In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column has lots of looks at Summer 2011 movies including Pirates of the Caribbean 4 images, and teaser trailers for Tranformers 3 and Thor. We also have plot details for X-Men: First Class, casting info for The Hobbit, updates on the next Batman and Alien movies, and more. Plus more, including the latest casting bites, images and videos.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Transformers: Dark of the Moon — First trailer + New Details
Paramount has released the teaser trailer — or as director Michael Bay is referring to it as…the announcement trailer — for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon". Check it out below.
Bay also screened additional footage and sat down with reporters for an informal Q&A session / interview that lasted nearly two hours. Here are some bites and excerpts of the interview courtesy Collider and AICN (You can also check out the two sites’ video impressions of their visit with Bay in the embed posted below):
- Buzz Aldrin is involved in the movie and appears during present day.
- Bay says about 70% of the movie was shot in 3D, with the rest to be converted in post: "…[W]e shot most of my close-ups with faces with anamorphic film, cause that stuff’s easier to convert and it’s just more beautiful than the digital."
- Principal photography lasted six months.
- New addition / Megan Fox replacement Rosie Huntington-Whitely works "as kind of an assistant" at the British embassy in Washington D.C. and will speak with an English accent.
- The Ferrari is Bay’s favorite new car and will have an Italian accent that has to be cleared by Fiat: "And Ferrari will have to approve the voice. They just want it to be not cheesy Italian. They want it to be something that fits the car."
Bay acknowledged there were issues with "Revenge of the Fallen":
“We tried to learn from the second movie. On the second movie we got burned. We had a writers strike, we had to agree on a story in three weeks, and then we knew they were going on strike. It was a fucked scenario all the way around, it wasn’t fair to the writer, it wasn’t fair to me, it wasn’t fair to anybody. It was still an entertaining movie, but I think we failed on certain aspects. What we did with this movie is I think we have a much better script, and we got back to basics. I think there’s some really cool action on this movie, there’s some very cool conspiracy, there’s great robot stuff in this that people were missing in the second one, you’ve got great robot conflict. So I’m excited about this movie. It’s more serious. I got rid of the dorky comedy, I mean we’ve got two little characters, that’s it, but the dorkiness is not there. Dork-free Transformers. It’s much more serious. It’s still entertaining, it’s big looking.”
On this being his last Transformers movie and on the question of whether this movie brings the story to a close:
"I think this has gotta be it. I think someone else will take the torch from here…There’s a couple of things that are left open. I think you’ll see some finality to this, you know we’ve made it very clear that when things die they die now. They’re not magically being brought back."
Marvel releases Thor trailer
Another high-profile trailer release this week comes courtesy Marvel, who has set forth the first official theatrical trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s "Thor", starring "Star Trek’s" papa Kirk Chris Hemsworth. The trailer mostly features footage previously seen at Comic-Con — and in the leaked video — but there are a couple new scenes. Check out the trailer below courtesy Yahoo! Movies (and below that is a new poster release from Marvel).
Jon Favreau says Iron Man 3 will be a sequel to Avengers, Thor and Captain America
Continuing with Marvel…"Iron Man" / "Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau told MTV that "Iron Man 3" — which already has a release date of May 13, 2013 — will serve as a sequel to not only "Iron Man 2", but also to Joe Johnston’s "Captain America: The First Avenger", Kenneth Branagh’s "Thor" and Joss Whedon’s "The Avengers":
"In theory, Iron Man 3 is going to be a sequel or continuation of Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and Avengers."
