Disney pop princess Selena Gomez has earned a considerable amount of respect from us for allowing her film roles to stray pretty far away from her squeaky clean image that made her name. With a cameo role in the Eli Roth-starring earthquake thriller “Aftershock” and a revealing supporting part alongside James Franco in the Harmony Kormine-directed “Spring Breakers,” it would look as if the days of typical teenage dreck like “Monte Carlo” are at least partially in her rearview. Gomez is now set to star opposite Nat Wolff in a coming-of-age rock ‘n roll comedy “Parental Guidance Suggested,” based on the Ric Browde book “While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog,” which centers on a rock infused journey of a 16-year-old named Ric Thibault (Wolff) and his crush Nina Pennington (Gomez). It’s not exactly the ballsy material we were just priding her for taking part in, but she could do a lot worse. Dylan McDermott, Cary Elwes, and Austin Stowell will co-star.
While Gomez may be heading away from the Mouse House, “The Office” and “Inglorious Basterds” star B.J. Novak is ready to hop right into the cast of “Saving Mr. Banks,” Disney’s movie about the making of “Mary Poppins.” Joining an ensemble that already includes Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman and Ruth Wilson, Novak will play Disney songwriter Robert Sherman. Sherman, along with his brother Richard, penned many of the most memorable tunes in “Mary Poppins,” including the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cheer-ee.” “Saving Mr. Banks” is shooting this September in Los Angeles with “The Blind Side” director John Lee Hancock at the helm.
Next, “The Bourne Identity” and “Alive” actor Josh Hamilton has joined the Jason Blum-produced “Dark Skies” alongside Keri Russell. From “Priest” and “Legion” director Scott Stewart, “Dark Skies” follows an alien disguised as a human searching for a boy that’s been tagged for abduction. Could be another microbudget genre wonder from Blumhouse Productions (“Insidious,” “Lords of Salem”), but that remains to be seen.
Whatever happened to “MADtv” actor Michael McDonald? Best known for playing the creepy manchild Stewart on the now defunct sketch show, along with recurring roles in the “Austin Powers” films, McDonald seemed to be set to join the ranks of talent like Will Sasso, Mo Collins, and Bobby Lee who would experience a career after their respective runs on the program. Well, it looks as if McDonald will be lending his comedic chops as a villain in Paul Feig‘s “The Heat” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as an FBI agent and Boston cop that can’t see eye-to-eye. McDonald has been doing a lot of behind the scenes work as of late, executive producing and directing episodes of “Cougar Town” among other things, though it should be interesting to see what he can bring to the big screen. [THR/THR/Variety/Deadline]