Will Brad Pitt be The Gray Man?

Brad Pitt is considering taking the lead role in the upcoming film The Gray Man.

Brad Pitt in Cannes

The film is based on the Mark Greaney book series and is being directed by a Gray man himself, James Gray (We Own the Night). The script will be tackled by Adam Cozad.

The Gray Man follows Court Gentry (the role eyed by Pitt), a former CIA operative who now makes his living as an assassin-for-hire. Gentry is known in his work circles as The Gray Man — a legend in how he never misses a hit and manages to always escape capture.

If the film’s a hit, look for the second book in the Greaney series — On Target, released in bookstores earlier this year — to follow. Then maybe even the third book in the series, Ballistic, due in September, to be filmed after that.

The Gray Man was on the 2010 Black List, which compiles the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood each year. If Pitt takes the role, look for his Plan B production company to co-produce.

Pitt will next be seen in Moneyball, premiering at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

Reeve Carney Gets Lead in Jeff Buckley Biopic

Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark Broadway star Reeve Carney has nabbed the role of Jeff Buckley that A-listers were drooling over. Carney got the part over Twilight star Robert Pattinson and Rise of the Planet of the Apes star James Franco.

Reeve Carney is Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley was a revered singer-songwriter whose life was cut short at the age of 30 when he drowned in the Wolf River in Memphis, Tennessee. He only released one album, but it contained his version of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, and is considered a modern classic.

Pattinson had lobbied hard for the job and was even endorsed by Buckley’s mother at one point. No stranger to music, Pattinson has contributed several songs on the soundtracks from The Twilight Saga. But, for Pattinson, the role of Buckley is not to be.

Carney is currently embodying Peter Parker and Spiderman in Turn Off the Dark on Broadway from U2’s Bono and The Edge that has garnered so much news for all its problems.

The Jeff Buckley biopic will be directed by Jake Scott from a Ryan Jaffe screenplay.

And by the way, Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert — even though she spoke in favor of the Pattinson casting — is completely behind Carney portraying her son. “We are over the moon that Reeve has agreed to take on this challenging role. I’ve seen him perform several times… he’s been getting ready for this all his life. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he looks so much like Jeff,” said Guibert in a recently released statement.

Director Scott echoed Guibert’s sentiment in the statement as well. “We are excited to have found in Reeve the perfect combination of musical prodigy, impish charm, innate intelligence and sensitivity to play Jeff.”

Planet of the Apes Rules Box Office for Second Straight Week

There may have been four new films for all kinds of audiences this weekend, but none could hold back the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Apes reboot spent its second weekend in a row at the top of the box office charts.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Pic

While Rise of the Planet of the Apes earned $27.5 million in its second week of release, the box office runner-up also did quite well for itself. The Help, the first of the weekend’s new movies, landed in second place with an impressive $25.5 million. Add in the film’s showings before the weekend (it opened Wednesday, August 10) and the film based on the book by Kathryn Stockett earned a total of $35.4 million since its debut.

Final Destination 5 rode a wave of 3D ticket sales and came in third with $18.4 million. Just to compare, the fourth film in the franchise, also in 3D, took in $27.4 million when it opened in 2009.

The Smurfs continued its surprising run landing in fourth, while the only other new movie to be released this weekend to land in the top five was the Jesse Eisenberg starring 30 Minutes or Less.

Landing nowhere on the top 10 was the widely anticipated Glee trip to the big screen: Glee: The 3D Concert Movie. Sadly for Gleeks everywhere, it only made $5.7 million despite having the benefit of higher ticket prices from its 3D format.

Box office top 10:

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $27.5 million
2. The Help, $25.5 million
3. Final Destination 5, $18.4 million
4. The Smurfs, $13.5 million
5. 30 Minutes or Less, $13 million
6. Cowboys and Aliens, $7.6 million
7. Captain America, $7.1 million
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love, $6.9 million
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, $6.86 million
10. The Change-Up, $6.2 million

Mike Myers Close to Deal for Austin Powers 4: Yeah Baby!

Is Mike Myers ready to don the Austin Powers glasses and bad teeth again? Yeah baby, according to sources close to the franchise.

Mike Myers is Austin Powers

Myers has not played Austin Powers since the film’s last foray in 2002’s Austin Powers in Goldmember. The comedy franchise has banked over $676 million at the global box office since Myers first asked “Do I make you horny, baby?” in 1997.

The deal is far from done, and there is no script, director or producer in place. But given Myers’ box office track record of the last decade and the need for the actor to score another hit, consider this a rumor that should ring true.

Myers was last seen in a tiny role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and of course he has starred in the Shrek series in animated form. His last several solo starring vehicles flopped including 2008’s The Love Guru — which took in only $40.8 million internationally.

If the Austin Powers deal gets done, look for Myers to not only star, but also produce and write the screenplay about the character that was a hybrid of roles his late father adored — James Bond and Inspector Clouseau.

Lone Ranger Production Shut Down by Disney

Johnny Depp had the role he had dreamed of playing go up in smoke as Disney has announced it has shut down production of The Lone Ranger.

Johnny Depp at Pirates Premiere

Depp denied a film is a headline hardly seen. But that is exactly what has happened as news has broke that Disney has closed the doors on the filming of the Lone Ranger property.

The Lone Ranger was set to be a big budget update of the legendary pop culture stalwart starring The Social Network star Armie Hammer as the Ranger and Depp as his trusty sidekick Tonto.

No reason has been given as of yet from the studio as to why The Lone Ranger will not be allowed to extol his Old West justice onscreen with Depp and Hammer. Frequent Depp collaborator, director Gore Verbinski, was set to direct the picture after the duo scored a hit with the animated hit Rango earlier this year. 

Could this be part of a continuing feud between Verbinski and Disney? The director famously clashed with Disney brass over the filming of the third Pirates of the Caribbean films (he directed the first three of those Depp starring smashes).

The Lone Ranger is not a dead project — far from it, in fact. In the end, Movie Fanatic believes this is a budgetary bump in the road. Verbinski sought a $250 million budget while the studio sought one closer to the $200 million mark.

Like the classic 1949 TV series The Lone Ranger used to say: Stay tuned.