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‘Star Wars’ casting leak reveals character details

- June 19th, 2013

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J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars film is looking to fill more than a few roles (but don’t come asking me how to apply). The folks at BleedingCool.com have just reported casting breakdowns they say are “100% confirmed” for the new film, which starts shooting in London early next year.

Among the characters Abrams is looking to fill are: a “military type” 40-something male; two teenage females, “tough, smart and fit;” a not traditionally good looking 20-something male; a 30-something guy who “apparently doesn’t need to be fit” (that could be me!); a 70-something male “with strong opinions and tough demeanour” (but don’t go thinking that’s Harrison Ford cuz he too “doesn’t need to be fit”); and a late 20-something male who is “handsome and confident.”

Rumours have circulated since January that Episode VII could have a female lead, with SlashFilm reporting that Matthew Vaughn, who was in the running to direct Episode VII, may have pitched a storyline that featured Chloë Grace Moretz as the lead.

Right now, the plot for the upcoming film, which is being scripted by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), is one of Hollywood’s most closely guarded secrets. Another big question mark is the involvement of original trilogy stars Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Ford (Han Solo), and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), all of whom have said they are open to returning to the franchise.

Earlier this month at the Produced By Conference in Los Angeles, Abrams said his new film will try not to repeat the past. “It is so massive and so important to people,” he was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter as saying. “I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honouring but not revering what came before.”

In an interview with Access Hollywood this week, Star Wars creator George Lucas said that he hasn’t been in contact with Abrams over the new film. “I have not spoken to J.J. He’s been busy with Star Trek. I’m sure he’ll let me know when he’s got some questions.”

So what do you think folks? Do you have plot ideas you’d like to see Abrams explore in the new film? Would you like to see a female in the lead role? Let us know what you think in the comments.

‘M:I 4′ director not doing ‘Star Wars VII’ and ‘Insidious 2′ gets release date

- November 20th, 2012

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Two big pieces of movie news have trickled onto the web over the past several days.

The first, and arguably, most important being that Brad Bird, director of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, will not be doing Star Wars: Episode VII. We’ve seen a lot of names linked to the new film since it was announced last month that Lucasfilm had sold the property to Disney, who are planning a new trilogy beginning in 2015.

J.J. Abrams, who rebooted Star Trek in 2009, was one name that was bandied about, as was Lucas’ friend Steven Spielberg (sorry, but he has announced he’s done with action films).

In a tweet, Bird confirmed he is doing a sci-fi film, but it’s not gonna be Star Wars.

‘The science fiction film I AM doing is gonna be cool,’ he wrote. ‘That said, Michael Arndt (the Toy Story 3 scribe who is writing the screenplay) is a fantastic writer and Kathy Kennedy is a brilliant producer. I will be first in line to see the new STAR WARS.’

Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn has been linked to the upcoming Episode VII, as has Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau and Joe Johnston (who worked at Lucasfilm in the 1970s).

Then there’s Joss Whedon (unlikely, as he’s obligated to do Avengers 2).

Whomever Disney bosses go with, they better hop to it. The film is scheduled to hit theatres in three short years.

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Leigh Whannell (left) and James Wan are seen in a photo from the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Stan Behal/QMI AGENCY)

Continuing with some exciting movie news is word that James Wan and Leigh Whannell are returning to direct and write Insidious Chapter 2.

The sequel will once again feature Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.

In an interview with me in 2010 for the first film, Wan revealed that the pair wanted to make a scary film without the gore.

“Leigh and I really wanted to prove that a scary movie doesn’t need gore,” Wan said. “Scary movies are best when they play on people’s fears, fears that their loved ones may be in trouble by forces beyond their control… to make a movie where it’s the atmosphere that creeps people out – that’s tricky.”

Chapter 2 starts filming in the new year and my only glitch is that it is skedded to hit theatres August 30, so no TIFF Midnight Madness screening.

Bah Humbug.

Twitter: @markhdaniell

Harrison Ford ‘open’ to doing ‘Star Wars 7′

- November 6th, 2012

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It’s been almost 30 years since Harrison Ford appeared as Han Solo in Return of the Jedi, but after Disney announced it is producing a new series of Star Wars films it looks like the actor wants to make a return to his most iconic role.

Entertainment Weekly quotes a “highly placed source” who says that “Harrison is open to the idea of doing the movie and he’s upbeat about it.” As you’ll remember, Ford’s part as Han Solo in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi propelled him on to Blade Runner, the Indiana Jones series and The Fugitive, among others.

The plot line of the upcoming Star Wars sequel is a secret, but when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in a $4.05 billion deal last month the deal included “a pretty extensive treatment of the next three movies.”

Creator George Lucas, who had always envisioned the films as a nine-part series, said that his goal was to “pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers.” On Monday, Collider reported that Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Wanted, and X-Men: First Class) was in talks to direct Episode VII.

The news about the planned films didn’t surprise Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy. The actor told Entertainment Weekly last month that Lucas had revealed his plans for the new films to both him and actress Carrie Fisher (who played Princess Leia).

“George did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [Episodes] VII, VIII and IX,” Hamill told the magazine.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ford will be waiting until there is a finished script and director in place before agreeing to reprise the character.

Still also up in the air for the actor is a possible 5th Indy film and the Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner sequel. But given the choice between Doctor Jones, Deckard and Han Solo, I think we know who audiences will choose.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.