Log Entries: 01/31/2014

STAR WARS FANS ARE NOW THOROUGHLY CONFUSED.  Carrie Fisher recently confirmed that she and Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford have all three signed to film Star Wars: Episode VII, and that they have been instructed to report to work in the United Kingdom sometime between March and April — this would be weeks before the film begins shooting, May 4th.Carrie FisherHarrison FordActor Mark Hamill However …. while comments made by Fisher were re-posted on various websites, including TVguide.com, earlier this week, Mark Hamill made a lengthy appearance on Reddit recently, and had this to say, “I’m not being coy, really. When I find something out, I’ll let everybody know. But nothing has been decided yet.”  Fisher’s comments were made while doing publicity for a recent appearance on The Big Bang Theory.  Here’s what she had to say: “We are expected to report in March or April for principal shooting.  I’m really looking forward to it.  It’ll be fun to work with J.J. Abrams.  I’ve never met him before.  I’d like to wear my old cinnamon bun hairstyle again for this one, but with white hair.  I think that would be pretty darn funny.”  No “official” confirmation has come as of yet from either Disney or Lucasfilm, but according to Abrams, himself, casting announcements will be made, “Soon.  And I look forward to that so that we can get past it, and we can get on with it.”  Perhaps Carrie Fisher is unaware that she is the only member of the original cast to have signed on at this point?  Or perhaps she’s just confused about where her representatives are at in the negotiation process … Mon MothmaIN OTHER STAR WARS NEWS, Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving are apparently in contention for roles in the production.  And possibly Judy (Casino Royale) Dench as the older Mon Mothma.  That’s another rumor out there.  However, it has been confirmed by director Abrams that Jesse (Breaking Bad) Plemons, who has read for a lead role and is currently in negotiation to be cast in the film.  The script has reportedly been completed, and accepted by Disney … Star Wars Marvel #31Star Wars Dark EmpireDARK HORSE COMICS have lost their license on everything Star Wars.  As of 2015, Star Wars will return to Marvel Comics, the company that initially held the rights starting in 1977, and continued to publish Star Wars until 1990.  After Marvel cancelled the book, Dark Horse picked up the rights, starting in 1991, and has been publishing numerous spin-off titles, since then.  Many saw this coming, due to the Disney Studio’s acquisition of both Marvel and Lucasfilm … SPEAKING OF DISNEY, STUDIO CHAIRMAN ALAN HORN was recently asked about a potential fifth Indiana Jones film, recently.  He merely commented, “we need a story,” and added that production of that potential film won’t begin for 2 to 3 years.  They wait any longer, and they’ll have to make a movie about Indy in a rocking chairIndy in chairAND NOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU, ACTOR PETER CAPALDI as the 12th Doctor!
Peter CapaldiIN MARVEL NEWS: JOHNNY DEPP is looking at playing the iconic perennial 70’s comic book favorite, Dr. Strange, for Disney.  Johnny DeppHe’s already under contract with Disney to make a certain number of films, and that contract was originally intended to include a sequel to Lone Ranger, which clearly won’t be happening.  So Disney and Depp believe Dr. Strange would be a wise choice.  Dr. StrangeThey just have to sort out the particulars.  The character of Dr. Stephen Strange is that of a self involved surgeon who after having the nerve endings of his hands severed in a car accident, travels to the Himalayas to seek help from an ancient mystic.  After passing a test of character, the ancient mystic, revealed to be a sorcerer, grants Dr. Stephen Strange limitless power as a sorcerer himself, and Strange is tasked with protecting Earth from evil magicians, mystics, creatures, etc. from other realms …  MICHAEL DOUGLAS has been cast as the original Ant-Man, Henry Pym, in Edgar (The World’s End) Wright’s forthcoming Ant-ManAnt-ManDouglas had this to say: “I’ve been dying to do a Marvel picture for so long. The script is really fun, the director is really good. Dylan (the actor’s young son) will love it. He’ll have a picture he can see.”  Actor Paul (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) Rudd will play a thief named Scott Lang, who comes into possession of the original Ant-Man’s equipment and suit, which allows the wearer to shrink to the size of an ant, and ironically, additionally grants the wearer massive physical strength.  Reportedly, Rudd’s character initially uses this technology for petty crime, before being turned around by the original Ant-Man … Days of Future PastBRYAN SINGER recently commented on his plans for X-Men: Apocalypse, the film which will follow his soon to be released, X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Said Singer: “[I’m] co-writing the story and I’m producing it. I’m negotiating to direct. We’re in the process. We’re trying to figure it out, schedules. My desire would be to direct it.”  Bryan Singer during a late night story session on X-Men ApocalypseSinger added, “[Apocalypse] will also address historical mutant-cy, meaning the deep past, mutant origins and things like that. It’s something that’s always intrigued me when we think about our Gods and our history and miracles and powers.”   The film, currently being written by Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris, the writers of X-2: X-Men United, is targeted for a May 27, 2016 release date X-Men Days of Future PastNOW WE GET TO THE CONFUSION OVER SINGER’S comments concerning actress Anna Paquin being cut from X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Initially, Singer had made this ‘official’ statement concerning a specific sequence that Paquin’s character appeared in:  “Through the editing process, the sequence became extraneous.  It’s a really good sequence and it will probably end up on the DVD so people can see it.  But like many things in the editing process, it was an embarrassment of riches and it was just one of the things that had to go. Unfortunately, it was the one and only sequence Anna Paquin was in, the Rogue character was in. Even though she’s in the materials and part of the process of making the film, she won’t appear in it.”  However … after much consternation among fans, and after actress Paquin’s appearance in the initial trailer as her character, as well as being featured on the cover of Empire Magazine, also in character — Singer added this: “[That sequence being cut] does not mean that we won’t see her in the film.” …  Groot & GrootIN BETTER NEWS, VIN DIESEL has been officially announced as the voice of ‘Groot,’ the tree-like alien in Guardians of the Galaxy … AND SPEAKING OF VIN DIESEL, he recently took to Facebook to announce that because home video sales of Riddick are so good, Universal has opted to allow development to proceed for another “Riddick” film … AND IN DC NEWS, Batman Vs. Superman has been delayed for almost an entire year.  Speculation has pointed at a common injury inflicted during training to actor Ben Affleck, but Warner Bros. have stated that there are additional reasons why the film’s release date has been postponed.  One of which involves the addition of Wonder Woman, and a sequence that involves traveling to the civilization that sent her here.  Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash as Lex LuthorA sort of Atlantis-like netherworld, populated entirely by women.  Another involves a decision coming soon on whether or not Batman Vs. Superman and Justice League will be shot back to back, with a cliffhanger at the end of one that leads right into the other … ALSO OF RELEVANCE, CHRIS (ARGO) TERRIO is now writing Batman Vs. Superman for Warner Bros. and Zak Snyder … AND BY THE WAY, you can forget those potential revelations floating around out there about actor Joaquin Phoenix playing Lex Luthor.  Jesse EisenbergInstead, actor Jesse (The Social Network, Zombieland, Now You See Me) Eisenberg has been tapped to play a younger version of Luthor.  Yes, the guy who played the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, will play the most dangerous man in the DC Universe.  Chew on that.  And noted thespian, Jeremy Irons has also signed on to fill the role of Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred.  The movie is now set to open on May 6, 2016 … HERE IS A NEW 90 SECOND TRAILER FOR MALEFICENT, starring Angelina Jolie as the legendary Disney villain.  Awesome, you’re gonna love this:

ACTOR JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT has revealed that he will be involved in the film adaptation of Neil Gaimain’s “Sandman” comic series.  There is no confirmation yet on whether he will play the character or direct the film.  Gordon-Levitt recently directed his first film, and received very strong critical praise.  SandmanGordon-Levitt has this to say:  “Well, I love just the basic concept of it – just the concept of personifying Dream, along with all of his brothers and sisters, the seven Endless personifying Death, personifying Destruction and Delirium and Destiny and Desire and Despair. I mean, that’s just a fascinating and, I think, a really cinematic concept. You look at the art of Sandman, and it just looks spectacular. I love big, spectacular movies, but oftentimes big, spectacular movies sort of get stuck in a rut. They go down certain paths that end in big explosions or whatever. Sandman has so much opportunity to do something that’s on a grand, grand scale, but really unlike your average big, grand-scale, spectacular movie. I guess that’s the tip of the iceberg.”  Neil Gaimain himself has described the unique Sandman stories as, “The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.” … THE FULL TRAILER for cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, Transcendence, recently hit the net.  Take a look:

THREE LOUISIANA PRODUCTIONS ARE ON THE SLATE FOR THIS YEAR: Jurassic World has reportedly lost actor Sam Neil as a cast member, and will not be shooting on the island of Kauai, as erroneously reported, but rather in the State of Louisiana, on June 2nd.  The current, official cast listing is as follows:  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson and Irrfan Khan.  The movie is scheduled to be released in theaters on June 15th, 2015; Terminator Genesis begins shooting on April 21st, in New Orleans, for a July 1st, 2015 release date.  Arnold Schwarzenegger will return, and new arrivals include: Emilia Clarke and Jason Clarke.  Alan (Game of Thrones, Thor: The Dark World) Taylor is helming; and Fantastic Four begins shooting in Baton Rouge on March 31st.  Josh (Chronicle) Trank will direct the recently completed script by  Simon (X-Men: First Class) Kinberg.  That film will arrive in theaters on June 19th, 2015 … PETER (GRUDGE MATCH) SEGAL is looking at next helming the live action version of Jonny Quest.  A film that has been in development hell since the mid 1980’s.  JQSaid Segal: “I would love to make that my next movie,” Segal says. “…We just hired a writer to do another pass. We already have a very good script. Then we go through budgeting hell and trying to get it into shape.” … JAMES CAMERON WILL INDEED shoot Avatar sequels in New Zealand — three of them, back to back … ACTOR BRUCE WILLIS has joined the production of Vice.  The future sci-fi film is described as follows: “[the film] takes place in a future world where the wealthy have the option of visiting a futuristic resort where even the darkest of fantasies can be lived out thanks to a robot staff that is reset every night. One of the robots, thanks to an error, winds up with every memory of her entire experience at the facility, leading her to seek revenge against the resort’s owner (Willis).” … DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES director Matt Reeves, recently announced that he has signed to helm the third, currently untitled, Planet of the Apes reboot film.  Meanwhile, the trailer for his initial film in the current series, following up on Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has been released upon the internet, like an angry monkey lookin’ to do some real damage in a china shop.  Behold:

THE TEASER FOR CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S INTERSTELLAR hit the net several weeks back.  In the film, humanity has to find another planet where they can grow corn.  No kidding.  Take a look:

20’TH CENTURY FOX are planning a big budget thriller based upon Daniel Suarez’s soon to be published sci-fi thriller, InfluxDaniel Suarez InfluxThe modern day plot concerns the wealthiest among us hiding many technological breakthroughs from the rest of us, and granting them only to themselves.  And this has been going on for many decades.  Then one day, a particle physicist discovers this conspiracy when he makes an amazing discovery, only to be told by a bizarre organization known as the Bureau of Technological Control, that only the very wealthy will have knowledge of, and be permitted to benefit from it.  When he refuses to cooperate, the physicist is thrown into a prison where the rest of the world’s geniuses have been hidden.  And with so many powerful intellects, all confined within the same walls — all with the single-minded determination to put a kink in the plans of the wealthy — you know they’re  gonna figure something out … ALSO ON THE FOX SLATE: D.J. (EAGLE EYE) CARUSO will direct Selling Time, a story about a man who trades seven years of his life expectancy for the chance to relive a single day, the worst day of his life, over again.  Will Smith may star, Davis Entertainment is producing … TERRY (BRAZIL) GILLIAM’S FILM, ZERO THEOREM has a new trailer:

JOE (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER) JOHNSTON will helm the sci-fi film Extension, a story reportedly about a man trying to protect his family during an alien invasion. (Shades of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.)  No studio was attached as of this writing … AND NOTED SPEC FICTION WRITER TED CHIANG’S SHORT STORY, “Story of Your Life,” will soon be made into a feature film.  Scripted by the writer of the reboot of John Carpenter’s The Thing, Eric Heisserer, Story of Your Life is about a linguist, who after aliens arrive, has to decipher their language and figure out their intentions — ala that classic episode of The Twilight Zone, “To Serve Man,” itself written by Richard Matheson. Denis (Prisoners) Villeneuve will direct … BAD NEWS TIME, READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVE A WEAK HEARTRussell 2The Professor, that enigmatic bastion of all-knowing Radio Shack related knowledge from the popular sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, has left us.  Russell 3Among Johnson’s more notable genre work: The Invaders (1967,) The Outer Limits (1964,) The Twilight Zone (1961,) Thriller (1961,) Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1957,) This Island Earth (1955,) It Came From Outer Space (1953,) The Adventures of Superman (1953,) Wonder Woman (1978,) Beyond Westworld (1980,) ALF (1987,) and he even narrated an anime called Robotech II: The Sentinels.  Russell Johnson, alias Professor Roy Hinkley, died of kidney failure in Bainbridge Island, Washington earlier this month.  Russell 4Although Johnson himself was not an orphan, he graduated from a school for orphans, Girard College in Philadelphia, before joining the Army during WWII.  As a Second Lieutenant, he flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier pilot in a B25.  He earned a purple heart after one of those missions had to ditch following a raid on Japanese forces, and Johnson broke his ankles during the ‘landing.’  He was additionally awarded the Air Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal.  Russell This Island EarthHe was then honorably discharged and joined the Army Reserve to utilize the GI Bill and attend the ‘Actors Lab’ in Hollywood.  Within no time, Johnson had a lucrative career in both film and television.  However, Johnson never made a specific, notable appearance in genre television he actually craved.  As he once said to “Starlog” magazine in the early 80’s (the very magazine this blog pays homage to,)  he had wanted to appear in the original Star Trek during its run on NBC.  Sadly, he was never cast.  Johnson’s son ran the AIDS program in Los Angeles until his death from the disease, and Russell himself was consequently an avid supporter for finding a cure.  Russell Johnson was 89 years old.  Say hello to the Skippy and Gilligan, Professor.Russell Gilligan's Island AND THE MAN TO FOREVER BE IDENTIFIED WITH EMBODYING THE CHARACTER OF T.E. LAWRENCE, MR. PETER O’TOOLE … has died.  MCDLAOF EC013O’Toole was born in England in 1932, worked as a journalist and photographer, and later a signaler for the Royal Navy, before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and thereafter working in the theater.  CreatorO’Toole believed stringently that the difference between actors today and yesterday can be summed up very simply, “theater, theater, theater.”  He was an ardent and outspoken opponent to both the British involvement in the Korean War in the 1950’s, as well as the Vietnam War in the 1960’s.  O’Toole almost died of stomach cancer in the 1970’s but survived after part of his stomach and pancreas were removed.  Then he suffered another setback with a diagnosis of a developing diabetic condition, and a blood disorder.  But O’Toole persevered.  SupergirlO’Toole lived to reach the age of 81, dying this past December of a long illness in a hospital in London.  Among the numerous — and I do mean numerous — awards he was nominated for and/or won, O’Toole received the Academy Award nomination a record 8 times — but never won the award until 2003, when the Academy bestowed him with an honorary Oscar.  PeterAmong his more notable genre performances: Supergirl (1984,) Creator — a film once thought to be science fiction (1985,) The Ray Bradbury Theater (1986,) High Spirits (1988,) Phantoms (1998,) Anton Ego in Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007,) and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust (2007.)  The Captain has turned off the ‘no smoking’ sign Peter, you may light up, move freely about the cabin, and loiter and raise hell with intent.  Just know, you are missed down here. PETER O'TOOLEAND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, ARTHUR RANKIN JR. has passed on.  Rankin reportedly started out as a theater usher at the age of nine.  Arthur Rankin Jr.Years later, in the late 40’s, Rankin found himself at ABC Television, working as an art director, painting sets and doing on-air graphic design.SANTA CLAUS, REINDEER  Then, in the early 60’s, Rankin and a man named Jules Bass founded a company called Videocraft International.  Eventually known as Rankin-Bass Productions, this company would go on to produce, and often direct stop-motion classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964,) Santa Clause is Coming to Town (1970,) The Year Without a Santa Clause (1974,) Mad Monster Party (1967).  Many of which are said to be primary influences on director Tim Burton.  Mad Monster PartyAnd there were also animated classics such as a Saturday morning cartoon based upon and featuring, The Jackson 5ive (1971).  Jackson 5iveThe television special, Frosty the Snowman (1969,) theatrical films based upon the work of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit (1977,) and The Return of the King (1980.)  The Hobbit 1977And also the cult cable classic, The Last Unicorn (1982,) and the immensely popular syndicated animated show, Thundercats (1985).  Rankin and Bass also co-produced the live action cult classic, The Bermuda Depths in 1978.  A film so weird, is has to be seen to be believed.  Rankin himself was also reportedly an uncredited supervising animator on Disney’s The Fox and the Hound (1981,) and The Black Cauldron (1985).  Bermuda DRankin died in Harrington Sound, Bermuda on January 30th.  What a wonderful place to be when you go, huh.  But the influence he had on many of our generation, along with our children, and their children, and their children, and so on, and so on … will endure for a very looooooong time.  As a good example, Deadline.com has reported that Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and again, this film was MADE IN 1964, “beat ‘The Voice’ and Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ in the 18 to 49 demo when CBS aired it Thanksgiving Eve, just this last year.”  Arthur Rankin Jr. — described as someone, “born at the time of silent film, who finished life in 3-D” — was 89 years old.Burl Ives, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer