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New Movies From Luc Besson, Gary Sanchez Get Casting Directors

New Movies From Luc Besson, Gary Sanchez Get Casting Directors
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Were you to put French writer-director-producer Luc Besson in a lineup with four other people chosen at random from your local maximum security prison gen pop and ask me, "Which of these men has made a career making films with strong, compelling female leads?" I would guess Besson last. I would also pick him last if you asked me which guy had a two-year marriage to Milla Jovovich. In both cases, I would be wrong. Besson looks like a guy who routinely uses the hand unoccupied by an unfiltered cigarette to pinch the hindquarters of passing women; a real-life Pepe Le Pew, odor included.

While I can only speculate as to his personal bouquet, I can say for certain that he is good at making movies. Aside from female leads who quite literally kick ass, what Besson's best movies ("La Femme Nikita," "Leon: The Professional," "The Fifth Element") have in common is a darkly comic streak. So while his newest project is set to star the ostensibly male Robert De Niro in the lead, it at least looks to share that wry sensibility. Called "Malavita" and adapted from the book "Badfellas" by Tonino Benacquista, the story centers on a former Mafia boss who moves with his family to Normandy as part of the witness protection program. But this particular wiseguy has a crippling inability to lay low. Sounds a lot like the tragically underwatched Netflix show "Lilyhammer," which I highly recommend if you can't wait until 2013 to get your "Mafia guy in witsec can't keep his hands clean" fix. Oh, Michelle Pfeiffer is also on board for the role of De Niro's wife. So that's cool. Amanda Mackey of Mackey/Sandrich is casting ahead of an August start in France and New York.

Speaking of strong, compelling female leads, the success of "Bridesmaids" was supposed to usher in a glorious new era of that type of thing in comedy by showing studio execs that movies about women with explosive diarrhea can make just as much money as movies about men with, uh, that. But a year later, those leads haven't really materialized for women not named Melissa McCarthy. One promising project on the horizon from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions looks like a step in the right direction. It's called "He's Fuckin' Perfect," a title that will get changed to "He's F-in' Perfect," which will do nothing to mollify the Parents Television Council. It's about a woman who, through her habit of vetting all her and her friends' potential dates on social media, discovers the perfect guy online and sets about using his profile to turn herself into his ideal mate. Emma Stone was rumored to be considering the lead at one point, but that's evidently not happening. I guess pretending to have diarrhea isn't in her repertoire. No word yet on when this will shoot, but Allison Jones will start casting in June.

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