February 27, 2014
Deadline is reporting that actor Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, The Conjuring 1-2, Insidious 1-3) has joined the slowly growing cast of Edgar Wright's Ant-Man. Wilson is nearing a deal of an unnamed role, which may be heroic or villainous. My money is that he could be playing the young Hank Pym, while the older version is played by Michael Douglas. The plot is said to bounce between the 60's and present day, involving the Cuban missile-crisis and the theft of Pym's technology (his suit).
Paul Rudd is set to play Scott Lang, our thief turned hero. Along with possible additions such as Clifton Collins Jr. (seemingly confirmed his involvement on twitter) and Michael Pena. Rashida Jones has been linked for the female role, same with Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. More recently, Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit Trilogy, Lost, Real Steal, Hurt Locker) has been linked for the female lead, which could be Janet aka The Wasp.
It's also possible that Wilson could be playing Hank Pym Jr. (Douglas' son), which would allow Lilly as Janet, along with her relationship to Hank playing out. There had been some speculation that Janet could be Pym's daughter and then falling for Scott Lange instead of Hank. Having Hank Sr. and Jr. could be a way to fix that problem, while giving the Ant-Man title a bit of legacy.
February 26, 2014
Another day, another casting story concerning Star Wars: Episode VII. This time Variety is claiming that Girls actor Adam Driver is the front-runner to play the film's villain, said to be similar to Darth Vader. This isn't the first film where the actor has been a "front-runner", he was previously "rumored" for Nightwing in Batman Vs Superman. Driver also recently signed-up for Martin Scorsese's Silence which might be in conflict with the Star Wars production.
Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra's is slowly rising to the level of studio blockbuster. His first batch of films included horror flicks House of Wax and Orphan, the usual type of films a new director get's offered in Hollywood. He's recently found a muse in Liam Neeson directing him in the awfully dull Unknown, this weekend's trapped-on-a-plane thriller Non-Stop and action flick Run All Night.
Non-Stop hits theatres this weekend, and I've actually heard nothing but positive things about it. Bloggers such as Devin (BadassDigest), El Mayimbe (LatinoReview) and Frosty (Collider), have given brief but positive reactions from their recent screenings. Folks like these usually have a good radar for poorly made films, so their keenness for the film is a good sign.
Why it a good sign? Before Non-Stop and Run All Night were put into production, Jaume was attached to direct Warner Bros' live-action Akira adaptation back in 2011. A much beloved manga and anime film, which some consider the best in both mediums. The budget had been reduced a couple of times, but the $90 million was too expensive for the studio. The director would confirm last year that he was still going ahead with directing Akira, after he completed Run All Night. He talked to ComingSoon about his vision for the film, which might win over fans or just anger them (over comments of the "terrible" characters). Jaume also confirms previous talk of Akira being turned into a trilogy.
Collet-Serra: It's great that they're waiting for me. It's different, because you have to be respectful of the source material. Otomo adapted his own work from a manga into an anime and both things are completely different and genius. The only way to do a live version of "Akira" is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.
CS: What worries myself and a lot of the other fans of the property is you have elements that are commercial and sexy, like the motorbikes or the jaw-dropping futuristic backdrop, but for the most part it's a very cerebral work. How do you maintain the essence of that without diluting it into essentially "Blade Runner: Mark 2"?
Collet-Serra: I think you cannot make a movie about "Akira" and hope that everyone understands it. Like everything else, you have to make three or four movies in one where there's the essence somewhere. If you're a fan, you already know what it's about and you'll see it's part of the same world, but trying to oversimplify it would be a mistake. I think if at some point a character tries to explain it to the audience at the end of the second act, that's a problem. It's more like an existential opera. It's something that can only be explained in the manga, and even in the anime it's hard to follow.
CS: And we all have that original anime, it's there, nothing can sully it, so if you were going to do it in live-action one would hope you would bring something new to the table. What is it you are bringing specifically that is going to make it yours?
Collet-Serra: I hope that I can bring strong characters. In the original source material, I don't think the main characters are the protagonists. What I'm hoping is to bring characters.
CS: That's true. It's one of those strange stories where you literally never see the main character that is the namesake of the film!
Collet-Serra: Nobody's interesting. Tetsuo's interesting because weird sh*t happens to him, and Kaneda is so two-dimensional. That's part of the Japanese culture, they never have strong characters. They're used as a way to move the other philosophy forward.
CS: They're ciphers.
Collet-Serra: Yeah. So hopefully in my version that will be strong, and you'll have a story that happens in that world that will show you a little bit of the mystery. Then, if you're interested, they'll make "Akira 2 & 3" then you can get deeper into it. I love the world, a lot of people love that world, so why wouldn't we indulge in it a little bit and see how it would be if it was real? Like you say I don't have to explain everything, but wouldn't you like to spend two-hours in a world of "Akira" and follow a character and be like, "that's cool"? That's all I want to offer, is two-hours in a world you can actually feel. We're working on it.
I wasn't convinced when Doug Liman (Bourne Identity, Mr And Mrs Smith) was hired to direct Edge of Tomorrow, which is another manga adaptation based on All You Need Is Kill. The recent trailer has sold me on the film. I'll hold off judgements on Jaume making Akira, until we see some footage and images from the project. Because it could be a very similar situation, and he might actually have an unique vision for the film.
Casting has always been a bit of a hot-topic with Akira, as Warner Bros. was exclusively looking at young white actors. Whitewashing the cast and relocating the Japanese-set (very important to the story) story to Manhattan. At one point Garrett Hedlund (Tron Legacy, On The Road, Mojave, Unbroken, Inside Llewyn Davis) was offered the lead role (via Twitch) with Gary Oldman (Robocop, Dark Knight Trilogy, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes, Lawless) and Helena Bonham Carter (King's Speech, Terminator Salvation, Fight Club, Lone Ranger) also in the mix.
Hedlund recently tried to nab the John Connor role in Termination: Genesis, which would include a three-picture deal. He instead signed-on for the part of Hook in WB's Peter Pan origin film Pan from director Joe Wright (Hanna, Atonement), alongside Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard. Some are saying that Garrett might still be attached for Akira, but I'm not entirely convinced.
February 25, 2014
Recently Disney acquired the distribution rights to the Indiana Jones franchise from Paramount, after purchasing Lucasfilm back in 2012 (includes Star Wars and Indiana Jones rights). Which was seemingly was the first-step to developing more more films at Lucasfilm. A few believed it could lead to a reboot but a new rumor could put a wrench in that theory. MarketSaw has heard from their source (likely someone close to Lucasfilm) about what is going with Indy at the studio. They say that Harrison Ford is working out a deal to reprise the role for Indiana Jones 5 and Indiana Jones 6, which could have been apart of Ford's Episode VII contract.
"Regarding Harrison Ford, two more Indiana Jones features are in the negotiation stages as per Ford's contract clause on Star Wars, which is the primary reason he didn't 'publicly' or 'privately' commit, or so I'm told."
AICN chimed in as well. Stating they have heard that Harrison Ford's contract to appear in Star Wars Episode VII, might have included two Indiana Jones films. This makes a lot of sense, since Ford isn't the biggest fan of Han Solo and originally wanted him killed off in Empire Strikes Back. Perhaps, the lure of two more Indy films was the reason he agreed to return. Ford has been talking about his desire to make Indiana Jones 5 for years now.
I don't know if it's been officially confirmed that Harrison Ford made the new Indiana Jones films part of his agreement to return as Han Solo, but I've heard it enough from a myriad of sources that I believe it's true. Plus, we all know that Dr. Jones is close to Ford's heart.
