Dumbledore comes to Doctor Who, X-Men prequel finds young Beast and Banshee, and Batman 3 gets a start date

New plot details for Simon Pegg's alien comedy Paul! Doctor Who's Christmas episode adds some stars! Christopher Nolan discusses Inception's philosophical and cinematic undertones. Set-pics reveal more about Transformers 3. X-Men prequel casting becomes official! Will Edward Norton join Avengers?


Inception:

Christopher Nolan says the film is very much his attempt to do a James Bond film, and the film's heist and action elements take inspiration from his favorite Bond films. Speaking of which, if MGM can ever sort out what the hell they're doing with that franchise, he'd love to direct a Bond movie himself. [/Film]

When asked about the movie's central ideas, Ellen Page got a little philosophical (although in a charming, non-pretentious sort of way):

Q: It seems to me the film's core is the notion that thoughts can transform and even destroy you.

A: And they can perpetuate our personal suffering. And the elusiveness of all love. Sure, shooting this movie made me think more about my dreams. But what "Inception" made me think of more, especially because of books I was reading at the time, is my awake world and the elusiveness of all life. My own, individual perspective and the thoughts I'm creating for myself. Definitely a bit of an existential-crisis-esque time, but I'm in my early 20s, so ... (laughs)

[SFGate]

Transformers 3:

Here are a bunch of set photos from the first day of filming in Chicago, including two of Tyrese Gibson in his new NEST uniform: [TFLAMB]

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And here's a set video: [Screen Rant]

Finally, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says that he expects this to be the last movie in the franchise. Even if Paramount and Hasbro decide they want to do a Transformers 4, it almost certainly won't involve him or Michael Bay. But how could they possibly make a Transformers movie without the franchise's tender artistic soul!? [IGN]

Avatar 2:

Although Sam Worthington knows what's going on with Clash of the Titans 2 - it shoots next year in 3D and he's set to return as Perseus - he can't say much about his other blockbuster sequel. He's definitely returning, but he says nothing is happening right now because James Cameron is busy with other things and hasn't started writing it yet. [CinemaBlend]

Paul:

The sci-fi comedy starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen as an alien has an official synopsis:

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for the comedy adventure Paul as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America's UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever.
For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-travelling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town-a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Collings (Frost).
Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.
Paul is directed by Superbad's Greg Mottola, from a story by Pegg & Frost. Joining the comedy's cast are Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio, John Carroll Lynch, David Koechner and Sigourney Weaver.

[Working Title Films]

X-Men - First Class:

This took a while to become official, but now Nicholas Hoult is definitely taking over as Beast and Caleb Landry Jones is definitely playing Banshee. It sounds as though Lucas Till is this close to officially playing Havok (or whichever character Havok is a smokescreen for), but that's not a done deal yet. [Variety]

The Avengers:

It was already pretty much official that Edward Norton wouldn't be reprising his role as Bruce Banner for The Avengers, but now consider it doubly super ultra official. Writing the sort of angry letter most people only associate with owners of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Norton's agent had some choice words for Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige:

This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast. Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings.

We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige's mean spirited, accusatory comments. Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige's statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel's fans.

Brian Swardstrom
WME

[Hitflix]

Batman 3:

Once again, Michael Caine proves very helpful in telling us something — anything — about the next movie. At the Inception premiere, he said he expects the movie to start filming next April, although he still doesn't know whether Alfred will actually return for the third film. [Digital Spy]

Green Lantern:

A local New Orleans news crew got to visit the set. They didn't see anything too fascinating, but feel free to glean whatever details and clues you can: [ABC 26 New Orleans via CinemaBlend]
Click to view

Superman Reboot:

That rumor we told you on Friday about Chris Columbus directing the movie is still making the rounds, but now another trusted source has stepped forward to say it's completely false. It's basically the word of one anonymous source vs. another's at this point, but I'd say Chris Columbus not directing the movie is a hell of a lot more plausible. [Collider]

Twilight - Breaking Dawn:

Locations have been chosen for the absolutely batshit insane, two-part finale to the Twilight saga. Director Bill Condon will be shooting the film's two installments in Baton Rouge and Vancouver starting this fall. [IGN]

Contagion:

Steven Soderbergh's 3D movie about a viral outbreak has added Laurence Fishburne to the cast. He's definitely playing a doctor, and according to the ever-reliable IMDB, his name is Dr. Ellis Cheever. The cast already includes Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow, so it's not exactly starved for starpower. [Variety]

Luke Cage:

This is all strictly wishful thinking at this point, but Isaiah Mustafa, the ultra-cool star of those Old Spice commercials where he is, among other things, on a horse, said on Attack of the Show that his dream role would be to play Luke Cage. A few days later, he actually visited Marvel headquarters for what he initially described on his Twitter as a "meet and greet" and later explained was just an opportunity to geek out. Still, there just might be a little smoke to this rumor, though definitely no fire...yet. [CinemaBlend]

Doctor Who:

A bit of exciting casting news for the show's big Christmas episode, filming soon. Michael Gambon, better known as Dumbledore in the most recent Harry Potter films, will have a major guest-starring role. Also joining the "most Christmassy" Christmas special ever is super-popular Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who's sold millions of pop-tinged classical albums in the U.K. A lot is riding on this episode, since Steven Moffat wants to duplicate the stratospheric ratings successes of "Voyage Of The Damned" and last year's "The End Of Time, part 1." [Guardian]

Fringe:

The Wire's Andre Royo has reportedly been cast as a taxi driver who gets into a tense situation with Olivia in the season premiere. It's not clear whether his scenes will be with our Olivia or the alternate Olivia. [Ausiello Files]

True Blood:

Joe Manganiello talked about his role as Alcide. He says Sookie and Alcide are both in incredibly vulnerable places, and when you've got "this big, strong, protective bodyguard with a girl, both heartbroken," it's hardly surprising if something happens. He and Debbie have a very volatile relationship, but his time with Sookie changes him and he reassesses what he wants from women. His favorite episode is the seventh, because "there's a lot of blood and a lot of people die." We will learn a lot more about his people and where Sookie comes from, and the third-season cliffhanger is even more insane than that of previous seasons. They will answer a bunch of questions and in doing so, open up a whole new universe for the characters. [NY Post]

Meanwhile, Brit Morgan discussed her turn as Debbie Van Pelt. She describes her character as "a really kick-ass, passionate, ballsy woman. I'm a werewolf with a bit of an addiction to V, so I'm going on a rampage against Sookie. I'm not too happy with her. My character just takes this winding road, a bit of a downward spiral. I'm definitely in attack mode towards Sookie." Her main interactions this season are with Sookie, although she does spend some time with Eric, Bill, and Lorena, plus quite a bit of screentime with Russell, the vampire king of Mississippi. [TV Guide]

Supernatural:

A couple bits of cool casting news. First season baddie Azazel will return to the show, according to the man who has played him most often, Fred Lehne. He says he starts work July 14, when they go to work on the season premiere. Meanwhile, Corin Nemec may have been cast in a recurring role as Christian Campbell, the cousin of the Winchesters, according to a tweet by Jennifer dela Luna. It's not immediately clear how Ms. dela Luna would know this information, but it also seems a really weird thing to make up. Probably best to consider it unconfirmed for now. [Zap2It & @immaterialdepth]

And here are some set photos. Apparently you can see Mark Sheppard in one of the shots: [Supernatural Locations]

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Futurama:

Here's a sneak peek from the next episode, "The Duh Vinci Code." Fry's question about the busts might set a new benchmark for cartoon stupidity:

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Preview - Da Vinci's Fabled Lost Invention
FuturamaThursdays 10pm / 9c
www.comedycentral.com
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Futurama New EpisodesFuturama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Warehouse 13:

Here's a promo for the second episode of the season, "Mild Mannered." They had me at "Firefly's Jewel Staite and Sean Maher guest star":

Click to view

Eureka:

Here's a promo for this Friday's episode, "A New World":

Click to view

And lest anyone is still hoping that those time-alterations will quickly get put back to normal, an interview with Erica Cerra (Deputy Lupo) seems to put that hope to rest: season four will be "flipped upside down, although the characters are still all the same. Relationships are slightly changing, and situations are changing." She couldn't elaborate, but it's now quite clear what she was talking about. Sounds like this will the status quo for some time. [Fancast]

Additional reporting by Kelly Faircloth and Charlie Jane Anders.