Hemsworth for ‘Huntsman,’ Jordan Returns to Vampires and Several Deals Out of Cannes

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The Snow White movie battle is getting dirty. Snow White and the Huntsman, originally set for a December 2012 release, has leapfrogged The Brothers Grimm: Snow White in targeting June 1, 2012 for its release. This means both rival Snow White movies are scheduled to debut in June 2012, with Grimm having previously set a June 29 release. It also means Judd Apatow’s This is Forty, which was supposed to come out June 1, will be pushed back to December 2012 as Universal has swapped their two projects. History has shown that in the cinematic battle of pairs, the first film to enter the ring usually has the upper hand.

In related news, Deadline has confirmed the casting of Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as the titular Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman.

Production will begin this summer on the Paranormal Activity-esque sequel The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes. The film will look at the events after the time of the original film, following a team of journalists and ghost hunters into an investigation of the bizarre events stemming from the famous haunted house. Anyone else ready for this “found footage” fad to die yet? The Lost Tapes is on the fast track for a January 2012 release.

Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire) will return to vampire territory with Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) and Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) in tow. THR reports the ladies will play a mother and daughter bloodsucking team that sometimes pose as sisters. The film is called Byzantium, and though the script is based on a youth theater play, screenwriter Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre) has taken the material to a more adult, darker level.

Amazing Spider-Man and Zodiac screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt has been hired to write Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Red Riding. Heat Vision reports Scott will direct and produce under his Scott Free banner. The source material is a series of four books by David Pearce that take place from 1974 to 1983. While the stories were previously adapted into three British TV movies (known as “the Red Riding trilogy”), it sounds as if Vanderbilt will write one long Zodiac-esque crime saga. I liked the trilogy, but the second and third films just didn’t have enough there to make great features. If they’re allowed the sort of 150 minute runtime Zodiac had, this remake could be great.

Deadline reports Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy and co-writer Annie Mumolo (who also played the nervous woman on the plane) have sold an untitled comedy pitch to Paramount Pictures. The premise, which came from McCarthy’s husband and fellow Bridesmaids actor Ben Falcone, revolves around a woman (McCarthy) who attempts to steal the Stanley Cup to cheer up her ill husband. McCarthy was quite funny in Bridesmaids, but can she carry a movie? It sounds like we’ll find out much sooner than I would have imagined.

I’ll finish today with a few nuggets keeping you up to speed on the deals taking place at Cannes and then a first look image from an upcoming film.

Sony will distribute the futuristic thriller Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis for director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom). The picture to the right is a first look image at Willis in the film courtesy of Empire.

Film District will distribute Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, the Bosnian war love story In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Sony has also secured the rights to the Meryl Streep-starrer Great Hope Springs. Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell co-star as Streep’s husband and marriage therapist, respectively.

Another Streep film, the Oscar-baiting Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, has found an appropriate home at The Weinstein Company.

Sleeping Beauty, a film that played recently at Cannes was swiftly panned by Brad, has been picked up by Sundance Selects. Interested parties will likely find it On Demand sometime this fall.

The Weinstein Company is also nearing a deal with hot commodity The Wettest County in the World, with Deadline suggesting TWC’s history of awards-season success has given it the edge over the competition. The star-studded (Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman, just to name a few) gangster flick from director John Hillcoat (The Road) will seek Oscar glory with a December 2011 release.

Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth on the set of Gambit
Photo: FilmNation Entertainment

Finally, the image above is a first look at Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth on the set of Gambit, which is shooting in London and New Mexico, directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station) and based on a screenplay written by Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit, No Country for Old Men). Along with Firth and Diaz, the film co-stars Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay and it was just announced Stanley Tucci and Cloris Leachman have joined the cast.

The story centers on British art curator Harry Deane (Firth) who devises a finely-crafted scheme to con England’s richest man and avid art collector, Lionel Shabandar, (Rickman) into purchasing a fake Monet painting. In order to bait his buyer, he recruits a Texas rodeo queen (Diaz) to cross the pond and pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII.