It’s Friday morning, and that means it’s once again time for the News Bites, your weekly dose of movie and entertainment news. As expected, last weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con had a whole host of announcements for movies based on comic books and science fiction; the news coming out of SDCC is fairly big in both quantity and quality. But just because a lot of announcements were made at SDCC doesn’t mean that the news was otherwise quiet this week; quite a bit of news came out on other films after the weekend. It all adds up to a pretty hefty week for News Bites, so read on to find out what’s happening.
It’s official: Superman will be meeting Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. With a screenplay to be written by David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder, the film is scheduled for a 2015 release, just two years away. Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman, and the supporting cast of Man of Steel will likewise return; the casting for Batman has not yet been announced. Goyer has mentioned the tentative title for the film: Man of Steel 2: Superman vs. Batman (although Goyer has stated that the order of the names is not yet certain). Regular readers know I’ll have some thoughts about this, but they’re too long to go into here. Look for them in a separate post a few days from now.
That isn’t the only DC Comics movie heading into production, either. Announced at the same Comic-Con panel, is The Flash, to be released in 2016, followed by the long-awaited Justice League movie in 2017. Looks like DC’s finally getting serious about catching up to Marvel in output.
And it should be expected that Marvel had some news of their own to announce at Comic-Con as well, and it also involves a big sequel. The sequel to The Avengers finally has a name: Avengers: Age of Ultron, revealing that the major villain of the film will be the android Ultron. Casting for the voice of Ultron has not been announced. Joss Whedon has stated that the film will have a darker tone than the first one, and has also stated that the character of Hank Pym will not be involved. This is surprising news, as Hank Pym was not only the creator of Ultron in the comic books (indicating a different origin for the film), but was also the first superhero to wear the costume of Ant-Man, and there’s an Ant-Man film in the works from Marvel Studios as well. It would have been a natural fit, so I’m sure I’m not the only comic book fan who is surprised to read this.
And right after Comic-Con, Marvel put out a press release for Guardians of the Galaxy that confirms which actors are playing which roles. We’ve known the cast for a while, but who was playing what was up in the air officially until now. Of note, Glenn Close is indeed playing Nova Prime; John C. Reilly is Rhomann Dey; Karen Gillan is Nebula; Benicio del Toro is the Collector; and Djimon Hounsou is Korath. The voice for Rocket Raccoon is still unrevealed.
Some sad news this week. Actor Dennis Farina has passed away at the age of 69. Farina, a former Chicago police officer, was known for playing both cops and hardboiled criminals in his acting career, being exceptionally believable and colorful as both. Farina is likely best known for his roles in the films Midnight Run and Get Shorty, and the television programs Law & Order and, particularly, Crime Story. If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to cue up some Del Shannon.
Are you ready for more Django? No, not Jamie Foxx. Franco Nero, the original Django (who had a cameo in Tarantino’s film) has decided to return to the character he made famous in Sergio Leone’s Django in 1966, and played a second time in Django Strikes Again in 1987. Nero’s new film will be titled Django Lives, and will be set in 1915 Hollywood, depicting Django in his twilight years serving as a consultant on Hollywood films (echoing Wyatt Earp’s later years).
If more Django isn’t your speed, how about more Rocky? Sylvester Stallone will reprise his role as Rocky Balboa, but not as a primary character. Instead, Rocky will be the trainer in Creed, about the grandson of Balboa’s rival and friend Apollo Creed. The film will be directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and star Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) as the junior Creed.
If, on the other hand, you want more Dredd, you can number star Karl Urban among your ranks. While the film posted a loss of $15 million, strong DVD sales have led Rebellion, publishers of 2000 A.D. to create an online petition to get Lionsgate to produce a sequel. The petition can be found here. I wish them luck, but I suspect a successful sequel campaign would have involved buying tickets to the first one. Strong DVD sales would, optimistically, just lead to a direct-to-video sequel.
