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Scarlett Johansson Would Like To Do A BLACK WIDOW Solo Movie

Posted on 16 April 2015 by Rich Drees


Marvel Studios has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to their superhero characters that could carry their own films. The studio has done such a good job at fleshing out many of the supporting superhero characters in their films that fans are eager to see them strut their stuff by headlining their own features. But with the studio having announced their plans through 2019, it doesn’t look as if the studio is going to be capitalizing on that desire any time soon. And while fans are wondering if they’ll be seeing the likes of Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury or the Falcon (let alone the Hulk) in their own solo film, so are some of the actors who play those characters.

Speaking with Collider, Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow herself, certainly argued the case for a solo Black Widow movie –

I think that there’s room for a standalone movie. The character has a really rich origin story and I’ve been really fortunate to kind of place all these layers on top of one another and kind of build up this character to this point where I think I can now start to peel them away and reveal different sides of her and really focus on—I think I’ve been able to grow with the character, the character’s been able to grow with me.

Her dilemma that she faces it’s a deeply personal one, she has this great, huge, epic kind of calling and now is suddenly going, ‘Wait a minute. I have this epic calling, but I wanna make a choice for myself. I feel like I’ve put in the hours, I should be able to make active choices’ and she inevitably chooses the heroic path and kind of puts her own personal desires and needs aside. Those are things that kind of butt up against each other and interesting things happen when you have a character that’s pulled in many different directions and in my mind there’s room for plenty more Black Widow and certainly more—I think I could see her in a standalone film.

I’ve spoken to [Marvel Studios chief] Kevin [Feige] about it. I mean, of course, of course we’ve had that conversation before, and I think Kevin would also like to see a standalone film. I think I can speak for him and say that. That’s all, really. Right now I think this character is used well in this part of the universe, but I think that Kevin—I mean, we’ve talked about it and we both share similar vision for what could be a standalone series.

As we’ve seen before, although Marvel has a pretty strong sense as to where there films are heading story-wise, they do allow for some flexibility to those plans before they are announced. Johansson notes that plans for her character mutated (if we can use that word for a non-X-Men franchise character) as the public responded to her appearance in first Iron Man 2 and then The Avengers. It was her performance there, under writer/director Joss Whedon, known for writing strong, layered female characters, that lead her character to practically having second billing alongside Captain America (Chris Evans) for 2013’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

My contract has changed. Marvel and myself didn’t really know how the fans were gonna react to Black Widow the first time and how she was gonna be—they couldn’t anticipate how they would want to use her or if they would want to use her. I mean we invested in that character, but the audience had a great reaction to the character, which has been so awesome. For instance, I wasn’t contracted into doing Cap movies, but that storyline worked out so well I kind of branched off and I found myself in that standalone movie. My contract is kind of mutating, I guess [laughs] or morphed to fit the demand of the character.

Could that contract morph into one that includes a feature solo film? We’ll see.

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FLETCH Reboot Moves From Warner Brothers To Relativity

Posted on 16 April 2015 by Rich Drees


Warner Brothers is out of the Fletch business but Relativity Studios is now in the Fletch business. The Tracking Board is reporting that the new attempt to bring author Gregory McDonald’s wisecracking detective back to the big screen has changed hands. Warners had picked up the movie rights to the twelve book series in 2011.

Previously, Chevy Chase headlined two Fletch films – the original Fletch (1985) and 1989’s Fletch Lives.

The project, currently titled Fletch Won, has been in development for a number of years. Previously, Kevin Smith, a self-avowed fan of McDonald’s Fletch books, had tried unsuccessfully to bring the series to the big screen with Jason Lee in the lead. That attempt fell apart when Smith and studio boss Harvey Weinstein couldn’t come to terms over Lee’s casting, the story of which Smith tells here. Bill Lawrence, creator of the television series Scrubs. Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink also took a stab at a script though that went nowhere as well. When Warners purchased the rights to the books they first set Seinfeld writer-producer David Mandel to the task of adaptation.

Currently, Jason Sudeikis is attached to star.

