The Hunger Games finale Mockingjay casts a Game of Thrones star!S

One of last year's Best Actor nominees might voice Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. (No, not Daniel Day-Lewis, sadly.) Edgar Wright offers final thoughts on The World's End and new thoughts on Ant-Man. Steven Moffat discusses Matt Smith's final Doctor Who episode. Plus hints galore from the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunners. Spoilers away!

Top image from Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Regarding Elizabeth Olsen’s casting as the Scarlet Witch, we’ve quickly moved from “just an early rumor” to “she’s supposedly in final negotiations.” So then, the rising star, who has a big role alongside potential Quicksilver actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the upcoming Godzilla movie, is reportedly close to officially playing the Scarlet Witch. The initial reports that she would have to affect a geographically vague “European accent” have now been refined to the more specific “English accent,” though I still consider that a bit vague. Is it too much to ask that the movie’s Scarlet Witch comes from Newcastle? Fine, fine, I’d be willing to accept Middlesbrough, but I won’t be happy about it. [Heat Vision]


Guardians of the Galaxy

Meanwhile, writer-director James Gunn may have found the voice of Rocket Raccoon in the form of Bradley Cooper. The Oscar-nominated actor is reportedly in early negotiations to voice the character, and he seems like a good fit – he can do comedy presumably without making the character too silly, which would be a risk with other supposed contenders like Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey, and he’s a big name and recognizable voice without being so big or too recognizable that it distracts from the rest of the movie. [Heat Vision]


Ant-Man

Writer-director Edgar Wright explains how his long-simmering Ant-Man movie fits into the larger Marvel cinematic universe:

I think it’s just doing its own thing in the accepted history but it's still part of the other movies and always was. In the time I’ve been working on it other things have happened in the other movies that could be affected in this. It is pretty standalone in the way we’re linking it to the others. I like to make it standalone because I think the premise of it needs time. I want to put the crazy premise of it into a real world, which is why I think "Iron Man" really works because it’s a relatively simple universe; it’s relatable. I definitely want to go into finding a streamlined format where you use the origin format to introduce the main character and further adventures can bring other people into it. I’m a big believer in keeping it relatively simple and Marvel agrees on that front.

What’s the tone supposed to be?
It's hard to say, my head’s still in 'World’s End.' I think it’s funny…I wouldn’t say it has any of the comedy that is in my previous but I think it’ll be in a different vein. There’ll be less swearing in it.

[The Playlist]


The World’s End

Let’s turn to director and co-writer Edgar Wright for some final thoughts on the film:

With Simon’s character there’s a couple of things going on. Dramatically, we thought it’d be more interesting to examine. It always baffled me when people say Simon Pegg and Nick Frost always play the same role, because Shaun, Nicholas Angel, and Gary King could not be more different from each other, in the same way Ed, Danny Butterman, and Andy Knightley are very different. It’s interesting doing different dynamics: showing friends who are too comfortable with each other; Hot Fuzz was like a first date where they grew to love each other; and The World’s End is post-divorce. I think as long as it’s funny, it’s okay. Without giving anything away, you learn things about Gary that…if someone in your life is a dick there’s probably a reason why. We present this character everybody knows who peaked at 18, and we wanted to focus on that drunken King Arthur. There’s something self-destructive about a pub crawl, and we wanted to bring that to it literally as well.

Structurally your films tend to move at a breakneck pace. Are you always tweaking that rhythm, making sure the film doesn’t move too fast?
Yeah, I think so. There was one moment in World’s End where you get that depressing test screening note that says, “Hmm, there was too much talking…” You usually want to say, “Ah, grow up.” [Laughs] There was one scene I cutdown quite a lot from and someone later said I can’t skip over that scene and I cut it too fast. They were right, so I put stuff back in. It is a balancing act, because you have to play it for people who loves those emotional arcs and someone who can’t stay off their iPhone for five seconds.

