First, Entertainment Weekly broke the story that Shailine Woodley’s Mary Jane Watson would be cut from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, now they are telling us that an original film X-Man will spend the next film on the cutting room floor.
Bryan Singer spoke exclusively with the entertainment magazine and told them that a rescue sequence featuring Anna Paquin’s Rogue, Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman, Ian McKellen’s Magneto and Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier has been cut from X-Men: Days of Future Past, and, unfortunately, this was Paquin’s only scene in the film.
The cut had nothing to do with Paquin (“She was awesome in the sequence. She’s a brilliant actress. I would work with her in a heartbeat,” said Singer) and a lot to do will cutting unnecessary scenes to keep the film’s run time down. Singer said that the deleted scene would likely end up on the bonus features of the film’s home video release.
This would alleviate the need to explain how Rogue, who had her powers taken away in X-Men: The Last Stand, got her powers back. However, this raises the question as to what other character might not make the final cut.
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Brothers, 3,903 Theaters, 161 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Okay, Peter Jackson has gotten a lot of flack for making three films out of one book. I mean, the Lord of the Rings was three volumes, so three films was understood. But the Hobbit was only one. I’m not going to comment on that. I will say that it does take skill that even after cutting that one book up into three films, the second installment is over two and a half hours long. That is a real accomplishment. There’s got to be a lot of auxiliary material to bump the run time up that far.
Anyhow, we rejoin our merry band of adventurers as they reach the stronghold of the dragon Smaug. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) finally has a chance to do what he was hired to do. But facing off against an angry dragon will be a lot harder when Gandalf (Ian McKellen) goes missing.
That doesn’t seem like a lot of plot for two and a half hours. Well, they are introducing Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) into the narrative, two characters that didn’t appear in the original book. That’s got to add at least an hour. I guess the rest of the time will be taken up by walking through the beautiful New Zealand countryside.
2. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (Lionsgate, 2,194 Theaters,105 Minutes): Good lord.
Just when you thought the Madea movies, films built around the concept that a tall black man dressed up as a sassy female octogenarian is riotously funny, can’t get any worse, well, you get proven wrong. And all it took was four simple words: Larry the Cable Guy.
The plot…does anyone really need to know the plot? If you find Madea funny, two hours of her bagging groceries would be enough to get you into the theater. If you don’t, there’s no plot summary I could write that would get you into the theater.
Okay, here’s the plot. Madea joins her friend when she visits her daugher and her white relatives out in farm country. Cultures clash.
Between two Robert Downey Jr films and a pair of dueling television series that have reset the master detective in the modern age, there has been a lot of new spins on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories in the past couple of years. And there is another one on its way.
Ian McKellan, who co-stars in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films with the Dr. Watson of the BBC’s Sherlock series Martin Freeman, will be playing Holmes in director Bob Condon’s A Trick Of The Mind, an adaptation of the Holmes novel written by Mitch Cullin.
In screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the book, McKellan plays a retired Holmes, living peacefully in 1947 Sussex with his housekeeper and her amateur-sleuthing son. An unsolved mystery from half a century earlier still weighs heavily on Holmes’s mind and he sets out to finally solve it. I have to wonder if the pitch for this to the studio was “Sherlock Holmes meets The Bucket List.”
What is exciting about this news, though, is this re-teams McKellan and Condon, who each received Academy Award nominations for their work together on 1998’s Gods And Monsters. CAmeras are expected to roll on the project in the UK sometime next April with a projected release late in the year.
Here is the press release as put out by the production company.
TORONTO – Thursday 5 September 2013. AI Film, the production arm of the Icon UK Group owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, has announced it is financing and co-producing A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND to be directed by Oscar®winner Bill Condon and starring Ian McKellen in the lead role.
Set to film next April in the UK, the film will be produced by Anne Carey, producer of Anton Corbijn’s The American, through her new venture Archer Gray Productions, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films, producers of the Oscar®-winning British feature The King’s Speech, with Aviv Giladi, CEO of Icon/AI Film, and Len Blavatnik exec producing. Christine Langan, Head of BBC Films, is an exec producer on behalf of BBC Films which is also co-financing.
Based on a novel by Mitch Cullin, A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND, the screenplay is being adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher whose credits include The Duchess, Casanova and Stage Beauty.
