Find out who's playing X-Men's Beast, and who's spawning the Planet Of The Apes. And glimpse The Hobbit's Shire.

There's exciting casting news for X-Men: First Class and the Planet Of The Apes prequel. Find out how The Last Airbender's special effects bend the elements. Plus Doctor Who, Predators, The Hobbit, Akira, Supernatural, Chuck, Torchwood and True Blood spoilers!


X-Men: First Class:

The cast of this mutant coming of age film continues to gel. Latest news: stage actor Benjamin Walker will be playing the young Hank McCoy, aka the Beast. [Showbiz411 via Filmonic, thanks Liam!]

Predators:

A screencap from an international TV spot gives a really nice clear view of the alien planet. Bigger version at the link. [Dread Central]

Find out who's playing X-Men's Beast, and who's spawning the Planet Of The Apes. And glimpse The Hobbit's Shire.

Planet Of The Apes: Rise Of The Apes:

More casting news. Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) and Frida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) are rumored to be joining James Franco in this prequel, formerly known as Caesar. It'll be set in present-day San Francisco and show how our genetic engineering efforts lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the start of a war between humans and apes. [Bloody Disgusting]

The Hobbit:

Will we ever actually get to see this movie? No clue, but they've already built a ton of the Shire, as these set photos from last month prove. [CinemaBlend]

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The Last Airbender:

USA Today has an article about how ILM created the effects of "bending" the four elements in this film. They were trying for a realistic, understated look that doesn't say "fantasy movie," because M. Night Shyamalan wanted to control the "tone" of the film. For example, he didn't want to show people throwing around unrealistic amounts of water.

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According to USA Today:

The effects gurus started with simple research, some of it as close at hand as a YouTube clip. For water - which would prove the most difficult matter to artfully manipulate - they studied the way molecules behave in zero gravity, thanks to NASA videos. They also analyzed the way the element behaved in the micro-seconds after a water balloon hit a human in the head.

Shyamalan says earth and air effects came together fairly quickly, the former being perhaps the easiest to duplicate, while the latter was often represented by whatever dust was kicked up as characters harnessed the wind.

Fire, too, came on board easily. ILM staffers used images of giant fan-driven plumes of fire as one key to the puzzle. Helping was the fact that the eye welcomes faked fire; real fire, when shot on film, actually looks thin and wrong.

But it was the water effects - which make up most of the film's spectacle - that took the most work and needed to be flawless, given Shyamalan's penchant for "really slowing the action down," says Helman. "With him, there's no blurring through scenes."

[USA Today]

And here's a new TV spot that features Appa! [SpoilerTV]

Akira:

Producer Andrew Lazar says that this project is still zooming forward, and a new writer is on board. Warner Bros. loves the project, and it's on the proverbial fast track. The first movie would be volumes 1-3 and the second movie would be volumes 4-6. [Collider]

Get Smart 2:

Separately, Lazar says Steve Carrell has written the script for this sequel. [Collider]

Harry Potter:

Rupert Grint got completely covered in ice cream on the last day of filming. Although I'm not sure if that was related to the plot. Maybe this is Voldemort's new secret weapon? [MTV]

Despicable Me:

Excited about this supervillain-turned-dad movie? Check out a couple new posters. [Slashfilm]

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Doctor Who:

There are some teasers for the first half of the season finale. Among other things, the Doctor and Amy visit the oldest planet in the universe and the first words in history have a familiar ring. The stakes are just as high as in one of RTD's season finales. There's a Star Wars-style cantina scene (the same one where the Doctor set up Captain Jack with a new boyfriend?) and an alien armada. The Doctor gets to deliver one of his patented "get out of here" speeches, and there's a great scare involving a human skull. There's a nod to The Thing, and the Doctor and Amy face fembots. And the cliffhanger is humongous. More at the link. [SFX]

More teasers. The "Hello Sweetie" thing is writ large — I'm wondering whether those are the words on the oldest planet in the universe? We discover a new Cyber-feature. An unlikely alliance comes together. We find out where the cracks are coming from. There's more death than you'd anticipated, but at least the last word of the episode is "Love." More at the link. [Digital Spy]

Here's a thrilling teaser for the penultimate Doctor Who Confidential of the season. [BlogtorWho]

There's a BBC Radio trailer for the penultimate episode at the link. [BlogtorWho]

Supernatural:

A major clue to season six: Apparently Mitch Pileggi (X-Files) is in talks to return as Sam and Dean's grandfather, who's presumed dead, on a recurring basis. [EW]

Torchwood:

Apparently a big part of the new season will be shot on location in Los Angeles. [EW]

Chuck:

The title of the season opener is "Chuck Vs. The Anniversary." What do you want to bet it's either Ellie and Awesome's wedding anniversary, or something to do with the day Chuck's mom disappeared? [EW]

Warehouse 13:

What do the Warehouse crew have in common with Evil Superman (from Superman III)? Watch this new promo and find out.
Click to view

True Blood:

In case you hadn't already guessed, we'll be seeing Godric again soon. [EW]

So that crazy sex scene in episode three that you keep hearing about it? Stephen Moyer says he's a part of it:

How in God's name? Well, first, am I gonna do that, and whose sex-sorted crazy mind does that stuff come from? It's not just Alan. We've got very perverted,odd,staff. I don't wanna give too much away. It's a water-cooler moment, I think, possibly for the next 20 years.

[On The Flix]

Additional reporting by Mary Ratliff.