IN REMAKE NEWS, PARAMOUNT HAS HIRED WRITERS Geoff Moore and Dave Posamentier (Better Living Through Chemistry) to pen a remake of Joe Dante’s 1985 cult hit, Explorers. The original film centered on two kids who have identical dreams about flying above a giant computer circuit board. One is a computer genius, and decides to build the board, just to find out what it does, and surprise surprise — it generates a force field bubble that withholds inertia from the occupant. Joined by a third kid, the three boys scavenge a junk yard for parts for a flying machine, and eventually wind up traveling into space, and making contact with extraterrestrials that aren’t exactly what they had in mind. Paramount’s low budget label is behind this one, so no one is expecting very much in the way of large scale effects (thankfully.) The producers will be Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, ABC’s Life on Mars.) The project has been likened to the new wave of low budget, p.o.v. shaky-cam teens and S/F flicks that are now headed our way. Perhaps it will work, perhaps it won’t, but either way it’s a great excuse to post this beautiful poster imagine what could have been.
… AND SCREENWRITER SETH GRAHAME-SMITH (Dark Shadows, Beetlejuice 2) will make his feature directing debut with a new version of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, for Disney. The original, much maligned film, starred Jason Robards, Jonathan Price, and Pam Grier, among others, in a story featuring a dark character who arrives in town and begins privately bartering for people’s souls. His name is “Mr. Dark,” and he is the perennial ringleader of a traveling carnival at the turn of the last Century. Grahame-Smith had this to say: “I have been so crazy about this book, and it was such a formative title in my life that I actually wrote a piece on NPR about why it is so important for young males to read. It is a classic coming-of-age, father-son story about the transition from childhood to adulthood and how kids can’t wait to be adults and adults romanticize their childhoods. I’m not remaking the movie; I want the haunted atmosphere that makes the book so chilling, and I want to reinstate some of the classic scenes from the book that were missing from the ’83 film.” Grahame-Smith will write the treatment, and the studio will assign a writer to the project. David Katzenberg (upcoming Gremlins reboot, Beetlejuice 2) will produce the project … UNIVERSAL HAVE RELEASED some concept art for their upcoming tent-pole sequel/reboot, Jurassic World. Looks like a resort in Dubai, see for yourself: 20’TH CENTURY FOX released a second full trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past … and, well … now you’re talkin‘.
THERE’S ALSO A FRESH TRAILER OUT for Jupiter Ascending. That film from the creators of The Matrix. And it’s somewhat more compelling that the previous trailer.
A RECENT RUMOR SURROUNDING INDIANA JONES 5 had Harrison Ford being replaced by Hangover star Bradley Cooper. Thankfully, Disney assures us this was only a rumor, and nothing more. According to Disney Execs, a fifth Indy film is in development for release in calendar year, 2016, and star Harrison Ford is the only actor intended to play the role. Lucas and Speilberg are also said to be on-board for at least one, and possibly two more outings. And on a clearly related note, stages at Pinewood Studios, England have been booked next year for, “Indiana Jones 5.” … IN TERMINATOR 5 NEWS, Arnold Schwarzenegger recently commented on his character’s appearance in the larger plot of the forthcoming storyline. “‘Terminator’ deals a lot with time travel, so there will be a younger T-800, and then what that model does later on when it gets reprogrammed, and who gets a hold of him. So it will be all kinds of interesting twists in the movie.” And in addressing his own on-screen appearance at his current age, Schwarzenegger had this to say: “The way that the character is written, it’s a machine underneath. It’s this metal skeleton. But above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast. But it definitely ages.” … DIRECTOR IVAN REITMAN has left the production of Ghostbusters III. This following on the death of actor/writer/director Harold (Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation) Ramis, who portrayed Egon in the original 1984 film. As soon as Reitman’s representatives released his statement, Sony Pictures announced that the writers of the LEGO movie had been hired to rewrite the current script. Actor Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddmore, commented: “Well there can’t be another Ghostbusters without Harold. It will be a Ghost- something, but it won’t be… That was always my fear – that something would happen before we all got together.” And Hudson was unfortunately right. Even Dan Aykroyd looks to be sitting this one out, so this now appears to be a complete reboot of the franchise. Very sad. … LUC BESSON’S NEW ONE, LUCY, suddenly has a nifty trailer out:
IN DC MOVIE NEWS, Russell Crowe has revealed that he will not make an appearance in the sequel to Man of Steel, currently titled Batman Vs. Superman. Said Crowe, “I don’t think they’re going to use me again. I think they’re jumping onto a different stream. They’re going with the different superhero worlds colliding.” … IN MARVEL MUSICAL CHAIRS NEWS, actor Chris Evans, star of Marvel’s upcoming Captain America: Winter Soldier, has stated that he is soon to hang up his shield as an actor for good, in favor of moving into the director’s chair. And Robert Downey Jr., a.k.a. Iron Man, has also affirmed that he is leaving the house of Marvel. The upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a forthcoming Avengers 3, will be his last turns at Tony Stark. But in a strange twist, Hugh Jackman, who previously voiced his decision to retire from portraying the character of Logan/Wolverine, has signed on for Wolverine 2. The script is now being written for the same director who helmed the last one. And first came word that actress Anna Paquin, alias “Rogue” had been cut from X-Men: Days of Future Past, now comes word that Halle Barry’s turn as “Storm” in the film, has all but been eliminated. This has been Marvel Musical Chairs. Tune in next week when … THE 1980’s GRAPHIC NOVEL & COMIC by writer/artist Jim Starlin, Dreadstar will be headed to theaters soon. Benderspink have optioned the rights and reportedly intend to get the film into theaters as fast as they can. The comic concerns Vanth Dreadstar, the lone survivor of the obliterated Milky Way Galaxy, and his band of misfit cohorts, Syzygy Darklock, Willow, and Oedi, in their strange adventures while caught up in the middle of a war between two alien empires … THAT 2’ND TOM CRUISE SCI-FI ACTIONER, (the second of three he has signed on for, the first was Oblivion) has a new trailer. From the director of The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and formerly titled, All You Need Is Kill — the currently titled Edge of Tomorrow (yes, everyone is well aware that sounds like the title of a daytime Soap,) looks rather intriguing:
IN STAR WARS NEWS, confirmation has officially arrived that Peter Mayhew will reprise the role of “Chewbacca” in the new film, flying in the face of a spinoff novel “Vector Prime,” by author R. A. Salvator, which killed off the character from the Star Wars cannon. In other Episode VII news, the upcoming film will be shown in IMAX. And Disney head honcho Alan Horn has revealed: A) that casting is nearly completed, and will be announced soon; B) that the film is already shooting; and C) that the film takes place 30 to 35 years after Return of the Jedi. Meanwhile, many eagle-eyed internet hounds quickly noticed an artist rendering of The Millennium Falcon in the background of a photo of a recent production meeting with production designer Rick (Jurassic Park) Carter … THE FIRST TEASER TRAILER FOR OUTLANDER, the cable series based on the massively popular books by DianaGabaldon, looks compelling enough. Ronald D. Moore of Battlestar Galactica reboot fame is producing:
AND NOW FOR SOME ASSORTED TIDBITS: Pixar is working on The Incredibles 2 … but Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is on hold at Disney … Universal has hired the writer of both the upcoming Johnny Depp science fiction vehicle, Transcendence, and Ridley Scott’s forthcoming sequel to Prometheus, to pen a complete reboot of the original Battlestar Galactica (Bryan Singer is no longer attached) … Marvel has confirmed that Captain America 3 will hit theaters in May of 2016 … Actor B.D. Wong, alias “Dr. Henry Wu” in the original Jurassic Park, will return for Jurassic World … James Cameron’s Avatar sequels will utilize something called “Extra Deep 3D” … Nathan (Firefly, Castle) Fillon has revealed he makes a brief appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy … Wreck It Ralph 2 is being written as we speak … SONY will produce a Sinister Six film, based upon their right to use the Marvel characters: Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman and The Vulture … Frederik Pohl’s classic science fiction novel, Gateway will soon be adapted into a TV series … Screenwriter John (Gladiator, Skyfall) Logan is currently working on the script for the next Bond film, and rumor is swirling that Ernst Stavro Blofeld will make an appearance — also, actor Chiwetel (Serenity) Ejiofor is reportedly up for a role in the film … The Wachowskis are developing a new Matrix trilogy … Warner Bros. is planning a Minecraft movie … Dreamworks has a fifth Shrek movie in development … Jeff Goldblum is back for Independence Day 2, also known as ID4Ever … and finally, Richard Donner has confirmed that Goonies II will soon go into production, but without Donner himself directing … AND NOW FOR THE INEVITABLE BAD NEWS … MICKEY ROONEY has died. Born Joseph Yule Jr., in Brooklyn in 1920, Rooney was one part of a multifaceted vaudeville family. He could do comedy and drama, as well as sing and dance, just like his parents. He was one of the last surviving members of the silent film era, and went on to entertain troops in combat areas for the American Forces Network, during the Second World War. And by then, movie lovers everywhere knew his name. His longstanding professional partnership with Judy Garland became the stuff of Hollywood legend. But said Rooney: “Judy and I were so close we could’ve come from the same womb. We weren’t like brothers or sisters but there was no love affair there; there was more than a love affair. It’s very, very difficult to explain the depths of our love for each other. It was so special. It was a forever love. Judy, as we speak, has not passed away. She’s always with me in every heartbeat of my body.” After the War, Rooney ping-ponged back and forth from the cinema to a new popular medium called Television. And he did so many shows, that Mickey and his talent agents reportedly lost track. Thus, in a situation resembling that of iconic director John Ford, Rooney’s resume on imdb has been termed, “incomplete.” What is known, is that Mickey Rooney was one of the most prolific actors in history — having acted since childhood. From the silent era, into the sound era. From stage, to film, to Television, award winning Mickey Rooney never stopped working. He died in his home in North Hollywood, at the age of 93, but he will be remembered. Among Rooney’s more notable genre appearances are: The Atomic Kid (which he produced,) The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, The Year Without a Santa Clause, Pete’s Dragon, Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, Erik the Viking, and Night at the Museum … AND MAXIMILIAN SHELL passed away in November at the age of 83. Shell had been hospitalized in Innsbruck, Austria, following a sudden, serious illness. He was an actor with a long, thoroughly distinguished career on both stage and film. Right out of the gate, and as a relatively young man, he won the best actor Oscar for his role in Judgement at Nuremberg. Shell was born in Vienna in 1930, and raised in Switzerland after his family fled Germany’s annexation of his homeland. Eage-eyed Superman: The Movie fans will spot his older sister, Maria, appearing in a key opening scene. Maximilian himself will best remembered by genre fans as Tea Leoni’s dad in the Steven Spielberg produced, Deep Impact, and a two-faced Cardinal in John Carpenter’s Vampires. But many of a certain age, will definitely remember the impressionable Shell, as Dr. Hans Reinhardt, in Disney’s The Black Hole.