Saturday, 31 October 2015

First teaser trailer and one sheet for The Angry Birds Movie arrives online

Sony Pictures Animation have recently released their first teaser trailer and one sheet for Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly's directorial debut The Angry Birds Movie.

The film finds the naive and surprisingly mellow birds living in peaceful climes – the permanently fiery Red (Jason Sudeikis) aside. Co-directors Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly introduce us to a world full of knowing nods – a Birds And Bees Fertility Clinic and an Early Bird Worm Shop are two fixtures on the avian island – in which flightless birds live in harmony, still unmolested by troublesome pigs.

There is also speedster Chuck (Josh Gad), anger management therapist Matilda (Maya Rudolph), and the self explanatory Bomb (Danny McBride). But then, joining the jamboree as initially innocent visitors from over the horizon, come a bunch of nautical pigs. Eggs get filched and war is soon declared. With Bill Hader (Superbad) voicing one of the pigs, we may well be on their side.

Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones), Kate McKinnon (Ted 2) and Tony Hale (The Heat) also lend their vocal talents to this one.

The Angry Birds Movie will declare war on these shores on 13 May 2016.

New character one sheets for Suffragette arrive oline

Pathe UK have recently released their latest batch of character one sheets for Sarah Gavron's (Brick Lane) Suffragette.

Boasting quite the cast – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go), Helen Bonham Carter (The Kings Speech), Romola Garai (Amazing Grace), Anne-Marie Duff (The Last Station), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) among them – Suffragette follows the struggles of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) and the campaigners around her, who lead an early feminist movement to get equality in voting at a time when women were considered ill-mannered to vote.

While their cause was just, it was also not an easy thing to try to turn the giant iceberg that was British politics at the time. The personal cost was great, but the results speak for themselves.

With a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), Suffragette is out now.

New trailer and one sheet for Snoopy & Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Steve Martino's (Ice Age: Continental Drift) Snoopy & Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie.

There's always a danger when cultural icons are fed into the CG vortex for a big screen update that some of their charm ends up sucked away in the pixelation process.

Given how beloved Charles M. Schulz's comic strip remains, the pressure is naturally on all involved to find some way to bring Charlie Brown, faithful, imaginative hound Snoopy and the rest of the gang back to screens in a way that honours their memory and yet keeps things fresh. No easy thing when your competition is a strip that was enjoyed every day by 355 million people and TV specials that have been with us for 50 years.

Director Martino and producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) are at pains to stress that this won't be a pop culture infused, social media aware version of the beloved Charles Schulz characters, just a simple tale of Charlie Brown on a quest to get something he's sure he requires, even if that turns out to be wrong.

But it will also still allow for his canine companion to have literal flights of fantasy, including a battle with old nemesis The Red Baron. "We really get to go into his mind and see what this crazy dog is imagining every day of his life," says producer and writer Craig Schulz, who, as you might guess from the name, is one of Schulz's sons.

From the looks of the imagery, they've certainly captured the feel of the classic cartoons with a coat of modern CG paint. "You love being back in that world," Feig told USA Today. "And you immediately want to grab every kid you know and go, 'Oh, my God, you've got to watch this!'"

Snoopy And Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie arrives in the UK on 21 December.

First trailer for The Big Short arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their first trailer for Adam McKay's (Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy) The Big Short.

Looking like it's pitched somewhere between Margin Call (2011) and The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), ensemble drama The Big Short is certainly a bit of a departure for Anchorman director Adam McKay. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises), Ryan Gosling (Drive), Steve Carell Carell (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), Melissa Leo (Prisoners), Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Karen Gillan (Oculus) and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers) are all among the impressive cast riding the financial crisis.

McKay has been developing this one for a while now, working up something very different from his usual brand of comedy. It is based on Moneyball author Michael Lewis' book, subtitled Inside The Doomsday Machine, and follows several key people who had roles in creating the toxic credit bubble that sent the financial markets into panic mode over the last decade.

Carell plays Steve Eisman, a money manager who shorted subprime mortgages for FrontPoint Partners, while Gosling is Deutsche Bank trader Greg Lippmann. Bale, meanwhile, is Michael Burry, the founder of the Scion Capital and one of the first people to predict the coming crisis. And Pitt, in more of a supporting part, plays Ben Hockett, a partner at Cornwall Capital.

McKay also wrote the screenplay with Charles Randolph (Love And Other Drugs). Pitt is also among the producers, and shooting took place earlier this year in New Orleans.

The Big Short is out in the UK on 22 January. Lewis's book is published in the UK by Penguin.

New one sheet for The Last Witch Hunter arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest one sheet for Breck Eisner's (The Crazies) The Last Witch Hunter.

The movie finds Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious 6) as a semi-immortal warrior who finds himself in present day New York having to face down a powerful witch queen intent on unleashing a terrible plague that could wipe out the human race.

His chief ally in the fight, however, is a female witch (Game Of Thrones' Rose Leslie), who teams up with him to help take down the rising evil. We get a little more background on Leslie in particular here, with the revelation that she is a 'Dream Walker' who can cross between our world and the magical realm of the witches, a handy talent that Diesel's Kaulder must exploit to put a stop to the queen's dastardly plan. There is just one small catch – like The Matrix (1999) and Inception (2010), if you die in the dream realm, you die in real life too.

Elijah Wood (Maniac), meanwhile, plays a young priest who is sworn to help Diesel in his struggle, with Julie Engelbrecht (The Red Baron) as the main villain and Michael Caine (Harry Brown) and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) also aboard. Diesel, with typical bravado, is already talking up the idea of a sequel, but the film will have to perform first.

The Last Witch Hunter is out now.

First pictures from The Conjuring 2 arrive online

Returning to his horror roots after the behemoth breakout success of Fast & Furious 7, James Wan has recently begun shooting his follow-up to The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, once again starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. And to mark the occasion Wan has shared a couple of images via his Instagram page.

A photo posted by James Wan (@creepypuppet) on

The first gives us the director on a "fogbound backyard inside a soundstage". The second shows an actual exorcist blessing on the set before filming kicked off. PR stunt perhaps? "I'm an outright chickenshit," Wan told Empire magazine on the previous Conjuring. "I believe these supernatural stories so I'm very much terrified of them!"

An actual exorcist blessing our conjuring set - first day - ready to rock and roll
Posted by Rob Cowan on Monday, September 21, 2015

The Conjuring 2 currently bears the subtitle The Enfield Poltergeist, suggesting a 1977 setting in the English village of Brimsdown. Frances O'Connor (The Hunter) plays the mother of daughters being troubled by paranormal activity in Greater London. Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga) are called in for the new case.