Cate Blanchett to reprise her role in The Hobbit; Is Orlando Bloom next? + More casting news and 3D news
Cate Blanchett will reprise her role of Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien in Peter Jackson’s two-part "The Hobbit". The studio has also confirmed that Sylvester McCoy has joined the cast (he’ll play the wizard Radagast the Brown). Other cast additions announced by the studio include Ken Stott, Mikael Persbrandt, Ryan Gage, Jed Brophy and William Kircher have joined the cast. Stott will play the Dwarf Lord Balin, Mikael Persbrandt will play the shape-shifter Beorn, Gage will play Drogo Baggins, Brophy will play the dwarf Nori and Kircher will play the dwarf Bifur:
Peter Jackson welcomed the news of Cate Blanchett’s return to Middle-earth “Cate is one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films” On the casting of Scottish actor Ken Stott, Jackson commented “Fran and I have long been fans of Ken’s work and are excited he will be joining us on this journey.” Jackson also welcomed the addition to the cast of Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt “The role of Beorn is an iconic one and Mikael was our first choice for the part. Since seeing him read for the role we can’t imagine anyone else playing this character.”
In other casting news, Deadline is reporting that Orlando Bloom is close to reprising his role as Legolas. Although the character doesn’t appear in "The Hobbit" novel, the site notes that his return would be for more than just a cameo. Surprisingly, talks are still ongoing with ‘LOTR’ stars Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Andy Serkis (Gollum) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond) which Deadline notes have "been arduous". Meanwhile, Ron Perlman has confirmed that he will not be appearing in the films. The actor had been rumored for a part when Guillermo del Toro was attached as director. In related news, the MGM/WB/New Line and RED have announced that Peter Jackson will shoot both films in 3D using the EPIC camera:
"I have always liked the look of Red footage.” Peter Jackson said, “I’m not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.
"The Hobbit" films are being targeted for release in December 2012 and December 2013.
Christopher Nolan confirms The Dark Knight Rises will be his last Batman movie
Director Christopher Nolan has reiterated that "The Dark Knight Rises" will be his last Batman movie, telling Entertainment Weekly it’s "the last chapter of our Batman saga." The Dark Knight himself, Christian Bale, recently expressed similar sentiment:
"The thing is that this will be, I believe, unless Chris says different, this will be the last time I’m playing Batman."
Nolan also said that after the enormous success of his original project "Inception" — which grossed $825M worldwide for Warner Brothers — the timing couldn’t be more right to move into the third film:
“I must say that I’m glad — I’m very, very glad — to be embarking on the last chapter of our Batman saga without any sense of obligation or duty to the studio. They did very well with Inception. So I’m able to go into finishing our story in a very enthusiastic way.”
In other news, Nolan debunked rumors that the late Heath Ledger’s Joker would cameo in ‘TDKR’: "That’s all wrong," Nolan told IndieWire. "The Dark Knight Rises" is scheduled to hit conventional and IMAX theaters on July 20, 2012.
Alien prequel not called Paradise and won’t be two films
Fox communications VP Chris Petrikin was forced to take to Twitter to debunk a recent story by Vulture related to Ridley Scott’s "Alien Prequel". Petrikin said that the film won’t be called "Paradise", as reported in the article, and it won’t be two films as has been previously reported:
"I don’t know where to begin to correct what is being written about a certain Ridley Scott project," he tweeted.
Petrikin promised answers will be forthcoming soon. The film is expected to hit theaters in late 2011 or 2012.
X-Men: First Class official synopsis released + Ray Wise joins cast
20th Century Fox has released the official synopsis for Matthew Vaughn’s "X-Men: First Class":
X-Men: First Class: “Charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.”
In the casting department, Ray Wise has revealed that he will be playing the US Secretary of State in the film. "X-Men: First Class" is scheduled to hit theaters on June 3, 2011.
Set images [Comic Book Movie]
Buffy reboot moves forward; Joss Whedon responds + Casting rumors
Atlas Entertainment recently announced that they are moving forward with a reboot to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with Warner Brothers set to distribute.
Whit Anderson is writing the script after she approached Roven and others with an idea how to update Buffy. “While this is not your high school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be,” an insider says.
The project will be written by newcomer Whit Anderson and is being targeted for release in 2012. Joss Whedon is not involved in the project, but reacted to the news via a somewhat humorous e-mail sent to E! Online’s Kristin Dos Santos:
"…This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.
Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, “Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER.” Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, “I’ll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!” Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?…" [read the rest of the letter here]
Despite the tone of the letter, Whedon actually wasn’t kept in the dark at all. Heat Vision | THR reports that Whedon was approached last year about the project but turned it down:
According to studio insiders, he was approached last year after Buffy rightsholder Fran Rubel Kuzui and husband Kaz Kuzui began developing a remake with Vertigo. After presented with the opportunity, Whedon decided he’d rather work on other projects (he’s making Marvel Studios’ The Avengers). Producers then began searching for a writer and late last year hired actress-turned-scribe Whit Anderson. The unknown Anderson, with only bit film appearances to her credit, came up with a take on the Buffy myth that was strong enough after a couple of drafts to lure Atlas, which partnered with Vertigo to set it up at a studio.
In the rumor department, MovieWeb is reporting that "Glee" star Heather Morris has been rumored as one of potential actress the play the role of Buffy.
PREVIEW Videos & Images
The Adjustment Bureau
Movie posters [IMP Awards]
Movie poster [IGN]
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Movie posters [Teaser-Trailer]
Cowboys & Aliens
International poster [IMP Awards]
Final Destination 5
Promotional still [Rope of Silicon]
Ghost Rider 2: The Spirit of Vengeance
Promotional stills [more at HeyUGuys]
TV spot [YouTube]
I Am Number Four
Movie trailer [Yahoo! Movies]
Mars Needs Moms
Movie trailer [YouTube]
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Promotional stills [more at Stitch Kingdom]
Promotional stills [more at /Film]
Movie trailer [YouTube]
Movie poster 
Movie trailer [YouTube]
Watch more mini-clips via Screen Rant
Sherlock Holmes II
First look at Noomi Rapace, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law 
Space Battleship Yamato
Promotional stills [IGN]
Rumored concept art of the monster [via Movies.SpoilerTV]
Music video for Daft Punk’s "Derezzed" [MTV]
Behind the scenes footage [Collider]
Clip: "Sam meets Castor" [YouTube]
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
First look tease [Bill Condon | Twitter]
Vanishing on 7th Street
Movie trailer [Yahoo! Movies]
X-Men: First Class
Set images [Comic Book Movie]
- Lionsgate has re-titled the Marcus Nispel-directed / Jason Momoa-starring remake "Conan 3D". The film will be called… "Conan the Barbarian". Yes, it’ll share it’s title with the 1982 original. "Conan the Barbarian" will be released on August 19, 2011. [Box Office Mojo]
- Hans Zimmer has debunked recent rumors that he will writing the music for Zack Snyder’s "Superman" movie: "Let’s just be absolutely straight here: I have never in my life met Zack Snyder. I think I need to give him a ring. … You know, I can’t even remember ever talking about Superman. It’s a little bit, you know, it’s a little bit like ‘guilty by association’ isn’t it? … How can I say it: My heart belongs to Batman. I wouldn’t even know how to go and give voice to it. I haven’t thought about it." [Heat Vision | THR]
- Sony Screen Gems has given a tentative title for the next installment in the "Underworld" franchise: "Underworld 4: New Dawn". [Bloody Disgusting]
- Check out script review for Shawn Levy’s "Real Steel" at io9.
