Rumor: Solo BATMAN movie based on “Death in the Family” and “Under the Red Hood” stories?

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Following their Wonder Woman details from last week, JoBlo rfigure they’ve sussed out the plot of the next BATMAN movie, which might just have Ben Affleck in the director’s chair. According to the site this movie will see the cinematic debut of The Red Hood, AKA the resurrected Jason Todd, and will be based on both ‘A Death In The Family’, which saw Todd murdered by the Joker, and ‘Under The Red Hood’, in which he was raised from the dead via the Lazarus pit to seek vengeance against his former mentor.

“According to our sources, the basic plotline of Affleck’s solo Batfilm is that Jason Todd has returned from the grave as the Red Hood, working in the shadows to make people think he’s Batman, while making Batman look like a criminal. At the same time he leaves clues about his identity for Bruce/Batman to ultimately solve, leading to a confrontation that will involve Batman, Red Hood, and yes, The Joker, who will feature as a primary villain alongside Red Hood.”

That’s not all: the movie will apparently also feature Dick Grayson as Nightwing, who will team up with Batman to take on Red Hood and the Joker. Expect a Nightwing reference or two in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, which may also feature a cameo from Jason Todd (his outfit did seem to appear in the latest trailer). In terms of casting, JoBlo has heard that WB and co. are searching for an unknown actor for the Red Hood role, and that the character’s look will be derived from his comic book and ‘Arkham Knight’ video game appearances.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE lands March 25, 2016 and SUICIDE SQUAD hits theaters on August 5, 2016.

Sandra Bullock to lead all-female OCEAN’S ELEVEN reboot from HUNGER GAMES’ Gary Ross!

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Who would have thought that OCEAN’S ELEVEN would turn into a franchise? An updated version of the 1960 film of the same title, it was by no means ever a small movie, with names like George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts in the lead roles, all directed by Steven Soderbergh, who was just coming off winning an Academy Award for TRAFFIC. But it seemed like a one-time deal for an entertaining, slick, and clever heist film that featured huge talent in front and behind the camera. So it was with delight that it spawned two sequels, both of which were strong additions that didn’t simply repeat the original. And with that it seemed like we had seen the last of Danny Ocean and his star-studded ensemble.

But recent rumblings now suggest otherwise. According to The Playlist, a new film is in the works that brings back the brain trust behind the OCEAN’S Trilogy. But this time rather than George Clooney and his band of merry men, Sandra Bullock will be leading a cast made up of mainly women. And in place of Soderbergh will be Gary Ross (THE HUNGER GAMES), whose work can next be seen with THE FREE STATE OF JONES starring Matthew McConaughey.

Since 2014, this project was being shepherded by Jerry Weintraub, who produced the trilogy, but he sadly passed away this past summer. Soderbergh and Clooney have apparently carried on with the plan, as the writer Olivia Milch (Little Women) has handed in a draft of the screenplay.

I for one was a big fan of the original trilogy, and welcome news of bringing any of these people together on a project. Beyond the appeal of a heist film in general, they bring a certain craft and wit, and if this version is made with that same level, I think it will be a big success. Especially if they are able to pull together an ensemble that can bring the humor and general coolness associated with this now-supposed franchise. With Bullock leading the pack I don’t see that being a problem, as she has proven herself an actor who can be successful in all genres of film, including thrillers, dramas, and comedies. The questions is who will they team her up with. That should be an interesting casting call.

It does raise the question of how associated this film will indeed be to the ‘original.’ Will it be a sequel, prequel, or full reboot? I don’t necessarily think they need to base an idea like this off of a preexisting property for it to find success. A heist film can stand on its own, and so can a movie lead be a female ensemble. Then again, I wouldn’t mind revisiting the world Soderbergh and company created. Especially if this particular version originated from the creative minds behind it. With all that in mind, the report did mention that Clooney may cameo as Danny Ocean. So perhaps we will get a chance to see the gang in action. The question is, what will Brad Pitt be eating?

Gwendoline Christie on playing Captain Phasma in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!