Chad and Carey Hayes (The Conjuring) are the screenwriters, with The Conjuring 2 shooting right now for a release on 17 June next year. Wan will be back to blockbusting duties for his next project, the DC/Warner Justice League comic book instalment Aquaman, with Jason Momoa (Conan The Barbarian).

New SPECTRE stunts featurette arrives online

MGM/Columbia Pictures have recently released a new featurette showcasing a behind the scenes look at some of the incredible action sequences from Sam Mendes' (Skyfall) latest Bond outing SPECTRE.

Special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, 2nd unit director Alexander Witt, and first assistant director Michael Lerman (Skyfall) are among those who have worked to bring the movie's big stunts to life.

The film, meanwhile, finds Bond digging into his past and heading out on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE. All the while, M (Ralph Fiennes) battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Directed once again by Mendes, SPECTRE stars Daniel Craig as Bond, of course, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) as the enigmatic Oberhauser, Andrew Scott (Sherlock) as Denbigh, Monica Belluci (Irreversible) as Lucia Sciarra, Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Mr. Hinx, Léa Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Colour) as Madeline Swann and Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala), plus returning MI6 allies Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Rory Kinnear as Tanner.

SPECTRE is out now.

Jordan Peele set for Get Out

With their comedy sketch series Key & Peele now finished, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are turning their attention to solo projects. News arrives via The Wrap that Peele is headed in an unexpected direction – horror.

The performer has a deal to write and director a horror thriller called Get Out for Jason Blum's low budget company Blumhouse Productions. It will follow a young African-American man who visits the sprawling estate owned by his white girlfriend's family. And we, assume, discovers something terrible.

"People know me for my work in comedy, but now I'll get to focus on my passion for writing and directing horror films," Peele says in a statement picked up by The Wrap. "Like comedy, horror has an ability to provoke thought and further the conversation on real social issues in a very powerful way. Get Out takes on the task of exploring race in America, something that hasn't really been done within the genre since Night Of The Living Dead 47 years ago. It's long overdue." Big shoes to step into, then, but Peele has proved he is a keen purveyor of social commentary through comedy, so it will be fascinating to see what he does with horror as a tool.

Key and Peele aren't completely going their separate ways – they have comedy gangster feature Keanu making its way through post-production and are developing at least one film based on a sketch from the show. Then there are their efforts to make a new Police Academy movie. Peele also has a voice in DreamWorks Animation's children's book adaptation Captain Underpants, which will be out in 2017.

Liam Neeson set for The Commuter

Liam Neeson (Taken) only recently signed on for The Revenger, which seems likely to spoof the action films he has become known for in recent years. Before that, though, news arrives via Deadline he will be starring in The Commuter, which, if you ask us, sounds even more like a comic take on violent punch-ups.

The new film, however, which has a script from Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, is more of a suspense thriller. Set to shoot in New York next spring, the plot finds Neeson as a businessman on his daily commute home – we would imagine by train – who becomes caught up in a criminal conspiracy that threatens not just his life, but everyone around him. The fact that that the film is not listed as an action thriller means he probably won't be using his fists all the time, but we figure he will be putting his particular set of skills to good use at some point.

This one comes from The Picture Company and StudioCanal, companies behind the likes of Unknown (2011) and Non-Stop (2014). As for Neeson, he will definitely next be seen in Martin Scorsese's (The Wolf Of Wall Street) Silence and Juan Antonio Bayona's (The Impossible) A Monster Calls, but neither have a UK release date as yet.

Brie Larson set for Billie Jean King

Back In April, it was announced that Steve Carell (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) would be up against former on-screen daughter Emma Stone (The Help) in tennis pic Battle Of The Sexes. A date change means Stone will no longer take part, but Carell won't have to hit tennis balls against a wall – news arrives via Variety that will now be facing Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now).

The film, which boasts a script by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), will chronicle the rivalry between former tennis pro Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) and his 29-year-old opponent Billie Jean King (Brie Larson), who hit the court for a legendary match in 1973 that – it was claimed – would establish if a female pro could ever beat a male in the sport. The event drew a huge audience of more than 50 million Americans, eager to see who would triumph.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are calling the shots for this one, which will itself be competing with project from HBO that sees Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) as the tennis pros, and Match Maker, which boasts Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy) as Riggs, but has yet to cast King.

This is just the latest project for Larson, who is drawing awards talk for Room (arriving here 29 January 29), will also be seen in Ben Wheatley's (Sightseers) Free Fire and is headed on an exploratory voyage in Kong: Skull Island, which starts shooting later this year.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Ernie Hudson set to make a cameo in Paul Feig's Ghostbusters

He might not have been fully supportive of the idea of the new Ghostbusters when it was originally announced, but news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Ernie Hudson changed his mind and has now thrown his weight behind – and into – Paul Feig's (Bridesmaids) new take on Ghostbusters (1984), showing up on set to shoot a cameo on the last day of principle photography.

No information has been released as to whether he will be playing Winston again, though we doubt it since his former ghost busting cohorts Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray have also cropped up on set, neither playing their original characters.

Feig's film, which features Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Melissa McCarthy (The Heat), Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) as four women who go into the paranormal elimination business, are laughed at, then triumph when their theories about a rising level of spectral nuisances in New York are proved correct, now counts all three of the surviving Ghostbusters for cameo appearances, at least during shooting. Whether they make it into the final cut is another matter.

With a script by Feig and Katie Dippold (The Heat) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years A Slave), Andy Garcia (Oceans Twelve), Cecily Strong (Saturday Night Live), Matt Walsh (Ted), Nate Corddry (The Ugly Truth) and Neil Casey (Saturday Night Live) in its cast, Ghostbusters will arrive in UK cinemas on 15 July next year.

Star Trek Beyond set for a later release date

There has been a recent release date date shuffle which may affect those of you looking forward to Star Trek Beyond and London Has Fallen. News arrives via Variety that both will now open later than originally announced.

Directed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) and written by Scotty himself, Simon Pegg, Star Trek Beyond had been pegged for 8 July next year, but will now arrive on 22 July. This means it will now face competition from Ice Age: Collision Course and Guy Ritchie's (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) King Arthur. In its previous slot it would have opened against Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates and The Secret Life Of Pets.

London Has Fallen, meanwhile, had already been pushed back three months to get it out of the way of Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) The Martian, but is now moving again, from 22 January to 4 March next year. Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen) would have been battling Robert De Niro's (Heat) Dirty Grandpa on the earlier date, but will now fight for space against Sacha Baron Cohen's (The Dictator) Grimsby, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Zootopia, the Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) thriller Triple Nine and Tim Burton's (Alice In Wonderland) Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.

Olympus Has Fallen played well in March of 2013, so that is potentially part of the thinking there. But Focus Features have also candidly admitted that the extra time will be useful for finessing London's digital effects. "We're convinced that we have the potential for a successful film with London Has Fallen," says Focus' Jim Orr, "and we want to give it all the time it needs in its production and put it in the strongest possible release window."

Bryan Singer set for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

In keeping with his tradition of handling his own PR through social media, Bryan Singer (X-Men: Days Of Future Past) has announced his next film via his Instagram account. According to the director, he is planning an adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

It is certainly an ambitious project, and one that has defeated the likes of McG (3 Days To Kill) and, most famously in recent years, David Fincher (Gone Girl). The latter got as far as trying to land Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds) for the lead and locking down Australian studio space and locations for his take on the adventure tale with a script by Andrew Kevin Walker (Sleepy Hollow).

Now Singer – no stranger to big films following the likes of X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) and its incoming follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse – has a screenplay written by Rick Sordelet and Dan Studney (Jack The Giant Slayer) based on a story by the director and his writers. And, of course, drawing from Verne's novel, which features the temperamental Captain Nemo and his giant submarine the Nautilus, which has been brought to the screen several times before.

Fincher and his team were working for Walt Disney Pictures, but Singer's post, which promises "an epic and emotional adventure for all ages" doesn't mention a studio. Given the public domain nature of the tome, any studio should be able to adapt it, and with his close X-Men ties there, it is possible this could be for 20th Century Fox, which has tried its own version, without success, in years past. And mutant fans shouldn't worry – Singer also mentions he has no plans to abandon the X-universe just yet. X-Men: Apocalypse, meanwhile, arrives on 19 May next year.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Akiva Goldsman set to write next Transformers

Back in March it was announced that Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend) would be assembling a writing team to come up with new concepts for a potential Transformers film shared universe. At the time, the emphasis was on him running the room and not writing a script himself, but news arrives via Deadline that he has apparently found a concept he likes enough to start bashing out words for the fifth outing of the franchise.

And that's not the only film to come out of writing team, which has now finished its session. Ant-Man on-set writers Andrew Barrer are Gabriel Ferrari are engaged in working on an untitled animated film that will serve as a prequel set on the Autobots and Decepticons' home planet of Cybertron and explore the characters' history only briefly touched on in the movies to date.

The writers' room, which was set up on the Paramount Pictures studio lot, included creative types from a range of previous projects on big and small screens including Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), Christina Hodson, Lindsey Beer, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (Iron Man), Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk), Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Steven DeKnight (Spartacus: War Of The Damned) and Geneva Robertson-Dworet. According to Deadline, they together generated nine ideas, which they turned into treatments and pitched to the regular Transformers producing team including Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay (director of all the Transformers films to date), Brian Goldner, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Don Murphy. While several didn't show enough potential to go any further, five are now in some form of development, with Goldsman tackling the next main instalment, Barrer and Ferrari on the animated film, then Pinkner and Beer on their own scripts and another to be announced.

But while the report mentions Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg returning for more Transformers madness following last year's Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Bay hit twitter to counter the idea that he is automatically aboard, which makes it sounds like negotiations are still ongoing.

The biggest plan is for all the ideas to go into a Transformers bible that can be used by future writers and directors to keep the stories consistent. Because obviously that was always the most carefully considered element of the movies so far – the plots. Paramount Pictures are looking to have the next film shooting in June 2016.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Aldis Hodge joins Jack Reacher 2

Beyond its big success at the box office, Straight Outta Compton has become something of an incubator for new talent that other studios have been grabbing up at a quick rate. Joining co-stars Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins on the hired list is Aldis Hodge, with news arriving via Variety that he is currently in talks to join Jack Reacher 2.

Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai) is directing the sequel to Christopher McQuarrie's film based on Lee Child's book series. He has been at work with usual co-writer Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai) to hone a draft of the script adapted from Never Go Back, which finds Reacher (Tom Cruise) travelling from South Dakota to his old military base in Virginia, to be charged with a violent incident and faced with a paternity case, neither of which transgression he remembers.

Hodge joins Danika Yarosh (Retribution) in the likely list of Cruise co-stars, though she might have a scheduling conflict with Heroes Reborn. And then there is Cobie Smulders (The Avengers), who may also end up in the movie. To be fair to Hodge, he has been paying his dues for two decades as an actor on both movies and TV, most recently on period espionage drama Turn and in A Good Day To Die Hard. As for Reacher, it should be starting production later this month, ready for a 21 October 2016 release.

Elizabeth Reaser set for Ouija 2

Thanks to a healthy $102.5 million worldwide return on a teeny budget, Universal Pictures' board game based horror Ouija (2014) summoned up the chance of a sequel. Annalise Basso (Oculus) is already in the cast for the movie, and now news arrives via Deadline that Elizabeth Reaser (Young Adult) is set to join.

Mike Flanagan (Oculus) is directing, working from a script he wrote with regular collaborator Jeff Howard. The plot will find Basso as a young woman who decides that the Ouija board is the ideal method with which to contact her late father. Had she watched the first movie, she might have figured out that this is a very, very bad idea. No details have been given as to who Reaser is playing, though there is a good chance she will be the young woman's mother.

Flanagan's involvement gives us some hope that the sequel will have a little more too it than the decidedly lightweight and less than thrilling original. He is taking aim at an 21 October 2016 release date.

Reaser has most recently worked on independent movies One And Two and Hello, My Name Is Doris, neither of which have firm UK release dates as yet.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Rupert Wyatt departs X-Men standalone Gambit

There was some concern back in late July that Channing Tatum (White House Down) might be dropping out of the X-Men standalone Gambit film as the titular card-wielding mutant. But while that turned out to be mere rumour, the movie has hit another, very real road block. News arrive via The Hollywood Reporter that director Rupert Wyatt (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) has decided to move on. 

According to a statement from the director's PR agent, the reason is purely time related: "I was very much looking forward to working with my friend Channing and the team at Fox, but regrettably a push in the start date now conflicts with another project. I thank them for the opportunity, and I know that Gambit will make a terrific film." The chatter is, however, that it runs a little deeper, with talk of script and budget issues that necessitated more time before the shoot kicks off. And that attempting to align the production so that footage of New Orleans' Mardi Gras can be captured has also affected the dates.

Whatever the reason, the film is now looking for a new director to bring Josh Zetumer's (RoboCop) script to life. Léa Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Colour) was more recently offered the part of Belladonna Bourdreaux, a sparring partner for Tatum's Remy LeBeau, so we don't know whether the schedule shift will alter her ability to work on the film.

Still, given how important this is to 20th Century Fox – which is hoping to launch a character who can handle his own film series now that Hugh Jackman is hanging up Wolverine's claws – things will surely be back on track before too long. As always, watch this space.

Adrien Brody set for Expiration

Arguably in danger of setting itself up for a fall with pun-happy critics if the film doesn't land well, news arrives via The Hollwood Reporter that a new action thriller with Adrien Brody (The Pianist) attached as the lead comes bearing the title Expiration.

And if the concept feels a tad familiar, it could be because it's a spin on an idea that has been tackled several times before – the tough guy with a ticking time clock, last seen, in some version at least, with Kevin Costner in 3 Days To Kill (2014).

Expiration, which has a script from Brian Tucker (Broken City), finds Brody as a rogue former CIA agent who has turned to the life of a hitman. Because that sort of career switch rarely works out well for anyone in film, he wakes up in hospital after a failed assassination attempt that was supposed to seal his retirement from his killer career with his veins pulsing in the grip of poison. With just 24 hours left to live, he will have to retrace his day to figure out what happened.

Brody is one of the producers of the film, which is now looking to lock down a director ready for a March 2016 shoot. The actor will next be seen in Roman revenge epic Emperor and Iran set drama Septembers Of Shiraz, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last month.

New trailer for Bridge Of Spies arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer for Steven Spielberg's (Lincoln) Cold War thriller Bridge Of Spies.

Bridge Of Spies is based on the true life tale of James Donovan (Tom Hanks), an insurance lawyer who was pushed headfirst into the Cold War during the 1960s when he had to negotiate for the release of downed U2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) after the airman was shot down over Russia. Mark Rylance (Anonymous) co-stars as Rudolf Abel, a suspected KGB spy who was defended by Donovan in a US courtroom in 1957, and is, thanks to back channel negotiation, the likely swap for Powers in a deal with the Soviets. It is an agreement that doesn't exactly sit well for America at large, and Donovan feels the brunt of the protests.

Bridge Of Spies boasts a screenplay begun by Matt Charman (Suite Française) and overhauled by the Coen brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis). The title as it now stands refers to the popular Cold War nickname for what's now the Glienicke Bridge connecting Wannsee and Potsdam – East and West Germany at the time the film is set. Its official name then was the Bridge Of Unity, but it garnered its alternate moniker due to its notoriety as a prisoner exchange point for Western and Soviet powers.

Bridge Of Spies is out in the UK on 6 November.

Pacific Rim sequel delayed indefinitely?

Despite a big 2017 release date announcement from Guillermo del Toro and lots of talk since about the film's continuing development, it appears we could be in for a longer wait than we thought for the Pacific Rim (2013) sequel, currently subtitled Maelstrom. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Legendary has halted forward development.

Word of a delay first sprang up from Latino Review's sources last month, with mention that a proposed start of production had been shifted to 2016 at the earliest. But as part of its story on the slightly strained relationship between Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures, there is mention that the original Pacific Rim mostly scored its shot at sequel status thanks to robust business in China and that there have been ongoing debates about whether the film – which earned $411 worldwide – did well enough for Legendary and Warner Bros (who owns the rights despite the former company's move to Universal) to truly go ahead with another.

Also mentioned is the fact that Universal apparently balked over the cost of Kong: Skull Island and, worried about the risk, seems only too happy to see the giant ape head to Warner Bros for a multi-film deal that would end up in a crossover film with Kong taking on Godzilla.

Del Toro, however, remains optimistic. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly the director revealed that while there will indeed be a delay, there is no cause for panic.

"We are still turning in a screenplay and a budget in three weeks. As far as I'm concerned, it's not gone. We're still on it." He also remains confident that the delay is a temporary one. "It moved further," he says. "I may do another movie in the middle." Such is seemingly life for Guillermo – he has seen several projects move around the schedule. But this has us hoping that it doesn't suffer the same fate as his Lovecraft adaptation At The Mountains Of Madness, which endured numerous stops and starts, only to be shut down at the last moment.

Since there has been no official confirmation of Pacific Rim's delay, for now it seems that the Jaegers and Kaiju will have to wait for their rematch. Del Toro, meanwhile, has gothic romance Crimson Peak in cinemas now.

Elizabeth Banks in talks to direct a new Charlie's Angels

Despite its history as a cult favourite TV show, Charlie's Angels was only able to spawn two movies of varying entertainment value and a more recent small screen re-interpretation that struggled for four episodes before being abruptly cancelled. Now word arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Sony Pictures are looking to launch a new cinematic franchise with Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) in talks to direct.

Banks, who scored the director's chair of the a capella sequel after producing and appearing in the first, is in demand thanks to the film's huge success at the box office – the film took $285 million worldwide on a $30 million budget. She is already attached to make an adaptation of Victoria Aveyard's novel Red Queen for Universal Pictures, and the studio would likely offer her first refusal on directing Pitch Perfect 3, now in development.

Assuming she makes a deal to direct Charlie's Angels, she will be part of the team coming up with another new take on the concept of three female detectives working for a mysterious, anonymous benefactor who communicates via speaker phone and an assistant named Bosley.

Banks certainly seems like she could be the right person for the job, able to find a balance between comedy and action, and providing an even better spin on what should be three leading female roles. The new film would take over from the last two, which starred Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz.

Acting wise, Banks will be back on our screens with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, which arrives in the UK on 20 November.

Liam Neeson set for The Revenger

News arrives via Deadline that Liam Neeson (Taken) is set to join Ruben Fleischer's (Zombieland) action comedy The Revenger.

Ruben Fleischer has come aboard to direct the film for Universal Pictures, based on Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's script. Little is known about the screenplay besides the name, but given that it comes from the men behind Night At The Museum (2006), Balls Of Fury (2007) and Hell Baby (2013), we should certainly expect some silliness. 

Neeson has shown he is more than willing to be funny in the past, most famously still in Extras, but also in the likes of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), The Lego Movie (2014) and Non-Stop (2014). Fleischer, meanwhile has the zombie action comedy on his CV alongside 30 Minutes Or Less (2011) and Gangster Squad (2013), with the last two failing to quite live up to his big break. So he could definitely do with a comedy success. This one is still in development, so there is no news on when it might start shooting. As always, watch this space.

Woody Harrelson set for War For The Planet Of The Apes

Woody Harrelson has had some experience with a big franchise thanks to The Hunger Games series. He will be tapping his villainous side for another with word arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that he will be joining the cast of War For The Planet Of The Apes.

Unlike Toby Kebbell in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014), however, Harrelson won't be slipping into a performance capture suit. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he is on board to play a human threat to our simian heroes called the Colonel.

Details are sketchy about what the film will cover, though if you watched Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – and a lot of people did, hence the latest addition to the franchise – you know that (spoiler alert) after a conflict between the human survivors of the virus and Caesar's (Andy Serkis) simian forces, a sort of truce was reached, one that was threatened by the coming of human reinforcements from outside San Francisco. We would guess that someone called Colonel could certainly be in charge of a force like that.

Harrelson joins a cast that is still itself much of a mystery, though Gabriel Chavarria (A Better Life) was recently added. Matt Reeves is returning as director, with Mark Bomback once again on script duty, with the film due on 21 July 2017. Next up for Harrelson is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, due 20 November, Now You See Me: The Second Act, which arrives 10 June next year and crime thriller Triple 9, which has yet to receive a release date. He is currently at work on Rob Reiner's (The Bucket List) LBJ, about US President Lyndon B. Johnson, which has just added Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) as John F. Kennedy.

Albert Hughes set for The Solutrean

Five years on from The Book Of Eli (2010), and following a dalliance with Akira and the collapse of Motor City, Albert Hughes finally has his next project lined up. News arrives via Deadline that he is set to direct The Solutrean, under producer Jeff Robinov's (On Deadly Ground) new Studio 8 production banner.

Currently listed as Untitled Caveman Project, the freshly monikered Solutrean is an ambitious epic set in the Ice Age. The unusual title refers to an Upper Palaeolithic-era industry – a cache of tools and art – first discovered in eastern central France near Mâcon in 1866. The film's plot involves a hunting expedition gone wrong and a young survivor's treacherous journey home.

It could be the next Apocalypto (2006) or Pathfinder (2007), but hopefully it won't encounter quite the difficulties of Alejandro González Iñárritu's (Babel) The Revenant. It should certainly look spectacular with the film set to be shot for IMAX 3D.

Hughes came up with the story, while relative newcomer Dan Wiedenhaupt turned it into screenplay form. Hughes' professional history with Robinov goes all the way to Menace 2 Society (1993). Andrew Rona (Non-Stop), who was involved with The Book Of Eli, is also producing.

The Solutrean is currently pencilled in for shooting either late this year or early next, in Canada and Iceland.

Frances O'Connor joins The Conjuring 2

James Wan is already rolling cameras on his follow-up to The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist. But he clearly isn't finished adding actors to the cast, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Frances O'Connor (The Hunter) is set to join returning veterans Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

Aside from the fact that the film sees paranormal investigators Lorraine (Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Wilson) heading to Greater London to investigate another case of a haunting involving a family, not much has been revealed about the plot. But now we know that O'Connor will be playing the mother of young girl being terrorised by a demonic poltergeist and in need of some help.

Wan is looking to repeat the success of the 2013 hit – and its prequel Annabelle (2014) – flying to shoot several locations in the UK, but shooting the majority of the movie in Burbank. He had input on the script by Chad and Carey Hayes (The Conjuring), before handing it off for extra work by David Leslie Johnson (Wrath Of The Titans).

O'Connor has most recently been seen working on TV in shows such as Mr. Selfridge, Once Upon A Time and The Missing.

Monday, 26 October 2015

"In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option... I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this."

Towards the end of The Martian, Matt Damon's (Elysium) stranded scientist, Mark Watney, in a moment of minor triumph, shouts, "In your face, Neil Armstrong!" It is arguably indicative of the film's irreverence – so rare in the usually sterile spacesuit genre. After the sobering likes of Body Of Lies (2008), Prometheus (2012), The Counsellor (2013) and Exodus: Gods And Kings (2013), Ridley Scott's 23rd film as director is the most fun he has had in ages – a mash-up of science fiction, disaster movie and character study. Spinning off from Andy Weir's bestseller, The Martian is as much Robinson Crusoe set in space, as it is a jet black comedy about laughing in the face of adversity and mortality.

Instantly joining E.T. and Bruce Dern's Freeman Lowell (Silent Running) in the pantheon of cinema's greatest space gardeners, Damon's Watney is the actor at his most engaging, at once desperate and charming as he narrates the adventure with sardonic wit and optimism. Following a lacerating storm, Watney is left to survive on his gardening skills, three years' worth of potatoes and old episodes of Happy Days. Scott clearly has a blast putting Damon's Watney through the mill. Self surgery, an experiment that goes horribly wrong and a coquettish selfie. But sewing shut the ragged hole in his stomach is just the start of Watney's problems.

Away from Watney, the movie flits between the remaining Mars mission members making their way home, the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California – chiefly Jeff Daniels' (Looper) director, Kristen Wiig's (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) PR flunky, Chiwetel Ejiofor's (12 Years A Slave) Mars expert and Sean Bean (The Lord Of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring) as the brilliantly named Mitch Henderson, possibly NASA's most unlikely flight director – dealing with the fallout. There are crisis meetings, hastily assembled press conferences, eulogies, a hook-up with a Chinese space agency and botched attempts at rescue. Much like Apollo 13 (1995), the joy of The Martian is watching smart people work through unsolvable problems and succeeding, only to have bigger obstacles hove into view.

For all of Scott's visual prowess and Damon's human centre, the unsung hero might be screenwriter Drew Goddard (World War Z), lacing the storytelling with wit, energy and an approach to the science that is graspable without being over simplistic. He also solves the book's interior monologue problem. If this is a cosmic Cast Away (2000), Watney's Wilson is a video log that is a receptacle for his inner thoughts, whether moaning about the disco soundtrack left behind by Jessica Chastain's (Zero Dark Thirty) captain – the '70s floor fillers make for a refreshing soundtrack – or pondering colonising Mars as a space pirate. When he finally gets in touch with Mission Control through a jerry rigged instant messaging system, typing in cinema has rarely been so joyous.

But the film isn't perfect. The excellent supporting cast feel underserved, and the idea that Watney's plight draws crowds of people in Times Square waiting for the outcome feels somewhat forced. Ultimately, though, the film is about one man's refusal to fold acts as an ode to the unquenchable human spirit. It is an ennobling, uplifting thought, delivered with sass and bite. Or, as Watney puts it, "Fuck you, Mars."

Anchored by another great turn from Matt Damon, The Martian mixes smarts, laughs and tension on a huge canvas. The result is arguably Scott's most upbeat and heartfelt film for years. Strap yourself in.

New one sheet for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Francis Lawrence's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.

Following on from the first Mockingjay, the second part of the story finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and the rebels making the final push against Donald Sutherland's scheming President Snow and the Capitol, with lives on the line and sacrifices to be made. The new movie should boost the action quotient as the bigger beats are to be found lurking towards the end of Suzanne Collins' third tome.

With Francis Lawrence once again calling the shots and Jennifer Lawrence joined on screen by Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Willow Shields, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone and more, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 arrives in our cinemas on 19 November.

New one sheet for Carol arrives online

StudioCanal UK have recently released their latest one sheet for Todd Haynes' Carol.

Adapted by Phyllis Nagy (Mrs. Harris) from Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price Of Salt, Carol stars Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) and Rooney Mara (Side Effects) in a story of unexpected love. We follow shop girl Therese (Mara), who falls for a wealthy customer (Blanchett's Carol). Carol is married with a child, and Therese is involved in a casual relationship with a man who clearly loves her, but the two women are instantly attracted and begin an affair of sorts, much to the annoyance of Carol's long-suffering husband Harge (Kyle Chandler). As she and Harge are about to divorce, Carol suggests a road trip, which takes the two women far from New York City.

Carol represents Haynes getting back to the 1950s setting of Far From Heaven (2002), this is no Technicolor spectacle, sticking instead to a darker, moodier, more realistic palette, yet still with the director coaxing performances that are being talked about (especially Blanchett) as potential award contenders.

Carol is set to arrive on our screens 27 November.

New IMAX one sheet for SPECTRE arrives online

MGM/Columbia Pictures have recently released their latest TV spot for Sam Mendes' (Skyfall) latest Bond outing SPECTRE.

The steely-eyed spy is once again throwing himself around the world on the trail of a mystery, one closely tied to the events of Skyfall (2012) and the eponymous pile he once called home.

All we know about SPECTRE so far is that a cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Belluci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond's actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks.

Directed once again by Mendes, SPECTRE stars Daniel Craig as Bond, of course, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) as the enigmatic Oberhauser, Andrew Scott (Sherlock) as Denbigh, Monica Belluci (Irreversible) as Lucia Sciarra, Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Mr. Hinx, Léa Seydoux (Blue Is The Warmest Colour) as Madeline Swann and Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala), plus returning MI6 allies Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Rory Kinnear as Tanner.

SPECTRE is out in the UK now before heading to the US on 6 November.

New trailer and one sheet for The Last Witch Hunter arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Breck Eisner's (The Crazies) The Last Witch Hunter.

The movie finds Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious 6) as a semi-immortal warrior who finds himself in present day New York having to face down a powerful witch queen intent on unleashing a terrible plague that could wipe out the human race.

His chief ally in the fight, however, is a female witch (Game Of Thrones' Rose Leslie), who teams up with him to help take down the rising evil. We get a little more background on Leslie in particular here, with the revelation that she is a 'Dream Walker' who can cross between our world and the magical realm of the witches, a handy talent that Diesel's Kaulder must exploit to put a stop to the queen's dastardly plan. There is just one small catch – like The Matrix (1999) and Inception (2010), if you die in the dream realm, you die in real life too.

Elijah Wood (Maniac), meanwhile, plays a young priest who is sworn to help Diesel in his struggle, with Julie Engelbrecht (The Red Baron) as the main villain and Michael Caine (Harry Brown) and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) also aboard. Diesel, with typical bravado, is already talking up the idea of a sequel, but the film will have to perform first.

The Last Witch Hunter is out now.

"We have to give more than we take..."

Warner Bros have recently released their latest trailer and one sheets for Ericson Core's (Invincible) Point Break remake.

The new film, which takes the place of a long-rumoured sequel, will reboot the concept from Kathryn Bigelow's cult 1991 thriller. Luke Bracey (G.I. Joe Retaliation) stars as the young, driven FBI agent Johnny Utah, who is tasked with infiltrating and taking down an extreme sports gang who are pulling off daring bank heists. But as his mission progresses, he becomes closer to the leader of the robbers, zen surfer dude Bodhi (Édgar Ramirez) and, if the plot holds true to the original, is also drawn to Bodhi's ex Tyler (Teresa Palmer).

The Fast And The Furious (2001) cinematographer Ericson Core is the man tasked with making this film fly, working from a script by Kurt Wimmer (Salt) that aims to give the thieves more story to go along with their expanded repertoire, following a mystical path to enlightenment and using their ill-gotten gains to give back to people. With Ray Winstone (The Sweeney), Matias Varela (Easy Money) and Clemens Schick (Casino Royale) also aboard for the ride.

Point Break arrives in the UK on 8 January next year.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

New trailer and one sheet for In The Heart Of The Sea arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Ron Howard's (Rush) In The Heart Of The Sea.

In The Heart Of The Sea follows the traumatic real life struggle endured by the men of Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, which was destroyed by an angry sperm whale in 1820.

Stranded in a lifeboat thousands of miles from home, 20 of the surviving crew (their number included the captain and first officer) at first planned to make for an isolated tropical island, but the idea was rejected because of rumours of flesh eating savages. The irony being that resulting delay in their rescue led to them becoming cannibals to survive.

It's the harrowing real life story that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. "It's wild," Howard told USA Today. "It's what attracted Meville to this story – it's man vs. nature in the most immediate, intense way."

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) plays first mate Owen Chase, who has to take command. "There's lot of a guys who are completely new to it, fresh off the land and off the boat," Hemsworth says. "He's trying to set the tone and lay down the law that the simplest mistake out here could sink the ship. He doesn't have time to educate them in any great detail. It's hard and fast."

As adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick's novel by a changing roster of writers that has seen the likes of Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai), Marshall Herskovitz (Love & Other Drugs), Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond), Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon), Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) apply their talents, the film will find one of the survivors (Brendan Gleeson, whose vocalisations adorn the trailer) telling the story to a young Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw).

Howard has assembled a predictably good supporting cast for this one, with Benjamin Walker (Flags Of Our Fathers), Michelle Fairley (Philomena), Charlotte Riley (Edge Of Tomorrow), Jordi Mollà (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Tom Holland (The Impossible), Sam Keeley (What Richard Did) and Cillian Murphy (Inception) among those who either set sail or must deal with the aftermath.

With seasickness competing with queasiness from restricted diets to give the actors a starved look, it sounds like it was a tough shoot. Let's hope it was all worth the effort when In The Heart Of The Sea docks into UK cinemas on 26 December.

"The two most significant events in the twentieth century: the Allies win the war, and this."

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest trailer for Danny Boyle's (127 Hours) Steve Jobs.

With a script by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) based on Walter Isaacson's biography of the man, the film focuses on three big moments in Steve Jobs' corporate life – the launch of the first Mac, NeXT (which was introduced after he was removed from the company) and the iPod, the game-changing music player he spearheaded after his triumphant return.

Michael Fassbender (Prometheus) plays Jobs, alongside Seth Rogen (This Is The End) as Steve Wozniak, his former partner and one of the co-founders of the company, Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road) as former Mac marketing boss Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels (Looper) as Apple executive John Sculley.

With Katherine Waterston (Robot & Frank) and Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine) also in the cast, Steve Jobs arrives in the UK on 13 November.

New trailer and one sheet for Christmas With The Coopers arrives online

Entertainment One have recently unwrapped their first trailer and one sheet for Jessie Nelson's (I Am Sam) Christmas With The Coopers.

Christmas is on the way. In fact, as we write this, there are only 60 days left. So what better time to think about a new festive comedy that comes bearing a big cast of funny folk.

Following a similar format to many holiday themed films – such as Valentine's Day (2010) and New Year's Eve (2011) – with a load of story strands, albeit focused on one extended family, the film (known in the US as Love The Coopers) is set in the run up to the big day. Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) are gathering four generations of their clan together for the family's traditional Christmas Eve celebration, but things are not quite going to plan. For starters, not everyone is all that thrilled about returning for the holiday, while Hank (Ed Helms) is coping with single parent life and there are a myriad of unexpected visitors and mishaps to cope with.

How you respond to all this might depend on your tolerance for such family bonding movies and whether this one can deliver enough spice to go along with the potential sugar rush. With Jessie Nelson directing from Steven Rogers' (P.S. I Love You) script, the cast also features Olivia Wilde (Rush), Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), Alan Arkin (Argo) and June Squibb (Nebraska).

Christmas With The Coopers arrives in cinemas 4 December.

Disney and Rob Marshall are making a new Mary Poppins film

Given her well documented objection to anyone – and particularly Walt Disney – adapting her stories into other media, we can't imagine P.L. Travers, were she alive today, would be thrilled to learn that the Mouse House is returning to Mary Poppins. News arrives Entertainment Weekly that Rob Marshall (Into The Woods) is developing a new film about the character.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the studio and filmmakers (including Marshall's Into The Woods collaborators John DeLuca and Mark Platt) have been working with the Travers estate and already have the backing of Marry Poppins co-songwriter Richard Sherman. He won't be providing the main music this time, Into The Woods' (2014) songwriting duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are on board to compose original songs and a new score.

As for the source material? The team is sticking with Travers' tales – the Poppins stories expand beyond the original tome across a book series that ran between 1934 and 1988. The Walt Disney 1964 original only drew from the first instalment. The new story will reportedly find Mary returning to the Banks family in Depression-era London, at least once a scriptwriter has been hired to work out the bits between the songs. It's clearly still early days, so there is no set release date as yet, but expect Disney to push ahead with this with alacrity.

Warners Bros rumoured to be developing an Akira trilogy

It was first announced back in 2007 that Warner Bros were set to develop a massive new live action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's seminal manga Akira (1988). Three years later it was shut down. Two years ago it was back on again. Then it was shut down again. Now – while strictly confined to rumour territory – Den Of Geek has heard that the studio might be going all in on the project and plotting a potential trilogy.

Despite all the trouble it has had getting anything in gear on the adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo's genre smashing anime, Warner Bros have held steadfast, with Leonardo DiCaprio's (The Wolf Of Wall Street) Appian Way still aboard to produce however many films do finally emerge.

The last word on the film was in June of this year, when Sons Of Anarchy veteran and current Daredevil co-showrunner Marco J. Ramirez was writing a script. And while making a trilogy – if that is truly the plan – feels a little like putting the advanced motorcycle before the horse, it is certainly not the most outrageous proposition in this franchise happy era. Plus, spreading the sprawling story across three films would give the concept space to breathe.

So how does Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) fit into all of this? There is no word on exactly how he might be involved, though the Den Of Geek team has reportedly heard that he recently met with someone who had been attached to the film before (that list includes Jaume Collet-Serra and Albert Hughes) to talk about it. And he does have a big mystery film on Warner Bros future slate for 2017. It's all too easy to give into speculation like that – for all we know, Nolan is simply aiming to be a producer on the project and help shepherd things through the way he did with Man Of Steel (2013). For now, though, it's just fun to ponder the possibilities. As always, watch this space.

Elizabeth Olsen talks Captain America: Civil War

With principal photography having wrapped recently, there are no location shots from which to glean information about Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) follow-up Captain America: Civil War, so the wider world has to rely on the actors to talk about the movie. One such actress is Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age Of Ultron), who plays Wanda 'Scarlet Witch' Maximoff in the movie and sat down with French film magazine Premiere to talk about her upcoming films and let slip some details and opinions.

"I think it's going to be the best one," she says of the film in a video interview. "I am very excited to see it myself – I only worked on set for five weeks, so I wasn't there for the majority of it. Daniel Brühl (Rush) is an incredible actor and he's playing the main villain in it, and he's incredible."

This pretty much confirms what we already knew, even if Olsen didn't use his yet to be confirmed character name – Baron Zemo. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that villain, he is the son of a Hydra scientist who fought Captain America during World War II and formed The Masters of Evil. Zemo became a mutated after falling into a boiling vat of his father's chemical Adhesive X. After this, he teamed up with Arnim Zola and Batroc, who both appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). We're not sure how he will come into play during Civil War, but Brühl should certainly make for a great Marvel villain.

"It's a movie about people, as opposed to robots this time," Olsen continued. "So it's darker and it's allowed to be darker because it gets more in the mindset of humans rather than machines."

The film, of course, finds Chris Evans' titular do-gooder and Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark having a fundamental disagreement on how the government should interact with superheroes. Do they need more supervision? Are there new regulations that could be put in place? Tony, burned by his experiences with Ultron, thinks there should. Steve, however, is not so sure. And so the lines are drawn.

Captain America: Civil War arrives in the UK 29 April next year.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

New trailer and one sheet for Room arrives online

A24 Films have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Lenny Abrahamson's (Frank) anticipated drama Room, boasting the promise of another great performance from Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now).

