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TrekMovie.com Sci-Fi Movies Wednesday: Inception, Godzilla, X-Men, Independence Day, Last Airbender, Iron Man 2 + more

Cross-posted at TrekMovie.com

This week’s Sci-Fi Movies column has news of the return of a movie icon: Godzilla. Plus directors Christopher Nolan and M. Night Shyamalan talk about their upcoming movies Inception and Last Airbender. We also have a production update on The Hobbit, a Will Smith casting update on the Independence Day sequel(s), and director updates for the next X-Men and Paranormal Activity movies. All that plus the latest images and videos, including Iron Man 2.

GENRE MOVIE NEWS

New Godzilla heading to the big screen

Legendary Pictures has finalized a deal with the Toho Company for a big screen adaptation of “Godzilla”. Unsurprisingly, this won’t be a sequel to Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film, but instead will be a re-imagining of the original “Godzilla” movies. Legendary Pictures is expected to announce a director soon. Warner Brothers will co-finance and co-produce with Legendary Pictures and will distribute domestically, with Toho handling distribution in Japan. A release — possibly in 3D — has been slated for sometime in 2012.

Inception: Christopher Nolan talks story, IMAX and 3D

Christopher Nolan, director of the upcoming psychological thriller “Inception” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, told Collider that the film was shot mostly in anamorphic 35mm, but he also shot key sequences on 65mm. Nolan says using 65mm was a sort of counter to shooting completely in IMAX since it would have been far too difficult to shoot the entire film using the bulky cameras. Regarding 3D Nolan stated “It’s something we’re looking at and watching”, but noted that since he is shooting on film it would require “post-conversion processes which are moving forward in very exciting ways.”

And here’s a brief excerpt of Nolan talking about the film’s story:

It really came about as a result of…I don’t remember specifically where the idea came from except that once I started exploring the idea of people sharing a dream space-entering a dream space and sharing a dream. That gives you the ability to access somebody’s subconscious. What would that be used and abused for? That was the jumping off point. And clearly being able to extract information from somebody’s brain would be the obvious use of that because obviously any other system where it’s computers or physical media whatever, things that exist outside the mind, they can all be stolen…up until this point or up until this movie I should say, the idea that you could actually steal something from somebody’s head was impossible. So that, to me, seemed a fascinating abuse or misuse of that kind of technology.

“Inception” is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2010.

M. Night Shyamalan talks Last Airbender race controversy + new trailer

“The Last Airbender” director M. Night Shyamalan has come under fire from some fans for casting non-asian actors for what were thought of as asian roles in the original anime. Shyamalan addressed the controversy in an interview with io9:

When we were casting, I was like, “I don’t care who walks through my door, whoever is best for the part. I’m going to figure it out like a chess game.” Ideally we separate the nations ethnically — ideally. I didn’t know how or what it was going to be. And it was so fluid. For example if you found a great brother, [but] he didn’t go with my favorite Katara, then we couldn’t use him. Theoretical things like that. There was an Ang that we really loved, but he was like 5’10.” There’s all kinds of issues that come to the table physically. And I had a board of all the people that I was considering, the seven or eight. There was, at one time, a Chinese Sokka and Katara, and they were over here. One of them was a better actor than the other, and so I was gathering my pros and cons.

I was without an agenda, and just letting it come to the table. Noah is a photo double from the cartoon. He is spot on. I didn’t know their backgrounds, and to me Noah had a slightly mixed quality to him. So I cast the Airbenders as all mixed-race. So when you see the monks, they are all mixed. And it kind of goes with the nomadic culture and the idea that over the years, all nationalities came together.

Movie trailer #2 [Trailer Addict]

Watch the Japanese trailer here

Kids Choice TV spot [YouTube]

Will Smith locked for two more Independence Day movies?

There have been rumors for some time surrounding 20th Century Fox’s desires to make a sequel to the 1996 blockbuster “Independence Day” and now IESB is reporting that the studio is finally ready to move forward with not one, but two sequels and Will Smith is locked in for both, with filming possibly starting as soon as 2011. Roland Emmerich is expected to return to direct the films.

More Hobbit delay rumors

The Guillermo del Toro-directed / Peter Jackson-produced two-part “Hobbit” film has run into production delays and according to TheOneRing.net the problems are due to financial issues at MGM, with a source saying “At this stage we are all working and hoping for the best case scenario. Without a doubt, the MGM situation carries great importance.” When originally announced, the films were scheduled to be released in December 2011 and December 2012. But sources tell TheOneRing.net that 2012 is probably the earliest we can hope for the first part, although they do note that some involved still believe there is hope for 2011. In related news, Variety is reporting that Lionsgate has dropped out of the bidding for MGM, however MGM has been given another month and a half of relief from debt payments. So it looks like the green light for the two films won’t be given until the MGM financial situation is settled.

Bryan Singer will produce, not direct, X-Men: First Class

As a follow-up to a story we reported on last week, Deadline New York has confirmed that Bryan Singer will not be directing 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: First Class”. Singer is committed to directing “Jack the Giant Killer” for Warner Brothers so he will only be able to serve as a producer on ‘First Class’ (joined by Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg as producers). Deadline adds that Fox is short-listing directors for the film and has even talked to several. The studio hopes to have it ready for a 2011 release which means production could potentially start this fall.

Kip Williams will direct Paranormal Activity 2

Turns out none of the rumored directors for “Paranormal Activity 2″ panned out for Paramount Pictures, because the studio has instead settled on relative unknown Tod “Kip” Williams. “Paranormal Activity” director Oren Peli made the announcement on the official website, noting “I don’t want to spoil the story but I promise it’ll surprise you.” “Paranormal Activity 2″ is slated to be released on October 22, 2010, the same day as Lionsgate’s “Saw VII 3D”, which will be helmed by former ‘PA2′ director Kevin Grutert.

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Clash of the Titans

Interview with the cast [SCI FI Wire]

George Romero’s Survival of the Dead

Red band movie trailer [IGN]

Iron Man 2

New promotional stills [Yahoo! Movies]

Domestic and International movie posters [MySpace & /Film]

Black Widow character poster [WonderCon 2010]

First TV spot (from Kids Choice Awards) [FirstShowing.net]

Kick-Ass

Character banners [Movies.SpoilerTV.com]

Interview with director Matthew Vaughn [/Film / YouTube]

Interview with screenwriter Jane Goldman [/Film / YouTube]

The Losers

Character promo posters [more at Movies.SpoilerTV.com]

Resident Evil: Afterlife

First promotional stills [more at MySpace]

Shrek Forever After

New movie posters [more at Trailer Addict]

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

International movie trailer [Trailer Addict]

The Terminator: 2029 (comic book)

5-page preview from the Zack Whedon-written / Andy MacDonald-illustrated comic series [more at Bloody Disgusting]

Thor

Chris Hemsworth talking about his costume [MTV Splash Page]

Watch another interview clip with Hemsworth here

Toy Story 3

Character posters for Chunk & Chatter Telephone [The Pixar Blog & StitchKingdom]

360° character turns for Chunk & Chatter Telephone [YouTube & YouTube]

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Promotional stills [ComingSoon.net]

