From the first glimpse of Jessica Chastain in Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror Crimson Peak, to the news that Morgan Freeman and Bill Nighy are in talks in star alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, this has been an intriguing week in the world of cinema. Join us as we round up the top movie news from the past seven days:

Casting News: 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill to star in The BFG

Steven Spielberg is renowned for a back catalogue that includes beloved family-friendly films, but the director is also renowned for his ability to discover gifted young child actors and nurture their talent in his movies, from Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas back in 1984’s ET to a young Dakota Fanning in 2004’s War of the Worlds.

Spielberg’s next big project is his exciting 2016 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic The BFG. This week DreamWorks studios confirmed ten-year-old actress Ruby Barnhill has been chosen to play protagonist Sophie, who goes on an adventure with the titular Big Friendly Giant and discovers the mysterious Giant Country. Barnhill will make her cinematic debut in the film, which will co-star Mark Rylance as the BFG and which promises to follow in the footsteps of previous successful Dahl adaptations and capture the imagination of cinema-goers across the globe.
ruby-barnhillThe big casting news last week was Marvel’s announcement that actor-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberbatch, who recently received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, will take on the lead role in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange. The film will follow the story of an arrogant, yet talented neurosurgeon who, following the loss of his career, becomes the primary protector of the Earth against magical threats.

This week, the casting rumour mill suggested veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe are all in the running to play Doctor Strange’s mentor The Ancient One, the sorcerer who trains him to take on his role of ‘the Sorceror Supreme.’ It would be exciting to see any one of these three actors take on this high profile role, but Marvel remain tight-lipped on whether any decisions will be made. Nevertheless, it seems likely that we will be hearing more casting confirmation for Doctor Strange very soon as filming preparations for next year begin.

First Look: Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic Crimson Peak

Fans of Guillermo del Toro’s unique horror fantasy films, which include Academy Award winning Spanish-language classic Pan’s Labyrinth, will be thrilled to see a sneak peak at his next project, Crimson Peak, a star-studded, gothic romance starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. The plot centres around a young author (Wasikowska) who comes to the horrific realisation that her charming new husband (Hiddleston) is not all he appears to be.
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The first image from the movie was released last week and depicts Chastain in a sumptuous blue velvet dress standing at the bottom of an atmospherically gothic staircase. Set in Cumbria, the film promises to establish its ambiance through striking shots of gloomy Northern English countryside. Del Toro says the film will be a reworking of the classic gothic story featuring a haunted house, whilst the nineteenth century setting is a call-back to the heyday of gothic literature. The film is due to be released in October 2015, just in time for next Halloween.

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Richard Gere Check into The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This week saw the first trailer for upcoming comedy-drama The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sequel to the 2011 surprise hit which saw retired Britons travel to Jaipur, India to stay in what they believed was a newly restored luxury hotel.

The sequel sees the return of many of the beloved characters, including Dev Patel as the hotel’s ever-optimistic young owner, and the introduction of Richard Gere as Guy. The trailer looks like the film will be as feel-good as its predecessor and with such a top notch cast it cannot go wrong.