Room is based on the 2010 novel by Emma Donoghue, which is itself based loosely on the real life case of Elisabeth Fritzl. Fritzl was imprisoned in a secret basement space by her appalling father Josef for 24 years, bearing him several children which he explained as foundlings. She was discovered in 2008, and her father was jailed for life in 2009.

In Donoghue's Man Booker Prize shortlist version, this becomes the story of Ma, imprisoned for seven years with a son called Jack, who is also the novel's narrator. Their captor remains offstage, given little attention, since the focus is on Jack's world view, having never known anything but the small space in which he lives. But that world is about to be shaken when he and Ma are finally freed.

Donoghue wrote her own screenplay, and this is Abrahamson's first film following last year's excellent Frank (2014).

Room is out in the US now and will arrive in the UK 29 January.

John Hurt joins The Journey

With Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner) as Ian Paisley and Colm Meaney (Law Abiding Citizen) as Martin McGuinness already in place, the team behind political drama The Journey are adding three more cast members. News arrives via Screen International that John Hurt (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Freddie Highmore (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Toby Stephens (The Machine) are all aboard.

Nick Hamm's (The Hole) film chronicles the story of how two seemingly implacable enemies – Paisley, the fiery, vocal leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein's McGuinness – had to find common ground and make history, becoming close friends in the process.

According to Screen International, Hurt will be an unnamed political fixer who sorts things behind the scenes, Highmore will be Paisley's driver and Stephens has the highest profile role of the new additions – he will be playing Tony Blair.

Working from a script by Colin Bateman (Divorcing Jack) that folds fictional elements into the real life story, Hamm will start filming in Northern Ireland and Scotland on 28 September.

Tom Cruise eyeing Luna Park

They worked so well together on Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) that Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman quickly reconvened for another collaboration, drug drama Mena. Now news arrives via Variety that the pair have their eye on a third project, digging out a science fiction tale that has long been sitting on Liman's to-do list.

Now seemingly titled Luna Park, the film initially arrived on news radars back in 2007, when Liman first set it up at Paramount Pictures and bagged Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) to star. Paramount got the project in their split from DreamWorks, but despite script passes from the likes of Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days Of Future Past), Mark Bowden and Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), nothing came of it. Jump to 2011 and the project is back looking likely, with Paramount and Skydance Pictures entering an agreement to co-finance and such names as Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man), Chris Pine (Star Trek), Rosario Dawson (Trance), Megan Fox (Jennifer's Body) and Olivia Wilde (Rush) bandied about as possible leads. Yet despite an actual greenlight from the studio, the wheels came off when the budget rocketed past $100 million.

Cruise's interest and partnering with the director to kick development back into gear, could certainly put things back on track, though Paramount and Skydance aren't currently involved. Chances are everyone will see how the latest script turns out, with the story still following a group of former space types travelling the world in an attempt to steal equipment that would let them rocket to the moon to find an energy source. And the final piece of the puzzle they need? A former NASA worker. With the success of Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) The Martian, this could certainly stand a chance of finally leaving the launch pad. No writer is mentioned, though we do wonder if Christopher McQuarrie's (Jack Reacher) phone has been ringing recently...

As for Mena, that will hit our screens on 20 January 2017.

Isla Fisher set for Nocturnal Animals

With Amy Adams (American Hustle), Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners), Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Michael Shannon (The Iceman) already aboard, Tom Ford (A Single Man) is clearly not finished gathering the cast for his second directorial effort, Nocturnal Animals. News arrives via Deadline that Isla Fisher (Now You See Me) is joining the extensive roster.

Ford based his script on Austin Wright's 1993 novel Tony And Susan. Split into two chunks, one part of plot follows a woman (Amy Adams), who receives a book manuscript and a note asking for her opinion on it, sent by her ex-husband, who she left 20 years before. In the other, Gyllenhaal plays a man whose family holiday turns violent.

Taylor-Johnson is aboard to play a mysterious man who may pose a threat to Gyllenhaal's family, while Shannon will be the detective who investigates the incident. Hammer will be Adams' current husband, and Fisher has signed up to play Gyllenhaal's wife, who travels with him and is in the car during an altercation he has that puts their family in danger.

We will likely next see Fisher in Kevin Greutert's (Jessabelle) Blumhouse horror Visions (although it has yet to receive a UK release date), and she is also part of husband Sacha Baron Cohen's (The Dictator) Grimsby, which is out on 4 March next year. She has most recently been filming the comedy Keeping Up With The Joneses, with Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6), John Hamm (Mad Men) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover). That one is due on 1 April.

Nocturnal Animals gets underway shortly, for a release sometime next year.

Bruce Willis set for Marauders

The star power of Bruce Willis (Looper) has been seemingly on the decline of late. A run of slightly dodgy action roles and a surprise exit from Woody Allen's (Midnight In Paris) latest, apparently for schedule reasons, have seemed to dominate his recent career. He is sticking with action thrillers, though, with news arriving via Deadline that he has recently signed on to star in Steven C. Miller's (Automaton Transfusion) Marauders alongside Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Christopher Meloni (Man Of Steel). 

Steven C. Miller, who just worked with Willis on Extraction, is attached to direct the film, which will also feature Lydia Hull (Escape Plan), Tyler Olson (Jarhead), Christopher Rob Bowen (Heist) and Danny A. Abeckaser (The Wolf Of Wall Street) in its cast. Michael Cody and Chris Sivertson (All Cheerleaders Die) wrote the script, which follows an FBI agent on the trail of a group of bank robbers who appear to be modern day Robin Hoods, handing off their hauls to charity. As he digs deeper into the gang, he discovers that their actions are all tied to a trail of secrets leading to the powerful owner of a bank (Bruce Willis) who is overseeing it all.

The cameras are currently rolling in Ohio, which does make us wonder why he had to drop out of Allen's film and yet can still work on this one despite it being closer to his start on Broadway in Misery. Perhaps this one requires less commitment and he can squeeze in necessary stage rehearsals between days spent spewing dialogue at his castmates on the movie.

And in related casting news for one of the names above, Dave Bautista, currently on our screens as Mr. Hinx in SPECTRE, has another new role. He is attached to star in a thriller called Bushwick, which finds him as a war veteran who must help a young woman (Jane Levy) cross a dangerous area of New York's Brooklyn that has fallen victim to violent secessionists. Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott (Cooties) are gearing up to direct that one in New York later this year, working from a screenplay by Nick Damici (Stake Land) and Graham Reznik.