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Chiwetel Ejiofor in talks to join ‘Doctor Strange’

- January 23rd, 2015

Chiwetel Ejiofor may be following in the footsteps of his British compatriots.

The actor, best known for his Oscar nominated performance in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, is reportedly in talks to join the Marvel’s Benedict Cumberbatch lead sci-fi odyssey, Doctor Strange, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Marvel has been encouraging conversations between Ejiofor’s camp and the studio, but talks of him joining the production are still in its infant stages.

Conversation has already exploded online as to who Ejiofor could be playing in the movie after The Hollywood Reporter suggested the role wouldn’t just be a villainous one, but would be a crucial character to the film’s plot.

Various film reporters and comic book fans jumped in to discuss potential characters, but the trade magazine and Entertainment Weekly seem to have reached an agreement on the three potential roles.

The first is Baron Mordo, the most likely out of the three guesses. His origin story is irrevocably tied into Doctor Strange’s, and as a former pupil of The Ancient One (Stephen Strange’s mentor) who decides to kill his teacher, it would make for the most interesting character when being adapted for the movie. The transition from his role in the comic book to his role in the movie could be increased tenfold and the movie would still have an interesting dilemma for fans to sink their teeth on.

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The only problem with suggesting Mordo as a potential character is, as previously mentioned, most of his importance ties into Strange’s origin story. Director Scott Derickson has already stated that Doctor Strange wouldn’t be an origin story in the same way the original Spider-Man movies were. With that piece of information, the chances of it being Mordo seem slimmer than once thought.

The second choice, suggested by The Hollywood Reporter, is Wong. Wong, right off the bat, is a bit of a problematic suggestion. Casting Ejiofor as Wong, effectively changing the racial background of a character, would be subjected to pretty harsh criticism online.Especially in an industry where Asian actors are routinely given stereotyped roles and that’s if they’re cast at all. In the comics, Wong plays Strange’s butler and general caretaker – think the Alfred to Bruce Wayne.

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As Entertainment Weekly suggests, it may be interesting to see the Inspector Clouseau and Cato (from The Pink Panther) relationship mould used in the film, but there are suggestive themes within that decision that would face harsh outcry from fans. Not only would the studio be making the voluntary decision to replace an Asian character with a Black character, but they’d also have a Black man serving a white man. The whole idea just screams endless thinkpieces.

The last character suggested was Nightmare, but this one seems like the least likely of the bunch. In the comics, Nightmare is one of the coolest adversary’s Strange goes up against; an entity that takes on the physical body of the victim’s worst nightmares.

Nightmare

Think Freddy Krueger meets a Boggart from Harry Potter. Seeing Nightmare manifest on the big screen would be pretty fantastic, but it’s highly unlikely Marvel wants to move their film from the realm of sci-fi to horror.

Regardless of which character Ejiofor plays, it’s not only a huge opportunity for him to become a household name in North America, but it would be a huge win for Marvel. Having two Oscar nominated (and perhaps an Oscar winner if Cumberbatch wins for his role in Imitation Game) actors in one film will help bring in a section of movie going audiences that wouldn’t normally be interested in this type of film.

Doctor Strange is slated to be released on November 4, 2016.

Morgan Freeman rumoured for ‘Doctor Strange’ role

- December 15th, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch may have been officially revealed as Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but the casting rumours surrounding the film have yet to simmer down completely.

Bill Nighy (About Time, The World’s End), Ken Watanabe (Godzilla), and most importantly, Morgan Freeman have apparently all been approached by Marvel Studios to take on the role of the Ancient One, superhero film news site Latino Review reported Monday.

The Ancient One is a crucial character in the Doctor Strange universe. He’s the mad man –the previous Sorcerer Supreme- that eventually becomes Stephen Strange’s mentor.

It’s still unclear just how big of a role the Ancient One will have in the film since Marvel has explicitly said the Cumberbatch lead project won’t focus on the character’s origin story.

That being said, Morgan Freeman would make for a pretty outstanding Ancient One. He has plenty of experience playing cosmic characters in a variety of genre movies, and would be a perfect contrast to Cumberbatch’s newbie magician.

