INTERSTELLAR trailer to play with THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG!

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The trailer for Christopher Nolan’s (THE DARK KNIGHT) new sci-fi movie INTERSTELLAR will be playing in front of showings of THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, which hits theaters on December 13, 2013. The trailer runs at a relatively short 1 minute 43 seconds, so in all likelihood this will be a teaser trailer and will not reveal too much about the mysterious project.

Plot details are unsurprisingly scarce: a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Bill Irwin, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine.

INTERSTELLAR opens November 7, 2014.

AQUAMAN movie being developed by DC Entertainment!

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AQUAMAN gets a bit of a bad rap among DC’s top tier superheroes. If you consider the DC Comics superheoes as stand-ins for Greek gods with SUPERMAN being Zeus, BATMAN being Hades, THE FLASH being Hermes, etc., then AQUAMAN is Poseidon. And no one mocks Poseidon. But since Aquaman has a silly costume and most people think his main ability is talking with marine life, he gets mocked (also, as the video game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” proved, being able to control underwater creatures has its advantages). However, DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns isn’t giving up on the underwater hero. “He’s a priority character for the company,” says Johns. Warner Bros. has already made that clear by trying to give him a TV show (the pilot wasn’t picked up) and is currently planning to release a direct-to-DVD animated feature.

Speaking to Variety, Johns explained the character’s positive aspects:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most well-known characters among super-heroes, and in popular culture,” said Johns. The ocean setting, he suggested, should work to a writer’s advantage. “We are finding new areas in the ocean every day. It’s as alien as going to outer space,” he said.

Of course, there isn’t anything official regarding an AQUAMAN feature film, but DC Comics is pushing the character hard. According to Variety:

In 2009 and 2010, Johns turned a large spotlight on Mera, Aquaman’s wife, giving her more presence and personality than she’s had in decades. “What I wanted to do was establish Mera alongside Green Lantern and The Flash in a very big way,” Johns explained, noting that he derived inspiration from the Queen Gorgo character in the 2007 Zack Snyder movie, “300.” Rather than playing up Aquaman’s Atlantis connections, Johns said he deliberately focused on developing his personality, supporting cast and enemies like Black Manta and the Ocean Master.

So despite AQUAMAN’s simple origin story which boils down to being raised in Atlantis, DC is checking off the boxes of a major love-interest and clearly defined villains. Also, he’s been given a “gritty” edge with long hair, beard, and harpoon hand. Comics Alliance does a good job of breaking down the character’s strengths and weaknesses, and personally I see his simplicity as a positive. Comics fans might not have much love for AQUAMAN, but screenwriters would have a lot of free reign because they only have to hit a few checkmarks for a general audience: He lives under the sea, can talk to sea creatures. Go nuts.

Obviously, this is all part of Warner Bros. strategy to get more DC superheroes on the big screen. AQUAMAN may seem like a joke, but honestly, so is the way the studio is scrambling to come up with a game plan. At least AQUAMAN has the creative freedom his other Justice League members lack.

Rumor: Plot details for PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

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As of this writing, we know that Johnny Depp is set to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, written by Jeff Nathanson and directed by KON-TIKI‘s Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who are aiming for a 2016 release. Everything else that follows can be filed squarely under “rumor”. I’ve got a few new possible plot details for the fifth installment of the high-seas fanchise, along with a pair of actors who could be starring alongside Depp, plus a host of character descriptions. It’ll be interesting to say the least if it all turns out to be true, but there’s a good chance it’s nothing but bilge.

We first reported on rumored plot details a couple of months ago. Here’s what we had, with but beware of SPOILERS:

(1) Witchcraft and witches play a very central role to the story.
(2) There’s a new female lead who will be a sparring partner for Jack Sparrow. She is suspected of witchcraft but is actually a woman of science.
(3) There is also a ghost in a lead role, a former member of the British military who is now sided with Captain Barbossa.
(4) Two pretty young Brits from farming families play into a subplot, filling the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley roles from the initial trilogy.
(5) The film begins with “a rather awkward wedding” and the climax involves the myth of the Bermuda Triangle.

Some of the new plot rumors support those previously reported. Here’s the new set from Mail Online (via Bleeding Cool):

(1) Jack and his team are in search of The Trident, which Keith Richards’ Teague holds valuable information to.
(2) The villain this time is Captain Brand, who wants the Trident so he can get his revenge on Jack.
(3) Brand believes Jack turned his brother Eric into a pirate, which led to his death.
(4) Also in DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES, Jack becomes enchanted by Barbosa’s daughter, Carina Smyth.
(5) She’s a beautiful woman in her late 30s who is called a witch by some but is really an adept astronomer.

The first thing you’ll notice is that Mail Online is claiming an exclusive on Keith Richards’ return to the franchise. That may very well be, but their source also said the picture was starting production in October; it’s now slated to begin filming early next year. Of interest is the Captain Brand character, which has apparently piqued the interest of Christoph Waltz. As for the role of Carina Smyth, BC reports that the studio is interested in Rebecca Hall, but there’s no further confirmation beyond that.

PIRATES IF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is set for release sometime in 2016.

Universal sets release dates: WARCRAFT, THE MUMMY, SEVENTH SON, more!

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*The following synopses come courtesy of Universal:

CYBER – January 16, 2015

Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary’s UNTITLED MICHAEL MANN PROJECT aka CYBER follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. Directed and produced by Michael Mann, the film stars Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei and Wang Leehom, and it is written by Morgan Davis Foehl and Mann. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce alongside Mann, while Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will serve as the executive producers.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR – January 23, 2015

Jennifer Lopez leads the cast in THE BOY NEXT DOOR, a psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) and written by Barbara Curry, the film also stars Ryan Guzman, John Corbett and Kristin Chenoweth. THE BOY NEXT DOOR is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, Lopez and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas of Nuyorican Productions, Benny Medina of The Medina Company and John Jacobs of Smart Entertainment.

SEVENTH SON – February 6, 2015

In a time of enchantments when legends and magic collide, the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order (Oscar® winner Jeff Bridges) travels to find a prophesized hero born with incredible powers, the last Seventh Son (Ben Barnes). Torn from his quiet life as a farmhand, the unlikely young hero embarks on a daring adventure with his battle-hardened mentor to vanquish a dark queen (Julianne Moore) and the army of supernatural assassins she has dispatched against their kingdom. Sergei Bodrov directed SEVENTH SON from a screenplay by Matt Greenberg, Charles Leavitt and Steve Knight, based on the book “The Spook’s Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney. The film is produced by Basil Iwanyk, Thomas Tull and Lionel Wigram. Jon Jashni, Brent O’Connor and Alysia Cotter are executive producers, with Jillian Share and Erica Lee co-producing. The film will be released in 3D.

WARCRAFT – March 11, 2016

Legendary Pictures’ WARCRAFT, a 3D epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based upon Blizzard Entertainment’s globally-renowned universe, will be directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and is written by Charles Leavitt and rewritten by Duncan Jones. The producers are Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Alex Gartner. Stuart Fenegan, Jillian Share and Brent O’Connor will serve as executive producers. Blizzard’s Chris Metzen will co-produce.

WARCRAFT will released in 3D by Universal Pictures, will move from December 18, 2015 (which is currently occupied by a little film called STAR WARS: EPISODE VII), to March 11, 2016

THE MUMMY – April 22, 2016

A legend that has endured since the dawn of man is reborn in THE MUMMY, Universal Pictures’ all-new epic action-adventure. THE MUMMY is conceived with dramatic intensity by an imaginative creative team including director Andy Muschietti (Mama) and producers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Star Trek and Transformers series) and Sean Daniel (The Mummy trilogy). Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) wrote the screenplay, and Bobby Cohen and Barbara Muschietti will executive produce.

Quentin Tarantino’s next film will be a Western, no other details yet!

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Quentin Tarantino started his feature film career with a string of crime films, but then changed gears with the eclectic mix of DEATH PROOF, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and DJANGO UNCHAINED. Now it looks like his next movie will see him sticking to the Western genre. During an interview on The Tonight Show, Tarantino said “I haven’t told anyone this publicly, but I will say the genre: It’s a western,” but wouldn’t go into any more details other than to say, it wouldn’t be a sequel to DJANGO UNCHAINED. Tarantino explained, “I had so much fun doing Django, and I love westerns so much that after I taught myself how to make one, it’s like ‘OK! Let me make another one now that I know what I’m doing,’”

Screenwriter BenDavid Grabinski, who was at the taping, brought the news to Hitfix‘s attention, and noted that Tarantino is almost done writing the script. Hitfix’s Drew McWeeny then provided some ideas about what the movie could be:

(1) A film about abolitionist John Brown, who led an anti-slavery revolt at Harpers Ferry in 1859 that ended with his capture. He was then tried and hanged. Tarantino says he sees Brown “as a mythic hero” and would treat the movie as a Western. Curiously, this would see him returning to the subject of slavery.

(2) There’s also the possibility of a film set in the Australian outback, but done in the style of a Western. There was a hint of that Australian flavor in Django, and I thought it was an amusing touch. However, I think I’m one of the few people who liked Tarantino’s goofy Australian accent.

(3) He could return to adapting Elmore Leonard (Tarantino previously adapted Leonard’s Rum Punch into JACKIE BROWN) by taking on the novel Forty Lashes Less One, which “deals with an Apache Indian and a disgraced black Union soldier who meet on death row before they are sent on a suicide mission to find and kill the five worst outlaws in the West.”

Earlier this year, Tarantino had teased the prospect of making a trilogy out of his “rewritten history” movies, and previously talked about wanting to make a 1920s gangster movie. There’s also KILLER CROW, which would focus on a group of black soldiers who go AWOL in 1944 after the invasion of Normandy. However, if Tarantino is determined to return to the Western, it will put these projects on the backburner. As for KILL BILL: VOL. 3, there’s no indication he’ll bring it back from the dead.

FRIDAY THE 13TH gets another reboot, March 13, 2015 release is Jason’s 13th film

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If that headline has you wondering, “Wait, didn’t they just reboot the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise four years ago?”, you’re not crazy. In a property swap between Paramount and Warner Bros. earlier this year, the former studio picked up the full rights to the horror franchise in exchange for WB getting in on Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi pic, INTERSTELLAR. Paramount moved relatively quickly in launching another installment of FRIDAY THE 13TH, which will be the thirteenth film in the series and will open on March 13, 2015.

Successful R-rated horror films of late have been produced on micro-budgets and spun into lucrative franchises. As a point of comparison, the 2010 film PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 earned a global box office of $178 million on a budget of about $3 million, while the 2009 FRIDAY THE 13TH reboot netted about $91 million worldwide on a $19 million budget. Not exactly a slouch, but when success is measured less by the total box office and more about the profit margin, the micro-budget format is the clear winner for movie studios.

There’s a chance that Paramount will borrow a bit of the modern horror movie formula as rumors suggest the use of “found footage” in the new reboot. Anything goes at this point, but at least now we’ve got a release date to set our sights on.

WB wants Paul Greengrass to direct THE STAND!

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Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Stephen King novel THE STAND has gone through plenty of ups and downs over the past few years, and it just recently lost its director—again. Scott Cooper (OUT OF THE FURNACE) joins Ben Affleck and David Yates on the list of filmmakers who were at one point attached to tackle the post-apocalyptic tale but bowed out for one reason or another. It’s a difficult adaptation for sure, but Warner Bros. is still aiming high for the property, as CAPTAIN PHILLIPS helmer Paul Greengrass currently tops the list of candidates the studio is keen on taking over the project.

The folks over at Badass Digest report that Greengrass is the top choice on a list of potential replacement candidates to helm THE STAND. He would certainly be an interesting fit for the property, as he has remained firmly in grounded, real-world stories with his previous films. There’s no telling whether he’d be interested or not, and he’s a filmmaker who very much sticks to his guns. He hasn’t yet settled on his next project, but he flirted with DreamWorks’ TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 before bowing out when the studio wouldn’t raise the budget.

If Greengrass doesn’t accept the gig, THR adds that WB is also mulling over Cary Fukunaga (JANE EYRE), Denis Villeneuve (PRISONERS), and Daniel Espinosa (SAFE HOUSE) as other possible candidates. Clearly the studio is still keen on making THE STAND happen and hopefully we hear more soon.