Weekly Ketchup: Idris Elba cast in Thor, more Spider-Man 4 rumors
Plus, Brian Cox may get cast in The Hobbit
This week's Ketchup includes casting news and rumors for Thor, Spider-Man 4, The Hobbit and Guardians of Ga'hoole, new sequels in the Jackass and Underworld franchises and potential new movies for Brad Pitt and Eddie Murphy.
#1 THOR FINALLY FINDS HIS WARRIORS THREE
Director Kenneth Branagh has lined up four of the remaining roles in Thor, and three of them make up classic comic book trio: the Warriors Three. Branagh's choices, however, are not without potential controversy. Let's start with the least controversial, which is pretty boy Stuart Townsend as pretty boy swashbuckler type, Fandral. Then, there's the role of Volstagg, which undoubtedly had every chubby actor in Hollywood calling his agent, hoping to get a reading (Chris Farley would have had to gain some weight to portray Volstagg the way he's drawn in the comics). But nope, instead, Branagh went with the decidedly non-obese Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone, and Titus Pollo from HBO's Rome). So, will Stevenson be wearing a massive fat suit like Kevin Durand did as the Blob in X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Finally, there is Hogun the Grim, who will be played by Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano. Asano would seem like an odd choice to be playing a god in a movie about Norse mythology, but Stan Lee, way back in the early 1960s, was apparently thinking ahead, because there is a loophole here, in that Hogun is not a member of the Aesir (the race of gods that everyone else in Thor belongs to). So, if Hogun isn't an Aesir, he can be played by... basically anyone (and Hogun does indeed look sort of Asian-ish in the comics). That, however, doesn't explain the other casting news this week, which is who will be playing Heimdall, the guardian of the rainbow bridge that leads into Asgard, and who (if we're sticking to the Hogun argument) is indeed a member of the Aesir. Heimdall will be played by Idris Elba, the African-American actor who is best known for costarring in HBO's The Wire. Perhaps the thinking with casting Elba as Heimdall is that he spends most of his time wearing a massive helmet covering his face, so his race doesn't really matter. Although that argument is sort of a slippery slope, as it could lead to Robert Downey Jr. losing his job on Iron Man 3, right?
#2 THIS WEEK IN SPIDER-MAN 4 CASTING RUMORS
Last week, it was reported that Rachel McAdams was a top contender for the role of Black Cat (AKA Felicia Hardy) in Spider-Man 4. That didn't mean she had actually landed the role, but Entertainment Weekly apparently didn't get the memo, so they went to the actress to ask if she had been cast, and she said she hadn't. I suppose it's more fun to shoot down a rumor that doesn't exist, rather than to try to dig up some new facts. I don't know if either of the following are hard facts, but here we go, as McAdams is not the only name being bandied about to play Hardy this week. First up, UGO reported that Julia Stiles had met for the role, and then Deadline.com reported the same about Anne Hathaway. While all this is going on, there's another completely different casting call for the movie going on, which is the search for a 2-3 year old boy with red hair. The hot speculation is that the toddler could be playing a potential baby boy for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, but really, couldn't Mary Jane just as likely have a little nephew or something in the movie? They better just not ask Rachel McAdams to babysit.
#3 ELROND, FARAMIR, BARBOSSA AND DAMIEN WILL BE GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE
Director Zach Snyder's next movie after Watchmen is the CGI animated adventure Guardians of Ga'hoole (scheduled for 9/24/10), and the voice cast now appears to be firmed up. And it's got an impressive number of actors known for roles in genre movies that Snyder is probably a fan of. The latest additions are Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean), Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Lord of the Rings) and David Wenham (Lord of the Rings), and they join a cast that includes Helen Mirren (The Queen), Emilie de Ravin (LOST), Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) and Abbie Cornish, who will also be costarring in Snyder's next film after this, Sucker Punch. Guardians of Ga'hoole is an adaptation of a series of children's fantasy novels about heroic owls who are involved in an epic battle for control of their forest.
#4 MIGHT BRIAN COX SOON BE SPORTING A +5 BEARD?
This one is just a rumor for now, but it's also concerning Guillermo del Toro's two-movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, so (as with Spidey's girlfriends) even rumors get noted here. This week's AICN Down Under report has heard that casting is starting to get underway for the many actors that will be needed to portray the 13 dwarves that accompany Bilbo Baggins on his adventures. The top contender is... Brian Cox, the prolific Scottish actor whose many film roles include Agamemnon in Troy, Stryker in X2: X-Men United and Jason Bourne's ex-boss in The Bourne Identity (and he was also great in HBO's Deadwood). AICN doesn't know exactly what role Cox is up for, but he seems a likely choice to be playing Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the company of dwarves. There had been speculation at one point that John Rhys-Davies, who played the dwarf Gimli, might return to play a dwarf in The Hobbit as well, but recently Rhys-Davies has stood by his promise after wrapping Lord of the Rings that he would never play a dwarf again, as the makeup played havoc with his skin (which you can see in the DVD extras, as his face got all red and swollen and generally painful looking).
