In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column we have lots of updates on movies in development, including Trek vets involved in the Alien prequel and next Batman movie. Plus the next Superman has a director, Harry Potter is staying 2D (for now), and there is casting news and rumors for Sider-man, The Hobbit, and more.
Summary of Column Contents
- Fox ‘very pleased’ with Damon Lindelof’s Alien prequel script + casting rumors
- Christopher Nolan confirms he will direct Batman 3 + Tom Hardy joins cast
- Zack Snyder will direct Superman + Aronofsky offered Wolverine 2 gig
- Deathly Hallows, Part 1 won’t be 3D, Trailer debuts: Green Lantern in November, Pirates of the Caribbean trailer in December
- The Flash script due by Christmas + Bradley Cooper rumored for lead role
- Emma Stone cast as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans cast as villain in Spider-Man reboot
- It’s official: Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit + Martin Freeman to play Bilbo?
- X-Men: First Class to feature scene from Bryan Singer’s original
- Re-creation of the Back to the Future teaser trailer
- Dan Aykroyd working on, but NOT re-writing
- Ghostbusters III script
- Star Wars saga will get 3D re-release beginning in 2012
Plus more, including the latest news bites, images and videos.
GENRE MOVIE NEWS
Fox ‘very pleased’ with Damon Lindelof’s Alien prequel script + casting rumors
Damon Lindelof (Lost co/creator and producer for Star Trek) of has turned in his new draft of the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s “Alien” prequel, and according to Vulture the studio is “very pleased” with Lindelof’s work:
One reason Fox execs are so thrilled with Lindelof’s Alien draft is that, not only is it creatively engaging, but it adds no expensive “set pieces” — production-speak for elaborate, effects-heavy action sequences that add millions to the cost of a film — to the movie. 20th Century Fox and Scott have been wrangling over the director’s proposed budget. One insider familiar with the situation puts Scott’s suggested budget at between $150 million and $160 million; Fox obviously, would like that number to shrink. Still, this is some good news for Fox, which has almost nothing resembling a blockbuster in the hopper for the summer of 2012, and could certainly stand to reinvigorate a wildly popular multi-part sci-fi franchise.
Vulture adds that several actresses have met with Scott for the lead role in the film, which is set about 35 years before the events of Scott’s original film, but only two have received substantial interest from Scott and the studio: Natalie Portman and Noomi Rapace (“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”). Other rumored actresses include Carey Mulligan and Abbie Cornish and Noomi Rapace. In the not-so-good news department, another reason Fox is so pleased with Lindelof’s re-write of original screenwriter Jon Spaight’s script is because it’s aimed at a more accessible PG-13 audience, another indication that Fox will not release the film R-rated.
Christopher Nolan confirms he will direct Batman 3 + Tom Hardy joins cast
Christopher Nolan has confirmed that he will direct a third “Batman” movie [Empire]:
“It’s becoming inevitable, I’ll put it that way,” says Nolan. “I feel myself falling into it, I guess. And getting it all figured out and I’m pretty excited about what we’re doing so… If I haven’t announced it, I think that people probably all know at this point that I’m doing it.”
Hang on, that’s not 100% clear: so we can safely assume you’re directing?
“I think you can at this point, yes.”
In casting news, Deadline reports that Nolan has tapped “Inception” star, and “Star Trek: Nemesis” villain, Tom Hardy for a lead role in the film. Officially, Hardy’s role is being kept secret, but he will presumably play a villain. On the rumor front, Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) once again hinted that Nolan may have more than one villain in the film, with guesses ranging from the Riddler to the Penquin to Catwoman. And lastly, Ed Norton has denied reports that he has had any contact with Nolan or the studio to play the Riddler.
Zack Snyder will direct Superman + Aronofsky offered Wolverine 2 gig
Warner Brothers and producer Christopher Nolan have chosen Zack Snyder (“Sucker Punch”, “Watchmen”) to direct the next installment in the “Superman” franchise. Snyder’s name was on a short list that included Tony Scott, Matt Reeves, Jonathan Liebesman and Duncan Jones for the project. David S. Goyer is writing the script based on a story idea by Goyer and Nolan. Snyder commented on the news:
“I’ve been a big fan of the character for a long time, he’s definitely the king of all superheroes, he’s the one,” Snyder told Deadline. “It’s early yet, but I can tell you that what David and Chris have done with the story so far definitely has given me a great insight into a way to make him feel modern. I’ve always felt he was kind of awesome. I’ll finish Sucker Punch and get right at it.”
