Once again, Friday morning brings with it your weekly supply of News Bites. And this week, I’ve finally gotten around to creating a logo for the section, so it looks just a little less ramshackle. It seems that when it comes to Hollywood, spring means more than just the start of blockbusters; just as the movies start picking up in both quality and quantity, the news also appears to be increasing in both magnitude and volume. Even counting only the confirmed stuff, this week’s interesting news is at least a full page long. So read on to see what’s been revealed this week.
Steven Spielberg is adapting a Stanley Kubrick screenplay for a TV miniseries on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. This could be very good; it has the pedigree, and Napoleon’s life is certainly one that could carry a series.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues has signed a veteran actor to play an even more legendary anchor… Harrison Ford.
Bryan Singer has tweeted that Halle Berry has joined the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past to reprise her role as Storm, so the prequel/sequel will have just about all the original cast. The addition of Berry’s wooden delivery of Storm’s lines will no doubt help to make the series feel more cohesive.
Queensrÿche has signed a deal with Century Media Records to release a new album, due out June 11. This will be their first album since firing lead singer Geoff Tate, with new lead singer Todd La Torre. Meanwhile, Geoff Tate, whose new band is also called Queensrÿche while the litigation continues over the firing and ownership rights to the name, has signed with Cleopatra Records, and Tate has a solo contract with InsideOut, a record company associated with Century Media, where his former bandmates have just signed. Ta-da! This little fiasco is quickly growing more convoluted than Operation: Mindcrime.
Jon Stewart is taking a break from The Daily Show to direct and produce Rosewater, a serious film about the ordeal of Maziar Bahari, a journalist who was imprisoned by the Iranian government.
Sam Mendes has turned down an offer to reprise his role as director for the 24th James Bond film.
Edward Norton will be starring in Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, along with Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifianakis. The dark comedy is about a former Broadway star (Keaton) who is looking to bring back a superhero play, but whose plans are being derailed by his lead actor (Norton). Andrea Riseborough has also just signed. So far there is no word on this being connected to the Hanna-Barbera character of the same name.
Giovanni Ribisi and Liam Neeson have signed on for Seth MacFarlane’s western-comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West. Is this a sign that the film will be a little classier than might otherwise be expected, or a sign that Neeson is still taking everything that shows up in his inbox?
The film isn’t even out yet, but early projections have already convinced Disney to commission Mitchell Kapner to write a sequel to Oz: The Great and Powerful (of which he was also the screenwriter).
You knew it had to happen eventually. Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and now Evil Dead have all been rebooted. Now it’s Poltergeist‘s turn. It will be produced by Sam Raimi, and directed by Gil Kenan, director of City of Ember and Monster House.
One of the dilemmas I sometimes face when putting together these posts is deciding what to do with rumors. A lot of times, they’re simply vague enough or minor enough that I don’t mind ignoring them. And I certainly don’t want to put them on the same level as confirmed news. But every so often, something turns up that’s both too big to ignore, and yet too wild to believe or that lacks any sort of official source. So, meet Manny. You all have known somebody like Manny. Manny was the kid in elementary school who swore there was a version of the Soundwave Transformers figure that actually played cassettes. In junior high, he insisted there was a Lando Calrissian solo movie, but that it didn’t do well and is really hard to find. And in high school, he was the guy whose neighbor had a third cousin who totally overheard plans for an Independence Day sequel called Labor Day. But he was also the kid who said George Lucas was working on prequels to Star Wars. The advent of the internet has only increased Manny’s tendency to spin stories, and just once in a while, there’s a kernel of truth in them. So if I come across a piece of alleged news that’s both big and wild, and I can’t find a proper attribution, I’m assuming it’s coming from Manny, and I’m putting it here in the wild rumors section. Most of the time I expect it not to pan out, but even a blind dog sniffs out a rabbit now and then. Most of the time, I expect this section to be reasonably light, but this week there are some doozies…
Latino Review claims that Christopher Nolan is now in charge of the DC Comics film properties — all of them — at Warner Brothers, and that he and Zack Snyder are set to co-produce Justice League, with Snyder possibly directing. They further assert that WB is hoping to not only get Henry Cavill to reprise his role as Superman, but also to get Christian Bale back as Batman. All big news if true, and not completely out of the realm of possibility; while Nolan and Bale have both said they’re done with Batman, they’ve also both said they would be open to coming back for the right situation. And L.R. makes a valid point about how desperate Warner Brothers must be to get their DCU film franchise going finally, and how this would be a good start. Still, this is very much in the unconfirmed stage for now. (And Complex.com cites “a Warner Bros. source” as saying Bale won’t be back). I’ll also admit to some concern if it is true; while I have confidence in the skill of Christopher Nolan, I’m less certain that his general tone would work for the DCU as a whole (most characters aren’t Batman, and shouldn’t be). Snyder falls into the same category for me, although with less confidence in his skill. Personally, Man of Steel will be something of a litmus test for me as to whether these two can put together a good non-Batman superhero movie.
A few weeks back, the rumor mills were stating that there would be a “Planet Hulk” storyline in the works for the Hulk movie franchise. Joss Whedon has weighed in, saying it’s “nonsense”. In more positive news, the script for The Avengers 2 is expected to be finished in a few months. Meanwhile, Mark Ruffalo has written on Twitter that a stand-alone Hulk film isn’t in the works right now and the next time we see Hulk it will be in The Avengers 2.
Carrie Fisher was asked by Palm Beach Illustrated if she could confirm whether she’ll reprise the role of Princess Leia in future Star Wars installments, and she said “Yes”. So either she’s in them, or she’s taken a page from Obi-Wan and given a literal but meaningless answer. Most likely the latter, as the next day, her representative retracted the confirmation. But news keeps flying fast and furious on this, as the very next day, George Lucas confirmed that they had been in final negotations with Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford at the time the Disney deal was finalized. He then said he wouldn’t say if the negotiations were successful or not. So the final takeaway, assuming nothing else comes out this week, is that the trio will probably be involved, but it isn’t absolutely confirmed yet.
According to a friend of a friend of Ain’t It Cool News, the Nova Corps will be part of Guardians of the Galaxy. This seems reasonably credible to me, despite the vague source. The Nova Corps is Marvel Comics’ group of space-cops, they’re sure to want to get them into film (just like they do every other property of theirs — the continued efforts on Ant-Man, of all things, proves that). And Guardians of the Galaxy is a logical place to introduce the concept and act as a springboard, assuming “GG” is successful.
“It was such a relief to be right, even though you knew you’d only got there by trying every possible way to be wrong.”
— Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay, 1996