In 1947, Sherlock Holmes, long retired, lives in a sleepy Sussex village with his housekeeper and her amateur-sleuthing son. But far from living out a peaceful retirement, he is haunted by an unsolved case from fifty years ago. He remembers only fragments: a confrontation with an angry husband, a secret bond with his beautiful but unstable wife.
With his legendary mental powers on the wane, and without his old sidekick Watson, Holmes is faced with the toughest case of his life – a case that might finally reveal to him the mysteries of the human heart.
A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND is the second time the director and actor have worked together. Gods and Monsters, which Condon wrote and directed, won the best screenplay American Academy® award for the filmmaker and a best actor nomination for McKellen.
Writer/director Condon, nominated by the Directors’ Guild of America for directing the critically acclaimed Dreamgirls which received two Oscar® awards and eight nominations, is in Toronto this week for the world premiere of his latest film The Fifth Estate about the rise and fall of Wikileaks and its fascinating founder Julian Assange played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Condon’s credits also include writing the Oscar® nominated screenplay for the best picture winner Chicago, writing and directing Kinsey for which he won the Directors’ Guild of Great Britain Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, and directing The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2, the final instalments in the worldwide blockbuster franchise.
Ian McKellen, a two-time Oscar® nominee (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gods and Monsters) and one of the world’s greatest actors on stage and screen will play Holmes. Further casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
Anne Carey says, “Mitch Cullin’s elegiac novel is not so much about solving a mystery, as it is about accepting life’s mysteries. I could not be more excited about the talent who have come together to make this film a reality.”
AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi says, “Bill Condon and Ian McKellen are a perfect match for this clever and intriguing project, the third on our current production slate. The next few months will be exciting as we move closer to shooting with our producer partners Anne Carey and Iain Canning.”
FilmNation Entertainment will handle international sales of the film.
A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND marks a stepping up in film production and investment for AI Film with three production announcements this summer. In Cannes Len Blavatnik announced the Icon production arm would be co-financing Martin Scorsese’s Silence with Emmett/Furla Films, Corsan Films and IM Global. Silence is set to shoot in Taiwan in July next year with Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe. AI Film is also co-financing and producing the spectacular musical event film chronicling the journey of pop music legend Elton John, Rocketman with Rocket Pictures and acquired for US distribution by FilmDistrict in June.
Icon /AI Film has also just seen Lee Daniels’ The Butler starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack and which it has co-financed break open at the US box office with a huge $27 million on its first weekend and has continued to lead the US box office with over $60 million in two weeks. Released by The Weinstein Company, the press forecasts the film should be in the frame for awards.
In a multi-part series, Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes will be tracing the history of comic book movies from the earliest days of the film serials to today’s big blockbusters and beyond. Along with the history lesson, Bill will be covering some of the most prominent comic book films over the years and why they were so special. Today, the first X-Men film enters its home stretch, but not without a lot of belt tightening.
The prospects of an X-Men film might have continued to be grim if it wasn’t for a cartoon.
Love the logos for the team members. You can tell which teammate had a comic book because their logos are far superior.
X-Men: The Animated Seriesdebuted on the Fox Television network with a sneak preview on October 31, 1992 and would earn a permanent spot on the network’s “Fox Kids” Saturday morning line-up the following January. It quickly became one of the most successful cartoons in that block of programming, and executives at 20th Century Fox began to realize the fan base the property had. The live-action film rights, after a brief dalliance with Columbia Pictures about that studio picking them up, were still available. So, in 1994, a year after the X-Men cartoon began its Saturday morning run on Fox’s TV network, their film studio picked up the live-action rights to the characters and the mutants began their inevitable march to the big screen.
Even though 20th Century Fox was the most financially secure company to own the rights to the X-Men film, budget concerns were still an issue. If you were to look at the various treatments that were proposed during the six years it took for Fox to bring the X-Men to the big screen, you can see a trend with each script or treatment—they kept getting cheaper and cheaper.
Andrew Kevin Walker was first tapped to write a script for the film in 1994. As you would expect from the writer of Se7en,this treatmentis rather dark. Mutants must register with the government or risk being hunted down and used in experiments to create a breed of super-soldiers. The X-Man Angel has his wings violently ripped off by Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member Sabretooth. And the X-Men not only have to face off against Magneto and his lackeys, but also the Federal government who attack the team with giant robots called Sentinels, familiar to anyone who has read the comics.
