September 19, 2014

Director David Ayer Might Tackle SUICIDE SQUAD For Warner Bros

Variety reports that Warner Bros. might be pulling-out an old DC project out of development limbo. They say that the studio is in early talks with writer-director David Ayer to helm Suicide Squad. A group of DC villains who are thrown into a government program, that places them in suicide missions. In return, the villains will be redeemed and their prison sentences reduced. The project has been kicking around for ages, and it's about time Warner Bros. put it into production.

Ayer is best known for scripting Training Day along with The Fast And The Furious and S.W.A.T., Since then, he's made a name for himself as an action director. Making cop thrillers such as End of Watch, Sabotage and Street Kings. His most recent film is the WWII-tank action flick Fury starring Brad Pitt. We really have no idea where the film is development-wise, but there was a script penned by Justin Marks. Considering Ayer's reputable screenwriting abilities, I'm sure he would be asked to handle rewrites as well. David would bring the gritty edge needed for this type of budding action franchise, and could actually give fans on hell of a DC movie. Let's just hope these talks go well.

The lineup of the Suicide Squad (headed-up by Amanda Weller) changed a lot over the years so it would be hard to pin-point which villains will be the focus. Some of the members include prime candidate Deadshot (rumored for solo film as well), Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Nightshade and more recently Harely Quinn joined the ranks. Quinn is an interesting character as her origins stem from the Batman animated series and not the comics. Warner Bros. put out a recent animated film titled Batman: Assault On Arkham, which featured the team. A majority of the group already exists on the CW series Arrow.

I'm actually in-love with the property and believe this movie is such a better venture than Shazam!, or a couple other DC films in the works.


September 18, 2014

Toby Kebbell In Talks For BEN-HUR Villain Messala

Variety reports that Toby Kebbell is in talks to play villain Messala in Timur Bekmambetov's remake of Ben-Hur. Jack Huston is in the title role with Morgan Freeman in a supporting role as well. Production is about to begin in Europe next year. And it's casting at the moment is beyond impressive. Interesting enough the script was penned by Oscar winner John Ridley (12 Years A Slave, Three Kings, Red Tails) and Keith Clarke (The Way Back).  The epic's release date is set for February 26th, 2016.

Toby played ape villain Koba played in the massive summer hit Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. Koba was actually one of my favorite blockbuster villains of the year, and it's mainly due to his motion capture performance. Director Matt Reeves has actually teased his return in the third film, which could mean Kebbell might be apart of that franchise for a while. This must have led to his casting as Dr. Doom in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot, and we're highly anticipating seeing some footage of Toby as the iconic Marvel baddie. He also recently wrapped production on Duncan Jones's Warcraft for Legendary.


Astrid Berges-Frisbey Will Play Guinevere In Guy Ritchie's KNIGHTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE: KING ARTHUR

Deadline reports that French-Spanish actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) has been tapped for the female lead in Guy Ritchie's Knights of The Roundtable: King Arthur. Astrid will play the key role of Guinevere, and will likely be expected to be apart of the purposed six-part fantasy epic. The film already has Charlie Hunnam possibly playing Arthur, with Idris Elba circling a mentor role similar to Merlin.


Max Borenstein Returns To Write GODZILLA Sequel For Legendary Pictures

Deadline reports that Legendary Pictures has made a deal for screenwriter Max Borenstein (Seventh Son) to pen the Godzilla sequel. Borenstein was one of many writers on the original film, and recently wrote the studio's King Kong origin film Skull Island. Max will have plenty of time to put the script together, since director Gareth Edwards will go-off to make an untitled Star Wars film first. The release date for the sequel will be June 8th, 2018.

We've heard teases that better known kaiju could be showing-up in the next film. This was confirmed at Comic-Con, where Legendary Pictures showed concept footage that teased Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah.

A set of female twins were teased in film and in promo footage/trailer. Monarch's name might have direct connections to him as well.  Perhaps, the fellow good-guy kaiju might have inspired the organization. Wouldn't hurt to see Godzilla team-up for some good 'old city rumbles.


Fans Rejoice, Fox's X-MEN Spin-Off DEADPOOL Officially Coming February 2016!

THR has news that 20th Century Fox has finally greenlit the long in-development Deadpool spin-off. The film set in the X-Men universe has been trying to get pushed into production for years. Problems stemmed from it's R-rating, and a completed script leaked online a while back. The character doesn't really lend itself to a PG-13 rating, as his signature is hyper-violent and filthy mouth. Since then, screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Zombieland, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) did a bunch of rewrites to the existing script. Fox has officially given the spin-off a release date of February 12th, 2016.

Director Tim Miller's test footage featuring Ryan Reynolds leaked online not too long ago. It's sort of fun, but also a bit average. Perhaps, being all digital might be the main problem people like myself have with it. Ryan played the mercenary's alter-ego Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and has been loosely attached throughout the entire development. It looks like Ryan is set in the role, and it's ready to go.