He also offers this oblique discussion of whether the movie has a “happy” ending:

It’s funny, someone asked this in the Q & A. We see it as a happy ending. We don’t skimp on the title and some people have said, “Wow, this is darker than the others…” In Shaun of the Dead he shoots his mother in the head and his best friend is dead. With Hot Fuzz the two of them become black gloved, sunglass wearing faccists beating up hippies [Laughs]. In a roundabout way, this one gets dark indeed, but characters get what they want. I see it as a happy ending, and a part of that comes from Gary taking advice that Nick Frost’s character gives him in the pub. I’ll talk more about it on the commentary, because I don’t want to give it away [Laughs].

Mockingjay

The second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, is still a couple months away from its release, but Lionsgate has already gone ahead and announced the first new casting for the two-part adaptation of the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay. Specifically, Game of Thrones costar Natalie Dormer is set to play Cressida, a resident director from the Capitol who joins the rebellion. [@TheHungerGames]


The Monsters: Dark Continent

Here’s the trailer for the follow-up to Gareth Edwards’ Monsters.


Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Star Lily Collins describes her character’s journey through the fantasy adventure, which opened a couple days ago:

I think Clary has never had any doubt about her morals – like, her best friend is Simon, and there’s not a mean bone in his body. They love each other for who they are. And she’s always thought of herself as normal – she’s into what she’s into, she dresses how she dresses, she’s not an outsider, she’s not emo, she’s not trying to be anything other than just Clary. And she didn’t seek out any of this stuff to happen to her; I think she would have been just fine the way that she was, living her life. She’s very opinionated and passionate, and compassionate, and no matter where she is in this reality or this fantasy world, she always is able to voice her opinions. Yes, she does break down at that one point in the rain; we had to show a vulnerable point in her journey where she just breaks down, because otherwise, how unbelievable is it that a girl who’s so opinionated is all of a sudden see what she sees and then just go along with this guy. That’s not real. It’s OK to have a moment of weakness, and it’s OK to be completely confused. But ultimately, she doesn’t have a choice: If she wants to continue on to try to find her mom, her only choice is to follow this guy.

But she never victimizes herself, and she doesn’t allow her environment to define her. So even though Isabelle dresses her up in those awkward clothes, it still doesn’t define her – like when she goes to save Simon and goes, “those damn boots.” She kind of is one with the audience in that sense, and she’s constantly asking questions to the characters not in an expositional way, but in a way to be one with the audience. If no one knows what’s going on, she goes, “Hold on, guys, I don’t really care about all of this that you’re saying. My mom’s missing, and that’s all that matters.” So I think her morals never change, but her openness changes to her new environment and her world, but she’s still Clary – and that’s what Jace loves about her, I think. It’s this like Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy back and forth – finally, they found a competitor in one another. She doesn’t want to take his crap, and he doesn’t want to take hers, and she’ll fight back – but she still can be vulnerable and a girl.

There’s more at the link. [Spinoff Online]


Doctor Who

Steven Moffat drops some hints for Matt Smith’s final adventure, this year’s Christmas special:

“The special ties up stuff from all corners of Matt’s tenure – there are things I set in motion in Matt’s very first episode that I’m paying off now… It’s been a long game, but most of the questions that people ask will be answered… One of the horrors of regeneration is that a certain amount of his persona alters entirely. His appetites and his enthusiasms will change. And that’s sort of what I’m writing about now in Matt’s last episode, the fact that he’s terribly aware that he’s about to be rewritten. And it’s frightening.”

[Doctor Who TV]


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen describe their approach to the show’s world, starting with whether the first season will have a big bad:

Tancharoen: I don't think we can't be too specific about that but yes, we will have —
Whedon: Recurring elements.
Tancharoen: Yes. There will be threats. How vague can we be? [laughs]
Whedon: Yeah, one of the things that, you know, we've talked about just initially getting into it is, as you start it, you want to tell these self-contained stories. It's a little bit like the "X-Files" model: You can come each week and see [that episode] and not have seen everything, but if you have, it's a richer experience. And as we move forward, those things will start to weave together more and more. But we do want to always have every episode have its own beginning, middle and end, and feel like its own [thing].

