August 31, 2009

Disney Shells Out 4 Billion For Marvel

In one of the biggest acquisitions of late, Disney paid a whopping 4 billion for Marvel. This deal includes all divisions of the company including comics, television, film, merchandise, video games and DVD. It makes sense since the alliance between Warner Brothers and DC Comics. That Marvel would look for a distribution partner as well. Although Marvel would keep creative control to all their characters. This deal will not effect deals and upcoming films with other studios. Although, Disney has stated as soon as the rights revert back to Marvel, they will control distribution and promotion. Their policy towards Marvel Studios is "if it ain't broke don't fix it", so I don't expect too much meddling with productions. It seems that Disney will act as promotion, bankroll and marketing giant for Marvel. Turing the Marvel brand into something just as recognizable as Disney is. Similar to what they've done with Pixar Animation Studios, when they bought them back in 2006.

Pixar is interested in developing films with Marvel. In the hopes to "exploit lesser known characters". With their upcoming live-action adaptation of John Carter of Mars, we'll see what they can bring to the table. I could see them developing films for Silver Surfer, She-Hulk and Edgar Wright's Ant-Man.

With Fox not going to be able to hold onto the X-Men rights I could also see Pixar taking on spin-off characters and making them popular. Such as, Alpha Flight, The New X-Men and Age of Apocalypse/Cable film. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't end up developing the Gambit movie as well. Since Kitsch is already starring in John Carter, I'm sure Pixar wouldn't mind working with him again.

With Disney a family friendly company, what could this mean in the future for properties like Blade and Punisher? Both characters are ultra violent that will never translate to the PG-13 mold. Disney has done a lot of adult material with Miramax including many Tarantino films.

Wolverine 2 (2012)

Hugh Jackman has confirmed that the Japanese storyline will be based on the Frank Miller and Chris Claremont celebrated 1982 Wolverine mini-series. Of course Jackman will return as both star and producer. The interesting news that there might be a chance the best element of X-Men Origins, Liev Schreiber could return as Sabertooth. Jackman has mentioned that there might be a blending of the Japanese stories. Also that we could see many new mutants involved. I really hope they aren't future X-Men characters just added to for cameo's sake. He boasts this sequel as being the sexiest Wolverine film yet. That confirms the multpule love stories that were featured in the comic.

While a director has yet to be announced, Christopher McQuarrie (Usual Suspects) has been hired to pen the screenplay. It's a good start to fix the issues that angered most fans with the first solo outing. Now let's hope 20th Century Fox hires a talented director and gives them the space they need to make an entertaining movie. The Japanese saga involves Logan traveling to Japan to rekindle with a past lover. Only to find out she was unwillingly engaged to a business man. Her father Lord Shingen who orders the marrige does everything in his power to keep Wolverine from his daughter. Later when Mariko Yashida and Logan attempt a marriage Viper and Silver Samurai break it up.

Yakuza enforcer Goro would make great human adversary, considering he can only be killed by a dead man. Along with 500 year old ninja clan The Hand, which is an never ending wave of deadly ninja warriors. Logan get's a bit of assistance from Yukio, who he also has a romance with.

Casting Thoughts:

Maggie Q (Die Hard 4) as Yukio

Chiaki Kuriyama (Kill Bill, Battle Royale) as Mariko Yashida

Hiroyuki Sanada (Sunshine, Last Samurai) as Kenuichio Harada aka Silver Samurai

Olga Kurylenko (Centurion, Quantum of Solace) as Ophelia Sarkissian aka Viper

Dennis Joseph O'Neill as Daken Akihiro: Wolverine's long lost son from his marriage to Itsu during his years in Japan. Winter Solider kills Itsu and Daken is given the impression that Logan killed his mother leaving him for dead. When he grows up searches for his father to take revenge. Like his father Daken has the healing factor and bone claws.

August 30, 2009

Films That Should Be Made: Rorschach

It's only a matter of time before we see an attempt from DC Comics and Warner Brothers to make a spin-off to Watchmen. If that happens the character it will more than likely focus on will be Rorschach. Zack Snyder and Dave Gibbons would have to return for this to even be considered. Alan Moore's participation will be non-existent since he hates Hollywood.

Jackie Earl Haley's performance made Watchmen so amazing and badass, so I would expect him to return if approached. I could see them focus on the partnership Night Owl and Rorschach shared before the government outlawed masks. Fighting costumed villains, mobsters and gangs in New York during the 1970's could make for a great flick.

Deadpool (2011)

Deadpool has officially been announced as a spin-off from X-Men Origins Wolverine. Despite the poor representation of the character the studio has moved forward will a solo film. Ryan Reynolds who plays Wade Wilson/Deadpool says he was only willing to do the movie if the studio abides to the original story. A director, writer and cast have yet to be announced but I expect 20th Century Fox to move quickly for it's estimated 2011 release date. The story more than likely will focus on Wade's time spent as an mercenary. His relationships with Domino, Siryn, Copycat and Typhoid Mary could be explored. Along with his incounters with Black Tom, Juggernaut, Taskmaster, Bullseye and Cable.

The director hired seems to be the second biggest element to the film's success, next to a strong script/story. I could see David Fincher (Se7en, Benjamin Button), Spike Jonze (WTWTA, Being John Malkovich) or Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) being great fits for the type of film this is. A large scale action film that breaks the fourth wall. They also can work well with a lower budget, which 20th Century Fox is looking for.

Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) was spotted in a popular comic shop in L.A. grabbing all the Typhoid Mary comics she get her hands on. The assumption is that she could be researching the role for the Daredevil reboot or the upcoming Deadpool.

Casting Thoughts:

Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Sin City) as Neena Thurman aka Domino

Damien Lewis (Band of Brothers) as Taskmaster

Gabriel Byrne (Usual Suspects, Miller's Crossing) as Black Tom

Adam Brody as Weasel

Queen & Country

Ryan Condal has been hired by 20th Century Fox to rewrite the script for the adaption. Condal is a bit of an up and coming screenwriter recently working on projects such as Hercules and Galahad. At one point Nicole Kidman was set to star as the comic's lead character Tara Chase. She later pulled out of the project. The Cold-War action graphic novels follow a female Brit Special Ops agent and her unit stationed in Eastern Europe.

Casting Thought:

Cate Blanchett (Babel, The Good German) as Tara Chase

August 29, 2009

Swamp Thing (2011)

Mega producer Joel Silver and Warner Bros. are developing a new adaptation of Swamp Thing. The comic book character which was popularized by writer Alan Moore (Watchmen, V For Vendetta). Swamp Thing has already had a film treatment and a cartoon series developed before. Although Moore's poetic environmental messages didn't seem to make the cut. Let's hope this time around it's given the proper respect. The bad side seems to be the rumor of the addition of 3D to the film. This isn't some spectical slasher film like My Bloody Valentine or Final Destination, there is character development. The concept of Swamp Thing was so advanced for it's time, nature fighting back. This time in the form of a plant-being who kicked ass.

Deadman (2011)

Guillermo del Toro is yet again putting on his production hat for one more project. This time it's for a comic book film based on the DC Comics character Deadman. Del Toro has hired Danish writer/director Nikolaj Arcel (Antichrist, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) to head up the production. Deadman is the story of Boston Brand, a circus daredevil who returns from the dead a disembodied spirit, with the power to possess the living, in order to bring his murderer to justice. The project sounds similar to The Crow which could amazing in the hands of an up and coming director.

Underworld 4 (January 2011)

There has been talk of fourth Underworld film that could have Kate Beckinsale return to the franchise. The next film will more than likely focus on Selene. It depends if it's a movie focused after the events of the 2nd film. Continuing the love story between Beckinsale and Speedman's characters. Also there have been rumors of a January 2011 release date, along with the chance of the film being shot in 3-D. When asked about the project Beckinsale denied any knowledge. She did however state that she would be interested if it had a solid script.

Is Matthew Vaughn The Right Director for Avengers or Superman?

Matthew Vaughn has recently mentioned that he'd like to direct The Avengers or Superman. This isn't the first time Vaughn has dabbled in the comic film genre. He was once attached to X-Men 3: The Last Stand and Thor. Vaughn has also completed production on Kick-Ass based on the ultra-violent Mark Millar (Wanted) comic. When he speaks about making Superman it reminds me of Millar's pitch to Warner Brothers a while back. Millar claimed that he had a big name director interested and the film would be a massive. I'd love to see Vaughn take on either movie. Below, I've given some opinions on his previous films and a few points to secure some great movies.

