Fans who have long clamored for a big-screen version of DC’s Justice League may be on the verge of getting their wish. While no official announcements about the long-awaited project have been released, the upcoming Man of Steel sequel – or Batman vs. Superman, if you prefer – promises to flesh out the DC Cinematic Universe in more ways than many previously expected it to.
First came the news that Oscar winner Ben Affleck will don the cowl as the Dark Knight himself, and then – amidst rumors that a variety of heroes may appear – director Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. announced that Fast & Furious star Gal Gadot will appear in the 2015 release as Wonder Woman. There’s no indication yet exactly how much Gadot will have to do in the film (or if her role is merely a setup for the inevitable big-screen Justice League).
“Oh, did they [announce Wonder Woman]? I don’t even know, see? So clearly I’m not the person to talk to… Now I know. But that’s awesome. I hope I get a scene with her… I think we start in February.”
A February 2014 start date makes perfect sense for a film of this scale (and may mean more casting announcements are imminent). After all, with all those heroes involved, Batman vs. Superman will surely need a lengthy post-production window to perfect all its effects shots.
As for Adams’ response to the Wonder Woman news, there are two ways to look at it. On the one hand, Adams could be playing coy with her knowledge (or lack thereof) regarding the project. At this point, it’s fairly commonplace for the cast and crew of a much-anticipated project to do their part to perpetuate the mysteries of its production (see: Star Trek Into Darkness). However, the other (perhaps more likely?) possibility is that the character of Wonder Woman was a fairly late addition to the script and/or amounts to little more than a cameo.
Given the amount of story the Man of Steel follow-up promises to cover (including the burgeoning romance between Superman and Lois Lane), it makes sense that Wonder Woman (and perhaps other Justice League members) are featured in very minor appearances or even during a mid-credits or post-credits teaser for their team-up film.
Still, there’s every possibility that Batman vs. Superman will find a way to perfectly balance a number of superhero characters. In that case, is there any chance for sparks to fly between Superman and Wonder Woman, as they do in the comic books?
Superhero Hype ran the possibility of such a love triangle by Adams:
“Am I interested [in a Lois-Superman-Wonder Woman love triangle]? I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see. I hope that I can be involved with a woman on screen where we’re not in a love triangle. That would be fun. Maybe where we team up together and we work as teammates instead of adversaries.”
Adams makes an excellent point here. Not only would a love triangle this early in Superman and Lois’s relationship seem premature, but it undermines all the effort Man of Steel put into modernizing Lois Lane from her traditional love interest/damsel in distress role. The first film portrayed her as a savvy journalist who ultimately proves herself a valuable ally to Superman, even keeping his identity secret. To follow that development by using the character primarily as part of a love triangle could be seen as a step backwards and undermine the strength the character showed in the first film.
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.
Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel sequel Batman vs. Superman might be introducing a brand new Bruce Wayne in Ben Affleck and setting him up against Henry Cavill’s Superman, but with the main cast sorted out interest soon moved on to the supporting players.
Of these the most prominent is Wonder Woman, who may not have been in her own big-screen adventure yet but could be launched as part of Warner Bros. cinematic DC universe in preparation for a standalone film. Multiple actresses have auditioned for the role, and it seems like everyone has their ideal fan casting.
The time for rumors (these ones, at least) has now come to an end as Deadline reports that newcomer Gal Gadot has been cast in the iconic role. Gadot is best known for her appearances as Gisele in the Fast and Furious franchise, and also starred in James Mangold’s action comedy Knight and Day. Director Zack Snyder made the following statement about the casting choice:
“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”
Other actresses who have previously been in talks to play Wonder Woman include Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Jaimie Alexander (Thor), but casting a relatively unknown actor is in line with what Warner Bros. has done before; Cavill himself wasn’t particularly well-known until he became Superman.
