X-Men: First Class (June 3)
A prequel to the previous X-Men movies, First Class promises to ? resolve mysteries about the past of Professor X and his team of mutants. But fans initially just care about what that past looks like. ”People want to know if he’s bald, or if he’s in a wheelchair,” says James McAvoy, taking on the Charles Xavier role from Patrick Stewart. ”He’s not bald, though I was quite keen on getting my head shaved. And he’s not in the wheelchair, though he may be by the end of the movie.”
First Class also explores how Xavier ?becomes a peaceful revolutionary, leading ? a worldwide movement of mutants. It’s clear that he hasn’t yet grown into the wise old man Stewart portrayed. ”In [the other X-Men] movies, he’s very selfless and egoless and sexless. He’s like the personification of good,” McAvoy says. ”We just wanted to go the opposite way. We couldn’t make him a bad guy, but we’ve made him sort of amoral.” In the film, set in the early 1960s, he’s a little more reckless, dangerous, and, as the actor puts it, ?definitely no longer sexless.? He’s still best friends with future nemesis Magneto (Jane Eyre‘s Michael Fassbender), and he helps defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. ”He’s not the holistic world healer he will become,” McAvoy says. ”X-Men is always about the ?mutant who’s uncomfortable in his own skin. He’s just a little too pleased with who he is.” —AB
Beginners (June 3)
Beginners is all about fresh starts — like the one between Oliver (Ewan McGregor) and his father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), after Hal comes out of the closet at age 75. The film shuttles between Hal living as an openly gay man (then developing a terminal illness) and Oliver grieving after his father?s death but finding love with an eccentric beauty (Mélanie Laurent).
The story may sound far-fetched, but it’s based on the real-life experience of writer-director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) and his father, Paul, who died in 2004. ”Our relationship went from very nice but muted straight-son-and-straight-dad to a much more wild and uncontained relationship between a straight son and a gay dad,” says Mills. ”We had lots of great arguments about love and relationships and what you can expect and what you can?t.” —Sara Vilkomerson
Super 8 (June 10)
With the third film of his directing career, J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek) has created an ode to his childhood spent making and watching movies. Set in 1979 in an Ohio steel town Abrams named ”Lillian,” after his grandmother, Super 8 follows a group of teenagers growing up geeky before geeky became cool. Newcomer Riley Griffiths plays strong-willed Charles, the budding auteur, and Joel Courtney plays his quiet, loyal best friend, Joe, who crushes on rebellious Alice (Somewhere‘s Elle ? Fanning).
One night while making a ? zombie flick, they witness — and nearly get killed by — a derailed train carrying cargo from Nevada’s famed Area 51. Some creature of possible extraterrestrial origins breaks free, and all sorts of otherworldly hell break loose. ”When I was ? a kid, I was always doing violent, crazy, dangerous things on film, whether it was blowing things up, or fight scenes, or makeup effects,” says Abrams. ”I thought it would be fun — and funny — to tell a coming-of-age story about being that age, at that time, making movies.” —Jeff Jensen
Green Lantern (June 17)
Blake Lively is not what you’d call a comic-book nerd — shocker, we know — so when the prospect of starring as aerospace exec Carol Ferris in Green Lantern first cropped up, she wasn?t sure what to make of it. ”I’d actually never heard of Green Lantern at all, which is probably terrible to say,” Lively admits. ”Then I got on the set of Gossip Girl and told a couple of crew members I was doing this movie, and they were freaking out.”
Indeed, to legions of fans, Green Lantern is a beloved character with a legacy stretching back seven decades. The hero, played by Ryan Reynolds in the film, is a green-suited interstellar space cop who keeps the universe safe from the likes of telekinetic villain Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard). To lure an audience beyond the comic-book contingent, director Martin Campbell hopes to successfully blend eye-popping sci-fi adventure with the sort of gut-punching action he delivered in the James Bond films GoldenEye and Casino Royale. —JR
Mr. Popper's Penguins (June 17)
Loosely based on the ? 1938 children’s-book classic Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the film tells the story of New York real estate developer Tom Popper (Jim Carrey), who has sacrificed his family and moral compass to get ahead. But then he receives an unexpected gift from his estranged father that resets that compass: six gentoo penguins.
”Jim’s one of the few actors who actually relishes working with animals,” says director Mark Waters (Mean Girls), who borrowed Popper’s pint-size tuxedoed costars while they were en route from an exhibit in Montreal back to their home in Hong Kong. ”People think of Jim Carrey as the king of improv. And it’s true, whatever those penguins gave him he’d find a way to use.” Well, almost. Waters says there were some scenes his leading man forced him to junk. ”He’d be like, ‘I did a bit just like this in Ace Ventura, we can’t do it!”’ Then again, that film was a massive hit. Maybe audiences wouldn’t mind seeing the talking-butt joke again. —Chris Nashawaty
Bad Teacher (June 24)
Last fall, Justin Timberlake told EW that Cameron Diaz, as the world’s worst educator in Bad Teacher, reminded him ? of Bill Murray. Now he’s taking it a step ? further: ”No one else in the world can do what she did in this movie. Not even Bill Murray. It’s just one of a kind.” For Diaz, the gleefully dark tale of a misanthrope who ?neglects her seventh-grade charges while keeping alcohol and pot in the classroom is the closest she’s come to revisiting the comedic sensibility of 1998’s There’s Something About Mary. ‘There’s the same irreverence,” she says, ”the blatant disregard for anybody’s feelings. We’re not solving any problems or making any statements here. We just made a movie to make people laugh. Period.”
Timberlake, Diaz’s real-life ex-boyfriend, plays a newly arrived substitute teacher caught between Diaz and her nemesis (Dinner for Schmucks‘ Lucy Punch). ”The tone of this movie was so specific and ? so weird,” Timberlake says. ”I kept asking, ‘How can I make this more weird?”’ Well, for one thing, Timberlake’s dorky character croons a self-penned love song called ”Simpatico” that’s easily the worst tune since Rebecca Black’s ”Friday.” ”I didn’t want it to be even good enough to be able to be used in the trailer,” he says. Mission ?accomplished. —DK
Cars 2 (June 24)
Disney/Pixar honcho John Lasseter got the idea for a Cars sequel while traveling the globe promoting the blockbuster 2006 original. ”I kept looking out the window and found myself thinking about what Mater would do in these situations,” Lasseter recalls. ”Like how confusing the streets are in Tokyo, driving on the wrong side of the road in London, and in Italy, where the traffic signals are a mere suggestion.”
In Cars 2, provincial tow truck Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) visits all three locales to cheer on his racecar buddy Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), who’s competing in the World Grand Prix. Mater is also mistaken for an American spy and gets swept up in a mission with two British agents: a vintage sports car named Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and a high-tech coupe named Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). ”I don’t think I’ll ever look as good in a movie,” jokes Mortimer. ”I would have imagined myself as a battered old Mini.” McMissile is a stylish relic who might have felt right at home in classic ’60s spy thrillers. ”He’s very technical, like James Bond, but humble, like Harry Palmer,” says Caine, who played the latter character in five films. ”He’s a classy English car, which I think is a great compliment to me!” —JY
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1)
Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) may boast the résumé-?enhancing experience of having saved the world twice, but he starts the third edition of the Hasbro-toy-inspired franchise ?unable to find a decent job. He has a new girlfriend, Carly (model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), but feels guilty about the danger she faces due to his relationship with those shape-shifting robots.
And it’s quite a bit of danger. The evil Decepticons have set their sights on Chicago, where Carly is trapped. Luckily, Sam and Maj. William Lennox (Josh Duhamel) — the foremost ? experts in surviving robot-on-robot carnage — are on hand to guide her through the chaos. What do the bad guys have against the Windy City? ”I don’t know if I want to say that, but the Decepticons have a plan,” says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
Several new robots appear in Dark of the Moon, including vintage ones from the original 1980s TV show and comics. The cyclopean villain Shockwave leads an assault on Chicago (”He’s kind of an enforcer,” says director Michael Bay), and Optimus Prime’s long-lost predecessor Sentinel Prime (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) turns up in wreckage found on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. —AB
Larry Crowne (July 1)
Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is a resourceful and popular employee at a big-box retailer who gets the ax when layoffs hit (because he lacks a college degree) and sees it as just another problem that needs fixing. He ?enrolls in junior college and meets a grumpy professor (Julia Roberts, Hanks’ costar in 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War) and soon begins to melt her pessimism with his high-octane positivity. ”Larry chooses not to let cynicism take over, a fight that is a tough one,” says Hanks, who steps behind the camera for his first feature since 1996’s That Thing You Do!
Unlike the optimistic hero Hanks famously played in? Forrest Gump, Crowne is a smart guy who has let himself settle into a rut. ”I think he blames himself for his failed marriage and is gun-shy about intimacy and the give-and-take of a relationship,” Hanks says. Roberts’ character inspires him to get over that, as well as improve his style, which could only be described as… ”uncool?” says the actor. ”Yes, but he’s taking lessons from Lamar next door” (played by ultrasmooth Cedric the Entertainer). —AB
Zookeeper (July 8)
In the high-concept ?family film Zookeeper, Kevin James stars as ?the title character, whose love life gets a helping hand (or paw) from the animals in his care. But for Rosario Dawson, who plays a ?veterinarian, seeing the finished film meant a bit of mental adjustment. While shooting at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo, she’d gotten ?to know the real-life animals — who in the film are voiced by a starry cast that includes Cher, ?Sylvester Stallone, and Judd ?Apatow. ”It was so weird. Like, there was this little capuchin monkey named Crystal, and then [after seeing the film] ‘Whoa, that’s Adam Sandler,”’ laughs Dawson. ”Adam Sandler is cute little Crystal?” —SV
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (July 15)
Part 2 — adapted from the second half of the author’s seventh novel, which was published in 2007 — finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) preparing to take their fight to snake-snouted despot Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) after spending much of Part 1 on the run. The estimated $200 million-plus production Deathly Hallows — Part 2 begins where Part 1 left off, with Voldemort raiding Dumbledore’s tomb for the Elder Wand, one of three Deathly Hallows that can grant him immortality. Meanwhile, Harry and his friends, reeling from the heroic death of liberated house elf Dobby, are on the hunt for magical objects called Horcruxes that hold fragments of Voldemort’s soul. The quest brings them back to Hogwarts, now run by Snape (Alan Rickman) following the death of Dumbledore a couple of movies ago. ”The new film is just a relentless action movie,” says Radcliffe. ”It. Just. Does. Not. Stop.”
Okay, it stops a few times — but for some of the most pivotal emotional moments in the saga. A ghostly reunion of departed friends and family. An encounter in limbo with Dumbledore’s specter (Michael Gambon), who reveals dark secrets about his past. And, of course, Ron and Hermione’s kiss. ”It has to be the most anticipated moment between the two of them in the whole series,” says Watson. ”In general, though, Part 2 is just plain hell-raising and scary. I get to get my Lara Croft on.”—JJ
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
Chris Evans was keen to play both sides of this iconic character: Marvel Comics’ shield-bearing WWII-era super-?soldier and Steve Rogers, the scrawny lad with a big heart who volunteers for a top secret experiment that turns 4-H runts into Nazi-fighting studs. ”Not to be an annoying actor about this, but the skinny part of the performance is going to be when the audience ? decides if they care about Captain America, because Captain America is that little guy at heart. It had to be me.”
The film sets up next summer’s mega?Marvel superhero ensemble The Avengers, which takes place in the present. But according to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Captain America creates a world that will allow for more WWII-era flicks with the hero. In this first screen outing, Cap battles the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), a Nazi weapons genius who goes rogue to pursue his own plans for world domination. —JJ
Crazy, Stupid, Love (July 29)
When Steve Carell was casting the ensemble film Crazy, Stupid, Love (which he also produced), he wasn’t convinced that Ryan Gosling had the comedy chops to play Jacob, the lady-killer who mentors suburban dad Cal (Carell) after Cal’s wife (Julianne Moore) cheats on him. ”Before I met Ryan, I thought, ‘Fantastic ? actor, but he may turn out to be one of these moody, Method guys,”’ ? admits Carell. ”But he’s not that way at all. He’s really playful and fun. And terrific at improv.”
