1. Jeremy Renner returns as Hawkeye in Captain America: Civil War, will shoot Story of Your Life this summer
I love Jeremy Renner news, mostly because it involves Jeremy Renner. He is a franchise singularity; the underrated and underused Avenger, partner to impossible mission master Tom Cruise, the worthy(?) successor to the Bourne franchise until, you know, Bourne said he’s coming back. After that bumped his previously-scheduled Bourne sequel from 2016, his schedule has been nebulous.
Now it has been confirmed that Renner will join the fight in Captain America: Civil War, reuniting with fellow Avengers Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) along with a host of others including newcomers Black Panther and the new Spider-Man. It’s about damn time. Renner is a rare character actor/action star combination, a role that he relishes apparently given his franchise credentials. His Hawkeye has been easily the most diminished of the original six, not appearing in a single Phase 2 film (plans to include the character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier were scuttled by Renner’s schedule). He better be an integral part of the schism between Cap and Iron Man. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he falls on Cap’s side in the coming war.
But Renner’s not one to forget the character part of acting (his last acting gig was the fantastic Kill the Messenger about embattled and controversial journalist Gary Webb. SPOILER: Renner is amazing). He will follow up his Civil War duties in the summer with Denis Villeneuve (recently-announced Blade Runner 2 director) and Amy Adams (his co-star in American Hustle) on Story of Your Life, a sci-fi thriller revolving around alien first contact. Renner will play a physics professor who teams with Adams’ linguist to communicate with them.
2. Mission: Impossible 5 update
In a blatant celebration of all things Renner, his other summer action tentpole, Mission: Impossible 5, has had new details spilled by director Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher) through his Twitter account. Rumors of a new ending are not true, he said, and an official title and trailer are coming “very soon.”
Details on the film, recently re-scheduled from Christmas to July 31 to avoid the Star Wars juggernaut, have been scarce, beyond some casting, set photos, and McQuarrie’s tweets.
Regarding the rumor that the ending needed to be re-written and re-shot:
After being asked what it’s like to have five months shaved off post-production, McQuarrie said: “we’re always in a hurry. Now we’re in a big f’in hurry.” Unsurprisingly, he said they set out to recreate the tone of ‘Ghost Protocol’, but added the caveat “Mission has a life of its own and goes where it wants”. He does confirm though there’s an “old-school vibe” to the film along with honoring of the original TV series.
UPDATED: 3/13 Production has officially wrapped on the film
3. Hannibal premiere set and Game of Thrones episode info released
Two of the best shows on television are prepping for their returns to our screens. HBO’s groundbreaking fantasy adaptation “Game of Thrones” has released titles and synopses on the first three episodes.
5.1: “The Wars To Come”
Cersei and Jaime adjust to a world without Tywin. Varys reveals a conspiracy to Tyrion. Dany faces a new threat to her rule. Jon is caught between two kings. Air Date: April 12th.
5.2: “The House Of Black and White”
Arya arrives in Braavos. Pod and Brienne run into trouble on the road. Cersei fears for her daughter’s safety in Dorne as Ellaria Sand seeks revenge for Oberyn’s death. Stannis tempts Jon. An adviser tempts Dany. Air Date: April 19th.
5.3: “High Sparrow”
In Braavos, Arya sees the Many-Faced God. In King’s Landing, Queen Margaery enjoys her new husband. Tyrion and Varys walk the Long Bridge of Volantis. Air Date: April 26th.
The fourth episode has a title, “The Sons of the Harpy” – referencing the underground traditionalists who threaten and terrorize Meereen after Daenerys’ abolition of the slave trade.
Hannibal‘s third season will premiere June 4, perhaps setting it up as a strong summer series. Previous seasons premiered in April and February respectively. For those who don’t know, Hannibal is a re-imagining of the Hannibal Lecter mythos, including but certainly not limited to Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. Add a mix of Criminal Minds and some reality-blurring gothic horror, and you have a delightfully subversive and entertaining show that is also old-fashioned and polished.
It synthesizes all the elements into a concoction that is the best crime drama on TV, potentially only opposed by True Detective. Their parallels, as noted subtly above, are hilarious. TD’s lasting impact however will depend on how that show’s sophomore run fares, which will establish it as a force to be reckoned with or a one-off wonder. That show’s second season, again written by Nic Pizzolatto and starring Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Kelly Reilly is also looking at a summer debut.
4. Beauty and the Beast castings
Fairy tale retellings have become quite the popular trend over the last few years, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Hollywood is merely taking the oldest tales and giving them a new sheen, usually of the “dark, gritty, and realistic” variety. Now Disney has found great success with live-action adaptations of their classic films, such as Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and this weekend’s Cinderella. Like many other trends that make a shitload of money, it is not abating, with a live-action Beauty and the Beast
Rising star Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) will play the princely Beast and Luke Evans (The Hobbit films, Dracula Untold) embodies the villainous Gaston. Emma “Hermione” Watson will be playing out Belle. There was a time when Guillermo del Toro was going to director Watson in a different, undoubtedly-better version of this tale, but, with his blessing, Disney is making what is sure-to-be a sanitized product, with the dramatic weight of air. That said, Cinderella has been getting good reviews. Maybe they cracked the code. I don’t know, but like all money-making machines, it ain’t stopping either way.
5. Trailer for Self/less
I like Ryan Reynolds. Hollywood loved Ryan Reynolds. America has not really loved Ryan Reynolds.
He was a casualty of the dying movie star brand, something Johnny Depp and Will Smith has been experiencing. Hollywood bet big on him. And in fairness, he had and has everything going for him. Let’s put it this way: most of us would choose to be Ryan Reynolds before he would choose to be us. But Green Lantern, The Change-Up, R.I.P.D. all failed – Green Lantern in particular stalled any movement on a D.C. comics film universe for two years until Man of Steel premiered.
His comeback in indie films started off slow with the non-starter The Captive but he earned praise for his role as a schizophrenic murderer in The Voices. Here, he stars in sci-fi thriller Self/less about a dying man (Ben Kingsley) who has his mind transferred into a younger body (Ryan Reynolds). Insidiousness ensues when he begins looking into the origins of said body. A provocative sci-fi story brought to life by visual auteur Tarsem Singh (Immortals, Mirror Mirror)? I’m in.
I’ve previously written that 2015 could be a year of redemption for Reynolds. In addition to Self/less, his gambling road-trip movie Mississippi Grind premiered at Sundance to good reviews, his Holocaust survivor legal film Woman in Gold less so. He has another action thriller in the can titled Criminal, dated for release August 21, with an impressive cast including Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Gal Gadot, and Alice Eve. He’s even got his longtime passion project, comic adaptation Deadpool, in motion.
6. Independence Day 2: Goldblum, Pullman return, new leads cast
In another decades-later sequel trading in on the nostalgia factor, original director/producer team Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are returning with another installment of Independence Day, to be released on the very un-independent date of June 24, 2016.
New leads are Jesse Usher as Dylan Hiller, Will Smith’s character’s grown stepson, and Liam Hemsworth as Bill Pullman’s president’s son-in-law. Jeff Goldblum is confirmed to be returning as David Levinson and Bill Pullman is rumored to reprise his role as President James Whitmore.
I love when films pull stunts like this, as if the fate of the world would continually be left to by only these two families plus Jeff Goldblum. If anything, it would breed a family of PTSD-sufferers who can never catch a fuckin’ break. It does say something for Goldblum though. Adding him to more movies is an action I think even Democrats and Republicans would both support.
Will Smith declined a reprisal of his role. I find this somewhat shocking considering he’s already made two such sequels and his recent return to leading roles has been less-than-stellar. That said, I am far more excited for Will Smith as the Batman villain Deadshot in Suicide Squad than I would be a reprisal here. And given his track record, Will agrees it’s best to let some sleeping dogs lie.
7. Drew Goddard to helm new Spider-Man reboot?
I don’t want to say I called it but . . .
Now Latino-Review‘s always-reliable El Mayimbe has confirmed that Sony and Marvel are interested in Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) to direct their new Spider-Man reboot, rumored to be titled Spectacular Spider-Man.
Goddard was first hired as showrunner for the upcoming Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil, but he stepped down after writing the first two episodes to focus on directing a spinoff of the Amazing Spider-Man series focused on the Sinister Six. After that series imploded and the Sony hack attack, the conditions were finally in place for Spidey to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It makes sense; Goddard is an avowed lover of Spider-Man and, given his development time on Sinister Six, would have a leg-up on other candidates as far as prep and knowledge. There’s even talk of folding the Sinister Six into the new film(s). Another rumor states Spider-Man will be trying out for the Avengers and Iron Man will appear. Early days still.