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Week in Review: Disney’s ‘Moana’ sets sail for 2016

Moana

Disney’s Princesses are some of the most beloved cartoon figures in history, but even they have come under scrutiny as Hollywood pushes for more diversity in their films. Disney’s latest princess will be the first of Pacific Islander descent (unless you count Lilo of Lilo & Stitch as a princess). The CG-animated film is Moana, the story of a born navigator who travels through ancient Oceania along with a demi-God pal named Maui in order to find a secret island.

Deadline reported Monday that the film would be aiming for a November 2016 release date and would be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog). In the meantime, we’ll be awaiting Pixar’s Inside Out and Finding Dory, both anticipated for 2015. And Deadline reported back in 2013 several other slots for two other Disney and Pixar films in both March and June of 2016 prior to Moana’s release.

The above image is a concept art photo while details are being kept under wraps, but Deadline has Director Musker saying “Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself.”

Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant are now confirmed for Stephen Frears’s Florence, a biopic about the famous but fairly untalented opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. HitFix discusses how Jenkins would perform dreadful incantations of Strauss and Vivaldi and eventually worked her way up to playing Carnegie Hall at the age of 76. Streep has had some experience with singing, both in Mamma Mia! and the upcoming Into the Woods, but let’s face it, she’s Meryl friggin’ Streep; she can handle any role they throw at her. Grant on the other hand will play an aristocratic actor set on protecting the earnest and overly confident singer from ridicule. You can listen to Jenkins singing above.

frank-silvero-simpsons-louie-comparison

More than 25 seasons in the making, actor Frank Sivero, who played Frankie Carbone in Goodfellas, is suing The Simpsons for the sum of $250 million. Sivero claims that the show ripped off his character for the mobster Louie, one of Fat Tony’s cronies who first appeared in Season 4 of the show. Deadline has details of Sivero’s full complaint he filed, claiming he lived next door to the writers of the show in Sherman Oaks, California and was even told he would become connected to the success of the show and make a film together with James L. Brooks and the other creators. That Sivero’s Frankie Carbone and the cartoon Louie look very much alike is probably not a coincidence, regardless of whether Sivero actually has a case.

The Hobbit is now the one film to rule them all, as The Guardian has a report that Peter Jackson’s film production of The Hobbit trilogy has amounted to the most expensive of all time, approximately $744 million. If you consider The Hobbit a single film, it far dwarfs (LOTR reference!) that of the previous most expensive film ever, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, which totaled roughly $300 million.

HitFix reports that Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to the stellar Blue Ruin from this year will be Green Room, a thriller about a punk rock band who is fighting for their lives after witnessing racist, white supremacists committing a violent hate crime. Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat all star as members of the band, and Blue Ruin actor Macon Blair will return as a member of the white supremacist gang. But the most surprising casting choice is the otherwise lovable, meme-ready Patrick Stewart as the hateful gang leader.

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