News Bites: Birdman, Buzz, and Blade Runner

News Bites LogoOnce again it’s Friday morning, and once again it’s time for the News Bites. Although in this case, it’s more like the News Choking Hazards. Some weeks you get a few items, and then some weeks you get several. This week is heavy enough for at least two weeks, with 13 news items, 2 speculative items, 2 debunked rumors, and 2 set photos.

So grab your coffee, settle in, and hit the jump to find out all that’s going on this week!

Michael Green, who just finished a re-write of the screenplay for Robopocalypse for Steven Spielberg, is now in negotiations to do a re-write of the Blade Runner sequel that Ridley Scott is planning to direct. Green’s only prior film screenplay credits are for the theatrical Green Lantern and the direct-to-video Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; in both cases he was one of many writers, four in the case of Green Lantern. Let’s hope he was responsible for the good parts.

He’s been an astronaut, a fighter pilot, and an author, and now Buzz Aldrin plans to be a TV producer. Aldrin is bringing his own sci-fi novel, 1996’s Encounter with Tiber to television, in a “highbrow drama series” to be titled Tiber. Aldrin says it will be more realistic than Star Trek or Star Wars.

According to tweets from Stallone himself, final negotiations are underway for several new cast members for The Expendables 3. These include the already-mentioned Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage, and Jackie Chan, as well as the first female member of the team, Milla Jovovich.

Another week, another round of additions to the increasingly star-studded cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. Joining as a main female villain is Karen Gillan, perhaps best known for her role in Doctor Who. And not to push her to the side, but another “how’d they get that actor?” star is joining as well, with Benicio Del Toro being cast in an as-yet-unrevealed lead role. With last week’s addition of Glenn Close and (according to rumor) John C. Reilly, along with the previously-cast Zoe Saldana, this film is starting to have more recognizable faces than The Avengers.

The first photo of Michael Keaton in his Birdman costume has emerged. The story, a dark comedy, concerns a famous actor known for playing an iconic hero, trying to mount a Broadway play and resurrect his career. Pretty impressive costuming job.


Some of the most successful comic-to-movie adaptations out of DC Comics’ various imprints have been the non-mainstream ones, such as Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, and V For Vendetta. Now another is in the works: the cult favorite Fables, about a community of fairy tale characters trying to survive in New York City. The film is being produced by David Heyman (of the Harry Potter franchise) and is set to be directed by Nikolaj Arcel, director of A Royal Affair.

That’s not the only comics property Warner Brothers is planning to bring to the big screen, but the other new announcement this week isn’t from DC Comics… it’s from Archie Comics. But it’s not the same old slice-of-life Archie you grew up with. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is writing the screenplay based on his own comic book miniseries, Afterlife with Archie, concerning an outbreak of zombies in Riverdale, and attempting to mix the tones of Archie comics with that of The Stand or The Evil Dead. It is being produced by Roy Lee and Dan Lin (producers of The Departed and Sherlock Holmes, respectively), and will be directed by Jason Moore (of musical comedy Pitch Perfect). I realize there may be some confusion, so let me be clear; Yes, this is still June, we have not skipped to April 1st.

A couple bits of comedy sequel news. First, a sequel to 21 Jump Street has been confirmed, with a title and release date announced. Getting a jump, so to speak, on all the internet punsters, the sequel’s title is 22 Jump Street. Apparently they’re moving across the street. The film is set for release on June 13, 2014.

Also getting a sequel is Hot Tub Time Machine. Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, and Chevy Chase are all confirmed to be returning. John Cusack will not be coming back, but Adam Scott will be joining the film as Cusack’s character’s son, who the group encounters when they travel to the future. Also joining the cast is Gillian Jacobs, of Community.

We’re only two-thirds through the news. Time for another photo. Here’s Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, due out this December. Tauriel is a Sylvan elf, of a lower caste than Galadriel, Arwen, and Legolas.


Warner Brothers has produced a lot of Christopher Nolan’s films, so it was something of a surprise that Interstellar was being produced through Paramount. News came out in January that WB had arranged a partnership with Paramount to get a piece of it, and now the details have come out. In order to gain the rights to co-produce Interstellar, Warner gave Paramount five-year rights to finance a Friday the 13th film and a South Park film, and a co-finance position on a third future high-profile WB project to be named later. Quite the gamble on Warner Brothers’ part, but I’m sure these executives’ grade school teachers are all very proud of how they’ve learned to share.

Universal is planning a live-action adaptation of the Japanese animated feature Vexille, about a female agent sent to Tokyo to investigate whether the Japanese government is developing robotic technology in violation of international law; the original film was set in 2077. The screenplay is being written by Evan Spiliotopoulos, who is also writing the upcoming Hercules: The Thracian Wars and Wanted 2. His previous work includes a lot of direct-to-video Disney sequels and Battle For Terra, which I gave two stars to, so I’m not exactly viewing this with optimism.

Rick McCallum, who was a producer for the Star Wars prequels, is looking to get back into science fiction films, along with fellow Star Wars: Clone Wars producer Steve Tzirlin. The project will be R’Ha, based on a short film Kaleb Lechowski about an alien race defending itself from attack. No humans feature in the plot. Lechowski is set to direct.

J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot has acquired the rights to a previously-unproduced screenplay by Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone. The screenplay is titled The Stop Along the Way; no other details are known at this time.

Tom Hardy’s star has been rising in the past few years, and now he’s taking the lead in Japanese director Takashi Miike’s English-language debut, The Outsider. Hardy will play an American G.I. who, after being a prisoner of war during World War II, stays in Japan and rises through the ranks of the Yakuza. Production begins next year.

And now, after all that, it’s finally time for…

Manny Eating PasteRumors and Speculation:

…you didn’t really think we were done, did you?

Will Penélope Cruz be in James Bond #24? We’ll give you a definite maybe. Rumors started swirling this week that she would, from unspecified sources “close to the production”. Now an unspecified source “close to the production” says it isn’t true. Of course, no official word has come out either way as of this writing. Personally, I’d like to see it happen; I think Cruz could be a good Bond girl.

With Robert Downey Jr. in contract negotiations, there has been some speculation on how this might affect The Avengers 2. Joss Whedon has chimed in saying he personally does not plan to direct The Avengers 2 if Downey is not involved. Which, all things considered, means Disney is almost certainly going to do whatever they have to in order to keep Downey on board.

And lastly, two separate cases of taking the words out of someone’s mouth and creatively misunderstanding them. First up, Digital Spy has an article headlined “Will Smith to give up blockbuster movies”. However, what he actually says in the video is that while his focus has been on blockbusters, he wants to “start moving out of that and finding more danger in [his] artistic choices”… which sounds less like “I’m giving up on blockbusters” and more like “I want to expand my portfolio”, and puts him in line with most other big name actors who do some blockbusters and some non-blockbuster fare.

The other case of creative misinterpretation concerns “Weird Al” Yankovic, and a print magazine interview in which he discusses the upcoming end of his recording contract. He has one album left on the contract, and the album is currently in production. Yankovic is currently weighing his options for after its release, including considering digital distribution to allow his parodies to be more timely. This was printed with the headline “Weird Al Says His Next Album Will Be His Last!” Yankovic sets the record straight here, stressing that he is neither retiring nor is he certain what his plans after his next album will be, and that he does not plan on ever stopping making music.

“And by the way, your quotes from George Carlin aren’t really George Carlin; Mister Rogers never fought the Viet Cong.”
— “Weird Al” Yankovic, “Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me”, 2011

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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14 Responses to News Bites: Birdman, Buzz, and Blade Runner

  1. ckckred says:

    I don’t think a sequel to Blade Runner will work since it seems so unnecessary. Nice news bites as always.

  2. S says:

    Buzz Aldrin project: a strong curiousity now; the guy’s done everything; “to infinity and beyond”

    HTTM 2.0 – ah no; first one though entertaining from a certain perspective; should have been a once and done in my humble view

    PCruz in B24 – Hellz yeah, and I wish she would stop doing coffee commercials as I drink too much already 🙂

    Michael Keaton Birdman costume: I think I have one from a fast food – wait just kidding; that outfit is AWESOME.

    Nice bites or meal this time around – Wow 😉

    • Aldrin’s reminding me of the kid who in elementary school who, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, reels off a long list of improbable things… only in his case, he actually did them. 😀

      I agree about the Birdman costume; that is looking far better than I would have expected.

  3. Not good news for the Blade Runner sequel… as if its mere existence wasn’t abhorrent enough. 😦

    I hope we wind up getting a new Friday the 13th out of that Interstellar deal, that would be sweet!

  4. First Condorman, now Birdman.

    And poor Hawkman will never make it to the big screen. 😦

  5. Will says:

    Hahahaha, wow! I love that Birdman costume!

    Also glad to hear Weird Al confirm my suspicion that he would never stop recording. The idea of timely Weird Al downloads without a record contract appeals to me as well. He did something similar with the songs from his last album, releasing 5-6 of them as “singles” as they were recorded.

    • Yes, it’s a really impressive costume, isn’t it? 😀

      I remember the “Internet Leaks” EP he did. Considering how long it’s taken some of his albums to come out, due to the different parodies, and some of the issues he’s occasionally had — at least two albums of his I know of were delayed due to the artist or the studio or an agent balking — it wouldn’t surprise me much at all if he decided it would be easier to just release singles from here on out.

  6. After that Prometheus debacle I am not looking forward to the Bladrunner 2 😦

    Did you know will Smith is a physicist? I read about it in vulture. No more blockbusters? Does this mean he will bow out of MIB 4, man i hope so.

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