Gadot was born and raised in Israel and began her career as a model, serving two years in the Israeli army and even competing in the Miss Universe pageant before eventually moving to Hollywood to become an actress. Speaking in an interview about playing a tough female character like Gisele, Gadot said:
“In real life women are strong, and it should be the same on film. I think that because the men we have in this movie are so strong, tough, clever, intelligent, big – physically really big – I think that it’s a good balance to have us girls in the movie. Girls have a different flavor.”
Andrew Dyce blogs at Screen Rant.
Benedict Cumberbatch is out, Tom Hiddleston is reportedly in for Guillermo Del Toro's Gothic romance
Director Guillermo del Toro has described the script for his upcoming film Crimson Peak, his first ghost-themed horror film since The Devil’s Backbone, as a classic Gothic romance with a mix of kinky and scary moments, set in a haunted house in England. It definitely sounds like an interesting project from a director with a lot of great vision, which was why it was both surprising and disappointing to hear that Benedict Cumberbatch, who was signed on for a major role, had walked away from Crimson Peak entirely.
At the time we speculated that Thor: The Dark World star Tom Hiddleston – who is Cumberbatch’s unofficial twin in terms of the roles the two of them tend to get, their physical appearances and their general public personas – seemed like the best fit to step into the place recently vacated by Cumberbatch, and it looks like Del Toro was thinking along similar lines. We’ve just learned Hiddleston has been cast in Crimson Peak, which is set to begin shooting in January 2014.
The reasons behind Cumberbatch’s decision to drop out of Crimson Peak remains a mystery. Considering how in-demand he is, scheduling conflicts would seem like an obvious explanation, but sources at THR claim that his departure was not due to another project. Perhaps it’s due to creative differences, personal reasons, or a secret deal to star in another film – or perhaps Cumberbatch just needs a vacation.
The cast that Hiddleston is joining also includes Charlie Hunnam, who recently appeared in del Toro’s monsters vs. mechs movie Pacific Rim, Jessica Chastain (Mama), Supernatural‘s Jim Beaver and another Pacific Rim star, Burn Gorman. Emma Stone was also attached to star for a while before dropping out due to a scheduling conflict, and seems to have been replaced by Stoker star Mia Wasikowska.
The production start date has actually jumped forward by about six months from its original summer 2014 schedule, so expect to see casting firm up before then. Based on what we know so far, however, Crimson Peak could end up being a very self-contained movie with quite a small cast.
Hiddleston’s followers will no doubt fill any loss of interest due to Cumberbatch’s departure (though, as mentioned before, the two actors seem to share a collective fanbase), but even without either actor this return to straight horror will definitely be worth watching to find out if del Toro still has the talent for the genre that he displayed in his early years.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.
From the story of a reindeer who uses his special strengths to lead Santa's team to the tale of a man who learns that "no man is a failure who has friends" to the story of a child who rides a magical train to go see Santa Claus, everyone has their favorite holiday film to watch year after year.
We've assembled a list of contenders that covers everything from legends of Santa Claus to overcoming the commercialism of Christmas. The oldest is the 1946 film "It's a Wonderful Life," while the newest movie to make the cut is 2006's "The Nativity Story."
Many styles of film are represented as well, from the stop-motion animation of Rankin/Bass films like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" to the traditional animation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and the performance capture computer animation of "The Polar Express."
And after the results came in for our poll on which "Christmas Carol" movie adaptation is the best ever, the only "Carol" version that made the cut is the 1951 film version starring Alastair Sim. (Sorry, George C. Scott and Muppet fans.)
So which movie is your favorite? Vote in our poll and we'll gather the results to share with all of you.
Make sure your top holiday movie doesn't get left behind. Have fun!
Along with tides of joy of givings of thanks, this holiday weekend brought with it the tragic death of Fast & Furious franchise star Paul Walker. The 40-year-old actor was in a fatal car crash during a charity event in Santa Clarita, California – and along with an outpouring of shock, horror, and grief from fans all across the world, the big question looming on everyone’s mind was, “How is this going to affect Fast & Furious 7 ?“
The seventh installment of the franchise has been in production since earlier this fall, with director James Wan (The Conjuring) taking over the helm from franchise staple, Justin Lin. Part 7 has been touted as a “’70s-style revenge thriller” story featuring Jason Statham as the vengeance-seeking brother of Fast & Furious 6 villain, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – meaning that some hard hits are coming to the Dom Terreto (Vin Diesel) and his F&F familia.
Of course, that was before those hard hits became all too real with the death of Walker; in an update from THR, we now learn that Universal has held a meeting determining the fate of Fast & Furious 7. The official company line is that as of now, the film will see a delay in production in order to allow for a proper, respectful, grieving period. That delay could subsequently cause the film’s July 2014 release date to be bumped, but F&F7 will NOT be abandoned.
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However, even though the film is still on, there is a question of logistics; namely, HOW to wrap the film in a way that makes sense in the narrative of the film, while remaining respectful to Walker and his legacy.
…And that is quite a tough nut to crack. On the surface, it would seem an easy fix: rewrite the revenge story so that Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, meets a noble end somewhere in Ian Shaw’s (Statham) campaign of vengeance. However, the suddenness of Walker’s death (and his position as a franchise lead) means his character’s death was likely NOT in the cards; trying to make it happen onscreen, the easiest fix would be to use some kind of stunt racing sequence that doesn’t require actual shots of the actor’s face – except that any such fix would also be uncomfortably close to depicting the way in which Walker actually died. Audiences are likely not going to be supportive of that – let alone Walker’s family, and his friends amongst the F&F cast and crew.
That leaves us with the possible work-around of an off-screen demise for Brian O’Connor, which – while more tasteful and practical – will seem like an unceremonious end for such an important character in a mega-popular franchise. But then, none of this is easy (tragedy tends to be – well, tragic), and if the film is committed to reaching the finish line, a scenario like the one posited above is probably the best option.
But who knows: Maybe things don’t have to be so dark. Maybe Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster) and their child are all sent off into the sunset to live free and happy while Dom and the rest of the crew continue to deal with threats at their car doors. Maybe the land of movie fantasy offers fans something better than the harsh reality of life did. Maybe we all could use something a little more uplifting as we say goodbye to an actor whose character was an icon for a generation of moviegoers. One can only hope…
Looking beyond the now, the second biggest question on my mind is whether Vin Diesel and Co. are still committed to making Fast Furious installments beyond part 7 (parts 8 & 9 are already planned). Will it still be fun for the cast and crew (and the fans) to take this ride, now short one passenger? I think we could all understand if the answer to that question was “no.”
Kofi Outlaw blogs at Screen Rant.
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But director Adam McKay will say this: there’s a dolphin involved. Namely, Ferrell yelling at one.
McKay told Moviefone the movie kicks off with a prologue which shows what happened to San Diego’s TV newsman Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and his girlfriend and co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) since the last film and that the prologue includes said incident. (According to Los Angeles Times writer Chris Lee, Ron is struggling with his career and is an announcer at Sea World when he yells at the dolphin.)
“We tried to think of some lowest of the lows,” McKay said of the incident.
“Anchorman” didn’t become a breakout hit when it was first released – it was only after it came out on DVD that fans began rewatching it and the movie’s lines started being endlessly quoted. “The first movie did great on cable and DVD,” McKay told the Los Angeles Times. “And that's where it really took off — much like 'Austin Powers.’”
So now a sequel is arriving nine years later, and the movie finds Ron and his news team – reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sports reporter Champ Kind (David Koechner), and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) – going from their beloved San Diego to New York, where they’ve been taken on at a 24-hour news network, GNN.
But Ferrell says they aren’t exactly the stars of the network at first.
“[The network] literally just needed more bodies,” he told Moviefone. “They had to hire so many people, a massive group of people, at one time, to be on around the clock; that's why he and his news team are on at two in the morning. And, of course, they are horribly upset by that.”
