Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kevin Costner to Appear in 'Superman' Reboot?

Up, Up and…whatever.

Evidently, Kevin Costner—who you might remember from such groundbreaking (snicker) genre films as Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Waterworld—is up for an important role in Zack Snyder’s 2012 reboot of Warner Bros. Superman movie franchise.

This is certainly a…you know what? I can’t even feign interest this news. In fact, I think my excitement about the forthcoming Superman film has reached a new low. Is there a more uninteresting actor than Kevin Costner? This is an honest question.

Anyway, Deadline.com has the full story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' Gets a Rewrite, Another Delay

Oof. There are troubled productions and then there’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which has experienced a crippling combination of financial difficulties, on-set disasters and critical maulings since it began previews late last year. Now, Deadline.com is reporting that the producers have hired Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to rewrite the book penned by director Julie Taymor and Glen Berger. Extensive rewrites will likely result in a sixth opening night delay for the $65 million production, as there’s no way this bizarre take on the Webslinger can be wrangled into coherence by March 15. Hell, from what I hear, the play features a supervillain fashion show and a Mary Jane-sung song about shoes. Thanks, Bono and The Edge!

But there is a flicker of hope in hiring Aguirre-Sacasa, who actually wrote several issues of The Sensational Spider-Man back in 2006-2007. Unfortunately, the playwright’s credits also include a recent reworking of the questionable 1960s Man of Steel musical, It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman. Don’t expect much.

For the full story, click here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shane Black Expected to Direct 'Iron Man 3'

Deadline.com is reporting that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black is in final negotiations with Marvel Studios to helm Iron Man 3 after franchise director Jon Favreau dropped out of project to focus his efforts on Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Black is a notable choice in that he revived Robert Downey Jr.’s career with Kiss Kiss in 2005. Three years later, the formerly-troubled actor stepped inside Tony Stark’s gold-and-crimson armor for the first time, successfully making the transition to bonafide action star.

Like many fans of this series, I was disheartened when I learned Favreau would not be coming back, as I feel he really nailed the nuances of the character in the first two films. Having said that, it will be interesting to see Black and Downey Jr. team up once again.

Iron Man 3 is slated for release on May 3, 2013—nearly one year to the day after Ol’ Shellhead teams with Captain America, Thor, Hulk and other Marvel icons in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.

How to Talk to Your Kids About 'Star Wars'

Nerdy dads and Force-fanatical fathers-to-be, take note of Asylum’s informative clip on how to talk to your younglings about that galaxy far, far away.

Adrianne Palicki Is Wonder Woman

Warner Bros. has announced that Friday Night Lights’ Adiranne Palicki will play star-spangled Amazon Diana Prince in NBC’s forthcoming Wonder Woman series, the Los Angeles TimesHero Complex blog reports. The series is helmed by Boston Legal and Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley.

Personally, I have a hard time picturing a live-action Wonder Woman who isn’t Lynda Carter. Then again, Palicki has garnered a lot of acclaim for her performance on Friday Night Lights, so Warner Bros. is clearly taking this series somewhat seriously and will no doubt honor the character. Then again, the studio describes the show ‘s pilot as “a reinvention of the iconic DC Comics title in which Wonder Woman—a.k.a. Diana Prince—is a vigilante crime fighter in Los Angeles but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.”

Ugh, really?

Zack Snyder's 'Superman' Reboot in Crisis?

Apologies in advance for the complete and total lack of updates over the last seven days. If you know where I work, you know my life’s been crazy since Monday night. If you don’t, well, let’s just say my week has been “electrifying.” You smell what I’m cooking? Rock on.

Sports-entertainment aside, there has been a great deal of nerd news breaking online this week, including word that Warner Bros.’ faith in Superman reboot director Zack Snyder—whose previous Warner Bros. projects include the under-performing Watchmen and The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole—has been shaken. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog reports that Snyder’s forthcoming action spectacle Sucker Punch is testing extremely poorly. One insider is quoted as saying “It was bad ; like, really bad. They’re [Warner Bros. execs] really not happy with it over there.”

This isn’t the best news for Superman fans who just recently celebrated the casting of British actor Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel. Insiders also note that the script for the unnamed reboot suffers from some devastating third-act problems, which have likely induced some studio hand-wringing as the project nears its 2013 deadline. If a Superman film isn’t in production at that point, Warner Bros. must re-license the rights to the franchise from the estates of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Additionally, Vulture reports that Snyder’s 300 sequel, Xerxes, has been re-assigned to Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie. Could his Superman film fall into another director’s hands if Sucker Punch doesn’t deliver a knock-out blow when it hits theaters on March 25? Stay tuned, Wortmaniacs.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

'X-Men: First Class' Trailer Hits the Web

I’ll come right out and say it: I haven’t been paying all that much attention to Fox’s X-Men: First Class, set to debut in theaters on June 3. After the disastrous X-Men: The Last Stand and the downright idiotic X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I doubt this franchise can be salvaged at this point, but director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) is nevertheless making an attempt to do just that. If he fails, the number of bad X-Men movies will officially outweigh the good ones.

Set in the 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis, X-Men: First Class recounts the formation of the legendary mutant superhero team. Of course, central to the story is the burgeoning rivalry between Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Other characters appearing in the prequel include Beast, Mystique, Havok and Emma Frost (played ever-so-seductively by Mad Men’s January Jones).

Marvel.com
posted the first trailer for the film earlier this week, and I have to say that it looks somewhat promising. The shattered relationship between Xavier and Magneto has always been the cornerstone of the X-Men mythos in any of its incarnations, and as long as the film is semi-coherent, it’ll be a step up from Wolverine.

Watch the trailer below.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

'How I Met Your Mother's' Cobie Smulders to Join 'Avengers' Cast as Maria Hill

How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders is expected to join Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and other screen luminaries in Marvel Studios’ superhero ensemble film The Avengers, Variety reports. In the anticipated 2012 flick—written and helmed by genre-friendly director Joss Whedon—Smulders will play S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill.

According to Variety, Smulders’ deal is for nine films, similar to the multi-picture agreements signed by many of her Avengers castmates.

Smulders has phenomenal comic timing on How I Met Your Mother, but I have to admit I don’t necessarily see her playing an imposing authority figure like Agent Hill. Then again, if Whedon is known for anything, it’s hard-as-nails females. Well, that and bad luck with the Fox network.

The Avengers
hits theaters on May 4, 2012.

What the F is the FF?

Well, that didn’t take long.

Just weeks after fans mourned the loss of the Human Torch, Marvel has announced that Spider-Man will join the surviving members of the Fantastic Four—along with some “top secret” heroes—to form the Future Foundation. What’s the Future Foundation, you might ask? Well, according to Marvel.com, their ongoing mission is as follows: “Save the Marvel Universe from its greatest threats and prevent future dangers from arising. “

Wow, Spider-Man is in another book? Between his solo gig, his Avengers membership and now this, I’m guessing ‘ol Peter Parker is feeling a bit strung out. Get it? Because…webs.

FF #1 arrives on March 23. For more info, head over to Marvel.com.

'Green Lantern's' Light Noticeably Absent on Super Bowl Sunday

Allow me to join the legions of comic book geeks who were very, very impressed with Paramount’s Super Bowl ads for Thor and Captain America this past Sunday. The commercial for Joe Johnston’s adaptation of Marvel’s star-spangled Avenger was suitably badass—with our first look at Hugo Weaving in full makeup as the villainous Red Skull—while the spot for Kenneth Branagh’s Thor proved (to me at least) that the film will strike the proper balance between high fantasy and tongue-in-cheek comedy. The latter ad also featured the gorgeous Natalie Portman (as Jane Foster) fairly prominently, and with good reason.

As a matter of fact, after seeing her recent performances in Black Swan and the surprisingly funny No Strings Attached, I’d like to propose that Ms. Portman get at least 30 minutes of screen time in all films moving forward. Can you get on that, Hollywood? Thanks.

My nerdy crush aside (sigh), the reason I’m posting this blog—aside from the fact that it’s been nearly a week since I’ve written anything on here—is that I found the lack of any Super Bowl advertising for Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern a tad bizarre, especially since Hal Jordan’s big-screen debut is going to be a much harder sell at the box office than Marvel Studios’ follow-ups to the critically and commercially successful Iron Man 2.

Let’s be honest: The initial trailer for Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern was pretty terrible…embarrassing even. Between the dodgy CGI and the odd design choices on the suit, audiences’ first look at the first installment of a potential franchise did little to instill confidence in hardcore (or even casual) fans of the character. As such, Warner Bros. really needed to use the massive stage of Super Bowl XLV to prove to devotees—and everyone else—that the studio doesn’t have another Jonah Hex on its hands. It didn’t, and Geoff Johns surely wept.

Green Lantern hits theaters on June 17.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Exploit the Force, Volkswagen

As a rule, I absolutely loathe car commercials. However, I adore Star Wars references when they’re done well. As such, I find myself reasonably conflicted about how much I love Volkswagen’s new Darth Vader-themed Super Bowl spot. Watch and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Warner Bros. Casts a British Superman

Seeing as how Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman: The Movie essentially created the superhero film genre as we know it today, it boggles the mind how Warner Bros. has experienced so many creative misfires in bringing Kal-El back to the silver screen over the years. From Tim Burton’s failed attempt to resurrect the character in the 1990s to Bryan Singer’s lukewarm franchise relaunch in 2006 with Superman Returns, the blue-and-red boy scout just can’t catch a break in Hollywood these days. However, Zack Snyder’s forthcoming reboot of the Superman film saga hopes to reverse that unfortunate trend. But the big question has remained: Who’s the new Man of Steel?

Deadline.com
reports that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have chosen British actor Henry Cavill (The Tudors) to play the coveted role.

“In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen,” Snyder said in a statement. “I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry.”

Cavill had previously auditioned for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins—another superhero reboot—but he lost out to fellow Englishman Christian Bale. It’s hard not to appreciate the symmetry here.

Overseen by Nolan and penned by his Batman Begins/The Dark Knight collaborator David S. Goyer, Superman’s next onscreen outing hits theaters in 2012.

Meanwhile, in Gotham City...

Speaking of Nolan, Deadline.com is also reporting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in talks to reunite with his Inception director for The Dark Knight Rises, although it’s not yet known what role he’d be playing. Nolan has vehemently denied the Joker’s return in the Dark Knight sequel, but Gordon-Levitt would be an interesting replacement for the late Heath Ledger if the Clown Prince of Crime were to make a brief appearance in Nolan’s third and presumably final Batman film.

I’ll have more on this story as it develops.