Sunday, October 17, 2010

FILM NEWS: Noomi Rapace in Sherlock Holmes 2?, The New Cast of Fantastic Four, Renner Joins Mission Impossible, and more

• It looks like X-Men: First Class is going to be for hardcore comic fans, because unless you know who Havoc, Sebastian Shaw, and the Hellfire Club are, then you're going to be in for an education. Due to its 60s timeline, only two "familiar" faces will appear in the film: Magneto and Xavier. It'll tell the tale of how their friendship fell apart and how Xavier became paralyzed.

• Even though Hollywood is remaking The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the star of the original Swedish version will not go unnoticed. Noomi Rapace is mulling over offers for roles in Sherlock Holmes 2, Mission: Impossible 4, McG's This Means War, Ninja Assassin director James McTeigue's thriller The Raven, and the reimagining Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. My vote's for Sherlock. Let's see if the newbie can go toe-to-toe with Downey, Jr.

• While I do think that Johnny Depp would make a better Edgar Allen Poe than John Cusack, given James McTeigue's (V for Vendetta) plan for how he'll direct the film, Depp's ability to be creepy (see: Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands, etc.) isn't actually necessary. The film will follow Poe in the last week of his life, reimagining him as a mid-19th century profiler who is searching for a serial killer whose murders are inspired by his stories. During that last week, he goes missing and then turns up wandering the streets, repeating the name Reynolds before eventually dying a few days later in a hospital. I know it sounds like I told you the ending, but that actually happened to Poe...which makes it THAT much more intriguing.

• I was sincerely excited by the news that Fantastic Four was getting a reboot. But now after hearing that they're considering replacing the original cast (Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis) with Adrien Brody (Mr. Fantastic) and Amber Heard (Sue Storm), I'm a little deflated. I mean, I understand the choice of Brody, because of his long, thin body that's perfect for the stretch CGI effect, but I'm not on-board for the 24-year-old Heard, who looks more like Brody's little sister than his one-true love. Not to mention, after 6 years in the business, 1 TV show ("Hidden Palms") and 3 commercial films (Never Back Down, Pineapple Express, and The Stepfather), she has yet to impress anybody. I prefer the second rumored option: Alice Eve (She's Out of My League and Sex and the City 2). She, at least, looks smoking hot. Then came the absurd news that Stephen Moyer (Bill from "True Blood") would replace the campy Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom. While that's an improvement, I'm not in the least bit frightened of Moyer—not even when he's showing his fangs.

• I'm a little bummed that Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are too booked up to star alongside Tom Cruise in the next Mission Impossible. After seeing The Town, I just can't imagine Jeremy Renner being suave or kind enough to take over the franchise, but he's a chameleon so we'll see.

• While we're on the topic of newbies. Did you watch NBC's nurse dramedy "Mercy"...before it got cancelled? I loved it. Millions of other people, however, didn't. I attribute my appreciation for it to the storylines and the chemistry between the actors, but I wouldn't necessarily say I was gaga over the lead actress, Taylor Schilling. While she is MUCH less annoying than Meredith Grey and far more legitimately damaged than her, she wasn't singularly alluring. But that hasn't stopped the producers of the next Nicholas Sparks film, The Lucky One, from casting her as Zac Efron's love interest. There are so many things wrong with that last sentence. First off, why is there another Nicholas Sparks movie? Isn't two per decade enough? Secondly, 26-year-old Schilling looks too old to be interested in 22-year-old Efron. And lastly, Efron is set to play a Marine who credits his survival of three tours of duty in Iraq to his lucky charm, a photo of a woman he's never met. Three tours? He doesn't even look old enough to have completed one, unless each one of those tours lasted a week. Then again, that could explain why he's grown a beard. That said, I'm glad she beat out Katie Cassidy for the role. I prefer my Katie mean not lovable.

• Seems Channing Tatum is aiming to prove that he's not just all-brawn. He recently signed on for the adaptation of The Contortionist's Handbook, a psychological thriller about an identity forger, who makes a new identity for himself in order to escape a mental hospital he accidentally got himself committed to. And once he gets himself out, he has to deal with his criminal clients who are demanding his illegal services. Interesting plot? Check. Handsome leading man? Check. Alluring leading lady that can distract the lead character enough to make him slip up and potentially blow his con, while drudging up his tawdry past? Yet to be chosen. Suggestions?

Tatum is also attached to co-star and co-produce the ensemble drama Ten Year, the title of which refers to a reunion of friends. The list of actors being "sought after" (Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Chris Pine and Scott Porter) has one surprisingly comical name attached: Jenna Dewan. The actress, Tatum's former co-star in Step Up, is actually his wife, who has yet to reach the stardom that he did. So it's a little funny to say "sought after" when it's not like 1) it isn't a done deal and 2) she has anything better to do.

Jason Bateman has been quoted suggesting Jennifer Aniston for a bit-role in the upcoming Arrested Development film. If I'd read that before seeing her guest spot on "Cougar Town," I would've thought that was stunt casting. But it turns out Aniston can play quirky pretty well. Her portrayal of a dog-obsessed, vindictive, hippie therapist came a little too naturally for her. She could easily play Lindsay's nemesis.

Topher Grace, Paul Rudd, and Kristen Wiig are set to star in the indie comedy Bobby Blue Sky, which will focus on three dysfunctional siblings coming to terms with the way their baby brother’s accidental fame as a character in their father’s children’s book series warped their lives. Random/unique plot aside, I really like the idea of Topher Grace and Paul Rudd in a movie together. This could finally steer Grace's career in the direction it needs to go.

• Tony-winning musical Memphis is being adapted into a film. The story is about the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Guess who's vying for the role! Justin Timberlake (no-brainer) and Zac Efron (huh?). That is a LONG way away from a high school musical.

• I just read the weirdest news brief. I still feel like I was dreaming when I read it. Casey Affleck + rom-com + the title The F-Word does not compute. But apparently it's happening, and producers have a long list of potential leading ladies that include Rose Byrne ("Damages" and Get Him to the Greek), Rebecca Hall (The Town), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica on "True Blood"), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). Speechless.

• I don't even know who the lead actors are in the upcoming comedy Ricky Stanicky, but I'm already excited to see the shenanigans unravel within it. It follows three friends who have spent the last two decades using a made-up friend named Ricky Stanicky to get out of "sticky" situations, and are now being ordered to introduce this friend to their spouses. Caught in a lie, they choose to do the logical thing and hire an actor to pretend to be this blame-ridden friend. Playing the title character is James Franco. Most people would picture Zach Galifianakis being perfect for this role, since it could be rife with humiliation and lewd behavior, but I think Franco's track record of being unpredictable (Pineapple Express, soap opera, etc.) might make him the perfect fall-guy. Of course, the movie's written by the guy who wrote Beverly Hills Chihuahua, so my expectations are pretty low.

Freida Pinto hasn't really been front-and-center after starring in her first role, the Oscar-nominated Slumdog Millionaire, unlike her boyfriend and former co-star Dev Patel. But 2011 is going to be a big year for her. First she'll star alongside James Franco, Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings), and John Lithgow ("Dexter") in the sci-fi action film Rise of the Apes. Then she'll play Phaedra in the Greek epic Immortals alongside Mickey Rourke, Kellan Lutz (Twilight), John Hurt, Stephen Dorff (Somewhere), Henry Cavill ("The Tudors"), Isabel Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), and Luke Evans (Clash of the Titans). Then she'll get serious with the 1930s-set romantic/political drama Black Thirst, which will tell the story of a young Arab prince who is "confronted with the problem of what the discovery of oil will bring to the Bedouins." With Tahar Rahim, the star of the much-talked about indie A Prophet, at the helm, this has the potential of getting a lot of Oscar buzz.

Idris Elba is inheriting Morgan Freeman's James Patterson character Alex Cross (Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider) for a reboot of the character's saga. In the new film Cross, he'll play the forensic psychologist who's tracking a serial rapist that may have murdered his pregnant wife years ago.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan needs a new agent. His "Grey's Anatomy" cred is slowly petering off. First there was the incredibly boring and much-delayed rom-com The Accidental Husband. Then the much-anticipated comic adaptation Watchmen, which bombed. And then the action ensemble The Losers, which barely cleared its budget. And now he's signed on to a film that sounds exactly like The Transporter. Someone in Hollywood cleverly whipped out their thesaurus and dubbed it The Courier. What a waste of a great actor.

Kristin Kreuk is in talks to play the female operative in the next Mission Impossible. I hope she beats out Paula Patton (Just Wright and Deja Vu), because she needs it more than her to up her game.

• Of all the bizarro plots I've ever read, this one's pretty cool: The film 11 11 11 is about the idea that Heaven's eleven gates, at 11:11am on 11/11/11, will open and something from another world will enter our earthly realm. Oddly enough it'll be here not for 11 minutes but the inverse, 49 minutes.

• Because of the popularity of the Facebook film The Social Network, a film about the founding of Google is in the works. The problem with that is that Social Network had a built-in fanbase: millions of people who have profiles on Facebook. While billions of people do use Google, nobody gives a crap how it was built.

• Foodies might be excited to learn that there's a rebel culinary film in the works. Neil Marshall (The Descent) is directing Underground, a horror thriller about an ambitious chef who ventures into gourmet underground supper clubs that serve extreme cuisine, food that hasn't been approved by food & drug authorities in specific countries. If I didn't know that blowfish and sea urchin are incredibly poisonous Japanese delicacies, I would think this was lame.

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