You know that Alien prequel director Ridley Scott was working on? It’s no longer a prequel to the popular science-fiction/horror franchise. Instead, it will be its own contained film entitled Prometheus according to an announcement from Twentieth Century Fox late yesterday afternoon.
The film will mark Scott’s return to the science-fiction genre for the first time since his ground breaking 1982 film Blade Runner. Scott has already cast Noomi Repace for one of the five major roles in the film.
Although Fox was (and probably still is) looking for a way to energize the franchise after the moribund reception to the two crossover films with the studio’s Predators films, they have allowed Scott and writer Damon Lindelof to pursue their muse on the project, which lead them away from Alien towards a new original idea.
While Alien was indeed the jumping off point for this project, out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology and universe in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the singular tale I’d been searching for, and finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.
Personally, I think that this is great news. Part of the effectiveness of the Alien series is the unknown origins of the deadly, unrelenting, unstoppable aliens themselves. To delve into that mystery and provide answers, as was initially promised when the project was first announced, just robs the films of their power at generating fear of the unknown. Also, we now have Scott working on a new, original science-fiction tale, and seeing as how he has already produced two classics in his two times at-bat in the genre, odds are better than just good that that’s what’s in store for us this time as well.
One question that fans have been asking about the upcoming convergence of Marvel Studios superhero franchises into The Avengers is exactly against who will Iron Man, Thor and Captain America (and maybe some others) be squaring off? Conventional wisdom has gone with the thought that the summer 2012 film would have a storyline similar to the 1963 first issue of the long-running comic series and feature Loki (to be played by Tom Middleton in next summer’s Thor film) tricking the Hulk (the CGI alterego of Edward Norton), leading to the other heroes to band together to stop him.
But it might be that Marvel is planning a twist on that story for the big screen with the addition of the shape-shifting aliens known as the Skrulls.
Comic Book Movies is claiming that two anonymous sources have told them that is the case, stating -
[T]he Skrulls will ‘brainwash’ and use the Hulk in a similar fashion Loki did in the comics. Don’t expect a full on alien invasion, though; that will have to wait for a sequel. The Skrulls’ role will be largely clandestine, similar to the way S.H.I.E.L.D. operates.
The site goes on to state that the Skrulls won’t be the only alien race making an appearance in the film, but that their ancestral enemies, the alien warrior race known as the Kree. This would fit nicely with a rumor floating around that 90210 actor Kevin Pennington has been secretly cast as in The Avengers as the Kree warrior Noh-Var, who has functioned as the superhero Marvel Boy in the comics universe.
If true, the one thing about this news that surprises me is, is that the Skrulls weren’t part of the rights package for the Marvel Comics superhero team The Fantastic Four purchased by Twentieth Century Fox. Although the Skrulls have shown up in virtually every corner of the Marvel Universe, including being the main baddies in the recent Secret Invasion company-wide event, they had their first appearance in an early issue of the that team’s book much like the second Fantastic Four film menace Galactus first appeared in their comic first before going on to appear in other many major books and storylines.
The acid test for this rumor right now is whether this meets studio honcho Kevin Feige’s philosophy that each movie should only ask its audience to make one major suspension of disbelief. In the first Iron Man, Feige stated that the audience was asked to believe that a guy could build an armored weapons suit from some very crude components. For Incredible Hulk is was that a man could be mutated in to a monster and then change back to human form again by radiation.
So is The Avengers film’s big suspension of disbelief alien shape-shifters? In the comics, the long standing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree has been the backdrop for many Avengers stories and certainly kicks the Marvel Cinematic Universe on to a much broader canvas for the wave films being considered to follow The Avengers. We’ll eventually find out on May 4, 2012, but in the meantime take this story with the appropriately sized pinch of salt.
One of the saddest movies I’ve ever seen is the documentary Lost In LaMancha, which chronicles the disastrous week that was director Terry Gilliam’s attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam and his crew struggled to get the film made but bad weather, uncooperative nearby air force bases and a star suffering from a double herniated disc all conspired against them, resulting in the film’s financiers pulling the plug on the project just days after it had started. (Gilliam’s Director of Photography Nicola Pecorini has posted edited together footage of what they did manage to shoot over on his website.)
But now, Gilliam is finally gearing up to give the film a second shot. Unfortunately original stars Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort are unable to come back, due to Rochefort’s advancing age and Depp’s busy work schedule. It has already been announced that Robert Duvall is stepping in to Rochefort’s role of Quixote. Now Empire has learned that Gilliam has cast Ewan McGregor into Depp’s role as a man from the present tossed backwards in time and mistaken by Quixote for his loyal retainer Sancho Panza.
Gilliam had this to say about his new cast -
Robert Duvall is one of the greats, no question – and he can ride a horse! And Ewan has gotten better over the years. He was wonderful in The Ghost. There’s a lot of colours to Ewan that he’s not been showing recently and it’s time for him to show them again. He’s got a great sense of humour and he’s a wonderful actor. He’s wonderfully boyish and can be charming – when he flashes a smile, everybody melts. He wields it like a nuclear bomb!
Following the dissolution of the first attempt to make the film, Gilliam had to wrestle with insurance company lawyers for a few years before he regained the rights to the script to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in July 2006. Reportedly Gilliam and and his co-writer Tony Grisoni have gone back and done some revisions to the screenplay, though presumably the original’s spine remains intact.
Gilliam is set to begin production on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote this September for a release sometime in 2011.
Warner Brothers upcoming DC Comics adaptation Green Lantern is chock full of characters who would definitely stand out in a crowd. Most of them are alien members of the inter-galactic police force that star Ryan Reynolds will find himself recruited in to. But one will be Hector Hammond, a scientist who, after exposure to the radioactive wreckage of a spaceship, gets incredible psychic powers and an enlarged cranium to go with them.
Below, you can see the first picture of Peter Sarsgaard in makeup, but not costume, as Hammond on location where the film is hooting in New Orleans. OK, it’s a grainy paparazzi pic, but I think it looks pretty good. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the makeup was going to be augmented through CGI, as we already know that that is how they’ll be realizing Green Lantern’s uniform.
Predators (July 7) – The first Predator was the perfect 1980’s horror/action film. It had a goodly amount of action, some genuine scared, and just enough campy fun to make it memorable. How many people out there haven’t said “I ain’t got time to bleed” after seeing the film? The sequel was best remembered for the director’s meltdown on Good Morning Americaand the less said about Aliens vs. Predators, the better.
So, if there was ever a film franchise in need if a makeover, it would be this one. This film will ignore Predator 2 and the AVP films and be considered a sequel to the first film. In this film, the Predators kidnap the most dangerous humans they can find, bring them to their home planet and hunt them there. – William Gatevackes
Inception (July 16) -
Do you ever wonder what the acclaimed director of the new Batman franchise does in his free time? Well, judging from past releases like 2006’s “magical” film, The Prestige, and the noir-ish Insomnia (2002), I’d say he likes toying with our conscious minds. But this year he’s thrown a curve, needling into our subconscious tendencies with the release of Inception. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the first trailer – ominous music punctuating surreal scenes of a world folding into itself while this one or that one fights or runs, while no one speaks a word. If you’re like me, you were sitting there wondering, “Hey, Christopher, buddy, whatever it is you’re doing this time, you’ve got my attention.”
At first glance, it looks and feels like The Matrix coupled with Dark City and out sprung this harried bastard child. So, just what the heck is Christopher Nolan doing to us? Early buzz suggests that Inception is not of this world; its setting evolves, revolves, and devolves in the dream world. Not too much has been revealed beyond that, however, given that he likes to torture his characters with some type of psychological handicap, I think we can expect much of the same. But I’m not labeling Nolan as a pedestrian, formulaic director, far from it. With Inception, Nolan hints at justly entering character’s heads to confuse their perceptions, fiddle with their understanding of reality and then expertly turns to manipulating his audiences with the same. Where the Wachowski brothers tried and failed when they stretched The Matrix trilogy, I’m enthusiastic for Inception to triumph. – John Gibbon
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (July 16) – Generally speaking, I don’t gravitate towards films in the fantasy genre. Nor will I drop everything to see a new movie starring Nicholas Cage. In fact, just seeing Cage in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice trailer was enough to turn me off, but then I saw who Cage was co-starring with and I perked up immediately. It was Jay Baruchel, a name that you might not recognize.
Jay Baruchel is a young actor from Canada associated with that whole Seth Rogen-Jonah Hill-Jason Segal group, but he’s the guy to watch. Previously, he’s played in dumb comedies like Knocked Up where he was one of the loser roommates and I thought he was he was funny in the mediocre Fanboys, but there is something about Jay Baruchel I like. I think he will mature into a world class talent.
I first noticed him in Million Dollar Baby as Danger Barch, the slightly retarded boxer who was hopeless in the ring. The role could have been milked for cheap sympathy, yet Baruchel avoided that trap by giving Danger a fatal sense of pride, making him one of the more interesting characters in the film. But it was in Tropic Thunder that I really saw his talent. As Kevin Sandusky, the struggling young actor who happened to be the only one who had actually read the script, he stole the film away from his mugging co-stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.
Jay Baruchel also has the kind of looks that will last. Twenty years from now, Jay Baruchel will still look good, long after Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have lost their boyish charm. So, that’s why I’m looking forward to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice - Michael McGonigle
Dinner For Schmucks (July 23) -Paul Rudd and Steve Carell have a talent for being extremely likeable even when playing a jerk. This makes the inevitable turn from jerk to nice guy all that more believable, like Rudd’s in Role Models and Carell’s from Bruce Almighty to Evan Almighty.
The pair reunites for the third time (after Anchorman and 40-Year Old Virgin) for this remake of a French film. Rudd plays an executive up for a promotion. However, the only way he could win the promotion if he brings the dorkiest guest to a dinner party at his boss’ house. Since Carell’s character recreates famous paintings with taxidermy animal, Rudd character thinks he has a winner until he develops a conscience about the whole thing.
These two are pretty much comedy gold, and seeing them in this concept should be a great way to spend a summer day. – WG
Salt (July 23) -
The espionage thriller Salt was originally set to star Tom Cruise, when the actor dropped out with all involved citing the usual euphemistic “creative differences.” A search for a replacement ensued and once found, a quick rewrite changed Edwin Salt to Evelyn and placed Angelina Jolie’s name on the marquee. If the trailer is any indication, it certainly doesn’t look like they watered down the action any to accommodate the gender switch of the lead character.
More importantly, though, in a summer full of sequels and adaptations of books, comics and video games, Salt is one of the few films this season that is based on an original story. As there are those in some quarters who argue that gone are the days when a film could open based on just its star power alone rather than having the built-in audience that a sequel, remake or adaptation brings with it, Salt might just prove a strong counter-argument. – RD
Speculation as to what JJ Abram’s top secret project Super 8 continues to swirl around the internet. When the news first broke earlier this week, many thought that this could be a sequel to Cloverfield, a school of thought that was further strengthened by a report from Vulture that “absolutely connected to 2008′s Cloverfield.”
Well, Vulture managed to catch up with Abrams himself and asked him point blank if it was indeed the case that Super 8 was a prequel/sequel to the 2008 monster film. While Abrams complimented them on their reportage, he shot down the story they ran in no uncertain terms, saying that Super 8 “has nothing whatsoever to do with Cloverfield.”
So we do believe Abrams or is he lying to help preserve the surprise of what Super 8 actually is? Who knows? I somehow don’t think we’ll even get a definitive answer when the trailer debuts this weekend in front of Iron Man 2. No matter how the final film turns out, at least the promotion will keep us entertained for a while.
Remember the buzz when the first trailer for the Abrams-produced Cloverfield premiered in front of Transformers? Michael Bay’s big screen adaptation of the popular toy line and cartoon series was nearly eclipsed by talk of what that short, two-minute clip could be about. Not even those of us who trawl the `net for film news knew much about the project beyond some vague rumors.
This weekend Abrams will try to generate some intense buzz with the trailer for a new project Super 8. Drew McWeeny over at HitFix broke the news yesterday that a trailer with this title will be attached to all prints of Iron Man 2, opening this Friday. Studio Paramount Pictures is going so far to insure that no one sees the trailer before the weekend that they have shipped the short reel in an electronically locked canister along with the film’s first and final reels. Theaters won’t be able to open these canisters until Thursday at 3 pm (Eastern), allowing little time for projectionists to build the prints for late Thursday night screenings.
Allegedly, Abrams told the crew who worked on the trailer, there hasn’t been a frame of the actual film shot yet, that it was for a remake of a teen sex comedy, but does something like that really demand this level of security?
So, what is it about?
Damned if we know for sure.
(Possible spoilers to follow.)
There is some speculation that this could be a follow up to Cloverfield. Super 8 is the name given to the film format used in old home movie cameras, so perhaps, these theories suggest, this is a prequel to the told-through-hand-held-video cameras Cloverfield. But was it possible that Super 8 is a fake title, purposely designed to suggest the Cloverfield prequel possibility, deflecting speculation from what it really is? Many people thought that of Cloverfield in the early days of the lead up to that film’s release.
Late yesterday afternoon, Vulture managed to get some additional information on the mysterious project. They state that their sources confirm “that Super 8 is absolutely connected to 2008′s Cloverfield (possibly a prequel, but not a sequel).” -
Insiders familiar with the trailer tell us that it shows a bunch of kids who are shooting a movie with a Super 8 camera in the seventies or eighties. When they develop the film, they notice that there’s an alien creature in the frame.
Of course, with the level of security, Vulture could have been fed a purposely created story to throw people off the trail as well.
At this point, I realize that my own speculation is starting to sound tinged with a bit of “Trust no one!” paranoia. And I suppose that Abrams is probably sitting back, enjoying the fact that he has the internet tied up in knots trying to figure this puzzle out. I suspect we’ll have at least some more puzzle pieces Friday.
After much speculation, and a fewfalsereports, director Steven Spielberg has finally picked his next film, an adaptation of the children’s novel War Horse. Written by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse follows the adventures of Joey, a farm horse who is sold by his owner to the British army for service on World War One’s Western Front.
Since the book is told in the first person and deals with Joey’s reactions to the horrors of war surrounding him and his longing to return home to his master, I have to admit a bit of disappointment over this choice, as it sounds like a variation on themes Spielberg already explored in Saving Private Ryan. Of course, a description of ET could be made to sound like a retread of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, so who knows?
Although the last Spielberg film we have seen was 2008′s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Spielberg has been spending much of the intervening time working on the motion capture animated film The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn due for release next year.
Spielberg had been circling a number of projects he has had in development, including his long-planned biopic of Abraham Lincoln, biopics of Martin Luther King Jr. and George Gershwin and adaptations of the books Flowers Of Algernon, The 39 Clues and author Michael Crichton’s last novel Pirate Latitudes.
War Horse is currently set to hit theaters on August 10, 2011.
One of the most anticipated comic book movies to be released this year, after Iron Man 2 and maybe Scott Pilgrim Saves The World has to be Jonah Hex. The trailer has just recently hit the web, and here it is for your viewing pleasure.
My verdict? A great 30 seconds makes way for needless and tacked on superpowers, pisspoor southern accents, and completely anachronistic guns. So, this film has gone from my “look forward” list to my “very worried about” list.
Angela Bassett has been cast in the already-in-production superhero film Green Lantern. She will be playing Amanda Waller, the head of the super top secret government organization code named Task Force X, but more informally known as the Suicide Squad. The Squad is a group of supervillains pressed into service on dangerous covert missions in order to shave time off of their prison sentences.
Warners is positioning Green Lantern as the first in a series of big screen adaptation of the various superhero characters available in DC Comics’ library which will eventually take the tent pole positions currently occupied by the soon to finish Harry Potter series. While there has been no official announcement, many fans have assumed that Warners will try to do something similar to what Marvel Studios is doing with their comic book films and try and interweave them into one continuity. While it would definitely feel similar to the way Marvel Studios is using the spy organization SHIELD as one of the links between their movies, I have to wonder if Warners is looking at using the character of Amanda Waller in a similar way. Although Waller’s character has appeared through out the DC Comics universe, she is not particularly identified with Green Lantern, making her appearance in the film seem unusual on the surface. Her inclusion would make more sense if the studio was setting the character up for additional appearances.
Green Lantern is currently shooting in New Orleans with Martin Campbell directing.