Sweeping Culture Daily

SPOTLIGHT: Sweeping Culture Daily

In Five: Jack Nicholson Goes to Court with Robert Downey Jr., Liza Minnelli Makes Her Inevitable “Smash” Cameo, and More Culture News

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1. Jack Nicholson is being courted to play Robert Downey Jr.’s father in “The Judge.” The courtroom drama, developed by Downey Jr., focuses on “a successful attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral only to discover that his estranged and Alzheimer’s-stricken father, the town’s judge, is the murder suspect.” Nicholson, a three-time Academy Award winner, is notoriously picky about the projects he works on and has not made a film since “How Do You Know” in 2010. David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”) is attached to direct, with a script originally written by Nick Schenk (“Gran Torino”). [Hollywood Reporter]

2. Liza Minnelli, soon to appear on the new season of “Arrested Development,” has booked a guest-starring role on NBC’s Broadway drama “Smash.” Minnelli will play herself and sing an original song hat was created specifically for the series by the composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The new season of “Smash” returns on February 5th. [Artsbeat]

3. Viggo Mortensen has signed on to produce and star in director Lisandro Alonso’s untitled drama. The synopsis is so good it needs to be quoted in full: “A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization. The girl falls in love and runs off with a boy who belongs to a small gang of men led by her father, Gunner Blixen. He begins a desperate search for the only thing that ties him to this world. Time and space blend utterly together and become suspended around a dog that mutates until it turns into what may be the very enigma of creation.” Alonso is an internationally renowned filmmaker who has shown each of his four films (including “Liverpool” and “La Libertad”) at Cannes and received a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. [Variety]

4. Ryan Wilson, set to star in “Rebecca” before it became embroiled in controversy, has landed a new role: Giorgio in the Classic Stage Company revival of “Passion.” The actor joins Judy Kuhn and Melissa Errico in the Tony-winning musical drama by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. “Passion” centers on a “19th-century Italian army officer with a beautiful mistress who unexpectedly falls in love with Fosca an unattractive older woman,” and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1994. [Artsbeat]

5. While the jury’s still out if this is one big James Franco-led art-hoax or not, we now have a second full-length trailer for Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” The film, which also stars Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis, concerns a “a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics” who “is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz,” where “he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting.” It will be in 3-D, of course, and it appears that Franco will be wearing an array of funny hats and hanging around with small CGI creatures. [Playlist]

Previously: John Hawkes, Justin Peck, “Nashville,” Ridley Scott, “A Young Doctor’s Notebook”

Image: Jack Nicholson/Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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