MOVIE BITES

  • Previously on TrekMovie.com: MTV Movie Awards Nomination Voting Now Open – Star Trek In 6 Categories
  • Another “Action Comics” No. 1, the first appearance of Superman, was sold at an auction for a record price of $1.5 million, surpassing the previous record of $1 million for the same issue and $1.075 million for “Detective Comics” No. 27, which marked the first appearance of Batman. The issue was graded an 8.5 vs. the 8.0 the $1M copy of “Action Comics” No. 1 was rated at. [Zap2It]
  • Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) is attached to direct David Auburn’s adaptation of the Peter Ackryod novel “Casebook of Victor Frankenstein”. [Production Weekly]
  • “Toy Story 3″ director Lee Unkrich is confident fans will view the film as a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy: “I tried to tell a complete story in developing this story. I can’t say how the movie ends, but I think people who watch the film will have a full emotional journey, and we have also had a big emotional journey in making it.” [SCI FI Wire]
  • Joe Johnston’s “The Wolfman” will hit DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on June 1st. The release will contain both the theatrical cut as well as a new director’s cut. [Universal Studios]
  • Louis Leterrier (“Clash of the Titans”, “The Incredible Hulk”) is reportedly in contention to direct the Brian K. Vaughn-scripted “Y: The Last Man”… [Latino Review]
  • …Meanwhile, Leterrier is defending WB’s decision to convert “Clash of the Titans” despite the negative reaction to film’s 3D elements and overall weak reception from critics (currently at just 35% on Rotten Tomatoes). [SCI FI Wire]
  • Check out a report from the set of the Robert Rodriguez-produced / Nimród Antal-directed “Predators”. [Fangoria]
  • The trailer for “Resident Evil: Afterlife” debuts at the San Francisco WonderCon this weekend and will be released online at 2:15 PM (ET) on Saturday. [ComingSoon.net]
  • “Transformers 3″ location scouts are expected to arrive in Chicago in April to lock down specific locations to shoot the film… [NWI]
  • …On a related note, there’s already a report that the film will shoot on Michigan Avenue, the site used to represent Gotham City in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”. [Collecticon.org via TFW2005]
  • Catherine Hardwicke describes the world of “The Girl in the Red Riding Hood” as like a “Gothic fairytale…very sexy, romantic and scary”. [Screen Daily via Fangoria]
  • Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi talk about their script for the proposed comic book adaptation of “The Boys” in an interview with MTV Splash Page.
  • “War of Gods” has been given a release date of November 11, 2011 (11/11/11). [Box Office Mojo]
  • Author Seth Grahame-Smith will write the script for Tim Burton’s adaptation of his novel “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. [Wicked Little via Shock Till You Drop]
  • Although he says the final script was “VERY different than what ended up on the screen”, screenwriter J.D. Shapiro has written a hilarious essay apologizing for writing John Travolta’s widely-panned 2000 sci-fi adaptation “Battlefield Earth”. [New York Post]
  • Director Shawn Levy details “Red Steel” as more “Rocky” than “Rollerball”: “It’s basically a father / son drama set in the future. Hugh Jackman is a boxer, but in the 2020 people have gotten bored with watching human fighters fight each other so they built robots to basically whale on each other for human spectacle.” [ComingSoon.net]
  • Here’s another name to add to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” directing short-list: Stephen Daldry (“The Reader”)… [LA Times]
  • …Also, M. Night Shyamalan put his name out there as a possible director for the two-part film. [MTV Movies Blog]
  • As part of their viral marketing campaign surrounding “Iron Man 2″, Marvel Entertainment has launched a new website at StarkExpo2010.com. The site features a clock counting down to May 7, 2010, the date of the film’s release and the expo as well as about two dozen images of the site.
  • Director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Ultimatum) is in early talks to direct the 3D redo of adventure-fantasy “Fantastic Voyage” [Variety]

CASTING BITES

  • Angelina Jolie is reportedly very interested in playing the titular villain in Disney’s live-action “Maleficent”. [LA Times]
  • Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) has been cast in Raja Gosnell’s live action / animated “The Smurfs”. Vergara will play Odile, a powerful executive at a high-end French cosmetics company who is the boss of the live-action character played by Neil Patrick Harris. [Heat Vision]
  • Angela Bassett has joined the cast of Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern”. Bassett will play Dr. Amanda Waller, a government agent featured in the DC Comics series. [Variety]
  • J. Michael Stracynski revealed that he filmed a cameo for “Thor”: “It was supposed to be just a ten second deal, but director Kenneth Branagh decided (against the evidence) that I can act, so he kept putting me in more bits.” [Facebook]
  • Stephen Dorff has joined the cast of Relativity Media’s Greek mythology film “War of Gods”. Dorff will play Stavros, a master thief who joins Theseus on his quest to help free Greece from the dark threat of the Titans.[Variety]
  • Amanda Seyfried says she has not officially signed on to star in Catherine Hardwicke’s “The Girl in the Red Riding Hood”. [Cinematical]

MISC VIDEO

Star Wars (Parody)

“Galactic Empire State of Mind” [College Humor]

You can follow Russ on his blog: Your Entertainment Now

And on Twitter: Twitter.com/YourEntNow

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