Well, "X-Files" or "Lost" would also have straight-up, hardcore mythology episodes, too. There would be, like, five monsters-of-the-week episodes and then in the sixth, it would be much more about the bigger mythology.
Tancharoen:
I'd say it's similar to "X-Files."
Whedon: Yeah, we definitely don't want anybody ever to watch an episode and have to have watched all the others. That's definitely a goal of ours. But we think there's a way to do that, [similarly to] the way that they've done it with [Marvel films] where it's just a better experience if you have been keeping track. And also we're pretty sure that we will be asking enough interesting questions that people will want to hear the answers. At least that's our goal.

They also explain how the show will handle the Marvel-mandated divide between science and magic:

Tancharoen: We care a lot about that. Everything is derived from actual science, and you know, a big rule about Marvel is keeping things grounded, and that's something we're completely conscious of going into every story.
Whedon: We have two characters who are obsessed with it on the show. Fitz and Simmons are there in order to make it not feel like that. It's like Bond having to hang out with Q all day. Bond just uses the thing but Q is saying, "Do you understand how I designed that? Do you understand how much time and energy went into that thing?" We care about it. It also raises a question with Thor and other worlds. There are things that are not able to be explained.
Tancharoen: But in "Thor," they even said what you perceive as magic is science that you have yet to understand.
Whedon: Right. And so we will deal with two scientists facing things like a hammer that only one guy can pick up and trying to piece that together in their minds and get a grip on a world that doesn't make sense.

There’s still a bunch more at the link. [Huffington Post]


Person of Interest

Here’s a teaser promo for the third season.


Once Upon a Time

Star Ginnifer Goodwin reveals what’s ahead in Snow White’s upcoming journey to Neverland:

"It is fraught with good intentions," she says of the journey. "I think I can tell you that our intended destination is reached, and I can tell you that we're going to have to put our egos aside and come together, if we're not going to kill each other before we get there… We're going to have to figure out who can help us here, because the rules of every realm are completely different, and we know that. We would never be so foolish as to try to use our tactics, our enchanted Snow White-Prince Charming world tactics, in another realm.”

She also discusses Snow White’s character arc in the third season, starting with the fallout from that whole dark heart thing:

"This is the cross she bears throughout the beginning of the season. I've only seen a couple of scripts, and I know very little of what's to come after the first couple of episodes, but I do know that, sort of like the characters are all going to have to come together, Snow herself is going to have to come together. She's going to have to reconcile these two disparate ends of herself in order to be useful to anybody there. She's torn in two at this point, and she's going to have to figure out what parts of Mary-Margaret, even, she's going to hold on to; and what parts of Mary-Margaret will actually drag her down… Last year it was, for her, about living in the middle, and I think this year, it's about stepping it up and creating a new character. I mean this as Snow White. I think that she's realizing that living in the middle — she thought it was going to be playing it safe, but instead it was disastrous. So it's more that she needs to change."

There’s more at the link. [KSiteTV]


Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Here’s a brief casting update, courtesy of SpoilerTV:

For Once Upon A Time in Wonderland episode 1.04, the recurring role of Liz/Lizard is being cast. She's a 25-year-old adorable tomboy. Also, the guest role of Amara, a powerful and beautiful sorceress from Agrabah.

[SpoilerTV]


Arrow

Here’s an interview with Emily Bett Rickards, who plays Felicity Smoak.


Star-Crossed

Tahmoh Penikett appears to be deadly serious about challenging Mark Sheppard and Mark Pellegrino for the title of genre TV’s most omnipresent actor, as he has taken on a recurring role in The CW’s upcoming alien drama. He will reportedly play “the mysterious SEU (Sector Enforcement Unit) Officer Jack Beaumont, who is responsible for the supervision within the Atrian (aka alien) sector walls.” He will debut in the second episode. This is actually the second CW show he’s signed onto in this month alone, as this follows his casting as a fallen angel on Supernatural. [E! Online]


Additional reporting by Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders.