This week’s Sci-Fi Movies column is just chock full. Guillermo del Toro has dropped out of The Hobbit. There are first looks at Captain America and Thor. Plus there are details and updates on the next Green Lantern, Batman, and Superman movies. Plus more, including the latest box office numbers, casting bites, images and videos.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Guillermo del Toro won’t direct The Hobbit
Recently, it was confirmed that MGM’s financial troubles were at the root of the problem in getting "The Hobbit" off the ground. Now the lengthy process has resulted in Guillermo del Toro dropping out as director. Here are a few excerpts from his farewell message to fans [posted on TheOneRing.net]:
…Pete and co stuck to LOTR for years, I’ve developed films for years and I have shot many a movie on location… but rarely do you relocate for such massive amount of time specially when you have to do major ironclad agreements to put in deep freeze other contractual obligations with multiple studios.
My commitment to the project demanded enormous sacrifices both in personal and professional terms. The consequences of which will ripple for years. I relocated my entire life and family to New Zealand and first came on board in 2008.
So- while the cited delays, contractual complexities or obstacles, cannot be attributed to a single event or entity – you will simply have to believe that they were of sufficient complexity and severity to lead to the current situation. Trust me on this, Pasi- leaving NZ and the Hobbit crew is extremely painful.
I believe these films will happen. Preproduction continues as we speak. The writing team of PJ,FW,PB and myself will keep moving the screenplays forward.
I am not here, however, to provide a blow-by-blow of what happened, but to assure you, as I have, that it has been the toughest situation of my life.
Beyond that- I am simply no longer an official voice for these projects. Be good, be well- and I invite you all to follow me into the next phase of my filmmaking journey.
Del Toro will remain on board to help keep moving the screenplays forward. Despite the delays, the first part is still scheduled to hit theaters December 2012.
Green Lantern synopsis + first promotional art
Warner Brothers has released an official synopsis for the Martin Campbell-directed, Ryan Reynolds-starrer "Green Lantern":
In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers. But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan.
Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax…he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.
In related news, the first promotional art for the film has been released. The images come from Warner Brothers Consumer Products [via Comic Book Movie]:
Logos for Thor and Captain America + First looks at Hemsworth and Evans
Unveiled at the 2010 Licensing International Expo in Las Vegas, here are the official logos for "Thor" (May 6, 2011) and the newly titled "Captain America: The First Avenger" (July 22, 2011) [via Comic Book Movie]:
The Expo also contained first looks at promo art for "Green Hornet", "Transformers 3" and "Thundercats". Check those images out below [more at Comic Book Movie].
In casting news, Neal McDonough will play Dum Dum Dugan, joining Hugo Weaving (Red Skull), Sebastian Stan (Bucky), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) and of course Chris Evans (Steve Rogers / Captain America). Also joining the film is Stanley Tucci, who will play the character Dr. Abraham Erskine. Lastly, check out an on-set interview with Hemsworth and his "Thor" co-star Natalie Portman embedded below.
Transformers 3 will be 3D + Probably Bay’s last
"Transformers 3" will be released in 3D. It’s unknown whether the film will be shot in 3D or converted in post, but given director Michael Bay’s recent objections to the tech, it’s more than likely Bay will shoot the film 2D and Paramount will convert it in post (hopefully giving themselves plenty of time to do it correctly). The news comes from a USA Today article where Bay claims the film will be the end of a trilogy (at least for him):
"As a trilogy, it really ends," he says. "It could be rebooted again, but I think it has a really killer ending."
Here are some plot details from the article:
- No more "dorky comedy", says Bay: ""One thing we’re getting rid of is what I call the dorky comedy," Bay adds. So the twins, the two bumbling, slang-spewing robots? "They’re basically gone," he says, though John Turturro returns for comic relief."
- Plot details are under wraps, but it delves into the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet’s most dangerous secrets. "The movie is more of a mystery," Bay says. "It ties in what we know as history growing up as kids with what really happened."
In casting news, James Avery will play the voice of a new Transformer called Silverbolt.
Sir Ben Kingsley mocks Heidi Montag’s Transformers 3 audition tape [Funny or Die]
Christopher Nolan: The Joker won’t return in Batman 3 + Also talks Superman
"Batman Begins" / "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan has confirmed that The Joker will not be featured in the third installment [Empire Magazine via Obsessed With Film]:
“No”, says Nolan emphatically and unhesitatingly. He resists elaborating simply because, quite understandably, he says, “I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it”.
The third film will reportedly begin shooting next March. Nolan also spoke about the upcoming "Superman" reboot. The director, who is only expected to executive produce the project, says it came together after writer/producer David Goyer came up with a way to "address Superman in a modern context". Here’s an excerpt from the Empire interview [via CBM]:
“..What it is, while David Goyer and myself were putting together the story for another Batman film a few years ago, you know thrashing out where we might move on from the Dark Knight, we got stuck. We were just sitting there idly chatting and he said ”by the way, I think know how you approach Superman”.. and he told me his take on it. I thought it was really tremendous. It was the first time I’ve been able to conceive of how you’d address Superman in a modern context I thought it was a really exciting idea. What you have to remember about Batman and Superman is that what makes them the best superhero characters there are, the most beloved after all this time, is the essence of who they were when they were created, when they were first developed. You can’t move too far away from that.”
Latest images/videos for Nolan’s upcoming "Inception" (July 18, 2010).
Behind the scenes: "Dream World" [Yahoo! Movies]
Banners [more at /Film]
First look: Xerxes; Frank Miller’s 300 prequel
Frank Miller has begun work on his "300" prequel "Xerxes", which will be released as a six-part graphic novel beginning next year. Miller offered the following details about the project, which "300" director Zack Snyder says he would be interested in adapting to film "if the book is awesome and compelling" [LA Times]:
“The story will be the same heft as ‘300′ but it cover a much, much greater span of time — it’s 10 years, not three days,” Miller said. ”This is a more complex story. The story is so much larger. The Spartans in ‘300′ were being enclosed by the page as the world got smaller. This story has truly vast subjects. The Athenian naval fleet, for instance, is a massive artistic undertaking and it dwarfed by the Persian fleet, which is also shown in this story. The story has elements of espionage, too, and it’s a sweeping tale with gods and warriors.”
“The time frame begins 10 years before ‘300′ and the story starts with the Battle of Marathon, which was killer to draw, by the way, even if it was a lot of work,” Miller said. “The lead character is Themistocles, who became warlord of Greece and built their navy. The story is very different than ‘300′ in that it involves Xerxes search for godhood. The existence of gods are presupposed in this story and the idea is that he well on his way to godhood by the end of the story.”
You can read the complete interview at the LA Times. The first art from the novel has also been released and can be found below.
Twilight: ‘Breaking Dawn’ will be two movies + ‘Eclipse’ previews
Summit Entertainment has confirmed what basically has been known for months: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn will be adapted as two films. The first part is scheduled for release on November 18, 2011. The script is currently being written by Melissa Rosenberg and ‘Breaking Dawn’ will start production this fall.
Meanwhile, here’s what Robert Pattinson told MTV about an early cut he’s seen of the David Slade-directed ‘Eclipse’ (hitting theaters this June 30):
"I’ve seen a very early cut. "It’s good. It’s different. It’s really different."
"It’s like… serious," he continued. "All of the… fight scenes that are in ‘New Moon’, they’re like real fights now. Not fantasy things. It’s like a horror film."
Watch the video clip embedded below.
Promotional stills [more at Movies.SpoilerTV.com]
TV spot [Cinema Blend]
Featurette: "Introducing Bree" [YouTube]
Previously on TrekMovie.com: New Mortal Kombat Viral Video Features Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade
A nearly 8-minute short, titled "Mortal Kombat: Rebirth" hit the internet this week and has created quite the buzz. According to reports, the short — which features Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade (check out some tweets by her about the project here) — was put together by Kevin Tancharoen as a test video shot for Warner Brothers to get funding for an R-rated movie. Collider interviewed Tancharoen about it. Here are a few highlights:
- They shot the short film over two days on two RED cameras
- Started in early April and it took 2 months to do the post production. Most people donated their time. The short was made for $7,500
- No one at any studio knew he was doing the short
- Oren Uziel wrote the short. He’s currently listed on IMDb to write the next Mortal Kombat movie at Warner Bros.
- Says he wants to make a movie that balances the real world with the mysticism and the special powers. Compares it to the way Harry Potter exists in two worlds. As in there are two universes that coexist with each other.
- Confirms “fatalities” are definitely in his movie. He wants to put them in the tournament in an “organic way”
- Says Scorpion is the bad guy and will stay a bad guy
Live-Action Voltron movie still alive + TV series in development
There was a report earlier in the week that the live-action "Voltron" movie had been scrapped in favor of an animated TV series titled "Voltron Force". That report was incorrect. Producers Richard Suckle and Ted Koplar confirmed to MTV that the live-action adaptation is still in development and an announcement is expected soon about the hire of a new screenwriter:
MTV News: So, right at the start, let’s clear up any confusion regarding the live-action "Voltron" movie. Where is it at, and what do you have planned?
Koplar: Well, Voltron is one of the great iconic brands from the ’80s, and a lot of people don’t know this but in its heyday it outperformed The Transformers. … We’ve had a lot of interest over the last couple of years in bringing back this franchise, and the movie has always been and still is the locomotive that’s driving our thinking. All this serves as a staging platform for the motion picture.
Suckle: As a matter of fact, we’ve been working over the last several months meeting with various screenwriters, and we’re actually on the cusp of securing an A-level screenwriter who’s going to write the "Voltron" movie. That’s all part of the plan here: reintroducing the brand to the fans who’ve watched over the last 25 years and to a new generation. We are very close to securing a screenwriter who’s going to actually write the feature version — so that’s always been part of the plan.
The two also talked about their approach to the movie:
Suckle: Those are all things we’ve talked about, but as much as it has a very strong robot element, this is a movie and a franchise that is driven by characters — these five people that in some or another are a representation of all of us. It’s really about how you have five different personalities working together in order to come together to form Voltron.
Koplar: The whole show is about teamwork — about a group of kids with various backgrounds who learn that the only way they’ll succeed is through the positive parts of each one’s background and bringing it together to make the robot work.
Although unofficial, both Suckle and Koplar hope to have the film ready for release summer 2013. For details on the new animated TV series, check out Variety.
Writers hired for The Flash and Green Lantern 2
"Green Lantern" may yet be a year away, but Warner Brothers is confident enough in the project that they’ve hired writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, to write a treatment for the second installment. Additionally, the three have been tapped by the studio to tackle a big-screen adaptation of "The Flash". It’s unclear at the moment which of the two projects the trio would take on first after "Green Lantern".
“Lantern” is shooting in New Orleans under the direction of Martin Campbell with Ryan Reynolds starring as the emerald ring-wielding DC Comics superhero who is part of an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corps.
Development on a second installment this far out from a movie’s release date is rare, signaling the studio’s confidence in what it sees so far.
It also appears to be the first moves the studio is making under its newly configured relationship with DC.
Iron Man won’t show up again until The Avengers
"Iron Man 2" director Jon Favreau revealed in an interview on the radio show "Kevin and Bean" (on LA’s KROQ) that we won’t be seeing Robert Downey Jr. in "Thor" or ‘Captain America’ and that instead we’ll have to wait until the 2012 release "The Avengers" — which he will serve on as one of the producers — to see the character on film again:
He’s not in ‘Thor’, he’s not in Cap which are the two movies for next Summer. It’ll be very interesting to see how the Marvel Universe branches off. All of these movies are going to be taken into account for ‘The Avengers’ in two years.
Later in the interview he offered some more thoughts on "The Avengers":
I’m not sure where The Avengers goes. There is no shooting draft written yet. It’s gonna be a big undertaking for Marvel to actually incorporate what happened in ‘Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk. All that has to inform one unified vision in The Avengers. It’s a very exciting prospect. And certainly, Tony Stark is not going to be involved in any of the movies until that one.
You can listen to the complete interview in the player below [Comic Book Movie].
Michael Fassbender to choose between playing Magneto in X-Men: First Class or the villain in Spider-Man?
Michael Fassbender (“Inglourious Basterds”) is being pursued to play characters in two competing Marvel Studios movies; 20th Century Fox’s "X-Men: First Class" and Sony’s "Spider Man" reboot, according to Showbiz 411:
At the same time, Fassbender is being pursued to play the villain in “Spider Man 4,” aka “No Toby Maguire Here.”
PREVIEW Videos & Images
Poster [IMP Awards]
Trailer [Trailer Addict]
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
First trailer (premiered during MTV Movie Awards) [Trailer Addict]
Promotional stills [more at IGN]
TV spot [Yahoo]
The Last Airbender
Japanese trailer [Cinema Blend]
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Behind the scenes clip [Moviefone]
Men in Black III-D
First TV spot [Shock Till You Drop]
Teaser trailer #2 [Yahoo! Movies]
Red band trailer [MySpace]
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Poster [SCI FI Wire]
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Posters: The seven evil exes [check out the rest at Comic Book Movie]
Official trailer [YouTube]
First clip (introduced by director Edgar Wright) [MTV]
Non-US readers can watch the clip on YouTube
Set images: Hank Azaria, Sofia Vergara and Tim Gunn [more at Accidental Sexiness]
Watch another clip here
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Promotional stills [more at IGN]
Character posters [more at IMP Awards]
New trailer [YouTube]
International poster [Comic Book Movie]
Toy Story 3
Ken’s Dating Tips for Today’s Bachelor [YouTube]
Google commercial: "Toy Story: The Discovery" [YouTube]
Billboard #5 [HeyUGuys]
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
20-minute sneak peek [Hulu]
- Producer Joel Silver says he would like for the "Logan’s Run" remake to "be devised and shot in 3-D". Silver also revealed that an adaptation of the DC Comics adaptation "Lobo" is still in development: "We’re working on the script now a little bit more. We did a test, a very effective test. We’re moving forward and I hope we can get that together." [MTV Movies Blog]
- James Cameron revealed that he expects his next film to be released in the next three to four years and it could be a sequel to "Avatar" or "some other big film" that uses 3D. [THR]
- John Carpenter will direct an adaptation to John Marks’ 2008 vampire novel "Fangland". The novel focuses on the character Evangeline Harker, a producer of a TV news magazine program: "Sent on assignment to Transylvania, she delivers more than a story when mysterious e-mails, coffins, and a creepy guy named Torgu descend on the New York office." Hilary Swank has attached to star. [Shock Till You Drop]
- "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" won five awards at the "2010 MTV Movie Awards", including Best Movie and Best Male and Female Performances (Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, respectively). [MTV]
- Relativity Media has picked up "The Brothers Grimm: Snow White", an edgy 3D re-imagining of the German folk tale written by Melisa Wallack. Brett Ratner will co-produce: "This is not your grandfather’s Snow White…Melisa went back to the 500 year old folk tale and put in some of the things that were missing from Walt Disney’s film. His dwarves were miners, and here they are robbers. There is also a dragon that was in the original folk tale. Walt made one of the great movies of all time, but ours is edgy and there is more comedy. The original, made for its time, was soft compared to what we’re going to do." [Deadline]
- Legendary Pictures has acquired "Pacific Rim", a sci-fi film written by "Clash of the Titans" writer Travis Beacham: "Set in a future in which malevolent creatures threaten the earth, the planet must band together and use highly advanced technology to eradicate the growing menace.". [Deadline]
- Steven Quale, who was the second unit director for James Cameron’s "Avatar", will helm "Final Destination 5". Eric Heisserer ("The Thing" prequel) wrote the script. [Heat Vision]
- Walt Disney Studios has set a December 25, 2011 release date for the still untitled "Muppet Movie" from writers Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segal. Segal will also star with Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets along with the introduction of a new muppet. [EW]
- Warner Home Video has reportedly greenlit a DC Universe animated adaptation of Frank MIller and David Mazzucchilli’s "Batman: Year One". Sam Liu ("Superman/Batman: Public Enemies") would direct. [Comics Continuum]
- McDonalds has voluntarily recalled 12 million "Shrek Forever After" glasses after a discovery that the paint on the glasses contains the toxic chemical Cadmium.[AP]
- Check out three reports from the set of "Predators" at Shock Till You Drop: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
- John August is in negotiations with DreamWorks to write "Monsterpocalypse", the studio’s adaptation based on a strategy game played with collectible miniature figures. August could re-unite with director Tim Burton ("Big Fish", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Corpse Bride"), who DreamWorks has been pursuing to direct the project. [Heat Vision]
- MGM has denied a report that "Red Dawn" would be delayed, confirming that the film is still on schedule for a November 24, 2010 release. [The Wrap & LA Times]
- Jonathan Liebesman ("Battle: Los Angeles") is at the top of the list to direct "Clash of the Titans 2", which Warner Brothers would like to star shooting as early as January 2011. [LA Times]
- Universal Pictures has moved Peter Berg’s adaptation of the Hasbro board game "Battleship" from May 25, 2012 to May 18, 2012. That brings the film out of direct competition with "Men in Black III". [ComingSoon.net]
- The first trailer for "The Green Hornet" will debut during the Monday, June 21 episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Monday, June 21. Star — and co-writer — Seth Rogen will also guest star on the program. [IGN]
- Check out an interview with "John Carter of Mars" star Taylor Kitsch at JohnCarterMovie.
- Special effects guru Rick Baker recently revealed that he will next work on the third "Men in Black": "I’m just starting up now on MEN IN BLACK III, which is another one I wanted to do because I worked on the first two." [LA Times]
- The recent rumors about the fifth "Indiana Jones" involving the Bermuda Triangle and for filming to begin next year is false. The denial comes courtesy producer Frank Marshall: "The rumor about INDY 5 is completely false. Nothing has changed, we are not shooting next year and still in the research phase…" [Frank Marshall]
- The script to "Men in Black III-D" is being rewritten by David Koepp. The plot will reportedly be set in the year 1969 for much of the film. [Sony Insider via MTV]
- Universal Pictures is developing another "Van Helsing" movie described as an "action horror story" based on a forthcoming treatment written by Guillermo del Toro. [Pajiba]
- There’s a rumor that Sony has settled on English actor Jamie Bell, star of the upcoming Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson film "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn", to play Peter Parker in the 2012 "Spider-Man" reboot… [Bleeding Cool]
- …While we wait to find out whether that rumor is true, another report says the studio has added Aaron Johnson ("Kick-Ass") and Anton Yelchin ("Star Trek") to the shortlist. They join Bell, Andrew Garfield, Alden Ehrenreich, Frank Dillane and Josh Hutcherson as actors reportedly in contention for the role. [LA Times]
- Jeremy Renner is in final negotiations to play Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ Joss Whedon-directed "The Avengers". The film will reportedly at least feature Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as War Machine. The Hulk may also be a character in the movie… [Heat Vision]
- …Meanwhile, "LOST" star Josh Holloway is reportedly in talks with Marvel to play a "lead" role in "The Avengers": "We mention a "lead" role because these bigger actors often won’t sign “retainers”, meaning everything should be 100% locked (character, film, etc) for Josh once he’s signed the dotted line." [Avengers News]
- Kim Kardashian to replace Angelina Jolie in the "Tomb Raider" franchise? That’s the rumor. [ShowbizSpy]
- "Resident Evil: Afterlife" star Milla Jovovich revealed on her Twitter account that Sienna Guillory is back as Jill Valentine in the film. [Milla Jovovich]
- Adam Beach will star as Nat Colorado, a half-Apache who works for Harrison Ford’s character (Woodrow Dollarhyde) in the Jon Favreau-directed "Cowboys & Aliens". The script was written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. [Variety]
- Hope Davis has joined the cast of Shawn Levy’s futuristic robot boxing film "Real Steel" starring Hugh Jackman. [Variety]
- David Tennant and Christopher Mintz-Plasse will star alongside Anton Yelchin in DreamWorks’ remake of the 1985 cult hit "Fright Night". Tennant will play Peter Vincent: "…a Las Vegas magician whose show revolves around horror-movie imagery. Vincent claims to be a vampire expert, but when the teen [Yelchin] turns to him for assistance, he’s less than helpful." Mintz-Plasse will play Evil Ed: "Yelchin’s friend who feels slighted that Charlie has left his nerdy past behind and thus joins the vampire’s coven." [Heat Vision]
- There’s a report that Rosamund Pike has tested and possibly been cast in the role of Emma Frost in the upcoming "X-Men: First Class" movie. [Forces of Geek]
- Max Minghella will star opposite Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby in Summit Entertainment’s $40 million-budgeted supernatural film "The Darkest Hour". The film centers "on a group of kids struggling to survive in Russia after an alien invasion." [Variety]
- Jennifer Love Hewitt, star of the recently canceled CBS series "Ghost Whisperer" is lobbying for the role of Wonder Woman: ""I’m fighting so hard. "I think Warner Brothers is getting ready to make Wonder Woman, and I really want to play Wonder Woman. I am obsessed with Wonder Woman." [MSN]
- Donald Glover wants to audition for the role of "Spider-Man". Stan Lee agrees that Glover should at least have a chance to audition, but says an African American Peter Parker would probably be "confusing": "Everybody seems to be familiar with Spider-Man, so I say that it isn’t that it’s a racial issue – it’s just that it might be confusing to people. But that’s a matter for the people at Marvel to take into consideration. I certainly don’t want to weigh in on it in any way, except to say I think Glover is a fine actor." [Comic Book Movie and io9]
- A rep for Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Inception") is denying a report that the actor is in consideration for the role of The Riddler in "Batman 3". [The Wrap]