I liked the idea of an Indy reboot, since it would allow a new director, writer and actor to give us more installments. George Lucas staying away post-Crystal Skull might be a good thing as well, as he's pretty much retired from these movies. I'm not sure how compelling a 70 year old Indiana Jones would be, unless he's taking more of a Professor Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) role. Disney's Alan Horn said "we haven't done anything...we don't have a story..we need a story". A screenwriter hasn't been announced or even rumored, so at this point it could be years until this even starts production.
February 24, 2014
THR reports that the Point Break remake has found it's Johnny Utah, as Aussie actor Luke Bracey has landed the role alongside Gerard Butler. Luke might be an unknown in North America, but in Australia was apart of the legendary cast of Home And Away. The popular Aussie soap is the stomping ground for a lot of the country's acting talent. Former cast members include Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Isla Fisher, Naomi Watts, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Simon Baker and Heath Ledger.
We've been hearing for over a year that if fans demanded a sequel to Dredd it would happen. WhatCulture has a promising update from Karl Urban (via a Star Trek event in Germany), who confirms the studio is having "conversations" with director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland. This is off the heels of the successful DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital sales. This is the first hint that the studio is considering making a second film.
It's disastrous box office numbers were likely due the terrible marketing, and distributors holding back 2D prints of the film in some markets. Instead of promoting the story or is amazingly colorful violent world, they focused on the 3D aspect which obviously didn't help ticket sales. Critics seemingly loved the film, as it earned a 78% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. I loved it, and thought they made it in the vein of Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall and Robocop, which is how a character like this should be approached.
In 2012, at the London Comic-Con writer Alex Garland revealed trilogy plans for Dredd. Stating that, the second film would focus on the origins of Dredd and Mega-City One. The third movie would focus on Dredd's big baddie Judge Dredd and his Dark Judges. Garland's original script included Death, but would later be replaced with Ma-Ma. If the studio is smart, they'd film the two sequels back to back, saving a lot of money and securing this trilogy happens.
A Facebook group and petition to get a sequel made was eventually endorsed by 2000 AD comics, and in September 2012 earned over 80,000 signatures. The comic company released a direct sequel to the film in comic book form, titled Dredd: Underbelly which was set one year after the events of the film.
ScreenDaily (via ThePlaylist) reports that actor Tom Hardy is looking to put together his next badass role. This time being in talks for Legend being written and directed by Brian Helgeland (42, Mystic River, Man On Fire), who is known for writing L.A. Confidential which earned him an Oscar (also nominated for his screenplay for Mystic River). Hardy would play real-life gangster twin brothers, that were apart of the London criminal underworld during the 1950-60s.
"The film will be based on the true story of Ronald and Reginald Kray, sibling toughs from the 1950s and 1960s who rubbed shoulders with celebrities while also taking part in murder, armed robbery, arson, racketeering, assault, and more."
MarketSaw is giving some updated news concerning the plot, something we haven't been getting much off. Besides the recent report Star Wars Episode VII, went from focusing on the kids to the original three. New information from Jim's source confirms that the twins (Jacen and Jaina) will be the focus of the trilogy. We've heard that the original characters (Luke, Leia and Han) would be the focus of the first film, by the end of it the kids would take over. There has been an assumption that Ben Skywalker will also be included, but he isn't mentioned here. While a female protagonist has been mentioned since the original announcement.
"Ultimately it's about twins, and which will take a path towards darkness and which will follow in their fathers footsteps, or at least that is what it used to be, that may come later as I think changes are being undertaken to bring the original cast into the forefront of the story leading to ramifications that lead up to the next generation of Skywalkers."
We'll eventually hear actually casting confirmation, but I have to say I'd be fine with pairing up Rachel Hurd-Wood and Jack Reynor as the siblings. The tricky thing is that Abrams is sort of in control of how they approach the cannon, we'll get the twins. It's unknown if they'll be Han/Leia's children or Luke/Mara Jade's, since Lucasfilm has a bit of wiggle room to do what they want with these characters. Ben Skywalker could very well join his cousins, but having the Skywalker name for their main characters is kind of necessary thing.
