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I'll do my best to read and respond to your e-mails. Sci-Fi Movies: X-Men, Wolverine, The Hobbit, The Avengers, Avatar + more

Cross-posted at

In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column, we have updates on X-Men: First Class, Deadpool and Wolverine. Another status update on The Hobbit, details on the Avatar special edition and news of a sequel to Piranha 3D.

Summary of Column Contents

  • Bryan Singer talks X-Men: First Class + Lauren Donner on Deadpool and Magneto
  • David Slade and Robert Schwentke in the running to direct Wolverine 2?
  • Peter Jackson says Hobbit announcement is expected soon
  • Joss Whedon talks The Avengers
  • Piranha 3D sequel in the works
  • Avatar: Special Edition will feature 16 additional minutes + Cameron says Avatar 2 might not be out until 2014
  • Warner Brothers picks up film rights to sci-fi trilogy book series from David Goyer
  • Ghost Rider 2 will shoot in 3D this fall
  • Toy Story 3 breaks $1B in worldwide box office
  • Fantastic Four casting rumors

Plus more, including the latest casting bites, images and videos.


Bryan Singer talks X-Men: First Class + Lauren Donner on Deadpool and Magneto

Bryan Singer, who will produce the upcoming “X-Men: First Class”, revealed quite a few details about the upcoming Matthew Vaughn-directed feature in a conversation with Harry Knowles of AICN. Here are a few excerpts. Singer revealed that the the film will be set in the 1960’s with John F. Kennedy as President of the United States:

[The] film takes place in the 1960’s. John F Kennedy is the President of the United States. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are on TV doing marches. There is a spirit of a hopeful future that was prevalent in that time. We will see how Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr met – and how they dreamt of a future with Mutant & Human kind. They’re going to be in their late twenties. Xavier – as played by James McAvoy will not be in his wheelchair to begin the film – but we will see how he wound up in a wheelchair. I asked if McAvoy would have a nice shiny chrome dome – and folks. We’re going to see Professor X when he still had hair. We’ll see McAvoy and Fassbender’s Magneto formulate what it is they are attempting by creating the X-MEN.

Singer also revealed that the film is more of a new beginning for X-Men, rather than a conventional adaptation of the “First Class” comics:

Set in the 60s – Vaughn is technologically inspired by JAMES BOND’s tech of the time. The costumes will be far more comic bookish than we’ve seen before – and while Scott and Jean aren’t here – Cyclops’ brother Alex Summers aka Havoc will be, as played by Lucas Till.

Singer also confirmed the casting of January Jones and Kevin Bacon as Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw, respectively, which means the Hellfire Club will play a role in the film. Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast and Rose Byrne as Moria MacTaggert were also confirmed. Singer also said that we can expect to see our first look at the costumes and the look of the film in about a month. “X-Men: First Class” is schedueld to hit theaters on June 3, 2011.

Sticking with the Marvel universe, producer Lauren Shuler Donner told CraveOnline that the plan is to move forward with the “Deadpool” movie next year with Ryan Reynolds returning to reprise the role:

“You’re going to love Deadpool. You’re going to love Deadpool…Ryan is so committed to being Deadpool. He is Wade Wilson. Well, no, he’s Deadpool. He is so committed to it that he worked with the writers on the script. Even though he’s doing Green Lantern, he’s stayed involved in that project. I’m hoping we’ll get it off the ground next year.”

Donner also talked about David Goyer’s script for “Magneto”, but she says that project’s elements have been rolled into ‘First Class’:

Q: Is there still any heat on Magneto?

Donner: No. You know, there’s internal discussions but probably not. It kind of got incorporated into this one, a lot of it.

Q: Things from the Goyer script are in First Class?

Donner: Magneto history. Stuff from the Marvel/Magneto history.

David Slade and Robert Schwentke in the running to direct Wolverine 2?