In addition to the main cast returning as well as other holdovers from the first film like rival newsman Vince Vaughn, new faces have come aboard for the sequel, including Kristen Wiig, Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, and Meagan Good, who portrays the team’s new station manager.
McKay said Ford was taken aback at first by his directorial style, in which he’ll give the actors new lines to try between takes.
“He was like, 'What?' when I would yell them out,” McKay said of the new lines in an interview with Moviefone. “Then he was like, 'This is crazy,' and he kind of had fun with it. And then he started liking it and adding his own.”
“Anchorman 2” is set to hit theaters Dec. 20.
Does watching a less-than-stellar film with snarky commentary from a man and two robots say Thanksgiving to you?
For some, between the years of 1991 and 1997, the Pilgrim holiday meant cutting a slice of pumpkin pie and settling down to watch the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” Turkey Day marathon, which aired on Comedy Central. The channel aired a marathon of episodes of the show, which consists of a man named Joel (or later, Mike) and robots Crow and Tom Servo watching a film of dubious quality and making jokes about it. Joel was put aboard a spaceship by scientists and forced to watch terrible movies as part of a scientific study.
“Mystery Science Theater 3000” debuted in 1988 and hopped around to a couple of different channels before its cancellation in 1999, but it gained a cult following and many episodes live on via DVD and the Internet.
The show starred “MST3K” creator Joel Hodgson from 1988 to 1993 (head writer Michael J. Nelson would replace him for the rest of the series’ run) and Hodgson will be hosting the event which will stream from the website MST3KTurkeyDay.com this year. Six episodes of “MST3K” chosen by Hodgson will air on the site beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern time on Thanksgiving Day.
Hodgson took suggestions from fans via Twitter as to what films would be best to include in the new marathon.
He told Entertainment Weekly he was amazed to hear what an important part of Thanksgiving the “MST3K” marathon had become for some fans.
“I’d hear all these stories about Turkey Day,” Hodgson said. “People would say, ‘Yeah, we still watch Mystery Science Theater on Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition, like the Lions playing.’ I was kind of amazed that it was in people’s lives like that.”
What will be included in the first “MST3K” marathon in 16 years? Check out the website for the streaming event if you’re in the mood for some sci-fi B-movies and deadpan humor.
Is “Frozen” the next Disney classic?
The newest animated offering from the studio, which hits theaters today, takes its inspiration from the Snow Queen fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. “Veronica Mars” actress Kristen Bell voices Anna, the younger daughter in the royal family of Arendelle. “Wicked” actress Idina Menzel is Elsa, the older sibling, who has the power to conjure up ice and snow. After her powers get out of control, Elsa flees and Arendelle is plunged into an everlasting winter. Anna, with a mountain resident and reindeer at her side, sets off to try to find her sister and free Arendelle from the grips of snow and ice. Actors Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Alan Tudyk also lend their voices to the film.
In an era where Disney princesses are often criticized for sending negative messages to young children, Bell spoke in an interview with MTV about how she feels Anna is different from many of the previous Disney heroines.
“I always loved Disney animation, but there was something about the females that was unattainable to me,” she said. “Their posture was too good and they were too well-spoken, and I feel like I really made this girl much more relatable and weirder and scrappier and more excitable and awkward. I'm really proud of that.”
So will “Frozen” join the celebrated Disney pantheon? Early reviews have been superlative, with TheWrap calling the film “the next ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” referring to the 1991 film that is still the only Disney movie to have been nominated for Best Picture in a year when only five films made the cut.
“With “Frozen,” they’ve got something that should please both sides,” TheWrap writer Alonso Duralde wrote, referring to the Disney marketing team who want to sell princess costumes and those who want Disney heroines to be less damsel-in-distress. “It’s about two beautiful sisters in a castle, yes, but it’s also about learning to embrace your own power and to overcome the fear of your own abilities… the tunes are terrific… it offers characters to care about, along with some nifty twists and surprises along the way.”
Forbes writer Scott Mendelson was also dazzled by the film, writing that the movie is “gloriously animated, wonderfully acted, and refreshingly feminist[.] It also contains some of the best ‘Disney songs’ ever.”
Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter writer Todd McCarthy found “the screenwriter's insistence upon putting banal and commonplace teen Americanisms in the mouth of Anna” annoying but otherwise thought the movie was “energetic, humorous and not too cloying” and calls it “a pleasure.”
The X-Men film franchise may be entering its teenage years, but Marvel’s mutant roster has never been hotter. This summer’s The Wolverine (more or less) made up for the disappointing entry that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine and essentially jumpstarted buzz for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Beyond that film, the future of the X-Men franchise is a bit more uncertain. Fox seems keen on pushing an X-Force film (written by Kick-Ass 2 writer/director Jeff Wadlow) out next, though what shape or form that project will take remains to be seen. The X-Men universe has such a rich array of characters that it has already introduced on the big screen, and given the limitless possibilities, any of those could potentially return in a future film. Now, one star has spoken out about which character he’d like to play.
According to Slash Film, Channing Tatum mentioned at a recent press event that he wants to bring Cajun mutant Gambit to life on the big screen. Here’s what the White House Down and Magic Mike star had to say:
“I would like to play Gambit. Gambit’s my favorite. I’m from New Orleans, around that area. My dad’s from New Orleans, and I like to do a Cajun accent. I could do it for real. No knock on Taylor Kitsch [who played the character in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'], though, ’cause I actually like his Gambit, but I’ve always lived around Cajun people. [...] Gambit was always like the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking [guy]. He was the punk rock of all the superheroes. He’s a thief. He kind of rode the line.”
Many X-Men fans share Tatum’s love of the character, but as he mentions, the role was already filled by Kitsch in a previous film. Kitsch’s portrayal of Gambit did receive mixed reactions from fans, largely because the character’s long-awaited appearance was so brief. There’s also the problem of his placement within the timeline of the X-Men films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place roughly sometime in the late 1970s, before Wolverine loses his memory and long before he ever becomes a bonafide X-Man.
If Fox really wished to bring Gambit back into the picture, there’s no doubt they could find a way to do so (after all, they’re about to bring time travel into the mix in Days of Future Past). However, the studio has already gotten enough flack from hardcore fans regarding the series’ already-convoluted continuity, and director Bryan Singer has revealed that he plans to clean some of that up in Days of Future Past.
If Fox ever decided to reboot the Gambit character (retconning or ignoring his Origins appearance), Tatum does sound like a viable choice, as he would bring a touch of star power and seems to have a genuine love of the character. Plus, the fact that Kitsch had back-to-back box office disappointments in John Carter and Battleship means that re-casting is a more likely option.
However, the bigger question isn’t whether or not Tatum would make a good Gambit, but whether or not Fox would go back to an element of the franchise that didn’t quite work the first time rather than expanding their burgeoning X-Men cinematic universe. In other words, don’t hold your breath for a Gambit return just yet.
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.
Which film version of "A Christmas Carol" is superior to all the rest?
It's a question we at the Monitor offices were struggling to answer as we compiled a list of contenders for our upcoming "best holiday movie ever" poll (check back for more on that). As we continued to think of movies we simply couldn't leave off the list, more and more versions of Dickens' classic continued to be added until it seemed a little excessive.
"Carol" is deservedly a holiday classic with its story of the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge who learns, with the help of three spirits, the value of eschewing selfishness and thinking of others. Scrooge has been portrayed by everyone from actors Alastair Sims to George C. Scott to Michael Caine, and the tale has gotten twists such as being acted out by Jim Henson's Muppets (in their version, Charles Dickens himself was portrayed by blue creature Gonzo) and being updated to the then-present day, as in the 1988 Bill Murray film "Scrooged."
So we're holding a poll to determine the best "Carol" version of all time. Pick your favorite carefully, because whichever wins will be able to move on to our "best holiday movies" ever competition – but only one "Carol" film is making the cut.
Vote now and we'll see what version gets to move on.