As the film gets closer to shooting, more information about the casting of secondary characters will be revealed.

Until then, it’s rumour mill central.

‘The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies’ name of final installment

- April 24th, 2014

Peter Jackson has declared the final Hobbit film will not be called There and Back Again or Into the Fire, so internet meme creators can stop mashing up Johnny Cash and Bilbo photographs now.

Originally, the third film was supposed to be called There and Back Again, but in a Facebook post Thursday, Jackson explained the title didn’t quite capture where Bilbo was currently situated in his journey. Instead, the director said, he and his production team decided upon The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.

“Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along,” Jackson said. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there.”

Jackson explained he had wanted to change the name since late last year, and when he approached the studio with the possibility, they unanimously decided to wait until the final cut of the film had been seen.

“We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate. And so: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” it is,” he wrote.

The change has divided people online, who began tweeting about it as soon as the news dropped. While some welcomed the change, others were adamant Jackson’s original title was the best and only choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were legions of Tolkien fans who were just overjoyed that Jackson and the studio had decided against using the hilariously ominous Into the Fire title that had been spread around as rumour last week.

 

 

 

 

Jackson added that although the film is a little ways off and their team is still in the editing stages, fans should stayed tuned for more information on the final film soon.

“…Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.”

Who’s got money down on a trailer announcement within the next couple of months?

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ starts shooting this May

- February 11th, 2014

So it’s not nothing, but it’s still not much. Sources have told HitFix that director J.J. Abrams will begin filming Star Wars: Episode VII in May. Shooting will continue until September with the finished product hitting screens Dec. 18, 2015.

According to the report, most principal casting on the film is complete, so I suppose we can count on hearing about Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s reprisal of their iconic characters any day now.

Earlier this week, Gary Oldman revealed that he is one of the actors who has had discussions about the new film. “They’ve called,” Oldman told Sky Movies. “I’ll believe it when I’m on the plane home. The deal isn’t done, but yeah, they’ve inquired. I mean Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter, Batman and Star Wars… bloody hell!”

Zac Efron also confirmed he’s had talks telling MTV last week, “Yeah, I just went and met with them (Disney executives). So I don’t know. It would be cool. I love the Star Wars movies I love them, but who knows?”

In addition to Oldman and Efron, Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Kick Ass’ Chloë Moretz and Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan have been linked to the new film. As well, Abrams has confirmed talks with Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Girls star Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving are also rumoured to be involved.

According to a report on THR last month, Abrams’ upcoming sequel has been reworked to focus on the trilogy’s original stars – Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Han Solo (Ford) and Princess Leia (Fisher), with newer characters taking a back seat until Episode VIII and IX.

I’m still not sure how I feel about that, but if there’s one person I trust to reset this franchise and make it palpable again, it’s J.J. Abrams.

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‘Star Wars’ lead roles casting and plot rumours: Episode VII to focus on Luke, Leia and Han

- January 13th, 2014

If you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan, this tidbit might have you flying out of your chair. According to The Hollywood Reporter, J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars film has been reworked to focus on the trilogy’s original stars – Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).

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THR reports that original scribe Michael Arndt departed the film over creative differences with the director. Arndt wanted the new film to focus more on the offspring of the trio, while Abrams wanted to give audiences another chance to experience the classic characters before a “fitting send-off.”

According to the trade, Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have reworked the new characters into supporting roles that will emerge as the focal points in Episode VIII and IX. New characters have been added to the new script, while others have been dropped entirely.

THR also reports that Michael Fassbender, Girls star Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving are in contention for roles in Episode VII. Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons has also reportedly met with the director. Weaving, according to multiple sources, has had early talks for a part to play an Imperial commander.

This is in addition to Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Jack O’Connell, Alex Pettyfer, Saoirse Ronan and Sullivan Stapleton – all of whom have been linked at one point or another to the new film.

If the Weaving rumour is true it suggests that Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine were not fully vanquished at the end of Return of the Jedi. (Readers of the books can weigh in on the comments and let me know how the storyline was expanded after Episode VI).

Of course, nothing is confirmed until we hear it from Disney. But this is a fun way for Star Wars fans to start their week.

Star Wars: Episode VII opens Dec. 18, 2015.