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Paul Rudd lands Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’

- December 18th, 2013

After months of rumours and speculation, Variety is reporting that Paul Rudd has landed the role of Marvel’s Ant-Man in Edgar Wright’s upcoming superhero film.

Rudd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were the two finalists for the role, but with JGL signing up to produce and (possibly) star in an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman for Warner Bros., Rudd had emerged as the frontrunner to play Hank Pym, a scientist who comes up with a way to shrink in size and communicate with insects.

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Paul Rudd. Reuters File

According to Variety, at one point the rumoured storyline was to focus on the later years of Ant-Man and Scott Lang, a thief who steals Pym’s technology and becomes the new Ant-Man. This scenario would have opened the door to both Rudd and Gordon-Levitt appearing in the film, but that seems unlikely now.

Ant-Man will be the first film in Marvel’s Phase Three, but his character will not be introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron even though in the comics Pym invents the homicidal robot.

In a recent interview with Total Film, Rudd was asked if he’d be interested in taking on a superhero role.

“I think, depending on the superhero, I would be just as excited about that as anything else. If it was a kind of a cool part with an interesting take on stuff.”

I’m not sure I can picture Brian Fantana playing a superhero, but when I first heard about Robert Downey Jr. landing the part of Iron Man, I probably thought the same thing.

We’ll see when Ant-Man hits theatres July 31, 2015.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt confirms Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’

- December 16th, 2013

A big-screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s revered Sandman comic will be coming soon to theatres courtesy of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Goyer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Goyer (Man of Steel) has provided a treatment and will oversee the screenplay for the classic Vertigo comic. Gordon-Levitt tweeted he has signed on to produce the film for Warner Bros. “The rest,” he wrote, “remains to be seen.”

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Dream, one of the Endless characters, was the main protagonist of Gaiman’s series, which ran from 1989 to 1996. After being imprisoned for decades, Dream escaped and got his revenge, while trying to adapt to modern-day life. A prequel comic written by Gaiman was released in October of this year.

In addition to Dream, who presided over the world of dreams, the dark fantasy followed his siblings Destiny, Death (my favourite), Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirium.

The comic helped establish DC’s Vertigo imprint, and was one of the first comics to achieve mainstream success that wasn’t rooted in tradition characters like Batman and Superman. It’s been a bestseller and has been given DC’s glorious Absolute Edition treatment.

In a 2009 interview, I asked Gaiman who he envisioned directing a feature film version of Sandman, to which he replied:

I think it’s probably some kid, who right now is around 26-years-old. He may or may not have directed his first movie, but he loves ‘Sandman’ and he has the same amount of dedication to the material that (director) Peter Jackson had to ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Sam Rami had to ‘Spider-Man.’ It’s somebody who knows that there’s this thing they love and they have a responsibility to the world get it right and not f— it up. But they’re also not scared of changing the things about it that are not cinematic into things that are cinema. Otherwise you end up with something like the ‘Sin City’ movie, where you’d rather read the comic. I remember watching that and thinking, ‘I think I prefer these characters better when Frank (Miller) draws them.’

Gaiman, who will also executive produce the film, did have reservations about bringing Sandman to the big screen. “The capacity for f—ing up Sandman – for just utterly screwing it up and making something that is awful and embarrassing and terrible – is huge.

“But,” he told me, likening the prospect to a night out, “Sandman, if done properly, could be the most perfect sushi meal.”

The comic ran for 75 issues, so if it’s a success, it could provide DC with another cinematic weapon to battle Phase Two and Three of Marvel’s cinematic arsenal.

Gordon-Levitt is no stranger to the comic book world. In addition to The Dark Knight Rises, he was rumoured to be in the running for the lead in Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man as well as James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He was also pegged to take over as Batman from Christian Bale.

Oh yeah, and he’ll be seen next in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For based on the comic by Frank Miller. So presumably he knows a thing or two about comics and could conceivably make Sandman a long and prosperous film franchise for Warner Bros.

What do you think Sandman fans? Does Gordon-Levitt as Dream sound like it could be a perfect sushi meal? Sound off in the comments below.

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‘Ant-Man’ casting: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Paul Rudd top Marvel’s wishlist

- October 15th, 2013

So with filming wrapped on next summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and principal photography set to begin on The Avengers: Age of Ultron next spring, movie fans are already gearing up for Marvel’s Phase Three series of films.

Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, due out July 31, 2015, is the only confirmed title from Phase Three, but the film still hasn’t named its star.

Well, that’s about to change. Sources have told Variety exclusively that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Paul Rudd have emerged as favourites to play Hank Pym, a scientist who is able to shrink himself down to insect size.

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Wright tweeted a photo of the character on Monday, causing speculation that an announcement could be coming soon.

Disney recently moved Ant-Man’s release date from November 6, 2015 to July 31, 2015. And while the character is a member of The Avengers, he won’t be appearing in Age of Ultron.

Wright’s frequent collaborator Simon Pegg had Ant fans in a tizzy that he might be playing the smallest Avengers after he tweeted a photo of himself pointing at the character earlier this summer (it turned out to be a joke, but I was excited for about a second).

Gordon-Levitt has already appeared in a comic book movie – The Dark Knight Rises – and it seemed possible that he would become the Caped Crusader or Robin in DC’s Justice League. But with Ben Affleck now set to play the character in Man of Steel 2 and beyond, JGL is free to jump over to Marvel. Rudd, who I don’t think is really ideal, has mostly stayed in the comedy realm for the majority of his career.

In addition to Ant-Man, Marvel has three untitled films due out May 6, 2016, July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017.

What do you think of this casting news? Who do you think should play Ant-Man? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments.

TIFF 2013: 5 buzzworthy films headed to Toronto

- August 3rd, 2013

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The Toronto International Film Festival hasn’t unveiled the full slate of films set to play during TIFF, but if last month’s initial announcement was any indication, this year’s edition will be chock full of stars and a bevy of Oscar hopefuls.

The guest list and complete movie list will be released later this month, so even though there’s still a ton of films yet to be named, we’d thought it be fun to look at the five we know of so far likely to garner the most audience and Oscar buzz.

If you have a flick you’re interested in seeing, let us know what it is and why in the comments.

1. Gravity
The space thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock was due out last November, but was shifted to this year so that director Alfonso Cuarón could work on the special effects. The two Hollywood stars play astronauts whose ship is hit by debris while they are outside during a space walk. Bullock’s Dr. Stone has to cut herself loose, but doing so sends her hurtling into space. This is a white-knuckle thriller (with an opening tracking shot that is rumoured to be 17 minutes) that could be one of the year’s best. I’m so positively psyched for this film that I’m including three trailers.

2. 12 Years a Slave
Based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, director Steve McQueen’s (Hunger and Shame) latest is a star-studded drama that features Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free black man who was stolen and sold into slavery for 12 years. The ensemble film also stars Brad Pitt (as a Canadian no less), Michael Fassbender (as a ruthless plantation owner) and Benedict Cumberbatch. It looks riveting, but definitely not for the squeamish.

3. The Fifth Estate
Benedict Cumberbatch is going to show up in several films at this year’s TIFF, but his star turn as WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange has landed him the coveted opening night slot. The biopic (from Dreamgirls director Bill Condon) charts the whistleblowing website’s rise from taking down a billion-dollar bank in Iceland, to the controversial release of the Collateral Murder video.

4. Don Jon
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the title character in his directorial debut. With his credo: “My body, my pad, my ride, my family, my church, my boys, my girls, and my porn” and a cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza and Julianne Moore – it could be the quirkiest comedy to hit TIFF this year.

5. Horns
I would have expected this one to be part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness, but Daniel Radcliffe’s turn as Ig Parrish, a man who wakes up one morning possessing some of the powers of Beelzebub, looks poised to turn his Harry Potter persona on its head. It’s based on the supernatural murder mystery by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), who had nothing but good things to say about the film.

“Everything I’ve seen, I’m tremendously happy with; especially Radcliffe, Juno Temple and Max Minghella as the love triangle at the centre of the story. Juno Temple and Daniel Radcliffe really smoke together. They’re a really hot couple. And Radcliffe is a really great Ig (Parrish, the main character)… he’s getting in touch with his inner Voldemort, which is nice.”

TIFF has a long history of debuting creepy films that get under the skin and stay there long after the credits end (Insidious, Saw, Hostel, You’re Next, I Saw the Devil), so I’m looking to Horns to continue that tradition.

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Other ones to keep an eye out for: You Are Here, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her, Life of Crime, the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side, Dallas Buyers Club, Paul Haggis’ Third Person, Jason Bateman’s Bad Words and Devil’s Knot.

The full schedule will be announced Aug. 20. For more info visit TIFF.net.

Felicity Jones drops ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ spoiler + JGL as ‘Doctor Strange’?

- July 17th, 2013
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Felicity Jones is seen at the Toronto International Film Festival in this 2011 file photo. MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency

 

OK, so if you want your Amazing Spider-Man 2 experience to be spoiler-free, stop reading now.

It looks like that in addition to battling The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) in next summer’s Spider-Man sequel, Andrew Garfield will be squaring off against the Green Goblin.

Actress Felicity Jones dropped a spoiler-y comment when she was talking about her still-unnamed supporting role in the upcoming film.

“It’s all quite shrouded in secrecy,” the actress said in an interview with View London. “But I’m the Goblin’s girlfriend – I’m in a relationship with him, and his accomplice. I’m on the dark side.”

In a separate interview with the Telegraph U.K., Jones confirmed she’s playing a villain: “I can tell you that she’s sort of on the baddie’s side.”

There has been some speculation that Jones will be playing the burglar Black Cat in the new film.

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Chris Cooper is slated to play Norman Osborn with Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2, but until now, it was unknown if either would take a villainous turn in this film or one of two planned sequels. Jones’ comment seems to indicate DeHaan will be the Goblin.

Willem DaFoe and James Franco played the Goblin in Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy that starred Tobey Maguire.

Director Marc Webb released this short – but very cool – video after the film wrapped shooting last month.

And the Spider-Man hype machine will be in overdrive this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. Here is EW’s cover which features the first official photo of Electro.

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And while I have you, it appears that Marvel Studios is eyeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt for its planned Doctor Strange film. Latino-Review is reporting that JGL is one of Marvel’s top picks to play the mystical character.

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Doctor Strange will likely be part of Marvel’s Phase 3 slate of films which starts with Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man in 2015.

Over the years George Clooney, Adrien Brody, Justin Theroux, Patrick Dempsey and Benedict Cumberbatch have all been linked to the role. And back when Neil Gaiman was considering making the film with Guillermo Del Toro, the Sandman author told me he envisioned Johnny Depp as the sorcerer.

“Robert Downey Jr. would have been one of my leading Doctor Strange contenders,” Gaiman told me way back in 2008. “But Johnny Depp is another leading candidate.”

Obviously if JGL accepts the Doctor Strange role that would pretty much extinguish any hopes of him playing Robin in DC’s proposed Justice League movie.

Marvel usually pins down actors to multi-film deals, so I can’t see him having time to juggle separate characters from different publishers. But… Chris Evans did star in Fantastic Four and Captain America.

Interestingly, Marvel also pursued JGL for the lead in Guardians of the Galaxy, which he passed on.

What do you think of these latest Marvel rumours? Let us know in the comments.