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Promised Land

Gus Van Sant has tackled some touchy subjects in the past, from school shootings to gay rights, but his new movie "Promised Land" is sure to ruffle even more feathers. Corporate America, be warned.

The first theatrical trailer for "Promised Land" has hit the web and it shows that the movie should be able to balance some of its touchy subject matter with an inspirational and uplifting story. The flick stars Matt Damon as a salesman who works alongside Frances McDormand's land leaser to try to acquire areas of the country rich with natural gas for a multi-billion-dollar corporation. He heads to the struggling fictional town of McKinley and seemingly has convinced them to sell their land when an environmentalist played by John Krasinski shows up and makes both Damon and the town change their perspectives on giving up their country.

As Krasinski's character says in the trailer, "We're not fighting for land ... we're fighting for people."

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"Breaking Dawn" remains the hot item on Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner's dance cards for the foreseeable future, but it's certainly not the only movie either actor has in development. Pattinson's breaking away from his Edward Cullen image in a big way with director David Cronenberg's upcoming "Cosmopolis," for example, while Lautner's name has been attached to a wide range of projects including "Cancun" and "Stretch Armstrong."

Beginning with Pattinson, the sometime vampire has found himself at the center of rumors that he'd be starring in two upcoming musically-driven projects: an adaptation of the Green Day musical "American Idiot," for one, and a Jeff Buckley biopic for another. Perhaps he was merely playing coy, but Pattinson claimed ignorance regarding both films during this week's "MTV First: 'Breaking Dawn - Part 1'" interview.

"I don't know why," he told MTV News when asked where these rumors came from. "I don't know. Not really. The Jeff Buckley thing, I just love Jeff Buckley's music. 'American Idiot,' I don't know where that came from."

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TLautTaylor Lautner wasn't able to work with Gus Van Sant on "Breaking Dawn," so now he's created his own project for the director to helm.

MTV News reports that Lautner optioned a nonfiction article from The New Yorker, and has convinced Van Sant to direct it for him. "Milk" scribe Dustin Lance Black will pen the project, with Lautner in the lead role. Little more is known about the film, but it will be Lautner's first dramatic role to date.

Check out the rest of today's casting news after the jump!

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FROM HOLLYWOOD CRUSH: Calling "Twilight" a hot property would be like calling Justin Bieber "well-liked" by his fans — technically true, but a total understatement. Sure, for every Twihard, there's a naysayer putting the books and movies down. Still, the pool of contenders who were vying to direct the final two installments of the film franchise included some real Hollywood heavyweights, indicating more than a modicum of r-e-s-p-e-c-t from the film community. The Oscar-friendly candidates included Bill Condon, Sofia Coppola and Gus Van Sant.

Obviously, Bill won the honor, but Gus opened up about the selection process when we caught up with him at the Cannes Film Festival. So what's going through the mind of an Oscar-nominated director during an "audition" for a job?

"I got very nervous," Gus revealed. "There were like 15 people. I had never really auditioned or gone into a job interview in that way since maybe 1988 or '87. I guess I was unprepared for that. Usually people just hire me."

Read the full story at Hollywood Crush!

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A new name entered the potential directors pool for "Breaking Dawn" yesterday: Stephen Daldry. He previously directed only three films -- "The Reader," "The Hours" and "Billy Elliott" -- but he received Academy Award nominations for all three of them. Daldry joins a group of three previously named talents who Summit is considering to helm the final installment in the "Twilight" series.

Last week, the news emerged that the studio had Gus Van Sant, Sofia Coppola and Bill Condon on their short list of potential helmers. These are four serious names; Summit clearly wants to bring out the biggest guns they can in capping off the high school romance-meets-vampires saga. They also want to serve the fans, since you're the ones who made this series such a big deal. And we're here to help. Tell us which of the four directors we know to be in the running you'd most like to see get the gig. I can't promise you that Summit will listen, but I can't promise they won't either. Let's just quickly recap the potential directors one more time before we get to the poll. Read More...

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FROM MTV.COM: With three big names — Gus Van Sant, Sofia Coppola and Bill Condon — being floated as potential candidates to direct "Breaking Dawn," it seems that, along with Robert Pattinson, both Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning have strong feelings about Van Sant.

"Oh my god! He just makes stunning movies. I just love his work," Stewart gushed at the red carpet for her new flick, "The Runaways," on Wednesday in New York. "I don't know exactly what he would bring to the film but he's [great]."

Continue reading Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning Gush About Gus Van Sant As 'Breaking Dawn' Candidate

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FROM MTV.COM: Though an official announcement that "Breaking Dawn" is coming to the big screen — and Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner along with it — has not yet been made, word has already broken that three Oscar-nominated directors have been approached for the job: Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation"), Gus Van Sant ("Milk") and Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls").

While Pattinson has already cast his vote for Van Sant, the director that seemed to most excite Stewart and co-star Dakota Fanning when we spoke with them Tuesday is Coppola. So which director would be the best fit for "Breaking Dawn"? Let's take a look.

Continue reading 'Breaking Dawn' Rumored Directors: Who Is The Best Fit?

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One remade Hitchcock's "Psycho," the other wrote the novel "American Psycho." and they each often explore screwed up young characters, but otherwise Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gus Van Sant ("Milk") and author Bret Easton Ellis ("Less Than Zero") have little in common. The most significant contrast between them is that Van Sant's characters tend to have good souls, while Ellis' seem to have no souls at all. This makes it all the more exciting and curious to see how the duo collaborates on a script about the tragic true story of artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.

The lovers, who both ended their lives in 2007, were not household names, but they were important figures in the art world, and they both made contributions to cinema. Duncan, one of the first designers of video games for girls, made an animated short titled "The History of Glamour" (watch it here), and Blake did the abstract interludes seen in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love." Read More...

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-- Ian McKellen told attendees at an all-night "Lord of the Rings" screening that an actor has been selected to play Bilbo in "The Hobbit." There are no further details than that, though McKellen also mentioned that he'll be getting the script "within the next week." This falls very deeply into the rumor territory for now, though I have little doubt that a script exists or that there's a Bilbo short list. Especially since "Hobbit" director Guillermo del Toro told us as much in an interview. (TheOneRing.net)

-- The word is the "Fight Club" and "Zodiac" director David Fincher is all set to direct the Aaron Sorkin-penned "The Social Network," also known as "the Facebook movie" in some circles. As you might expect, the story follows the rise of the beast that we call Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Sorkin and Fincher make for odd bedfellows; I'll definitely see this one. (End of Show, via /Film) Read More...

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Ken Kesey and the Merry PrankstersWhile there is much in flux about Gus Van Sant’s upcoming adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s Zeitgeist-defining book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” which centers on the LSD-infused cross-country road trip that novelist Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters took in the 1960s, the director is certain about one thing: he won’t be able to cast his ideal leading man.

“Unfortunately, Heath Ledger was a pretty obvious choice, and he’s gone,” Van Sant told MTV News in an exclusive interview. But who else could play zany philosopher-king and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest” author Kesey?

“There’s the opportunity that it could be Jack Black,” says Van Sant, hinting the film might possibly take on a more comedic feel. Read More...

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