Updated Info on Marvel's Ant Man

Marvels comic book hero Ant Man
Marvels comic book hero Ant Man

SuperHeroHype have been talking with Marvel Studios President of Production, Kevin Feige, on the eve of IRON MAN 2’s release and he has some new information about one of the studio’s smaller properties, ANT MAN. Apparently Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ) is still directing the comic book adaptation and is set to start work on it once SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD is released.
In the Marvel comics ANT MAN had several incarnations; first was Dr Henry “Hank” Pym, whom invented the various methods for someone to reduce their size and assume the identity of ANT MAN and then there was Scott Lang, a thief who was reformed with the aid of Pym and Iron Man and became the second ANT MAN. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish have written several drafts of the film adaptation but SCOTT PILGRIM had put the project on hold. With PILGRIM almost finished Feige reveals,

“Edgar was in LA last week, we sat down, and we started working on a calendar of when to get him back into it once he finishes promoting Scott Pilgrim, so I think towards the end of this year, early next year we’d start looking at early prep for that, but certainly for a release date after The Avengers.

So even though ANT-MAN is a long way off (I’d wager on a 2013 release being planned) it is still happening. Edgar Wright is a more than capable director and based on the PILGRIM teaser trailer, looks as if he can handle a larger budget superhero film such as this.

Paramount Making The Ring 3

Still from the Japanese version of The Ring
Still from the Japanese version of The Ring

According to The Hollywood Reporter Paramount are giving horror series THE RING, which is based on the Japanese originals, another shot. The studio are planning to make THE RING 3 with a younger cast in mind and of course, want to shoot it in 3D.
The original RING films were about a mysterious and cursed videotape which once watched would mean certain death as the ghost of a teenage girl came to, ahem, ‘visit’ the viewer. It’s been a long time since much was heard about American RING series; the first instalment arrived way back in 2002 and was followed by a sequel in 2005. In the wake of Paramount and DreamWorks’ split they’ve had to divide their projects and it seems Paramount have been given the rights to gear up for a second RING sequel.
David Loucka (BOARDERLINE, DREAM HOUSE) has been hired to pen the film which will follow the recent Hollywood trend of casting younger actors in the lead roles, most likely in order to save money and further identify with a younger target audience. Paramount are also jumping on the 3D bandwagon with THE RING 3 and although 3D is getting rather tiresome, the idea of Samara lurching out of the cinema screen at the audience is pretty haunting.

Third Last Airbender Trailer Arrives

The third trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s (THE SIXTH SENSE, LADY IN THE WATER) new fantasy epic, THE LAST AIRBENDER has arrived on Apple Trailers for all to see. This new promo features some previously released footage but focuses more on outlining the main storyline and has plenty of new action to show off. View it for yourselves on the left.

THE LAST AIRBENDER is a new fantasy film adapted from the TV cartoon series of the same name which follows Aang, a young successor to a long line of Avatars, who must put his childhood ways aside and stop the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water, Earth and Air nations. The film was written and directed by Shyamalan and stars Cliff Curtis (PUSH, SUNSHINE) Dev Patel (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) and newcomer Noah Ringer.

Dev Patel in The Last Airbender
Dev Patel in The Last Airbender

Not being a fan of the TV series and considering Shyamalan’s only good film was THE SIXTH SENSE, I was understandably ready to ignore AIRBENDER. Since watching the latest trailer, however, I may have to re-evaluate that position. The set design, special effects, scope and action set-pieces displayed in this latest trailer are very impressive and it seems Shyamalan may have somewhat of a sleeper hit on his hands.
THE LAST AIRBENDER is released on the 2nd of July this summer.

Final Destination 5 Secures a Writer

Still from Final Destination 3
Still from Final Destination 3

You’ll remember last month we reported that the FINAL DESTINATION franchise was to receive a forth sequel and now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line have hired someone to write the thing. The studio have chosen Eric Heisserer, who previously worked on new versions of THE THING and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

Both THE THING and NIGHTMARE were troubled projects which Heisserer helped whip into shape so New Line are probably hoping he can do the same for their franchise as the last instalment, THE FINAL DESTINATION, was hit with production problems and a suffered a critical beating upon its release. Since the high concept core of the franchise (group of attractive youths escape death at a disaster, Grim Reaper then kills them off one by one in a creative fashion) is its main selling point it’s unlikely Heisserer will shake things up too much.
That said, a little change and innovation is exactly what this series is in need of so hopefully he’ll do something to make this a more memorable sequel. There’s no specific plot details or release date yet but we here at Cinefantastique Online will keep you updated on FINAL DESTINATION 5 as it progresses.

Ghost Rider 2 Gains Momentum

Still from the first Ghost Rider film
Still from the first Ghost Rider film

According to New York Magazine’s Vulture blog comic book movie sequel, GHOST RIDER 2, is definitely on its way. After the first film made $270m worldwide way back in 2007 a sequel is finally coming together, with or without its star, Nicolas Cage (KICK-ASS, THE WICKER MAN).

Work on GHOST RIDER 2 has been fast-tracked since copyrights holder Columbia now has until November to start the thing or the rights go back to Marvel (who are know owned by Disney).  Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman (FLASH FORWARD) have apparently just finished a new draft of the script which is being watched over by David S. Goyer, and the studio have a shortlist of directors (which doesn’t include original director Mark Steven Johnson) for the film.
There’s doubt over whether Cage will return as the titular GHOST RIDER since he’s currently busy with promotional duties on THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE and might be involved with NATIONAL TREASURE 3. Since Cage was probably the biggest selling point for the first film it’ll be interesting to see how Columbia deal with this one.What do you think, does the prospect of a GHOST RIDER sequel excite you? Will you miss Cage in the central role?

UPDATE: Scott Breaks Silence on Alien Prequel/s 3D

Director Ridley Scott
Director Ridley Scott

MTV have been speaking to Ridley Scott (ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER) during his ROBIN HOOD press tour and have managed to squeeze some exciting information out of him in regards to ALIEN 5. We’ve been aware that Scott has signed on to direct the prequel for a while but the director has remained largely silent on the project. That is, up until now.
According to Scott the script is progressing well,

“As we speak, I’ve got a pile of pages next to me; it’s like the fourth draft. It’s a work in progress, but we’re not dreaming it up anymore. We know what the story is.”

As for what exactly we can expect from this story Scott says,

“It’s set in 2085, about 30 years before Sigourney [Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley]. It’s fundamentally about going out to find out ‘Who the hell was that Space Jockey?” He adds, “I’m basically explaining who that Space Jockey — we call him the Space Jockey — I’m explaining who the space jockeys were.”

He also mentions changing the appearance of the alien with original designer H.R. Giger,

“I have to design — or redesign — earlier versions of what these elements are that led to the thing you finally see in “Alien,” which is the thing that catapults out of the egg, the face-hugger…Once I get more serious and get going, and the big wheels start turning, we’ll certainly talk. And maybe we’ll come up with something completely different.”

It’s good to hear Scott finally talk about ALIEN 5 and if I had to choose anyone to direct the film it would be him but I still have my reservations about the project. Every single ALIEN film since ALIENS has been pretty dire and prequels are rarely successful ventures. Furthermore, focusing on the Space Jockey race of aliens and redesigning the original alien will be extremely hard tasks for Scott to pull off but if he does, it could be the true return to form the series so rightly deserves.
There’s no official release date for ALIEN 5 as of yet but Scott says he’s, “Hoping to have it in theaters in late 2011, or maybe the best date in 2012”.
UPDATE: Collider have also been grilling Scott about ALIEN 5 and apparently it’s two films, not one, and is going to be shot in 3D. Scott says, “It’ll be two. Prequel one and two, then ALIEN 1 .” When asked if he will be filming them back to back, his response was, “At the moment I’m just trying to get the first one out.” He was also asked if it’ll be in 3D, to which he replied, “Of course, it’ll be 3D”. Pretty big news then, but I can’t say either are indicative of quality. If anything, this has just made me even more sceptical about the project.

Breck Eisner Escaping New York

Director Breck Eisner
Director Breck Eisner

According to The Hollywood Reporter Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES, SAHARA) is in negotiations to direct the remake of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK for New Line. The studio have been trying to get a remake of the 1980s action film off the ground for a while now but seem to have finally settled on Eisner as the man to helm the project.

New Line secured the rights to remake ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK way back in March 2007 with Gerard Butler (300, GAMER) attached to star and Ken Nolan (BLACK HAWK DOWN) writing a script. The project was then banished to development hell as it lost Butler, was passed onto the usual array of writers and lost its director. Now it seems the remake is back on track but is still missing one thing; a lead actor.
The original film, directed by none other than John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN, THE THING), was set in a futuristic 1997 in which Manhattan had been turned into a giant maximum-security prison. The U.S. president’s plane crashes on the island, and ex-con Snake Plissken (played by legendary actor Kurt Russell) is coerced into a leading the rescue mission. Whether or not the remake will follow the originals plot this accurately is unknown at present.
Eisner did a surprisingly good job at remaking THE CRAZIES but Romero’s original film was in dire need of remaking; ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is not. I’m all for a remake if the original film doesn’t stand up today but ESCAPE still does and I can only see New Line making it worse, not better.
Cinefantastique Online will bring you more on this project as it develops.

Byrne and Wilson Cast in The Astral

Actor Patrick Wilson
Actor Patrick Wilson

Bloody Disgusting have the scoop that director James Wan’s (SAW, DEAD SILENCE) next horror film is coming together as Patrick Wilson (WATCHMEN, HARD CANDY), Rose Byrne (28 WEEKS LATER, SUNSHINE) and Barbara Hershey (THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, FALLING DOWN) have now all been cast in THE ASTRAL.

THE ASTRAL (previously known as INSIDIOUS) sees Wan re-teaming with his SAW co-writer Leigh Whannell and follows a young family which makes the terrifying discovery that the body of their comatose son has become a magnet for malevolent entities. Meanwhile his consciousness lies trapped in a dark and insidious realm known only as ‘The Further’.
The film has a great cast (especially Wilson, who recently impressed me in both WATCHMEN and LITTLE CHILDREN) but nothing that Wan has done since SAW has been anywhere near as good as his début.  Hopefully the fact that he’s back working with Whannell will change things and make THE ASTRAL a return to form for the director.
THE ASTRAL has no definitive release date but expect to see it appear sometime in 2011.

Battle Angel Next for Cameron?

Frame from the Battle Angel Alita manga
Frame from the Battle Angel Alita manga

According to Sci-Fi Wire James Cameron (ALIENS, AVATAR) is hard at work on his adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga, BATTLE ANGEL ALITA, and it may be his next directorial project. He detailed his plans for the film at yesterday’s Earth Day ceremony at 20th Century Fox Studios which marked the debut of the AVATAR Blu-ray and DVD release.

The BATTLE ANGEL ALITA series is set in the future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all her memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art, ‘Panzer Kunst’, which leads to her becoming a bounty hunter. Cameron has been planning a film version for years now but it sounds as if the project is finally coming closer to fruition. Speaking about ALITA Cameron said,

“I just love the character. Maybe it’s from having daughters. I have three daughters, and thinking about what it’s like, the main character is this little girl that everybody kind of ignores. She’s got such a heroic heart on the inside, I’ve always loved that character”.

Cameron, speaking about AVATAR 2, also states that,

“Look, Avatar 2 is going to get made. It’s a question of is it the next film or is there something else in between. I haven’t made that decision yet.”

Fox Film Entertainment co-chairman and chief executive officer Tom Rothman says he doesn’t mind whether Cameron decides to made AVATAR 2 or ALITA next,

“My preference is only that he makes another great movie for us. We’ve seen a lot of the stuff on Battle Angel over the last year, so we’re very fired up about it. Look, James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have been in business together for over 25 years, one of the most successful partnerships in the history of the movie business, so that’s something obviously that will continue”.

From the sounds of these interviews it’s highly likely Cameron will make ALITA his top priority post-AVATAR; the studio have no preference and he still sounds very involved in the project. The real question is, should he? Although Cameron clearly has a passion for the source material I have doubts as to whether he’ll deliver a faithful adaptation or instead tone down the manga’s violence, change the age of the heroine and make it more of a family film. Neither of his last two films (TITANIC and AVATAR) have particularly impressed me and it seems his days of edgier sci-fi are behind him.
What do you think, is Cameron the man for an ALITA adaptation or should he stick with the Na’vi instead?

Smith And Jones Officially On For MIB 3

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the original MIB
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the original MIB

Director Barry Sonnenfeld (MEN IN BLACK, WILD WILD WEST) has been talking to Showbiz 411 and has confirmed that both Will Smith (INDEPENDENCE DAY, I AM LEGEND) and Tommy Lee Jones (SPACE COWBOYS, BATMAN FOREVER) are coming back for the third MEN IN BLACK film.

Smith has been on board Sony’s third MIB entry for a while now, but Jones’ commitment to the film has been in the balance with replacements such as Josh Brolin Sacha Baron Cohen on the cards. This news doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as Jones has spent the last few years making indie films and so is probably in need of a blockbuster to balance the books.
Not only does Sonnenfeld reveal that both actors are back but also says that MIB 3 will be, you guessed it, shot in 3D. As sick as I am of every single blockbuster having to be in 3D the MIB franchise would actually suit the format and could help make this sequel stand out from it’s predecessors. So far, plot details are scarce but as Sony are aiming to release the film on Memorial Day 2011 so it shouldn’t be long before we learn more about the film.