IN MAN OF STEEL SEQUEL NEWS, the sequel is Superman Vs. Batman. And yes, that is the title. And actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame, has reportedly been cast as Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. ((As of 09/01, Cranston is currently denying this report.)) Cranston reportedly signed a deal that includes up to 6 appearances as the character, with the intention of him appearing in a variety of films, such as Justice League. Warner Bros. is reportedly waiting until the finale of Breaking Bad airs to make a formal announcement. In other surprising casting news, the role of Batman was recently filled by Warner Bros. Execs. with none other than Ben Affleck. In a prepared statement, Warner Bros. Studios President Greg Silverman said, “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some.” Director Zak Snyder released the following statement: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne.” And Snyder added, “I can’t wait to work with him.” In any case, as soon as Affleck was cast, the internet EXPLODED with commentary. Most of it negative. The most amusing being petitions to stop Warners from using Affleck in the role. One at Change.org topped 40,000 signatures. And another went up on the White House website, asking President Obama to “denounce the selection of Ben Affleck.” That petition has since been pulled from the site, due to violating the White House web-site’s moderation policy. Very amusing. The film, slated to be released in the Summer of 2015, takes inspiration from the match-up between the two powerful superheroes within the pages of Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns.” How, you might ask, can Batman fight Superman. Well simple, in Miller’s story, Batman has a special suit that increases his strength to the approximate level of Superman. Under those terms, seems like it could make for a good match. David S. Goyer is currently co-writing the story with director Zack Snyder, and production is expected to start sometime next year. All principals from Man of Steel are expected to return. … AND WARNER BROS. HAVE REPLACED BEN AFFLECK as the director of the remake of Stephen King’s The Stand. Scott (Crazy Heart) Cooper will now re-write and direct the post-apocalyptic story. Warner Bros. has teamed up with CBS Films on this project, produced by Roy Lee and Mosaic. … IN JURASSIC PARK SEQUEL NEWS, strange as it may seem given a prior statement by Universal Pictures that the fourth installment of the franchise would be delayed, according to multiple sources, this now doesn’t seem to be the case. Those sources are reporting that Jurassic Park 4, or whatever it will be titled, is now scheduled to begin production next year. Director Colin Trevorrow recently participated in a podcast, wherein he discussed some of the rumors spamming the internet. Said Trevorrow, “I saw some of the rumors on the internet and I would have all kinds of red flags going off if I heard they were going to muzzle a T-Rex. So I would say don’t believe everything you read, there are way more insiders on the internet than there are in real life.” Trevorrow also stated, “It’s important to make a movie for the fans but I also have to remember that there’s a lot of people who just couldn’t care less and need me to make a solid case for why the hell there’s a ‘Jurassic Park 4’ in the first place and I want to make a movie for them too.” … IN OTHER JURASSIC NEWS, the original Jurassic Park, recently re-released in 3D, has made approximately $90 Million around the world. In China alone, the 3D version of the film has taken in almost thirty million dollars. This brings the film’s total lifetime box office gross to just over one billion dollars … ANNNND THE TITLE OF THE NEXT PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN FILM IS … Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The title will be familiar to those who’ve been lucky enough to enjoy the ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Heard here at the 4:16 mark:
It is the first echoing statement heard, and possibly voiced by a ghost, as the boat makes its way into the underground river tunnel. The film has been written by Jeff (Catch Me If You Can, Rush Hour 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) Nathanson, and will be directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. The film is scheduled to begin production in January of 2014 for a July 10, 2015 release. … RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS ABOUT HER FEELINGS ON THE FORTHCOMING BLADE RUNNER SEQUEL, actress Sean Young has stated, “Mmm, let’s see. Alcon – they’re the ones that own it and apparently they have Ridley to direct it — and when I met with them they didn’t make any offer-plans to include me. And when I called Ridley Scott’s office, he doesn’t call me back. So I guess they’re going to go, like, prequel or…I don’t know what they’re going to do. But my official opinion is that, if they don’t include me in it, everybody should boycott it. Because it’s stupid not to have me in it. It’s really stupid. That’s my opinion! I mean, you try to tell people something sensible in Hollywood and sometimes they just don’t listen, you know. And they usually pay the price too, because everybody’s an expert.” … IN STAR WARS NEWS, Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek cinematographer Dan Mindel, will lense Star Wars Episode VII for director J.J. Abram. And although it is good to hear that the movie will in fact be shot on film (Kodak 35mm stock 5219,) and not digital tape, it nonetheless appears that Kathleen Kennedy’s promise that J.J.’s customary lens flares and other photographic effects, will in fact come into play. Mindel’s next film to be released in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, due in theaters next May. And while the new Star Wars film is rumored to have been pushed back to a Christmas of 2015 release date, as opposed to a summer release, it has been revealed that shooting will begin on Tuesday, January 21st, of next year. … HALLELUJAH AND REJOICE, WE GOTS THE WILLIAMS ! John Williams recently confirmed that he has signed to score the next Star Wars film. At the recent Star Wars Celebration Event, Producer and Executive for Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy commented, “I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family on Friday, and has committed to being involved in the next three films, and that is Mr. John Williams.” Williams discusses further in the interview recently released to the internet below:
