In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column we start off with news on how Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is finally headed to theaters (and TV). We also have cast/plot details on The Hobbit, Captain America, Kick Ass 2, Ghost Rider 2 and more. All that plus more, including the latest casting bites, images and videos.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Ron Howard to turn Steven Kings Dark Tower into TV & Film series
NBC Universal has closed a deal to turn Stephen King’s post apocalyptic gunfighter series "The Dark Tower" into three films and a TV series. Ron Howard will direct at least the first film and the first season of the TV series with Akiva Goldsman committed to writing the film and first season of the TV show [Deadline New York]. For more check out an interview with Stephen King at PopWatch | EW.
Will Martin Freeman play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit? + new ending?
Early last week, the British newspaper The Sun reported that Martin Freeman ("The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy") had been offered the role of Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit". Freeman had to decline the reported seven-figure payday due to scheduling conflicts involving the BBC series "Sherlock". Now, however, EW is reporting that New Line and MGM have since gone back to Freeman "with a proposed schedule that would allow him to shoot both projects. All parties are currently negotiating a deal." In other news, TheOneRing.net has a report that Jackson and company may make some changes to the ending of the story:
…And, inadvertently, we know of a possible change to the plot. The character summary says:
although . . . he doesn’t have huge courage he does become, particularly in the last battle, very brave.
As readers will remember, Bilbo is mostly knocked out for "the last battle" which we can assume is The Battle of Five Armies. (That title would mean very little to some actors.) No filmmaker, definitely including producer and probable director Peter Jackson could resist filming and showing such a battle with all its action and emotional wallop, despite the titular character from the source glossing over it (and that is obvious with no spy information at all). But this information is a possible plot reveal that Bilbo will remain conscious and the ‘film Bilbo’ will get to see wonders of battle that ‘book Bilbo’ never did and perhaps play a brave role.
New details on Captain America plot and Red Skull + More set images
Marvel studio head Kevin Feige spoke with Total Film about the Joe Johnston-directed "Captain America: The First Avenger", offering some new details on the film’s plot and the main villain Red Skull (played by Hugo Weaving). Feige told the site that the decision to shoot in London made sense given two-thirds of the film actually takes place in Europe. Feige also talked about Hugo Weaving and his portrayal of the character Red Skull:
Hugo Weaving has been in the Red Skull effect, in costume for a couple of weeks now and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. We gave people a little taste in San Diego about what his character will look like but now that we’ve started to work with the actual skull it’s going to be a lot of fun and a rather frightening villain.
In related news, new images from the set of filming have been released (see below) –with more at the link– and this batch gives us a great look at the Captain America costume and some of the period-era vehicles (note that Captain America is being portrayed by a stunt double in these pics, not actor Chris Evans). "Captain America: The First Avenger" is scheduled to hit conventional and 3D theaters on July 22, 2011.
Mark Millar talks Kick-Ass 2
Mark Millar is once again discussing the sequel to "Kick-Ass", telling Empire Online that the story will focus on The Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) introducing himself as a new supervillain who is controlling gangs around New York who are instructed to "[film] atrocities on their cell phones and [put] them on the internet, trying to outdo each other:
"And the villain calls himself The Motherfucker. Chris is The Motherfucker, the worst of all supervillains."
Millar says his goal is to introduce a supervillain that makes Heath Ledger’s Joker "look like Cesar Romero’s Joker". At the same time, however, Millar says the sequel will also remain heavily focused on Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson):
But at the same time we continue the story of Dave and all the complications in his life as he gets deeper and deeper into this dangerous hobby he’s got where he dresses up as a superhero and gets beaten up every night. So he forms a gang and what you’ve got then is all the heroes versus all the villians in a big gangfight."
In related news, Chloë Moretz (Hit-Girl) talked to IGN about what she’d like to see for her character in the sequel:
"My proposition for Kick-Ass 2 which I told to [writer] Jane Goldman and Mark Millar is that Hit-Girl, has to have a purple Ducatti with massive guns! I watched Salt, and Angelina Jolie has a scene on a motorbike, and I was like – "Man, she stole it from me! That was my idea!" But mine will be purple, with machine guns, and a gadget board that pops out."
