Spielberg and Cooper Team Up for 'American Sniper'

Today in show business news: the story of the late sniper Chris Kyle could be Bradley Cooper's key to Oscar gold, Reese Witherspoon heads to space, and Justin Timberlake continues to attempt acting.

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Today in show business news: the story of the late sniper Chris Kyle could be Bradley Cooper's key to Oscar gold, Reese Witherspoon heads to space, and Justin Timberlake continues to attempt acting.

Now that Steven Spielberg is free from the shackles of Robopocalypse — a terribly titled sci-fi action flick that is basically all but dead — he is moving on to other projects. Next up is American Sniper, based on the autobiography by Chris Kyle, a prolific Navy SEAL sniper (160 confirmed kills) who was shot to death by a friend while on a shooting range in February of this year. Spielberg has chosen Bradley Cooper to play Kyle, another A-list gig for an actor who is on a serious roll. The film, adapted from Kyle's book by screenwriter Jason Hall, is expected to start filming early next year. So this is a big deal for both Cooper and Spielberg. The actor continues to climb the ranks of movie stardom, while Spielberg stays on the drama course rather than going back to big blockbuster stuff. Not that there won't be action in this, but it's of a different sort. I mean, this could be an Oscar-y type thing. Might Bradley Cooper finally get his Oscar?? After all these... four years that Bradley Cooper has been a movie star? Could be. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Hmm. Ben Stiller might be directing Robert Downey Jr. in a new movie version of Pinocchio. Yes. See, Downey Jr. has been set to play Geppetto in a movie adaptation for a while now, but his intended director, Tim Burton, dropped out of the project. (To everyone's benefit, probably.) So he is directorless! Or maybe was. During an Iron Man 3 junket interview, Downey Jr. mentioned that he'd like his Tropic Thunder boss Stiller to direct the Pinocchio movie, and now, lo and behold, Stiller is in early talks with Warner Bros to do just that. Amazing how that works! One of the biggest box office draws of the last decade says "I want that famous actor and director to direct my movie" and the studio listens. That's even more effective than Kickstarer, for god's sake! Not that anyone should be making this movie, but still! [Deadline]

Reese Witherspoon is reportedly in talks to costar with Keanu Reeves in the romantic sci-fi pic Passengers. That's the one I said should be called Space Jerk back when we first heard about it, because it is about the biggest jerk ever, in space. Basically the plot is that a guy on a long space mission wakes up from stasis sleep 90 years before he's supposed to and so rather than suffer his terrible fate alone, the noble thing to do, he wakes someone else up. What a jerky thing to do! And then she's supposed to fall in love with him?? No, absolutely not. That is a terrible, unforgivable thing. "Oh, I also ruined your life and made it so you will die in a spaceship with me, without ever saying goodbye to your loved ones or getting to where you wanted to go, because I didn't want to be lonely." There's no real way to spin that. I hope Reese's role is mostly just calling him a jerk the whole time. However it works out, I think it's interesting that Reese Witherspoon might be doing a sci-fi movie. Imagine Reese Witherspoon on a spaceship! It seems so strange. And with Keanu Reeves no less. Reese 'n' Reeves. Together in space. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Oh good grief. Justin Timberlake has landed another acting role. He'll be playing record executive Neil Bogart in a new biopic called Spinning Gold. Bogart was partly responsible for bringing disco into the world, a good thing or a bad thing depending on your outlook. Also KISS. Again, good or bad, depending. So that's an interesting story I'm sure (although I personally find biopics about music to be the height of dullsville) but Justin Timberlake?? No. Absolutely not. Let's shut this whole Justin Timberlake-can-act theory down once and for all. He is really, really not a very good actor. Not good in Social Network, not good in In Time, and really only "funny for a musician" on SNL. Please no more leading movie roles for Justin Timberlake. He's not good at it. Let's just be honest about that. He is very good at music! And dancing! And being that kind of entertainer. That's way more talent than most people in the world could ever dream of having. Why do we feel compelled to give him acting too? We shouldn't, it's silly. Justin Timberlake is not a good actor. Just admit it. [Deadline]

James Franco is directing another movie and has just cast Game of Thrones's Emilia Clarke, better known as Daenerys Stormborn. The Khaleesi will play a stripper in The Garden of Last Days, an adaptation of an Andrew Dubus III novel. The Vulture post about this news says, "The book is about said stripper and two patrons of her strip club, and it's also about September 11." So... Dear lord, James Franco might be directing a September 11 movie. OK, well, Vulture says the movie might actually deal with a different terrorist attack, but there's a chance! There is a chance that James Franco is going to try to Say Something about September 11. Which is maybe the worst idea yet. [The Hollywood Reporter via Vulture]

A writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show has just sold a Mr. Rogers biopic spec script to a production company. There might be that movie. If it is bad, unfortunately I think the writer might have to go to jail. Pretty sure there's a law for sullying the memory of Mr. Rogers. Just a warning. [Deadline]

Here is the first trailer for Girl Most Likely, formerly titled Imogene, the new movie from American Splendor directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. It stars Kristen Wiig as a down-in-the-dumps playwright who, following a staged suicide attempt, moves in with her mother, played by Annette Bening. From the looks of it, wacky hijinks ensue and life lessons are learned. And Wiig has sex with hunky Darren Criss. Wiig and Bening are well cast as mother and daughter, but I was hoping this would be a little darker and more serious than it appears to be. Though that could just be the trailer going for easy comedy for marketing purposes. Who knows. I'm going to see it no matter what. It's Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening for god's sake. Anyone would be crazy not to.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.