It’s easy to see why this treatment wasn’t chosen. While it would have made for an interesting film, it would have most likely set the record for the most expensive film ever made. In addition to the Sentinels, you had a cast that featured the original comic book X-Men (Cyclops, Beast, Jean Grey, Iceman and Angel) with, of course, Wolverine facing off against Magneto and his Brotherhood (Sabretooth, Toad, Blob and Juggernaut), scenes that took place in the X-Men’s Danger Room training area and a finale that featured Magneto and his group invading Manhattan, cutting it off from the rest of the U.S. (by the pricey CGI effects of destroying all bridges and flooding all tunnels leading into the island) to claim it as the mutant safe haven/homeland.
Two years later, author Michael Chabon was asked to write a treatment for the film.His versionincluded no super powered villains, but rather pit the X-Men against a shadowy, anti-mutant organization called The League of Gentlemen. Chabon focuses, of course, on Wolverine (who was being conditioned by the League to hunt down other mutants for them) and Jubilee (a popular character from the comics and the cartoon at the time whose parents played a role in the League’s actions). Chabon, makes the team an allegory for the closeted homosexual (a reoccurring theme of Chabon’s writing) in a rather ham-fisted way (Wolverine chastises the team for their reluctance to use their powers in public as them being “in the closet”). He also features the Legacy Virus, the AIDS-like disease that is fatal to mutants and mutants alone.
With the lack of any super powered villains and a climax that is not terribly filled with special effects,Chabon’s treatment would have been cheaper than Walker’s. However, his inclusion of characters such as the Beast and Nightcrawler and a scene with the Danger Room (seeing a trend?) encouraged producers to seek a cheaper option.
The quest for a cheaper X-Men film can be clearly seen in the scripts leading up to the final version. Even though the final screenplay was credited to David Hayter, there’s one fromFebruary 15, 1999by Ed Solomon and Christopher McQuarrie that is 90% of what you see on the screen (Why’d Hayter get the credit? Probably because he was the last person to work on it. Joss Whedon did a rewrite also, of which only a couple lines of dialogue remains. John Logan and James Shamus also took a crack on writing a script for the film. All that leads me to believe that Hayter, who had a cameo in the film, was Singer’s on-set writer to help make last minute changes, hence the credit). But tracing the changes from that draft, a draft fromFebruary 24, 1999revised by the two plus Tom DeSanto and director Bryan Singer and the final film shows a script that was changed less for coherence and more for saving a quick buck.
What changed? Well, in those two drafts above, Cyclops and Storm get scenes from their childhood right after Magneto’s. The Beast is a main character in the first draft, a supporting character in the second and is completely gone by the final film. The Blob was a member of the Brotherhood in the first two drafts and didn’t make the cut. Pyro was a main bad guy in these two drafts, fighting Jean and Cyclops at the Statue of Liberty. He did make the cut into the film, albeit in a cameo as a student at Xavier’s school. There is a scene in the train station and a scene in a shopping mall in these two drafts that were combined into one scene in the film. There is (surprise!) a Danger Room scene in the first draft. Also in the first draft, Senator Kelly arrives at the X-mansion via the toilet and not through the front door. And there is a full-on attack of the school by Magneto and Mystique in these early drafts, instead of it just being Mystique sneaking in to sabotage the Cerebro.
All these changes were put into effect to help X-Men reach a $75 million dollar budget, a figure that was shockingly low for a film of this type. To put the budget in perspective, the Mel Gibson comedy, What Women Want, had a budget only $5 million dollars less than the X-Men. The chintzy budget was one of the main reasons why there was so much negative buzz about the picture before its release. Another reason was the casting of the role of Wolverine.
Hindsight is 20/20, but, looking back, it is impossible to consider anyone else but Hugh Jackman playing the clawed Canadian. He completely owns the role. But he wasn’t the first choice. He wasn’t the second choice either. Heck, he was, at best, the eighth or ninth choice for the part.
Bryan Singer’s first choice was Russell Crowe, an intriguing choice but with a tight budget, the film couldn’t afford him and he wasn’t willing to settle for less. The studio wanted either Keanu Reeves (???) or Gary Sinese for the role. Aaron Eckhart, Edward Norton and Viggo Mortensen were also in the running. Dougray Scott was actually cast in the role, but had to drop out when Mission Impossible II (in which he had a role) went over schedule. Jackman was a stage actor from Australia who specialized in musicals (his most notable role outside of his home continent was in Trevor Nunn’s production of Oklahoma that played in London’s West End in 1998). A song and dance man? As the toughest X-Man? Man, if we could go back in time and set our earlier selves straight.
While Jackman’s casting was one of concern, the casting of Professor X and Magneto wasn’t. Patrick Stewart was an obvious choice for Xavier—fans were calling for his casting ever since Star Trek:The Next Generation was on the air. And for Magneto, we got one of the finest actors of our generation, Ian McKellen. The result was two classically trained, Shakepearean actors bringing out all the nuances of the Martin Luther King vs Malcolm X qualities of their character’s relationship. If we had to start from scratch today and recast the film, the only three I would keep would be Jackman, Stewart and McKellen.
Bryan Singer originally didn’t want to direct the film, thinking a comic book film would be beneath him. However, when the comics were forced on him, he was drawn to the allegories contained in the comic, the fact that the persecuted X-Men could be seen as a commentary into everything from Civil Rights to the Communist Witch Hunts of the 1950s to the Gay Rights Movement. He blended this subtext seamlessly into the action film, and the final product was much stronger for it.
The film was the ninth-highest grossing film in 2000, more than tripling its lower-than-average budget worldwide. That, of course, means sequels. Next time, we’ll start charting the highs—and dreadfully low lows—that were the X-Men spin-offs and sequels.
If there was a problem with X-Men: First Class, it was that it didn’t quite jibe with the Bryan Singer X-Men films. Even though the film was supposed to take place in the same continuity as the X-Men films that came before it, but there were glaring changes (the Beast being a beast far earlier than 2003, Xavier getting crippled in 1962 yet walking in 1980, Mystique losing a personality) that made the connection very shaky.
That shouldn’t be a problem with the film’s sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, because it’s quickly turning out that most of the cast will be made up of actors from the first three X-Men films. Singer has announced via Twitter that three more of the cast members from those films will be joining Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen in Days of Future Past.
Anna Paquin (Rogue) and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) were cast by Singer for the first X-Men film and appeared in all three. Ellen Page, however, was cast by Brett Ratner as a replacement for Katie Stuart in X-Men: The Last Stand when the role of Kitty Pryde was made larger. Good to see Singer isn’t holding that against her.
The only question we have is, “who’s next?” Let’s run down who’s left from the original films who as of yet have not been confirmed as having a role in the film.
James Marsden and Famke Janssen: While both Cyclops and Jean Grey died in Last Stand (uh, spoilers), they could both show up here. Marsden is a Singer favorite (he brought the actor with him when he did Superman Returns) and his death technically was off screen. Janssen is another story entirely. Although the actress is rumored to have a cameo in The Wolverine, most of the press for that movie makes a point of saying that it follows Last Stand. I think, and this is just blind speculation, her cameo will be in a flashback to the end of that third film where Wolverine killed Jean Grey to save the world (uh, more spoilers?). So, as it stands, I think Jean Grey is dead in this continuity, and Cyclops might still be alive. So Marsden is more likely than Janssen. Of course, with time travel, you could make it so both are alive. Anyway…
Halle Berry: Rumor has it that she will be reprising her role as Storm in this film. Rumor also has it that she and Singer didn’t get along in those first two films. From a plot aspect, it seems like she is a no brainer to return considering who else is coming back. And it is not going be a large time spent with Singer. But if she was coming back, it should have been officially announced by now, don’t you think?
Tyler Mane/ Liev Schreiber: The two men that played Sabretooth. Odds are the scenes these actors appear in will be dystopian future (present?) where all mutants have to band together to fight off extinction. So, bad guys and good guys will come together. Whether or not Sabretooth makes the cut is anybody’s guess, and who would play him is an even bigger mystery. Will it be Mane, who Singer cast yet played the character as a monosyllabic brute, or the charismatic Schreiber, who played the character in a film producers are pretending never existed? Probably option three: avoid the problem and keep him out of the film.
Ray Park: Toad didn’t have that big of a part in the first film, but the character did make it quite far into the process in X2: X-Men United. That might show that Singer has an affinity for the character. Or not.