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has reportedly settled David Slade or Robert Schwentke as the top two choices to direct the studio’s follow-up to 2009′s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Vulture reports that of those two candidates, Slade (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”), is expected to come out on top:

Both men have been approved by the studio’s brass, and though Jackman will ultimately be the one to make the call after meeting with each next week, a well-placed source inside the production insists, “It’s going to be Slade.”

‘Wolverine 2′ doesn’t have a release date, but is expected to hit theaters in 2011.

Peter Jackson says Hobbit announcement is expected soon

Has MGM finally settled their debt issues? In an interview with The Dominion Post (via, “The Hobbit” writer/producer (and potential director) Peter Jackson revealed that MGM’s studio partner Warner Brothers is “making progress untangling the MGM situation, so we should have certainty with The Hobbit sometime soon.” We’ll also learn at that time whether or not Jackson will himself get behind the camera for the two-part project.

Joss Whedon talks The Avengers

“The Avengers” director Joss Whedon told the Australian paper The Sunday Herald-Sun (via Movieline) that although Scarlett Johansson will be the only female Avenger in the film, Black Widow won’t be the only female character that features in the film:

“It is true that the movie is only going to have one female avenger”, Whedon said of Johansson’s part. “But she will not be the only female character”.

Whedon also briefly touched on the story of the film:

“It will be a new story that has many things from different arcs of the comics in it. There is no one Avengers story that you can just do the way that you can do the origin of Spider-Man. You really have to cull from the original and The Ultimates, which is one of The Avengers titles.”

In a separte interview with the Syndey Morning Herald (via CBM), Whedon discussed writing the high-profile project:

“Right now I’m working on a movie that’s got enormous stipulations and is going to be changing and fluid every second. I’ve come up with dozens of scenes and lines and exchanges and monologues that I adore that are not going to be in it…But while I’m writing them they feed me, excite me and they ultimately inform the character. It all goes in.”

Whedon is in Australia this week as a guest of the Sydney Opera House where he will speek about his past and future projects this Sunday, August 29. The event is sold out. “The Avengers” is scheduled to hit conventional and 3D theaters on May 4, 2012.

Piranha 3D sequel in the works

“Piranha 3D” may not have performed as well at the box office in its opening weekend as expected (#6 – $10.1M), but Dimension Films has announced that they’re moving forward with a sequel to the inexpensively-produced ($24M) creature-feature. It’s unknown whether Alexandre Aja will return to direct or if new writers will be brought on board, but the film’s producer Mark Canton will be back:

“We are thrilled that audiences are not just loving PIRANHA 3D, but cheering for it. And it’s fantastic that so many critics are really getting the movie and recommending it. We can’t wait to get to work on the sequel,” Canton said.”

Heading into the weekend, “Piranha 3D” has grossed a little under $14 million in total (domestically). While we’re on this topic, check out this Funny or Die clip of Elizabeth Shue presenting co-star Ving Rhames with an Academy Award for Best Actor:

Avatar: Special Edition will feature 16 additional minutes + Cameron says Avatar 2 might not be out until 2014

“Avatar” returns to theaters this weekend as a special edition featuring about 9 minutes of additional footage, but producer Jon Landau says the November DVD/Blu-ray re-release will feature a total of 16 additional minutes of footage [THR]:

[T]he 2D DVD and Blu-ray Disc special editions expected to hit store shelves in November will feature at least 16 minutes of extra “Avatar” footage. A 3D version of the movie won’t be available for home entertainment until next year.

“Avatar” producer Jon Landau said new scenes included in the now 171-minute theatrical special edition involve action sequences and narrative-deepening extensions of key scenes involving the blue-skinned Na’vi of Pandora and their human visitors.

