowboys of the ’80s are gone, but Miami’s Casablanca allure, the undercover cops and the attitudes of Michael Mann’s culturally influential television series have been enhanced by time in the feature film version of Miami Vice.

Ricardo Tubbs (Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx) is urbane and dead smart. He lives with Bronx-born intel analyst Trudy, played by British actress Naomie Harris, as they work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida to identify a group responsible for three murders.

Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) ]to the untrained eye, his presentation may seem unorthodox, but procedurally he is sound] is charismatic and flirtatious until-while undercover working with the supplier of the South Florida group-he gets romantically entangled with Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker. Isabella is played by the Chinese actress Gong Li.

The best undercover identity is oneself with the volume turned up and restraint unplugged. The intensity of this case pushes Crockett and Tubbs out onto the edge where identity and fabrication become blurred, where cop and player become one- especially for Crockett in his romance with Isabella and for Tubbs in the provocation of an assault on those he loves.

Miami Vice, as a large-scale feature film, liberates what is adult, dangerous and alluring about working deeply undercover…especially when Crockett and Tubbs go to where their badges don’t count…

Miami Vice stars Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Naomie Harris and Ciarán Hinds and is written and directed by Michael Mann, who also produces along with Pieter Jan Brugge; Anthony Yerkovich serves as executive producer.

CHILDREN OF MEN
(September 29, 2006)

Children of Men envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction.

Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth’s survival. When the planet’s last remaining hope is threatened, this reluctant activist is forced to face his own demons and protect her from certain peril.

Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men also stars Julianne Moore as the leader of an underground opposition group and Michael Caine as Jasper.

The film is produced by Marc Abraham and Eric Newman, Hilary Shor & Tony Smith and Iain Smith. It is adapted for the screen by Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD
(December 22, 2006)

The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man’s life in The Good Shepherd, an espionage drama starring Academy Award® winners Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro and directed by Robert De Niro.

Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy–discretion and commitment to honor have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson’s acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII.

As one of the covert founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Edward’s’ idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency’s veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. However, his steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-increasing price. Not even his wife Clover (Angelina Jolie) or his beloved son can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in pursuit of this job.

The Good Shepherd is directed by Robert De Niro, written by Eric Roth and produced by Morgan Creek’s James G. Robinson and Tribeca Productions’ Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. Universal Pictures distributes domestically, with Morgan Creek handling foreign distribution.

HELLION
(TBA 2006)

In the dead of winter, the kidnapping of a young boy results in fatal consequences in the supernatural thriller Hellion.

Max’s last resort–and only remaining choice–is to team up with two shady associates hired by an absent mastermind to kidnap the son of one of the richest women in the state. After Max abducts the eight-year-old, he joins Roxanne and the fellow conspirators on an eerie, unsettling drive to their secluded winter hideout, an abandoned summer camp.

As they await ransom instructions, the group begins to turn on each other as past suspicions, betrayals and secrets inexplicability come into play. When the escalating events take a horrific turn, it soon becomes apparent to Max that the child may not be the innocent he first appeared to be.

Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films present an H2F Entertainment/Deacon Pictures production–Hellion, starring Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Blake Woodruff, Joel Edgerton, John Kapelos, with Dulé Hill and Michael Rooker. Hellion is the feature film directorial debut of Stewart Hendler and marks the feature film screenwriting debut of Christopher Borrelli. It is produced by Paul Brooks, Damon Lee and Walter Hamada.

THE BLACK DAHLIA
(TBA 2006)

Master storyteller Brian De Palma, known for such classic crime dramas as The Untouchables, Scarface and Carlito’s Way, as well as his suspense thrillers Carrie, Dressed to Kill and Blow Out, directs this adaptation of James Ellroy’s best-selling crime novel.

The Black Dahlia weaves a fictionalized tale of obsession, love, corruption, greed and depravity around the true story of the brutal murder of a fledgling Hollywood starlet that shocked and fascinated the nation in 1947 and remains unsolved today. Two ex-pugilist cops, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), are called to investigate the homicide of ambitious silver-screen B-lister Betty Ann Short (Mia Kirshner) A.K.A. “The Black Dahlia”–an attack so grisly that images of the killing were kept from the public.

While Blanchard’s growing preoccupation with the sensational murder threatens his marriage to Kay (Scarlett Johansson), his partner Bleichert finds himself attracted to the enigmatic Madeleine Linscott (two-time Oscar® winner Hilary Swank), the daughter of one of the city’s most prominent families–who just happens to have an unsavory connection to the murder victim.

True crime meets urban legend when De Palma brings Ellroy’s “The Black Dahlia” to the big screen.

Check out some of our other 2006 studio previews:

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