IN CASTING NEWS, THE EMPEROR HIMSELF, actor Ian McDiarmid is currently rumored to be returning for a brief role in the film. And though the nature of his role or confirmation of the existence of the role, have not been confirmed, speculation is rampant that McDiarmid will reprise the role of the Emperor in the guise of one of the Emperor’s clones. A scene originally written and storyboarded for Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but later excised before shooting. Confirmed by an illustration in the book “The Art of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.” … A SECOND RUMOR involves actor Ewan McGregor returning to possibly play Obi-Wan Kenobi in ghost form, seeing as how Alec Guiness is not available. The rumor expands upon itself to suggest McGregor will be wearing a partial make-up appliance to help him better resemble Guiness … KATHLEEN KENNEDY RECENTLY ATTENDED STAR WARS CELEBRATION, a convention for all things Star Wars regularly frequented by more than 20,000 people, and she had plenty to say on the progression of the project and the general tools being used to make the film. Said Kennedy, “The story and characters are all we’re talking about right now,” said Kennedy. “We have an amazing team at ILM, who can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing. I do think making huge popular culture – and I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of a lot of it – is really hard to do and get right. And if you don’t spend the time you need on developing characters, and finding stories, complicated stories, the audience gets tired because they think they’re seeing the same thing again and again.” Kennedy also stated that the new film will in fact involve real locations, as well as special effects. “It’s a conversation we’re having all the time in the development of ‘Episode VII.’ Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects – that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. So we’re going to find some very cool locations that we’re going to use in support of ‘Episode VII.’ And I think we’re probably going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox to create the look of these movies.” Kennedy also affirmed Abrams use of model makers, real droids, and things that the actors can touch and feel, and that she is currently dividing her time between Lucasfilm and Abram’s company, Bad Robot, where she’s having story meetings with the director and writing team. Please note she did state writers plural. It now appears that Michael Arnt is no longer writing the script alone. The final bit of news from Star Wars Celebration was that Celebration VII will be held in Anaheim, California, April 16 through the 18th, in 2015. … AND WHILE HE REMAINS MUM ON THE FATE OF HAN SOLO, as far as Harrison Ford is concerned, Indiana Jones ain’t dead yet. The fifth film, originally expected to be fast tracked after the fourth was so financially successful, has lingered in development hell for several years now. Reportedly waiting for George Lucas to find a story.
But Ford isn’t giving up that easy. “We’ve seen the character develop and grow over a period of time and it’s perfectly appropriate and okay for him to come back again with a great movie around him where he doesn’t necessarily have to kick as much ass,” Ford said “To me, what was interesting about the character was that he prevailed, that he had courage, that he had wit, that he had intelligence, that he was frightened and that he still managed to survive. That I can do.” SPEAKING OF HARRISON FORD, although this blog doesn’t normally report on straight action films, without a science fiction or fantasy slant, this is of intriguing interest to fans of actors Harrison Ford and/or Bruce Willis. Actor/director Sylvester Stallone recently tweeted the following in respect to Expendables 3: “WILLIS OUT… HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!” Expendables 3 will be directed by Patrick Hughes and will arrive in theaters, August of next year. … IN JAMES BOND NEWS, Daniel Craig has commented on the nature of the next film, mainly it’s similarity to some of the older Connery films. Said Craig, “Hopefully we’ll reclaim some of the old irony, and make sure it doesn’t become pastiche. I can’t do shtick, I’m not very good at it. Unless it kind of suddenly makes sense. Does that make sense? I sometimes wish I hammed it up more, but I just can’t do it very well, so I don’t do it.” Skyfall director Sam Mendes has been signed to helm the next film, now being written by John (Gladiator) Logan. The film is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in November of 2015. … THE UPCOMING LEGEND ON CONAN, which plans to sequelize the initial outings starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the company producing the film, Paradox Entertainment’s Fredrik Malmberg, just the tip of the iceberg. And apparently the highly popular cable fantasy show, Game of Thrones, had a big impact on that decision. Said Malmberg, “We have a great story. Everyone loves it. This is a role that’s perfect for [Arnold] and he’s very involved with the whole Universal team. Arnold has been very instrumental to bringing this together saying, ‘We gotta make a good Conan!’ I think if we do this right, we can do two more Conan movies right after. I think Game Of Thrones also shows a huge interest in fantasy. I’m psyched about it.” Malmberg also commented on the new film’s storyline, “The idea is that this takes place “after” Conan has been king. But this is the legend of Conan where he has been gone and people say, ‘do you remember the good ol’ days when Conan was around?’ And now it’s time for him to come back. In the stories — and you can also see it when he’s sitting on the thrown and the narration on that last scene of the movie…’with a troubled brow’ …you can tell he’s not really happy being king. So, it’s time for him to go out and do battle.” Malmberg also expressed the team’s interest in what they can now do with today’s technology that could not be done in the early 80’s, during production of the original film. “With today’s production values, we can probably do a lot more with what they were doing way back then. I mean we have seen what Peter Jackson has done. I think of course this is probably more grounded and less fantastical with less creatures and CG monsters. We want to have some of that fantastical world but we don’t want it to become a complete fantasy because what really set Conan the Barbarian apart from all the other fantasy movies is that this feels like our prehistoric earth. Still, we want to make it full of splendor … It’s on the table and it’s a big studio picture and a big event movie. I wouldn’t rule it out but right now, all we’re concentrating on is the story. It’s a working machine with everyone and marketing people. The president over there at Universal Pictures is Jeffery Kirschenbaum, and he’s one of the top two executive producers and he has a huge position there at Universal and he’s always been a huge Conan fan. ‘I want to make Conan,’ he’s said many times. And it was Universal who launched the first film with Arnold. Now the constellation is aligning.” Malmberg further commented on the creative team involved in bring the film to life. “We’re doing the script and it’s by the whole ‘Fast and the Furious’ team, which is great for a power position of the studio because they’re extremely successful – it was the biggest movie and if anyone knows how to build a franchise, it is that team. It’s Chris Morgan and Jeffery Kirschenbaum, the head of Universal. Arnold is very excited. It’s just in the phase where it takes a lot of work to get the script just right …” … TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HELD A 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY PANEL FOR X-FILES at the San Diego Comic-Con this year. The Pilot episode of the first season premiered this years, that’s right twenty – years – ago. Don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one that snuck up on. In attendance were, of course, series creator Chris Carter, actor David Duchovny, actress Gillian Anderson, and former writer Vince (Breaking Bad) Gilligan. Two questions were the elephants in the room. 1. will there be a new TV series ? Scully herself shot that one down, quickly, by stating that she would not reprise her role for a new series. 2. will there be a third X-Files film ? And the answer …? Duchovny and Anderson both voiced positive interest in making another film. Said Anderson, “A film would be great.” While Carter had the following to say, “You need a reason for going on and getting excited,” he said, then adding that the crowd’s response was, “very inspirational.” Anderson later auctioned off one of those cardboard cutouts of herself and Duchovny as their characters. Whilst doing so, Duchovny deadpanned, “This is how we’re going to get the movie made by the way!” Anderson quickly added, “This is our Kickstarter.” A few weeks later, Carter had this to say when again asked about the possibility of another X-Files film. “I think all of us are interested in putting the band back together. I have an idea for a third movie in my head. The colonization date has passed and that is something we wouldn’t ignore. For the second movie, we only had the budget for a standalone story, but we want to go back to the mythology.” Carter also commented that he wishes to make an addition to the cast. “Gillian [Anderson] worked with Simon Pegg on a movie and told me that he was a big fan. We actually thought about putting him in the second movie, but there was no part for him. I certainly would think about him if we were to go forward in any way.” … SPEAKING OF X-FILES CREATOR CHRIS CARTER, his new show The After will soon be seen on the small screen — or rather the computer screen. Amazon picked up the pilot, a post-apocalyptic drama that takes place the moment after the apocalypse. Carter will write and direct the pilot, which joins several other shows which will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime … IN AVATAR NEWS, James Cameron has hired author Steven Charles Gould (he wrote the book the teleportation sci-fi film, Jumper was based upon) to write four stand-alone novels based upon and expanding Cameron’s Avatar world. Writer/Director Cameron made an official statement, reading in part, “Steven Gould is one of the shining lights in contemporary science fiction, and I’ve long admired the worlds and characters he’s created in his books and stories. We’re very fortunate to have Steven bring his formidable talents to the ‘Avatar’ universe. He is already working closely with me and the screenwriters to flesh out the expanding world of ‘Avatar.‘” Cameron himself is currently co-writing not one, not two, but THREE new Avatar movies, with screenwriters Josh (War of the Worlds) Friedman, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Shane Salemo (Oliver Stone’s Savages.) And Cameron had this to say on his abrupt turnabout from initially announcing two Avatar sequels, then scaling down to only one film, then scaling back up again to THREE films. Said Cameron: “Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen.” The three sequels are planned to be shot back-to-back, starting sometime next year. The first will be released December of 2016, the second December 2017, and the third December 2018. … AND WHAT ABOUT BATTLE ANGEL? Cameron’s long in gestation adaptation of “Battle Angel Alita.” Well according to Cameron, he plans to begin development on the project in 2017, and says that the themes of trans-human exploration have haunted him for years. So for those waiting for Battle Angel, don’t hold your breath. … DIRECTOR JON M. CHU (G.I. Joe Retaliation) recently commented further on his forthcoming Masters of the Universe movie for Mattel and Sony. “I think that what helps us is knowing what we do in ‘Joe’ (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and knowing that ‘Masters’ has to be very different and has to feel very different, but the script for ‘Masters of the Universe’ is what really hooked me,” said Chu, “I love ‘Masters of the Universe,’ but I didn’t know necessarily how to make it into a movie until I read the script and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I totally see it. I get how this is going to shake it up, I get how this is different from any other thing,’ and it got me really really excited. We’re still working on that one and ‘Joe’ has momentum right now. The audience has been great and they want another one, so we’re rushing to get that done and Dwayne has a certain time period so it may end up that ‘Joe’ goes first in all those things and I don’t know if ‘Masters of the Universe’ will wait for me or where that’s going to end up. But right now it’s been great. We’ve been designing a ton of stuff for ‘Masters of the Universe’ as a really beautiful, grounded, honest world – that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s everything you want ‘Masters of the Universe’ to be in terms of the fantasy but not in a way theatrical crazy way. It is actually a gorgeous world that we’re doing in the initial visual concepts that we’ve been making.” … IN MARVEL NEWS, actor Bradley (The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook) Cooper has been hired to voice Rocket Racoon for Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. And actor Vin Diesel has been recruited to voice the character of Groot. Shooting on the film has been well underway for a couple of months now, and the big budget science fiction comic book spectacular is scheduled for release on August 1st of next year. Composer Tyler Bates (Watchmen, 300) has been hired to score the film, written and directed by James (Slither, Super) Gunn. … MARVEL’S CREATIVE CONSULTANT, and comic book writer, and general guru, Mark Millar, recently made an interesting statement regarding the possibility of a future X-Men film featuring The Fantastic Four. Said Millar, “Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each others movies. I think the most exciting thing in superhero movies, until The Avengers came along, was when Nick Fury showed up in Iron Man. Even though it was a guy with an eye patch it was really cool – and I expect we will see more of that.” X-Men: Days of Future Past unveils its wonders May of next year, and the Fantastic Four reboot is currently targeted for release in March of 2015. … WRITER/DIRECTOR JOSS WHEDON has been talking a lot about Avengers: Age of Ultron lately. Regarding the film’s tone, he had the following to say, “It’s a little bit darker than the other film, because Ultron is in the house there’s a science fiction element that I think is a little bit stronger than the other film. Getting the team together was so rousing, but seriously, keeping the team together is a completely different problem.” The film’s writer/director also added, “It’s very much a global Avengers film, a lot of the movie has to do with their place not only in America but in the world.” Whedon has also commented on Black Widow, and how she fits into the ensemble of the Avengers sequel. Said Whedon, “Natasha (Black Widow) is a huge part of the sequel because you do want to concentrate on the people who don’t have their own franchises. Although she is in ‘Cap 2,’ [and] she’s great. She was the most fun for me because she’s not a hero, you know, and it’s something that I read—and I feel bad that I can’t remember who wrote the book—but it’s in one of the books explaining, ‘These guys are heroes, you are a spy. It’s a different thing—it’s a different skill set—and you don’t have their moral high ground or any of that good stuff.’ And that just makes her so interesting to me. So yeah, the stuff I’ve got going on with her in the second one is killer.” Black Widow can next be seen in the upcoming Captain America: Winter Soldier, due April 4, 2014. Regarding Scarlett Witch (rumored to be played by Elizabeth Olsen,) Whedon had this to say about making the character’s awkward costume work on screen: “She might wear a headband or something that might echo it. The guys at Marvel, the conceptual artists, are phenomenal, and they are so good at taking the essence of what works and interpreting it for the actual human body, and when they paint something you can not only tell how it’s gonna work on a person, you can even tell what fabric it’ll be. They are very specific, very talented. So I’m excited to see the designs. Obviously we want to echo the look that people know, but there’s the classic look and the Ultimates look, but you have to do it in a way that will work. But it can’t be too old school… she can’t wear a leotard.” And regarding Agent Phil Coulson, who died in the The Avengers, and yet lives on in a new TV Series soon to be seen on ABC, Whedon had this to say: “He could (return). Right now it’s not something I’m pursuing because I have so much going on in ‘Avengers 2.’ Finding out that Coulson is alive would be an entire B story. And I already have too much movie. That’s better than the other thing.” In the end, Whedon left the return of Coulson up to Marvel Studios and their new show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Where Coulson’s return will undoubtedly be explained on ABC, Tuesday, September 24 at 8 p.m. And according to Whedon, Avengers: Age of Ultron begins shooting, “End of February, beginning of March. We’ll be shooting in London, London will be the base for Avengers 2.” The film is scheduled to open in theaters, May 1st, 2015. … CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER CO-DIRECTOR JOE RUSSO spoke about how the new film fits into Marvel’s Phase 2, and leads right into Avengers: Age of Ultron. “There’s a very strong connection in the narrative between the events of the end of “Avengers” that drive this film — and there’s a very strong hand off to “Avengers 2″ at the end of this movie. And Kevin Feige’s whole thing is that this is the biggest bridge of all of Phase 2 movies; it really is. It does involve the most amount of Avengers of any of the films in Phase 2, and it has sort of a, you know, there’s a very big shift in the universe at the end of this movie.” Co-directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America: Winter Soldier arrives on April 4th of next year. … AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON spoke recently about Nick Fury’s place in the new Captain America film. “You see Nick Fury the office guy, him going about the day-to-day work of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the politics as opposed to that other stuff. It’s great to have him dealing with Captain America in terms of being able to speak to him soldier to soldier and try to explain to him how the world has changed in another way while he was frozen in time. Some of the people who used to be our enemies are now our allies — him trying to figure out, “Well, how do we trust those guys?” or “How do we trus the guys that you didn’t trust who don’t trust you? And explaining to him that the black and white of good guys/bad guys has now turned into this gray area. Nick lies to him all the time, too. But he’s trying to help him navigate the waters of the new sharks that he doesn’t know anything about.” Jackson also commented on Robert Redford’s character in the sequel. “He’s part of that World Security Council I was talking to in (The Avengers), just he wasn’t there. We also know each other because we’ve been comrades for a very long time. There’s some stuff that’s said that gives you an idea of how he’s been part of that environment for a long time and the kind of guy he was.” … BRYAN SINGER sought to clear the air on where his upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past really fits within the timeline established by previous films. Said Singer, “It takes place about ten years, give or take, after X-Men 3; and in the past it takes place about ten years after First Class. I’d say it’s not a sequel to one of the others. It’s an inbetwequel — that’s what I call it, for lack of a better word.” Singer added that the film, “…takes place in the future and the past and then all over the world, from Russia to China, then France, and Washington, New York. It’s got scope, but most of the scope is in the breadth of the story.” The film opens May 23, next summer. By the way, Singer also tweeted an image of Trask Industries initial Sentinel design. Which in the comics gets bigger in iterations over the years, until the massive 50 foot versions are sent back through time to wreak havoc. Whether or not that aspect of the Sentinels, that larger version of the robots that comic fans have been familiar with since the 1960’s, will factor into Singer’s film is still unknown. However, here is the Sentinel as Bryan Singer sees it. In all its majesty.
AND SPEAKING OF MARVEL, Stan Lee will soon be appearing on his own Mars Attacks! card, courtesy of The Topps Company and Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo. Only available at Comikaze in Los Angeles, the card, painted by Joe Jusko and titled, “Stan Strikes!” will be given out free on a first come, first serve basis. They are limited to 2,500 and I’m sure they’ll go fast, so get there early. Topps will actually be on hand to promote “Mars Attacks: Invasion.” A revival of the classic card series, featuring an all-new story, based on the original card series. The new set will be on sale at the Topps booth, along with a limited edition print of Joe Jusko’s Stan Lee card. As Stan would say, “Get ’em while the gettin’s good, Marvelites!” For more info on Comikaze in Los Angeles: www.comikazeexpo.com. For additional info on the new Mars Attacks card series: www.facebook.com/MarsAttacks…. WELL GODZILLA IS COMING … AGAIN. And director Garth (Monsters) Edwards had this to say in a recent interview about the film, written by Frank (The Shawshank Redemption, The Myst) Darabount. “Not many people have seen Monsters, but if anyone who did see it and liked it and came to see Godzilla, I hope when they left they’d say, I can tell it’s the same filmmaker. When we did Monsters, I was doing all of the visual FX myself so there was a limit to how many creatures I can show, to the benefit of the film. Godzilla, I don’t have that limitation and will be a lot more epic. But it was really important to me, at the heart of this film, there were characters we cared about. “We tried to find the right story and path through this Godzilla universe where the characters were connected to the events in the movie where it didn’t feel forced and would also get you to the places in the story you wanted to experience. They were tagged on but embedded in the journey of the movie. I’m really pleased with what we came up with. A lot of the actors, I think, got on board because they had an emotional connection with the people which was one of the goals when we set out to do this.” …COMIC BOOK ARTIST ROB LIEFELD’S AVENGELYNE is steadily headed toward a big screen adaptation. And Haywire star Gina Carano has singed on for a series of films based upon the character. The film is being developed into a franchise similar to the Underworld films, featuring Carano as a fallen angel fighting off demons and monsters. Agengelyne made her first appearance in Image Comics in 1995. … AND LIEFELD HAS ONE OTHER PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT. A little something called X-Force. Oh, yea, you read that right — Cable is coming to the big screen. Jeff (Kick-Ass 2) Wadlow is attached to write and direct the film. Part of the Marvel universe, the militant group was designed as a distant future version of the X-Men in the early 1990’s by Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, and quickly became very popular. The roster included: Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Warpath, and Deadpool, etc. On a recent publicity tour for Kick-Ass 2, director Wadlow had this to say about X-Force: “Tonally it will fit in, quite well with all the other movies… but then I think the other movies cover a wide range of tones. It’s certainly not going to be tonally similar to Kick-Ass…I hope it will have what fans of X-Force will expect. I think it will be a little edgier, I think you’ll see some characters with different takes on what it means to be a mutant. There will be some grey areas that the movies haven’t yet been explored. It won’t be as “overt.” This movie is more about the grey areas in between. I’m going to take some big ideas from the X-universe and flip them, I think in an interesting way.” … JOSEPH (TRON: LEGACY, OBLIVION) KOSINSKI will next helm a feature film based upon Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Leonardo DiCaprio, who controls the rights, will co-produce along with Davisson Killoran, under the banner of their Appian Way production company, based on the Warner Bros. lot. Scott Bloom will executive produce the film. A screenplay by Anthony (Sherlock Holmes) Peckham, has been discarded in favor of re-developing the project from scratch. However, this is after Kosinski finishes work on his remake of Disney’s 1979 sci-fi flick, The Black Hole. And possibly even Tron 3. Kosinsky had this to say on the subject of these projects: “Both projects are being written right now by two really talented writers. Jon (original draft of Prometheus) Spaihts is writing Black Hole and Jesse Wigutow is writing TRON 3. Both scripts are in progress, I’m really excited about both. The fundamental ideas of both are really interesting. The TRON sequel kind of takes where we left off with ‘Legacy,’ that idea presented in the last few minutes of the film and really expands on it in a really exciting way.” Kosinski also stated that The Black Hole is not a remake as they are only using the “fundamental concept,” and then taking the film in their own direction. … YET ANOTHER VERSION OF FRANKENSTEIN is headed your way. That’s right, in addition to all previous versions, notably the classic 1931 Frankenstein, Hammer’s Curse of Frankenstein, Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound, Kenneth Branaugh’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and even the soon to be released I, Frankenstein, someone has decided to make yet another Frankenstein. James McAvoy is slated to play Victor Frankenstein in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming film. He will join Daniel Radcliffe, who fills the role of Igor. And no, I’m not kidding. Paul (Wicker Park) McGuigan is attached to direct, and the script was written by Max (Chronicle) Landis, as a direct adaptation of Shelley’s 1818 novel. Said Landis, “I began to pick apart our knowledge of ‘Frankenstein’ and discovered that the public’s idea of this myth comes from a million different places … I became committed to recontextualizing it all so it all worked in one story. By the end of the day, it’s a period piece and yes, it’s from Igor’s perspective, but man it’s cool. It’s the best thing I’ve written.” … IN ADDITION TO OBLIVION, AND EDGE OF TOMORROW — formerly known as All You Need Is Kill — Tom Cruise has now joined the production of yet another Sci-Fi film. Yukikaze, based upon Japanese author Chohei Kambayashi’s novel documenting the day-to-day duties of a soldier in a war against an alien race that attempted to invade Earth, is being written by Dan (Wrath of the Titans) Mazeau. Yukikaze was published in serial form, starting in 1979, and tells a story of a hyper-dimensional passageway, that suddenly appeared over the continent of Antarctica, over 30 years ago. Fighters from a mysterious alien force known only as the JAM exited the passage in wave. That wave attempted terrestrial invasion. Humanity united and forced the invaders back through the passageway to a very bizarre planet nicknamed, Fairy. A newly commissioned combat force called FAF is now tasked with traveling through the passageway and eliminating the JAM bases. The battle is ongoing, and Second Lieutenant Rei Fukai carries out missions in the skies above planet Fairy. He’s attacked to a tactical combat and surveillance unit of the Special Air Force, and is tasked with gathering intel. His only companion is his sentient fighter plane, call sign: Yukikaze. A previous anime series also adapted the story. Erwin Stoff and Tom Lassally will produce this American version. … THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN may soon be coming to television in a form closer to the original source material than the 2003 film starring Sean Connery. The one hour drama, based on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s graphic series will feature the same characters and scenario as the former film, but with more of what made the source material work. Michael Green will serve as Executive Producer and Showrunner for Twentieth Century Fox, with Erwin Stoff also listed as an Executive Producer. Hopes are high that the series can capture some of the spirit of other popular fantasy shows, and eventually generate a fan base large enough to keep the show on the air for multiple seasons. There have been to date, several sequels and companion books to the original “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” graphic novel. All very popular with readers. … UNDERWORLD DIRECTOR LEN WISEMAN has dropped out of Universal’s reboot of The Mummy. Producers Sean Daniels, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci are searching for a replacement director, still hoping to get the film in theaters sometime next year. The script was written by the original writer of Prometheus, Jon Spaihts. The producers are going for a darker scarier take on this project, and have drawn inspiration from the work of Michael Crichton. Interesting mix. … THAT POLTERGEIST REMAKE IS GOING INTO PRODUCTION WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Actress Rosemarie DeWitt has been cast as the female lead in the MGM/Fox 2000 film directed by Gil (Monster House) Kenan, and written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Lindsay-Abaire. Abaire most recently typed up Oz the Great and Powerful for director Sam Raimi, who is a producer on this project, along with Rob Tapert, Roy Lee, and Nathan Kahane. This revisionist take on the classic horror film, focuses on a family struggling to make ends meet that relocates to an outdated suburban home and is confronted by an angry spirit who kidnaps their youngest daughter and challenges them to band together to rescue her from the clutches of evil. You see what I mean ? Another pointless remake. … IN TV NEWS, THE SYFY CHANNEL (formerly the Sci-Fi Channel) has a television film coming up called High Moon. The movie will take place in a future where the Earth’s countries have each established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources. But chaos erupts when new forms of life are discovered. The script was based on a novel by author John Christopher called, “The Lotus Caves.” ruth about its existence. Production reportedly began on August 26th, in Vancouver, British Columbia. … AND SYFY ARE ALSO WORKING ON A SERIES BASED UPON Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film, 12 Monkeys, which is itself based upon a foreign short titled, La Jetee. Like the film, the television pilot will focus on a time traveler from a post-apocalyptic future who appears in the now on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a plague that will eventually destroy most of humanity. Production begins this November from a script by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett (Terra Nova, Nikita). … IN HOME VIDEO NEWS, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and MGM have officially announced that Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, November the 5th. The new cut of Peter Jackson’s first film in The Hobbit trilogy, will include 13 minutes of extra footage, and nine hours of new bonus features. There will be a 5-disc 3D set, which will retail for $54.98, a 3-Disc Blu-ray standard set, which will sell for $35.99, and a 5-disc DVD only set, which will go for only a dollar less at $34.99. The Blu-ray sets will include an UltraViolet download option to watch the film on your computer, tablet device, phone, or internet connected TV
AND NOW FOR THE SAD NEWS … Film and TV actress Gail Kobe has died at the age of 82. She starred in Cecil B. DeMille’s epic The Ten Commandments in 1956, before moving into television, appearing in the likes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, Mission Impossible, Tarzan, and The Outer Limits, along with many, many more. Born in 1931 as Gabriella Kieliszewski in Hamtramck, Michigan, Kobe moved to Los Angeles, changed her name, landed a small walk on role in East of Eden, and eventually found herself with a promising career as a Television actress. Then, in the mid 1970’s her journey led her behind the camera, and into a lucrative career producing daytime Television. But her work will live on forever in the form of excellent episodes of both the original Twilight Zone and the original Outer Limits … AND ACTRESS KAREN BLACK has also died. Black was nominated for an Oscar for her work in Five Easy Peaces, but as well as being an actress, she was also a screenwriter, singer and songwriter. Born Karen Blanche Ziegler in a suburb of Chicago, she moved to New York and trained at the Actor’s Studio under Lee Strassberg, before making her debut in Off-Broadway shows, and thereafter, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1966 romantic dramedy, You’re a Big Boy Now. Three years later, she had a role in Easy Rider that led to a role in Five Easy Peaces, and her performance in that film garnered her widespread acclaim, and shot her to stardom. Black went on to star in numerous films, including Airport 1975 (she got to fly the plane,) The Day of the Locust, Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot, and Peter Hyam’s Capricorn One. In 1986 she appeared on screen with her son, Hunter Carson, in Tobe Hooper’s remake of Invaders From Mars, and both mother and son reportedly had fond memories of working together. Black died after a two year battle with pancreatic cancer. And even a successful Kickstarter-like crowdsourcing campaign to save her life (which brought in almost $62,000, by the way,) couldn’t save her. But the money did help place her in the Motion Picture and Television Fund facility in Woodland Hills, California, which notably eased her suffering. Actress Juliette Lewis paid tribute, saying “Karen Black was my mentor and a second mother to me. She inspired everyone she came in contact with.” Karen Black was 74 years old.VETERAN TV ACTOR HENRY POLIC has also passed away. Polic had a long career on camera as a game show host, actor, and also doing voiceover work. In addition to appearances on The Bionic Woman, Mork & Mindy, The Incredible Hulk, Fantasy Island, and Sheena, Polic also did a vast amount of work in voice-over for animation. His role as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow on Batman: The Animated Series, was one of his last well known roles, along with playing the live action part of Dracula on the 1976 TV series, The Monster Squad. And he did plenty of other work in animation as well, including The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The Dukes, The Smurfs, Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Disney’s Tail Spin, and many more. Polic was also a frequent celebrity auctioneer for the Adam Walsh Foundation, Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, American Diabetes Association and the Leukemia Foundation and taught acting and performance at the Emerson College Los Angeles Center and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was 68 years old. AND VETERAN ACTOR OF NUMEROUS SCI-FI TV ROLES, MICHAEL ANSARA has died. Ansara played Klingon warrior and commander Kang on three separate Star Trek TV series, the Blue Djinn who originally imprisoned Jeannie in her bottle on I Dream of Jeannie, Kane in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and he also provided the voice of Mr. Freeze on Batman: The Animated Series. Born in a village in Syria, Ansara’s parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was two, and lived in Massachusetts until Ansara was 12. After moving to California, Ansara initially chose the profession of physician before getting the acting bug. He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse with Charles Bronson, Carolyn Jones, and Aaron Spelling. And later, after obtaining an Associates of Arts Degree from Los Angeles City College, he got work in the 1950’s on multiple television shows, starting with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, Bewitched, Land of the Giants, Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Babylon 5, and many more. He appeared as Qarlo Clobregnny in the episode of The Outer Limits, “Soldier.” The episode, featuring two soldiers who appear in 1964 still fighting a battle they were in the midst of one hundred years into the future, would many years later be the partial subject of a lawsuit brought by writer Harlan Ellison against Hemdale films, Orion Pictures, and director James Cameron, for plagiarism, i.e. appropriating material from said episode for Cameron’s film, The Terminator. In between his television appearances, Ansara also had major roles in films such as 1953’s Julius Caesar and The Robe (as Judas); 1961’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; The Comancheros (1961) with John Wayne; The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965); Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969); The Bears and I (1974); The Message (1977); and It’s Alive (1974). Ansara was so well known, and did so much, he garnered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael Ansara, who was once married to the beautiful Barbara Eden, died July 31 at his home in Calabasas, Calif., after a prolonged bout with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91 years old. VERY SADLY, FILM DIRECTOR TED POST has also died. Remembered most prominently for his work with Clint Eastwood on the films Hang ‘Em High and Magnum Force, Post worked rather prolifically in both television and film for several decades before retiring. Science Fiction fans will recognize his name for having helmed Beneath the Planet of the Apes, as well as several episodes of the original Twilight Zone, and the Saturday Morning live action Filmation production, Ark II. Born in Brooklyn in 1918, Post first job was as a theater usher at Loew’s Pitkin Theater in 1938. Then he dabbed in training to be an actor, before directing summer theater plays. In 1950 he found himself teaching Acting and Drama at New York’s High School for Performing Arts. And his success there led to Post directing television in the early 1950’s. He started with westerns, helming episodes of Gunsmoke, Rawhide, and Wagon Train, but over time, he branched out into directing everything from Peyton Place to Columbo. And he did enough good work to last a long time in pop culture. n 1996, in his late seventies, Post formed Pro Bono Productions to showcase the talent and expertise of older union and guild members in Hollywood. “Today we’re living in an era where it’s a sin to be old,” said Post. “It wasn’t true years ago. They were looking for people with experience to guide them. But, these days, you’re discarded like Kleenex. It’s a very serious problem.” Ted Post, director, passed away at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. He was 95.AND THE LENSMAN OF THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS, HAS DIED.
Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor had an amazing career as a director of photography/lighting technician/all around cameraman guru. And he worked on several notable films, Including The Bedford Incident, Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day’s Night, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, The Omen, John Badham’s Dracula, Flash Gordon, Lassiter. And even though “Gil” Taylor was one of the most expensive cameramen in the business, he frequently worked in television on shows like The Avengers. But as George Lucas himself has stated in previous interviews, Taylor and Lucas did not get along. “George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture. I took it upon myself to experiment with photographing the lightsabers and other things onstage before we moved on to our two weeks of location work in Tunisia.” Once they got to the location in Tunisia, the weather was horrible, and according to Taylor, “You couldn’t really see where the land ended and the sky began, it was all a gray mess, and the robots were just a blur.” Then, when Lucas requested Taylor use a diffusion technique, Gilbert balked. “I thought the look of the film should be absolutely clean; also, I was mindful that there was an enormous amount of process work to be done in America after we finished shooting in England, and I knew a crisp result would help. But George saw it a differently, so we tried using nets and other diffusion. He asked to set up one shot on the robots with a 300mm, and the sand and sky just mushed together. I told him it wouldn’t work, but he said that was the way he wanted to do the entire film, all diffused.” Taylor started out in 1929 as a cameraman’s assistant, and later spent six years during the Second World War as an officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. His job? A cameraman in an Avro Lancanster, shooting the damage caused by night-time raids over Germany. Later, he would become a founding member of the British Society of Cinematographers. Taylor was 99 years old when he died.
“Gil” Taylor, a name that will be remembered well along with Geoffrey Unsworth, Robert Krasker, Oswald Morris, Stanley Cortez, Charles Rosher, Gordon Willis, Freddie Young, James Wong Howe, Gregg Toland, and Jack Cardiff, and that’s just to name a few, off-hand. Yes, the great Gilbert Taylor was and remains a legend in the art of motion picture cinematography. Rest well, Sir, you earned it.