- Disney has reportedly begun the early process of planning for a fifth and sixth film in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, with the studio planning to shoot the two films back-to-back (just like they did with ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ and "At World’s End’). [HitFix]
- Alex Proyas will produce, and potentially direct, an adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s near-future science fiction novel "AMP". The novel is set in "a world where the technology designed to make the disabled whole, turns them into supermen." [Deadline]
- Liam Neeson has confirmed the title of the "Clash of the Titans" sequel: "Wrath of the Titans". Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, "Wrath of the Titans" returns Neeson as the Greek god Zeus along with Sam Worthington (Perseus), Gemma Arterton (Io) and Ralph Fiennes (Hades). James Franco and Javier Bardem are reportedly in talks to play Poseidon’s son Agenor and Ares, god of war, respectively. [Belfast Telegraph]
- "Piranha 3DD" will hit theaters on September 16, 2011, while Andrew Niccol’s "Now" (formerly titled "I’m.mortal") will hit theaters on September 30, 2011. Also, Summit Entertainment has moved up the release of Duncan Jones’ "Source Code" two weeks to April 1, 2011. [ComingSoon.net]
- "TRON: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski admits that the special effects in the film, particuarly with regards to the young Clu, aren’t perfect: "I feel like … um, honestly I feel like Clu, I don’t think he’s at 100 percent in 100 percent of the shots. But I feel like there’s a couple glimpses in there, especially during Clu’s speech in the Rectifier, [that] I’m really happy with. For a moment, you buy this thing as a real character, which to me is exciting. I just don’t think that’s been done before."… [Vulture]
- …In related news, IMAX corporation has revealed that 43 minutes from the film will utilize the large-screen format. [THR]
- "Inception" director Christopher Nolan may have begun work on a video game set in the world of the film, but he doesn’t rule out the possibility of a film sequel: "As for [movie] sequels," he said, "It’s not something I want to say no to, but it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought about." [Inside Movies | EW]
- IFC has set an April 1, 2011 release date for James Gunn’s black comedy/superhero movie "Super". [Beyond Hollywood]
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 15 films that have been selected as semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects for the "83rd Academy Awards"…
- …They are: "Alice in Wonderland"; "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"; "Clash of the Titans"; "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1"; "Hereafter"; "Inception"; "Iron Man 2"; "The Last Airbender"; "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief"; "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"; "Scott Pilgrim vs the World"; "Shutter Island"; "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice"; "Tron: Legacy" and "Unstoppable". [AMPAS]
- "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" writer Stuart Beattie has revealed that when he wrote the story for the film, he initially wrote the character with Hugh Jackman in mind, hence the name Captain Jack Sparrow. [Fox News]
- Edgar Wright is still attached to the "Ant-Man" movie and Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige revealed that he’s "already working on the next draft."[Hero Complex | LA Times]
- Halle Berry has revealed that she has been cast in the Wachowski’s sci-fi project "Cloud Atlas". The actress also noted that Natalie Portman and Tom Hanks may be involved in the project, which she says they’re shooting in the summer. [NataliePortman.com via Cinema Blend]
- Djimon Hounsou continues to hold out hope at playing T’Challa in a live-action "Black Panther" movie. [io9]
- French actor Gilles Lellouche has been cast in Guy Ritchie’s "Sherlock Holmes II": "I’m thrilled, and I’ll play a nice bad guy," Lellouche said. [THR]
- Ray Wise has revealed that he will be playing the US Secretary of State in Matthew Vaughn’s "X-Men: First Class". [IGN]
- Sony is reportedly looking for "young male and female actors aged 18-30" for roles in "Ghostbusters 3". [FFA via What’s Playing]
- Mark Wahlberg says that he will not be starring in "The Crow" remake: "We never committed to making the movie…They talked to me about it and there was a director attached who I was a fan of, and he’s no longer doing it. We just thought about it – ‘is there something cool to be done there?’ But we’re not committed to making the movie." [Cinematical]
- Teresa Palmer, who was at one time attached to play Talia al Ghul in director George Miller’s proposed "Justice League of America" movie, says she still wants to play the character and would love to do so in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight Rises": "It is the longest shot in history for sure but I’ve put my name out there with my agents and things. So we’ll see who ends up doing that role…" [MovieWeb]
- Chris Zylka will play Spider-Man admirer / high school nemesis to Peter Parker, Flash Thompson in Marc Webb’s 3D "Spider-Man" reboot. [The Wrap]