Rebecca Romijn: Romijn already had a cameo in First Class playing and adult version of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Also, if the film wants to follow the comic book story, a member of the X-Men in the future will have to have their consciousness sent back in time to inhabit a younger version of themselves. In the comics, it was Kitty Pryde. That doesn’t play here. Odds are it won’t be either Xavier or Magneto sent back. So, the most likely candidate would be Mystique. I can’t see why Romijn won’t be coming back.
Alan Cumming: He was cast by Singer to play Nightcrawler in X2 and planned to have a cameo in Last Stand. However, the cameo was scrapped supposedly because the cost of the makeup against the amount of screen time didn’t make sense, budget wise. Unless the cost has gone down considerably in seven years, Cumming is dubious at best.
Aaron Stanford: He played Pyro in X2 and Last Stand. His rivalry with Iceman played a big part in both those films. Now that Ashmore is on board, could he be added to the cast? Maybe.
Daniel Cudmore: Colossus plays a big part of the comic book story the film is based on, but a lot of that plays on the relationship the character had with Kitty Pryde in the comics, one that didn’t carry over to the film. Still, having Colossus in the film would be a nice bit of fan service, and Cudmore was the only one to play him.
Kelsey Grammer: Beast is one of the few characters to appear in both the original trilogy and First Class. However, Grammer is two years away from being 60-years-old. Not to be ageist, but that might be a little too old for him to reprise his role as a bouncy furry monster.
Ben Foster: He’s a good actor who would not be above doing a cameo. But his character of Angel in Last Stand was essentially a MacGuffin–not give much development other than what was need to move the plot along. Foster and the character deserved better, but as it stands, I doubt they’d bother to bring either back. See also Cameron Bright (Leech from Last Stand)
Vinnie Jones, Dania Ramirez, Eric Dane or the rest of Magneto’s crew in Last Stand: While there are recognizable names in the mix, their characters were even less developed than Angel or Leech. Their involvement would only be as cannon fodder, and I doubt the actors would come back just for that.
Taylor Kitsch and Ryan Reynolds: As I see it, these guys have three strikes against them. 1). They are all fairly major stars (even Kitsch, whose horrible 2012 hasn’t stopped him from getting prominent roles); 2) neither Gambit nor Deadpool has appeared in the main franchise, instead they 3) appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the film producers of The Wolverine have stated their movie was essentially rebooting. Doubtful they’d make an appearance here.
We’ll see how this all plays out in the coming weeks and months. X-Men: Days of Future Past arrives in theaters on July 18, 2014.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is getting the feel of Bryan Singer putting the band back together. The Hollywood Report brings us an exclusive that another member of Singer’s original X-Men cast might be appearing in the X-Men: First Class sequel.
The magazines Heat Vision blog is quoting sources stating that Hugh Jackman is in negotiations to reprise his Wolverine character for Singer in the film.
One would think that negotiations will go well, as Jackman played Wolverine in First Class, and his cameo was one of the main reasons why the film got a PG-13 rating.
With Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen in the cast, Singer has reunited the three most vital parts of the original trilogy. The question now is who, if anybody, will be next? Will Rebecca Romijn expand HER First Class cameo for the sequel? Will Kelsey Grammer return to play the future Beast now that Nicholas Hoult is back as young Beast? What about Halle Berry and Anna Paquin? Do they have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting Ellen Page to return?
At one point, you would have needed a subscription to the Hollywood trades to get the latest casting announcements for your favorite films. Now, all you need is a Twitter account.
Bryan Singer, who is returning to directing the X-Men franchise with X-Men: Days of Future Past, has tweeted that Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart have joined that film’s cast.
McKellen and Stewart have played Magneto and Professor Xavier for Singer in X-Men and X2: X-Men United and for Brett Ratner in X-Men: The Last Stand. The roles were played by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy in X-Men: First Class, the film of which Days of Future Past is a sequel to. Fassbender and McAvoy have also been confirmed by Singer as returning from that film, along with Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast).
It seems logical that the casting of Stewart and McKellen confirms that the film version of Days of Future Past will partly mirror comic book version of the story. The comic book dealt with a dystopian future where a politician’s assassination by mutant extremists results in the government creating mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels. These robots ended up killing most of the super powered residents of the world. The few survivors come up with a last-ditch plan to save what’s left of the world–a powerful telepath would send the consciousness of one of the remaining survivors back in time into a younger version of themselves in the hopes of preventing the assassination and keep the dark future from ever coming into being.
Of course, some changes are to be expected. In the comics, the “past” was the present day and the “future” was the, well, future. Here, the “past” will be the 1960s of the first film, and “future” will be the present day of the previous X-films. The telepath in question in the comics was Rachel Summers, daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, a character not as yet introduced in the films franchise (and most likely will never be). And the mutant survivor sent back was Kitty Pryde, who in the film franchise would only be in her 20s in what appears to be the future they are using, and wasn’t even alive in the 60s. And the politician killed was Senator Robert Kelly, who already made his entrance and exit in the first X-Men.
Another complication is how X-Men: The Last Stand ended for Magneto and Professor X. Consider this a SPOILER WARNING for that film (although for many of you, that film was probably spoiled when Ratner signed on to direct it.).
At the end of The Last Stand, Xavier was seemingly killed by Jean Grey by essentially being disintegrated. And Magneto was given the cure that left him powerless. While the final scene of the film hinted that Magneto was getting his powers back, the button scene indicated that Xavier was able to transfer his consciousness into a younger man with a serious brain injury. It is highly unlikely this person resembled Patrick Stewart in any way, shape or form.
These are things that need to be addressed if Magneto and Professor X are to be active in the future segments of Days of Future Past. Any fan of time travel fiction can tell you numerous ways where this can be answered, so it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. But the answer hopefully will be more than “that film never existed.”
Singer ended his tweet with “more to come,” which teases that there could be more members of the original films’ cast making an appearance, a rumor that has been spread for quite a long time.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly, today we’ve gotten our first look at Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s two-part The Hobbit.
Judging by the dwarfs in the background, this picture is from early in the first film where the dwarfs, on the suggestion of Gandlaf (Ian McKellen), hire Bilbo to be their professional burglar on their adventure.
EW also had two other photos, one featuring Jackson and Freeman on the set of Bilbo’s home in the Shire and one of McKellen as Gandalf reclining against a tree.
Andy Serkis and Ian McKellen have been confirmed as reprising their Lord Of The Rings roles for Peter Jackson’s two-part The Hobbit. Serkis will once again perform the role of Gollum through motion capture driven computer animation, while McKellan will once again be playing the wizard Gandalf.
Additionally, Christopher Lee and Ian Holmes are in talks to return to Middle Earth, reprising their Lord Of The Rings roles of the evil wizard Saurman and an older Bilbo Baggins respectively. The news follows last Friday’s news that Elijah Wood was set to reprise his role of Frodo Baggins for the film. Holmes’s inclusions confirms that there will probably be a framing sequence where Frodo hears the story from his uncle Bilbo.
Previously, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving have been confirmed as participating in the project which begins filming next month in New Zealand.
British actor and former Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy has confirmed that he is currently in talks to appear in Peter Jackson’s upcoming two-part adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Previously, the actor had been rumored as a possibility for the titular role of Bilbo Baggins, though at age 67, many thought he might be a bit old for the role.
McCoy told the Argyllshire Standard, a Scottish newspaper, Saturday, he is one of two characters being considered for “one of the wizard parts.”
I am being cast in The Hobbit… We’re currently in negotiations – there are two of us under consideration. It’s not the Bilbo role, but could be bigger.
As there has been no word of Ian McKellen leaving his Lord Of The Rings role of Gandalf The Grey, I can only assume that McCoy is up to play Radagast the Brown. Radagast was not seen on screen in Jackson’s adaptation, but in the books was another of the wizards who were sent to help Men and Elves in their struggle against Sauron but became an unwitting tool of the wizard Saruman and helped in imprisoning Gandalf in the tower at Orthanc. I am assuming that he will appear in some of the material that Jackson is developing for the film from the appendixes in Lord Of The Rings that detail what Gandalf was up to when he was not with Bilbo Baggins and the group of dwarves he was traveling in The Hobbit‘s main storyline.
The is an exciting bit of news for a couple of reasons. First, it means that Jackson and company are slowly continuing to work on the Hobbit films while MGM continues to figure out their financial problems and may be an indicator that there is a light at the end of that particular dark tunnel. Secondly, as a nearly life-long Doctor Who fan, McCoy has been one of my favorites in the role, especially in his second and third year of the film when he was given some meatier material to play. I’m intrigued as to exactly what material Jackson has been developing to fill out The Hobbit in to two films to connect them with the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and now doubly intrigued to see McCoy in that material as a character that never got much “screen time” in Tolkien’s works.