Release Date for Batman 3 Confirmed

The late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
The late Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Warner Bros’ distribution chief, Dan Fellman, recently sent out an email confirming the release date for Christopher Nolan’s (THE DARK KNIGHT, INCEPTION) BATMAN 3 and it’s the 20th of July, 2012. While this isn’t too surprising (given that both of the previous BATMAN reboots were released on that date and INCEPTION is due out on the 16th of July this year) it’s good to know that the film isn’t too far off.

BATMAN 3 will be going up against a lot of stiff competition in 2012 as THE AVENGERS, SPIDER-MAN, BATTLESHIP and STAR TREK 2 are all also being released in two years time. Very little is known about the third BATMAN reboot, it doesn’t even have a name yet, but we know that Nolan’s brother is working hard on the script and that most of the main cast are contracted for a third film.
Now let’s get writing our villain wish lists….

Jonah Hex Trailer

Here’s Warner Brother’s trailer (courtesy of Yahoo Movies) for JONAH HEX, the film adaptation of DC Comic’s western hero of the same name.
The trailer makes it clear that liberties have been taken with the character. Long time antagonist Quentin Trunbull (John Malkovich) appears to have replaced the Apache tribe’s role in Hex’s (Josh Brolin) origin and the protagonist’s essential nature and abilities have been pushed more firmly into the supernatural realm.
Judging from the weaponry on display, it looks like a little touch of steam-punk WILD WILD WEST aesthetic has been added to the mix as well. 
The Clint Eastwood-inspired anti-hero was created by John Albano and artist Tony DeZuniga for DC’s Weird Western Tales (first full story appearing in #10 of it’s former title, All-Star Western). Jonah Hex had his own title from 1977-85, scripted mainly by Michael Fleisher.
In more recent years, writers such as Joe R. Landsdale (BUBBA HOTEP) have given their own takes on the character, involving him in a variety of strange escapades, including sojourns into the future.
JONAH HEX also stars Megan Fox and Will Arnet.
Screenplay by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (CRANK, GAMER).
Directed by Jimmy Hayward (HORTON HEARS A WHO!).
Due out June 18, 2010 from Warner Bros. Entertainment.

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.

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?

Kick-Ass: Cinefantastique Podcast 1:10

Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) takes on mob boss Frank DAmico (Mark Strong).
Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) takes on mob boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong).

Cinefantastique’s Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction Podcast returns with a blow-by-blow knock-down debate regarding the merits (or lack thereof) in the new comic-book superhero fantasy KICK ASS, starring Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, and Nicolas Cage. Does the film kick ass, or does it fall flatter than an empty cape? Also on the agenda, the usual round-up of news, recommendations, and home video releases.


Sam Mendes Leaves Preacher

Cover art for the Preacher comic book
Cover art for the Preacher comic book

Last Autumn came the encouraging news that Sam Mendes (JARHEAD, ROAD TO PERDITION) planned to adapt Garth Ennis’s seminal comic book Preacher for the big screen. Now, according to Collider, Mendes is off the project as he’s too busy with the new JAMES BOND film.
This is very sad news indeed as Mendes, although not having tackled quite such controversial material before, is an exceptional film-maker and one who really seemed to understand what a adaptation of Preacher needed to be. There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud as the film’s producer, Neal Moritz, has stated that the story will be spread out over three films (the comic series is 75 issues long) and that it will most definitely be shot with an R rating in mind.
The Preacher comics were about a disillusioned preacher called Jessee Custer who after being accidentally possessed by a supernatural being goes on a roaring rampage of revenge against God himself. The comic was extremely crude, violent and graphic dealing with child molestation, bestiality, domestic abuse and serial killers. With this is mind, it’s encouraging to hear that the adaptation will be gunning for a R rating, rather than watering down proceedings.
There’s no official word on who will replace Mendes but Moritz does suggest that the writer, John August, could be taking the helm himself. If all goes well PREACHER is set to start shooting sometime next year.

Captain America and his Love Interest Get Closer

Actress Alice Eve
Actress Alice Eve

According to E! Online the casting of CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER’s female lead has been narrowed down today. English actresses Alice Eve (STARTER FOR 10, SEX AND THE CITY 2) and Hayley Atwell (THE DUCHESS, LOVE HATE) have both been called back for second test screenings.

The part is for Peggy Carter whom is basically Captain America’s love interest in the comics. Casting news for the feisty heroine has been rife lately; even Keira Knightley was mooted as a possible actress. Now it seems like it’s down to either Eve or Atwell, with a result likely next week. Which actress would you prefer to get the part?
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is due for release on the 22nd of July, 2011.

Vincenzo Natali Wants to Adapt Moore's Swamp Thing

A panel from Alan Moore's Swamp Thing comic series
A panel from Alan Moore's Swamp Thing comic series

Vincenzo Natali, the director of CUBE and the upcoming sci-fi horror film SPLICE, has expressed his interest in adapting Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing comic book series to MTV News. Comic book character Swamp Thing has appeared in numerous films and television series but so far none have tackled Moore’s specific interpretation of the creature.
Alan Moore, famous for penning such comics as From Hell, Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has had an extremely difficult time dealing with the film adaptations of his work. He even went as far as to ask not to be credited on any after the release THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN but his run on the Swamp Thing series was a deep, interesting and unique portrayal of the titular character. Here’s what Natali had to say about the series,

“There are two incarnations of Swamp Thing — both of them are quite wonderful. The first one was by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, which was a more traditional sort of retake on classic, James Whale-style, Universal Studio horror films. Then Alan Moore reinvented the character in the early ’80s, and that’s actually the version that’s a little more interesting to me”.

He adds,

“[Swamp Thing] kind of became… I don’t want to call him an ecological superhero, but he became an ecological character quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s a comic book, but it delves into some very interesting stuff, both psychological and philosophical”.

From the sounds of it, Natali really understands the comics and although his previous films haven’t been of outstanding quality, they’ve always shown promise so I’m behind the idea. I dare not wonder what Moore thinks of it though…

Ford Officially on board for Cowboys & Aliens

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford’s (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES) involvement in Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN, ZATHURA) sci-fi western, COWBOYS & ALIENS, was confirmed today by the director on his Twitter account. Rumours have already been circulating
as to whether Ford had been cast in the film but now Favreau has officially let the cat out of the bag.
Ford will act alongside Daniel Craig in the comic adaptation in which cowboys try to fend off extraterrestrial being in the old west.  The plot sounds like a lot of fun and Favreau has more than proved himself as a director whom is up to the task. The addition of Ford to the cast could be the icing on the cake, provided the veteran actor lets loose his funnier side that, frankly, has been missing for far too long.
COWBOYS & ALIENS is currently in pre-production but already has a release date set for the 29th of July, 2011.

The Walking Dead Lead is Cast

Andrew Lincoln
Andrew Lincoln

Last month we reported that Frank Darabont’s AMC zombie TV series, THE WALKING DEAD, had been greenlit and now Comingsoon have the scoop that Andrew Lincoln (ENDURING LOVE, LOVE ACTUALLY) has been cast in the lead role. The announcement from AMC also includes the addition of Jack LoGiudice (SONS OF ANARCHY) as Co-Executive Producer.

Previous reports had Johnny Lee Miller pegged to play the part of Rick Grimes, the leader in a group of survivors trying to stay alive in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, but it seems AMC had other ideas. “Andrew is an incredibly gifted actor. He has the presence and attitude to bring this character and story to life. We are thrilled that he is joining the cast,” Joel Stillerman, SVP of original programming, production and digital content at AMC said.
Robert Kirkman, writer for the comic book series, also had this to add, “Andrew Lincoln, wow — what an amazing find this guy is. Writing Rick Grimes month after month in the comic series, I had no idea he was an actual living breathing human being and yet here he is.” Encouraging words indeed but I just don’t see it as a viable fit. Andrew Lincoln is by no means a bad actor but he hasn’t shown the capability for such an aggressive, messed-up character such as Rick. So far he’s mostly played rom-com fodder but he could, of course, surprise me by displaying range I was unaware he was capable of.
We’ll know for sure when THE WALKING DEAD hits TV screens later this October.