Medium: Summer’s Blockbuster’s interwoven cast

BY ELLEN HARRIS | JUNE 24, 2009 7:21 AM

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen comes out today, in one of those rare Wednesday releases. Filmed in the desert of New Mexico on a $200 million budget — one of the largest outlays of the summer — director Michael Bay can only hope this sequel turns into a winning investment. It’s likely to, given the preceding paparazzi hype and the blockbuster nature of the film.

Let’s see how closely connected this potential top-earner is to other current and future summer hits:

Shia LaBeouf leads the cast for the second time as awkward teenager Sam Witwicky. In the last Transformers, Witwicky managed to nab his dream girl, Mikaela (embodied by the über-hot Megan Fox), by being a stud with the whole alien-robots-from-outer-space thing. Fox played a rising glamour-puss in the 2008 film How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, a movie narrated and starring British actor Simon Pegg (of Shaun of the Dead fame). Pegg plays Scotty — “beam me up!” — in May’s still-rockin’ Star Trek.

Summer blockbuster degrees of separation: Three

In Star Trek, Pegg’s Scotty helps the members of the Enterprise fight against the evil (and badass) Captain Nero, portrayed by Eric Bana. Bana will also have a supporting role in late summer’s Funny People — the latest in a line of fantastic Judd Apatow movies (think 40 Year Old Virgin) — as Clarke, Australian husband to leading lady Laura (Leslie Mann). Mann played Robin in 1996’s creepy The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carrey, who recently found a lot of success with the 2008 Yes Man. Bradley Cooper then starred as Carrey’s beleaguered best friend, Peter, but now stars as another best friend, Phil, in this summer’s The Hangover.

Summer blockbuster degrees of separation: Four

Cooper and his buddies/partners-in-crime meet up with Jade, played by Heather Graham, in The Hangover . Back in 2001, Graham played the beautiful Mary Kelly in the dark Jack the Ripper flick, From Hell, starring Johnny Depp. Depp’s newest movie, Public Enemies, is another special Wednesday release, opening July 1.

Summer blockbuster degrees of separation: Two

As American gangster John Dillinger, Depp rocks out and kills people, something he did in 2007’s killer musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. First victim? Sacha Baron Cohen (playing the obnoxious Monsieur Pirelli) — and everyone knows that Cohen is, er, back in on July 10 as Brüno in Brüno.

Summer blockbuster degrees of separation: One

Hollywood is a small, small world, with only a few short (but sweet) ties between actors and their movies. There’s a statistic floating around out there that every acting coach and professor touts as a warning — only 5 percent of actors actually work, and the other 95 percent wait tables. Obviously, this summer’s family of stars are all having dinner together.

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