In addition to the 16 minutes of added footage, the DVD/Blu-ray re-release will also contain a family-friendly audio track for those who want such a thing:

“We’ve mixed a family version of the audio,” Cameron said. “As a parent, I get into trouble with my wife because I let my 5-year-old and my 9-year-old watch a movie, and for the next week we have to stop them from saying, ‘a – -hole, goddamn it and s- -t!’ “

If you’re interested in a run-down of the added scenes of “Avatar: Special Edition” (theatrical re-release), check out this article over at the NY Post. In “Avatar 2” news, Cameron told KTLA 5 in Los Angeles (you can watch the interview below) that the sequel is at least 3 to 4 years away (via Blastr): “I think three years would be the minimum, probably more like four from where we’re sitting right now,” he said. Cameron expanded further in his interview with the NY Post:

“Right now, the thinking is that [Parts] Two and Three are going to be done together,” he said. “They’ll be released separately, probably a year apart or maybe even two, but they’ll be done in a bunch. I’m mapping out the story line right now, so there’s a proper arc that plays out over two films but buttons nicely at the end of Two, so you don’t get this horrible second-act/end-of-‘The Matrix’ feeling. You know, ‘I’ve just sat through a three-hour movie and f- -k-all happened at the end!’ “

“Avatar: Special Edition” opens in 811 3D and IMAX 3D-only theaters this weekend and domestic estimates are pretty much all over the place (from between $3-8M). There’s not usually a market for this type of re-release (and they usually don’t happen this quickly), but then again this is “Avatar”. With worldwide box office already at $2.74B — $749.8 Domestic / $1.99B Foreign — the film doesn’t need much to break the $750M domestic and $2B foreign levels. Also, if you haven’t already read it, check out this recent article “James Cameron Compares Plans For Avatar Universe To Star Trek Franchise”.

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Age of the Dragons

New trailer [YouTube]


Interview with Stephen Lang [MTV]


TV spot: “Coincidence” [YouTube]

Watch another TV spot here

“Escalation” — Spoof trailer from M. Night Shyamalan [MTV Movies]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Promotional stills [SnitchSeeeker]

Cast promotional stills [more at multipleverses via Blastr]


International posters [IMP Awards, (2)]

More: 1 | 2


Behind the scenes featurette [IGN]

Never Let Me Go

Movie posters [Cinema Blend]

Resident Evil: Afterlife

International (Thai) movie poster [IMP Awards]

Clip: “Landing” [Yahoo! Movies]

Watch two more clips at UGO and MySpace

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Trailer mash up’s: “Matrix” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” [YouTube & YouTube]


First look at Ellen Page [JamesGun]

Transformers 3

Set images [more at TFW2005, TLAMB and]

Set video [YouTube]

Tron Legacy

Promo video from the Nokia Connection 2010 convention in Singapore [MovieWeb]

International movie posters (Italy & Hungary) [KinoGallery (via &]


