Well, following Comic-Con the plethora (Jefe, what is a plethora?) of nerd news seemed to dry up a bit, but I felt there was enough recently to justify the return of Nerd News. Let us begin.
1. John Cusack to play Edgar Allan Poe in James McTeigue's (V FOR VENDETTA) THE RAVEN -
So, this film has been rumored for a while. It's supposed to be a bit of historical fiction that finds Poe tracking the steps of a crafty serial killer. Two actors' names have been attached to the film previously; Ewan McGregor and Jeremy Renner. I can only assume that Renner was in talks to play Poe himself because it would have been just too perfect. No one yet knows what Cusack's surprise casting will mean for the involvement of either aforementioned actor, perhaps they will take on different roles in the cast. I actually think this sounds like a fantastic idea for a film, but I think Cusack's casting is a misstep. I was once a big supporter of the actor, but I can't remember the last time he had a really good performance, but I suppose that's neither here nor there, I just don't think he'd be good for the part. Cusack has a very distinctive style that I think will be very hard to shake. Has he ever even done a period film before? McGregor or Renner would have made for better choices in my humble opinion. I'm certainly curious to see how this all pans out though.
2. Speaking of Renner: He will take point in the next MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE film -
Renner's dropping out of THE RAVEN likely has something to do with his (seemingly) very busy impending schedule. As announced at SDCC (and on this blog several months prior), Renner will be taking on the supporting role of Hawkeye in Marvel's THE AVENGERS. He also has THE TOWN coming out next month and is rumored to have a role in the next P.T. Anderson film THE MASTER. The MISSION IMPOSSIBLE gig is huge for the actor as he's likely been cast to draw the anti-Tom Cruise audience. It's very apparent to me that Cruise lacks his once-mighty drawing power and a fourth installment of the franchise featuring the actor would likely be disastrous. Renner has been brought in to shoulder the M:I series into the next generation (apparently). Early reports indicate that this film will be a reboot of sorts and forgo the numerical suffix and indeed be a new start with Tom Cruise in tow for the purpose of passing the torch. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE just got a lot more interesting.
3. Albert Brooks cast as badass in Refn's DRIVE:
I'm not sure if DRIVE casting news would normally qualify as Nerd News, but this is Albert Brooks! An accomplished comedian, Brooks has voiced numerous memorable characters on "The Simpsons", most notably Hank Scorpio. He also had a stint on "Weeds" a couple years back as Nancy's father-in-law. It was then that I noticed a certain intimidating presence in the funnyman, which is why this announcement fills me with such joy. I've been hearing a lot about DRIVE lately and each bit of news makes it sound even better. Nicolas Winding Refn (PUSHER, BRONSON, VALHALLA RISING) is set to direct, which is a plus and Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston are already cast, which isn't bad either. The film follows a stuntman, played by Gosling, who moonlights as a getaway driver (not a bad premise). Brooks will play a badass mobster, a mob boss even. With this news, the project has skyrocketed to the top of my most-anticipated list. Unfortunately, it won't be out until 2012.
*A quick note on Refn - While looking up info on DRIVE, I came across the plot of another one of his upcoming projects, apparently filed under the genre "Thai-western" called ONLY GOD FORGIVES. The plot is as follows: :A Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match." Awesome, right? Refn is such a diverse director, he also co-wrote and directed a TV movie called "Miss Marple: Nemesis" a couple years back. That I gotta see.
4. Some details emerge about X-MEN: FIRST CLASS -
There's been a lot of talk about the next X-Men installment/prequel and each tidbit paints it in an even more positive light. Initially, I thought the project would just be about the most popular X-Men as kids, which sounded lame. Apparently, that's not the plan at all. Cyclops won't even appear in the film because it's set before he ever became relevant - the 1960's. The intention is for the struggle between Xavier and Magneto to take place against the backdrop of the Malcolm X - King Jr. divide. I'm really liking the fact that this film seems to be mostly about their relationship, I can see it being a fairly decent movie if they pull it off.
5. Some sci-fi trailers:
This one looks like an interesting concept. It's called ALTITUDE and features a plane full of young people flying into a dark cloud where Lovecraftian horrors await. If I wasn't so sure the young people are going to render this film unwatchable, I'd be interested.
I heard about this next one in an article I was reading earlier. I don't know how long this trailer has been around for, but I felt it was worth showing. IRON SKY is about the Nazis laying low on the moon, preparing for their eventual return to Earth in the year 2018. Nazis and sci-fi is just such a great pairing.