Lauren Shuler Donner is set as producer, as she heads-up all the films in the X-Men franchise. The producer has been vocal about trying to make the film with a smaller budget, to keep it's R-rating intact. It's February release could mean that Fox has agreed to this, as the winter months have been known as the dropping season for smaller studio R-rated genre flicks. X-Men: Apocalypse is said to begin shooting this April in Montreal, with a release date only months after Deadpool in May. The impression this gives me is that Deadpool is ready to go into production soon, or it will have less post-production and will be a smaller film.

I'm not sure how much of connection this film will have with the rest of the X-Men universe, considering Deadpool understands he's in a comic book and breaks the fourth-wall all the time. He'll likely end-up directly talking to the audience and making high-volume pop culture references. Two things we really haven't seen in other X-Men films. One of the weirder comic book characters in Marvel's lineup, it'll make for an unique movie.

At a point it was unknown if Fox would actually pursue the film. As five other Marvel projects have come into light since X-Men: Days of Future Past was announced. Another main X-Men film with Apocalypse, sequels to James Mangold's successful The Wolverine and Josh Trank's unreleased Fantastic Four. Other projects without release dates but are in development include Jeff Wadlow's X-Force and another spin-off focusing on Gambit (possibly played by Channing Tatum). This will be the first time Fox will release two X-Men films in one year, so it'll be interesting to see if this becomes a regular thing. As Marvel Studios has proven the demand is clearly there for these comic book movies, and the market can handle two major releases from a studio.


Kate Mara Could Join Growing Cast Of Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN

Deadline says an offer has gone out to Kate Mara (House of Cards, Iron Man 2, Fantastic Four) for an unnamed role in Ridley Scott's The Martian. The sci-fi thriller setup at 20th Century Fox, has a script by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Cabin In The Woods) and is based on the novel by Andy Weir. I'm sure we'll be hearing a bunch of casting news concerning the project in the coming weeks.

Matt Damon is set for the lead role, with Jessica Chastain reportedly cast in a role and Kristen Wiig also circling the project. I haven't read Weir's novel, but there seems to be a lot of ladies involved currently. TheWrap recently reported that Canadian newcomer Mackenzie Davis (Halt And Catch Fire) was posed to take a supporting role. We have to assume that there are a bunch of roles that are being cast, since most of Ridley's casts are rather large.


September 17, 2014

Jack Huston Will Play BEN-HUR In Timur Bekmambetov's Remake

Deadline reports that Boardwalk Empire and American Hustle actor Jack Huston has taken the titular role in the Ben-Hur remake. Previously, it was reported that Morgan Freeman had joined the project in a supporting part. It will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Night Watch, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), let's just hope the Russian director can reign-in his exploitation roots and make a coherent film. The film is expected to begin production next year in Europe.

We know that Jack Huston has been itching for a franchise role. Becoming in the mix for the Star-Lord role in Guardians of The Galaxy, and rumored to be in the running for Doctor Strange. It's now very unlikely that Huston is still in the running (or ever was) to play Steven Strange. Only time will tell if this picture will end-up more like Gladiator, a watered-down version of Spartacus or at the end of the spectrum similar to Paul W. Anderson's Pompeii.


Tom Hiddleston Starring In Legendary's KING KONG Origin Film SKULL ISLAND

Variety reports that Tom "Loki' Hiddleston will star in Legendary Picture's King Kong origin film titled Skull Island. Godzilla and Seventh Son writer Max penned the first draft of the script. Joe Cornish (Attack The Block) and Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones, Centurion) had been pursued for the director's chair, but Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer) has taken the gig instead. Jordan was actually in the mix to direct Marvel's Doctor Strange and is rumored to be considered for Sony's Metal Gear Solid adaptation.

Details aren't known about the film, but events would take place before the original film. The island is home to some exotic things including dinosaurs, giant bugs, ancient tribes and other dangerous creatures. Basically, everyone and everything is trying to end your life on Skull Island. Hiddleston's character is also a bit of a mystery.

What we do know is that the film is being headed-up by the same production studio that gave us Godzilla and Pacific Rim, so we're expecting this to be a bit more cohesive than Peter Jackson's take. Hiddleston's involvement isn't too much of a shock. Considering he recently finished shooting Guillermo del Toro's haunted house picture Crimson Peak, another project setup at Legendary. Skull Island is set for release on November 4th, 2016.


September 16, 2014

CASINO ROYALE Director Martin Campbell Could Return To Spy Genre With HUNTER KILLER

According to TheWrap Kiwi director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) could be returning to his spy genre roots. They say he's in talks to direct Hunter Killer for Relativity Media. Other directors previously in the mix include Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Equalizer, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen), Phillip Noyce (Salt, Patriot Games, Clear And Present Danger, The Saint), McG (This Means War) and Steve Quale (Into The Storm). The film is based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith. Below is a synopsis of the novel.

A renegade Russian military leader pushing the U.S. to the brink of a nuclear confrontation and shattering a decades-old peace agreement between the two former enemies. Cut off from all outside communication, a submarine commander and an elite Navy special forces unit are all that stand between the Russian assault and all-out war.

Campbell is best known for directing the first installmets of the Pierce Broson and Daniel Craig eras of the Bond franchise, considered the highlights of those eras. Campbell has had a few hiccups lately with his Mel Gibson thriller Edge of Darkness (which I actually liked a lot at the time) not making much of a splash, and Green Lantern becoming a genre punchline. It's unlikely we'll see Campbell return to the Bond franchise. Until, I assume they get someone to replace Craig. So, it's kind of smart on Martin's part to consider jumping back into the genre with a different project. We're rooting for Campbell to get his grove back, and Hunter Killer could be the right film to do that.


Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema Will Shoot BOND 24, Production Starts This December

There are only a handful of cinematographers, who's work you actually take notice of. One being Hoyte van Hoytema, who has been hired to lens Sam Mendes' sequel to Skyfall aka Bond 24 according to HitFlix. Some of the amazing work Hoyte has done includes, Let The Right One In, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Spike Jonze's Her, and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

To say that this next Bond film will look stunning is an understatement, congrats to Mendes on landing him. It's also been expected that production will begin in December, with a release date set for November 6th, 2015. Daniel Craig is set to return in the lead, which is said to be his second-last film as 007.


If Drew Pearce Were To Make A PUNISHER Series/One-Shot, What Comics Would Influence Him?

I think you'd agree that James Gunn is one of the few people involved with Marvel Studios, to make the time to interact with fans. Another person who is always in active dialog with the fan base is writer and director Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3, Sherlock Holmes 3, Mission: Impossible 5) . If you don't remember, Drew co-wrote Iron Man 3 with Shane Black and directed the All Hail The King One-Shot (which he also wrote) short which teased the real Mandarin and setup Luke Cage's Seagate Prison. Pearce also penned the script for The Runaways movie that was effectively put into development limbo.

Drew sneakily added a small Easter Egg to All Hail The King, which hinted to villains and mob families connected to Frank Castle. Seagate Prison is currently holding a mob boss responsible for the murder of his family. Pearce has responded to the possibility of doing work on something involved with The Punisher. Pointing-out a preference to the runs from Gregg Rucka and Matt Fraction. Along with mentioning the backstory of Rachel Cole, Frank's recent sidekick. This is by no means confirmation he is or will be doing this in the future, but it's lovely to hear that Pearce doesn't hate the idea.

At this point, we have zero indication that Marvel will indeed move forward with a Punisher series or even One-Shot, but the fan demand in clearly there. Even with the Russo Brothers jokingly mentioning someone being behind the wheel in a couple of scenes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier being a strong candidate for a One-Shot. Most assume they are speaking of Frank Castle, but could be just a joke from the comedic filmmakers.

"The man who drives that truck," Joe deadpans, joking that the driver is a candidate for a future Marvel One-Shot, "Is very highly trained. He thinks on his own terms. He's got a plan and a very specific skill set." 

I wouldn't be too shocked if saw a pre-tragic Frank being a special ops operator in the former SHIELD, in the third Captain America film. Castle has ties to both Fury/Rogers and anything is possible, now that Marvel is able to use characters where ever they want. Another possibility is showing-up in the Netflix series, Daredevil making the most sense. A lot of people are expecting a Punisher series being considered for a second wave of Netflix shows.

We've had a couple of actors even try to put their name into consideration. Frank Grillo wanted a shot, but that might be an issue as he's already played villain Brock Rumlow (Crossbones) in Winter Soldier. Another actor is a bit more unlikely, as Milo Ventimiglia (Gamer, Pathology, Heroes) took to Twitter and reveal his campaign for the role. There has even been calls to bring back Thomas Jane or Ray Stevenson, but I'm not sure that's the best idea.

I personally think that Marvel should be targeting actors like Dylan McDermott (Olympus Has Fallen, Survivor, American Horror Story, Hamburger Hill, In The Line Of Fire). Someone that is well known from film work, but isn't opposed to doing a Netflix series (or cameos). Dylan's work on the Vietnam action flick Hamburger Hill, might help fans sign-on to the idea. It doesn't hurt he's been playing bad guys lately in movies like Olympus Has Fallen. He's also proved with American Horror Story he can handle dramatic roles as well.

A couple of other actors I wouldn't getting into the mix, would be Clive Owen (Children of Men, Bourne Identity, Inside Man, Killer Elite, The Driver, Sin City, Shoot 'Em Up) or Superman candidate Joe Manganiello (True Blood, Sabotage, Magic Mike, Spider-Man). Owen would mean we'll have a third foreign actor playing Castle, which I'm not opposed to. However, it's likely the reason people champion Thomas Jane for the role.


James D'Arcy Added To The Cast Of Marvel's AGENT CARTER As Original Jarvis

Variety reports that British actor James D'Arcy (Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, Survivor) has joined the cast of Marvel's Agent Carter. He'll be playing the role of Edwin Jarvis, butler to Howard Stark and ally to Peggy Carter. This would seemingly confirm that Howard is indeed going to be involved in the series, but we haven't heard if Dominic Cooper is reprising the role. However, Marvel has spent a lot of effort to setup the fact that Stark was an integral part of founding SHIELD.

This is just another hint to the level of talented casting Marvel is aiming for with the new series. In my opinion, a giant set-up from the original casting of Agents of SHIELD. Hiring legitimate and current film actors for key roles will only help keep to standards of the Marvel cinematic universe. The first episodes of Agent Carter will start airing on ABC during the mid-season hiatus for Agents of SHIELD.


Mackenzie Davis Joins Matt Damon & Jessica Chastain In Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN

TheWrap reports that newcomer Mackenzie Davis from AMC's Halt And Catch Fire has landed a role in Ridley Scott's upcoming sci-fi thriller The Martian. Adapted from the novel by Andy Weir from screenwriter Drew Goddard (Sinister Six, Cabin In The Woods, Cloverfield, Lost) The 20th Century Fox project already has Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain co-starring in the leads. Kristen Wiig was also in the mix, but currently isn't mentioned in this new report.


Will BOURNE LEGACY Sequel Delays Give Jeremy Renner Time To Shoot Scenes For CAPTAIN AMERICA 3?

It's being reported that Universal is putting the breaks on the Bourne Legacy sequel, in favor for Matt Damon's return. This isn't the worst thing for Jeremy Renner. The sequel's looming production put in question if he'd be able to shoot scenes for Captain America 3. Renner's Clint Barton was originally expected to have a part to play in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (confirmed by directors The Russo Brothers and Renner), but scheduling became a bit of a problem.

Nothing is ruling-out Renner showing-up in this other Bourne project. However, I'd expect it to be just Damon and Greengrass. Director Justin Lin has been linked for directing a couple of season two episodes of HBO's True Detective, it adds more fuel to the thought we'll see further production delays.

Jeremy mentioned to Collider he would be game to be apart of the third film, that's if his production schedule allowed him to. He's currently shooting Mission: Impossible 5, but with Bourne delays it's possible that Renner could be available for the April start on Captain America 3. The Russo Brothers are also open to the idea, and I'd love to see them work with the character. They've done wonders reworking both Rogers and Natasha. We've been hearing that Marvel has big plans for Hawkeye, as the Avenger will have a larger role in Age of Ultron. In the comics, Barton takes-on a leadership role as the team leader of The West Coast Avengers, a splinter group of the main lineup. There are already rumors that Steve Rogers starts putting together a second team by the end of Ultron.

“There are rumblings of Captain America 3. I don’t know what’s going to happen there. I’ve got to find the time, man (laughs). I’m trying to stay home and I can’t.” 

Matt Damon And Paul Greengrass Will Return To Make Fourth BOURNE Installment

Universal is doubling-down on it's Bourne franchise. We've been hearing rumblings that Matt Damon could be returning to the Bourne role for a year or so. In 2013, Twitch originally reported talks between Matt and the studio to reprise the super-spy. His return is now being confirmed by Deadline. There had been chatter that Jeremy Renner and Matt Damon could share screen time in an installment, but that idea was never confirmed by the studio. LatinoReview scooped this story back in June being the reason for delays on Justin Lin's sequel, but met with nothing denials.

After the success of Bourne Ultimatum,  Matt and director Paul Greengrass tried to put together a fourth film. This pitch didn't go-over well at Universal, as they rejected it. The two went-off to make Iraq-War thriller Green Zone instead, and Greengrass earned some acclaim for Captain Philips. Universal, unfazed by this move put forward a reboot of sorts with Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross in Bourne Legacy. While the film was set within the same Bourne universe, it failed to make a huge impact with audiences. A sequel was still put into motion with Justin Lin (Fast and Furious, Fast Five) set to direct and a very busy Renner attached to star. The new report suggests that Renner's sequel might be put on-hold. Lin was recently linked for directing a couple of episodes of True Detective for HBO, this delay could allow him time to make that commitment.

The Bourne Legacy sequel which was being aimed for a July 16th, 2016 release date. However, it seems like the Damon flick will try to take that spot instead. There is some doubt when Renner's spin-off will shoot, as the project is still in development. Matt is about to begin production on the Ridley Scott science fiction film The Martian, so they'll have some time to get that script ready for production.