MarketSaw was uncredited in breaking the original story that Lucasfilm was working on a new Star Wars trilogy, without Lucas as director. The site was dismissed at the time, but turned out to be on the money, thanks to their excellent source. Well they also had the directors wish-list, which mostly turned out to be true as well. Now they have a bit of a casting update for Episode VII.
Jim says that actors Benedict Cumberbatch (previously linked many times) and Gary Oldman (recently confirmed talks for a role) are solid contenders, and currently are being looked at for the same role. Considering there were script rewrites anything is possible to which direction they'd want to go with the unknown character. I wouldn't even be surprised if we saw both actors in the trilogy, in the end. It had been stated by BadassDigest, Benedict was being eyed for a villain role.
They also mention a few returning cast members which include standouts Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok, various Star Wars characters) and Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine). Davis is such a staple to the series and was excellent in the Harry Potter franchise, I really hope he get's more to do.
February 22, 2014
Marvel Studios is starting to get better with their sequels. Looking ahead, Winter Soldier looks to be the best of the bunch. The same couldn't be said of Thor: The Dark World, something I blame on a very dull and ill-explained villain (Malekith). A majority of the best comic book villains have at least an once of personality to them, giving them depth. Loki and The Winter Soldier are the types of villains that Marvel should be trying to replicate. A strong backstory with our heroes, and personal struggles/arcs along their way.
One character that has been looming around the Thor franchise since day-one is Amora The Enchantress. Easily, the second most recognizable Thor villain (next to Loki) and one of the more complex ones as well. Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth have been pushing for the characters to be included, so it's likely they'll get their wish. Amora has played friend and foe, to both Thor and Loki. Her intentions are always questionable along with her feelings, having affections for both brothers. While mostly interested in her own personal gain and power status. She is someone that Marvel needs to put into play in Phase Three, and could be a valuable character in MCU.
We have had one "main" female villain in the entire run of these movies (Nebula in Guardians), it's a very odd and uneven track record. Considering that we've seen Marvel "talk-up" a Black Widow film, and a Ms Marvel one being developed behind-the-scenes. We're living in the era of Game of Thrones, when every female villain is more devilish and evil than their male counterparts. It comes down to good writing and treating your female characters like actual people, within the world you are creating.
Moving past the need to include Amora, who should eventually play her?
That answer might be more on-the-nose than you think. We've heard names like Charlize Theron and Alice Eve mentioned for the role, which are excellent suggestions. They might be too busy with their respected franchises, Eve with Star Trek 3 and Theron with future Mad Mad sequels/spin-offs. One actress has been making it her mission to tackle comic book films. That lady would be French actress Eva Green, who at the moment hasn't signed-up for a million projects. It's at least possible for her to be open to the idea of signing one of Marvel's lengthly contracts.
North American audiences were first introduced to this talented lady, in Martin Campbell's Bond reboot Casino Royale (while taking a rather large role in the mostly panned Kingdom of Heaven). Oddly enough, Eva played a character that seeming had a few characteristics of Amora in the film. Winning over Bond's confidence and trust, only to stab him in the back. It sort of reminded me of her back-and-forth with Thor and Loki.
She'll also be taking on another similar part in Robert Rodriguez's Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. While that performance's quality is currently unknown to us, another upcoming one is. Green plays the main villain in 300: Rise of An Empire. There was a recently press screening, which seemed to have everyone buzzing about one performance. That would be Eva as the battle hardened and blood thirsty Artemisia. A dark streak that does run within Amora at times, similar to Loki.
Another similarity to Tom Hiddleston is that the two actors are currently the same age. Having them paired up wouldn't be much of a stretch, something that could be an issue if Amora candidates are too young for the role. Plus, Green has played witches (Enchantress just happens to also dapple in magic) before in Dark Shadows and the series Camelot, it's also alluded to in trailers that Artemisia could be a witch as well. It's hard to imagine the pair not perfectly working-off each other.
It doesn't hurt this lady can do comedy, drama, love stories and action roles, as good if not better than her peers (male or female). I believe that Green should at least be considered for the role of The Enchantress, and she clearly at this point is the strongest name suggested. Having an excellent history of playing villains, being the right age, having an open schedule for the foreseeable future and will likely gain the traction Marvel zeroes-in on post-Rise of An Empire.
February 21, 2014
BleedingCool is giving us an early rumor concerning the casting of Marvel's Doctor Strange. I say early, because it's only coming from one source. There also isn't a role being mentioned, but none the less the name is interesting enough to consider it. Plus, BC has had a couple of solid scoops in the past.
They have heard that Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal, King Arthur, Pusher Trilogy, Clash of The Titans, Three Musketeers, Valhalla Rising) had been or is in the mix, for an unknown role in Strange. You might remember that Mads had been originally wanted for Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, but exited the project to focus on his series Hannibal (which eventually became a hit). His recent film The Hunt has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars.
I'm taking this rumor a little more serious than the previous ones. Mikkelsen has a couple connections to the people Marvel was reportedly meeting with to direct and write for the the project. Nikolaj Arcel directed Mads in the film A Royal Affair. He'll also lend his voice for Kung Fu Panda 3, the writers of that film could possibly pen the Strange script. Add that Marvel previously wanted him for main role, it sounds likely that the studio is at least interested in him.
This isn't the first actor being linked or rumored for Strange. The names we've heard over the last two years include Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Dark Knight Rises, Don Jon, Inception, Looper), Johnny Depp (old meeting with Marvel), Javier Bardem (Skyfall, No Country For Old Men, The Counselor), Jon Hamm (I can confirm has met with Marvel for unnamed project) and possibly Benedict Cumberbatch (Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness, Sherlock, War Horse).
February 20, 2014
We finally have some concrete news concerning Marvel's Doctor Strange. THR reports that the studio is meeting with directors Mark Andrews (Brave, John Carter, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies), Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Dean Israelite (Welcome To Yesterday). The plan is that they will have double-duties, helping with the script as well. These names are mostly writer-directors which confirms my initial report, that the studio was looking for a director who could contribute to the script.
Kung Fu Panda franchise writers Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger are also in the mix to write the script. Marvel is likely tossing out the previous script from Conan The Barbarian's Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. That original draft leaked, and some of it's plot was revealed by LatinoReview. It had was reported that Marvel was possibly doing page-one rewrites, and this confirms that talk. Having both writers and a director close to deals, could mean the film might be ready to be released for 2016 or 2017. Falling inline with Kevin Feige's statements, Strange would be apart of Phase Three.
If I had to choose a front-runner or my favorite of the bunch, it would be Oscar winning director Mark Andrews. He previously co-wrote and co-directed Pixar's Brave (earning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature), film nerds champion anyone involved with the animation studio. He understands supernatural worlds writing for Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack, and co-writing the John Carter script. Andrews also might be the type of director to give us something we won't be expecting and give audiences (including children) a fun ride. Not to mention giving us strong female characters, which is surely needed in this project. If Marvel doesn't land him, I have a feeling Lucasfilm will give him a call.
It's starting to look like 20th Century Fox might actually shoot their Fantastic Four reboot afterall. There had been some speculation, since it had already undergone production delays, budget reconfiguring and many script rewrites, it could have been going the way of Daredevil. Back to Marvel Studios and Disney. That doesn't seem to be the case, as TheWrap reports that Fox has seemingly nailed down the young cast for their reboot.
The studio is nearing deals with Miles Teller as Dr. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/Human Torch, Kate Mara as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing. No word on who will play the villain/villains of the reboot. There had been talk/rumblings that Fantastic Four characters would occupy the same world as Bryan Singer's X-Men universe.
