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MGM Casts Jack Huston In BEN-HUR Remake

Posted on 17 September 2014 by Rich Drees

"Kill Your Darlings" - Red Carpet Arrivals: 57th BFI London Film FestivalOver the past few years, as part of their recovery from the financial crisis that almost closed the studio, MGM has been developing remakes of several films in their catalog. So far, we’ve seen the likes of Red Dawn and RoboCop, neither of which were very successful for the company. But the studio is continuing with their strategy and it looks like like the next library title that will be going in front of the cameras will be the classic Ben-Hur.

Deadline is reporting that Boardwalk Empire star Jack Huston has been cast in the film’s title role of Judah Ben-Hur, the Jewish prince who vows revenge after being betrayed by his former friend and sold into slavery. The story culminates in a high-stakes chariot race, which is a highlight of both the 1959 version of the story which starred Charlton Heston as well as the original 1925 silent adaptation of Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel.

Huston will be joining the already cast Morgan Freeman, who is set to play Ildarin, the man who teaches Ben-Hur to become a chariot racer. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter helmer Timur Bekmambetov is set to direct. The studio is hoping to get the project in front of cameras in Europe next year.

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Tom Hiddleston Heading To SKULL ISLAND

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Rich Drees

Tom-HiddlestonTom Hiddleston is packing his bags in preparation to ship out to Skull Island. The Marvel Studios franchise actor has just been signed to the star in Legendary’s King Kong-prequel/spinoff that was announced this past July at San Diego Comic Con.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) will be heading up this expedition, working from a screenplay by Max Borenstein. Legendary sees the project, which will feature an exploration of the mysterious island that proved to be the home of Kong, the Eighth Wonder Of The World, as a nice compliment to their other budding monster franchises Pacific Rim and Godzila.

Although it does provide a major location in all three major iterations of the Kong story, Skull Island has never served as the focal point for a film itself. Artist Joe DeVito teamed with writer Brad Strickland for the 2005 book Kong: King Of Skull Island, which also served as inspiration for writer Will Murray’s recent mashup of Kong and pulp hero Doc Savage, Skull Island.

The studio plans to have the film in theaters on November 4, 2016.

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Rumor: Disney/Lucasfilm Developing Obi-Wan Kenobi Stand Alone STAR WARS Film

Posted on 15 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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In order to meet its promise of having a new Star Wars film theater each and every year for the foreseeable future, Disney has announced that they will be releasing spin-off films featuring franchise fan favorite characters in the years between installments of the new trilogy which will commence in December 2015. Currently rumored contenders include Han Solo, Yoda and Boba Fett. But this weekend a new name was added to the list – Obi Wan Kenobi.

The rumor is originating over at Making Star Wars, and I do want to point out that they have yet to establish themselves with any kind of track record. Here’s what they have to say –

For the spin-off movies they were initially going to stay away from any Jedi or Sith characters. But I’m hearing now that because of the popularity of Obi-Wan (fans recently voting for him on the official website etc) that an art team is now working with a writer on concepts for an Obi-Wan movie.

We’re a long way from this being a reality, but Ewan MacGregor, who played Obi Wan in the prequel trilogy, has stated to MTV that he would be down for donning his Jedi robes to see what the character was up to between his appearance in Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith and the character’s chronological first appearance in 1977’s Episode IV – A New Hope, when Sir Alec Guiness originated the role.

Of course, any plotline that may be in development will probably only contain a coincidental resemblance to last year’s Star Wars novel Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, which covered the same time span that MacGregor suggested he was still suited to appear in, due to the old Expanded Universe being swept aside to allow a clean slate for the new filmmakers to tell their own stories.

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Rumor: Dave Bautista Will Be In AVENGERS 3

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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We are still about nine months away from the release of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, but we’re already starting to hear rumors about the third Avengers film, which probably won’t even be in theaters until 2018 at the earliest. On the heels of Marvel Studio’s Guardians Of The Galaxy proving to be one of the biggest films of the year, there are whispers beginning to circulate that Guardians co-star Dave Bautista may be appearing in his character of Drax The Destroyer for the superhero mashup threequel.

Wrestling site PW Mania is reporting from unnamed sources that –

Marvel Studios are currently restructuring his contract that will likely see him get more money due to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. This will also lock Batista in for a number of other Marvel movies. Batista is slated for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as well as the 3rd Avengers movie, where he will have a significant role.

If any or all of this were true, it would come as no surprise that Marvel would be looking at including Drax in the lineup for Avengers 3. Bautista’s alien warrior character has a loon, antagonistic history with the villain Thanos, one of the key badguys in Guardians Of The Galaxy and who, according to all indications seen in Marvel’s various films so far, will be the big bad that the Avengers will be squaring off against in Avengers 3. It makes sense that Drax would show up for that tussle, probably with a portion of Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, already announced for a July 28, 2017 release, serving as the bridge between the two.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 Will Again “Alter The Universe”

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which just hit home video today, shook-up the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a rather surprising way, the fallout of which we’ve only glimpsed on the televisions series Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. but will probably see play out over the next several films from the studio. Right now, though, plans are well underway for the third Captain America movie, which is scheduled to hit theaters on May 6, 2016, and it sounds like it may be another game-changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Speaking with Crave Online, Winter Soldier and Captain America 3 directors Joe and Anthony Russo tipped a little bit of information as to what they have in store for the threequel. According to brother Joe –

If you’ve been talking to Kevin [Feige, President of Marvel Studios] the title has been in place probably for ten years in his brain. It’s all part of the road map that he’s laid out, and it’s all part of the bigger plan… I think the way Kevin does it is there are big pieces that he knows he wants to build towards, but the way that you get there is open to interpretation and improv a little bit. That’s defined by who gets involved with the project, the writers and directors involved in the project. The big thing we knew we had to deal with in Cap 2 was the fall of Hydra. Similarly there is a very, very big idea at the center of Cap 3. But how we get there is all up to us.I think the way Kevin does it is there are big pieces that he knows he wants to build towards, but the way that you get there is open to interpretation and improv a little bit. That’s defined by who gets involved with the project, the writers and directors involved in the project. The big thing we knew we had to deal with in Cap 2 was the fall of Hydra. Similarly there is a very, very big idea at the center of Cap 3. But how we get there is all up to us.

Joe Russo further went on to say that while they have free reign with many of the elements in the story, they are still given “just one big idea that alters the universe as a whole in some way… That’s the case with Cap 3.”

There are decades of great Captain America stories out there. Which one or ones do you think will be used for Cap 3?

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Is Warners Developing A LEGION OF SUPERHEROES Film?

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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With Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy being one of the year’s top grossing hits, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that that other studios would be looking at developing their own comic book-based, space operas. And fortunately for Warner Brothers, they have such a property in DC Comics’s Legion Of Super Heroes. And according to Latino Review, Warners is doing just that, going out to writers and agents, looking for the right pitch to develop into a film.

As we noted, this isn’t surprising news and pretty much a no-brainer, so whether Latino Review’s source is legit or whether the site is just taking a flier with an educated guess, this is probably actually happening. But with Warner staking out nine release dates over the next several years for superhero films, I a sure that they are looking at a number of different properties to fill those slots. It remains to be see if the Legion will pass the muster.

For the uninitiated, the Legion of Superheroes is a futuristic variation on DC’s Justice League. Set in the 30th century, it features a group of teenaged superheroes from various worlds who have come together to defend the galaxy from a variety of threats. It has been an ongoing franchise for the comics publisher since their introduction in 1958. While they are a well-known group within comics fan circles, even with a short-lived cartoon series, the group is a fairly unknown commodity amongst the general public.

Kind of like the Guardians Of The Galaxy, huhn?

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Bill Murray Suggests Some Female GHOSTBUSTERS Replacements

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Rich Drees

BillMurrayGhostbustersThis weekend I managed to catch up with the 30th anniversary Ghostbusters re-release that is currently in theaters. As I sat in the dark, munching popcorn to keep myself from reciting dialogue along with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and the rest, I found myself once again admiring the lightening-in-a-bottle chemistry between the leads and thinking that with co-star Harold Ramis’ passing earlier this year and Murray’s ongoing reluctance to return for a third film, any type of follow up would be a fool’s errand, even as much as I had been hoping to see one materialize over these past several years when it was a distinct possibility.

Bill Murray, though, seems to think that rebooting the franchise may be a good idea and as he has given some though to the current reports that Sony wants to make the series a vehicle for an all-female ensemble. Speaking to the press at the Toronto International Film Festival, he sounded downright enthusiastic –

I would go to that movie, and they’d probably have better outfits, too.

Murray has also given some thought as to whom he might like to see in those better outfits.

Melissa [McCarthy, his co-star in the upcoming St. Vincent]would be a spectacular Ghostbuster. And Kristen Wiig is so funny — God, she’s funny! I like this girl Linda Cardellini (Mad Men) a lot. And Emma Stone is funny. There are some funny girls out there.

Admittedly, that is a good group of funny ladies, and they might be able to generate a good chemistry between themselves. McCarthy and Wiig have already shown that they work well together when they co-starred in Bridesmaids. And another good sign is that film was directed by Paul Feige, who is reportedly being talked with to helm this film. But I still think we would be better served by maybe giving those talented ladies their own, original vehicle to shine.

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George Clooney Directing Drama About UK Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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It seems that you can’t turn on a news program this week without coming across some discussion about the most recent incident of private photos being stolen from their phones, so it is a rather surreptitious timing that Sony Pictures is announcing that George Clooney will be directing a film about a different phone hacking story.

The story that Clooney will be telling is also ripped from the news headlines, though from a few years back. It is the phone hacking scandal that closed down the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Of The World tabloid after it was revealed that the paper had been hacking into the cell phones of elected officials and celebrities. A further incident in which reporters for the paper hacked into the phone of a missing teenaged girl hampered the police investigation into her disappearance.

The film, which will be titled Hack Attack, will be an adaptation of journalist Nick Davies’ book that was the end result of six years of investigation.

Clooney, whose father Nick Clooney was a one-time journalist, explained his interest in the project to Variety

This has all the elements – lying, corruption, blackmail – at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London… And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.

Clooney is no stranger to real-life tales about the media. His 2005 film Good Night, And Good Luck dealt with newscaster Edward R. Murrow’s crusade against the fear-mongering Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.

Shooting is scheduled to start next year.

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Joe Dante Not Involved With New GREMLINS Projects

Posted on 03 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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A year ago came word that Warner Brothers was looking at bringing director Joe Dante’s classic Gremlins back to audiences with a remake of the 1980s horror comedy. Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg were attached to produce the new version.

And then came silence… There was no further word on the project, not even if there had been a writer brought aboard. And if you’re looking for someone to ask what is going on with the Gremlins reboot, don’t ask franchise creator Dante, because he is not involved.

Speaking with IndieWire, Dante explained he is out of the loop on any potential new Gremlins project –

I am not involved with it. It’s something that we hear about every six months for the past five to ten years. I know there have been many attempts to do it. It’s tricky because the rights are jointly owned by Warner Bros and [Steven Spielberg’s] Amblin, so you’ve got to jump through two hurdles to get your idea approved.

Dante also went on to state that this is not the first time that the studio has tried to remake his film and that all the previous attempts have stalled for the same reason.

I know a lot of very well known people have come up with ideas for another ‘Gremlins’ movie and not of them have gone. I do know, however, that there’s a script being written now and the tricky thing is that I’m not sure that the people making the movie now understand what the original appeal was of the first movie, which was not beloved by the studio until it started making money.

When they started making a sequel, they didn’t understand what we had done on the original to make it successful. So they hired me to come back and make the sequel. Because nobody understood it. So it will be very interesting to see what they come up with.

Can Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg succeed where others stumbled? We’ll be watching, but I would like to hear an explanation for why no one has reached out to Dante yet.

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Warners Registers Four URLs For Superhero Films

Posted on 03 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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Warner Brothers have been very sush-sush about their plans for their superhero films post 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. We think we know what they have in store, but that is just supposition right now. And that supposition just got a little more evidence supporting it.

According to the folks over at Tech Times, the studio has just registered the following domains –

  • JusticeLeagueFilm.com
  • ShazamMovie.com
  • WonderWomanTheMovie.com
  • AquamanMovie.com

Hardly the move of a studio not planning on making those films, is it?

Currently, the domains redirect to Warner Brothers main webpage, so that is a good indication that they are legit registers and not someone trying to squat on the domains in advance of the studio trying to acquire them for themselves.

We’ve already known that the studio has cast Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa to appear in Batman V Superman as Wonder Woman and Aquaman respectively, so it makes sense that their would be solo films in development. And it has all but officially been announced that there will be a Justice League film.

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