  • Previously on JJ Abrams To Begin Shooting Super 8 Next Month
  • …Also, if you’re interested in the ARG aspect of the film, check out this great article over at Wired.
  • Doug Liman has been tapped by Warner Brothers to direct the time-travel action film “All You Need Is Kill”: “Story centers on a new recruit in a war against aliens who finds himself caught in a time loop in which he wakes up in the past after having been killed on the battlefield. As the soldier’s death and resurrection repeat, his skills as a soldier grows as he attempts to change his fate.” [Variety]
  • Warner Brothers has also preemptively picked up the film rights to an upcoming sci-fi trilogy book series from David Goyer. The book series starts with the novel “Heaven’s Shadow” (July 2011) and will continue with “Heaven’s War” and “Heaven’s Fall”: “The trilogy begins when an object is discovered heading for earth. Initial panic gives way to a competition between governments to be first to intercept what they believe is a breakaway meteor. What the astronauts discover leads to an encounter with alien forces that are a threat to humanity.” [Deadline New York]
  • Disney has acquired Michael Wilson and Ahmet Zappa’s script for “Monster Witness Relocation Program”. Details are being kept under wraps, but the project has been set up at Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Zappa’s Monsterfoot Productions as a possible starring vehicle for Smith’s son Jaden Smith. [Variety]
  • “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” will shoot in 3D this fall in Romania. Nicolas Cage will reprise his role as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider and Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor will direct. [ via Comic Book Movie & MTV]
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim vs the World”) talked about the upcoming “Thing” prequel, in which she plays the role of scientist Kate Lloyd: “It’s a really great, slow-burn sci-fi action film – it’s sort of creepy and refreshing in terms of the other horror sci-fi films that have been out lately…It starts off really slow, then this paranoia builds to when we realise this creature has broken out and is becoming different people and taking on the shape of the people in the base.”  [The Press Association]
  • David Fincher says development on the “Heavy Metal” remake is being held up due to three elements: “…R-rated, anthology, 3D…It’s an ongoing process. It’s going to be one of those things that when we finally get to do it, that’s when everybody will say, ‘Of course! We always loved this!'” Watch the interview segment with MTV below.
  • While scary, producer Eli Roth says Daniel Stamm’s “The Last Exorcism” is “more of a psychological thriller”, “It presents both sides of exorcism – the scientific and religious”. “The Last Exorcism” releases in theaters today, August 27. [io9]
  • A sequel to “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” is in the works and will be titled “The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)”. Director Tom Six says the centipede will feature 12 people. The film is scheduled to hit theaters in 2011. [BBC via Movieline]
  • The last day of shooting for “Transformers 3” in Chicago is scheduled to be September 1, but producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura says that could change: “It’s funny, we keep extending it here because we’re having such a good time, to tell you the truth,” Di Bonaventura said. “We were supposed to leave a few days ago, actually, and we kept extending it. Right now, around Sept. 1, but if we have any say in it, we’ll keep staying here.” [Chicago Breaking News via TLAMB]
  • A deadly shooting at a Rio de Janeiro hotel may push Summit Entertainment to abandon plans to shoot scenes from the two-part “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn” in the city… []
  • …Speaking of which, despite the graphic nature of Bella’s pregnancy in ‘Breaking Dawn’, co-star Nikki Reed neither movie will be rated R: “It’s certainly very graphic the way that it’s written. We clearly know what our ratings are going to be in these movies; they’re not going to be rated R films, so they’re going to have to just keep it tame.” [Cinema Blend]
  • Check out a descripton of a scene from Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil: Afterlife (in 3D)” featuring the character the Executioner at IGN.
  • Producer Guillermo del Toro says it’s impossible for the upcoming “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” remake to be released in PG-13 even though there’s no profanity, nudity or gore: “[We] thought we were gonna get a PG-13, and we got an R,” he says in the interview. “And we said, ‘What can we do? Why are you doing it?’ And they said, ‘No matter what you do, the movie will always get an R, because it’s too scary.’ It deals with primal childhood fears in a really strong way.” [Wired]
  • Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” releases on Blu-ray next Tuesday (August 31) and star Bruce Campbell gave an interview about it’s upcoming release. Campbell also provided an update on “Bruce Vs. Frankenstein” which he says will have to be pushed back to a later date due to other commitments. [MTV Movies Blog]
  • Disney says that “Toy Story 3” will cross $1 Billion in worldwide gross sometime today. It’s only the 7th film in the history of the box office to reach that milestone (not adjusting for inflation) and Disney is the first studio to have two $1B grossers in the same year (“Alice in Wonderland” being the other). [Disney]


  • Fox is reportedly interested in Amber Heard (“Drive Angry”) to play Sue Storm / Invisible Woman in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot and there’s a rumor that Kevin Pennington (“90210”) is being looked at to play the role of Johnny Storm/Human Torch… [Comic Book Movie]
  • …In other “Fantastic Four” reboot casting news, Adrien Brody (“Predators”) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“The Tudors”) are being pursued by the studio to play Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic. [Screen Rant]
  • Christy Carlson Romano, Tom DeNucci and William Forsyth will be joining Michael Madsen in the Gleen Ciano-directed zombie film “Infected”: “The pic’s zombies infect friends and family who are still human, and who though they understand the atrociousness of the unnatural acts they commit, are unable to stop” [Variety]

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