Snyder also said that Brandon Routh, who portrayed Superman in Bryan Singer’s 2006 film “Superman Returns”, is not likely to reprise the role. “Superman: Man of Steel” (unconfirmed title) will be released in theaters in 2012. In other director news, Darren Aronofsky (“The Black Swan”, “The Fountain”) has been offered the director’s chair for the sequel to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and is in negotiations with 20th Century Fox for the job, both Deadline, (2) and ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype report. If the deal goes through, Aronofksy would re-unite with his “The Fountain” star Hugh Jackman for the sequel.
Deathly Hallows, Part 1 won’t be 3D
Warner Brothers has announced that the first part of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” will not be released in 3D. The studio says that there just wasn’t enough time to successfully convert the film from 2D to 3D before its November 19, 2010 release date. ‘Part 2′, which is scheduled for release on July 15, 2011, is still scheduled to be released in 3D:
In a statement, the studio said: “Despite everyone’s best efforts, we were unable to convert the film in its entirety and meet the highest standards of quality. We do not want to disappoint fans who have long-anticipated the conclusion of this extraordinary journey.”
Director David Yates added: “This decision, which we completely support, underscores the fact that Warner Bros. has always put quality first.” While producer David Heyman said, “For 10 years, we have worked alongside [Warners president] Alan Horn and the studio, whose priority has always been to preserve the integrity of Jo Rowling’s books as we have adapted them to the screen, and this decision reflects that commitment.”
Despite this news, Variety reports that the studio is converting “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” to 3D for release on Blu-ray 3D with the full support of director David Yates.
Character posters [more at Harry Potter UK | Facebook]
Set images [more at Movies.SpoilerTV]
Trailer debuts: Green Lantern in November, Pirates of the Caribbean trailer in December
DC Comics writer and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns announced during New York Comic Con that the first trailer for “Green Lantern” will be released into theaters with the debut of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1″ on November 19, 2010. Warner Brothers has also launched the official site for the film, although at the moment the site only features the logo. In related trailer news, ComingSoon.net is reporting that the teaser trailer for “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” will be attached to “TRON: Legacy” when it hits theaters on December 17, 2010.
The Flash script due by Christmas + Bradley Cooper rumored for lead role
Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green are expected to submit their latest draft of “The Flash” to Warner Brothers by Christmas, Deadline reports. The original draft was written by Greg Berlanti, who has been rumored as a possible pick for director, but Deadline notes that the studio hasn’t settled on a director and it probably won’t be Berlanti:
No word on who’ll direct The Flash yet, but I can tell you it’s doubtful it’ll be Berlanti, even though his very different Life As We Know It came in #2 at the box office for the studio this weekend. And his freshman TV superpowers series No Ordinary Family is now ABC’s most promising new drama, doing respectable business as a self-starter in one of the most competitive time slots. “He won’t want to direct it because he kinda wants to do something in between size-wise first before attempting something that large,” an insider tells me. On the other hand, “If Warner Bros does like the script and wants him to direct it…
In related news, Moviehole reports that Bradley Cooper (“The A-Team”, “The Hangover”) is the favorite to play the lead role:
Very early days but, I’ve heard Bradley Cooper…is the favourite to wiggle his way into the cherry tights. Warner Bros loves them some Cooper, and DC is very keen to have Cooper be ‘part of the family’, so don’t be surprised to hear the “Hangover” star’s name mentioned in relation to the role when the shortlist is inevitably leaked.
Emma Stone cast as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans cast as villain in Spider-Man reboot
The cast of Marc Webb’s 3D “Spider-Man” reboot continues to fill out. Sony has announced that Emma Stone (“Zombieland”) has been cast as the film’s female lead, playing Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) first love interest Gwen Stacy. In addition to the casting of Stone as Stacy, the studio announced that Rhys Ifans has been cast as the film’s as-yet-unnamed main villain. While Sony/Columbia and Webb are trying to keep the film’s main villain secret, The Wrap is reporting that Ifans will be playing…The Lizard:
Rhys Ifans will play Dr. Curt Connors, better known as The Lizard, in Marc Webb’s “Spider-Man,” TheWrap has learned.
There had been rumors across the blogosphere that Sony was thinking of bringing back Venom for the franchise reboot, but that character will not be featured in the movie, two individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.
In other casting news, Mary Jane Watson (who was played by Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi trilogy) will also reportedly be featured in the film. Actresses rumored for the role include Dianna Agron, Mia Wasikowska, Georgina Haig and Dominique McElligott.
It’s official: Peter Jackson will direct The Hobbit + Martin Freeman to play Bilbo?
We’ve pretty much known it for months, but a confirmation is still nice. Deadline reports that Peter Jackson will direct the two-part ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel “The Hobbit”. Also, the LA Times reports that MGM, Warner Brothers and its subsidiary New Line Cinema “appear to be close to greenlighting” the two-part project:
The studios have nearly finalized a deal with director, producer and co-writer Peter Jackson to make the two movies and have resolved most other key issues that have long held up the project, including those related to underlying rights from the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien.
The one remaining hurdle is getting an official go-ahead from MGM, which is set to co-finance the movies because under a long-standing agreement it owns half the rights and controls international distribution.
The NY Times adds that “The Hobbit” is expected to cost close to $500M and that both films will be in 3D with a release date of December 19, 2012 for ‘Part 1′. In casting news, Martin Freeman confirmed to Empire that he was approached to star as Bilbo Baggins in the project, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with his BBC show “Sherlock”, but Freeman told Empire that he could still play the part:
“I did have to say no to it for the second series of Sherlock,” he says of the BBC 1 show in which he plays Dr. Watson. “But if something could be worked out, that would be great.” But it must have been tough having to turn down such a plum part? “Oh yeah, I did it with a heavy heart, definitely.”
X-Men: First Class to feature scene from Bryan Singer’s original
The opening sequence of Bryan Singer’s 2000 hit X-Men” will be re-created — nearly shot-for-shot — in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class”, Bleeding Cool reports:
Picture this scene unfolding. Heavy rain drumming into a muddy puddle. Feet come splashing in from left of frame. A procession of people, none of them are in any kind of hurry… indeed, they seem to be just tumbling along, some of the people maybe even resisting, being pushed forwards. The camera pans up, fades through black and we’re climbing up a brick wall…
…the wall of a sentry station. The armed soldier within watches as a crowd progresses. A caption on screen reads Poland 1944. Cut to a tighter shot on the group, cowed, wet, broken, but always coming forwards.
Then we’re in a close up on a man, limping forwards. He turns to his right and the camera pans with his gaze. He’s flanking a teenage boy wearing fear and exhaustion on his face. The camera pans a little more to reveal a woman on the boy’s other side. The boy and woman exhange [sic] a look that lasts only a moment, before they look away, back at the ground, back where they are walking. Back at their fate.
In Vaughn’s version, Eric Lensherr, the young boy who will later become Magneto, will be played by Bill Milner. “X-Men: First Class” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 3, 2011.
Set images [more via ONTD]
Set video [YouTube]
Interview with James McAvoy (Charles Xavier) [MTV Splash Page]
Re-creation of the Back to the Future teaser trailer
2010 is the 25th anniversary of “Back to the Future” and the trilogy will be released on Blu-ray for the first time on October, 26 — along with a DVD re-release — featuring new special features including a look at Eric Stoltz as the original Marty McFly. Director Robert Zemeckis shot five weeks with Stoltz as the lead before coming to the decision that he wasn’t right for the part. You can watch a featurette from the DVD/Blu-ray talking about the re-casting of Stoltz below. Additionally, Spike TV got together with Michael J. Fox to re-create the original teaser trailer to advertise the network’s upcoming 2010 Scream Awards, where there’ll be a reunion with original stars Fox, Lea Thompson and Elisabeth Shue. Watch both clips below.
Featurette: Never before seen footage – Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly [via Vulture]
Dan Aykroyd working on, but NOT re-writing, Ghostbusters III script
Dan Aykroyd recently revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair that he is currently working on the script for “Ghostbusters III”:
Speaking of your film career, last month in GQ Bill Murray said something that wasn’t so nice about Ghostbusters 3.
He was talking about the writers from Year One, and I think he was reacting to the box-office success and the general public view of the film, which in my view was a very serviceable comedy, and in the end I think they’ll make their money back. I think he was concerned that the writing on Ghostbusters 3 by these guys would not be up to standard, but I can tell you firsthand, I’m working on the script now and those two—Stupnitsky and Eisenberg, [writer-producers of The Office]—wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it…we have a strong first draft that Harold [Ramis] and I will take back, and I’m very excited about working on it.
It’s important to note, however, that Aykroyd is not re-writing the script, but simply providing input for the director (Harold Ramis) and the studio (Columbia Pictures). Here are some more details via FilmDrunk:
- [Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg] are currently the only writers on the project and as of now the studio has no plans to replace them
- Ramis, Reitman, and Aykroyd have all signed on, and the script is going out to Bill Murray now.
- Without Murray, there’s no movie. (And he’s always seemed pretty wishy-washy on it, but that’s kind of his thing).
- If he agrees, pre-production will start early next year for a late spring/early summer start date and a Thanksgiving or Christmas 2012 release.
Star Wars saga will get 3D re-release beginning in 2012
George Lucas’ LucasFilm is prepping the six-film “Star Wars” saga for a 3D re-release beginning in 2012:
Sources indicate that George Lucas is set to re-release the entire “Star Wars” franchise in new 3D conversions beginning in 2012. Though the 3D versions have been rumored for some time, Lucas was purportedly waiting until there were enough 3D screens available to make the release a sizable enough event.
Part 1, “The Phantom Menace,” would be first out of star-dock in the early months of 2012. After that, each of the films would be released in order at the same time each consecutive year, depending on how well the first re-release does.
PREVIEW Videos & Images
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Scans from the German photo-storybook The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Pictures from Narnia [more via Narnia Web]
International trailer [MovieWeb]
Promotional stills/set images [more at Bleeding Cool]
Death Race 2
I Am Number Four
Teaser trailer [Yahoo! Movies]
Paranormal Activity 2
Movie trailer [MovieWeb]
Promotional stills [more at CinemaBlend]
Movie trailer [YouTube]
Set video [Shock Till You Drop]
Promotional stills and set images [more at UGO]
Logo art with tagline [io9]
Leaked trailer (very low quality) [YouTube]
Promotional stills/set images (Empire Magazine scans) [more at HeyUGuys]
- Warner Brothers is developing a live-action/CGI movie based on the popular cartoon skunk “Pepé Le Pew”. Mike Myers is attached to voice the character. [Vulture]
- 20th Century Fox has picked up the film rights to Seth Grahame-Smith’s hit novel “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. Timur Bekmambetov (“District 9″) will direct from an adapted script by Grahame-Smith and Tim Burton will produce the $69M-budgeted 3D project. [Variety]
- DC head Geoff Johns confirmed that a “Justice League of America” movie is not currently in DC’s plans: “I’m going to speak frankly: I think our characters are bigger than Marvel’s.” Johns says that he’d rather spend time building each character on their own rather than putting them all together, ala Marvel Comics with “The Avengers”. [ComicBookMovie]
- “Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling says she has enough material to write three more books, but she hasn’t committed to writing any more novels in the popular series: “I could definitely write an eighth, ninth, tenth,” the writer told Winfrey. “I’m not going to say I won’t. I don’t think I will … I feel I am done, but you never know.” [via Vulture]
- Roland Emmerich says the proposed “Independence Day” sequel will be presented as an “alternate reality” film: “It’s an alternate reality kind of movie,” he said. “We pick up the story, what would have happened after this kind of attack? Naturally, the alien technology has changed everything.” Emmerich also strongly hints that Will Smith’s character will be the President in the sequel. [MTV Splash Page]
- Michael Caine explains the ending of “Inception”. Click to read… [via Blastr]
- Ridley Scott is producing a four-part BBC miniseries based on Philip K. Dick’s novel “The Man in the High Castle”. [The Guardian]
- Production on George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” has been delayed again. Originally scheduled to begin filming next February, the project now won’t begin until July at the earliest, but more likely September-October. The reason? Location scouting: “Unfortunately for Mad Max, what was wasteland is now this wonderful flower garden,” Miller said. Finding an alternative desert location elsewhere in Australia was not possible.” The good news is that the project is still very much alive: “Warners are very, very committed to the film, as we are,” he said. ”There is nothing like creative problems. It’s not an issue of budget; we’re covered on the Australian dollar rise.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
- Director David O. Russell has exited “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” due to scheduling conflicts. Together with Natalie Portman’s exit from the project — also schedule related — this means the project is dead…for now. [Vulture]
- “Skyline” writers Liam O’Donnell and Joshua Cordes have already completed a treatment for the sequel… [CinemaBlend]
- …Check out an interview with co-directors Greg and Colin Strause at Cinema Blend.
