Casting any superhero film can be tricky.
After all, you've got rabid fans who have deep, meaningful relationship with the characters, and they've got strong opinions. You've got the financiers, and especially with international money driving so much of the conversation today, that becomes a very tricky minefield to navigate. You've got studio people who have relationships they have to service, as well as personal history with many of the eligible names.
With the modern era of superhero films, one of the things that I've noticed is how tricky it is when race becomes an issue of any sort. I'm still somewhat rattled by the firestorm of fury that erupted over Michael Clarke Duncan's casting in "Daredevil" or Idris Elba's casting in "Thor," and more than anything, it's convinced me that we need more race-blind casting in these films, not less. Yes, I know people get attached to a visual representation of a character, but I also think there is a tendency to get hung up on the least important details about a character.
Casting any superhero film can be tricky.
It can be a double-edged sword for a screenwriter to find themselves suddenly "hot," because with that heat comes a certain degree of expectation, and considering how little control writers really have over the end result of their labors, you can do everything right and still end up with your head on the chopping block once a film is actually finished.
Take Will Beall, for example. So far, that first trailer for "Gangster Squad" is fairly persuasive, and the script garnered enough buzz that every young actor in Hollywood was fighting to get cast in the ensemble period piece. Warner Bros. obviously had a good experience with Beall overall because they hired him to write their "Lethal Weapon" reboot, and they also have him hard at work trying to finally solve "Logan's Run" for Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling. Beall's been annointed by the studio, so it is little wonder that they have turned to him to help figure out a project that may well be the single most important in-development project at Warner Bros. right now.
Matthew Vaughn is hard at work prepping his next film in Fox's successfully reinvigorated "X-Men" franchise, and thanks to someone sending in a tip to Ain't It Cool News, we now have some idea of where they're headed.
I called the MPAA's Title Registration Bureau today to double-check the tip, and it is indeed true. Fox recently locked down "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" as a title, and for anyone who is a longtime fan of the comics, that is very, very interesting news.
It seems strange to look back at some of what are considered the biggest and most significant storylines in comics weren't originally published as mega-events like we see from Marvel and DC today. When they publish something like "Civil War" or "House Of M" or "Flashpoint" or the various "Crisis" events, they make those huge deals, with multiple authors, with dozens of comics involved, with tons of hype, and those events drive the entire publishing year for the companies.
One of the most anticipated announcements of the year will most likely take place at this year's San Diego Comic-Con when Marvel is expected to confirm which of their properties will be the source for their next original superhero title. Obviously "Iron Man 3" just began production (you can see the first still from the film here), and they're casting bad guys for "Thor 2," and chances are they're going to get really serious about "The Avengers 2" sometime soon.
But what of the rest of the Marvel Universe? Edgar Wright has been working towards making "Ant-Man" based on a script he's co-writing with Joe Cornish, but with the word that he's going to be shooting the final film in his Cornetto trilogy this fall, it seems less likely that "Ant-Man" is coming next. Marvel poobah Kevin Feige has spoken many times about how much he wants to figure out "Doctor Strange" for the big-screen, but there hasn't been any word on when or if that will happen.
Today, El Mayimbe at Latino Review is reporting that he knows which movie is scheduled next, and if he's right, we're about to meet a new Avenger.
In the last few days, I've been talking with a number of friends about "Prometheus," written in part by Damon Lindelof, and the careful campaign of secrecy that Fox and the filmmakers mounted while it was in production.
Obviously, Lindelof has some experience with working on something that he wants to keep secret, what with his time on "Lost" and his experiences working with JJ Abrams. Right now, I'm enjoying the build-up to the still-untitled sequel to "Star Trek," if for no other reason than it seems to be driving the Internet crazy.
Abrams, of course, is the king of playing games with the Internet while he's in production on something, and so far, he's played things very close to the vest on "Star Trek 2." Close enough that people still are arguing about whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch is playing Khan in the film, and close enough that there's still rampant speculation about whether or not he's going to include Klingons in the film.
Thanks to Abrams himself, though, that no longer appears to be a question.
The second full day of the Cannes Film Festival was also the first day of the rain that marred much of the event this year. I was unprepared for it, and so when I hurried from the 8:30 AM screening of "Reality" to the beachfront location where I was set to conduct my "Moonrise Kingdom" interviews, I was just barely ahead of an ominous cloud front and the first few strangled bursts of precipitation.
Because of the weather, everyone found themselves inside, waiting for the interviews, doing their best to stay dry. I sat down at a table with James Rocchi, both of us working to write up "Reality" as we prepared for our time with the cast and with Anderson. While we were sitting there working, Jason Schwartzman walked in. They told him he'd have a half-hour until they needed him, so he dropped into a chair at the same table as Rocchi and me and just started chatting movies.
One of the things I've noticed about Schwartzman over the years is that he is ridiculously approachable, and he has a genuine curiosity about what other people think of things. He wanted to hear about movies Rocchi and I had been seeing, and about what we were looking forward to, and then he and James moved on to a conversation about the Canadian band Sloan. By the time they called him away to start his interviews, it had been almost the full half-hour, and it flew by.
JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #5: "You Only Live Twice"
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay by Roald Dahl
Produced by Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Sean Connery
Ernst Stavro Blofeld / Donald Pleasance
Aki / Akiko Wakabayashi
Kissy Suzuki / Mie Hama
Tiger Tanaka / Tetsuro Tanba
Mr. Osato / Teru Shimada
Helga Brandt / Karin Dor
"M" / Bernard Lee
"Q" / Desmond Llewelyn
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Henderson / Charles Gray
Ling / Tsai Chin
The orchestration of the sting is very different this time out, and I really dig the stop and fire this time.
I'm not watching the MTV Movie Awards right now, but thankfully, I've long since realized that Twitter could also be called The Amazing Television Transcription Device, since anything that airs on TV is also live-tweeted moment by moment, line by line.
In this case, MTV made sure they had a big new "Dark Knight Rises" clip going up as part of tonight's presentation, and as soon as it showed up, my Twitter feed lit up with mentions of it. Makes it very easy to go take a quick look without having to interrupt my screening of "You Only Live Twice" for more than a few minutes. That makes me very happy, indeed.
The best thing MTV does during these shows is put together an exclusive package that often gives us one of our best looks at a film. In this case, the footage they showed manages to make Bane seem even creepier than any of the trailer so far, and it also does a nice job of suggesting that Anne Hathaway and Joseph-Gordon Levitt both have significant roles in the film. If Collider is right and this thing clocks in at 2:45 in theaters, there's going to be room for Nolan to really tie up everything for the characters he's introduced so far like Commissioner Gordon and Lucius Fox, and also tell this new story.
At this point, the "Alien" series has managed to survive well past any expiration date I would have imagined possible. The framework of the series has been bent and twisted and reshaped to accommodate several different styles and voices. There is nothing about the series that I still consider sacred or off-limits, no single definition of what makes an "Alien" film. For each new filmmaker, the series seems like a blank slate, a box of toys they can play with any way they choose.
While I haven't been a big fan of many of Ridley Scott's latest films, the idea of him finally returning to this world that he defined in the first place was an exciting one, and I've been intensely curious about "Prometheus" since the film was first announced. I'll admit that the constant game of "is it a prequel or isn't it?" has worn on me, though, eroding much of my enthusiasm simply because I hate it when people play coy about things. I'd rather hear nothing at all about a film than spend a year hearing the same cryptically worded quote over and over, especially since it has seemed transparently obvious since we first started seeing stills and footage that this is definitely connected directly to the first film in the series.
You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video. Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.
It's hard to believe that this is really summer. "The Avengers" pulled all the oxygen out of the room, so the rest of the month has just felt like a typical spring, a warm-up for the main event. That's starting to change this weekend, though, and even so, it's the smaller films hitting theater screens that I'm most intrigued by.
IN THEATERS TODAY
"The Loved Ones"
It's taken quite a while for this film to make it into theaters, but this weekend, Sean Byrne's unnerving high school horror film about Lola, the most disturbingly spoiled teenage girl in film history, and her own special version of the senior prom will finally make it to theaters in special midnight bookings. Paramount has been good about selling horror films the last few years, and when they manage to turn an unflushable turd like "The Devil Inside" into a hit, they deserve some credit. I wish "The Loved Ones" was opening wider, but if you like horror that pulls no punches, this one's worth the effort to track it down and check it out.