Word spread on Wednesday that Universal was considering wrapping up its long-running Fast & Furious franchise, possibly bringing longtime director Justin Lin back for a multi-movie wrap-up. That tenuous rumor appears to be put to rest by the new Hollywood Reporter roundtable, which features Universal Chairman Donna Langley. Asked about the future of the franchise beyond Furious 7, Langley responds, “We think there’s at least three more…I think it’s still a growing franchise.” READ FULL STORY
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Jay Leno has left The Tonight Show, but Jay Leno is not finished being Jay Leno. The host may have waved his second final goodbye to the NBC late-night institution this week. But we all know he’s not finished. When Johnny Carson left The Tonight Show, he effectively left pop culture. It’s impossible to imagine an inveterate workaholic like Leno hasn’t already considered several post-Tonight options. But what’s his best bet? Let’s run down the most likely and most awesome possibilities — and then take a vote, because this is America.
Go to CNN. The most popular theory holds that Leno will join his former NBC boss Jeff Zucker at the ratings-challenged news network, hosting some kind of show in primetime or late-night. Given that CNN is still nominally a serious-news network, such a move would probably reboot Leno less as a comedian and more as a Larry King-esque interviewer. A possible happy side effect of the CNN option: Leno could take over Piers Morgan’s 9 p.m. slot. Because whatever you think about Leno, we can all agree that he’s more likable than Piers Morgan. (Which, admittedly, could be said about everyone.) READ FULL STORY
Very impressive people worked on The Counselor. Directed by an Academy Award-nominated director. Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who is In The Conversation for a Nobel Prize. Starring a mixed-company cast of movie stars, Oscar winners, and internet boyfriends: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt. You would be forgiven, then, for thinking that The Counselor is not the sort of movie in which someone engages in sexual congress with a car.
But in point of fact, The Counselor is indeed a film in which someone (Cameron Diaz) has sex (intercourse) with a car (Ferrari). The scene comes relatively early in the movie — although The Counselor is a movie that seems to last forever and also a movie in which nothing really seems to happen, so it might be more accurate to say that Cameron Diaz is actually having sex with a car for the entire movie. Indeed, it might be that the entirety of human history is merely an endless repetition of the essential primal state of being, and said primal state is in fact a state of Cameron Diaz Having Sex With Car-ness.
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Fresh off the one-two box office success of The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2, director James Wan is hard at work on a movie that will presumably feature significantly less ghosts, unless it turns out that The Rock’s triceps are haunted. Fast & Furious 7 is currently filming towards a summer 2014 release date. The last film ended with a mid-credits teaser introducing new villain Jason Statham. Little is known about Statham’s character, Ian Shaw, beyond the fact that he is the brother of Fast 6 baddie Owen Shaw. But in a new picture posted to Twitter, Wan offers a window into the new baddie’s soul: READ FULL STORY
Fast & Furious 7 has already added several new faces to the crash-happy franchise, including Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, and probably several hundred cars that will soon meet their destruction in a metropolitan fireball of automotive calamity. But the series isn’t forgetting its roots: EW has confirmed that Lucas Black — who memorably essayed the part of White Dude in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift — will return for Fast & Furious 7.
Deadline originally reported that Black’s deal is actually for the next three Fasts, which implies that the franchise is world-building towards a genuine trilogy — a three-film saga that can only end with a race across a melting glacier and/or an exploding volcano. READ FULL STORY
Social media pioneer and human bicep Vin Diesel just started filming the next Fast & Furious movie. We know this is true because he posted a picture from the set on his Facebook page. The photo shows Diesel as Dominic Toretto, towering over the camera; although he is wearing a leather jacket, we can surmise that he is wearing one of his trademark black tank tops. Paul Walker is there too, wearing Brian O’Conner’s trademark three-sizes-too-large T-Shirt.
There’s also a young lady who looks unconscious/drugged/dead, and a pretty pond; also, both Diesel and Walker are looking at someone offscreen. With these few bits of information, and because there’s nothing else to do today besides cry about Breaking Bad, let’s try to construct the scene they’re filming as written in the original screenplay: READ FULL STORY
The Fast & Furious franchise hit a new gear with 2011’s Fast Five when it added in Dwayne Johnson as the anti-Diesel. The addition of the Rock was a net positive for all involved, and this year’s Furious 6 followed suit, with a sequel-teasing mid-credits sequence that introduced a very familiar antagonist for the next film. Universal is bullish on the future of the franchise — understandable, since the sixth film has grossed a franchise-high $740 million so far. It makes sense that they would already be looking towards the future. And if the current hot rumor is to be believed, they’re setting their sights high. Mike Fleming at Deadline reports (mid-rant) that the studio approached Denzel Washington about a small role in Fast 7 that would lead into a major role in Fast 8 — similar to the soft-launch of Evil Statham in Furious 6. READ FULL STORY
Some franchises add numbers to their sequel titles. Think Spider-Man 2 or Iron Man 3 or Final Destination 5. Other franchises opt for more eccentric, colonized sequel-subtitles, like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End or Thor: The Dark World or the inadvertently flipped The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Sometimes franchises get particularly fanciful with how they incorporate the original film’s title: Die Hard beget Die Hard With a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, and A Good Day to Die Hard, titles which are uniformly better than their movies. But if a franchise is especially cool, they’ll just avoid the original title all together. We’re talking The Dark Knight, or The Road Warrior, or The Empire Strikes Back, which is what the second Star Wars movie was called before it was retitled Star Wars:
Episode II Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition).
Then there’s the Fast & Furious franchise. READ FULL STORY
The day was June 22, 2001. George W. Bush was midway through the first year of his presidency. TNT had just reinvented itself with the slogan “We Know Drama.” Annoying suburban children across this country were thrilling to the pop-punk sounds of Blink-182’s latest album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. And a movie called The Fast and the Furious was hitting theaters, opening the same weekend as Dr. Dolittle 2. It was teen-dreamboat Paul Walker’s first starring role. It more or less invented the idea of Vin Diesel, Action Star. And it launched one of the most surprising and durable franchises in modern Hollywood — which looks poised to have its biggest moment yet with Fast & Furious 6, opening Memorial Day. READ FULL STORY
My overwhelming thought following tonight’s rippling terrain of pricey Super Bowl commercials was that Doritos missed a great cross-promotional opportunity by not joining forces with Calvin Klein. There’s always next year. Below, zip through a bunch of 2013’s most memorable — best AND worst! — Super Bowl ads. READ FULL STORY
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