Previous Works:

Layer Cake was a visual masterpiece along with being one of the best British gangster films. It also had a large amount of great performances from lesser known actors, many have gone on to stardom. Vaughn has a good eye for talent. Making him cost effective by hiring strong actors without killing his budget. Kick-Ass is another example that this director has balls. He took the project and made it himself with his own investors, when the studio pulled out. This was to preserve the original vision and to compliment the comic/content. Vaughn made the film without removing any violent content or trying to market the film to the teen market. Stardust was an original concept and still massively successful. Any writer/director who makes a film like that will take risks to tell his vision of a story.

What Superman Needs!:

-Lex Luthor needs to be replaced by an actual villain. General Zod or Doomsday would make great adversaries for Superman.

-Update the Superman costume, have him change his clothing to something else that would be traditionally worn on Krypton.

-Take the adventure beyond Earth. It could be interesting to have Superman travelling to other worlds and fighting aliens with similar powers. There could even be a new Kryptoian settlement on another planet that was unknown to his father.

What Avengers Needs!:

-It can't be just a third Iron Man movie, we need equal screen time for all the characters and villains.

-Hulk shouldn't be the villain, there are enough strong villains in Marvel's rouges gallery. Let's see Hulk in his final place as a hero rather than just a "man on the run".

-Focus on story, I enjoy fight scenes and character cameos, but they can also ruin a film if there isn't character development.

Spawn (2011-2013)

Todd McFarlane is developing a brand new film version of his best known comic property. It seems he wants to keep the special effects limited and have an adult them. If anything, it looks to be a live-action adaptation of the animated series on HBO. A dark, violent and gritty crime exploitation film. That's fine by me since the 1997 film seemed to want to be flashy Batman movie and along with being aimed at children. The comic and show's adult nature stopped it from ever becoming a success, when tryin to sell it to teens. That's until films like Sin City, 300 and Watchmen have shown they can be profitable. Even if only adults are the target audiences. I doubt it will get the bloated budget the original had but I do expect it will attract some talented actors. McFarlane has recently been working with David Fincher on the adaption of Torso. So if that's the level of people interested in working with him, anything seems to be possible with this project.

Casting Thoughts:

Idris Elba (RockNRolla, The Wire) as Al Simmons/Spawn

Taraji P. Henson (Benjamin Button) as Wanda

Jeffery Dean Morgan (Watchmen) as Jason Wynn

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children Of Men) as Terry Fitzgerald

Sam Rockwell (Moon, Iron Man 2) as Twitch

Alec Baldwin (Departed) as Sam Burke

Omar Doom (Inglorious Basteds, Death Proof) as Tony Twist

Samuel L. Jackson as Jess Chapel

Jonah Hill (Funny People, Machete) as Billy Kincaid

August 28, 2009

Spider-Man 5 & 6

James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Losers) has recently been hired to start scripts for the 5th and 6th installment of Spider-Man. It was rumored for a while that he was developing a two picture storyline. Those rumors have returned with the announcement of James working on the next two films. It seemed that the possible addition of The Sinister Six story had been scrapped. Along with a few other possible ideas, fans had. One being, the clone storyline that involves Peter Parker having two clones created by The Jackal. Jackal produces Kaine and Ben Reilly the only clones that survive the process, using the DNA of Spider-Man. Kaine becomes an uncontrollable menace tearing up the city and blames Parker for his existence. Ben eventually discovers the powers he has been given from Parker's DNA and becomes Scarlet Spider.Reilly takes his name after Peter's Uncle Ben and uses Aunt May's maiden name. Reilly also develops a romance with Betty Brant. Having Elizabeth Banks gaining more screen time and her character getting developed in the process. There had been a lot of problems getting back the original cast members for the 4th film. So I do expect to see a transition to another group of actors in the upcoming films. This may be the perfect way to transition from Tobey McGuire to another actor playing Spider-Man.

Also there could be a story focusing on the The Sinister Six. Since Doc Oct is dead and Sandman seems to have changed his way, the villainous team may chance it's lineup. I could see The Vulture, Kraven The Hunter, Electro, Mysterio, Tombstone and The Scorpion as the final lineup. That all depends on who ends up the villain in the 4th movie. All signs seem to point to The Lizard and maybe one other villain.

Casting Thoughts:

Jake Gyllenhaal as Ben Reilly aka Scarlet Spider

Jason Lee (Vanilla Sky, Chasing Amy) as The Jackal

Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) as Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat


Sam Worthington as The Scorpion

Ben Kingsley as The Vulture

Ian McShane (Deadwood, Sexy Beast) as Kraven The Hunter

Ben Foster (Pandorum) as Electro

Bruce Campbell as Mysterio

Michael Jai White (Dark Knight) as Tombstone