Cal and Jacob form an unlikely bond while Cal is rebounding from his wife’s infidelity and Jacob is wooing a cautious law student (Emma Stone). ”It’s uncomfortable territory for a romantic comedy,” says codirector John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris). ”The thing about this script is it really represents love in all its comedic ugliness.” Which makes Carell, master of the awkward laugh, a perfect choice to play the lead. ”Steve’s got a unique gift, because he can really show the humiliation of being this guy who’s thrust into the dating world again, and still make it funny,” says Requa. ”You want him to succeed, but you enjoy watching him squirm a little bit.” Or, if we?re lucky, a lot. —Adam Markovitz
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29)
Think Indiana Jones meets James Bond. With cowboy hats and six-shooters. And the actress who plays Thirteen on Fox’s House. And a battalion of high-powered producers (Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer, to name a few). And, of course, aliens. Put that all together, and what you’ve got is this summer’s highest-concept tentpole — a sci-fi Western called Cowboys & Aliens.
Daniel Craig plays Jake Lonergan, a gunslinger in 1875 Arizona who wakes up in the desert with a mysterious shackle around his wrist and his memory wiped clean. When he wanders into a small pioneer town called Absolution, he runs into Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), an old enemy Lonergan doesn’t remember, and Olivia Wilde’s Ella, a beautiful gold digger — as in, prospector. All three reluctantly join forces when aliens swoop in and start abducting townspeople. ”But they don’t know that they’re aliens,” explains director Jon Favreau, who passed on making a third Iron Man movie in part to do this estimated $100 million film. ”In the 1800s, nobody knows what aliens are. They think they’re demons.” —Benjamin Svetkey
The Smurfs (July 29)
It’s about smurfing time! The iconic blue clan make their first big-screen appearance since 1983’s The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. A mix of live action and CG animation, the story starts in the Middle Ages, when the maladroit sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria) finally discovers the location of Smurf Village. A chase ensues, ending with six Smurfs (plus Gargamel) getting sucked into a magical portal and winding up where all magical portals inevitably lead: New York City.
The transplanted Smurfs — Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, Gutsy, Brainy, and Smurfette — are temporarily adopted by a married couple (Neil Patrick Harris and Glee’s Jayma Mays), who vow to help the wee ones get back home. Easier said than done. —JY
The Change-Up (August 5)
Jason Bateman knows what you’re thinking. Another body-swapping movie? Really? He had precisely that reaction too. ”But in the same sentence that I was told what the movie is about,” he recalls, ”they said, ‘But the guys who wrote The Hangover wrote it, and the guy who directed Wedding Crashers is directing it.’ And I thought, ‘Ah, I get it.’ Because no one’s ever done the R-rated version of that story.” Well, they have now. Instead of family-friendly mother-daughter high jinks, the mischief involves a womanizing bachelor (Ryan Reynolds) who trades bodies with his married pal (Bateman) — and may even get it on with his pal’s wife. ”They each covet the other person’s life,” says Reynolds.
What’s the cause of the magical swap? ”As you typically do when you switch bodies with your best buddy, we were pissing in a fountain that happened to contain mystical powers,” he says. ”It’s preposterous. It’s just the stupidest thing ever, but it’s all in the execution.” For Bateman, who’s made a career out of playing responsible, put-upon heroes, The Change-Up offers an opportunity to channel his rowdier side. ”I remember that guy from my 20s,” he says. ”I just had to dust him off a little bit and away we went.” And what was it like to ? essentially play Ryan Reynolds in a movie? ”Never have I felt prettier.” —DK
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)
More than 40 years ago, Charlton Heston pounded the sands of Point Dume and bemoaned the folly of humankind, shouting, ”You maniacs! You blew it up!” But in the 2011 prequel Rise of the Planet ?of the Apes, the world ends instead with ?a rebellion. James Franco plays a scientist whose genetically enhanced subject, Caesar (Andy Serkis, who did similar motion-capture work as King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 film), tires of his shabby treatment and transforms into a sort of Chimp Guevara, a revolutionary who prompts the world’s apes to overthrow their human oppressors. The apes haven’t fully evolved into humanoids, so the film depicts them with CGI rather than the franchise’s trademark makeup. ”Because effects have gotten ? so good,” says Franco of acting with a ?motion-capped Serkis, ”its like working opposite an actual chimp, but with all the best instincts of an actor.”