#5 JACKASS 3-D: FULL ON RIGHT IN YOUR FACE
Paramount Pictures has updated their slate for 2010, and one of the new titles pretty much says it all: Jackass 3-D. That's right, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and the rest of the wacky Jackass crew are coming to your local theater once again, and this time it'll be in 3-D. Filming starts in January, 2010 at locations around the world, including Finland, Mongolia and South Africa. That's pretty much all that is known right now.
#6 BRAD PITT WANTS TO TAKE YOU INTO A DARK VOID
Brad Pitt's Plan B production company has signed a deal to develop a movie based upon the upcoming video game Dark Void, which comes out in January, 2010 on various platforms (and yet Variety calls it a "computer game"). The story of Dark Void follows a pilot who crashes in the Bermuda Triangle and finds himself in a parallel world where aliens with superior technology have taken over Earth, and then he has to, you know, shoot at and blow up bad guys. Dark Void is being seen as a starring vehicle for Pitt, as well as a potential franchise, although one would expect that the possibility of multiple movies probably would depend upon whether the game itself is popular enough to warrant sequels.
#7 JERRY BRUCKHEIMER JOINS THE ALIEN LEGION
Jerry Bruckheimer is producing an adaptation of the 1980s comic book series Alien Legion for Disney. It's currently being rewritten by Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, the writing team responsible for cowriting Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma and next summer's The A-Team. Alien Legion was published by Epic Comics, a creator-owned imprint of Marvel Comics, and followed the adventures of a group of intergalactic soldiers from many different alien species who operated as a sort of outer space version of the French Foreign Legion. Alien Legion is unusual for Jerry Bruckheimer, who has traditionally not ventured into true science fiction very often (not counting stuff like Armageddon). For Disney, meanwhile, Alien Legion fits right into the studio's current efforts to do exactly that, with the studio currently in production of both John Carter of Mars and Tron: Legacy.
#8 EDDIE MURPHY MAY GO ON THE MISADVENTURES OF FLUFFY
One of the things that critics often opine about when reviewing Eddie Murphy's latest crappy kids' movie is that they wish he would return to the "blue" material that got his career started, back when he was the hottest thing in Hollywood. Well, here's a possibility. Eddie Murphy is attached to produce (and possibly star in) a R-rated comedy for Paramount Pictures called The Misadventures of Fluffy, which is described as being a talking animals "road trip" movie through the streets of New York that also has "an element of social comedy reminscent of Murphy's 1980's hit Trading Places." The Misadventures of Fluffy doesn't currently have a director, and the script (which was sold on spec) is by newcomers Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly. So, is the world ready for an Eddie Murphy talking animals movie that is NOT suitable for minors?
#9 JENNY TO PLAY WINNIE
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) has signed to star in Winnie, a drama about the life of Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela. Based upon the biography Winnie Mandela: A Life the film will depict Mandela as both a wife who was a steadfast supporter of her activist husband during his years in prison, her later association with a bodyguard who tortured and murdered a 14-year-old, and her 2003 conviction of fraud. Winnie will be directed by Darrell Roodt, whose 2004 film Yesterday was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category, and who also directed the 2004 direct-to-video horror sequel Dracula 3000. Production is scheduled to start on May 30, 2010 in South Africa at locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Transkei and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for 18 years.
ROTTEN IDEA OF THE WEEK
#1 UNDERWORLD 4: VIC MACKEY VS GOTH VAMPIRES AND THEIR SCRUFFY WEREWOLF PALS
Screen Gems is starting development on a fourth movie in their Underworld franchise by hiring writer John Hlavin, who has no feature films to his credit, but he did write two episodes of The Shield. Neither Kate Beckinsale, who starred in the first two movies, or Rhona Mitra, who starred in the third, have signed on for a fourth movie, and there's no director yet either. The details of the story this time around are currently being kept secret, but what writer Hlavin has revealed is that it's not a prequel (like the third film in the series). As for what else the movie might entail, that's anyone's guess, but my hunch is that the nights will be awfully well-lit, and that nearly everyone will wear black. Oh, and werewolves will probably fight vampires. This one is a Rotten Idea just based upon the RT averages of the first three movies (30%, 12% and 32%).