Michael Fassbender will keep Magneto ambiguous in the X-Men: First Class sequel. Two actresses join Tom Cruise for Oblivion. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be bigger than The Matrix. Plus huge updates for Fringe, Once Upon a Time, and more!
It's spoilers all the way down!
Top image from The Hunger Games.
The Amazing Spider-Man
A recent Tokyo press conference with cast and crew revealed some key details about the film. First up, here's producer Avi Arad:
"In our movie, [Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker] finds his true love. Gwen Stacy [Emma Stone] was always the true love of Peter Parker… We found a very, very good story about what makes a human being. About what sets their destiny..
"We introduce our villain, Dr. Connors [Rhys Ifans], and in the great tradition of Marvel, Dr. Connors is going to be connected to Peter Parker and, in our case even more interesting, to Gwen Stacy. Right there, the challenge of having to deal with a villain who is a mentor and the only one who you can look at and say, ‘So what really happened to my dad?' That's a very hard person to fight."
When asked if the movie would replicate the famous kiss between an upside-down Spider-Man and Mary-Jane from Sam Raimi's first movie, Emma Stone said no. She also refused to say whether they would have a new iconic kissing moment, on the extremely reasonable grounds that she can't just up and declare a moment iconic:
"You don't want to know! You want to watch the movie and find out. Plus, it would be weird if we were like, 'There's something iconic coming up!' You've got to decide if it's iconic or not. But there is a nice first kiss and it's different than the upside down one. And we liked it."
Speaking of Mary Jane, Emma Stone said "We haven't even met Mary Jane at this point," which if you squint might be taken as an indication that this Spider-Man series will reintroduce the character eventually... which honestly was a pretty likely possibility anyway.
Finally, Andrew Garfield explains how the stunts in this film are meant to reflect their particular take on Spider-Man's powers:
"As you can see, a lot of the stunts are practical and grounded in reality," he explained. "That was something that Marc, the director, really wanted to make sure happened in this movie to set it apart from previous ones... I would exhaust myself every day and get into near-death experiences every hour on the hour... I collaborated with [the stunt team] not only on the big stunt set-pieces but also on what happens to Peter's body when he gets bitten. What happens to his DNA and how that effects the way he moves and the way he interacts with objects. The idea that he has spider DNA running in his system. What that will do to his sense of space. What that will do to the sensitivity of his skin. To have an opportunity to play in that forum with creative and talented people was a real opportunity and gift."
For those with fifty minutes to spare, you can watch the entire press conference below. [Superhero Hype]
The Dark Knight Rises
We've been slowly moving towards this point for a while now, but it's at last confirmed: Talia al Ghul is indeed in the movie, at least in her younger form. So says 12-year-old actress Joey King:
I play young Talia al Ghul. I can't give too much away because I promised Mr. Nolan I wouldn't say anything. There are too many secrets about the character and the movie.
Of course, one of those many secrets might be that the adult Talia returns in the form of Marion Cotillard, which is the other huge rumor...but that still remains unconfirmed. Still, it's looking much, much more likely now. [My Entertainment World]
X-Men: First Class
Michael Fassbender says he hopes that a sequel will indeed happen and be able to maintain the essential ambiguity about whether Magneto is really a villain:
"I get where [Magneto] is coming from, that's for sure - having read the source material, the comic books. From what we know with human beings, history has told us that we're a pretty destructive race, so you can see where he's coming from. It's always interesting for me to have the villains doing positive things as well as negative or destructive things. I just think it's more realistic. It's like the actions will define the character . . . but it's more about making sure that it's intelligently written and there's a real driving force, there's real drama there, relationships are interesting, and that it's not lazy in any way. A lot of the times I think with action films, the plot can be pretty weak because it's taking a back seat to the action sequences and the special effects. What we wanted to do with ‘X-Men' was definitely the reverse of that. We wanted to really focus on the characters and the plot and then have the action sequence there to sort of enhance the story."
He says that both he and Professor X actor James McAvoy would want to see those sorts of ideas carry through to the sequel, and it's entirely possible the two could be allies again even after their rift at the end of the first movie:
"You know what's interesting about Magneto and Professor X from the comic books as well, is there's such a complexity to their relationship. It's not just like clear-cut enemies; they're best friends as well. In the comic books, even after they've had this sort of rift, Professor X asks Magneto to come back and look after the students at certain points. I think there's always that complexity in their relationship. And we want to keep that alive as possible, because that's I think a really interesting thing - the conflict there."
Star Trek 2
Co-writer Roberto Orci didn't reveal much in a recent online chat with fans, but he did say both the budget and the scale of this film would be larger than the 2009 original, and that we will see more of the engine room, which may or may not still be a not particularly well-disguised brewery, in the sequel. [Trek Movie]
This is just a rumor, but following on from comic book creator Rob Liefeld's recent comments about maybe seeing some test footage for the film, the Deadpool movie is reportedly set to start production this year with Ryan Reynolds still on board to play the lead. The latest reports indicated that Tim Miller, who worked on visual effects on the X-Men films, would direct from a script by Zombieland's Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. [Geek Files]
The Hunger Games
Here's a promo image of Lenny Kravitz's Cinna putting the finishing touches on the costumes he designed for the opening ceremonies for the District 12 tribunes, Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson's Peeta Mellark. Director Gary Ross explains what Cinna - and, by extension, the film's costume design department - were going for with this look:
This is one of those moments where Cinna's character syncs up with the creativity of our costume designer Judianna Makovsky. What Cinna was trying to do was create something that came out of District 12, out of a coal mining world, with a fresh, bold look to it. So Judianna went to this wonderful black reflective material that glistened like coal or graphite and would obviously work well in the Tribute parade where Katniss becomes the Girl on Fire."
And here's another poster. [Huffington Post]
Nolan Funk, who played a mutant child in X2: X-Men United and might be best known around here for playing Claudia's ex-boyfriend Todd on Warehouse 13, has reportedly been cast in an unspecified role, joining star Vin Diesel and the already cast Katee Sackhoff and Jordi Molla. [Variety]
Universal has confirmed the two lead actresses who will join Tom Cruise in this post-apocalyptic film from Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. Quantum of Solace actress Olga Kurylenko will play Vika while Andrea Risborough, who is best known for artier fare like Happy-Go-Lucky and Never Let Me Go, will play Julia. Jessica Chastain, the star of Tree of Life and just about every other well-reviewed film this year, was originally supposed to be playing one of these two characters, but has apparently since dropped out. Here's the official description of the plot and how the newly cast characters fit in:
Based on Kosinski's own Radical Publishing comic book series, the film takes place in a future where humanity has fallen to an irradiated Earth. Cruise plays Jak, a maintenance drone working on the planet's surface alongside another worker, Vika. When a woman, Julia, is discovered in a crashed ship, Jak's whole world is thrown into question and he finds himself strangely drawn towards Julia.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The Hurt Locker and Real Steel star Anthony Mackie offers some seriously high praise for his next project, in which he plays Abraham Lincoln's long-time friend, servant, and vampire hunting partner William:
"We did a ton of training. I can honestly say that Timur is amazing because he shot this film like it was a real like biography of Abraham Lincoln, but the action sequences are unlike anything you've ever seen before. He realized that this fabricated story is so far out there that he had to go all the way out to make it work. So he just went as far as he could with the CGI and that trademark Timur cranking of shots and the storytelling...If you like those type of movies it gives you an aspect of history, but it also gives you an aspect of filmmaking that you've never seen before… It's crazy. I saw it about two weeks ago and I didn't know how to describe it for a day and half. Everybody kept asking me and I was like: I'm very happy I'm in it...‘Abraham Lincoln' is like the ‘Matrix' of the next generation. It's going to do to film what ‘The Matrix' did to film."