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Fox Interested In Matthew Vaughn Directing FLASH GORDON

Posted on 15 April 2015 by Rich Drees

matthew-vaughn-lexiconTwentieth Century Fox is looking to have Matthew Vaughn helm their in-development adaptation of the classic comic strip hero Flash Gordon.

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the studio is hoping that the Kingsman: The Secret Service director will take the reins of the film being developed by producers John Davis (Predator) and George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) and writers J D Payne and Patrick McKay (Star Trek 3).

If Vaughn signs on, this would make the fifth comics-based property in a row for the director, starting with 2007’s Stardust and continuing through 2010’s Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class (2011) and Kingsman. With Kingsman being a surprise hit for the director, making $392 million worldwide off a lean budget of $82 million, it is not surprising that studios are eyeing him to direct a number of projects that they want to get up on the big screen.

As I have enjoyed Vaughn’s work to varying degrees so far, I want to be cautiously optimistic at this news. But I am a big fan of the 1980 version of Flash Gordon directed by Mike Hodges. The film is probably best remembered for its throwback campy tone, a vibe similar to what Vaughn achieved with Kingsman. Hopefully, Fox isn’t looking to Vaughn to replicate that tone in the new film. What Hodges did was capture lightening in a bottle, and we know how hard it is to try and recreate a previous film’s tone. (Yeah, Superman Returns and Bryan Singer, I’m looking at you…)

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Too Early To Talk CAPTAIN MARVEL? Never!

Posted on 14 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

carol_danversEven though her film is four years away and there are nine other Marvel films between now and then–including a sequel to a film that has yet to come out–people just can’t stop talking about Captain Marvel.

Of course, talking about one of Marvel’s premiere female heroes is nothing new. Rumors have been circulating for months that Carol Danvers’ alter ego would be making an appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If the word coming out from those who have already seen the film are any indication, the character is not in the final film. But how close did Captain Marvel get to being in the movie? According to Kevin Feige by way of Badass Digest, pretty darn close.

Captain Marvel appeared in early drafts of the script, but only as a cameo. She was supposed to fly in at the end of the film to join the Avengers team, and made it as far as the FX planning stage of filming before being cut. Why was she cut? Marvel thought being introduced in such a way would be sort of anticlimatic for a character they were building a feature around, and they decided to have her be fully introduced in her own film.

LeFauvre and PerlmanSpeaking of her own film, Marvel has chosen two screenwriters to work on it–Inside Out scribe Meg LeFauve and Guardians of the Galaxy writer Nicole Perlman. The Hollywood Reporter states that each writer came in with their own treatment for the film and Marvel like them both. Instead of choosing one or the other, Marvel asked the writers to work together to mesh their two versions into one film.

Captain Marvel is set to open on November 2, 2018.

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Olivia Munn Cast As Psylocke In X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Posted on 13 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

Olivia Munn-mortecaiWhile a good number of people might know her as the woman who sexily ate hot dogs suspended from the ceiling or jumped into a huge pie crust filled with chocolate pudding while wearing a maid’s outfit, Olivia Munn has carved out a serious acting career since she left Attack of the Show. That career has led her to stepping into the spandex of one of the most popular X-Men in X-Men: Apocalypse. Munn has been cast as Betsy Braddock, aka Psylocke, the telepathic ninja mutant co-created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.

Telepathic ninja mutant? Yes. And that description only scratches the surface of the complex origins of the character.

Psylocke_comic versionClaremont and Trimpe created Braddock to be a supporting character in the Marvek UK comic, Captain Britain, writing her into continuity as the twin sister of the titular hero.

Claremont introduced Betsy to American audiences in New Mutants Annual #2, and soon made her part of the X-Men. But her popularity didn’t really take off until a storyline where here consciousness was swapped into the body of a Japanese assassin named Kwannon. The new status quo, aided by characterization added by Claremont, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri and others, made her one of the breakthrough characters to come out of the mutant books in the 1990s.