Caesar’s uprising starts off small, as ?he directs his captive brethren to flee the research facility. ”It becomes in many ways like an escape movie,” says director Rupert Wyatt, who would know, having ?directed 2009s The Escapist. Along the way, Caesar enlists the help of Maurice, an orangutan who knows sign language, and a big bruiser of a chimp named Rocket. ”They all have very distinctive looks and qualities to them,” says Wyatt. ”It’s an ?A-Team of apes.” —KS
The Help (August 12)
Within minutes of meeting Emma Stone, director Tate Taylor knew he had found just the woman for the role of Skeeter in the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s beloved 2009 novel about African-American maids in early-1960s Mississippi and the white families who depend on them. ”Emma was completely awkward and dorky, with her raspy voice,” he says, ”and she sat down and we got a little intoxicated and had a blast, and I just thought, ‘God! God! This is Skeeter.”’
Joining Stone in the cast is a deep bench of talent. Viola Davis plays stoic maid Aibileen; Cicely Tyson plays Skeeter’s childhood maid Constantine, now mysteriously absent; Allison Janney plays Skeeter’s rigid mother; Sissy Spacek plays the mother of Skeeter’s even more uptight society friend, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard); and Octavia Spencer plays the tart-tongued maid Minny. —Karen Valby
30 Minutes or Less (August 12)
See if you can follow this: A dim-witted goon named Dwayne (Danny McBride) needs money to hire a hitman (Michael Peña) to knock off his dad (Fred Ward), who’s about to piss away the family fortune he won in a lottery jackpot. So Dwayne straps a bomb onto Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), an unsuspecting pizza-delivery guy, and forces him to rob a bank. Still with us? According to director Ruben Fleischer, the zany, curlicue plot of 30 Minutes or Less is the key to its appeal. ”It’s not the first-ever bank-heist movie, but at the same time it’s not predictable,” he says. ”Just when you think you know where it’s headed, it goes in a different direction.”
Some of those directions lead Eisenberg’s Everydude ?to finally confront his own unrealized goals, including a ?romance with the sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) of his best friend (Aziz Ansari). ”My character spends the first 25 years of his life being lazy, and then one day making up for it,” says Eisenberg, who appeared in Fleischer’s 2009 movie, Zombieland. ”He has this extreme experience and uses that day to correct all the mistakes he’s made.” —AM
Thor (Opened May 6)
First off, he’s not really a god. At least, he’s no more of a god than, say, Superman, who also hailed from a remote celestial world populated by high-powered pseudo-humans. But he still has a lot to learn about mortals when he plummets to Earth via a wormhole that links his home planet, Asgard, with ours, after his father, Odin ?(Anthony Hopkins), casts him out for his ? arrogance and belligerence. (Odin hopes his son will learn humility among the earthlings.) ”It is a kind of coming-of-age story. He has this great gift, this great strength, and pointed in the wrong direction it can be quite destructive,” says star Chris Hemsworth. ”He’s working out his relationship with the rest of the world, as well as what his responsibility is to it.”
Odin also strips Thor of his hammer, the source of his power, and sends it to Earth separately. It remains mystically locked to the ground, giving the plot an Arthurian ”sword in the stone” element. Thor can still throw a mean punch, but until he proves himself worthy of reclaiming his hammer, he ? remains just a man. That makes him vulnerable both to his malevolent younger brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who’s willing to wipe out Earth to become his father’s sole heir, and to the charms of a comely astrophysicist ?(Natalie Portman). —Anthony Breznican
Bridesmaids (Opened May 13)
Kristen Wiig stars as a forever-single failed cake-shop owner whose bond with her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) is strained when Lillian gets engaged. ”Her one friend that she had with her throughout being single is getting married,” explains Wiig, who co-wrote the script with Annie Mumolo. ”So she’s feeling not just the loss of that friendship but, What am I supposed to do now? But in a funny way! It’s about losing your friend in a really funny way!”