You know, I'm quite a bit younger than Anthony Mackie, and I still would have sworn that The Matrix of our generation was, you know, The Matrix. [ScreenRant]
Here's a new promo photo of Johnny Depp made up as the reanimated 18th century vampire Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton's update of the original 1970s supernatural soap opera. [Cineheroes]
Oz the Great and Powerful
Young actress Joey King discusses her dual role in the movie:
I play China Girl and Wheelchair Girl. China Girl's a girl from the book, and Wheelchair girl's in Kansas- she asks Oz to fix her legs, but he can't do it. It's sort of like how in the original Wizard of Oz, Tin Man is one of her friends from Kansas, that's kind of how this movie is. And I have a really great cast. I'm working with James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff and Rachel Weisz. Sam Raimi's the director and it's so much fun. I'm having a lot a lot a lot of fun. China Girl's really like a sassy character. She's lost her family so Oz becomes sort of like her adoptive father.
2000 A.D. comics creator John Wagner says he's optimistic Pete Travis's new film starring Karl Urban in the title role will be a vast improvement on the 1995 Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider version...but then again, I'd have to think nearly anything would be:
The plot is about Dredd and his world. It's impossible to cover every aspect of the character and his city – perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film; they tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot. "Dredd" homes in on the essential job of judging – instant justice in a violent future city. I like the actors, they're well cast and they handled their parts well. Olivia Thirlby is perfect as Anderson, the young psi judge. She gives the character a touching vulnerability. Karl Urban will not remove his helmet and will not kiss his costar.
Ben Affleck, who beyond his acting credits has turned in some almost shockingly good directorial work with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, is reportedly moving ahead with an adaptation of Stephen King's epic novel, and now the project has reportedly picked up a screenwriter in David Kadjanich. The writer recently won attention for writing a new adaptation of King's It, and he previously wrote the mostly forgotten 2007 Nicole Kidman film The Invasion. [Vulture]
Director Peter Berg, who is currently working on some obscure avant garde arthouse thinkpiece called Battleship, says he would like to make a sequel to what surely must be considered Will Smith's most inexplicable hit:
"We've been talking about the sequel between us, Will Smith, [producers] Michael Mann and Akiva Goldman and myself. We're all interested, but we literally just have trouble getting into the same room at the same time. We did have a series of meetings last year and started to hash out an idea for sequel — and Will Smith actually had the idea — so I think it will happen, it's just a question of timing."
Producer Marcus Wilson has tweeted that the production office has officially reopened for work on the seventh season, which should air sometime this fall. [Doctor Who News]
The big kissing scene mentioned in a recently leaked scene breakdown was reportedly filmed, and it was between Peter and Olivia. Check out the link for a full set report. [Sarah Lucia]
Here's a video with the cast in which they discuss the return of Mad Men's Jared Harris as David Robert Jones. [Fringe Television]
Here's an interview with star Joshua Jackson about what's coming up on the show.
Finally, here's an interview with co-creator J.J. Abrams, in which he discusses what fans can do to keep the show on the air. [Fringe Television]
Costar Lance Reddick says that, whether the show ends this season or later, he's optimistic that they will have a chance to do a proper conclusion:
Yes, I definitely [am. Showrunners] Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman are pretty brilliant; they work great as a team. So I think fans will not be disappointed, however the show wraps up [and] whenever the show wraps up.
Game of Thrones
National treasure Peter Dinklage promises there will some great battle scenes this season, and Tyrion will get involved:
"I think there were some fans that were disappointed that the end of the first season there wasn't a battle. We do not disappoint this season. I think my character steps to the front in terms of fighting."
Here's a behind-the-scenes video detailing the show's art direction.
Even those reporting this say it's just a rumor, but the first two episodes might be called "The North Remembers" and "Nightlands." [Winter is Coming]
The fourth episode of season five is reportedly called "We'll Meet Again." [SpoilerTV]
Here's a sneak peek at tonight's episode, "Chuck vs. the Bullet Train." Check out the link for some additional analysis, if you're into that sort of thing. [BuddyTV]
Once Upon a Time
Here are five sneak peeks for this Sunday's episode ten, "7:15 AM."
Here are some promo photos for episode twelve, "Skin Deep", which airs February 12. You can also check out a brief description below. [multipleverses.com]
When Mr. Gold's house is robbed, Emma suspects he is planning to seek vigilante justice; Ruby, Mary Margaret and Ashley (Jessy Schram) plan a night out on Valentine's Day; Belle (Emilie de Ravin) makes a deal.