At the height of her popularity, Psylocke’s main power was telepathy, which showed itself in the form of a “psychic blade” that extended from the back of her fist. Her new body gifted her with the skills and talents of the ninja, and she eventually gained the power to teleport amongst the shadows.

uxm 509If you had a hard time understanding all of that, don’t worry. It’s dubious little, if any, of that backstory will make it into the films.

This will mark the second appearance of Psylocke in Fox’s X-Franchise. The character, portrayed by Meiling Melancon,  appeared as one of the cadre of mutants Magneto led in X-Men: The Last Stand. If you missed her in that film, it was probably the part of the film where you blinked. The lackluster showing in that film didn’t sit well with fans.

Thankfully, Bryan Singer insured that X-Men: Days of Future Past eradicated X-Men: The Last Stand from the film’s continuity line. Psylocke isn’t the only character from that film that will be reinvented in X-Men: Apocalypse. Angel, who was played by Ben Foster in the 2006 film, will return in the new film, portrayed by British actor Ben Hardy.

We don’t know exactly how big of an appearance Psylocke will be making in this film, but Olivia Munn has received some good notices for her work in The Newsroom and Magic Mike, so the role should be larger than it was in 2006. This marks the second comic book film for Munn, as she appeared in a small role in Iron Man 2.

Via: Coming Soon.


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Michell MacLaren Departs WONDER WOMAN Director’s Chair

Posted on 13 April 2015 by Rich Drees


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.


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Mark Ruffalo Explains Why There Have Been No Further HULK Solo Movies

Posted on 13 April 2015 by Rich Drees

AVENGERS Trailer 2-Hulk

After a couple of false starts, it seems as if Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation of comic book scientist Bruce Banner and his gamma radiation-powered alter ego the Hulk wast the one that finally resonated with audiences when he appeared in 2012’s The Avengers. Speculation ran hot that Ruffalo would headline his own solo Hulk film at some point in the future, so it seemed puzzling that as Marvel continued to roll out their plans for their superhero films through 2019 there wasn’t such a project announced. During this past weekend’s bug Avengers: Age Of Ultron junket, Ruffalo explained why there wasn’t and it comes down to an old distribution deal.

Speaking with Collider, Ruffalo confirmed that he still has four films left to his Marvel Studios contract. He doesn’t know which films they will be just yet, but he does seem dubious that one of them will be a solo feature for himself.

As far as a Hulk movie, a standalone Hulk movie, Marvel doesn’t really have the rights to that yet. That’s still Universal’s property, so there’s that issue. That’s a big impediment to moving forward with that. Now I don’t think that’s insurmountable, by the way, but I don’t know where it’s going from here for me.

I am going to go out on a limb here and interpret Ruffalo’s comments to mean that Marvel Studios/Disney probably doesn’t have the rights to distribute a Hulk solo film. Remember back to the first wave of Marvel Studios films – Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger – that lead up to The Avengers. All of those films, with the exception of Incredible Hulk, were released through Paramount. When Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment, and Marvel Studios was part of that package at the of 2009, Disney announced that the distribution deals currently in place between Marvel and its previous studio partners would stay where they were until they expired. In July 2013, the distribution rights for Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America all reverted from Paramount to Marvel/ Disney.

Conceivably, this is probably a very frustrating state of affairs for Marvel, as a new Hulk film is something that fans would welcome. I would speculate that even though they could produce one, there is someone in the hierarchy there that would prefer not to be sharing profits with Columbia as the distribution deal undoubtedly calls for. (Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter would be my guess.) This would be why we are not seeing any ongoing story lines being developed for Ruffalo’s Banner that would play into a solo film during this current phase of films which ends later this summer with Ant-Man, nor in any of the announced films for Phase Three.

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KINGSMAN’s Sofia Boutella Lands STAR TREK 3 Lead

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Rich Drees


Sofia Boutella has signed to take a lead role in Paramount’s upcoming Star Trek 3. The Algerian-born actress has already made an impression earlier this year as the blade-footed assassin in Matthew Vaughn’s The Kingsmen. This is the first role that the actress has landed since The Kingsmen‘s premier and the first casting announcement for the upcoming installment in the franchise.

Given the usual secretive nature surrounding the Star Trek franchise, it should come as no surprise that there is absolutely no clue as to the nature of the role that Boutella will be playing. She could be human, Vulcan, Klingon or something else.

What we do know is that Justin Lin will be helming the film and working from a screenplay by Doug Jung and cast member Simon Pegg. It is expected that the rest of the franchise’s original cast – Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto,Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Zoe Saldana – will return.

Via Deadline.

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Scarlett Johansson Courted For Lead In CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON Remake

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Rich Drees


Scarlett Johansson is increasingly becoming the go-to girl for genre projects. Outside of her ongoing role as Black Widow in Marvel Studio’s Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America films, she has appeared in the science-fiction action pic Lucy, the science-fiction thriller Under The Skin and the comic book adaptations The Spirit and Ghost World in addition to the upcoming live-action adaptation of the classic anime Ghost In The Shell. And it appears as if she may be adding another high-profile genre project to that list – Universal’s in development remake of The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

The Tracking Board is reporting that Johansson has been approached to take the lead in the remake of the studio’s classic 1954 monster movie. If the new version follows the original, this would make her Kay Lawrence, a scientist who is part of an expedition up the Amazon to search from a rumored creature that may provide valuable information for evolutionary theory.

This latest remake attempt by the studio is part of their overall plans for a extended cinematic universe connecting a number of Universal’s classic horror monster franchises. Last year’s Dracula Untold was the first installment with the studio lining up director Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy for June 24, 2016 with an Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film scheduled for April 27, 2017. If Universal is looking to plug Creature in there, they will need to get a move one. As of now, all the studio has is a screenplay that has been worked on by Jeff Blitz, Gary Ross, Tedi Sarafian and Paul Schering. Outside of Johansson, there has been no word on casting and there is no director hired. Producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan are currently overseeing Universal’s monster universe plans.

Directed by Jack Arnold, the original Creature From The Black Lagoon was the first in a trilogy that marked the last hurrah of the studio’s run of monster films. The studio has been trying to get a remake mounted since 1982 when John Landis was involved. Over the years John Carpenter, Gary Ross, Carl Rinsch, Breck Eisner and Guillermo Del Toro have all made an attempt to bring the Creature to the big screen but those version all failed to materialize for one reason or another.

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Brad Bird Writing INCREDIBLES 2

Posted on 09 April 2015 by Rich Drees


Although they built their reputation on bold original ideas for animated features, Pixar has been making more sequels these past few years than original films. And that has made me a little sad, as I think that the company is at its best when it is giving us something brand new rather than the same old same old. That said, though, I have been looking forward to director Brad Bird possibly returning to the world of superheroes that he created for 2004’s The Incredibles. And while he has been hinting that he has been toying with the idea of a followup to that film, Bird has finally made a concrete statement that he is actually getting to work on the project.

Speaking with NPR‘s Ask Me Another while promoting his upcoming Tomorrowland, Bird was asked about The Incredibles 2 and he gave this update –

It’s percolating… I’m just staring to write it, so we’ll see what happens.

Not much of an announcement but an announcement nonetheless. If anything, though, it does tell us that Bird, probably in conjunction of several of the other creative heads at Pixar, have settled on at least the rough outline of a story for the sequel. Obviously we don’t have any word of what that story may be, but as long as Bird hasn’t changed his mind since last year, Mr. Incredible’s best superhero friend Frozone will be appearing in the film.

So when will we actually get to see The Incredibles 2? Well, with the completion of Tomorrowland, Bird’s schedule is pretty open with no other announced projects. Pixar’s release schedule is set for the two years with Inside Out coming on June 19, 2015, The Good Dinosaur on November 25, 2015, Finding Dory on June 17, 2016 and Toy Story 4 on June 16, 2017. The studio also has two release dates announced with no titles attached – November 22, 2017 and June 15, 2018. Seems like one of those spots would be a good fit.

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