… THEN THERE’S THAT GUY ALMOST EVERYONE RECOGNIZES … and yet … they can’t seem to remember his name. Known for being a hard working actor, James Rebhorn was born in Philadelphia in September of 1948, and would eventually attend Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. There, he appeared in theatrical productions of Aristophanes’s “Lysistrata” and Moliere’s “Tricks of Scapin.” Graduating in 1970, he moved to New York City, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts at Columbia University, and became active in the theater scene. Rebhorn would eventually act in hundreds of plays, Television shows, and films, throughout the course of his career. And everyone who sees his face, remembers him from something. Whether it’s the guy who obsessively advises the the President in Independence Day, or the College Administrator who presides over the hearing in the last act of Scent of a Woman. Almost everyone has seen his face somewhere. As a prolific actor, he was always, ‘that guy that keeps popping up on TV all the time.’ But Rebhorn had a sense of humor about it, and television audiences never seemed to mind. Rebhorn’s work ethic was such that when in 2010 he got an offer to play a character on a daytime soap called Guiding Light, he took it without hesitation. To Rebhorn, a job was a job. He merely wanted to stay a working actor all his life. And he did. In addition to his aforementioned genre roles, Rebhorn also had parts in Cat’s Eye, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Real Steel, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, among others. The cause of his death was a melanoma first diagnosed in 1992. “He had been fighting it ever since but managed to keep working,” noted his Representative. And at the time of his death, he was working on the highly popular cable show, Homeland. He was 65 years old. … AND TWO DR. WHO VETERANS HAVE ALSO RECENTLY PASSED ON: DEREK MARTINUS & KATE O’MARA. Derek Martinus was the British director responsible for a number of well-known early stories in the franchise, from 1965 to 1970. His credits included the serials, Mission to the Unknown, The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks, and The Ice Warriors, as well as the show’s first serial to be filmed in color, The Spearhead From Space. During his career the Yale-educated Martinus helmed episodes of A Little Princess, Z Cars, Blakes 7, Penmarric, and Spearhead and also directed the 1968 version of Henry James’ What Maisie Knew and the miniseries The Black Tulip. Derek Martinus had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, in his last years. He was 82 years old. Kate O’Mara was best known for her role in the 1980s U.S. soap opera Dynasty, playing Alexis Colby’s scheming sister Cassandra “Caress” Morrell. But she did plenty of other work that made her equally well known in the U.K. Beginning her TV career in the late 50’s, she accumulated an impressive assortment of appearances, including the documentary, Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond (as Ms. Monneypenny’s assistant,) The Saint, The Avengers, Z-Cars, The Horror of Frankenstein, The Persuaders, The Vampire Lovers, the BBC series Howards’ Way, and The New Adventures of Robin Hood. In 1985 she joined the Dr. Who universe, playing “The Rani,” in the serial Time and The Rani. O’Mara passed away in a nursing home in southern England following a brief illness. She was 74 years old. … LEGENDARY SCREENWRITER, LORENZO SEMPLE JR. was born in 1923. As a young man, he had initially enrolled in Yale, but he soon left for France in 1941 to drive an ambulance for the Free French Forces. Somewhere in the middle of that experience, he earned a “Croix de Guerre” after surviving a battle in the Libyan desert. And upon returning to the U.S., he was promptly drafted into the Army and given a Bronze Star. Once out of the service, Semple took some writing classes at Columbia with the goal of becoming a playwright, and he penned several plays, some of which made it to the stage. He also began writing short fiction for The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s Weekly. But the profession of writing teleplays and screenplays would secure his posterity. And he really made a name for himself. Right off the Bat ! Pun intended. Starting with the 60’s Batman TV series, Semple worked in TV for many years, retooling pilots and doing quick rewrites for any number of shows. Almost all of which went uncredited. But the gig payed well. And he followed with writing or co-writing several notable films, such as: Papillon, Three Days of the Condor, The Parallax View, The Drowning Pool, King Kong (1976,) Never Say Never Again, Flash Gordon, and Sheena. And those are only the ones we know about. In 2008, he was hailed by the Writers Guild of America as a Living Legend. He died of natural causes one day after his 91st birthday. Holy sadness, Batman …
AND VERY SADLY, HAROLD RAMIS has died at the age of 69. The writer/producer/director was a native of Chicago, IL., who graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, before landing a gig as a joke editor for “Playboy.” From there he moved into radio, as a writer for The National Lampoon Radio Hour, alongside Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner. It wasn’t long before this talented group showed up at Chicago’s famed Second City. From there, some moved on to Saturday Night Live, while others moved on to it’s rival, SCTV. Soon, Ramis himself was hired to pen the screenplay for what would become the first and still best Lampoon of frat house college hijinks, Animal House. Soon after, he typed up Meatballs for friend and director Ivan Reitman, and soon after, Ramis was working with Reitman as a writer and voice actor on the animated film, Heavy Metal. Meanwhile, Ramis had been angling for the director’s chair for some time, and was now getting his chance, with Caddyshack. The film, which he co-wrote, was initially panned by critics and considered somewhat of a box-office failure, but later exploded in popularity once it began airing on “HBO.” But after Caddyshack’s initial failure, Ramis found himself in front of the camera. Working again with friend Ivan Reitman. The Army comedy Stripes, was originally designed as a vehicle for Cheech and Chong. But the comedic duo turned Reitman down. According to Reitman, studios were never really excited about casting them in the film, anyway. When Reitman brought up Bill Murray’s name, he got a warmer response. Casting Harold Ramis alongside Murray, however, proved to be difficult. Until it was proven that a replacement the studio would approve of, could not be found. Voila ! Stripes was a huge hit. In part due to Ramis’s on-set re-writes, working in tandem with Bill Murray’s improvisational methods. Sometime later, came the John Hughes scripted National Lampoon’s Vacation. A script which Ramis himself re-wrote extensively to give the film a much more comic tone. Gone was much of the Hughes material that developed the family dynamic, and as a direct result, the film was an even bigger hit than Stripes. And this time, Ramis was directing. Recovering nicely from his initial failure with Caddyshack, Ramis was asked to play the character of Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. The script had been originally written with John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and John Candy, in mind. But when Belushi unexpectedly died of a drug overdose, the juggling act began. Murray replaced Belushi, and while several actors were considered for Egon Spengler, director Ivan Reitman and actor Bill Murray heavily campaigned for Harold Ramis. An additional role was written for Eddie Murphy, but when Murphy backed out, he was replaced by a very likable actor named Ernie Hudson. Hudson, who had already amassed quite an impressive resume, had his career noticeably boosted by the monster success of Ghostbusters. His more notable genre appearances included: Leviathan, Congo, and The Crow, and of course, Ghostbusters II. A few years later, Ramis wrote Back to School for comedian Rodney Dangerfield, and thereafter, spent several months in the Caribbean with Robin Williams and Peter O’Tool, filming the island comedy, Club Paradise. But Club Paradise was a riddled with production problems, due mainly to studio politics, and Ramis had a very quiet nervous breakdown, before turning to Buddhism. From this point in his life, Ramis was known to carry a sheet of paper with him, and on it was written, “The 5-Minute Buddhist.” Friends of Harold Ramis have recently commented that this simple piece of paper, gave Ramis the inner peace he clearly needed following the debacle of Club Paradise. Ramis would eventually offer comment on his later work, and the generalized difference between his more recent output, and his earlier days. Said Ramis: “The content’s different, but it comes from the same place in me, which is to try to point people at some reality or truth.” Eventually, he came back to work, reprising his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters II. And while the sequel was nowhere close to the merit of the original, it nonetheless made money for all involved. (Please see the unfortunate news regarding the now defunct Ghostbusters III, above) A couple of years later, Ramis worked with Murray again, directing him in a film loosely based upon the famous student short, 12:01 PM. Both the short, and a later TV remake, both centered on a man being forced by the Universe to repeate the same day over and over again, until he gets it right. But whereas the original source material of 12:01 PM was darker in tone, the Bill Murray vehicle was retooled as a comedy, and titled, Groundhog Day. In the later 1990’s, Ramis would direct the comedy Multiplicity, with Michael Keaton. Moving into a new Millennium, Ramis would direct several episodes of The Office, and make cameos in a slew of high concept comedy films. Among them, Knocked Up. Harold Ramis died from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis — a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, that began affecting him in May of 2010. It was so bad, that Ramis had to relearn to walk, before suffering a relapse, which he only partially recovered from. Actor/Comedian Chevy Chase had this to say: “I’m shocked and heartbroken to hear of Harold’s passing. He was truly a great friend and a great man who shunned unnecessary Hollywood-type publicity and lived with a wonderful wife, Erica. I’m deeply saddened for Erica, Violet, Julian and Daniel. Harold directed me in Caddyshack and the first Vacation. It was Harold who acted out and gave me the inspiration for the character of Clark Griswold. I was really copying Harold’s impression of Clark. He was a truly funny and highly intelligent man with great honesty and a great appreciation for the best kind of comedy. It’s just awful to lose Harold, there is just no one like him, he was so kind, so caring and so smart. God Bless him and God Bless his family.” And director Ivan Reitman followed with: “The world has lost a wonderful, truly original, comedy voice with the passing of Harold Ramis. He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed. He always had the clearest sense of what was funny and how to create something in a new clever way. He was very generous about making everyone around him look better and smarter. Harold had an extraordinary impact on my career and I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his children, and his lovely wife, Erica. He will be profoundly missed.”
