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Cross-posted at TrekMovie.com

In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column, we have updates on the next Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter plus news on who might direct The Hobbit. New details from Ridley Scott on his two Alien prequels as well as Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Plus more, including a release date for The Thing prequel and the latest box office numbers, casting bites, images and videos including The Green Hornet and ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ and an official look at Conan.

GENRE MOVIE NEWS

Sam Raimi will direct 3D Wizard of Oz prequel

Disney has offered and Sam Raimi has accepted directorial duties on “Oz, the Great and Powerful”, a prequel to the 1939 MGM classic “The Wizard of Oz”, according to Deadline Hollywood. Sam Mendes and Adam Shankman had previously been rumored to be contenders for the job. The project is written by Mitchell Kapner (“Romeo Must Die”). Disney wants to begin shooting this year. Vulture was first to report the news. Robert Downey Jr. will star as the Wizard, before he became the Wizard of Oz:

“Downey would play the Wizard Of Oz before he became the Wizard Of Oz circa the 1939 iconic film: he’s in fact a circus wrangler transported by tornado to the mysterious world of Oz where he gets mistaken for a know-it-all.”

Ridley Scott talks Alien prequels

Speaking at a Q&A during the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival, Ridley Scott offered some new details about his two “Alien” prequel films. Here are some highlights [courtesy Collider and SCI FI Wire]:

  • He’d already said his first prequel will be about the “space jockey,” that huge statue Kane (John Hurt) stumbles upon in the first film. It looks like the carcass of an alien giant: “I think beneath that carcass isn’t a carcass,” Scott teased on June 13 in Hollywood. “That’s a suit, but inside the suit is a being.” [SCI FI Wire]
  • “What we want to do is try and squeeze in two prequels, because if you explain who he was and where did he come from, then that will deal with the savagery of this version, which is pretty savage,” Scott continued. “Then you may want to find out where they came from, so you may want to go to the place where his people come from.” [SCI FI Wire]
  • The story has no set timeline except that it’s WAY before the first Alien so that they can fit in enough history for two movies. Scott explained that once you learn the history of how the jockey encountered the aliens, you’ll also want to learn about how he got there. [Collider]
  • This film will go very deep into the possibilities of terra forming and the realities of what it would actually take for humans to leave earth. He then started talking sort of technically about light speed and stuff. [Collider]

Will Dr. Strange be first Marvel film under Disney’s banner?

Marvel Studios has hired “Conan” screenwriters Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to pen the script to “Dr. Strange”. The project could likely be the first Marvel film under the Disney banner. On the rumor front, Bleeding Cool points to this art drawn up by comics artist Arne Starr featuring Patrick Dempsey (“Enchanted”, “Grey’s Anatomy”) as the title character:

The site reports that the art was enough to get the attention of Marvel but offers little else in terms of concrete details.

The Thing prequel hitting theaters April 2011

Universal Pictures has set a April 29, 2011 release date for Matthijs van Heijningen’s “The Thing” prequel. The release date puts the film in a slot two weeks after “Scream 4″, a week after “Red Riding Hood” and one week before “Thor”. Here’s the official synopsis [via ComingSoon.net]:

Antarctica: an extraordinary continent of awesome beauty. It is also home to an isolated outpost where a discovery full of scientific possibility becomes a mission of survival when an alien is unearthed by a crew of international scientists. The shape-shifting creature, accidentally unleashed at this marooned colony, has the ability to turn itself into a perfect replica of any living being. It can look just like you or me, but inside, it remains inhuman. In the thriller The Thing, paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers as they’re infected, one by one, by a mystery from another planet.

Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has traveled to the desolate region for the expedition of her lifetime. Joining a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across an extraterrestrial ship buried in the ice, she discovers an organism that seems to have died in the crash eons ago. But it is about to wake up.

When a simple experiment frees the alien from its frozen prison, Kate must join the crew’s pilot, Carter (Joel Edgerton), to keep it from killing them off one at a time. And in this vast, intense land, a parasite that can mimic anything it touches will pit human against human as it tries to survive and flourish.

Production begins on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Disney has officially announced that production has begun on “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The press release includes a few new story details about the film:

In this action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise, Captain Jack Sparrow crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), and he’s not sure if it’s love–or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is scheduled to hit conventional, 3D and IMAX theaters on May 20, 2011.

Who will direct The Hobbit?

