MARVEL NEWS: A WHOLE HEAP OF “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS” CASTING NEWS & RUMORS; ED NORTON TO NOT BE CAST IN “AVENGERS”; MORE NEWS ON “GHOST RIDER 2”; CHRIS EVANS ON CAP’S COSTUME & MARVEL PROMOTIONAL TIDBITS!
– This week has seen quite a lot of casting movement around Fox’s “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS” film, which has begun production. Spinoff Online noted that stage actor Ben Walker, rumored to be up for the part of Hank McCoy in the film, has rejected the role in order to focus on his Broadway career (www.spinoffonline.com/2010/07/03/first-class-rumor-walker-chooses-broadway-over-the-beast/). In addition to wanting to remain on Broadway, rumor was that Fox brass were nervous that Walker was only five years younger than James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who were playing Xavier and Magneto. Showbiz411 has noted that Fox apparently “wants to get X-Men right” following some flops at the box office for them, including the recent “MARMADUKE” and “THE A-TEAM” (www.showbiz411.com/2010/07/02/ben-walker-chooses-broadway-over-x-men-final-stand). Over at Ain’t It Cool News, their insider “Quint” has stated that Aaron Johnson, who played the lead in “KICK-***” (which was another project that director Matthew Vaughn worked on), is probably Vaughn’s choice to play the role of Scott Summers, and that Fox will make an official announcement soon (www.aintitcool.com/node/45700). Ever since Matthew Vaughn was attached to the project after “KICK-***” hit theaters (and became a modest hit), rumors have circulated that he would cast Johnson as Cyclops, or at least as some mutant in this first class. Johnson has also been spotted alongside James McAvoy recently. The Straight 2 DVD blog interviewed surfer/actress Erica Hosseini about her auditioning for the part of a mutant named Willow for the film, which she described as requiring full body paint (maartenbouw.blogspot.com/2010/07/interview-with-erica-hosseini.html); Willow is a mutant created originally for the X-MEN 2099 comic series in the 90’s, who was a shape shifter like Mystique. Fox often simply plucks mutant cameos out of thin air, and it is possible they would want another sultry female shape-shifter without relying on Mystique again. Deadline Hollywood, however, has once again scored the top announcements of the week. According to them, Fox has rebounded from the Ben Walker flirtation and cast Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy/Beast; Hoult has been in “ABOUT A BOY”, the new “CLASH OF THE TITANS” and “A SINGLE MAN” (www.deadline.com/2010/07/x-men-first-class-finds-a-beast-in-nicholas-hoult/). He was cast in Warner Brothers’ “MAD MAX: ROAD FURY”, but will apparently star in “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS” first. Back on June 28th, Latino Review reported a rumor of young actor Caleb Landry Jones (from “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS”) was a “top pick” to be cast as Sean Cassidy/Banshee (www.latinoreview.com/news/exclusive-the-top-contender-for-the-role-of-banshee-in-x-men-first-class-is-10339). This week, Deadline has confirmed that he has indeed been cast as the Irish mutant (www.deadline.com/2010/07/another-mutant-cast-as-caleb-landry-jones-plays-banshee/). It is worth noting that in 2003’s “X-MEN 2”, Cassidy’s daughter Siryn appeared in the film. Super Hero Hype (as well as Coming Soon.net) confirms that Nicholas Hoult has indeed been cast as Beast (www.superherohype.com/news/articles/103601-beast-and-banshee-cast-for-x-men-first-class). As if that wasn’t enough casting news for you, Entertainment Weekly had a report about the casting of “new young stars” for this feature and dropped the word that Lucas Til from “HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE” has been cast (or is negotiating to be cast) in the film, possibly as Alex Summers/Havok, Cyclops’ younger brother (hollywoodinsider.ew.com/2010/07/08/x-men-nicholas-hoult-caleb-landry-jones/). It is possible that Fox sees this movie as a major chance to capitalize on the whole “young stud” craze in films such as “TWILIGHT” to line up a lot of up and coming actors in this film, or at least to chase a trend. This would also be the first X-Men movie, and in general the first presentation of the X-Men in any alternate medium since a 1960’s appearance in Namor the Sub-Mariner’s TV show that did not feature Wolverine.
– In additional X-Men news, Marvel has released a promotional image for X-MEN #2 (yes, X-MEN has been relaunched; do not confuse it for X-MEN: LEGACY, which was formerly X-MEN before the title itself changed) here: www.comicbookresources.com/. It features Cyclops and the rest of the X-Men (alongside Blade) examining the scale of their fight against vampires, which is the newest X-event ahead after “Second Coming”. They also announced that X-MEN #1, which went on sale July 8th, “sold out” and will have a second print (in that issue, 1990’s era icon Jubilee became a vampire). The artwork is by Paco Medina with Victor Gischler. Meanwhile, a Joe Quesada drawn variant cover of “One Moment In Time” is featured here: www.comicbookresources.com/.
