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Michell MacLaren Departs WONDER WOMAN Director’s Chair

Posted on 13 April 2015 by Rich Drees

Michelle-MacLaren

Michelle MacLaren has pulled out of directing Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Allegedly, there were creative differences between MacLaren and the studio over the direction of the superhero project due in theaters on June 23, 2017.

Gal Gadot has already been cast to star as the Amazonian superhero who will first appear in next spring’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice before Wonder Woman hits the screen. The character will follow through to November 17, 2017’s Justice League: Part One.

The news comes as a disappointment as MacLaren seemed like a good pick for the job. Although this would have been her feature film debut, she already has gained plenty of experience directing episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul.

Warner Brothers had been developing multiple screenplays for Wonder Woman, with MacLaren supposedly working with the writers and their various takes. The studio will need to move fast to get another director in to get the project into shape and in front of cameras to meet its scheduled release date in 26 months.

wonder-woman-bvs

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Warners Want Lord And Miller To Direct FLASH

Posted on 06 April 2015 by Rich Drees

Flash

Warner Brothers certainly has a hit on their hands with the WB TV series The Flash, adapting the superfast superhero from DC Comics. As a spinoff off from the popular Green Arrow adaption Arrow and with another superhero show on the show, the CW is building up its own interconnected comic book universe the way Marvel Studios has done in the movies and how Warner hopes to also leverage their DC Comics characters in film.

The problem, ironically, with Warners’ cinematic plans is that the TV versions of the heroes, and by extension the actors playing them, will not be carried over to the studio’s film universe. This has upset some sectors of fandom who are enjoying Grant Gustnin’s take on the superhero  question the wisdom of keeping the TV and film incarnations separate rather than allowing crossover between the two mediums, a la Marvel’s films and the Agents Of SHIELD, Agent Carter and the upcoming five series from Netflix being kicked off with Daredevil later this week.

Warners seem to have that in mind and appear to be looking very much at attempting to capture lightening in a bottle – Flash pun very much intended – again.

This weekend on SchmoesKnows Meet The Movie Press video podcast, The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider indiacted just that when he revealed that the studio is working at trying to land The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller for the director chairs of the big screen version of The Flash that the studio announced last October.

We’ve just heard a bit of a tug of war going on between Warner Bros. and Sony, which would like the same two directors for one of its big franchise movies … If maybe Warner Bros. wanted them for The Flash and Sony wanted them for a Ghostbusters movie, which would Lord and Miller do?

Lord and Miller certainly have their plate full of genre related films to right now. Sony had approached the pair about directing a Ghostbusters film, back when it looked like it might be a third film in the original series. After they passed, director Paul Feig gave the studio his pitch for a female-fronted reboot of the franchise that is now currently shooting. That the studio is still interested in them in contributing to the franchise speaks to the seriousness of their plans to use Feig’s 2016 film as a launching point for a series of interconnected films. With the studio already eyeing their first Ghostbusters followup for 2017, possibly starring Channing Tatum and Captain America: The Winter Soldier co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo behind the camera, I have to wonder if Sony is looking for a Lord and Miller Ghostbusters film for 2018. Warners has already announced a March 23, 2018 date for The Flash, so it looks as if the timing is a bit too close for them to tackle both. Although, if Sony were amenable to pushing back their hoped-for Ghostbuster film a year, there would be time for both.

The pair are already producing a big screen adaptation of the 80s superhero comedy The Greatest American Hero. Wile they are not directing the Lego Movie sequel, they are writing and producing it along with the Lego-related Ninjago and The Lego Batman Movie.

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Brace Yourself, FROZEN 2 Is Coming

Posted on 12 March 2015 by William Gatevackes

FrozencastIf you are like me, then your kid has just started to let you listen to something other than the Frozen soundtrack in the car and they have stopped watching Frozen on a continuous cycle at home. Leave it to Disney to make this only a brief respite from all things Frozen.

Another tidbit of information to come from the Disney shareholders meeting is that Frozen 2 is officially in development at the studio. Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are set to return to helm the sequel. No cast confirmed as of yet, but since Josh Gad appeared at the meeting to make the announcement, one assumes that he will be returning to voice Olaf the Snowman.

The first film’s smash success caught Disney by surprise, as the company’s typically savvy merchandising arm had a hard time keeping Frozen merchandise on store shelves. The film went on to become the highest grossing animated film of all time and win Oscars for Best Animated Film and Best Song. I, myself, am a fan of the film, but not as much as my five-year old daughter is. The film has become a cultural touchstone for her the same way the first Star Wars films were for my generation.

No plot details are known nor is a release date is set, but I’d imagine that it will correspond to the completion of turning the Epcot’s Maelstrom ride into a Frozen themed attraction (rumored to be completed in 2016), part of a rumored permanent Frozen installation in Epcot’s Norway Pavillion (No date yet known). That is cold comfort for parents who will now be bombarded by pestering kids asking them when Frozen 2 will be coming out. To tide them over, take them to Cinderella this weekend, so they can see the new short film, Frozen Fever, which continues the story from the first film.

Via: Frozen’s Facebook Page

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STAR WARS Spin-Off Named, Sequel Release Date Set

Posted on 12 March 2015 by William Gatevackes

StarWarsLogoAnnual shareholder meetings are designed to do two things. One, let shareholders know how great the past year was and, two, let them know how great the upcoming year will be. And when it comes to Disney, the past was great, and the future is rosy. To so how rosy, Disney revealed some heretofore unconfirmed info about their upcoming projects.

Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff project has received an official title, and that title will be Rogue One (or, more likely, Star Wars: Rogue One). The film stars Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones and is set to begin filming this summer with a December 2016 release date.

Speaking of release dates, Star Wars VIII will return to the franchise’s typical  Memorial Day Weekend release with a May 26, 2017 release date. Disney also confirmed that Rian Johnson (Looper) will be taking over from J.J. Abrams for the sequel, assuming the role as writer and director.

If you have been paying attention, this means that we will have a new Star Wars film a year for the next three years, and probably more. And that Disney will be releasing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Star Wars VIII just two weeks away from each other.

Via Benzinga

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Is Drew Goddard Writing/Directing Rebooted SPIDER-MAN Solo Film?

Posted on 03 March 2015 by Rich Drees

AmazingSpiderMan2SBTrailer

Perhaps the biggest news story of the year so far is the February announcement of the deal that Marvel Studios and Sony reached an agreement to jointly share the film rights to Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, having the famous webslinger first appear in a Marvel Studios film, most likely 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before headlining a new solo film for Sony and then finally swinging back to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe for 2018 and 2019’s two-part Avengers: Infinity War epic. The news meant that current Spider-franchise steward director Marc Webb was out the door, along with the current actor playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man Andrew Garfield. Vacancies that the studio is now working hard at filling.

There’s been no official word yet as to who will be stepping behind the camera to oversee that new solo film, but rumor is starting to circulate that Sony is interested in getting Cabin In The Woods writer/director Drew Goddard for the job.

DrewGoddardGoddard is a good and fairly obvious choice for the studio to pursue. Before the big franchise shakeup, Goddard was hard at work on a planned Spidey spinoff film featuring the villain group the Sinister Six. Reportedly, the new Spider-Man solo film, now possibly titled The Spectacular Spider-Man after one of the hero’s several ongoing monthly comics titles, will be a reworking of the storyline he was developing for that film.

The story of Goddard’s involvement with the new Spider-Man solo film is originating from Latino Review, a sit we are normally skeptical of. But it looks like both The Wrap and Drew McWeeny over at Hit Fix are hearing similar things from their sources, so I am willing to put a bot more stock in it.In addition to confirming the basic story, McWeeny added that his own sources have told him that Sony is looking at possibly having one Spider-Man film in theaters per year, something that the franchise-lite studio had been hoping to do for some time now. The Wrap cautions that Goddard doesn’t have the job yet, but will be meeting with the studio this week. However, he may be just one of several meetings that the studio is taking before making their final decision.

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Leonard Nimoy, 83

Posted on 27 February 2015 by William Gatevackes

Leonard Nimoy, who originated the iconic role of Mr. Spock on the legendary Star Trek TV series, has died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Before he became Spock, Nimoy got his start in films. He garnered his first lead with his third feature, Kid Monk Baroni, in 1952 and went on to star in roles big and small in a number of legendary B-movies such as Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), Them!(1954), and The Brain Eaters  (1958).

Nimoy also logged a number of guest appearances in television shows such as Dragnet, Sea Hunt, and Gunsmoke. However, his life would change forever in the mid-1960s when faced with a choice between a role in the soap opera Peyton Place or a role on a science-fiction start up from producer Gene Roddenberry, he chose the latter.

The latter was, of course, Star Trek, and although the show only ran for three years, it became a cult sensation in syndication. Star Trek became a blockbuster franchise in both films and televisions. Spock became a pop culture icon and Nimoy would reprise the character numerous times throughout the years in various spin-offs and sequels. He played the role for the last time in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.

After Star Trek went off the air, Nimoy moved on to a career behind the camera to complement the one he had in front of it (Which continued with role in TV series such as Mission Impossible and as the host of the documentary series, In Search of…). His first directorial experience took place on episodes of televisions series, including his former co-star William Shatner’s post-Star Trek series, T.J. Hooker. Nimoy would move over to film directing by helming the 1984 Star Trek sequel, The Search for Spock. He would also direct the next installment of the series in 1986, The Voyage Home.

Nimoy would then direct one of the most successful films of the 1980s–1987’s Three Men and a Baby. The film, a remake of the 1985 French film, Trois Hommes et Un Couffin , starred Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg as three bachelors whose lives are shaken up when a former paramour leaves a baby on their doorstep. The film was the highest grossing film of 1987, beating out films like Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Nimoy’s film directing career would continue into the 1990s and include the Diane Keaton drama, The Good Mother (1988) and the Gene Wilder comedy, Funny About Love (1990). Nimoy’s final film he directed was 1994’s Holy Matrimony.

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Might Angelina Jolie Direct CAPTAIN MARVEL?

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Rich Drees

AngelinaJolie

Some folks have compared the efforts of Marvel Studios getting their comic book characters to the big screen versus the efforts of Warner Brothers Studios bringing the superheroes of corporate sibling DC Comics to cinematic life as if it were some sort of arms race. As I am just happy to see both publisher’s spandex-clad heroes being brought to life, I couldn’t care less as to who reaches a certain milestone first. But for those of you at home who are scoring, while Marvel is certainly has a lead in getting a number of their stable of characters onto the big screen for solo and group films, they are trailing Warners/DC in terms of some of those solo films featuring female superheroes. While Warners have announced their Wonder Woman film for June 2017, Marvel won’t have their own female superhero-led film, Captain Marvel, on screens until 13 months later.

And now Marvel appears to be trailing Warner’s Wonder Woman again. Last November it was announced that Warner Brothers had picked Michelle MacLaren to direct Wonder Woman. Marvel appears to be following suit in looking for a female director, which would be a first for the studio, to take the reigns of Captain Marvel. As to whom might be in the director’s chair for Marvel? The supermarket tabloid OK! Magazine (via Bleeding Cool) thinks it knows.

OKMarvel

The first thing we should note, of course, is that OK! Magazine is a supermarket tabloid with no real track record for reporting on genre films, so proceed with the appropriate-sized grain of salt.

That said, I do think that Jolie would be an interesting choice for director. Her own acting resume contains a number of action films in a variety of styles, so that allows her to bring a very specialized viewpoint to the job. Of course, Marvel never comments on stories like this, so don’t expect to hear anything official for a good long while. But that won’t stop the rumor machine.

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Is Joss Whedon Done With The Marvel Cinematic Universe After AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON?

Posted on 03 February 2015 by William Gatevackes

Joss-Whedon-and-Scarlett-Johansson

Eight years isn’t really a long time to be doing any one thing in Hollywood. Heck, successful TV series run for more years than that. But if you are a creative genius such as Joss Whedon, eight might just be enough.

Whedon talked with BuzzFeed News last week, and the writer/director hinted that his involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be coming to an end.

Whedon gave this response when asked if directing Captain Marvel might be in his post Avengers plans:

Um, I would never rule anything out, because I like working here. By the same token, the biggest thing for me is that I need to do something that I create myself. It’s been way too long since I created a universe. The last thing I did before The Avengers was [directing an episode of] Glee, and in between I did Much Ado About Nothing. So I haven’t created my own universe for over five years. That feels wrong. You know, my own universe might be a book of haiku. I’m not necessarily saying I’ve got a grand scheme.

I will say that when I was thinking about, Well, if I wasn’t going to do Avengers 2, what would I want to do? — of course the first thing I thought of was “turn-of-the-century female Batman.” Not Batman actually. But, you know, something cool. One person. Can’t stress that enough. Movie about one person — not a team, not 10, just one. But [I would] do a nice sort of hard action movie that combined all my favorite things. Something that would be the love child of Sam Fuller and Edward Gorey. You know, I’ve had many thoughts since then. Oh, I could do this! Oh, I could do that! But it is my instinct to want to tell those stories.

Captain Marvel I don’t know as well. There have been a few [versions] of her. I have the first issue of Ms. Marvel, back when she was that, and had the Farrah hair. My only issue with her is that she always felt sort of on top. She was very driven. A winner. I always like to dig into the soil of things to find my heroes, if I can.

Now, you can read Whedon’s comments a number of ways. But it seems that he is interested in at the very least taking a break from Marvel to work on original properties. Also, that Carol Danvers is too much of a winner for him to tackle.

While his guiding hand has made Marvel a cinematic juggernaut, anytime the creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly wants to create something new and original, I say we let him.

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LEGO MOVIE Directors Comment On Oscar Snub

Posted on 15 January 2015 by Rich Drees

LegoMovie

It’s not an announcement of Academy Award nominations without some surprises and snubs. One of the biggest surprises this year was the snub of critically and publicly popular The Lego Movie not being nominated in either the Best Picture or Best Animated Feature categories. (Which raises the question as to whether Academy members were unsure as to which category to place a nomination for The Lego Movie, thus diluting the support for it across the two categories.)

And while there seems to be an uproar going across the internet about the film’s lack of nominations outside of one for Best Original Song (“Everything Is Awesome”), co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller demonstrated a sense of humor about things as they took to twitter to comment.

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Why Wasn’t James Gunn Able To Use Those Characters in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY?

Posted on 06 January 2015 by William Gatevackes

JamesGunnBy now, you might have heard about the interview Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn did with The Movie Crypt where he goes into detail about characters that he wanted to use in the film but couldn’t. In case you haven’t, here’s the gist of the comments:

There’s characters that I’ve been interested in that I’m not allowed to use but I won’t go so far as to say I definitely would have had them. There was a really good chance Bug was going to show up in the first movie but we do not own him… but, anyway, that was going to happen, perhaps. Listen, I really love Rom: Spaceknight, as everyone at Marvel knows because they’ve given me Rom stuff… but we don’t own Rom. I would love for Rom: Spaceknight to show up because I love his story, I love the way he looks, I love everything about him…

There are other characters, but basically, some characters we can work around and we can use. Listen, I wanted to use the Badoon, but the Badoon we don’t own… they’re really interesting. They would be like the cannon fodder guys who were like the Sakaaran in my movie… I wrote them as Badoon but I just did a search-replace-Sakaaran when I found out we didn’t have Badoon. It was strangely late in the process when I found that out. They were designed as Badoon.

While Gunn stated that he could use those characters because Marvel didn’t own him, this will cause a number of comic book fans to scratch their head.

rom toyRom would be the only one fans would not have a question with. Rom was a space knight who traveled the universe to track down a vile alien race called the Dire Wraiths. Rom did star in a Marvel Comic book from 1979 to 1986, but Marvel only licensed the character from Parker Brothers, who came out with a Rom the Spaceknight doll, seen to the right. While the toy flopped and the comic book was a hit, Marvel was unable to hold on to the license after the comic book’s run. Rom eventually returned back to Parker Brothers, and the character has never appeared (other than in legally dodging ways) in a Marvel Comic book. This is the reason why the series has never, and likely will never be, reprinted and the character’s crossover appearances in other books face the same fate.

Bug’s ownership is more in doubt.BugOneShot1 He, like Rom, first appeared in a comic book licensed from a toy company that debuted in 1979. The Micronauts were based on a toy line manufactured by Takara Co. Ltd and was published by Marvel from 1979 to 1984, with a second series, Micronauts: The New Voyages, published from 1984 to 1986. Bug appeared in the first three issues of the original series under the name of Galactic Warrior, which was the name for one of the toys in the line, before being renamed Bug for the remainder of the concept’s time at Marvel.

The character has made a number of appearances after Marvel lost the Micronauts license, including his own one-issue series in 1997 and time as a member of the comic book version of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Brian Cronin over at Comic Should Be Good theorizes that Marvel was still able to use the character because the comic book design was different from the Galactic Warrior toy, so the name change made the character a unique Marvel creation (one of a number in the series, by the way). But perhaps present day Disney lawyers didn’t want to risk having to defend the “name-change-as-form-ownership” in a court of law, and forced Gunn to err on the side of caution.

badoon first appearanceThe Badoon being on the non-use list was puzzling. The scaly alien race existence as a Marvel creation was not in doubt. They didn’t first appear in a toy tie-in, but in an issue of a comic book Marvel own the complete and utter rights to.

However, that comic book was Silver Surfer, Vol. 1, #2. Since the aliens appeared in a comic starring Silver Surfer, and Silver Surfer first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic book, the Badoon’s film rights are apparently owned by 20th Century Fox, who holds the Fantastic Four rights. Yes, even though the aliens have appeared in just about evey comic book and are vital to the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy (they conquered the Earth and were the enemy the original incarnation of GotG were formed to fight), because they first appeared in a spin-off of the Fantastic Four, Marvel cannot use them. Odds are that Fox won’t use them either.

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