And here's much the same for the thirteenth episode, "What Happened to Frederick", which airs February 19. [multipleverses.com]
David decides to tell Kathryn about his relationship with Mary Margaret; as Prince Charming searches for Snow White, he agrees to help Abigail with a dangerous mission.
Episode fourteen will reportedly be called "Dreamy." [SpoilerTV]
NBC has reportedly cast a bunch more actors in its futuristic drama about a near-future world where humans share the world with human-like, somewhat oppressed androids called Mechanicals. Here's the breakdown:
It centers on the very wealthy Lydia (Frances Conroy), whose late husband founded the firm that makes Mechanicals. Andrea Parker will play the wealthy Roberta, whose life is turned upside down when her rebellious teen daughter (Madisen Beaty) starts a romance with a Mechanical boy (Cody Christian), the son of Lydia's Mechanical servant David (Patrick Heusinger) and his wife Susan (Jud Tylor). Megalyn Echikunwoke will play the boss of Lydia's other son, attorney Gregory (James Murray).
Here's the official description for the fourteenth episode, the terrifyingly titled "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie", which airs February 10:
CLOWNS, UNICORNS AND SHARKS, OH MY! - Sam (Jared Padalecki) is forced to confront a childhood fear when a case takes him and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to Kansas to investigate Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie, a local pizza chain that hosts children's birthday parties. Sam and Dean discover that the victims' children had recently been to the restaurant and drawn a picture of their worst fear, which then came to life to kill their parent. While Dean confronts the man behind the magic, Sam is left to deal with some very angry clowns.
Being Human (UK)
Here's the BBC's official press release for the fourth series, which sees the departure of original star Aidan Turner and a reduced role for Russell Tovey:
Following the gripping series three finale in which viewers watched Mitchell fall victim to the wolf-shaped bullet, series four sees the aftermath as the housemates return to their home in Barry Island. There are also some new faces in town...
In an old B&B in a sleepy seaside town, we join Annie, her housemate George and their new friend. They're reeling from the loss of their best friend Mitchell, Tom's father-figure McNair and the tragic departure of George's girlfriend, Nina. But with a newborn baby to look after, it's never been more difficult to live life under-the-radar as a ghost and two werewolves.
There are also the vampires to deal with: lurking in every corner of society, waiting for the Old Ones to arrive and take over the world with brutal force. Can they fight them off? And at what cost? One thing becomes clear – the vampires believe that the child of two werewolves is important in their own mythology. Can this little baby really be the saviour of humanity? And what exactly are Cutler's ‘alternative' plans for world domination?
And here's a trailer for the show's return.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Here are two sneak peeks and the official description for tonight's episodes, "Deception."
When the Jedi learn of a Separatist plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine, one of them must go deep undercover as a hardened criminal to extract information from the conspirators. To alleviate all suspicions and fit seamlessly into a high security Republic prison, a Jedi must die! But not everything is what it seems in The Clone Wars. Witness the "Deception" – an all-new episode – which features the return of the series' most memorable villains behind bars: Cad Bane, Boba Fett and Bossk.
The Secret Circle
Here's the official description for episode 14, "Valentine", which airs February 9:
VALENTINE'S DAY IN CHANCE HARBOR BRINGS SLUMBER PARTIES, SURPRISE HOOKUPS AND VENGEFUL WITCHES - In honor of the holiday, Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) and Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) throw a girls only anti-Valentine's Day slumber party for themselves and fellow witches Diana (Shelley Hennig) and Cassie (Britt Robertson). But the night gets wilder than expected when Melissa offers Diana some mood altering "Devil's Spirit" and the first person Diana loosens up around is Lee (guest star Grey Damon), who crashes the party to help Faye achieve her own power. Meanwhile, Cassie is forced to turn to Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Jake (Chris Zylka) after she becomes haunted by the spirits of some vengeful witches.
Additional reporting by Natalie Baaklini and Charlie Jane Anders.