The Beverly Hills Cop television spinoff is stillborn; after CBS rejected the pilot, no other network picked it up. However, Shawn Ryan states that the pilot was successful enough in test audiences to convince Paramount to put another Beverly Hills Cop film into development. Ryan does not state whether this movie will continue with the proposed series’ premise of following Axel Foley’s son.
G.I. Joe 3 is happening, and Jon M. Chu will be directing again. A title, release date, and cast have not yet been announced, but Chu has stated the film will be shot in 3D from the beginning rather than undergo post-process conversion. The second film was delayed considerably by a last-minute decision to convert.
There has been surprisingly little discussion of Inside Out, Pixar’s 2015 film, but one detail has emerged. According to director Pete Docter (Up), the story takes place inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl, and the main characters are her emotions, represented as particle effects.
Still more young adult science fiction is on its way to the big screen. Sierra has acquired the rights to Obsidian, first in the five-book Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout. The series is about a seventeen-year-old girl who discovers her next door neighbor is an alien with a host of intergalactic pursuers after him.
A few tidbits of animation news courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter. First, director Chris Sanders has confirmed that sequels are in the works for both The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon, the latter of which will feature its protagonist as a teenager.
Additionally, Kirk Wise, who co-directed Beauty and the Beast is currently in the early stages of planning an independent hand-drawn animated feature. Title and premise have not been revealed.
Sacha Baron Cohen has pulled out of the Freddie Mercury biopic over creative differences. Cohen wanted to do an R-rated tell all, while Queen wanted a PG film. So, by inference, Cohen didn’t want to be involved in the film if he had to be tasteful.
It appears that even Jean Claude van Damme movies aren’t immune to being remade. Bloodsport is being remade by Radar Pictures with James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) directing, and a Kickboxer reboot will be directed by Stephen Fung (Tai Chi Zero). Is nothing sacred? What’s next, a Citizen Kane remake? Kidding. No word yet on whether van Damme will be involved in any capacity.
Those aren’t the only martial arts movies getting remade. The Weinstein Company is producing English-language adaptations of two Shaw Brothers classics: Come Drink With Me and The Avenging Eagle.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s co-star for zombie-film Maggie will be Abigail Breslin. Breslin will play the title character, Schwarzenegger’s daughter, suffering from zombie infection.
Sony, producers of the Gran Turismo video game franchise, has decided to try expanding it into cinema, to be produced by Mike De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Details on the film are as yet unrevealed, but one can presume it’ll involve cars going in circles.
Not all the news out of Comic-Con has been certain. There’s always a bit of teasing as well, and with three Amazing Spider-Man sequels planned, it’s unsurprising that the far-flung sequels are the subject of some hinting. Director Marc Webb has suggested that fans should think about the possibility of the Gentleman showing up as a villain. An obscure character to most comics fans, the Gentleman is notable for a novelization in which he is responsible for assembling… the Sinister Six, a team of Spider-Man’s most deadly enemies. Thus speculation is now that the Amazing Spider-Man sequels will be slowly building up to having Spidey fight a massive super-villain team-up. Considering Warner Brothers has Justice League about that time, Marvel Studios will have an Avengers sequel, and Fox will no doubt have another X-Men sequel, it’s not surprising that Sony would want to have a big superhero team-up film of their own. Making it a big supervillain team-up might be a worthwhile twist if they can successfully juggle having that many villains at once.
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen an interesting Star Wars: Episode VII rumor. Here are two, courtesy of the rumor mill at Latino Review. First is that Zac Efron is being looked at for a role in the film. Second is that Ryan Gosling is being looked at to play the son of Luke Skywalker. LR further suggests that the film will be set 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi.
From the same article comes a rumor about another franchise. Supposedly Leonardo di Caprio turned down a role in Star Wars, and supopsedly he did it so he could part in a live-action adaptation of Robotech. I have to admit I’m having just a bit of trouble picturing Leonardo di Caprio going from The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street to a movie about giant robots battling aliens.
And that’s it for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading!