Monday, January 31, 2011

FILM/TV NEWS: The New Superman, Catwoman, X-Men, & Charlie's Angels, and more

• It's official! Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy have joined The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman and Bane. For people who loved the Michelle Pfeiffer incarnation of Catwoman in 1992's Batman Returns, this might be a little disconcerting. Some might say she's too young to play Batman's love interest. Some might even say that she was only chosen because of her recent display of sensuality and toughness in Love and Other Drugs. I think I'll hold my judgment for the trailer. If you told me 5 years ago that they were considering Hathaway for Catwoman, I would've laughed in your face. But she's shown range over the years, so anything is possible. As for Hardy, I'm a little disappointed that of all the villains, he's been chosen for Bane, a character who basically amounts to a meathead. Really? I thought Christopher Nolan was far too sophisticated for such a crappy nemesis. He might as well be Bullseye in Daredevil.

• There was much speculation that the Daniel Craig chapter of the Bond franchise was closed. But after several months of back-and-forth and an official announcement that Bond 23 was in the works, everyone's main focus was on who would be cast as the villain and the Bond girl. First name to pop up so far is Javier Bardem. I say, why not make it a family affair? Cast his wife Penelope Cruz as the Bond girl, and create an awesome love triangle—just on-screen though.

• Check out the cast of X-Men: First Class:
Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) as Magneto, Rose Byrne ("Damages") as Moira MacTaggert, January Jones ("Mad Men") as Emma Frost (aka the White Queen), and Jason Flemyng (Snatch) as Azazel (aka Nightcrawler's father).
Nicholas Hoult (Original "Skins" and Clash of the Titans) as the Beast, Lucas Till (Hannah Montana: The Movie) as Havoc, Zoe Kravitz (It's Kind of a Funny Story) as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) as Raven Darkholme (aka Mystique), and James McAvoy as Charles Xavier.

• Casting the leading ladies of the Aliens prequel, newly dubbed Prometheus, has been tough work. So many actresses have been vying for the lead that some are even willing to settle for the secondary lead. You'll never guess who's among them. Since Noomi Rapace, Hollywood's new It Girl, scored the lead, both Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron are duking it out for the other female lead role Vickers. I think we all know who the fan favorite is, but it's an interesting duel nonetheless.

Ben Affleck is flipping through scripts, trying to find his next directing project. It looks like it might be the spy thriller American Bullshit. It's about "the true story of Abscam, the FBI's 1980 undercover sting operation of Congress to root out corruption, which was the brainchild of the world's greatest con man." I vote for George Clooney to star. He's got that "I can get away with anything" attitude down from The Ocean's Eleven trilogy.

• I love when great casts are assembled. Benicio Del Toro, James Franco, and Michael Shannon ("Boardwalk Empire") will star in the mob thriller The Iceman. "Shannon plays Richard Kuklinski, a notorious mob contract killer and loving family man. He earned his nickname by freezing the bodies of his victims, disguising the time of death, and throwing police off-track. Kuklinski killed over one hundred people during his life and never felt remorse except for hurting his family. His family and neighbors believed he was an average businessman, having no idea about his deadly alternate life. Del Toro co-stars as Kuklinski’s employer, the notorious mobster Roy Demeo, and Franco plays his mentor assassin known as Mr. Softee."

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg are partnering up for the father-son comedy I Hate You Dad, which will most likely not be family-friendly. The story will focus on a disapproving father's feud with his son's fiance. Can't wait to see who they cast as the bride-to-be. It has to be someone hot but feisty. I love Kristen Wiig, who seems to benefit the most from SNL-led movies, but I think someone a little more age-appropriate might be better. I say we bring back that adorable nutbag Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers)—Ana Faris is pretty good at those type of roles too. And if they're feeling particularly generous and/or campy, they could revive Amanda Bynes' career. If Sandler wants to redeem himself for putting Jessica Biel in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, he could pick her. Of course, Elizabeth Banks has proven on "30 Rock" that she can hold her own up against the toughest.

Sandler is also considering a film called Fat Man, where he'll play a 800lb man who tries to lose 600lbs after falling in love with his nurse. Director Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids) says that despite the fact that he would be naked for the first half of the film, it will be both touching and funny. What are the chances this won't be offensive to fat people?

Casa de Mi Padre, Will Ferrell's comedic telenovela starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, which is now called Castle, is about a farmer's son (Will Ferrell) who falls in love with his businessman brother's (Diego Luna) fiance (soap star Genesis Rodriguez) when he visits to save their family from financial ruin. Of course, his brother is actually quite shady and he ends up in a war with Mexico's most feared drug lord, the mighty Onza (Gael García Bernal). I can't freaking wait to see Luna and Bernal play bad guys.

• In other Ferrell news, he's signed on for a four-episode arc on "The Office," where he'll play an inappropriate branch manager who arrives from the home office. The rumor was that he'd replace Steve Carrell, who is leaving the series this season, but I think he's just a rebound to buy them some time to find someone permanent.

Tina Fey is in negotiations to star in the college comedy Admission, where she'd play an admissions officer who falls in love with a student. Fingers crossed he's a graduate student or an older gentleman who's forced to go back to college after being laid off, as many graduates have had to do during this recession. Otherwise, Fey is about to be bombarded by a slew of cougar-related scripts.

Charlize Theron opted out of participating in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar biopic in favor of being in Snow White and the Huntsman. Naomi Watts will replace her to play Hoover's life-long secretary. In related news, apparently Blake Lively isn't the only "Gossip Girl" cast member to catch an actor-director's eye. Eastwood has cast Ed Westwick as the man hired to write Hoover's biography. Acting opposite Leonardo DiCaprio just might get him enough screen time to prove his worth.

Will Smith is developing a remake of the musical Annie with his daughter Willow in the lead. Firstly, I'm interested in hearing the soundtrack, since Jay-Z will be the musical coordinator and in 1998, he sampled the musical's signature song for his hit "Hard Knock Life." Secondly, I wonder if it'll be as goofy and plucky as the original, or if she'll be an orphan in the ghetto and it'll be realistically depressing. Lastly, does Will Smith not love his kids enough to give them original material? Just saying.

The Black Swan screenwriter Mark Heyman has signed on to write Age of Rage, the story of a post-apocalyptic world where everyone over a certain age has been killed. That sounds awfully similar to Now, the sci-fi film that Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake are currently shooting, which is odd since Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) supposedly developed the concept for it.

John Travolta and James Franco are in talks to play father and son in the upcoming Nick Cassavetes John Gotti biopic. The 70s gangster took over the Gambino crime family and was later convicted of committing thirteen murders in 1992. Bloggers believe the film will be from the perspective of his son, Gotti, Jr. Either way, this could explain why Franco said he did the mob story arc on "General Hospital" as research.

• If you remember the Mortal Kombat short film that went online in June, you might remember that it was sort of a web proposal for a feature film reboot. Unfortunately, the best they get was a ten-episode webisode that just went into production.

• Broadway lovers rejoice! Wicked is being turned into an 8-hour miniseries on ABC. I'm sincerely excited. I meant to see it live or at least read the book but I never got around to it. This is the 3rd next best thing. Purists will be happy to hear that it's said to be based on the book, not the musical.
• ABC execs and Drew Barrymore have finally chosen the cast of their "Charlie's Angels" series reboot: "Friday Night Lights" alum Minka Kelly (The Roommate), Transformers actress Rachael Taylor, and newcomer Annie Ilonzeh.

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