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I'll do my best to read and respond to your e-mails. Sci-Fi Movies: Captain America, Superman, The Hobbit, X-Men: First Class, Cowboys & Aliens, The Dark Knight Rises, Fantastic Voyage, Ender’s Game + more

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In this week’s Sci-Fi Movies column you can lap up all the genre movie Superbowl commercials, learn more about Captain America, ponder the latest Superman rumors, get your first glimpse of the Hobbit cast, hear Roberto Orci talk Enders Game (hey isn’t he supposed to be writing & producing some other movie?), and watch how Patrick Stewart has been replaced with a young actor in the X-Men prequel trailer. All that plus more, including the latest casting bites, and even more images and videos.


Captain America: Super Bowl spot + Sequel already greenlit?

During the Super Bowl, Paramount released the official trailer for Joe Johnston’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”. The spot also gave us our first look at Sebastian Stan as Bucky:

On that front, Hero Complex | LA Times spoke with Johnston about Stan’s portrayal of Bucky:

Sebastian brought something really interesting and slightly on the dark side and really compelling to watch — when he’s on camera, you’re fascinated by watching him,” Johnston said. “In a great cast, I thought he really stood out and brought some unexpected things to the role. Everyone brought something to the movie and a lot of them brought something great but I was most pleasantly surprised by what Chris brought and what Sebasatian brought in a much smaller role as Bucky.”

Johnston also said Bucky protrayal isn’t exactly like we’ve seen in the comics:

“In the comics, he’s like Robin is to Batman,” Johnston said, “but this is not that at all…Our Bucky isn’t a sidekick and there’s a darker edge. This is a much more interesting relationship.

Watch the trailer embedded below:

The spot must have gone over very well inside Marvel, because the studio has reportedly already hired screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, who wrote ‘Captain America’, to pen a sequel. That was fast! In other news, Badass Digital is reporting that Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken has been brought on board the project and will, in some capacity (not the score), be involved with the film’s music. The most likely scenario has Menken being involved for the time when Captain America is in the USO. “Captain America: The First Avenger” is scheduled to hit conventional and 3D theaters on July 22, 2011.

Movie poster []

URSA to be featured in Zack Snyder/Chris Nolan Superman? + Lois Lane shortlist

British actresses Alice Eve and Rosamund Pike and German actress Diane Kruger had reportedly auditioned for an undisclosed role in the Christopher Nolan-produced / Zack Snyder-directed “Superman” reboot, but Latino Review is reporting that the role is for the Kryptonian villainess URSA. The character appeared in “Superman: The Movie” and “Superman II”. The original casting report comes from, who also noted that the studio “is also in the midst of a search for a ‘Superman’ villain.” Since that report surfaced, however, a funny thing happened. Diane Kruger denied her involvement, telling it is “not true” and Rosamund Pike has been cast in the “Clash of the Titans” sequel (details in CASTING BITES). Although it’s possible Kruger may just be trying to keep things secret, if she really wasn’t in competition for the role then that would leave Alice Eve as URSA. Only time will tell.

In related casting news, Latino Review reports that Lois Lane will be in the film, despite recent rumors to the contrary. The site reports that Olivia Wilde has tested for the part, but others in contention for the role include: Kristen Stewart (since denied by her publicist); Rachel McAdams; Jessica Biel; Dianna Agron and Malin Akerman [via What’s Playing]. And just so we have everything covered on the casting front…the gossip site TMZ reports that Lindsay Lohan is up for an undisclosed role in the film. It’s said to be a “major character”.  And finally, here’s an excerpt from SFX Magazine’s interview with Snyder [via Comic Book Movie]:

“My feeling about Superman is that I’ve been a fan of the character for a long time. But the question for me was always, ‘What can you do with Superman in a modern world?’ And I think the amazing thing that Chris and David have created, that I’m working on now, and the reason why I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do that,’ was that they found that in him. They found the why in him. That’s the exciting part for me.”

And just how will Snyder’s Superman differ from previous incarnations of the character? The filmmaker’s tight-lipped but hints at what we can expect from someone whose visions are, more often than not, visceral.

“I can’t really talk about that without being kind of specific,” says Snyder. “But I can say I think Superman needs to be physical.”

“Superman: Man of Steel” (rumored title) is scheduled to hit theaters in December 2012.

The Hobbit begins production on March 21, 2011 + First image of cast

Peter Jackson is out of surgery and resting comfortably at his home. As previously reported, Jackson was hospitilized last month with a perforated ulcer. The hospitalization resulted in a production delay for “The Hobbit” films, but the project is now back on track and Warner Brothers / New Line / MGM have announced that production will begin on March 21, 2011. A cast image has also been released featuring Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) along with his cast of dwarves:

“The Hobbit Part 1” is expected to hit theaters in December 2012 followed by ‘Part 2’ in December 2013.

X-Men First Class trailer + New image

Yesterday 20th Century Fox released a brand new picture of Michael Fassbender as Magneto (seen above) in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class and today the studio has released the film’s first theatrical trailer. Watch it embedded below.

In related news, Hero Complex | LA Times spoke with producer Bryan Singer. Here’s one excerpt from their interview, where Singer discusses the relationship between Havok and Cyclops — they aren’t brothers — and elaborates on the thinking behind sticking to the title despite the film not being based on the ‘First Class’ comics:

“It wouldn’t physically fit for him to be the brother of Cyclops. We take some liberties on that. There are notions, but, um, I don’t want to give away certain interrelations, but let’s just say there are some things that do adhere to the comic books and do so in a way the fans will get a kick out of. And those things can, perhaps, move forward into the future…. That’s one reason we wanted to call the film ‘First Class’ even though it isn’t the [Jeff Parker-penned story arc called] ‘First Class’ in the comics as fans know it. You couldn’t really tell that story without going even earlier and explaining how they got there and how it came to be. I liked the title, so we kept it, but this is a prelude in a way that will eventually lead to the [scenarios] that fit in more clearly with the ‘First Class’ comics and situations.

“X-Men: First Class” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 3, 2011. The cast includes James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto, January Jones as Emma Frost, Jennier Lawrence as Raven Darkholme / Mystique, Rose Byrne as Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy / Beast and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Stan.

Jon Favreau talks Cowboys & Aliens + Watch Super Bowl spot

If you haven’t already seen it, or just want to see it again, here’s the Super Bowl spot for the Jon Favreau-directed “Cowboys & Aliens” (written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof):

Inside Movies | EW spoke with Favreau and the director spoke about what we haven’t seen yet…the aliens:

“We haven’t shown any of the aliens. We want to hold that back. And all the images we’re showing are from the beginning, up to the first half of the film. We’re not showing a lot of where it goes. The first teaser was showing the opening of the film and a little of the setup. This one is showing more of the sense of adventure as things unfold. We’re just trying to get people’s feet wet.”

Favreau also wants to assure fans that the film is more action-adventure than comedy and talked about the film’s tone:

“I think people’s first response on hearing the title, which is a play on words, is that it’s going to be a comedy. They’ve been disappointed in the past when people have played with the Western genre, and not stuck to what’s bad-ass about it. When they throw that out the window, and play a pastiche of it, they don’t feel like they’re getting what they want. What you want is the grizzled warrior on the parched plains, and you want to see this iconic figure, who almost magical emerges from mirage of the horizon.”

“There’s a level of fun, but that doesn’t mean we have to wink. The characters aren’t having fun, but the audience is. We wanted to maintain the integrity of both genres, and focus on a specific aspect of the alien genre which mostly revolves around the films of the ’80s that I grew up with, and I’m lucky enough to be working with [Steven] Spielberg [the Cowboys & Aliens exec producer], who was the author of many of the films we’re using as inspiration. And sometimes it’s fun to play things as thriller, sometimes verging on horror, like Alien or Aliens. We wanted to maintain that gravity.”

Read the rest of the interview here. “Cowboys & Aliens” hits theaters on July 29, 2011.

Shawn Levy to direct Fantastic Voyage

20th Century Fox and producer James Cameron have found their director to take on the highly anticipated 3D re-imagining of the 1966 classic “Fantastic Voyage”. Deadline reports that Shawn Levy (“Real Steal”) will direct the film:

I’m told that Levy has boarded the re-imagining of the 1966 original about a team of scientists shrunk into a ship in an attempt to save a colleague’s life. Fox and Cameron have been moving cautiously on a big budget film that, from early in the script once they go inside the body, is almost exclusively CGI. The script is by Shane Salerno, with Laeta Kalogridis working on a polish.

“Fantastic Voyage” doesn’t have a firm release date but is expected in theaters by 2013.

Cinematographer Wally Pfister calls The Dark Knight Rises script “phenomenal”

Director of Photography Wally Pfister, who has worked with “The Dark Knight Rises” director Christopher Nolan on the previous two “Batman” films and most recently on “Inception”, was on the Kevin and Josh Movie Show (via NolanFans) and spoke glowingly about the latest film. Pfister says he read the script two weeks ago and it’s “phenomenal”:

“I read the script 2 weeks ago, and he’s done it. Plain and simple — he’s done it. It’s a phenomenal script. He’s still in the process of cutting it back because it’s a very long script right now, but it’s really phenomenal. And he actually had me go back and wanted me to watch, in IMAX, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight again. When I watched those I had read the script for The Dark Knight Rises and was like, ‘dude, it is a perfect trilogy.’ I think that was his intent, to work off those two pictures — and they are very different pictures. And it’s funny, we all had different opinions about which picture we like better.”

Pfister also talked about shooting in IMAX, stating their “goal is to shoot as much in IMAX as we can” and claiming that the movie’s opening scene “will blow your mind.” I can’t wait. We’ round out this week’s “The Dark Knight Rises” coverage by debunking a few recent casting rumors:

“The Dark Knight Rises” is scheduled to hit theaters on July 20, 2012.

Roberto Orci talks Ender’s Game

Last week we reported on the news that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were producing Gavin Hood’s big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel “Ender’s Game”. Orci was recently interviewed by MTV and spoke briefly on the project:

“Like ‘Cowboys and Aliens,’ it was in development for a long time so I think it became somewhat of an institutional feeling that somehow it can’t be done,” Orci said. “This is one of those books, since it came out in ’85, it turned into a classic, but there was always this feeling that somehow you can’t be faithful, because the audience isn’t sophisticated enough.”

“We’re finally in the year when an audience is sophisticated enough,” he continued. “And they crave original stuff, and that is why we decided right now to take it out, and hopefully we’ll have good partners.”

Watch the interview clip below:

Previously on J.J. Abrams talks Super 8 + Watch Super Bowl spot

During the Super Bowl, Paramount released a new TV spot for J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8″. To coincide with its release, Abrams has decided to open up a little bit about the the secretive film.

Click here to read the rest of this article

Super Bowl movie spots: Transformers: The Dark of the Moon; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Thor + more

The Super Bowl featured several other spots for upcoming sci-fi/genre films. Here’s a run-down of what was shown:

“The Adjustment Bureau” [3/4/2011]

“Battle: Los Angeles” [3/11/2011]

“Drive Angry” [2/25/2011]

“Kung Fu Panda 2” [5/26/2011]

“Limitless” [3/18/2011]

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” [5/20/2011]

“Rango” [3/4/2011]

“Rio” [4/15/2011]

“Thor” [5/6/2011]

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” [7/1/2011]

PREVIEW Videos & Images

Avatar 2 / Avatar 3 James Cameron on the challenges of filming underwater scenes [Movies Blog | MTV]

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Italian trailer [via Bad Taste]

Gnomeo & Juliet Clip [YouTube]

I Am Number Four Spanish movie poster [IMP Awards]

Spider-Man (2012) Set images [more at JustJared]


  • Previously on Chris Pine’s busy schedule could delay Star Trek 2012 shooting, but not release date
  • Previously on Snow White Film With Julia Roberts Set To Open Same Day As Star Trek Sequel
  • Craig Gillespie (“Fright Night”) is the newest frontunner to direct Lionsgate’s adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. Gillespie is the third director attached to the project, following David O. Russell and Mike White, who both dropped out. [Deadline]
  • Marvel Studios has begun the director search for “Iron Man 3”, and writer/director Shane Black is on the studio’s radar. He’s currently being considered for the director job, but may also write a draft if he’s selected. At the same time, however, Marvel is said to be looking at other filmmakers for the project. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • Black has confirmed the report, saying “Nothing has been decided yet,” Black told TheWrap on Thursday. “I’ve taken a few meetings and I’ll probably take a few more before Marvel decides.” “Iron Man 3” is scheduled to hit theaters on May 3, 2013. [TheWrap]
  • “Monsters” director Gareth Edwards says the studio, which owns the rights to the property, wants a sequel… but Edwards doesn’t expect to be involved: “I’m not sure how involved I can be right now, and I don’t think my next film really should be a sequel just yet. I’d like to do something else first, but I would definitely be open to returning at some point.” … [Dread Central]
  • … Edwards also talked about his vision for the “Godzilla” movie: “Everyone involved knows what the film has to be, what’s important to me is that, as well as spectacle, you have to give a shit about what’s happening and why.” [London Evening Standard via io9]
  • Brooklyn Decker stars in Peter Berg’s “Battleship” and the model-turned-actress says while the film does draw its inspiration from the board game, it’s more “a modern day war action film, which is kind of unique to most war films,” she said. [Movies Blog | MTV]
  • “Wanted” producer Jim Lemley spoke at the University of Idaho, where he is an alumnus, on Monday and was asked by an audience member for an update on “Wanted 2”. Unfortunately, Lemley seemed to suggest the project won’t be happening any time soon, if at all… [/Film]
  • … The bulk of Lemley’s visit focused on “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, of which he’s also producing. For details on what he had to say click over to /Film.
  • “How to Train Your Dragon” co-director Dean DeBlois has revealed that he’s currently working on the second draft of the sequel’s screenplay and says the project will likely be at least the second film in a trilogy: “It’s going to be quite epic. We are treating How To Train Your Dragon as the first act in a much larger story. As we head into this one, the world expands. Everything is much bigger with still the heartfelt qualities that made the first one resonate so much with audiences. There are no longer restrictions to this tiny island in the North Sea. They have the entire Northern hemisphere within their grasp.” [THR]
  • Melissa Rosenberg (“Twilight”) has been tapped by Summit Entertainment to work on the script to the studio’s remake of the 1986 film “Highlander”. Neal Mortiz is producing the project with Justin Lin attached to direct. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • “Red Sonja” producer Avi Lerner has revealed that Nu Image has chosen Simon West to direct the project, with Amber Heard being eyed as a potential lead: “We’re talking to a few girls for the role of Sonja,” he says, “but we just finished a movie called Drive Angry with Amber Heard, and I want to see her. She’s my favourite for the role.”. [Empire]
  • Producer Joel Silver says both “Swamp Thing” and “Sgt. Rock” remain in limbo: “I’m not sure if we could clear [the legal issues surrounding Swamp Thing] up but we’re always working on something. We like the idea of making a 3-D version of that story, but it’s not something we can do right now.”…
  • … And on Sgt. Rock, Silver said Guy Ritchie’s decision to drop the project in favor of a sequel to “Sherlock Holmes” has considerably slowed any movement on it: “We were driving down the road at one point, and then not…Look, these things are there, and sometimes they come about, and sometimes they don’t…” Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) is currently attached to direct. [Splash Page | MTV]
  • Paramount is planning a online video game based on the upcoming animated Western “Rango”. “Rango: The WORLD” will launch in conjunction with the film’s released on March 4, 2011. [THR]
  • Here’s a potential short list of directors to helm the “G.I. Joe” sequel: Juame Collet-Serra, F. Gary Gray and John Chu. [Latino Review]
  • Hugh Jackman is very excited for “The Wolverine”, the upcoming Darren Aronofsky-directed sequel to 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, saying he feels “like all the planets are finally aligned to make a great movie.” [Hero Complex | LA Times]
  • Sony and MGM may be closing in on a new distribution deal, and that could bring new life to several stalled projects including Joss Whedon’s “The Cabin in the Woods” and the “Red Dawn” remake. [Company Town | LA Times]
  • DC Comics is planning a series of five “Green Lantern” prequel comics leading up to the film’s release on June 17. Details at Comic Book Movie.
  • Detroit mayor David Bing has turned down a suggestion to erect a statue to Robocop in the city: “There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop,” Bing wrote on his Twitter account. “Thank you for your suggestion.”… [Dave Bing | Twitter]
  • … but Detroit citizens aren’t backing down. A group of fans have joined with artists and business leaders and have “pledged to raise up to $80,000 for a statue of the crime-fighting cyborg.”… [Detroit Free Press /via Film]
  • … they even have a Facebook page, “Build a Statue of Robocop in Detroit”, and have launched a website,


  • Previously on Jeri Ryan to reprise role of Sonya Blade in “Mortal Kombat” web series.
  • James Franco is in early talks to star as Oz in Sam Raimi’s prequel “Oz, the Great and Poweful”. The actor would be the third to be attached to the project following Robert Downey Jr. who pulled out towards the end of January and Johnny Depp who recently passed on it. It should be stressed that it’s still early in the process and Franco hasn’t met with Raimi yet. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • Nathan Fillion will voice Green Lantern/Hal Jordan in Warner Bros. Animation’s upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights”. Others cast in the project include Elisabeth Moss, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Hu, Henry Rollins and ex-wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The movie will be released on June 7, 2011. [TV Guide]
  • Jackie Earle Haley is in talks to play Willie Loomis in Tim Burton’s adaptation of the 1960s TV series “Dark Shadows”. Relatedly, Bella Heathcoate is said to be the top choice to play Victoria Winters. [Deadline]
  • Jodie Foster says she hasn’t closed any deal to star in Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi project “Elysium”: “Well, I’m not not on it, but I’m not booked or involved in a deal yet. People want to jump the gun on Neill because he’s the new David Fincher or whatever. And I get why – I love him and District 9 was my favourite film of 2009. But we’re just not at that time in the process yet…” [Empire]
  • Zach Galifianakis is in talks to play opposite Ryan Reynold’s in the adaptation of the comic book “R.I.P.D.”. [24 Frames | LA Times]
  • Alex Pettyfer has confirmed that he is considering playing the role of Peeta Mellark in Gary Ross’s adatpation of “The Hunger Games”: “Gary Ross is a great director. I have [read the books]. I’m a very big fan. I just hope they can conquer the movie. [Pop2it | Zap2it]
  • Famke Janssen has joined the cast of “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”. She’ll play the leader of the witches in the film. Janssen joins previously cast Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton in the Tommy Wirkola-directed flim. [The Playlist | indieWIRE & Deadline | New York]
  • Stanley Tucci and Bill Nighy have been cast in Bryan Singer’s “Jack the Giant Killer”. Tucci will play Roderick, villain and adviser to the king, while Nighy will play one of the heads of the two-headed leader of the giants. The character will be half-played by John Kassir. [The Wrap]
  • Anthony Mackie and Dominic Cooper are in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to star in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. Mackie will play Will, Lincoln’s best friend, with Cooper in talks for the role of Henry, Lincoln’s mentor. The studio was originally in talks with Joaquin Phoenix for that role. [Deadline & Variety]
  • Ryan Gosling has been cast in Warner Brothers’ remake of the 1976 sci-fi drama “Logan’s Run”. [Deadline]
  • Jamie Bell confirmed that he was in contention to play the title role in Marc Webb’s “Spider-Man” remake. Bell revealed that the got as far as actually screen-testing for the role, but didn’t put on a suit: “No, they didn’t do that in the screen test. We did a bunch of scenes with Marc, and I was one of many people who did it. It was a great experience, a great opportunity.” [Vulture]
  • Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”) has been cast in the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill (Ms. Marvel) in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers”. In related news, a casting call reveals that Kevin Pennington will play Agent Wendell Vaughn (Quasar). [Deadline & Big Shiny Robot via CBR]

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