The cast also includes Damages‘ Rose Byrne as an ?uppity bridesmaid, Mike & Molly‘s Melissa McCarthy as Lillian’s scene-stealing future sister-in-law, and Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm as Wiig’s sleazy on-again, off-again boyfriend. —Tim Stack
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Opened May 20)
”I couldn’t decide if we were stupid or pioneers,” says director Rob Marshall, who kicked off the production of Pirates of the ? Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, with 3-D cameras no less, in some of Hawaii’s leafier locales before ? moving to L.A., Puerto Rico, and ? London. ”But there’s nothing like doing it for real and not being on a stage with a green screen.” ? Marshall (Chicago) replaces Gore Verbinski, who opted to leave the franchise after directing the first three films. Other fresh faces ?include Ian McShane, who plays the evil Blackbeard, and Penélope Cruz, who portrays Blackbeard’s daughter, Angelica. There is also a new quest, for the Fountain of Youth?plus zombies and mermaids.
Of course, Johnny Depp returns as Capt. Jack Sparrow, and Keith Richards reprises his role as Jack’s father. ”We needed his character back,” says Depp of Richards. ”That was one of the things I felt very strongly about.” —Clark Collis
Kung Fu Panda 2 (Opened May 20)
By the end of the original Kung Fu Panda, Po (Jack Black) had proved himself as the new Dragon Warrior and, ergo, the most awesome martial-arts bear the world has ever known. But what good is knowing kung fu if its very existence is eradicated? In the sequel to the 2008 animated megahit, a heinous peacock named Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) invents a weapon that could do just that. ”This ain’t no regular peacock,” says Black. ”He’s got a crazy look in his eyes, and he’s got Gary Oldman’s brain, which is terrifying in and of itself.”
To overthrow the feathery tyrant, Po and his best buds, the Furious Five, summon new allies, including the former bandit Master Croc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and a fortune-telling goat called Soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh). Also, Po will have to unravel his own enigmatic past: Yes, we’ll finally learn how a panda came to have a goose for a father. ”That story is actually very emotional,” says director Jennifer Yuh ? Nelson, ”and it’ll cause some awkward moments for the two of them.” Interspecies daddy issues can be tough, even for a kung fu warrior. —John Young
The Hangover Part II (Opened May 26)
When you’re making the follow-up to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time (worldwide total: $467.5 million), you have to raise the stakes. For director Todd Phillips, that meant finding a new locale to equal Las Vegas’ mix of danger and insanity. Hence Bangkok, where mild-mannered dentist Stu (Ed Helms), hunky schoolteacher Phil (Bradley Cooper), and eccentric misfit Alan (Zach Galifianakis) end up after reuniting for Stu’s wedding.
This time, the epic morning after involves the missing brother (Mason Lee) of Stu’s fiancée; a drug-dealing, cigarette-smoking monkey; and the return of Ken Jeong’s criminal, Mr. Chow. ”I just pictured Stu, Alan, and Phil walking down a street in Bangkok with an elephant behind them,” Phillips says. ”That’s sort of where the whole movie came from.” —Josh Rottenberg
The Tree of Life (Opened May 27)
Nearly three years after Terrence Malick completed shooting on The Tree of Life, the film is finally reaching theaters — following another one of the director’s notorious editing marathons and a few distribution snags. And no one is more pleased about its release than Jessica Chastain, who stars as a 1950s housewife opposite Brad Pitt. ”I was telling people that I was working with Terrence Malick, and Brad Pitt was my husband,” she says. ”And they would look at me like, ‘Sure, you were.’ It was a very happy day when the trailer came out, ?because I could say, ‘I told you guys!”’
Details on the plot are scarce, but it ?involves the maturation of a boy named Jack (played by Sean Penn as a grown-up) as he struggles between the twin poles of his parents. ”The mother is the embodiment of grace, of selfless love and generosity,” says Chastain, who also appears in this summer’s The Debt and The Help. ”And Brad’s character is the representation of nature, this primitive form of survival of the fittest.” As rumored, the film includes a brief sequence with dinosaurs. As for the rest, filmgoers will have to wait and see. What’s a few more weeks after all this time? —Keith Staskiewicz