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A couple months ago, a minor controversy erupted when the official STAR WARS Facebook page posted an image of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), and some dickhead inevitably stepped in asking how we were supposed to know that was a woman beneath the armor. In all fairness to the guy (who should have known better to lead with “Not to be sexist but…”), most media embeds the knowledge that for something to be deemed feminine, it has to be sexual. There can be armor, but it has to be armor that accents the breasts, legs, and posterior. To the eternal credit of the person running the STAR WARS Facebook page, they responded “It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

Christie hopes she’ll have viewers rethinking feminine power with Phasma, and in a new interview with EW, she talks a bit about her mysterious character. Without specifically mentioning the online fracas from a couple months back, Christie commented on how the costume flies in the face of how female characters are expected to dress:

“We know very little about her at this stage, but what I think people are drawn to is that this is a very progressive female character,” the actress says. “We see Captain Phasma, and we see the costume from head to toe, and we know that it is a woman. But we are used to, in our media, connecting to female characters via the way that they look, from the way they are made flesh.”

While I disagree that we “know” it’s a woman based solely on the costume (part of the great reveal at the end of ‘Metroid’ was learning that Samus was a woman beneath the armor; again, it’s about flying in the face of traditional designs), the ‘Game of Thrones’ actress goes on to make the important point that with Phasma, “We are actually connecting to a female character as a human being.”

Hopefully this won’t be lip service, and while I would like to pinpoint Phasma as “mysterious”, the entire cast is pretty much mysterious at this point. We know as much about Captain Phasma as we do about Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) or General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Will the character remain on like Boba Fett or will we get to see her face? What are her motives? Or is she just there to look cool? That may be a triumph for gender equality, but it’s also a failure to create a good character. Hopefully, we’ll cheer for Phasma not just because she’s a progressive female character, but also because she’s memorable on her own merits.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens December 18th.

PACIFIC RIM 2: Guillermo Del Toro turned in a script, budget and now we wait!

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PACIFIC RIM 2 has always been one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” projects. Guillermo del Toro was talking about it even before the first film came out, and then when it seemed like a sequel would in fact happen, pre-production was halted in mid-September before Universal pressed paused indefinitely. However, del Toro isn’t ready to give up. The filmmaker posted an update to his Twitter account to keep hope alive.

According to him, the script and budget for PACIFIC RIM 2 are both finalized and submitted to Universal. Now, apparently, it’s all up to the studio. It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time del Toro has tried to keep the buzz going around this film. Even though there appears to be hope, it doesn’t mean this sequel will actually happen.

Here’s what del Toro had to say:

PACIFIC RIM 2: Budget and script went in. No answers yet. If anything happens, I will post. If nothing happens, I will just keep rambling.

When Universal made the announcement of PACIFIC RIM 2’s indefinite postponement, they wrote in a statement that they’re still “committed” to making the project, but only as the “vanguard, fully immersive experience that the franchise deserves.” Even that doesn’t guarantee a green light, but it would seem to be in their best interest to keep this moneymaker alive.

The production budget for PACIFIC RIM was $190 million and it went on to make $411 million at the global box office. Despite its success, the cost to make it was high and, therefore, didn’t automatically inspire a sequel commitment. Last year, del Toro said that the sequel would take place a few years after the events of the first film in a future where Kaiju have been purged from the world. The question would then become, what happens to all of this Jaeger technology? Charlie Day and Burn Gorman were also said to return at the time, but the script could have undergone changes since then.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of PACIFIC RIM 2. As we learned from Game of Thrones, “What is dead may never die.”

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2: Pom Klementieff cast in “key role”!

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After months of jumping at tidbits about the tone and background characters of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, we finally have a juicier tidbit. While many of the leading players will return for the highly anticipated Marvel sequel, actress Pom Klementieff has nabbed one of the new roles. Unfortunately, we don’t know too much about it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Klementieff will play a “key role” in the film, though the identity of said role is still unknown. What is known is that Marvel searched far and wide for this new part that reportedly called for an Asian actress. The trade reports that several rounds of “chemistry reads” were also conducted.

The majority of Klementieff’s work has been in Europe, though she did have a role in Spike Lee’s remake of the South Korean film OLDBOY opposite stars Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen. She was last seen in the film HACKER’S GAME, a story about two hackers who fall in love that premiered earlier this year. As seen in OLDBOY, she knows her way around an action scene, particularly when it comes to martial arts. Hopefully we’ll see her capitalize on these skills in GOTG 2.

Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), and Vin Diesel (Groot) will return as the intergalactic band of superhero misfits for the sequel. James Gunn, who’s been slowly dishing out breadcrumbs of plot points over social media, has been hard at work on the script and he too returns in his role as director. Not too much is known about the plot, but Gunn has teased that it’s “more emotional” and will explore the identity of Star-Lord’s mystery dad, and Pratt said the story pitch made him tear up.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 will hit theaters on May 5, 2017.

Chris Pine confirms WONDER WOMAN role, provides shooting details!

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As the long-lead marketing campaign for SUICIDE SQUAD heats up with some electrifying Empire Magazine covers, Warner Bros. is solidifying plans to start production on its next DC Superhero film, WONDER WOMAN. While Squad has the honor of directly following BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and bringing a bit of a supervillain twist to the genre, WONDER WOMAN is also unique in that it will be the first female-led superhero pic of the post-IRON MAN era.

Warner Bros. has been working hard to put WONDER WOMAN together, and while they had their leading actress Gal Gadot set long ago, filling out the other pieces of the puzzle has been more difficult. Impeccably talented TV director Michelle MacLaren initially signed on to develop and direct the film before departing over creative differences, and WB has been rumored to be developing multiple separate scripts at the same time. However, Patty Jenkins (MONSTER) has been onboard to take the helm for a while now, and recently the film landed its first new cast member: Chris Pine.

Pine is said to be playing the role of Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s love interest, and many are hoping the film will play on gender tropes by positioning Trevor as the “damsel in distress”-type character that the female traditionally fills in a superhero movie. While it will likely be some time before we discover just how, exactly, Trevor fits into the story, Pine recently confirmed to Premiere (via Heroic Hollywood) that he is indeed co-starring in the film, revealing a very promising behind-the-scenes piece of information: Jenkins is shooting on film:

“I do not really know what I’m allowed to tell you. I’m super excited, of course, Gal Gadot is super talented, Patty Jenkins will perform, and we will shoot in film … What excites me most is to turn in a movie with a superhero woman. With a woman in the lead role. I team with this intelligent, beautiful and strong [woman] to destroy the wicked and save humanity.”

The interview was printed in French so the translation is a tad wonky, but Pine certainly seems to suggest that WONDER WOMAN is treading rare territory behind the scenes. Almost everything is shot digitally these days, but David Ayer shot SUICIDE SQUAD on film, so it appears that Warner Bros. is granting Jenkins the same courtesy of capturing WONDER WOMAN in the same medium. Perhaps it provides a bit of cohesiveness to the DC Cinematic Universe—though Zack Snyder shot most of BATMAN V SUPERMAN on digital.

Regardless, I’m certainly enthused to see how WONDER WOMAN comes together, and nabbing Pine as the co-star and shooting on film is a promising start. The film is slated for release on June 23, 2017.

New Empire covers for SUICIDE SQUAD’s Harley Quinn and Deadshot!

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Unofficial SUICIDE SQUAD week continues with a pair of new Empire Magazine covers to compliment the previous ones that were released. We’ve already seen Jared Leto’s Joker and Cara Delevigne’s Enchantress front and center, and now it’s time to get a closer look at Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot in Warner Bros.’ bold follow-up to BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.

Written and directed by David Ayer (FURY), the film follows a group of imprisoned DC Comics villains who are contracted by the government to set out on highly dangerous missions in exchange for commuted sentences. Viola Davis plays their government liason, Amanda Waller, and the titular Suicide Squad is made up of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), as well as Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Slipknot (Adam Beach), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez). It’s as yet unclear how Enchantress and Joker fit into the film’s proceedings, but one can surmise that one of both of them is the reason the SUICIDE SQUAD is let out of prison in the first place, and that a fairly violent hunt may or may not ensue.

For now, though, take a gander at these new Empire covers (via CBM)—although official versions have yet to be unveiled. SUICIDE SQUAD opens in theaters on August 5, 2016.

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