- Danny Boyle hopes to return to direct a third installment in the “28 Days Later” / “28 Weeks Later” horror franchise. The rumored title? “28 Months Later”. [Dread Central]
- The script for “Green Lantern 2″ is expected into Warner Brothers by this Christmas. [Deadline]
- Shia LaBeouf promises that “Transformers 3″ will be the best of the trilogy: “This is, and I’m not just BS-ing you, it’s the best movie we’ve made of the three by far,” LaBeouf said.[MTV]
- Sam Raimi has committed to directing Disney’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ prequel “Oz: The Great and Powerful”. David Lindsay-Abaire is on board the project as screenwriter and Robert Downey Jr. is still rumored as the lead, although he isn’t locked into the project yet. [Deadline]
- “TRON: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinski revealed that the re-shoots were used to add “about five to six minutes”, most of which takes place in the first 20 minutes of the film: “Most of the shooting was done to set up Sam a little bit better and to give him a little more context. A couple scenes were done to bring to the surface some of the themes of the movie and to show the relationship of Sam and his father a little more clearly. Some of it was just picking up visual effects plates and inserts that we just were never able to get when we first shot.” [Collider].
- Morgan Freeman says he’s still pushing to get “Rendezvous With Rama” off the ground: “That’s a got-to-be-done movie. Just have to figure out how to do it. I’ve been trying for — I don’t know — 15 years now to get a script. You would think it was easier than it is. It’s not; it’s really hard.” [MTV Movies Blog]
- New Hulk, Mark Ruffalo says Marvel has set-up “The Avengers” to be the first of perhaps several movies, and the studio could be doing a new Hulk movie. [Empire]
- Léa Seydoux (“Robin Hood”, “Inglourious Basterds”) has been cast as the lead female villain in the fourth “Mission: Impossible” movie. The other villain in the film will be played by Michael Nyqvist… [Risky Business | THR]
- …Meanwhile, Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) is in negotiations to play an unknown, but “integral supporting role” in the film… [Deadline]
- …Also, Josh Holloway will make “Mission: Impossible 4″ his first major screen role since finishing “LOST”. He’s in negotiations “to act as a member of the Impossible Mission Force, the secret agent task force headed by Tom Cruise.” [THR]
- Natalie Portman won’t be starring in Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” due to scheduling conflicts. The studio has, however, moved on to Sandra Bullock for the role, with the actress now said to be in negotiations. [Deadline & Variety]
- Idris Elba and Johnny Whitworth are in negotiations to star in “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”… [Heat Vision | THR]
- …Ciaran Hinds is also in negotiations to play the devil in the film, while Italian actress/singer Violante Placido is also in talks to join the cast… [Heat Vision | THR]
- …Also, Christopher Lambert has revealed that he is in talks to star in the film. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” will be co-directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and is scheduled to be released in conventional and 3D theaters on February 17, 2012. [Highlander Official | Facebook via ComingSoon.net]
- Olivia Wilde has been cast in Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller formerly titled “I’m.mortal”. Wilde will play the mother to Justin Timberlake’s character in the film, “which is set in a society where aging stops at 25 and time has become the currency. The rich are immortal, while the rest struggle to stay alive.” [The Wrap]
- Emma Thompson is in negotiations to star in Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Men in Black III”. If cast, Thompson would play “take-charge MIB operative Agent Oh, who is monitoring a prison breakout.” [Heat Vision | THR]
- Christopher Plummer has joined the cast of Sony’s adaptation of the worldwide best-selling book “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”, playing the patriarch of the family. [Heat Vision | THR]
- Stephen Fry will play Sherlock Holmes’ (Robert Downey Jr.) brother Mycroft Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes 2″… [Heat Vision | THR]
- …Also joining the cast will be Jared Harris. Barring any unforseen circumstances, Harris will play Holmes’ arch-villain Professor Moriarty. [Latino Review]
- Maggie Grace (“LOST”) has joined the cast of the two-part “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”. Grace will play the role of vampire Irina, “a member of the Denali coven, considered cousins to the Cullen clan as the only other “vegetarian” vampire group.”… [Deadline]
- …The rest of the Denali clan has also been filled out, with MyAnna Buring set to play Tanya, Casey LaBow to play Kate, Mia Maestro to play Carmen and Christian Camargo to play the patriarch of the family, Eleazar. [Heat Vision | THR]
- Tony Todd confirmed that he will reprise his role as Bludworth in “5inal Destination”. [ScreenRant]
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