– As Sony battles their licensing deadline to retain the film production rights to Ghost Rider, MTV has an interview with Nick Cage in regards to production rumors about “GHOST RIDER 2” (www.mtv.com/news/articles/1643142/20100707/story.jhtml). Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (the duo behind “CRANK”) are working on it, and Cage states that he likes them as well as the new script that has been produced “very, very much”. He describes the 2007 as, essentially, “what if Disney did Faust“ and that it was intentionally supposed to have a lighter, Western feel. This second film “goes in another trajectory” than the first. Cage danced around the question of whether this would be a direct sequel or a “soft relaunch” such as “INCREDIBLE HULK” in 2008 was to “HULK” from 2003. Cage merely said that “it’s the same guy” in regards to the Rider. The studio was prepared to produce this sequel without Cage, but the actor remains very passionate about the character, so it likely is a smarter move to remain with him. It is worth remembering that while the critical reviews were mixed of the initial PG-13 effort, despite the character being lesser known than other heroes and a budget of $120-$140 million, it debuted at #1 in it’s first week and became a modest hit (even if not a mega blockbuster hit).
– Chris Evans talks about the Captain America costume he is working with for “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER”, which debuts July 22nd, 2010 with Empire Magazine (www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp). The concept art for the costume was leaked online last month, but there often are differences between concept and reality with anything, especially costumes. Evans stated that “It’s an amazing costume. Given the fact that his costume is red, white and blue, and it’s tight, and it could be kind of flash and over the top – and given the fact that the movie takes place in the ‘40s and ‘50s – they’ve done a really good job of making it look really cool. I think everyone that’s going to see it is going to say, ‘Okay, well done. Well done. I think they got the costume right. The casting they completely ruined, but the costume they nailed!” Evans stated that the costume is more “cumbersome” and “doesn’t breathe” as well as his costume from the two Fantastic Four films, but considering it was designed to have been in World War II, Evans feels that is expected. He also mentions that there have been several tests for the shield already in London.
– Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige sent a direct statement to HitFlix that Edward Norton will not reprise his role as Dr. Bruce Banner (www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-motion-captured/posts/exclusive-marvel-confirms-they-will-hire-new-hulk-for-avengers). Feige stated that the decision was not due to monetary issues, but that they wanted to choose an actor who would gell better with the ensemble cast for “THE AVENGERS” in 2012. Norton’s desire to reprise his role as Banner has been hot and cold, and he was reportedly not happy with how 2008’s “THE INCREDIBLE HULK” was edited for the theatrical cut (and to retaliate Norton mostly refused to promote the film). As an additional wrinkle in this story, Edward Norton’s agent released a response to HitFlix barely 24 hours later (www.hitfix.com/articles/2010-7-11-exclusive-edward-norton-s-agent-responds-to-marvel-ceo-s-statement) laying out a damning case in which Marvel Studios and Edward Norton’s “people” were in negotiations to have Norton star in “THE AVENGERS” and to meet with Joss Whedon and make an official announcement at the San Diego Comic Con, but that Marvel’s reps decided at the last minute to go with a less expensive actor. The agent uses terms such as “purposefully misleading” to describe Kevin Feige’s statement on Saturday and feels the decision was made financially. Rumors speculated that Terrance Howard was replaced as James Rhodes by Don Cheadle in “IRON MAN 2” because Howard demanded more pay, which has been denied. The unwillingness to offer any actor up for the part of Captain America more than roughly 600k per film regardless of box office grosses was probably why the casting process for that lead took weeks longer than anticipated. It does add to the idea that Marvel is saving money for special effects here. Norton’s performance as Bruce Banner was critically acclaimed and fans of Norton or the 2008 Hulk film likely may not be pleased. “THE AVENGERS” develops it’s first public relations hiccup even though it is two years away.
This will clearly replace SPAWN as Image’s best known comic.
INDIE NEWS: UPDATES ON “WALKING DEAD” TV SHOW, “CONAN”, AND “SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD; WILL “SIN CITY 2” EVER HAPPEN?
– In more updates from the set of AMC’s “THE WALKING DEAD” TV show, their official blog had an interview with production designer Greg Melton (blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/2010/07/greg-melton-interview.php). He states that his experiences working on “TALES FROM THE CRYPT” for years have helped, and enjoys working around a project based around a comic book because he sees the comics as a storyboard. Set up for some shots often can take ten to twelve hours to prepare for proper zombie filming. JoBlo.com has also announced that Michelle MacLaren, who was a producer (as well as one time director) of “THE X-FILES”, will perhaps direct an episode of the show (www.joblo.com/arrow/index.php).
– Bleeding Cool has some more images from the set of the new “CONAN” film featuring Jason Momoa as the titular barbarian, which include one action style pose (www.bleedingcool.com/2010/07/05/yet-another-new-conan-image/). A trailer is apparently being prepared, although the film will debut in 2011. The last Conan film was 1984’s “CONAN THE DESTROYER”, which had Arnold Schwarznegger reprising the role that, in 1982, started his streak to Hollywood stardom.
– Spinoff Online has the newest poster for “SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD” on their website here: www.spinoffonline.com/2010/07/06/new-poster-arrives-for-scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world/. It is a bit more “mainstream” than previous posters, but that is to be expected as it’s debut gets closer. Considering it is a movie about a comic that is more of a cult, underground hit with youngsters versus something more well known in a summer when not even Shrek could deliver a break out hit, one imagines the studio is crossing their fingers about this one, hoping the tweens vote with their dollars.
– Robert Rodriguez talks to Ain’t It Cool News about wanting to do “SIN CITY 2”, although he states that no studio wants to finance it, so he is considering doing so himself (www.aintitcool.com/node/45690).
It got attention, but how did it sell?
DC NEWS: SUPERMAN FILM HAS A DIRECTOR? FILM DATE FOR “BATMAN 3” SET & MORE WONDER WOMAN #600 NEWS!
– The Superman Homepage has received a tip that Chris Columbus (no, not THAT Chris Columbus, he’s dead) is being looked at to direct the next Superman film, which is being produced by Chris Nolan and working from a script written by David Goyer (www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php). This is the Chris Columbus who directed the first two Harry Potter films for Warner Brothers. Apparently, Goyer wanted to direct this film himself, but the studio was wary about allowing him to do so – Goyer had written for “BATMAN BEGINS”, “THE DARK KNIGHT” and “HELLBOY”.
– Several stars of “RED”, notably Bruce Willis and Hellen Mirren, will appear on a panel at the San Deigo Comic Con in the near future (www.deadline.com/2010/07/summit-stokes-red-and-drive-angry-3d-at-comic-con/).
– ABC 26 has video footage from the production of “GREEN LANTERN” being filmed in New Orleans (www.abc26.com/news/local/wgno-news-green-lantern-behind-the-scenes-lakefront-airport,0,7185051.story). The film opens next June and this is the first video footage from the film being offered online.
– Actor Michael Caine, who is doing the press release tango for Chris Nolan’s “INCEPTION”, let it slip to Digital Spy that filming for “BATMAN 3” (working title) will begin filming next April for a release date of July 20th, 2012 (www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a240709/caine-confirms-batman-3-filming-date.html). He knows little else about the film besides that date, though, as Nolan has been busy with his latest feature. Caine, naturally, will be reprising his role as Alfred Pennyworth for a third time. In minor Batman film updates, the Batmobile as constructed for “BATMAN FOREVER” will appear in the remake of the comedy “ARTHUR” (www.superherohype.com/news/articles/103597-batmobile-spotted-on-the-arthur-set).
– While J. Michael Stracynski has gotten much attention working on Superman, writer Peter Cornell (who wrote CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13 as well as DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS) has become the new writer on ACTION COMICS. He has announced plans to have Neil Gaimain’s Death make a crossover appearance in the series to meet Lex Luthor (www.comicbookresources.com/). The last time characters from the legendary SANDMAN run made an appearance in the DC Universe proper, it was during Grant Morrison’s JLA tenure.
– As a follow up to last week’s long segment about WONDER WOMAN #600 (featuring her costume and direction change), DC has announced on their official blog, “The Source” that that issue “sold out”, and will receive a reprint with a new cover by Don Kramer (dcu.blog.dccomics.com/2010/07/07/wonder-woman-600-sells-out/). The entry also has a look at both covers to WONDER WOMAN #601. It is worth a reminder that without any hard numbers, an announcement that something has “sold out” from a company means very little. In the direct market, comics are printed to order – that means as many copies are ordered by retailers will determine how many copies of a comic is actually printed and shipped. Companies often print a few thousand extra in case of increased demand or damaged copies, but these figures are rarely given out. While Diamond has not released hard numbers on sales, they have released a list of their Top 100 selling comics for June 2010, and WONDER WOMAN #600 sold within the Top 25 (at #24); prior issues usually sold on average around the Top 60-80, implying it sold at least double if not triple what May’s issue sold (diamondcomics.com/public/default.asp). But as the 600th issue would have always drawn retailer attention for collectable purposes, the real test of the popularity of this new direction will be how Wonder Woman’s sales hold up in July, August, and September. For the record, BATMAN #700 sold at #2 and SUPERMAN #700 sold at #12 of that Top 100 list; it truly is man’s world. In addition, WONDER WOMAN #600 was apparently outsold by GREEN ARROW #1, as well as issues of THE FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, GREEN LANTERN CORPS, and JLA. It could not even outsell Marvel’s NEW MUTANTS #14. In the short term, at least, the move has allowed Wonder Woman into the Top 25 as well as to outsell an issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA for the first time in ages (or even outsell other DC heroine titles such as BIRDS OF PREY, SUPERGIRL, or BATGIRL), and the announcement at least proved that there is public recognition and media sympathy for the character, which will help with a potential (even inevitable) movie pitch.
* As always, a sprite comic by this Examiner:
(sprites edited from Capcom by Scrollboss Prime OP and this Examiner)
For more info: Comic Book Resources – www.comicbookresources.com
Super Hero Hype – www.superherohype.com
Sprites from Fighters Generation – www.fightersgeneration.com & Scrollboss Prime OP – scrollboss.illmosis.net/mainmenu.php
Last Week’s Comic News – www.dampfang.com/x-19829-Brooklyn-Comic-Books-Examiner~y2010m7d2-Comic-News-for-7210-Wonder-Womans-New-Look-Sony-Casts-New-Spidey–More