Contrary to previous reports, Neill Blomkamp will not be directing “The Hobbit”. At least that’s the word from Vulture. The original report surfaced on TheOneRing.net, but an insider at Blomkamp’s agency William Morris Endeavor confirmed to Vulture that not only is Blomkamp not directing the project, no one from MGM/United Artists or Warner Brothers has even contacted him about the films. So who will direct? Deadline reports that MGM and WB have several directors in mind — a few include David Yates, David Dobkin and yes…Brett Ratner — but no offers have gone out yet because MGM and Warner Brothers are trying to get ‘LOTR’ trilogy helmer Peter Jackson (who co-wrote the scripts for both ‘Hobbit’ movies and is producing) to change his mind and direct: “Warner Bros and MGM braintrust will keep pursuing him until Jackson gives a definitive no,” Deadline adds. In other news, Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in ‘LOTR’ told an Australian radio station [via CinemaBlend] that with the sets and script ready, the film is “going to be cast this month,” and adds that despite the situation with the director not in place, he suspects that shooting will start “at the end of this year”.

Set images [more at Herr-Der-Ringe-Film.de via Movieweb]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 trailer online this Monday

The first trailer for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1″ will be released this Monday shortly after 4:00 p.m. PT. The trailer can also be seen in theaters attached to “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” starting on June 30. ‘Deathly Hallows, Part 1′ hits conventional, 3D and IMAX 3D theaters on November 19, 2010. Here’s the official synopsis:

Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart.

Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort’s Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort… alive.

Harry’s only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. But as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale—the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks.

Little does Harry know that his future has already been decided by his past when, on that fateful day, he became “the Boy Who Lived.” No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the task for which he has been preparing since the day he first stepped into Hogwarts: the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

New details on Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity

Production on the Alfonso Cuaron-directed 3D space film “Gravity” will start later this year with Robert Downey Jr. — RDJ will reportedly start production on “Gravity”, leave briefly to film “Sherlock Holmes 2″ and then return to finish “Gravity” — and we have some new details about the project courtesy U.K. special effects house Framstore. According to their site, the film will open with an opening shot clocking in at at least 20 minutes: [Deadline & Framestore via The Playlist]:

The entire film will be made here at Framestore. In effect the film, as Avatar was, is 60% CG feature animation with the balance being hybrid CG and live action elements.

Starring Robert Downey Junior, the film is a contemporary survival thriller that follows a woman as she attempts to make her way back to earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes. Because it’s set in space, most shots require every element to float in zero-gravity.

But then factor in that this is a stylish Cuarón flick, directed with his trademark languid feel, and you begin to realise the full scale of our challenge. Cuarón’s long and fluid style (the opening shot alone is slated to last at least 20 minutes) leaves no cut points to hide behind. In short, this is a hybrid of a fully animated, photo-real feature film with a blockbusting visual effects movie.

Studio interference on Fraggle Rock movie

Director/screenwriter Corey Edwards has posted a concerning message on his blog about the status of the “Fraggle Rock” movie [Corey Edwards via /Film]:

Not to be too alarmist, but I am struggling to stay in control of my own movie at this point. The Weinstein Company gives me no confidence these days. Why? For starters, they have begun the search for a new writer, presumably to rewrite my entire script from scratch. Now I’m a big boy — I can take the blow if my skills are not up to the high, high standards of the Weinstein Company (he said with too much sarcasm in his voice). But this is happening behind my back, without consulting me or even asking my opinion. I enjoy working with other writers and have no doubt that the RIGHT person could help make any script better. But to not even ask me? Adding insult to injury, the search is basically an open assignment. This means the net has been cast wide, virtually posting in the “classifieds” of the movie business. The Fraggles do not deserve such treatment.

I still have a deal to direct. Which means my hands WILL be on this script. That makes this move by the studio all the more baffling. Hey guys, you know what would be easier? Asking the director to help you get the script in shape, instead of running in your own circles and then showing me something later that I’ll probably hate.

Movie trailer for The Green Hornet + New images

Sony Pictures has released the first images of Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet and Jay Chou as his sidekick Kato along with the first movie trailer which is embedded below [Trailer Addict].

In related news, Sony and IMAX have announced that the film will be released in IMAX 3D theaters simultaneously with its conventional theater release on January 14, 2011.

Another look at Rogen and Chou

Toy Story 3 opens to Pixar record $110M + Cars 2 will be preceded by Toy Story short film

“Toy Story 3″ opened to $110.3M, handing Pixar its highest-grossing launch yet, easily surpassing the $70.5M grossed by “The Incredibles” and well above “Toy Story 2″ ($57.4M) and “Toy Story” ($29.1M). In terms of animated features, it sits second all-time behind “Shrek the Third” ($121.6M). Interestingly enough, this won’t be the last we see of the Toy Story gang. Speaking with MSN, director Lee Unkrich revealed that when Cars 2 hits theaters next year (June 24, 2011) it’ll feature a “Toy Story” short film:

“Well, I really tried my best to end the story of Andy and his toys and bring that story to a close in a really nice way at the end of this film. That being said, we know that people love the characters, love Woody and Buzz, and would hate to say good-bye to them completely. I don’t know that there would ever be a [Toy Story] 4. We don’t have any plans for one — but we are trying to find ways to keep the characters alive. We have announced we’re going to do a short film in front of Cars 2 that uses the Toy Story characters. We’re going to keep them alive; they’re not going away forever.”

Speaking of “Cars 2″, Jim Hill has confirmed that John Lasseter is on board the project as a co-director.

Comparing Toy Story (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010) [theCHIVE via SCI FI Wire]

Christopher Nolan talks Inception, Plus why he doesn’t care for 3D

It’s not a surprise to hear director Christopher Nolan express his dislike for 3D movies, but the “Inception” director elaborated a bit on why he dislikes the technology during at Q&A at the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex Film Festival:

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m a little reluctant about 3-D at the moment, because I find it as a viewer impossible to forget that I’m watching a film,” Nolan said on June 12 in Hollywood. “I think until they can find a way around that, it’s going to be problematic.”

“The truth is, I think it’s a misnomer to call it 3-D vs. 2-D,” Nolan said. “The whole point of cinematic imagery is that it is work in three dimensions. Ninety-five percent of our depth cues come from a collusion of resolution, color and so forth. So the idea of calling a 2-D movie a 2-D movie is a little misleading.”

Nolan’s biggest problem with 3D, however, is that he says there is a reduction in the quality of the film [note: foot-lamberts is a unit of luminance]:

“The truth of it is, when you watch a film here [in 2-D], you’ll looking at 16 foot-lamberts,” Nolan said. “When you watch it through any of the conventional 3-D processes, you’re looking at 3 foot-lamberts. It’s a massive difference. Having struggled for years to get theaters to get up to the proper brightness, we’re now seeing polarized film going back to worse than we were. There are a lot of problems with it. One of the things that people don’t talk about is shooting in 3-D requires shooting on video. If you mask it to 2.40 [aspect ratio], you’re only getting 800-900 lines of resolution. You have to use a beam splitter. There are enormous compromises, in other words.”

Surprisingly, Nolan says they experimented with doing 3D in post for “Inception”, and found that if done right you can get around the brightness issue with 3D:

“We did tests on Inception to look at the post conversion process,” Nolan said. “It worked very well. It’s quite easy to do, in fact, but it takes a little time. We didn’t have time to do it to the standard I would have been happy with. Post conversion technology, I think, probably for me would definitely be the future, but really it’s going to be up to audiences to decide how they watch their films.”

“Inception” hits conventional and IMAX theaters on July 16, 2010.

Korean posters [Nolan Fans]

Featurette: “Meet the Characters” [YouTube]

Production concludes on Marcus Nispel’s Conan + First official photo of Jason Momoa

Nu Boyana Film Studios, the production company behind Marcus Nispel’s “Conan”, has announced that production on the Lionsgate-distributed film has concluded. The site also posted the first official look at Jason Momoa as Conan (click to enlarge). The project co-stars Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Bob Sapp, Leo Howard, Ron Perlman, Said Taghmaoui and Rose McGowan. Lionsgate has not yet announced a release date but it isn’t expected until next year.

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Centurion

Red band trailer [YouTube]

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

First trailer [Trailer Addict]

Cowboys & Aliens

Set image [Jon Favreau]

Despicable Me

Poster [IMP Awards]

Trailer #6 [Trailer Addict]

The Last Airbender

Promotional stills [more at /Film]

TV spot: “The Journey Begins” [YouTube]

Featurettes: The four worlds — Northern Water Nation [via io9]

Watch videos for the other worlds: Air Nation | Fire Nation | Earth Nation

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Poster [IMP Awards]

Trailer [Trailer Addict]

Piranha 3D

Promotional stills [more at Movies.SpoilerTV.com]

Poster [Shockya]

Predators

Promotional stills [Shockya]

First TV spot [YouTube]

Watch two more TV spots here and here

International trailer [IGN / YouTube]

Real Steel

First look [/Film]

Check out an interview with star Hugh Jackman and director Shawn Levy at USA Today

[Rec] 2

Trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

Red

First trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Poster (theater displays of this poster will be 3D) [Joblo]

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

International trailer [Trailer Addict]

Trailer for the video game [Game Trailers]

Watch gameplay footage here

The Smurfs

Teaser trailer (with introduction from Neil Patrick Harris) [Yahoo! Movies]

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Featurette: “Fantasia” [Trailer Addict]

Tangled

Officila trailer [YouTube]

Transformers 3

Set images [more at Just Jared]

Set video (Featuring the Corvette Stingray, Camaro (Bumbleebee) and Ferrari 458 Italia) [YouTube via TFW2005]

Check out a few more set images here and watch another video here

Tron Legacy

Electronics and toys [more at ComingSoon.net]

Video game trailer for Tron Evolution [Game Trailers]

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Clip: “Bedroom” [YouTube]

Watch another clip here

TV spot: “Legend” [YouTube]

Featurette: “Newborn Vampire Army” [YouTube]

Jimmy Kimmel Live spoof – The Jersey Shore Saga: Friggin’ Twilight [YouTube]

MOVIE BITES

  • “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has revealed that discussions are ongoing with director Bill Condon about where to split the book for Parts 1 and 2: “…the natural split is somewhere between she’s human in movie one, she’s a vampire [in movie two]…She’s human and pregnant in one, she’s a vampire and a parent in two. Bill Condon has been looking at that from a visual standpoint…” [SCI FI Wire]
  • Adam McKay is in talks with Sony Pictures to direct the studio’s adaptation of the comic book series “The Boys”. [Collider]
  • “Crank” directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are in talks to direct “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” with Nicolas Cage also in negotiations to reprise his role as Johnny Blaze for the sequel. [Heat Vision]
  • IDW will release “Machete #0″ this September. The comic is co-written by director Robert Rodriguez and Aaron Kaufman and will explain the origin of Machete (played by Danny Trejo). The book will lead into an ongoing series starting this December. [Comic Book Resources]
  • Alex Garland (“28 Days Later”) is in negotiations with Warner Brothers to write the “Logan’s Run”. The project, a remake of the 1976 film based on the 1967 novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, will be directed by commercials director Carl Rinsch. [Heat Vision]
  • Louis Leterrier is in talks to direct a film called “Gravity” — not the one from Cuaron of course — which is described as “a disaster film in the vein of The Day After Tomorrow meets Taken…It’s about a father who has to search for his lost child as the world stops spinning and Earth begins to lose its gravity. [Pajiba]
  • There have been reports that Guillermo del Toro’s next film would be “Van Helsing”, but del Toro posted a message on his official site saying “everything is still in talks”. However, the director adds that he’ll be making an announcement at Comic-Con with regards to what his upcoming plans are. [Del toro Films]
  • “Predators” producer Robert Rodriguez has been offered directing duties on “X-Men Origins: Deadpool”. At the moment, reports are that Rodriguez is simply considering the project. [Production Weekly via The Playlist]
  • It’s a warp on filming for the “Harry Potter” series, according to tweets by actor Warwick Davis: “The end of an Era – today is officially the last day of principal photography on ‘Harry Potter’ – ever. I feel honoured to be here as the director shouts cut for the very last time. Farewell Harry & Hogwarts, it’s been magic! …and goodbye Griphook!”. [Warwick Davis via /Film]
  • Check out articles on the visual effects behind M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” over at USA Today and /Film.
  • “Transformers 3″ will film at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Tower Automotive site on July 12-13 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin… [OnMilwaukee.com & The Business Journal via TLAMB]
  • …The film has also been given clearance to shoot on the National Mall in Washington D.C. [Shoot for the Edit]
  • The live-action “Akira” project is still moving forward, with producer Andrew Lazar revealing that they’ve just hired a new writer and they’re conceptualizing now. The first movie will be volumes 1-3 with the second comprising volumes 4-6… [Collider]
  • …Lazar also revealed that Steve Carell has written the script for “Get Smart 2″, the proposed sequel to the 2008 comedy co-starring Anne Hathaway. [Collider]
  • Unsurprisingly, Disney has announced that “Tron Legacy” will return and have a large presence at the San Diego Comic Con. It will be the film’s third year at the convention. [Disney via /Film]
  • Doug Liman is expected to enter into talks with Warner Brothers to direct “All You Need Is Kill” based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s graphic novel about a new recruit in a war against aliens: “He finds himself caught in a time loop where he wakes up one day in the past after having been killed on the battlefield. Through the training and battles he experiences in these time loops, he becomes a better soldier.” [Reuters / THR]
  • DreamWorks Animation have reached an agreement with Dam Things from Denmark to bring the popular “Good Luck Troll” toys to the big screen. [DreamWorks Animation via ComingSoon.net]
  • Wes Craven will shoot at the Dearborn, Michigan-based Woodworth Middle School for a “flashback” sequence in “Scream 4″. The sequence will flashback to the Woodsboro High from the original “Scream”. [MLive.com via Shock Till You Drop]
  • Producer Don Hahn has revealed that Disney plans to do a 3D conversion of the hit animated film “The Lion King”: “It’s going to be spectacular – we will do a good job for ya! The technology is tremendous.” [Empire Online]
  • For the third time Sony Screen Gems has pushed back the release of Scott Stewart’s “Priest”. This time the film has been pushed to May 13, 2011. It was originally scheduled to hit theaters on August 27, 2010 before being pushed into 2011 (January 14) and then pushed forward a few months to March 4, 2011. [Sony Screen Gems]
  • In other release news, “The Last Airbender” has been pushed up a day to July 1, 2010. [Frank Marshall]
  • Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”, “Smallville”) will write “Monster High” based on a new Mattel property that “features the spawn of famous monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman undergoing the trials and tribulations of high school.” [THR]
  • Paramount Pictures have hired cousins Mark and Brian Gunn to pen the studio’s remake of “The Monster Squad”. Rob Cohen, who produced the original film, will produce and direct this new version. [Heat Vision]
  • Megan Fox says even if she “step away from it and give it to someone else”, the movie “Fathom” based on the Michael Turner comic will happen: “That movie will happen, just because I love it and it needs to happen.” [MTV]
  • The track list for the soundtrack to “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” has been released. Check out the 19-track listing over at Pitchfork. [via /Film]
  • Speaking of which, you can make your very own “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” avatar with the Scott Pilgrim Avatar Creator.
  • IMAX and Disney have signed a 3-picture deal that will see three films: “Mars Needs Moms” (March 11, 2011); “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (May 20, 2011) and “Cars 2″ (June 24, 2011) hit IMAX 3D theaters next year. [IMAX]
  • Breck Eisner, directing of the upcoming “Escape From New York” remake, says that they are still working on the script: “I would be surprised if I found a script that I was just ready to make. I’m bringing on another writer this week and we will do a pass on the latest draft by Allan Loeb. We’ll be doing a significant pass on that.” [ComingSoon.net]
  • London-based sales company Salt will handle international sales on the “Star Wars” documentary “The People vs. George Lucas”. Some background: “Clips include online parodies lovingly created in needlepoint, Lego, claymation and puppets. Witnesses including original Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz, Neil Gaiman and Dave Prowse (Darth Vader) all give evidence.” [Deadline London]
  • It may have cost a fortune — a reported $200M budget — but “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is on its way to $300M worldwide and has passed 2001′s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” to become the highest grossing video game movie of all-time ($295.8M vs. $274.7M). Just looking at domestic grosses, however, it’s currently #3 (‘Tomb Raider’ – $131.2M and “Pokemon: The First Movie” – $85.7M). [BOM]
  • M. Night Shyamalan has tapped writer Chris Sparling (“Buried”) to write “Twelve Strangers”, “a thriller about a jury deliberating a cast involving the supernatural”. [Deadline New York]
  • Hustler has finished production on what they are calling their “highest-budget” porn title ever produced, a parody of James Cameron’s “Avatar”. “This Ain’t Avatar XXX 3D” will be available this September. [MNN via SCI FI Wire]
  • DC Comics has partnered with comiXology and Playstation Network for two digital comics distribution deals. In addition, DC launched a DC Comics App for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and are also offering a free 10-page preview of the 700th issue of “Superman”. The 10-page story is a prelude to writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows’ “Grounded” storyline. [DC Comics via Deadline Hollywood]
  • Marvel Studios is reportedly interested in making 10-minute short films to be featured in front of their upcoming film properties that will introduce secondary characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, etc. [Latino Review]
  • Ghyslain Raza — better known as “Star Wars” kid — has rebounded a bit from that embarrasing 2002 video and is now the president of the Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, “a conservation society that aims to preserve the cultural heritage of his hometown of Trois-Rivières.” [Motherboard.tv via SCI FI Wire]
  • …Speaking of “Star Wars”, check out the original poster art that brother artists Hildebrandt sent to George Lucas before undergoing a major change:

  • As you can see from the final poster below, Lucas asked for the Hildebrandts to include R2-D2 and C-3PO to the frame and to make their signatures larger. [LA Times]

CASTING BITES

  • Megan Fox reveals that her dream role would be playing Sarah Rainmaker from the comic “Gen 13″, if it was ever to be made into a movie. [FOXNews.com]
  • Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”) has joined the cast of Peter Berg’s sci-fi adaptation of the Hasbro board game “Battleship”. Skarsgard will play the brother of Taylor Kitsch’s character, “a straight and narrow naval officer whom Kitsch, a wildly spirited naval officer, idolizes.” [Heat Vision]
  • Imogen Poots (“28 Weeks Later”) has been added to the cast of director Craig Gillespie’s horror remake “Fright Night”. Poots will play the girlfriend to Anton Yelchin’s character. The film has also been given a October 7, 2011 release date. [/Film]
  • Josh Hutcherson (“Journey to the Center of the Earth”) has confirmed that he is on the shortlist to play Peter Parker / “Spider-Man” in the upcoming 3D remake from director Marc Webb: “…it’d be an amazing role, I think. I grew up loving the movies, so we’ll see. It’d be an amazing movie to be a part of.”. [Movieline]
  • Michael Fassbender has entered early negotiations to play a young Magneto in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” (6/3/2011). Fassbender opted for the Magento role over the possibility of playing a villain in Marc Webb’s 3D “Spider-Man” reboot… [THR]
  • …Meanwhile, Benjamin Walker has also joined the project. He’ll play Beast, the character played by Kelsey Grammer in “X-Men: The Last Stand”. [Showbiz 411]
  • Frida Pinto and Don Cheadle have been offered roles in 20th Century Fox’s “Ceasar” (formerly “Planet of the Apes: Rise of the Apes”)… [Bloody Disgusting]
  • …John Lithgow has also signed on to the project. “Ceasar” stars James Franco as the lead, “a young, driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes.” Lithgow will play Franco’s Alzheimer’s-stricken father. Pinto is the movie’s female lead, a primatologist. [THR]
  • Michael Hogan (“Battlestar Galactica”) has joined the cast of Warner Brothers’ “Red Riding Hood”. Hogan will play a mysterious character named The Reeve. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the film stars Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie and Gary Oldman. [The Wrap]
  • Check out an interview with “Transformers 3″ voice actor Mark Ryan (Bumbleebee and Jetfire) at TFW2005.
  • Lauren Graham has confirmed a report that she has joined the cast of Wes Craven’s “Scream 4″. Also joining the cast is Anthony Anderson and Marielle Jaffe. [EW & Shock Till You Drop]
  • Supermodel/Actress Gemma Ward will have a “small speaking part” as a mermaid in Rob Marshall’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. [Courier Mail via /Film]
  • There’s a report that Nathan Fillion (“Serenity”) will play Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”. The report claims that Fillion is in final negotiations for a multi film deal that would start with ‘Avengers’
  • …Meanwhile, Eva Longoria (“Desperate Housewives”) will reportedly play Janet Van Dyne in the film. A confirmation is expected during Comic-Con. [Comic Book Movie]
  • Offers are out to Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen and Natalie Portman for parts in director Tom Tykwer’s adapation of the David Mitchell novel “Cloud Atlas”. [Production Weekly via The Playlist]
  • “Sherlock Holmes 2″ director Guy Ritchie is reportedly hoping to get Daniel Day-Lewis to play the role of Professor Moriarty. [Superhero Hype]
  • Reps for Vanessa Hudgens have denied a report that the actress was ever offered the title role in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” remake. [Gossip Cop via Cinema Blend]

MISC Images

Avatar + Star Wars

Avatar Stormtrooper helmet [Walyou via Rick Marshall]

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