First look at Green Goblin and Swiss Miss + Song performance from Spider-Man musical
Production on the Julie Taymor-directed musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" is underway, and we now have our first look at two villains from the musical: Green Goblin and Swiss Miss (who was created specifically for the musical) [via MTV Splash Page].
The score was written by U2 and the first song, "Boy Falls from the Sky" was performed Friday on Good Morning America by Spider-Man/Peter Parker actor Reeve Carney. Check it out below. Preview performances for "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" begin on November 14, 2010, followed by its official debut in December.
Plot synopsis for Ghost Rider 2 leaked
A script review for "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" has surfaced online courtesy the Italian website Comicus, and Comic Book Movie has taken the review and put it through Google Translator. Here’s an excerpt:
"After the success of the first film is not exciting among fans, Sony / Columbia Pictures will try again with what in effect is basically a sequel, though at the same time is the way to revive the character and the franchise some lightening issues that had covered the first film, especially as regards the presence of Roxanne, which does not appear in the script.
Johnny Blaze found years after the events of the first film, self-exiled from the world. In this way, hopefully, not having contact with people, able to control the spirit of Vengeance. Blaze is approached by Moreau, a monaco quite unusual part of the monastic order of Michael, the warrior angel. The Monaco but needs the special talents of former stuntman to trace a woman named Nadya and her son Danny, who must be protected at all costs, as there is on his trail Roarke, who is none other than an old knowledge of our hero (you certainly understand who they are) and is interested in the guy for a particular reason."
Moon wins Hugo Award
The 2010 Hugo Awards were announced last Sunday in Australia and Duncan Jones’ "Moon" won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (beating "Avatar", "Star Trek" and other films). Other highlights included a tie for Best Novel: The City & The City" (China Miéville) and "The Windup Girl" (Paolo Bacigalupi); Best Novella going to Charles Stross’ "Palimpsest" and Best Novelette going to Peter Watts’ "The Island". The complete list of winners can be found here.
PREVIEW Videos & Images
2001: A Space Odyssey
Trailer for the documentary: "2001: Beyond the Infinite" (from the special effects supervisor on the film, Douglas Trumbull) [via Blastr]
Set images [more at Just Jared]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Promotional stills [Cinema Blend]
First TV spot [YouTube]
Let Me In
Promotional stills [Shock Till You Drop]
International trailer [YouTube]
Clip: "Are You a Vampire?" [Yahoo! Movies]
Character posters [HeyUGuys]
Movie trailer [YouTube]
Movie trailer [Hulu]
Movie trailer [YouTube]
TV spot [YouTube]
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Set video [YouTube]
Watch two more vidoes here
Quorra (Olivia Wilde) character banner [via Blastr]
X-Men: First Class
Set images (first look at January Jones as Emma Frost) [more at INF Daily]
- Bruce Campbell is working on a sequel to "My Name Is Bruce" called "Bruce vs. Frankenstein" which he wants to unite horror movie stars of the past and present similar to what Sylvester Stallone managed to do for Action films with "The Expendables": "Yeah, "The Expendables," or more like the "It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" of horror. I want to get so many horror movie stars that people can’t possibly not see the movie. I want to give them other stuff to do." [Hero Complex | LA Times]
- Universal Pictures has hired Robert Schwentke ("Red") to direct the supernatural thriller "R.I.P.D." based on the Dark Horse comic by Peter Lenkov. The film will star Ryan Reynolds, who signed onto the project last spring. [Variety]
- An official website for the "Tron Legacy" soundtrack has launched where you can listen to music from the Daft Punk-scored soundtrack. [Tron Soundtrack]
- Terry Gilliam has revealed that he wants to convert his 1981 time-travel film "Time Bandits" to 3D: "We are in discussions to make a 3D version of the film ‘[Time] Bandits.’ That will not change anything in the film itself will remain the same and if I think it serves as some passages in ‘Alice [In Wonderland’], the 3D should work well. Anyway, I’ll have fun with it!" [Mister Tee’s Movie Clicks via The Playlist]
- Robert Rodriguez’s "Machete" opened in second place last weekend, taking in $11.4M for the 3-day and $14.1M for the 4-day. Total domestic cume through Thursday for the $20M project stands at $16.6M. [Box Office Mojo, (2)]
- "Resident Evil: Afterlife" opened to an estimated $10.9M on Friday and will easily carry the weekend with anywhere from $25-30M… [BOM]
- …This qualifies as the biggest single day and opening weekend launch of the franchise: $6.8M/$17.7M for 2002’s "Resident Evil"; $9.2M/$23.0M for 2004’s "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and $9.6M/$23.7M for 2007’s "Resident Evil: Extinction". [BOM]
- …Check out an interview with star Ali Larter at Cinema Blend.
- "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg both revealed that the first draft of the script for "Zombieland 2" has been completed. Fleischer has read the draft — written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick — and believes that "it’s going to be amazing". No timetable has been set for when the sequel will shoot. [Cinema Blend]
- Microsoft is still very much eager to make a feature film adaptation of their $2B+ videogame franchise "Halo", but the game studio is willing to wait it out: "We have a good idea of what kind of story we want to tell, but won’t move on it until there’s a great reason to do it. We’re in no particular hurry," said franchise overseer Frank O’Connor. [Variety]
- "Transformers 3" producer Don Murphy revealed on his message boards that filming is scheduled to end in six weeks. [Don Murphy Message Board via TFW2005]
- "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2010, with the Blu-ray getting two versions: a two-disc Blu-ray / DVD package with special features and a single-disc "Movie-Only" edition. [High Def Digest]
- "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" will hit DVD and Blu-ray on November 30, 2010. [High Def Digest]
- The following directors are circling Lionsgate’s feature adaptation of the Suzanne Collins bestseller "Hunger Games": Gary Ross, Sam Mendes, David Slade, Andrew Adamson, Rupert Sanders and Susanna White. [Deadline New York]
- Early impressions of Darren Aronofsky’s "Black Swan" are strong, with the film currently registering a 90% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
- Clint Eastwood reveals that back when he was just 48 years old, Warner Brothers offered him the role of "Superman". Eastwood says he turned it down because he was worried he would get stereotyped in the role: "I was like, ‘Superman? Nah, nah, that’s not for me.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s for somebody, but not me." [Hero Complex | LA Times]
- Hillary Duff could be up for a role in the "Spider-Man" reboot, possibly Gwen Stacy. During an interview with her husband, NHL hockey player, Mike Comrie, the interviewer spotted a script on a table marked "Spiderman" with lines for a character called "girl" highlighted in yellow. [The Globe and Mail via MovieWeb]
- Natalie Portman ("Black Swan", "Thor") has reportedly been offered the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D sci-fi film "Gravity". However, reps for the actress say the information is "totally rumor" and "very premature". [Risky Business | THR & Techland]
- Gemma Arterton ("Clash of the Titans") says she is scheduled to talk with director Ridley Scott about starring in the two "Alien" prequels. This would not be a replacement for Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, but instead a new female character with similar toughness… [Sunday Times via Blastr]
- …But once again, publicists for the actress quickly denied the report: "There’s no truth to that." [MTV Movies Blog]
- Michael Caine is in final negotiations to join the cast of "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island". Caine would play the grandfather of returning Josh Hutcherson’s character and it won’t be a cameo: "The role will see the actor in action mode, engaging in several chase sequences, including one involving giant bees." The film also stars Dwayne Johnson as Hutcherson’s mom’s boyfriend. [Heat Vision | THR]
- Liam Neeson has joined the cast of the Peter Berg-directed sci-fi-themed "Battleship". Playing opposite Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgaard and Rihanna, Neeson will star as Admiral Shane, "the Naval officer whose daughter (played by Brooklyn Decker) is engaged to Kitsch’s character. [Deadline New York]
- Laurence Belcher has been cast as a young Charles Xavier in Matthew Vaugn’s "X-Men: First Class". An older version of the character will be portrayed by James McAvoy in the film. [Bleeding Cool]
- Shockingly, there’s no truth to the rumor, reported by the National Enquirer, that Eminem has asked his team to get him a shot at playing The Riddler in "Batman 3". [Gossip Cop]