“Prisoners” Director Locked in to “Blade Runner” Sequel Talks

It seems like forever since we last talked about the impending Blade Runner sequel – although to be fair it got to the point where there was nothing to talk about. We knew original director Ridley Scott was involved in some capacity and that Harrison Ford had been asked to reprise his role as Deckard, but once that was in the conversation all that there was left to do was panic about the prospect of a Blade Runner sequel and how it would even work – or if it would work! Well now we have some other info to discuss, so we can pocket our worries for a the moment.
Deadline has reported on two big developments in the project. First of, Harrison Ford is confirmed to be back for the sequel, picking up where he left off thirty years ago when the original was released. Blade Runner was set in the not too distant future of 2019, so if the timing is faithful it should be nearing 2040 when we catch up with Deckard again. It goes without saying that Ford is as integral to the popularity of the original and the possible success of the sequel as Scott is. But Scott won’t be directing this time around, and that brings us to the second piece of news.
It’s reported that Denis Villeneuve is currently in talks to take the reins of the sci fi sequel from Scott, while the original director takes the Executive Producer chair. Villeneuve is responsible for a couple of good projects, including Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, and is in the process of wrapping up Sicaro, starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin – so the timing’s just about perfect for the director to take on the mammoth project that is Blade Runner. And with mammoth projects come mammoth responsibilities: if Villeneuve does take the gig, will he cut the mustard.
Fortunately the script is in very good hands: original Blade Runner pen-man Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (who?) have written the screenplay, and since Phillip K Dick never wrote a sequel to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the basis of Blade Runner), the script is based on an original idea from Scott and Fancher.
Now that we’re so close to having on all the key pieces in place, what can we expect from this sequel? Will it be another Prometheus? Or something entirely different? Oh crap I’m back to panicking again. Hopefully there’ll be some more news soon to pull me out of this tailspin. The ball’s in your court Villeneuve!

Josh Trank Shares “F4” Tonal Origins and Disappointing Stills

So I never even asked, what did you all think of the Fantastic Four reboot trailer? I didn’t think it was possible for a project mired in so much mystery to polarise audiences even more when it finally released its cheeky two minutes. However, given the direction that director Josh Trank is taking with the comic reboot, that was always going to be the case.

Speaking of Trank’s direction with the film, the director has been poking pin holes in our ballooning curiosity once again. Screenrant reports that Trank has been discussing his reasons for taking the Fantastic family in a more grounded direction. In an interview with Empire, the Chronicle director explained that he was following in the footsteps of Amblin – Steven Spielberg‘s production company. Here’s what he had to say:
“There’s the opportunity to make something that is challenging and tragic and dramatic. The opportunity is right there in the material. We’d rather steer it in that direction as opposed to just embracing a tone that comes right off the page.”

So on loyalty to the canon it’s a hard pass from Trank, but we had a feeling that was the case anyway. Trank goes on to say that his imagining of the film is a “dark Amblin movie.” Writer and producer Simon Kinberg added “There was an Amblin-style approach to the characterization, and to contextualizing everything in a real world.”
So can we expect a Fantastic Four that’s less like it’s Marvel studio predecessors and more like the first cut of Back to the Future without all the jokes? Maybe. It’s more likely that this will be a farewell to silliness that to an extent killed the last Fantastic Four films – which can only be described as logical and hopefully the right choice. This might also be a good indication of the kind of tonal venture DC will be embarking on if they stay in the vein of Man of Steel, which could very well be the case for some of the upcoming adaptations.

In addition to dishin’ on the film’s creative direction, we also got some stills from the film. Are they stills that show the team in action, maybe with a shady closeup of the Thing? Of course not, don’t be silly. The stills are pretty tame as it goes, but they give a good idea of the costume choices for the film, without revealing the more classic costumes which will allegedly appear later in the film. Then there’s Jamie Bell’s picture of him tending to his bike…a classic Thing move!

Anyway, here are the pictures, courtesy of Screenrant:

Miles-Teller-as-Reed-Richards-in-Fantastic-Four Kate-Mara-as-Sue-Storm-in-Fantastic-Four Michael-B.-Jordan-as-Johnny-Storm-in-Fantastic-Four Jamie-Bell-as-Ben-Grimm-in-Fantastic-Four

Hey, it’s not exactly Hulk vs Hulk-buster, but at least it shows Trank is thinking about us. Hopefully we’ll have juicier images closer to the debut, so keep your eyes peeled!

Neill Blomkamp’s “Alien” Movie Will Pick Up Where “Aliens” Left Off

Hey, did you hear that Neill Blomkamp is directing a new Alien film? I know it’s pretty cool. The director behind District 9 and Chappie released some unofficial artwork a month or two back and last week dropped the bombshell that an Alien sequel would be his next project.

Unfortunately, like any half decent movie news, the big reveal raises ten questions for every one it answers. What’s the plot? Where will it take place? What kind of xenomorphs will then be? Will it follow the original canon? And six other questions I guess. The good news is that Blomkamp is more than happy to oblige and has revealed more about the project, including ties to franchise star Sigourney Weaver‘s character Ripley. Screenrant reports that in an interview with Sky News, Blomkamp explained that his new film would go small bang in the middle of the original quadrilogy! Here’s exactly what the mad genius had to say for himself:

“I want this film to feel like it’s literally the genetic sibling of ‘Aliens.’ So it’s ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens,’ and then this movie.”

So it looks like Blomkamp is disregarding Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection in order to carry on the story left of by the second film. While this might leave some diehard fans who wanted a followup to Resurrection a little peeved, the choice makes a lot of sense. The elements of horror and sci-fi that made the first two Alien films great got a little diluted in the last two films, in an attempt to bust alien out of its tight dark corridors and ventilation shafts. But it looks as though that’s exactly what Blomkamp is looking for this time around:

“It’s a Freudian nightmare. That element to me is what is so appealing. To try to put the audience on the edge of their seat, in a traditional monster stalking you in a dark corridor way.”

It sounds as though Blomkamp knows exactly what he wants this film to be already, and if it can draw on the atmosphere of Alien and Aliens, then he’ll already he off to a flying start.

Blomkamp’s eerie artwork will certainly fall in line with the monochrome horror of the first two films.

 

Blomkamp also explains that his decision for his film’s story and location  in the canon has stemmed in no small part from conversations with Weaver, who has stated that she felt there was a part of Ripley’s story left untold. This ties in with the artwork Blomkamp released that was very Ripley-centric. Does this mean Weaver will be returning for Blomkamp’s chapter, or will she pass on the mantle to another actor? It’s hard to tell right now, but hopefully she’ll be bringing as much experience and insight to the table as possible.

What do you think is next for Ripley?

Rob Schrab to Direct “Lego Movie 2″…Awesome!

It may not have won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but what animated sequel are we more jazzed about than Lego Movie 2? Oh, Kung Fu Panda 3? Well sure, but that’s an institution. Look, stop talking about Kung Fu Panda, because we’ve got some new about Lego Movie 2. Those wonderful wizards at The Wrap have reported that a director has been selected for the top plastic brick-based commodity. And the job goes to Rob Schrab! Schrab will be joining the team with original Lego Movie writing team Phil Lord and Chris Miller, along with producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee.

It could be that you’re familiar with Schrab but you’re having trouble putting the name to a project. Well, aside from directing all three seasons of The Sarah Silverman Programhe’s directed a whole bunch of episodes from a whole bunch of other sitcoms. Like what? Oh I dunno, Childrens Hospital, Blue Mountain State, Community, Parks and Recreation, The Mindy Project and Workaholics! not too shabby right?

Schrab’s also done a lot of notable work with on again off again creative partner Dan Harmon, who you’ll know as the off-again on-again creator of Community. The team has worked together on the Oscar-nominated animated film Monster House, creative collective Channel 101 and a whole mess of other comedic gems, including the infamous pilot Heat Vision and Jack. So needless to say, Schrab is more than qualified to take this job on.

Rob Schrab with frequent collaborator and "Monster House" co-creator Dan Harmon
Rob Schrab with frequent collaborator and “Monster House” co-creator Dan Harmon

Here’s what Warner Bros. executive Greg Silverman had to say about the hire:

“’The LEGO Movie’ captivated critics and audiences on a global scale with its irresistible blend of humour, imagination and fun.  Warner Bros. is excited to build our relationship with The LEGO Group with this new adventure, and we join them in welcoming the multi-talented Rob Schrab to the LEGO family as he takes the helm of ‘The LEGO Movie Sequel.”

It’s gonna be a real treat to see Schrab’s take on the seemingly limitless potential of the Lego universe, and how he fills the clown shoes left by the first film.

Watch Adi Shankar’s Intense R-Rated “Power Rangers” Short

Adi Shankar made a Power Rangers short. It’s great, and you should watch it. Let me tell you why.

You don’t have to be Oscar-nominated to have a short film worth watching. All you have to is find something in the centre of the ven diagram of “films that studios will never make” and “films that fans desperately want to be made”. One film-maker who’s gotten very good at hitting that particular sweet spot is Adi Shankar. He’s gotten into a very good habit of making bootleg reboots of famous characters and universes in ten to twenty minute bursts. This is the perfect amount of time, because it satisfies the fan’s desire for a violent, gritty take on their favourite characters, but doesn’t go on long enough to disappoint them. He’s done this with Judge Dredd, the Punisher, Venom, and now – out of freaking nowhere – the Power Rangers. Here’s the short as reported on by Screenrant:

The short stars James Van Der Beek as Red Power Ranger Rocky DeSantos, Katee Sackhoff as Pink Power Ranger Kimberley Hart Russ Bain as Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver. For a short, the story is very involved and rich, but doesn’t fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously…you’re allowed to think it’s silly without the whole thing crumbling down around you and that’s what’s great about it.

image

Shankar is more commonly recognisable as a connoisseur of high-violence, directing features such as Machine Gun Preacher, The Grey, and Dredd: all films that weren’t so popular with critics but were undeniably unique in their aspiration for an R-rating. Shankar’s most valuable commodity is his understanding that violence and mania need not be taken seriously all the time to be done well. This can most effectively be shown by his work in 2014, between Liam Neeson drama A Walk Among the Tombstones and Ryan Reynolds black comedy The Voices.

A feature length reboot of Power Rangers is in fact in the works with a screenplay penned by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, so it will be interesting to see where on the barometer of seriousness it decides to fall. But after seeing this short, they’ve definitely got their work cut out for them.

 

“Suicide Squad”: Leto’s Joker will be Muscular?

You know what’s great about an article that has an open ended question as the title? You are garuanteed to not get a definite answer about anything out of anyone. It will be more of a speculative, philosophical waxing that pumps out so many theories that you close the window of your laptop at the end of it and feel more confused than you were when you started. So more often than not we tend to stay away from blatant rumours that have no basis here, unless we have a little something to go on. Or if it’s super intriguing. The potential for a physical description of the joker in the upcoming comic book movie Suicide Squad is a little of both.

Since getting word that Jared Leto would be playing the Joker in David Ayer’s villain team up, we’ve been hearing that the Dallas  Buyers Club star would be losing his legendary locks for the role. It’s been a while and still no hair job, but Leto mentioned that his presentation of an award at the Oscars would be a “farewell party for his hair”. Not only that, but Leto came out on stage with a considerable amount of poundage on him compared to his Oscar winning role last year. Turns out the actor who is no stranger to augmenting his body for a role has put on 70 pounds for his part as the joker. So we’ve got short hair and bulk, which would be a huge change from what we’re used to seeing from cinematic representations of the Joker. Both Jack Nicholson’s and Heath Ledger’s portrayals of Batman’s nemesis have been violent and brutally theatrical, but not quite so physically dominant. So it looks as though Suicide Squad is set to change all that.

Leto partying it up a the Oscars, carrying considerably more weight than last year's performance.
Leto partying it up a the Oscars, carrying considerably more weight than last year’s performance.

When the cast list for Suicide Squad dropped late last year, one of the actor choices that has sparked the most chatter is Jared Leto for the role of Batman’s biggest villain property the Joker. The big surprise about the choice of Leto is that the majority of the cast are action or mainstream vets (include list here) while Leto himself was hot off an Oscar win with a pocketful of indie roles before that. With such an elevated status, everyone wants to know how Leto is going to play the clown Prince of Crime, and to what era of the batman canon will he be most closely aligned.

We’re gonna leave it there for the moment because very soon the ratio of news to guesses is gonna spin wildly out of control. But if you’d like a visual representation of what Leto’s Joker feels like to us – and why wouldn’t you? – check out the incarnation of the Joker from the graphic novel Batman:RIP.

Oh, and if he ends up looking exactly like this, I’m taking credit.

JokerwithDualKnives

Nicolas Cage Joins Oliver Stone’s “Snowden”

It’s all happening if you happen to be Edward Snowden. I mean, it’s all been happening for a fair old time if you’re Edward Snowden, but I’m talking specifically about movie happenings. Those who’ve been paying attention will know that Snowden-based documentary Citizenfour won the Oscar for Best Documentary at the 87th Academy Awards last night, and before director Laura Poitras had a chance to polish her statue we got news about the upcoming Snowden-based biopic.

Deadline reports that former Academy Award winner and current Nicolas Cage impersonator Nicolas Cage will be joining Oliver Stone‘s latest project about Snowden and the fallout from his colossal whistle-blowing. Cage will be playing the role of a former U.S. Intelligence agent, and will be starring alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was revealed late last year to be taking on the role of Snowden. We found out about this project midway through last year and the info has been building in drips since then.

A most wanted man: Edward Snowden in a still from Laura Poitras' Oscar-winnign documentary "Citizenfour"
A most wanted man: Edward Snowden in a still from Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winnign documentary “Citizenfour”.

Along with Cage and Gordon-Levitt, the project – titled Snowden – will star Shailene Woodley (Divergent), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Tom Wilkinson (Mission: Impossible III), Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man), Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattooand Timothy Olyphant (This Is Where I Leave You). Wilkinson has been mentioned a lot in conversation recently in connection with Selma, and the portrayal of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. This looks to be an intriguing sort of cast, a good mix of serious and slightly less serious talent, so hopefully we’ll be seeing some exciting performances from the lot of them – especially Cage!

Snowden is based on two different sources: Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and the novel from Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, Time of the Octopus. The film is set for a Christmas Day release at the end of this year.

Are you ragin’ for some Cagin’?

I Watched the 2015 Academy Awards and All I Got was this Lousy Winners Post

Well here it is and there it went. Last night the 87th Academy Awards had millions in America glued to their TV’s and laptops, and millions of people in other time zones showing up a little late for work this morning.  If you had a chance to watch it then you’ll know it was something of a humdinger. Even though an awards ceremony can never quite love up to the hype that accumulates over previous months, positive or otherwise, it was a solid stack of television celebrating some of the best movies of 2014. So how about we get to the winners? Here’s the list of nominees and winners in each category:

Best Picture:
American Sniper
WINNER: Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Best Actress:
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
WINNER: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Actor:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
WINNER: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Director:
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Supporting Actress:
WINNER: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

Best Supporting Actor:
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
WINNER: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Animated Feature:
WINNER: Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of  the Princess Kaguya

Best Original Screenplay:
Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman, Foxcatcher
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
WINNER: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo,Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Hall, American Sniper
WINNER: Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

Best Original Score:
WINNER: Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Best Original Song:
“Everything is Awesome,” The Lego Movie
WINNER: “Glory,” Selma
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights

Best Documentary Feature:
WINNER: Citizenfour

Last Days In Vietnam
Virunga
Finding Vivian Maier
The Salt of the Earth

Best Film Editing:
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
WINNER: Whiplash
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography:
WINNER: Emmanuel LubezkiBirdman
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Best Production Design:
WINNER: 
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into The Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Animated Short:
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
WINNER: Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Visual Effects:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
WINNER: Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Sound Editing:
WINNER: American Sniper

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Birdman
Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing:
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
WINNER: Whiplash

Best Live Action Short:
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
WINNER: The Phone Call
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh

Best Documentary Short:
WINNER: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Best Foreign Language Film:
WINNER: Ida (Poland)

Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

Best Costume Design:
Colleen Atwood, Into The Woods
WINNER: Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
Anna B. Sheppard, Maleficent
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
Foxcatcher
WINNER: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

There you have it boys and girls. As you probably know we were hoping that Simmons would take home Best Supporting Actor and it  was refreshing to see comedy drama take Best Picture. We’ll be going through our reactions to all the winners hopefully later on today, and maybe some suggestions of who should have won… Because who else is doing that!? Just kidding.  

Noyce! Ewan McGregor Set to Direct “American Pastoral” as Phillip Noyce Quits

Hey, I know we’ve been talking a lot about comic book movies and the like recently, filling your feed with casting picks and character rumours for all manner of graphic novel glamour. So let’s turn the lights down a little, whack on some Warren Zevon and talk about something a little more serious –  don’t worry, this is in no way Oscar related. Well, not yet anyway.

It’s been reported by Deadline that the directorial glove for long awaited adaptation American Pastoral has officially changed hands. Director Phillip Noyce of Salt fame has long been connected to the translation of the novel by Philip Roth to the big screen – and when I say long, I’m talking a decade or so. Now the word is that Royce has left the project altogether and has been replaced by Ewan McGregor. The star of Star Wars episodes 1-3 (that’s right, I went there) was already attached to star in the film, so he’s all set to be twice as busy as usual.

McGregor in "Moulin Rouge"...OK I'm lying.
McGregor in “Moulin Rouge”…OK I’m lying.

For those who aren’t Roth-heads (proper collective term), American Pastoral is the story of Jewish businessman Seymour “Swede” Levov and his wife and daughter, and how their lives and perceptions are transformed by the wave of social and political upheaval in America during the 1960’s. The novel was released in 1997 and won a publisher prize in the field of very very good books. McGregor will take in the role of Swede, with Jennifer Connelly playing his former beauty queen wife Dawn Levov and Dakota Fanning as their daughter Merry.

Production is set to begin this September in Pittsburgh, so it’ll be a treat to see a project so tirelessly pitched and played with seeing the cold light of day. The only question is whether or not McGregor is up to the task of directing. This will be the actor’s directorial debut, and a big adaptation like American Pastoral can be a poisoned chalice to a newbie. But with a solid enough script he should hopefully have enough experience under his belt to pull it off. We shall see – God speed McGregor!

With any luck we’ll be hearing more about this project as production gets going later this year.

Morena Baccarin to Play Mystery Female Lead in “Deadpool”

If the upcoming marvel movie Deadpool were a person, it would be a guy who’s been kicked out of bed because he’s super late for work, so now he’s rushing around trying to eat cereal and brush his own teeth at the same time while tying a Windsor knot with his big toes.

We only found out very recently that a solo movie for marvel’s candidly nutty mercenary was being made, but since then it’s been rare to go a few days without some new nugget of news popping up out of nowhere. The latest is that Morena Baccarin will be playing the female lead in the film, as reported by The A.V. Club. The only problem is we have no idea who that female lead might be. Well that’s not strictly true:there are suggestions that Baccarin will play Domino or Shiklah, both of whom have been romantically attached to Deadpool at some point in his comic history. Everything is entirely speculative at the moment, more so with this film than with other comic book movies as Deadpool is notorious for poking fun at classic comic tropes. So it’s just as likely the movie will subvert all expectation and have Godzilla as the love interest… Or Robert Downey Jr as played by a woman.

Morena Baccarin swings both ways, heading from DC's "Gotham" to Marvel's "Deadpool"
Morena Baccarin swings both ways, heading from DC’s “Gotham” to Marvel’s “Deadpool”

Morena Baccarin will be most familiar to audiences for her role as Inara in Joss Whedon‘s Firefly, as well as Jessica Brody in Homeland and most recently Dr Leslie Thompkins in Gotham. With a good few Sci-fi action chops to her name she should be a striking fit and a worthy scene sharer with Ryan Reynolds and his comic book alter ego.

This is the most recent thread in a long string of casting/character news. Since rumours started that heavy metal X-Man Colossus would be playing a part in the film’s story, we’ve found out that Gina Carrenon is on board as adrenalin junkie mutant Angel Dust along with comic actor T.J. Miller. It’s been suggested that Miller will be playing a voice in Deadpool’s head, but I’m still hoping he’ll be reprising his character from Big Hero 6. We also found out that the Colossus rumours were true, but that the actor of few words Daniel Cudmore who played him in the X-Men franchise would not be starring. So that role could be up for grabs. You know, if you’re interested.

You can check out the test footage that got this whole thing rolling here. If you haven’t seen it, then I’m not sure if we met at a cocktail party that we would be friends.