Are you ready to see Mr. Darcy kick some ass?
I've been on enough sets with Matthew Vaughn to know how much he loves actors. One of the great pleasures for him during the making of a film is seeing how actors enhance and evolve the scenes that have been playing in his head since he decided to make the film.
I have yet to catch up with "The Secret Service," one of the 47,378 series that Mark Millar is currently publishing, but when I was in London in November to visit the set of "Kick-Ass 2," there was already a sense that Vaughn's next film would be "The Secret Service," and that he was in a hurry to get it started because he was worried someone would try to make a similar movie if he didn't do it soon.
According to a report tonight on Latino Review, Colin Firth is the first name cast in the film, and he'll be playing a superspy working for MI6 who becomes a mentor to his young slacker nephew. The spy, known as Uncle Jack, wants to usher his nephew into the same life that he leads, but he's not sure it's going to work. Mark Millar has described the series as "James Bond meets 'My Fair Lady,'" and that certainly seems like a high concept that could kickstart a series if done correctly.
Matthew and his longtime collaborator Jane Goldman co-wrote the script, and that is certainly reason to be optimistic. Looking at how Goldman and Vaughn handled "Kick-Ass," I trust them to take whatever liberties they have to while maintaining the flavor that drew them to the project in the first place.
If it is correct, what does it mean for the larger Marvel universe?
For my money, one of the most unexpected but exciting developments in the Marvel universe is the upcoming TV series, "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", especially since Joss Whedon's the man in charge. There are very few people working in the field today who know how to build a television season for maximum impact the way Whedon does, and when he assembles a group of writers and actors, he has a knack for building amazing teams.
Today, an alleged spoiler went up online about the "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." pilot, and specifically the fate of Agent Phil Coulson, played in "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Avengers," and even the "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated show by Clark Gregg. His death was a major turning point for The Avengers as a team, and it helped unite them against Loki and the invading aliens. /Film seems pretty confident that their report is correct, and it certainly makes a logical sort of sense.
Will the 'Sweeney' star share the screen with Meryl Streep in the fairy tale musical?
Stephen Sondheim is a titan in the world of musical theater, and it would seem self-evident that you'd want to make movie versions of his brilliant and successful stage events. Even so, even as Hollywood has started to come around to the notion of the musical once more, Sondheim's work has been slow to make the jump in recent years. I'm not talking about "West Side Story" or "Gypsy" or any of his early successes. I'm talking about the last ten to fifteen years of Hollywood, where Sondheim's name just hasn't been the same powerhouse it once was.
Sure, we've got a movie version of "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street" from a few years ago, but I think most Sondheim fans had their issues with the adaptation, and rightfully so. Sondheim may be the most demanding composer working in American musical theater, and even the best singers who have tackled his material have found it to be a challenge. Casting non-singers (the kindest possible term for Helena Bonham Carter) in a lead in one of his productions seems like cruelty to both performer and audience.
Plus see how surprised they are that they managed to keep a secret
"You won't have that question for us after 'Captain America 2,'" Kevin Feige said. "You'll see. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been busy."
From the moment they sat down to the moment I left the room, Kevin Feige was smiling. Sometimes more than other times, but always smiling. And why not? Phase One of the Marvel Universe movies, one of the most ambitious commercial plans of all time, is in the books and up on the shelf and they pulled it off. They did what they set out to do, and they succeeded in a way that even the most generous best-case scenarios wouldn't have guessed possible.
In "Iron Man 3," Marvel has an enormously confident first step for Phase Two of the Marvel Universe films, and the hiring of Shane Black was a major part of making this such a strong and personal-feeling way to launch the next wave of character movies. When I asked them my enormously nerdy first question at the press day, I tried to keep it very short and simple and direct.
Two of the co-stars of this summer's Marvel blockbuster share their experience
As we get closer to the release of Shane Black's excellent "Iron Man 3," we'll interviews with some of the cast and key creative crew talking about their approach to the film and some of the outrageous choices they made.
Today, we're joined by Guy Pearce, who plays Aldrich Killian, and Rebecca Hall, who plays Maya Hansen. The two of them are introduced in a sequence set at a major science conference in Bern, Switzerland in 1999. It's a chance to wring some comedy out of Pearce's appearance and Tony Stark's overactive libido, and it also sets up pretty much every major motivation for the way things unfold in the film.
Pearce is intriguing to me because it's obvious the studios all think of him as a guy who can carry a movie, and he's been given plenty of high-profile roles in big films. For some reason, though, there never seems to be any momentum for him as a "movie star." Instead, he's mixed it up with small character roles, strange indie movies, and he makes choices that are hard to predict. His role in last summer's "Prometheus" seemed like one seriously weird bit of casting, especially since it was such a make-up heavy role and there was no payoff to that. I asked him about the way make-up played into this performance, as well as the very aggressive physical nature of his character, and he seemed to be enjoying reactions to the film from people he was speaking with at the press day.
Five very different films that indicate dark is the way to go this summer
Oh, hi there, Top Ten.
We are in the home stretch now as we count down the 25 Most Anticipated Summer Movies of 2013 here at HitFix, and hopefully what you've seen so far as we've done #25 - #11 is that there is real diversity available at the theater this summer, and a preposterous amount of potential.
Sure, not everything is going to work. I'm sure some of what we've picked here will end up disappointing us, but we wouldn't be film fans if we didn't give ourselves over to the sort of fingers-crossed anticipation that makes it so exciting when we do finally get to sit down and see a film. We have to hope each year that each of these movies is that great version of that film, and certainly part of being a movie lover is that rush that happens when you watch something that gets it all right.
Keep in mind that this is based on voting by most of the editorial team here at HitFix, and we've noticed that we have a pretty wide range of taste represented on our team. There are films in this top ten that represent huge financial undertakings by some of the biggest studios, and there are films in this top ten that are personal visions that are going to be fighting for some elbow room in a blockbuster season.
Could the legendary pulp character finally get done right on the bigscreen?
It seems fitting that we start looking forward to what might be next for Shane Black now that his "Iron Man 3" has started to screen for delighted critics. Black has just given himself a huge boost in trying to get pretty much anything made, because he nailed what had to be a fairly intimidating gig. Stepping into a franchise after two films by the director who kickstarted the whole things and a team-up movie that was one of the biggest films of all time can't be easy, and Black had never directed anything like this.
I've had a chance to read at least one draft of the live-action "Death Note" that Black wants to make, based on a property that's already been a manga, an anime, and a Japanese live-action film, and it's a pretty solid piece of writing. It didn't knock me out, but I'm willing to bet he'd milk it for all it's worth.
Marvel bets big on Black and it pays off with the best stand-alone 'Iron Man' yet
- Critic's Rating A-
- Readers' Rating A
"I am Iron Man."
That was Tony Stark's big announcement at the end of 2008's first film in what has become one of the biggest franchises in the world, the cornerstone of an even larger franchise called The Marvel Universe, a creative gamble that has paid off in a huge way. In that moment, Stark, personified rather than played by Robert Downey Jr., not only flipped the superhero formula on its head by revealing his identity to the world but also announced himself as the owner of the character. He's now played Stark five times on film, and there is no one who would argue that in terms of the pop consciousness, Downey is Stark and vice-versa.
In "Iron Man Three," as it's written during the closing credits, Stark finds himself genuinely tested by the Mandarin, a media-savvy terrorist, and a rival businessman who is angling to take away Pepper Potts. From that simple logline, Shane Black has spun my favorite of the standalone films about the character, including the first film. I think Jon Favreau deserves all the credit in the world for getting the entire thing off the ground, finding the right tone to play everything at, creating a credible world that has now expanded in ways that would have been unthinkable a mere five years ago.
One of last year's Midnight Madness films from Toronto gets ready for release
One of last year's Midnight Madness films from the Toronto Film Festival is arriving in theaters shortly, and we were asked if we wanted to premiere an exclusive clip from the movie here at HitFix.
I definitely try to see as many of the Midnight Madness selections as I can, and part of that is because I trust the taste of Colin Geddes, programmer for the section, and part of that is because these tend to be the films that speak to my film geekiest side. They often represent unlikely collisions between different genres or different styles or unexpected partnerships. Perhaps the strangest of those this year saw the WWE producing a horror film that starred Luke Evans and was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura.
Kitamura first gained attention with the swords-and-zombies film "Versus," and he famously struggled to get his adaptation of Clive Barker's "The Midnight Meat Train" the theatrical release he felt like it deserved. WWE Films has been pushing into genre fare pretty much from the moment they decided to get into filmmaking, thinking much broader than just action films.
The latest from the 'Lost In Translation' director is a fame-drunk true-life story
I understand how you might have different levels of reaction to the various films that Sofia Coppola has directed, but I don't understand at all when I hear people try to downplay her talents as a filmmaker.
As soon as "The Virgin Suicides" ended that first theatrical screening I saw back in '99, I knew I was onboard with whatever she did in the future because that was as clear a display of filmmaker's voice as I've seen in a debut film in the last twenty years. Dreamy, literate, perfectly capturing a specific age in the life of the American teen, "Virgin Suicides" lingered long after many of 1999's more hyped movies started to fade. I quite like "Lost In Translation" as well, and even if I don't love "Marie Antoinette" or "Somewhere," I think they are absolutely the films she set out to make. She has real control over tone and she's great at building spaces for her actors.