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TrekMovie.com Sci-Fi Movies: The Avengers, Thor 2, The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, RoboCop, Prometheus, Mortal Kombat + more

Cross-posted at TrekMovie.com

In Sci-Fi Movies this week, we get a closer look at the cast of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, get an update on the director search for Thor 2, learn new details about Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, discover a directors short list for Twilight Zone and more, including release date plans for the Red Dawn remake and updates on Man of Steel, RoboCop, The Wolverine, John Carter and Wanted 2. All that plus much more, including an official announcement for the Mortal Kombat remake and the latest images and video previews.

GENRE MOVIE NEWS

New synopsis for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus + Interview with Damon Lindelof

Some new news to report this week on the Ridley Scott Alien-inspired sci-fi film “Prometheus”. First up, the official Facebook page for the film has been updated to include this new plot synopsis:

“Ridley Scott, director of “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” returns to the genre he helped define. With PROMETHEUS, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.”

In other news, back in July during Comic-Con, MTV conducted an interview with “Star Trek” scribe and “Prometheus” writer Damon Lindelof about the project, and that interview has just been released online. Here are two excepts of Lindelof discussing the characters played by Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron:

Fassbender’s Role: “He plays a robot. One of the things that evokes the idea of ‘Blade Runner’ is, ‘What does the movie look like from the robot’s point of view?’ If you were to ask him, ‘What do you think about all of this? What’s going on? What do you think about these humans who are around you?,’ wouldn’t it be cool if we found a way for that robot to answer those questions. When you cast a guy like Fassbender, who’s going to bring a lot more to it than [makes clichéd robot movements] — that was me doing the robot, I don’t know if you could tell — it’s not Anthony Daniels. All due respect. He’s phenomenal. But C-P3O…”

Theron’s Role: “Her character’s name is Meredith Vickers and she’s sort of a corporate entity. That’s another one of the familiar things from the ‘Alien’ movies — that there are corporate interests in play. I feel like Charlize brought a new spin on that old variation. It’s a remix …. I don’t think she’s slimy [like Paul Reiser's character in 'Aliens']. She’s not the fast-talking, snake-oil face of the company. By the way, “What company is she a face of?,” I think is a big part of the fun. As we were developing the script, she had some really cool ideas that made it not the suit you’re used to.”

More at MTV. You can also watch a clip from the interview embedded below discussing Fassbender’s role and the ensemble. Starring Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapce, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce, “Prometheus” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 8, 2012.

 

The Avengers: New photos and character portraits + more

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, available now, has a cover feature on Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” and the issue includes character portraits for several characters along with online-exclusive excerpts with the cast. Here are some highlights [via EW]:

Chris Evans on his darker, more cynical version of Captain America [SPOILERS if you haven't seen 'Captain America']:

“It’s just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. You’ve got to imagine, it’s enough of a shock to accept the fact that you’re in a completely different time, but everybody you know is dead. Everybody you cared about,” Evans says. “He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they’re all dead. He’s just lonely. I think in the beginning it’s a fish out of water scene, and it’s tough. It’s a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world.”

Mark Ruffalo says Bruce Banner is the outcast of the group:

“He’s the most mild-mannered guy, but a total loose cannon. No one wants to set him off except for Iron Man, except for Downey, who just wants to see him pop,” Ruffalo laughs. “It’s funny, there’s a really cool dynamic between Tony Stark and Banner. Banner actually enjoys it, and finds it really refreshing. They’re a lot alike in a strange way. They’re both these kind of scientists who are mavericks, kind of renegades. Banner, for all his mild-mannered mythology, he’s still the dude who was testing some pretty crazy s–t on himself, so he has that rebel streak in him.”

Read more at EW.com. Look below for two production stills and the aforementioned character portraits. In other news, in an interview with Total Film, Tom Hiddleston (Loki) revealed that his character takes on all the Avengers individually before facing them together:

“The fun thing about Loki is that he goes 1-on-1 with every single Avenger,” Tom Hiddleston told Total Film in an exclusive interview.

“Loki has become so menacing that they all have to team up and overcome their differences to stop him.”

Hiddleson also revealed which Avenger was the toughest to fight:

“It’s been the most incredible privilege to work with my own heroes. The greatest superheroes in the world played by some of the greatest actors in the world.”

“I think I can dismiss the mere mortals, so Captain America may be a super soldier but he’s still a man and he’s up against Loki, who’s a God. I think Iron Man’s blasters hurt a bit … But I think it comes down to his thunderous brother. No one is harder to fight than his brother because there’s all that angst within him. Thor still comes out on top.”

And lastly, Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) revealed that she’s signed up for seven movies after “The Avengers” [via CBM]:

“Plus this one, seven more I think. This doesn’t mean I’m doing seven films – just means if they like me, then they’ll have me on more.”

 For more on “The Avengers”, check out the latest issues of Entertainment Weekly and Total Film. “The Avengers” is scheduled to hit theaters on May 4, 2012.

Production stills

Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) & Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) & Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)

Natasha Ramanoff / Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) & Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

Patty Jenkins confirms she’s in talks to direct Thor 2

Last week it was reported that Marvel Studios was considering Patty Jenkins (“Monster”) to direct the studio’s “Thor” follow-up. Jenkins has now confirmed that she is indeed in talks with the studio about the sequel [via Vulture]:

“I can’t say, but yes,” she laughed. “I can’t say anything definitive, but it’s exciting to be in talks with them about it…I think Marvel is really ballsy to think outside the box,” she said. “And I think everyone they’ve talked to and hired has been interesting.”

When asked if she’s been reading comics or other materials to prepare for the possible gig, Jenkins teased she is: “Right now, I’m reading all of … I can’t say.” “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth, however, made it even more clear, hinting that she’s already had input on the film, telling Hero Complex | LA Times that she “has a great take on the story and a solid grasp on that kind of universe,” adding “['Thor' director Kenneth] Branagh read every comic book he could get his hands on. She also looked like she had done her homework.” “Thor 2″ (working title) is scheduled to hit theaters on July 26, 2013.

Nolan, Bay and Cuaron top WB’s shortlist for Twilight Zone

Christopher Nolan, Michael Bay and Alfonso Cuaron are reportedly Warner Bros.’ top choices to helm a new big screen version of “Twilight Zone”. According to Showblitz | Variety, David Yates was at one point on the short list, but no longer is and Rupert Wyatt (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) is also being considered for the gig. The 1983 feature “Twilight Zone: The Movie” featured four stories directed by four different directors — Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Joe Dante and George Miller — but this new version won’t go that route, with Warner Bros. instead intending to shoot it as one story with just one director.

FilmDistrict picks up Red Dawn; Release expected in 2012

A casuality of MGM’s 2009 bankruptcy, the remake of the 80s film “Red Dawn” will finally be making its way to theaters. According to 24 Frames | LA Times, FilmDistrict picked up distribution and intend to release the $60M-budgeted film sometime in 2012. “Red Dawn” was directed by Dan Bradley and stars Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

In related news, it’s also now confirmed that producers changed some content in the film to change the threat from China to North Korea. “Red Dawn” was originally scheduled to be released in 2010.

Rumor: Batman Begins/The Dark Knight character returning for The Dark Knight Rises?

The main “The Dark Knight Rises” news this week is rumor-related, but that’s okay right? Just keep a pinch of salt close by. According to a posting [POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD] by a user on Superhero Hype (brought to our attention by ComicBookMovie), Cillian Murphy, who played Scarecrow in “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight”, was spotted on the set of “The Dark Knight Rises”:

Cillian Murphy is returning in TDKR. You can see him at Union Station in Los Angeles, but at least that’s where I saw him earlier on my way back home from taking spy photos.

I couldn’t take a picture of him because there are a ton of security guards, but he’s definitely there.

You can take this as 100% legit fact.

Scarecrow is in TDKR.

He was wearing a black robe, probably to disguise his suit underneath.

That last bit about him wearing a black robe ties in nicely to a detailed scene description that was posted on the TDKR Facebook page. The scene in question takes place at Union Station and involves a Judge handing down sentences to “criminals”. Two of the people reportedly brought before the judge are Jim Gordon and Miranda Tate. The judge then asks them to choose “death or exile”:

It appears that exile means walking a dangerous frozen river on the outskirts of Gotham. Which would coincide with the LA River scene filmed with Gordon and his men tip toeing awkwardly in the leaked video.

Oh P.S.

Judge’s identity: JONATHAN F#CKIN CRANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cillian Murphy is back with a bang!

I don’t normally like to post rumors, but considering this points towards the return of a prior character, I thought it was at least worth mentioning. We’ll see if it all pans out. Meanwhile, in casting news, Monsters and Critics reports that Massi Furlan has joined the cast in an unspecified role and has actually already filmed several scenes:

Furlan, who has yet to announce his role in the film and has to keep details of his part quiet for now, has stated filming with Nolan and company was an extraordinary experience.

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

Set images: Batman’s Batcopter and Bane’s mysterious device [more at Superhero Hype]

Set images: Batman and Catwoman [more at Shockya]

Set video: Test footage of the Batcopter [YouTube | Bleeding Cool]

Michael Shannon talks about his role as General Zod in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel

Michael Shannon, who plays General Zod in Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel”, spoke to Hero Complex | LA Times about his character:

“He’s not one of these archetypal villains with horns coming out of his head and breathing fire or something. He’s a man, a Kryptonian man. He’s a general, that’s his main attribute. That’s the way I approach it: playing a general. I’ve done military parts before, but I’ve only been up to sergeant, so this is a big promotion.”

Shannon also revealed that although Snyder is employing green screen for CG, they’re also building a lot of the sets:

“As much green screen as there is and I’m sure will be, they’re actually building a lot of the sets as well. I had thought it was just going to be green screens everywhere and we would just be pretending everything. There’s quite a bit of detail they’re building and putting into it. It’s very helpful. The less green screen, the better — I don’t think you’d be able to find an actor on Earth who wouldn’t have that sentiment.”

Meanwhile, in casting news, Deadline reports that Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer will star as Superman’s mom Lara Lor-Van. Zurer will replace Julia Ormond who was originally cast in the role. It’s unclear why Ormond was replaced. Produced by Christopher Nolan, “Man of Steel” is scheduled to hit theaters on June 14, 2013.

Universal hires writers for Wanted 2

Universal is moving forward with a sequel to Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of the Mark Millar comic book “Wanted”, hiring original writers Derek Haas and Michael Brandt. James McAvoy starred in the 2008 film alongside Angelina Jolie. The sequel was put into development not that long after the original film became a hit, grossing impressive $341M worldwide. However, after Evan Spiliotopoulos was brought on board to write the script in 2009, the project went quiet for a while. Now Haas and Brandt hope to get “Wanted 2″ moving again working off of Spiliotopoulos’ script. It’s unclear at the moment who will direct and star in the project should it get greenlit.

Jose Padilha talks about his RoboCop reboot

Last week Jose Padilha was quoted as saying he wanted Michael Fassbender to play the title role in his “RoboCop” reboot, but the director says his words were taken out of proportion by the interviewer:

“They wanted to talk about ‘RoboCop’ because of [Paul] Verhoeven, the Dutch director [of the original film]. So he asked me ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m not there yet.’ ‘Who is going to be RoboCop?’ ‘I don’t know!’ So he says, “How about Fassbender?” I said, ‘I think he’s great.’ That was it!”

Padilha admited that Fassbender would make a good “RoboCop”, but he was quick to note that he thinks other actors would be great for the role too, including Star Trek’s Chris Pine, before adding he hasn’t discussed the film with actors and won’t until there’s a final script. Getting into specifics about the project, Padilha told IFC.com his script will be his own interpretation of the material and he hasn’t read any of the scripts from former director Darren Aronofsky: “I wanted to focus on my own thing and do my take, even though Aronofsky is a genius.” Although he wasn’t willing to share any plot details, Padilha did talk about what drew him to the project:

“‘RoboCop’ is a brilliant premise because the character is not a super-hero,” he said. “He’s a man who’s been transformed by technology for certain purposes. And so that premise alone touches so many interesting subjects. What does it mean to be immersed in automated systems and deprived of free will? What does it mean to be used by corporations for certain purposes? How does the media spin things around to make certain interests accepted by the public? Those are all things you can see in the first ‘RoboCop,’ and those are all things that are coming closer and closer to being real. Science is taking us there. And so that premise alone is really interesting to me.”

Padilha also confirmed that, just like the original, his “RoboCop” will be set in Detroit:

“If you go to shoot a movie in Detroit, you better put Detroit in it. I’ve been researching a lot about Detroit — and they’re making the statue!” Padilha added excitedly, referring to the news earlier this year that fans were raising money to build a statue of everyone’s favorite cyborg police officer in his home town. “It got a little polemic,” he noted, “but I think finally they made the right choice.”

Hugh Jackman talks The Wolverine

Despite several setbacks for 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” follow-up “The Wolverine”, including the departure of director Darren Aronofsky, star Hugh Jackman says the project is now on track with new director James Mangold and they’ll begin filming next year after he finishes “Les Miserables”. Based on Frank Miller’s Japanese saga, Jackman says “The Wolverine” will be “a little darker”, but “more true to the character”:

“If you read all of [the Japanese saga] there is a lot of it that is a little disparate and some of it’s got X-Men in it. There’s a wedding and all that. So we take license with that.”

And what about after “The Wolverine”? Jackman says he’s open to another one, but he’s currently focused on making this one a “hole in one”:

I’m pretty sure I’m well into the second half of this match. I don’t know exactly when the end is, but I only go one at a time. If this is the last one, fingers crossed, man, I just hope we finally get that hole in one.

Jackman also cast doubt on “X-Men 4″, telling reporters “I don’t see it. I can only see one movie ahead”. On a funny note, [SPOILERS--Don't read further if you haven't seen "X-Men: First Class"] Jackman talked about his cameo in ‘First Class’ and what convinced him to say yes:

“They asked me to do that cameo a year before I did it and I said, ‘All right, pitch me the concept,’ ” Jackman recalled. “They did and I liked it. I said, ‘Is anyone else swearing in the movie?’ and they said, ‘We don’t think so.’ I said, ‘Promise me no one else swears in the movie and I’m in.’ 50 percent of Wolverine’s dialogue should be ‘fuck.’ That feels right for me.”

Hugh Jackman’s latest film, “Real Steel”, hits theaters this Friday, October 7.

New synopsis for John Carter

A Disney marketing sell sheet for “John Carter”, Andrew Stanton’s live-action adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel “John Carter of Mars”, has found its way online. The sheet includes a new synopsis for the film:

War-weary, former military captain JOHN CARTER, is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including TARS TARKAS and the captivating PRINCESS DEJAH THORIS. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survial of this planet and its people rests in his hands.

The sell sheet, which includes a piece of concept/key art, is included below. Starring Taylor Kitsch (John Carter), Lynn Collins (Princess Dejah Thoris) and Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas), “John Carter” is scheduled to hit conventional, IMAX and 3D theaters on March 9, 2012.

New Line rebooting Mortal Kombat

Kevin Tancharoen has been hired by New Line to direct a new adaptation of the classic 1990s fighting game “Mortal Kombat”. Tancharoen directed the very successful proof-of-concept short film “Mortal Kombat: Rebirth” — which he put together on his own — along with the 10-part Warner Brothers Interactive web series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”. Oren Uziel, who wrote the short film, will also write the new film. In an interview with ComingSoon.net, Tancharoen confirmed the news and revealed that the project is being developed for a 2013 release date. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Tancharoen said the movie may not be linked to the online short or web series, and may not even include any of the actors (which included Star Trek: Voyager’s Jeri Ryan), but it’ll keep its dark tone:

“Up to this point, we’ve only been talking ‘rated R.’ I like realistic takes on things, I like it when it’s a little darker and grittier. And I want the martial arts to feel real as opposed to balletic and super-choreographed. It needs to feel brutal, because that’s the nature of the video game itself.”


PREVIEW Videos & Images

Dark Shadows

Promotional/behind the scenes images [Empire]

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

Trailer [Yahoo! Movies]

Paranormal Activity 3

Trailer [Trailer Addict]

R.I.P.D.

Set images [more at CelebBuzz]

The Thing

Behind the scenes footage [Trailer Addict]

Watch more B-roll clips here, here and here

MOVIE BITES

  • Marvel Studios has chosen North Carolina over Michigan to film the Shane Black-directed “Iron Man 3″. Marvel was reportedly seeking $20-30M in incentives to film in Michigan, but the Michigan Film Office initially offered $13M, short of the $20M offered by North Carolina. Michigan ultimately matched the NC offer, but the offer would have had to be approved by the state’s legislature and Marvel was unwilling to wait. “Iron Man 3″ will hit theaters on May 3, 2013. Filming begins next year. [Detroit Free Press & Latino Review]
  • Sony’s 3D “The Smurfs” has topped $500M in worldwide box office. As of Sept. 29, foreign markets have added $364.4M and the film has grossed $138.5M domestically for $502.9M worldwide. Sony has already greenlit and set a August 2, 2013 release date for the sequel. [Box Office Mojo]
  • Summit Entertainment has picked up the screen rights to Brian Haberlin’s 2001 comic book series “Area 52″. The series was centered on a top secret warehouse located in Antarctica called Area 52 that the government used to store alien discoveries. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian will produce the project as a live-action adaptation. [Deadline]
  • Marc Guggenheim (“Green Lantern”) has been hired by Disney to write an original sci-fi fantasy adventure for the studio called “Time Zones”. The film is described as “a race against time merged with a race in time concept”. The story is set after an event “causes the world to spontaneously develop ‘time zones’,” which are descibred as “fractures in space-time which replace various segments of the world with identical geography from the past and future”. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • DreamWorks has picked up the rights to Roald Dah’s book “The BFG”. The 1982 children’s book about a big friendly giant,”The BFG” will be adapted by “E.T.” writer Melissa Mathison. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce. [The Wrap]
  • Chernin Entertainment is close to acquiring an untitled pitch by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless described as a futuristic version of “Jungle Book”. Peter Cherning will produce with Gore Verbinski. [Deadline]
  • DC Comics’ relaunch is a success. DC has announced that of the company’s 52 renumbered or new series, 10 have sold more than 100,000 copies each. “The Justice League” has performed the best, selling more than 200,000 copies. That’s more than 4 times better than pre-reboot sales (46,000). A few of the other series posting 100,000+ sales include “Action Comics”, “Batgirl” and “Flash”. [NYT]
  • Although “Scream 4″ performed poorly at the box office — particually domestically — director Wes Craven says a fifth film will be made: “Yes. The odds are that there will be (a Scream 5).” Craven says he’s unsure if he’ll be part of it, but would consider directing again if they present him that’s “really wonderful.” [MovieWeb]
  • Bruce Boxleitner confirmed that the “Tron 3″ script is still in development. David Digilio is writing and Boxleitner says he expects to be part of the third film: “…I do know that the plan now is that I’m included in that as well. I’m sure I will be”. [CraveOnline]
  • Seth Rogen says a sequel to “The Green Hornet” isn’t likely, at least not any time soon: “Not any time in the foreseeable future,” Rogen said, adding “It’s just not something we’re interested in right now”. Rogen starred and co-wrote the project. [Collider]
  • Paramount Pictures has pushed up the release of Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” by two days–from December 23, 2011 to Wednesday, December 21. ‘Tintin’ debutes in select international markets later this month on October 26 (including France, Belgium and the UK). [BOM]
  • Steven Spielberg has revealed that he’s currently in pre-production on “Robopocalypse” and hopes to shoot the film sometime next year (possibly in the summer) for a 2013 release date. [Empire]

CASTING BITES

  • Blake Lively has been offered the lead role in Craig Gillespie’s adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. Lively has reportedly already met with Gillespie for the role, which in the past has offered to or rumored for Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Mia Wasikowska and Scarlett Johanson. [Twitch]
  • Casting calls have gone out for 10 characters for the upcoming adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”. The screenplay for the film was written by Star Trek’s Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Character descriptions / analysis of the casting calls can be read at io9.
  • Jessica Chastain has been cast as the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in director Joseph Kosinski’s untitled sci-fi project for Universal Pictures. The project, formerly known as “Oblivion” and “Horizons”, takes place in an apocalyptic future where the Earth is no longer habitable and most of the population lives in clouds. [Heat Vision | THR]
  • James D’Arcy has joined the cast of Warner Bros.’ “Cloud Atlas”. The project is directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Twyker, and is based on the 2004 David Mitchell novel of the same name which explored how the actions humans take, and the consequences that result in said actions, effect one another in the past, present and future. D’Arcy will star opposite Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Hugh Grant. [Variety]
  • Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi invasion feature “Pacific Rim” has added Diego Klattenhoff to the cast. Klattenhoff’s role is being kept under wraps, but his character is expected to be featured in the opening scene. “Pacific Rim” is set in 2025, the 12th year of a war against alien creatures who live in the middle of the Pacific Ocean: “Story finds a group of humans banding together to create and pilot massive robots to fight the giant creatures threatening to destroy Earth.” Travis Beacham wrote the script and the film is scheduled to hit theaters July 12, 2013. [Variety]
  • Callan McAuliffe (“I Am Number Four”) has joined the cast of Alex Proyas adaptation of John Milton’s 17-century poem “Paradise Lost”. He’ll play the angel Uriel. Bradley Cooper (Lucifer), Ben Walker (Michael), Casey Affleck and Djimon Hounsou star. Diego Boneta, meanwhile, is reportedly being eyed for the role of Adam, the first man on Earth. [Variety]


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