February 19, 2014
Variety reports that funny lady Brie Larson could take a role in Judd Apatow's next film Trainwreck. Larson is looking to going back to her comedic roots, after taking more dramatic roles. Her comedic credits include 21 Jump Street, United States of Tara, Community, The League, The Kroll Show and Scott Pilgrim. Apatow has a great eye for female comedians, so having Larson on board is a very good thing.
The film is based on a original script written by Amy Schumer (with notes/suggestions from Judd Apatow), which will see her in the lead role. Judd setup the project at Universal as it's producer, but attached himself as it's director as well. Bill Hader (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Knocked Up, Adventureland, Paul, Tropic Thunder) who is a busy person these days will also co-star in the raunchy comedy.
Paramount has finally chosen it's Kyle Reese for Alan Taylor's Terminator: Genesis, and it's not the person we wanted or expected. They've decided on Jai Courtney, the Aussie actor best known for tripe like A Good Day To Die Hard and I, Frankenstein. I get the impression Jai's casting in the film came down to the studio being cheap, or finding a "face" at least known to the general audience. I'm sure his previous work on Skydance/Paramount's Jack Reacher didn't hurt his chances.
Boyd Holbrook had been kicking around the project for ages, and seemingly looked like the front-runner for a couple of roles. Holbrook has an impressive acting background which includes an untitled Terrence Malick film (co-starring with Natalie Portman, Cate Blachett, Christian Bale, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling), Milk, Out of The Furnace, Behind The Candelabra, The Skeleton Twins, Jane Got A Gun, David Fincher's Gone Girl and Little Accidents. His credits are more than you'd expect for someone trying to land a lead in a Terminator reboot, I'm actually very shocked Paramount went with Courtney. Holbrook is poised to become a big name, and Paramount really missed out on a opportunity here.
The more I hear about the "what-if" aspects of this project, it really upsets me. Producer Megan Ellison's company Annapurna Pictures exited the project (she's taking an executive producer credit instead). Her production company's involvement was a major reason a lot of people were interested in the reboot in the first place. Also, alarm bells should be ringing as Megan is responsible for a great deal of awards caliber films such as Her, The Master, True Grit, American Hustle, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher and Lawless. If she left, there must have been a quality issue and Megan wanted to distance herself from it. Odd, since she spent $20 million to secure the rights in the first place.
David Ellison's Skydance Productions will instead be handling 2/3 of the production costs instead, with Paramount shelling out the rest. The people responsible for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher and Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness. Last time I checked, the Terminator movies weren't a bunch of generic/forgettable action action films. At least the first two weren't, as the studio and director Alan Taylor are giving lip-service to honoring those movies with this new trilogy.
To add more fuel to the fire. Paramount has been hiring actors with "recognizable faces", rather than impressive bodies of work. Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones) and Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes) are fine and all, but the studio had the chance to hire Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, Inception, Dark Knight Rises, Locke,Warrior, The Drop, Child 44) and Brie Larson (Rampart, Don Jon, Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now) as the Connors. Having an actor like Hardy involved would have given the project a lot more attention and curiosity (something he did with Mad Max). Losing Boyd as well, is more than a little disappointing. Even as a fan, I'm not sure I see this going very well if the studio is turning away talent like this.
Marvel Studios has finally released the teaser trailer for James Gunn's Guardians of The Galaxy. It aired on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, with an introduction by it's star Chris Pratt (Lego Movie, Jurassic World, Her). This footage is mostly the same stuff that was shown at Comic-Con and D23, but it's still awesome and reveals more than we've seen previously. There's a hint to Lee Pace's Ronan The Accuser, and the Nova Corps. (Peter Serafinowicz and John C. Reilly) are all over this thing.
I'm totally on board with this movie, and can't wait to see the next trailer, as there is almost zero storyline in this one. I can't say I'm shocked, but it would have been nice to hear Vin Diesel (Groot) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon) give a line or two.