Good afternoon, folks. Today’s News Bites is coming out a bit late on account of the need to sleep, but it’s finally arrived, and it’s packed with all sorts of interesting movie news and rumors. Superhero news, sci-fi news, sequel news, remake news, there’s a lot this week, including some very interesting rumors… that turned out to be completely unfounded. So to find out what’s going on, and just as importantly, what isn’t, read on.
Science Fiction author Frederick Pohl has passed away at the age of 93. Pohl was a prolific writer, especially of short stories, and also sometimes served as a literary agent for other writers, including Isaac Asimov. He was also the editor multiple magazines, anthologies, and for Bantam Books. He will be missed.
Universal has announced that their reboot of Dracula will be released October 3, 2014, instead of August as originally planned. Release a vampire movie in Halloween season? Sounds reasonable. The movie, which will tell the origin story of the vampire (instead of the end, as versions following Bram Stoker’s novel do), will star Luke Evans and is being directed by Gary Shore.
It’s been rumored for a while, but now it’s official: Bradley Cooper will be the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. It is expected that the anthropomorphic procyon will be the most popular role of Cooper’s career.
Variety is reporting that none other than Kurt Russell will be joining the cast of Fast & Furious 7. A career spanning six decades in Hollywood, and he’s still doing action movies. Impressive. (Also, one wonders how hard Stallone is lobbying to try and get him to join The Expendables; he’s got to be trying, right?)
Benedict Cumberbatch is out, and Tom Hiddleston is in for Guillermo del Toro’s haunted house thriller Crimson Peak, which also stars Jessica Chastain.
Cumberbatch, meanwhile, will be starring in the adventure film The Lost City of Z, to be directed by James Gray.
The title for the fourth Transformers film has been revealed in the first teaser poster: It shall be called Transformers: Age of Extinction. Also confirmed? Dinobots, according to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Say what you will about the quality of the Michael Bay franchise, but at least three major religions state that if you don’t like the idea of seeing giant robot dinosaurs on the big screen, you officially have no soul.
In other “toys on the big screen” news, Mattel is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to bring a live-action version of Max Steel to theatres. It is being written by Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World, Secret Headquarters) and directed by Stewart Hendler (Whisper, Sorority Row).
Are you ready for more Sherlock Holmes on the big screen? But not Robert Downey Jr., this time… Ian McKellen will be playing the great detective as an old man with his memory and eyesight failing in A Slight Trick of the Mind, adapted from a novel by Mitch Cullin. The film is being directed by Bill Condon.
Alan Taylor, director of Thor: The Dark World, will direct the next Terminator movie.
Hayao Miyazaki has officially announced his retirement from directing. Miyazaki is the most prominent director of Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli, and his works include Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. His final film will be the upcoming The Wind Rises.
Dwayne Johnson is in talks to star in director McG’s adaptation of The Fall Guy. Well, at least they’re getting somebody who could credibly be a stunt man turned bounty hunter, but can anybody really replace Lee Major in the role? And what starlets will be in the updated theme song?
Roland Emmerich is planning to reboot the Stargate film franchise. Emmerich says he approached MGM and offered to do a new film which is intended to be the first of a trilogy, which had been the plan for the original film.
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, has said a little bit about Thanos’s involvement in Guardians of the Galaxy. While Ronan the Accuser is the main villain of the movie, Thanos is lurking behind the scenes. Feige says that Thanos is “the connective tissue” between the various Marvel Studios movies… which, given that he’s been behind the scenes in everything so far and hasn’t yet been declared the main villain of anything, sounds an awful lot like they’re building up to The Infinity Gauntlet.
Rumors are that Zack Snyder is looking at Timothy Dalton to play the role of Alfred in Man of Steel 2: Superman vs. Batman. Somebody has to fill the big shoes of Michael Caine, and Dalton would be an excellent choice. This has to be taken with a grain of salt, though, because…
…rumors this past two weeks were also saying that Bryan Cranston would be Lex Luthor, with some sites even saying it was “confirmed” but “would not be announced until Breaking Bad concluded”. Incidentally, “confirmed” is a term that shouldn’t be used before an official announcement. As it happens, it has been confirmed… as false. Bryan Cranston himself has shot down the rumors, not only saying that it’s all news to him, but mocking the notion, saying his name is only being bandied about because he’s bald and “they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him.”
Also being debunked are rumors that Jack Nicholson was retiring due to memory loss. These rumors have been denied in full; not only is Nicholson not suffering from memory loss, but he is reportedly still enthusiastically reading scripts to select his next project. So I guess I can put this pillow away.
After initially saying that Will Smith was “too expensive” for Independence Day 2, Roland Emmerich is now saying that Smith might be in it after all. Of course, this is only “might”, and he’s not saying how big the role would be if it happens.
Louis D’Esposito, producer on several Marvel Studios films, has expressed interest in having a solo superhero film featuring Black Widow or Captain Marvel (currently Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel, in the comics). However, he acknowledges there is difficulty as they are currently only producing two feature films a year, and they already have several planned out. So if DC and Warner Brothers want to avoid the embarassment of not having the first major female superhero also be the first female superhero to have her own film (rather, own good film, thank you, Spikor), they’ve still got just a little bit of time to get their acts together on Wonder Woman.
That’s all for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading, and chime in below with your thoughts!