A public memorial will be held in Chicago, IL this May.
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. 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 … IN 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 … DARK 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 chairAND NOW WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU, ACTOR PETER CAPALDI as the 12th Doctor!
IN MARVEL NEWS: JOHNNY DEPP is looking at playing the iconic perennial 70’s comic book favorite, Dr. Strange, for Disney. He’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. They 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-Man. Douglas 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 … BRYAN 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.” Singer 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 … NOW 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.” … IN 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. A 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. Instead, 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. Gordon-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. Said 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, Influx. The 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 HEART. The Professor, that enigmatic bastion of all-knowing Radio Shack related knowledge from the popular sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, has left us. Among 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. Although 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. He 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. AND THE MAN TO FOREVER BE IDENTIFIED WITH EMBODYING THE CHARACTER OF T.E. LAWRENCE, MR. PETER O’TOOLE … has died. O’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. O’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. O’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. Among 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. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, ARTHUR RANKIN JR. has passed on. Rankin reportedly started out as a theater usher at the age of nine. 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. 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. And there were also animated classics such as a Saturday morning cartoon based upon and featuring, The Jackson 5ive (1971). The 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.) And 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). Rankin 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.
DIRECTOR BRYAN SINGER has revealed that he will helm the sequel to his forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, currently titled X-Men: Apocalypse. The film is rumored to be a direct sequel to both Days of Future Past and X-Men: First Class. Hugh Jackman is said to be bowing out, preferring to partner with James Mangold on another stab at a Wolverine prequel, which will this time use an actual storyline from the comic books as inspiration, as opposed to X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, which focused on an independent story idea, reportedly created by development executives. Complicating the intriguing plot of Days of Future Past is a new video circulating on the net, that implicates Eric Lyncher (a.k.a. Magneto) as the second shooter on the grassy knoll, supposedly responsible for the death of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas in 1963. A very bizarre video recently popped up, which can only be described as thoroughly creepy. Have a look:
… HARRISON FORD HAS STATED that he would enjoy returning for another outing as Indiana Jones, and it appears he “may” get his wish. Please note the stress on “may.” Reportedly, actor Harrison Ford recently reached at least a ‘verbal’ agreement with Disney to appear in multiple Star Wars films. He was shown the story arc for Han Solo, and made an agreement to participate on the basis of that material. Commensurate with the agreement, is Disney’s involvement in pushing a fifth Indiana Jones film into development by calendar year, 2014. This is interesting news seeing as how Disney recently completed the acquisition of the Indiana Jones franchise from Paramount. And while this will allow Paramount to retain rights to the four films: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Disney now owns rights to the Indy character, and any as yet un-produced films. Paramount will retain a financial participation in any new Indy films, but everything else, literally everything else, from merchandising and distribution to home video and everything in-between, now officially belongs to Disney. There are only two key problems. A) the press release mentions ‘reboot,’ and B) all sources agree that contrary to previous reports and scuttlebutt, there is no Indiana Jones film actually in development at this time. Stay tuned, Indy fans. Oh, by the by, Spielberg recently confirmed a second time that ‘nuking the fridge’ in Crystal Skull was his idea. Back in October, he made an appearance at a retrospective screening of Raiders in L.A. and had the following to say: “I know in Indy 4, you didn’t buy the refrigerator and the atomic bomb… I know! I know! But we tried! We tried! I was pushing the envelope! By the way, I take FULL responsibility for that – that was COMPLETELY my idea! Even Harrison said to me: ‘Nobody is going to buy this!'” Last year, when Spielberg initially took credit for the scene, George Lucas responded by saying, “It’s not true. He’s trying to protect me.” … SPEAKING OF MOVIES TO LOOK FORWARD TO, Total Film Magazine has just released their list of the “50 Films To Look Forward To In 2014.” Relevant films in the general areas of science-fiction, sci-fi, or fantasy of some kind, are in bold. Note that when you count them up, there are 31 films dealing with some form of S/F or fantasy, and 19 in other genres. Very interesting. And somewhat lopsided.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (duh!)
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past
4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
6. 12 Years a Slave
7. The Wolf Of Wall Street
8. Captain America: Winter Soldier
9. The Hobbit: There And Back Again
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
11. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
12. Fifty Shades Of Grey
13. 22 Jump Street
15. 300: Rise of an Empire
16. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
17. How To Train Your Dragon 2
18. Muppets Most Wanted
19. How To Catch A Monster
20. Transformers: Age of Extinction
21. The Monuments Men
22. Edge Of Tomorrow (formerly All You Need Is Kill)
23. The LEGO Movie
24. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
25. Labor Day
27. Hercules: The Thracian Wars
28. The Maze Runner
30. Jupiter Ascending
31. The Equalizer
33. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
34. Grudge Match
37. The Book Thief
38. I, Frankenstein
40. Minions (characters from Despicable Me)
42. Out Of The Furnace
44. That Awkward Moment
45. Need For Speed
46. Lone Survivor
47. The Expendables 3
49. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
50. Dumb And Dumber To
AND SPEAKING OF GODZILLA! — HEAD’S UP ! Awesome new trailer headed your way:
… HAMMER FILMS is set to remake The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. The perennial 1957 favorite starred Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker as two men who stumble onto evidence of the elusive Yeti in the mountains of Nepal. One a scientist, the other, an adventurer. One man believing the creature to be of scientific interest, the other believing the creature to be of monstrous intent. When they eventually discover the creature, they unexpectedly find that they themselves are the monsters. The film is being developed with producer Ben (The Woman in Black) Holden, and the script is being written by Matthew Read and Jon (The Woman in Black: Angel of Death) Croker … IN DEVELOPMENT HELL NEWS, an interesting video made its way to YouTube recently. An apparent animatic for an action sequence, said to be used to pitch a Stretch Armstrong movie to Relativity Media. Based upon the popular blonde, stretchable 1970’s wrestler toy, this reinvention didn’t seem to excite executives very much. Development of the project was cancelled. Have a look:
WARCRAFT is inching from pre-production to principal photography. The film based upon the highly popular video game “World of Warcraft,” has now cast Colin (Total Recall) Farrell, Paula (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) Patton, Travis (Vikings) Fimmel, and Dominic (Captain America: First Avenger) Cooper. The production is scheduled to begin filming in Canada sometime next year, and is set for release in March of 2016. Not exactly a production schedule on a rocket launcher, but hey, we’ll take what we can get, right? … MAD MAX: FURY ROAD has gone back for a few weeks of additional shooting in Australia. Director George (The Road Warrior) Miller has commented that these are not reshoots, but rather involve the bookend scenes that start and finish this film prequel to the original trilogy. He also confirms that original Max actor Mel Gibson will “not” be making a cameo appearance in the new film … THE TITLE OF THE FORTHCOMING TERMINATOR 5, is … drum-roll, please … Terminator: Genesis. And there will also be a TV series that connects to the film. The series follows, “a critical moment from the original 1984 Terminator movie, taking it in a completely different direction than the film.” The film and TV narrative will be separate, but will intersect as the release date of the film approaches. Both are due in 2015 … IN OTHER TV NEWS, MTV AND DIRECTOR JON (IRON MAN) FAVREAU ARE PLANNING a show based on a best-selling series of novels by author Terry Brooks, called Shannara. Brooks began writing the ultimately 25 volume story in 1977, and it has since become the best-selling un-adapted fantasy book series in the world. Taking place millennia after our civilization has vanished, the descendants of the family, Shannara, can harness magic. The first season will actually be based on the second book in the series, “The Elfstones of Shannara.” … DIRECTOR PAUL (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY) GREENGRASS is now looking at helming the reboot of Stephen King’s epic novel, The Stand. This after Scott (Crazy Heart) Cooper who reportedly replaced Ben Affleck dropped out … IN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN SEQUEL NEWS, actor Andrew Garfield has intimated that he might not be returning after the third film in the current reboot of the franchise. Said Garfield, “I mean I’m under contract for another one after this … as far as a fourth one? That’s not anything to do with me. But yea, I think what we’re doing here is we’ve established the world. And now we get to really play inside that world.” Garfield also commented on how the makers of the second film have expanded that established world. “I think there was something missing in the first one because our focus wasn’t on character as much, we were trying to keep a number of plates spinning in the air — how can we reintroduce the character? How do we not upset this guy or this guy? That was a tough wasteland we had to move through. Now we could say, ‘Who is this guy? How can we best serve Spider-Man?'” The sequel, opening in theaters in May of next year, stars Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Chris Cooper, Sarah Gadon, and B.J. Novak … NOVAK, (Ryan on the defunct sitcom, The Office) has revealed that he is playing a character known to comic book fans in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Said Novak, “I’m in a couple of scenes. Yeah, I was never told whether or not I could say. I can say that I work at Oscorp. And I am someone from the comic books, someone from the original. So, yeah, I’m somebody. I wouldn’t say I’m pivotal, but I’m not an extra, either.” This has led some to point out that the name Dr. Otto Octavius, appears in a fake Daily Bugle article. And he’s listed as an employee of Oscorp … AND SPEAKING YET AGAIN OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, here’s the second trailer released by Sony:
TWO RELATIVELY UNKNOWN WRITERS, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, both of which have no credits listed under their names on imdb — have been hired to write the third Star Trek film under J.J. Abrams’ banner. Robert Orci and Damon Lindelof (two of the writers who worked on Into Darkness) will apparently punch up the work done by the novices. Abrams will still only produce the film, and now word comes that Joe (Attack the Block) Cornish, who was rumored to be Abrams and Paramount’s choice to replace him, has turned them down … SPEAKING OF ABRAMS, the helmer of Star Wars: Episode VII has revealed very little about the film, but has confirmed that R2D2 will feature prominently, along with the Millennium Falcon. Which only further hints to the potential appearances of both C-3PO and Han Solo. (Read above for the reported deal between Disney and actor Harrison Ford) This information has surfaced in spite of sources stating that they see no evidence of more than one of the original actors having already signed on, and that it would not be surprising to those on the inside of this production, if each actor only made a brief appearance in each of the three forthcoming films, and perhaps a cameo in one of the spinoffs the studio now has in development. In other Episode VII news, Abrams and Lawrence (Empire Strikes Back) Kasdan, recently took over script chores from Michael Arndt, and this is said to be due to the increasingly tight shooting schedule. And lastly, it has been hinted that a specific planet or world mentioned several times in Star Wars mythology, but never seen on film, will feature prominently in the storyline of the new film, now scheduled to be released during the 2015 holiday season … AND SPEAKING OF SCREENWRITING, it appears that a new round of producers haven’t quite given up on the Chronicles of Narnia film franchise just yet. Life of Pi screenwriter David Magee has been hired to write The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair. The Mark Gordon Company and the C.S. Lewis Company will produce the fourth film. … RIDLEY SCOTT gave an update on the scripts for sequels to both Prometheus and Blade Runner. Said Scott, “Prometheus 2 is written. I thought I’d left science-fiction for too long, that I had better climb back in. Prometheus was a great experience for me. Chasing number two, we can start evolving the grand idea.” As for the Blade Runner sequel, “Yea, we’re working on that right now — that will happen sooner or later.” Scott’s next two films will be, Exodus, a biblical epic starring Christian Bale as Moses and features Scott’s own interpretation of the parting of the Red Sea. And an adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s classic science-fiction novel, The Forever War. “We’ve finally got a very good draft of that for Fox.” … JURRASIC WORLD has pretty much signed actor Chris (Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy) to play a part in Colin (Safety Not Guaranteed) Trevorrow’s new sequel. And Trevorrow additionally made a point recently to state that the film is a sequel that takes place 20-some-odd years after the events of the initial film, and is “not a reboot.” Very good to know … THE CO-WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF CABIN IN THE WOODS, will be the showrunner on a new Daredevil TV series that will be available on Netflix in 2015 … THE PRODUCTION OF DIANA GABALDON’S OUTLANDER has released a still of actor Sam Heughan as the titular Jamie Fraser. The cable series, based upon Gabaldon’s novel of the same name, follows a married combat nurse from the Second World War, back in time to Scotland in the 18th Century. Once there, she becomes involved with a local man, and eventually, is torn between her lover in the 1940’s and her lover in the 1700’s. The show, produced by Ron (BSG) Moore, will begin airing in 2014 … SCREENWRITER SIMON (X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST) KINBERG has been tasked by Twentieth Century Fox with integrating both the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into a single film — i.e. a crossover. Kinberg, currently heavily involved in writing scripts for both the X-Men franchise, as well as the reboot of Fantastic Four, commented, “I have a lot of ideas on how to built those brands and do what everybody is thinking of these days: Be like Marvel. I want to be able to build stories over multiple movies.” … TIM BURTON has reportedly signed to direct the sequel to Beetlejuice. The current draft of the script, written by Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg is said to be the element that got Burton on-board. Soon after, Beetlejuice himself, Michael Keaton signed on as well. And actress Winona Ryder has more or less confirmed that she will return as well. Said Ryder: “I’m kind of sworn to secrecy but it sounds like it might be happening. It’s 27 years later. And I have to say, I love Lydia Deetz so much. She was such a huge part of me. I would be really interested in what she is doing 27 years later.” … FAST AND FURIOUS ACTRESS Gal Gadot has been cast by Warner Bros., DC Comics, and Zak Snyder as Wonder Woman in Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, Batman Vs. Superman. Jason (Conan the Barbarian remake) Momoa is signing on, Warner Bros. are tight-lipped on the nature of his character. Speculation has pointed to either Doomsday or Martian Manhunter.. And actor Callan (300: Rise of an Empire, Captain America: Winter Soldier) Mulvey is also rumored to be playing the villain Metallo. Now comes word that none other than both Denzel Washington and Idris (Pacific Rim) Elba may very well take on the role of Lex Luthor. The character would reportedly appear in a cameo in the forthcoming sequel, as well as a fully fleshed out antagonist role in the film Justice League … THE OFFICIAL TRAILER HAS BEEN RELEASED FOR 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, the sequel to 300 that showcases the origin of Persian god-king Xerxes and his relationship with naval commander Artemisia. See here:
IN GHOSTBUSTERS III NEWS, EMMA STONE has passed on a role in the proposed sequel. No further word on whether or not actor Jonah (21 Jump Street, Moneyball) Hill will sign on, however, sources speaking for Sony Pictures have now stated for the record that the new Ghostbusters film will not be a sequel to the original, but definitely a reboot. This due to Bill Murray’s unwillingness to be involved. Prepare to say so long to that ‘III’ in the title … COMIC BOOK CREATOR AND ARTIST ROB LIEFELD has praised writer/director Jeff (Kick Ass 2) Wadlow’s script for the potential X-Force film. Taking to Twitter, Liefeld commented: “X-Force cast/film will please/appeal to fans of all eras. Wadlow carefully, cleverly navigates the legacy. Every film needs a proper script b4 they can cast&shoot. 1st mission accomplished for X-Force. When the casting begins we can scream together.” … ACTOR CHRISTOPH (INGLORIOUS BASTARDS) WALTZ will more than likely be playing Captain Brand in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The story is said to concern Jack, and his team in a search for a Trident, which Keith Richards’ Captain Teague (Jack’s father) holds valuable information to. The villain, Captain Brand, is a ghost that wants the Trident so he can get revenge on Jack for the death of his brother. Captain Barbosa’s daughter also figures into the plot, as a beautiful astronomer. The film begins shooting next Autumn for a 2016 release date … DOING PRESS FOR MAN OF TAI CHI, actor Keanu Reeves recently commented on the still in gestation, Bill and Ted 3. Said Reeves, “Bill & Ted 3 is waiting for a rewrite from the writers, and we’re still trying to find a way to finance the film. We don’t have a director, we don’t have any money, so we’re trying to get a script. Maybe if we have a script, they will come, I don’t know. It still has to come together. It has to find the right producer and director. I think they’ve created a story that is fun and funny and would be very surreal for me to play, so if everything comes together the right way it could be fun.” … RINGLEADER STUDIOS will produce a TV series based upon Colin Wilson’s 1976 science-fiction horror novel, “The Space Vampires.” You may recognize the story of a group of Astronauts who discover a derelict spaceship and return to Earth with three humanoid aliens that unleash a life-sucking plague upon humanity. In 1985, the novel was adapted by screenwriters Dan (Alien) O’Bannon and Don (Blue Thunder) Jakoby, along with other contributions by two additional writers and director Tobe (Poltergeist) Hooper, into the cult-classic, unintentional laugh fest, Lifeforce. Perhaps this new iteration will be closer in spirit to the source material. But sadly, the author Colin Wilson did not live long enough to see it. In fact, his passing was reported while this post was being written. Please see a brief obit on the author at the end the current post, for a little more background info on this accomplished writer … THE FIRST TRAILER FOR DISNEY’S MALEFICENT went on-line a few weeks back. This live action version of Sleeping Beauty, is sure to intrigue Disney fans:
THE INDEPENDENCE DAY SEQUEL(S) ID Forever I and ID Forever II, has/have been delayed for approximately one year. Fox has pushed back the planned production(s) originally slated for release in 2015. The first of the films, if there are still two being planned, will now bow in theaters on July 1, 2016, which will be the 20th Anniversary of the film. Director Roland Emmerich has been hard at work on the sequel with co-writer Dean (Stargate, Independence Day) Devlin and James (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man) Vanderbilt. Will Smith is not expected to return … GUILLERMO del TORO RECENTLY MADE FURTHER COMMENT ON HIS DC ENSEMBLE FILM, apparently now titled Justice League Dark. The film, featuring Swamp Thing, The Demon, Constantine, Deadman, and the Spectre, has been in development for many months now, but it appears to be getting no closer to actual production.Said del Toro: “We’re still on it, writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. It’s still at Warner Bros., they are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They’re planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit into that plan.” … ACTOR JOSH (JOBS, 1600 PENN) GAD, NOW A CO-WRITER WORKING ON TRIPLETS, the sequel to the 1988 comedy, Twins, made a brief statement regarding the project and his work on the film. Said Gad, “We’re very reverential to the original, but have our tongue firmly in our cheek. As it needs to be, it’s very modernized. It’s taking them into the new world and it’s acknowledging that comedy’s changed a lot in 20 years. If you saw Twins and it was released as a movie currently, you’d be like, ‘This is really strange,’ so we honor that and we respect it, but we also play on it.” The original 1988 film concerned two characters from completely different backgrounds and seemingly genetic material, played by Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who find out that they are actually brothers, i.e. fraternal twins. Discovering this, they set off on a journey to find their parents. Triplets would see them discovering and being paired with a third brother: Eddie Murphy … THE WACHOWSKIS GAVE AN UPDATE ON THEIR SCI-FI OPERA, Jupiter Ascending, back in October. Lana Wachowski had the following to say: “It’s a science-fiction space opera. It has a lot of things from a lot of genres that we love. It’s got a lot of original action, it’s got a lot of romance. We seem not to be very good at making small things. We keep saying ‘Let’s go make a small movie.’ But then they always end up being enormously complex. We want to somehow always find something that is different or that no one has tried. People come up to us and just break into tears talking about (‘Cloud Atlas’), even ‘Speed Racer,’ we get people that come up and say it was their favorite movie of all time. We’ve been very lucky that way. We have great fans. … And we keep trying to keep surprising them.” The film is due in theaters next summer. See the new trailer, here:
AND NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS … AND HOLD ON, THIS IS GONNA BE A BAD ONE. STARTING WITH ACTOR PAUL (TIMELINE) WALKER, who was recently killed in a terrible car accident in California. Walker, born in Glendale, California, was a professional actor from childhood (1985) who accomplished memorable turns on TV and in many notable films, including Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers, Eight Below, and of course, The Fast and the Furious films. But to S/F fans, he will best be remembered for his roles in Timeline and Pleasantville. An avid car enthusiast and marine biologist, Walker was known for being an interesting mix of both a devout Christian, and an daredevil, who always lived life to the fullest. Reportedly, he was planning a second dive to ‘tag sharks’ the week he was killed. Already missed, he leaves behind a fifteen year old daughter, and an extended on-set family from the Fast and the Furious film franchise. He was only 40 years old … SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR COLIN WILSON’S passing was announced while this post was being written. Colin Henry Wilson, was a very prolific English writer of true crime, philosophy, mysticism, the paranormal, and by proxy, science-fiction. In 1956, at the age of 24 he got his non-fiction book, “The Outsider” published. A Wikipedia entry about the work, reads, “[The Outsider] examines the role of the social “outsider” in seminal works of various key literary and cultural figures – such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William James, T. E. Lawrence, Vaslav Nijinsky and Vincent van Gogh – and discusses Wilson’s perception of social alienation in their work. The book became a best-seller and helped popularize existentialism in Britain.” Heavy stuff for the guy who wrote the book Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce was based on. But in fact, the film used very little material from the book; the filmmakers instead choosing to pattern the material as an homage to Hammer science-fiction-horror thrillers. A massive alteration to the material that Wilson was reportedly incensed by. In fact, he regarded Lifeforce as the worst film adaptation of an S/F novel in history. But as stated, Wilson wrote frequently in the various areas of non-fiction, and was known for his ongoing fascination with the Jack the Ripper killings, and sex killings and serial murders in general. This, along with his interest in the metaphysical and the occult, gave Wilson’s fiction writing a certain detail and appeal that meany other authors were lacking. Some of his work in S/F included “The Spider World” books, “The Mind Parasites,” and of course, “The Space Vampires.” Writer Colin Wilson died on December the 5th, in Cornwall, England. He was 82 years old. … NOTED CHARACTER ACTOR ED LAUTER also passed away recently. Lauter graduated from Long Island University in 1961 with a B.A. in Literature, and segued into working as a stand-up comedian. He made his Broadway debut in the original 1968 stage production of The Great White Hope, alongside James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander. From there, he moved into dramatic performance and landed a small role in a 1971 episode of Mannix. Alfred Hitchcock found his performance in Family Plot (1976) interesting enough that he cast Lauter in his next film, The Short Night. But it was not to be, the aging director died before shooting began, and the film was never made. Lauter went on to make appearances in so many television shows and films, that it would be ridiculous to list them here. Among the relevant genre highlights were: Satan’s Triangle (alternately known as The Bermuda Triangle, 1975,) King Kong (1976,) Timerider: The Adventures of Lyle Swann (1982,) Automan (1984,) Real Genius (1985,) The Rocketeer (1991,) Stephen King’s Golden Years (1991,) Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992,) The X-Files (1993,) Highlander (1994,) Millennium (1998,) and Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004.) But Lauter did so much more work in non-genre areas, including roles in episodes of Kojak, The Streets of San Francisco, Nero Wolfe, St. Elsewhere, Magnum P..I., The A-Team, Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote, The Equalizer, Walker: Texas Ranger, E.R., CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NYPD Blue, Cold Case, Psyche, The Office, etc. etc. And he did roles in so many films in-between, it’s unreal. For example: Hickey & Boggs, Bad Company, The Longest Yard, French Connection II, Breakheart Pass, The White Buffalo, Magic, Death Hunt, Cujo, Lassiter, Death Wish 3, Raw Deal, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Gleaming the Cube, Fat Man and Little Boy, Born of the Fourth of July, School Ties, Leaving Las Vegas, Mulholland Falls, Thirteen Days, Seabiscuit, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Seraphim Falls, The Artist. The man had an impressive career, and leaves an astonishing amount of posterity. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May and kept working until October. In a 2003 interview, Lauter recalled: “Someone once said to me, ‘Eddie, you’re a “turn” actor.’ What’s that? He said, ‘That’s when a story is going along and your character shows up and the story suddenly takes a major turn.’ That’s kind of neat.”
Later, in a 2012 interview, he said, “A lot of people say, ‘I know you,’ but they don’t know my name. But I’ve had a great run.” The actors name was Ed Lauter. He was 74 years old. … AND THE GUY MOST OF A CERTAIN AGE WILL REMEMBER FOR PLAYING THE PSYCHIATRIST ON THE TV VERSION OF M.A.S.H. has also passed on. Allen Arbus, a rather prolific actor in television and films, who started out as a photographer for the Army in the 1940’s, before segueing into advertising, got into acting in 1969 and eventually became well known for appearances on Wonder Woman (1978) and Salvage 1 (1979) and The Amazing Spider-Man (1979.) But as stated, most will remember him as Major Sidney Freedman on M.A.S.H. Most notably for being a good listener, as seen here:
He died of heart failure in April. He was 95. … WE ALSO LOST ACTOR CONRAD BAIN back in January. Alias Mr. Drummond on Different Strokes, Bain was born in Canada and moved here to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the 1940’s. He had some initial success as a theater actor before being cast on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, in the role of the town innkeeper, Mr. Wells. That lasted for 2 seasons. Afterward, he kept working steadily in both TV and film. In the early 1960’s, he helped organize the Actors Federal Credit Union. In 1978, he made his own indelible mark on TV viewers everywhere when he created the role of an adopting father on Different Strokes. And his work in movies included roles in films like Coogan’s Bluff (1968,) Bananas (1971,) The Anderson Tapes (1971,) and C.H.O.M.P.S., (1979.) The latter, was a Hanna-Barbera produced live-action movie about a bionic dog, that proved very successful on cable. Mr. Bain passed away of natural causes this year, but in life made a solid impression on many viewers. Rest well, Sir. … LISA ROBIN KELLY, best known to S/F fans as “Terry Roberts” in the X-Files episode, “Syzygy,” accumulated a number of TV appearances in her short life, before being cast as Eric’s Foreman’s malicious sister Laurie on the popular sitcom, That 70’s Show. Unfortunately, she developed alcoholism while on the show and was written out after five seasons. In August, she died in her sleep while staying in a rehab facility in the Los Angeles area. Very sad. Additional Sci-Fi entries on her resume included episodes of Charmed and Poltergeist: The Legacy. Rest in peace. ACTOR LEE THOMPSON YOUNG, known prominently for playing the role of The Famous Jett Jackson on the Disney Channel, has also died. He had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was taking medication for his condition, when he took his own life in August. He was only 29 years old. In addition to roles in films like Friday Night Lights (based on the original non-fiction book,) Akeelah and the Bee, and The Hills Have Eyes 2, Young also worked regularly in television. Making appearances on shows such as Smallville and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Rest well, and in peace, young man … AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, Filmation co-founder Lou Scheimer has passed away. The Emmy award-winning cartoon guru passed away from Parkinson’s disease in his home in Tarzana, California, in October at the ripe age of 84. Together with his partners, Norm Prescott and Hal Sutherland, Scheimer formed Filmation as an animation company worthy of his talents as producer, composer, and voice actor.
Scheimer was a grad of Carnegie Tech University (now Carnegie-Mellon) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1952. After forming Filmation with Prescott and Sutherland, he helped produce animated fare such as The New Adventures of Superman (1966,) Fantastic Voyage (1968,) Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972,) Star Trek (1973,) The Ghost Busters (live action, unrelated to the 1984 film, 1975,) Shazam! (live action, 1974,)
Ark II (live action, 1976,) Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976,) The New Adventures of Batman (1977,) Space Academy (live action, 1977,) Jason of Star Command (live action, 1978,) Flash Gordon (1979,) The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour (1980,)
Blackstar (1981,) Gilligan’s Planet (1982,) Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982,) He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983,) and BraveStarr (1987.) An entire generation of adults who grew up watching both Filmation’s cartoons and live action Saturday morning fare, as children, were just a little happier for it. You did well, Lou. And thank you very much for all your hard work. We appreciated every minute of it.
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.
IN STAR WARS EPISODE VII NEWS, as the production of the new film moves into Pinewood Studios, casting directors for the film on both sides of the Atlantic have sent out a cryptic description of the few new leads J.J. Abrams is looking for. Here’s the breakdown: “A young man aged between 20 and 25, witty and smart, fit but not classically handsome; a man in his late twenties, also fit, but this one is handsome and confident; Late teenage girl, independent, good sense of humour [sic,] also physically fit; a second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and physically fit; a man in his late forties, obviously physically fit, this one is a military type; and finally, a guy aged around seventy, strong opinions and tough.” … THERE IS A RUMOR FLOATING OUT THERE Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have both been assigned fitness trainers and nutritionists by the producers of the new film, in order to ensure they can be in good shape when filming reportedly starts in January. Jedi Knights anyone ? … AND GEORGE LUCAS recently commented that he is excited to see what J.J. Abrams does with his baby. Said Lucas: “J.J.‘s a great director and we’re friends. I think he understands the whole thing and how it works. “And if he doesn’t, Kathy will keep it straight.” But cautioning the media, Lucas added, “No matter how you do it, it’s a complicated cultural icon. Therefore you’re always going to be in trouble no matter what you do, so, the best thing you can do is just plow forward and try to do the best story you can.” In a separate interview Lucas stated that he hasn’t had a chance to speak to Abrams about the new film as of yet, but he nonetheless voiced approval of the current progress of the project: “I have not spoken to J.J. He’s been busy with Star Trek, and I’m sure that he’ll let me know when he’s got some questions. So, you know, that’s all going well. Kathy tells me it’s working out great.” … AND SPEAKING OF GEORGE, the 69 year old retiree just got married to 44 year old Mellody Hobson. Lucas and Hobson got engaged over the Christmas holidays after several years in a long-distance relationship; Hobson in Illinois, and Lucas in California. Hobson is a contributor for CBS News, and Chairman and President of Ariel Investments in Chicago, and is also Chairman of the Board of Dreamworks Animation. Congratulations ! … DIRECTOR J.J. ABRAMS recently attended a “Produced by” conference on the 20th Century Fox Lot in Los Angeles and had this to say about the upcoming film: “I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before.” Abrams also commented on the production schedule of the film by stating, “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie.” … OKAY, NOW I HAVE SEEN IT ALL — Behold ! Time Traveling CGI Turkeys ! btw, the movie is called Free Birds:
THE LEGO MOVIE NOW HAS both a poster and trailer. Both are below:
A FRESH DRAFT OF A SCRIPT FOR THE LOGAN’S RUN REMAKE will be written by the creator of the Bio Shock video game, Ken Levine … UNIVERSAL have revealed that Jurassic Park IV isn’t quite dead yet. They even debuted some temp marketing for vendors at the Licensing Expo 2013 in Las Vegas on June the 18th. The poster, which seems neither to have a subtitle or a # pinned to the new Jurassic Park film, seemed to confirm to onlookers that the Studio is planning to release the film in the summer of 2015. It has also been revealed that the film will be shot in 3D … ACTOR RYAN REYNOLDS has dropped out of the reboot of Highlander, following in the footsteps of the project’s director, Carlos (28 Weeks Later) Fresnadillo … THE SEQUEL TO RIDLEY SCOTT’S ALIEN PREQUEL, PROMETHEUS, now has a screenwriter. The currently untitled film will be penned by Jack Paglen. Paglen is the writer of Transcendence, the directorial debut of Oscar winning cinematographer Wally (The Dark Knight) Phister … AS FOR THE TOMB RAIDER REBOOT, Marti Noxon, a writer a producer on the WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has been hired to write the script for MGM, who currently hold the rights. Noxon was also responsible for the screenplays for the films, I Am Number Four, and the remake of Fright Night … TERMINATOR 5 appears to be headed to theaters sooner than expected. Arnold himself recently stated that, “Terminator 5′ starts filming early 2014.” And actor and former professional wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is negotiating to join the production, which will reportedly focus on Skynett’s attempt at killing Sarah Conner’s parents somewhere between the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Johnson is currently shooting Hercules for director Brett (Tower Heist) Ratner, based upon the comic book, “Hercules: The Thracian Wars.” Laeta Kalogridis, who scripted the film Shutter Island and worked on Avatar for James Cameron, is co-writing the script for Terminator 5, which is said to be almost complete. Distribution rights to the franchise were recently sold to Paramount Pictures … THE FIRST TRAILER FOR THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (due in theaters December 15th) has been revealed:
AFTER YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT HELL, CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE may soon finally find its way to the silver screen. Veteran producer Jon (Predator, Chronicle) Davis is currently attached to the project, through 20th Century Fox, and hopes to develop the material into a multimedia franchise, as well as a series of major motion pictures in the action-adventure genre. The 1980’s children’s books were immensely popular back in the day, utilizing a unique type of interactive storytelling that allowed readers to choose the path the principal character(s) would take, at intervals of just a few pages. Thus the readers choices determined the fate of the characters, and the stories spanned many genres and story cliche’s readily available in public domain, such as flying saucers and the abominable snowman. Many producers over the years have attempted to get the project off the ground, either as a single film that left open the possibility of a sequel, or an abashedly honest attempt at a franchise. Steven Spielberg held the film and television rights at one time, as did actress Nicole Kidman … MAN OF STEEL 2 is being “literally” fast-tracked into production for next summer. Director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer, have reportedly already launched into pre-production without a completed screenplay. Director Snyder commented, “I haven’t yet gotten to speak to the studio about all these awesome details (because I’ve been overseas on the junket). So my hope is, when I get home I can sit down with everyone and it’ll be like ‘Okay, so what are we going to do?.. we need to do something…”’ Regarding the sequel, Snyder further commented, “We almost destroyed the world last time, now what!?” … AND SPEAKING OF MAN OF STEEL, ACTOR JAMES FRANCO was recently asked to review Man of Steel, and dropped two very interesting comic book movie related pieces of information within the context of his review. One relates to Henry Cavill showing a very early ambition to play Superman. Franco commented that during the filming of Tristan & Isolde in 2006, “What Henry took seriously back then was Superman. He wanted to be Superman more than anything in the world.” Franco adds that Cavill was actually up for the role of Superman in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, but lost the role at the last minute to fellow actor Brandon Routh. Franco further commented, “The night of the premiere (of Man of Steel) I saw Henry from afar on the red carpet and knew ‘this’ was the moment his whole life had been building toward. His dream had come true, and I was happy for him. It was the role he would have killed to do, with the right director (Zack Snyder) and the right producer (Chris Nolan)—people who would keep the story and the characters focused, grounded by Chris’s regular team of David S. Goyer and Emma Thomas.” The other nugget dropped and left for general perusal by the public during Franco’s review, was the reason that Sam Raimi left the Spider-Man franchise. *Please note this quote has been taken out-of-context from the review itself: “Kids like comic-book-style heroes, teens like flashy action and sex, and therefore these films make money. Adults—the third audience—respect money. So these films are made. Again and again. And if Brandon Routh doesn’t work as Superman, or if Sam Raimi can’t agree on the villain for a fourth Spider-Man, they will just make new versions without them.” For the record, James Franco gave Man of Steel a favorable review …THE 39TH ANNUAL SATURN AWARDS were handed out on June 26th. The Saturn Awards honor the best in horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Check out the listing of winners below:
Best Science Fiction Film: Marvel’s The Avengers
Best Fantasy Film: Life of Pi
Best Horror/Thriller Film: The Cabin in the Woods
Best Action/Adventure Film: Skyfall
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe)
Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Best Supporting Actor: Clark Gregg (Marvel’s The Avengers)
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Best Performance by a Younger Actor: Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi)
Best Director: Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers)
Best Writing: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Best Production Design: Dan Hennah (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey)
Best Editing: Alexander Berner (Cloud Atlas)
Best Music: Danny Elfman (Frankenweenie)
Best Costume: Paco Delgado (Les Miserables)
Best Make-Up: Heike Merker, Daniel Parker, Jeremy Woodhead (Cloud Atlas)
Best Special Effects: Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick (Marvel’s The Avengers)
Best Independent Film Release: Killer Joe
Best International Film: Headhunters
Best Animated Film: Frankenweenie
Best Network Television Series: Revolution
Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: The Walking Dead
Best Presentation on Television: Breaking Bad
Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television: Teen Wolf
Best Actor on Television: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Kevin Bacon (The Following) – tie
Best Actress on Television: Anna Torv (Fringe)
Best Supporting Actor on Television: Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Best Supporting Actress on Television: Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead)
Best Guest Star on Television: Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter)
HOME ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS
Best DVD/BD Release: Touchback
Best DVD/BD Special Edition Release: Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut
Best DVD/BD Collection Release: Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection
Best DVD/BD Television Series Release: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 1 & 2
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS FROMTHE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY & HORROR FILMS
The Lifetime Achievement Award: William Friedkin
The Dan Curtis Legacy Award: Vince Gilligan
The Visionary Award: Richard Matheson
The Life Career Award: Jonathan Frakes
… UNIVERSAL PICTURES has optioned the rights to and will produce a film based upon Locke & Key, the comic book published by IDW and created by Joe Hill (son of famed author Stephen King) and Gabriel Rodriguez. A favorite on the New York Times Bestseller List, the comic tells the story of three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts. They soon discover the house has magical keys that give the bearers a vast array of powers and abilities. However, a devious creature is also after the keys, forcing the family to make a stand against evil. Star Trek and Transformers screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will pen the screenplay. The property was previously a pilot for a TV series produced by Dreamworks and intended for the Fox network. Fox passed, and the producers shopped it around, but were turned down everywhere due to the expense of producing the show on a weekly basis. … THE JAPANESE HAVE MADE a live action version of the classic late 70’s cartoon, Battle of the Planets (otherwise known as Gatchaman.) For those who wouldn’t remember, the storyline of the cartoon is set in the near future and follows five special agents of the International Science Organization in Tokyo as they try to protect the world from the mysterious terrorist group who call themselves Galactor. Utilizing technology that surpasses anything on Earth, Galactor has declared war on the entire world and has already subjugated half of it. Trained to draw out the power from the mysterious crystal-like object called a “stone,” our five heroes will be called “Gatchaman.” Check out the trailer:
SCREENWRITER BRAD (WILD HOGS) COPELAND will write Knight Rider for The Weinstein Company. The original “Knight Rider” series aired for four seasons on NBC beginning in 1982. It starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a crimefighter aided by the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a highly advanced vehicle with its own A.I. personality. … AUTHOR DIANA GABALDON’S S/F BOOK SERIES (of which there are currently 7 with an 8th on the way) will soon begin production as a television miniseries, under the initial book’s title, Outlander. The Starz channel will partner with Sony Pictures Television to begin producing the show in Scotland this fall, for a 2014 premiere date. The adaptation is being written by Ronald D. Moore or both Star Trek: The Next Generation and BSG fame. The “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure in one grandiose tale. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. … DIRECTOR ROLAND (INDEPENDENCE DAY) EMMERICH recently commented on the sequel, and or sequels to Independence Day, and confirmed at least one previous rumor to be true. Said Emmerich, “Will Smith can not come back because he’s too expensive, but he’d also be too much of a marquee name. It would be too much.” He added, “We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film and the other half people who are new.” Concerning the nature of the film’s storyline, he had this to say: “We’re not doing a total reboot, we’re doing something that’s totally unusual.” Screenwriter James (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man) Vanderbilt is now at work polishing a draft originally written by Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin. Studio 20th Century Fox is hoping for a July 4th weekend release two years from now … AND NOW THE BAD NEWS, prolific author Richard Matheson has died. Hearing of his passing, friend and fellow author Harlan Ellison wrote, “I am downsmashed.” Author and screenwriter Richard Burton Matheson was born in New Jersey in 1926, and raised in Brooklyn New York. After graduating high school in ’43, he served as an infantry soldier during the Second World War. In ’49 he got a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in ’51. He married in ’52 and had four children, two of which became writers themselves. Chris Matheson is a notable screenwriter, who among other credits, co-wrote the Bill & Ted films. And Richard “Christian” Matheson became a very notable writer in television his self, working on shows such as The Incredible Hulk, The A-Team, Knight Rider, and Nightmares & Dreamscapes (based upon the Stephen King story collection.) The elder Matheson reportedly published his first short story in a local newspaper at the age of eight. Eventually, his stories would appear in multiple publications, including “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” and “Galaxy Science Fiction.” In 1951, Matheson met writer Charles Beaumont, and joined a writer’s group called “The Southern California Sorcerers,” which also included noted author Ray Bradbury. Matheson later became a writer of the “Southern California School of Writers” in the 50’s and 60’s, along with fellow Twilight Zone writers Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, and George Clayton Johnson. In addition to prolific work on Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, Matheson remained a prolific fictionist, and his work inspired several notable films, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, Somewhere in Time, What Dreams May Come, A Stir of Echoes, and of course The Last Man on Earth (1964,) The Omega Man (1971,) and I Am Legend (2007) — all three adapted from Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend.” In fact, the book “I Am Legend” has been acknowledged by filmmaker George A. Romero as the primary influence for his seminal horror film, Night of the Living Dead. And Steven Spielberg has acknowledged that Matheson’s episode of the original Twilight Zone, “Little Girl Lost,” was one of the primary influences for the film he co-wrote and produced, Poltergeist. After hearing of his death, Spielberg said, “Richard Matheson’s ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel. His Twilight Zones were among my favorites, and he recently worked with us on Real Steel. For me, he is in the same category as Bradbury and Asimov.” The TV movie Duel was in fact Spielberg’s big break. It was a harrowing tale of a motorist being terrorized up and down a California highway, by a faceless truck driver in a rig covered in grime and rust. Spielberg eventually utilized what he had learned from filming the movie, while shooting JAWS, and the rest is movie history. Matheson also adapted screenplays based upon a handful of works by author Edgar Allen Poe, for low budget producer/director Roger Corman. These included the Vincent Price films, The House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven. Matheson’s credits additionally included an episode of the original Star Trek titled “The Enemy Within,” the original Night Stalker TV films, and an episode of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. During his long career, Matheson earned a Writers Guild Association nomination for 1985′s Amazing Stories and won the Hugo Award, The Edgar Allen Poe Award, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association, and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Matheson had been working on a new screenplay for a remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man when he died at his home in Calabasas, Calif., of natural causes. He died just days before he was to receive a Visionary award at the 39th Annual Saturn Awards. Richard Matheson, storyteller, was 87 years old.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 5 now has not one, but TWO directors. Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) have been hired to helm the Jerry Bruckheimer production, slated to begin shooting in January. The script was rewritten by Jeff (Tower Heist) Nathanson … ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER recently gave updates on Terminator 5, Triplets (sequel to the 1988 film Twins,) and The Legend of Conan: “We’re writing it (Terminator) now. There are three projects being written that involve me. One is Terminator 5, the other is a Conan movie that Universal is doing and there’s the sequel to Twins, which is called Triplets. We’ll all look quite different in that. The third triplet is Eddie Murphy, so figure that one out.” … AND SOME SAD NEWS: UNIVERSAL PICTURES have pushed back Jurassic Park 4, indefinitely. The film, set to be directed by Colin (Safety Not Guaranteed) Treverrow, was scheduled for a June, 2014 release date, and was preparing to begin production. The official statement from the studio seems to indicate that the film is merely being postponed, however inside sources are claiming that this version of a proposed fourth Jurassic Park installment, is no longer being considered, and that the studio is starting from scratch. Again. In any case, here’s the statement: “In coordination with filmmakers, Universal has decided to release Jurassic Park 4 at a later date giving the studio and filmmakers adequate time to bring audiences the best possible version of the fourth installment in Universal’s beloved franchise. We could not be more excited about the vision that Colin Trevorrow has created for this film, and we look forward to watching as he and the producers create another great chapter in this franchise’s storied history.” …IN MARVEL MOVIE NEWS, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently commented on which projects the company is moving forward with into feature film production. Number one, is Ant-Man, directed by Edgar (Shaun of the Dead) Wright, scheduled for release in November of 2015. Said character uses a special suit to allow him to shrink in size and command insects and other creatures. Number two on the list, is Dr. Strange, a former surgeon who becomes a sorcerer, and protects New York City from the supernatural. Commenting on Strange, Feige said, “There’s a whole supernatural/magic alternate dimension going on in the Marvel comics that we haven’t ever touched on. So I think that’s exciting.” Number three, is a stand alone Hulk film …FIRST UP, THOUGH, IS JAMES (SLITHER) GUNN’S GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Key roles in the film will be played by Chris (Wanted) Pratt, Zoe (Avatar) Saldana, John C. (Wreck It Ralph) Reilly, pro wrestler Dave Bautista, Michael (The Walking Dead) Rooker, Ophelia Lovibond, and Lee (The Hobbit) Pace. Actress Saldana had this to say about the film: “It feels unique, but it doesn’t feel like it hasn’t been done before. I love the levity in the script and I like the casting of it. I’ve been a fan of Chris Pratt and I think that his gifted, natural comedic timing might come in handy to play someone like Star-Lord.” Regarding her costume, Saldana had this to say: “I’m in the process right now of the evolution of conceiving Gamora’s look. It’s exciting! We’re trying to work out comfort also, because you know that I definitely want to be involved in the stunt-doing of my character.” Shooting begins in late June, in London for a August 1, 2014 release date. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST IS BEING SHOT IN 3D. As confirmed by director Bryan Singer on Twitter, “Shooting native 3D and Simul-cam. Looks like friggin’ mission control.” The film, based on a storyline appearing in Uncanny X-Men #141 and 142, back in 1981, features a cast including Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Daniel Cudmore, Adan Canto, and Fan Bingbing. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on July 18th, 2014. AND IN MARVEL TV NEWS, an intriguing new trailer popped up recently for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
IN 007 MOVIE NEWS, while Christopher Nolan was reportedly approached to helm the next Bond film, Skyfall director Sam Mendes will himself return to helm both the follow-up, Bond 24, as well as Bond 25. Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G .Wilson have announced that they will wait for Mendes, who has prior commitments … THE ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY & MOBIUS COLLABORATION, The Incal may make its way to theaters. Seems Nicolas (Drive) Winding is working with Jodorowsky on a treatment of the early 80’s graphic novel serial. The story, set in in a dystopian future and focusing on factions fighting for control of the Incal crystal, is reportedly where much of Jodorowsky’s ideas for his aborted version of Dune wound up after that project collapsed in the 1970’s …AND IN GAME TO MOVIE NEWS, WARCRAFT, based upon the highly successful video game World of Warcraft, is reportedly still on track to begin shooting early next year, with Duncan (Moon) Jones at the helm … ON THE TRANSFORMERS 4 FRONT, rumors are circling that the Dinobots and Grimlock, and possibly Galvatron may appear in the new film, along with several other classic characters. Director Michael Bay has been mum on the plot of the new film, but has commented that the story involves the, “Chase from Hell.” Transformers 4 is scheduled for release next year, on June 27th. IN THE MEANTIME, HERE ARE THE NEW DESIGNS FOR BOTH BUMBLEBEE & OPTIMUS PRIME, AND A NEW TRANSFORMER: HOUND:
AN INTERNATIONAL TRAILER for the film About Time, evidences a dead cross between the type of humor and pathos evident in writer/director Richard Curtis’ previous effort Love Actually, paired with a unique science fiction premise:
IN DC COMICS MOVIE NEWS, Christopher Nolan has reportedly exited development on the Justice League film. This has revised Warner Bros. schedule for the film to a February 2014 start. Although this would appear to be a blow, Henry (Man of Steel) Cavill has nonetheless signed to reprise his role of Superman in Justice League, and Warner Bros. is reportedly planning to announce a major comic book movie initiative (ala Marvel’s 3rd Phase,) which will launch several DC Comics characters into theaters, over the next five years … AND SURPRISINGLY, GREEN LANTERN 2 really “is” being slated for production, with Joseph (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) Kosinski helming. Comic book guru Geoff Johns, screenwriter David S. (Batman Begins) Goyer and director Zack (Watchmen, Man of Steel) Snyder are reportedly a part of the creative team developing the Green Lantern sequel project … AND SPEAKING OF GREEN LANTERN, that initial outing’s co-writer, Michael Green will re-draft Hampton Fancher’s follow up to Blade Runner. Green, who also worked on both Smallville and Heroes, as well as Steven Spielberg’s aborted Robopocalypse, and a proposed reboot of The Flash, has been brought in to make changes requested by both the director and producers. In addition to the forthcoming Blade Runner sequel, the producers are hoping to develop a prequel, along with an “interactive television production.” Ridley Scott is still on board to direct, and both he and actor Harrison Ford have expressed an interest in bringing back Ford’s character Rick Dekard in a limited, brief cameo … DIRECTOR RIAN (LOOPER) JOHNSON is being courted to reboot Batman, now that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have left the franchise … GREMLINS REMAKE ANYONE ? Well like it or not, here they come. Warner Bros. have hired producers Seth (Dark Shadows) Graham-Smith and David Katzenberg as producers on the project. The duo are currently shepherding Beetlejuice 2 into production for director Tim Burton. Reportedly the project will go into production as soon as original Gremlins producer Steven Spielberg signs off on it … THERE’S A NEW TRAILER FOR EUROPA REPORT that makes the “found footage” feature look much more compelling. The film is described as a unique blend of documentary, alternative history and science fiction thriller, following a contemporary mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. Developed in close collaboration with NASA, JPL, SpaceX and other leaders in the scientific community, the film imagines the next step in manned space exploration and is based on recent scientific discoveries and theories. Have a look:
IN MOVIE SCORING NEWS — CARTER BURWELL WILL NOT SCORE THOR: THE DARK WORLD for Marvel. Although the studio actually listed his name as composer (even on the teaser poster,) Burwell has been released from the project in what Marvel describes as creative differences. Burwell would have followed up on music compositions made by Patrick Doyle in the initial film in the series. Burwell is currently scoring the WikiLeaks inspired film, The Fifth Estate for director Bill (Gods and Monsters) Condon … HOWEVER, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES “will” be scored by Michael (Star Trek) Giacchino. Matt (Cloverfield) Reeves is directing the sequel to the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, … HANS (MAN OF STEEL) ZIMMER WILL SCORE INTERSTELLAR for director Christopher Nolan. The film, formerly slated to be directed by Steven Spielberg, is scheduled for release on November 7, 2014 … AND ENDER’S GAME will be scored by Steve (Transformers) Jablonsky. That film opens November 1st. … AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST … DRUMROLL, PLEASE … COMPOSER JOHN WILLIAMS has agreed to score Star Wars Episode VII. Said Williams, “We’ve certainly talked about that, and I’m happy and willing to do it. J.J. Abrams, who will be the director, seems excited about the idea. I have to say that J.J. is a much younger man than I, but I will try to keep up with him as much as I can. We now have the benefit of all this computer simulation and technical work that wasn’t even possible 20 or 25 years ago. I don’t know how hands-on George Lucas will be — I suspect he will be to some degree — but I can only imagine how excited he must be, to have a director like J.J. have all these tools at his fingertips to produce something even more adventurous technologically. I can’t wait to see what he will do with it.” … IN ADDITIONAL STAR WARS NEWS, veteran costume designer Michael (Blade Runner, Star Trek Into Darkness) Kaplan has signed on for Star Wars Episode VII, under the direction of J.J. Abrams. Said Kaplan, “I am very excited to be working on Star Wars. I’m so looking forward to collaborating, once again, with JJ.” … AND IN STILL OTHER EPISODE VII NEWS, Lucasfilm has announced that the film will anchor production in the UK. Earlier in the year, representatives from Lucasfilm met with officials in London to establish an agreement to produce the new film(s) in the UK, utilizing the various, and quite famous studio facilities there. Producer and President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial) Kennedy offered the following comment: “We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of ‘Star Wars’ as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that. Speaking from my own longstanding connection to the UK with films like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘Empire of the Sun’ and recently ‘War Horse’, it’s very exciting to be heading back.” The Irish Film Board later announced that they were also talking to Lucasfilm about the production shooting various exteriors for the film in their Country, as well. The film is still on-target for a summer of 2015 scheduled release … ALSO ANTHONY DANIELS, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS C3PO recently stated for the record that he will return if and when asked … NOW FOR A BIT OF STAR WARS FRIVOLITY. Director J.J. Abrams stopped by Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show — and following up on Harrison Ford’s appearance from last month, participated in some healthy ribbing. Watch for two key surprise cameo’s in the audience:
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, IN A BIT OF STAR WARS NOSTALGIA NEWS, the sandy, cotton drill Levi’s jeans Mark Hamill wore in the initial Star Wars film recently went up for auction. The pants, measuring 29-inches in the waist and 37 inches in length with two six-inch slits up each side, were customized by the famous London costumier Bermans & Nathans. Per Mark Hamill himself, ‘‘By the way, those pants I wore (in Star Wars) were just bleached Levi’s with the tag still in them.” And true to Hamill’s comment, the levis still bear the original tag sewn to the inseam reading: ”Bermans & Nathans / 40 Camden St., / London N.W. 1.” And ”Mark Hamill / 10490 Luke / Star Wars” is printed in type beneath it. Nate D. Sanders Auctions estimated their value at somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000, but the jeans only sold for $36,100.
A NEW BANNER FOR GORE VERBINSKI’S LONE RANGER promises epic scale. Let’s hope the story is intact.THE WORLD’S END, that drinking buddy comedy with a Sci-Fi twist from the makers of Shaun of the Dead, has a new trailer: