There's a ton of nerdly news to report on, so let's get started.
1. Tom Hardy - the first new actor to sign on to Nolan's 3rd Batman film:
It has been reported that Tom Hardy will play a key role in the next Batman installment, but what that role will be is still a mystery. All signs point to him playing some sort of villain, but that also has not been confirmed. There have been strong hints that The Riddler will be Batman's primary antagonist for this film and rumors were putting Hardy's INCEPTION co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt close to that role. It's entirely possible that Hardy will don the question-mark suit (hopefully not literally), but it's just as possible that he will be playing someone else. "Kick-Ass" and "Wanted" creator Mark Miller claimed to have an inside scoop earlier this week, stating that production would be taking place in Louisiana and that Killer Croc would appear in the yet-untitled film. This seems highly unlikely considering Nolan's style, but it's a lead.
Personally, I hope that Hardy is a non-Riddler villain. He has some impressive acting chops and some serious bad-guy charisma (see BRONSON). I would be okay with him playing Nygma, but I think he's better suited as Black Mask or some other less-exposed rogue. I also wouldn't mind him in the role of Jean-Paul Valley, Batman's apprentice and unstable replacement in the series "Knightfall". Either way, production on the film begins very soon, so hopefully some answers will out.
2. Rhys Ifans will play The Lizard in Spider-Man reboot:
News of Ifans' (GREENBERG, HANNIBAL RISING) casting broke last week and it only took a day to reveal which villain he would be playing. Ifans is a very talented actor and this is a huge break for him. This film is becoming more and more appealing with each new bit of info. However, I am not entirely enthused with the news that The Lizard will be Spidey's primary antagonist. Spider-Man has a pretty lame Rogue's gallery, so there isn't a ton to choose from, but The Lizard? If the actor cast were of any lesser quality than Ifans, I wouldn't be terribly optimistic. We'll just have to wait and see how this all pans out.
3. Darren Aronofsky likely to helm WOLVERINE 2:
This rumor has been on the horizon for a while now, but that doesn't make it any less of a shocker. Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN, THE WRESTLER) was briefly mentioned in connection with the Superman reboot, but that job went to Zach Snyder. His buddy, Hugh Jackman, then turned on the pressure for Fox to offer him the Wolverine gig. This will likely put the director's adaptation of John Vaillant's non-fiction book "The Tiger" on hold for the foreseeable future.
To me, this functions as a sort of defibrillator for the property as X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE was embarrassingly bad. Up until this announcement, I had literally zero interest in the sequel. Now, I'm actually a tad excited. Early reports indicate that this film will take place in Japan and deal a forbidden romance that quickly turns ugly. I trust that Aronofsky will treat the super-powered franchise with the level of seriousness it requires to actually turn out well. WOLVERINE was diluted by too much garbage and filler, something that I feel this director will be immune to. However, there is concern to be had over studio intervention, which reportedly caused much of the first film's crumminess. Over-imposing execs might make it difficult for Aronofsky to make the film he wants, but he'll likely have a bit more clout on-set than WOLVERINE's Gavin Hood did. This will very likely be one of those interesting exceptions where a sequel outshines the original.
4. THE HOBBIT greenlit, Peter Jackson to direct:
This is a shock to absolutely no one. I would much rather have Guillermo del Toro at the helm, but that's just not in the cards anymore. I'm not a huge fan of Jackson, but I trust him with the Tolkien properties and if GDT couldn't do it, I'm glad it's him. Bout time with the greenlight though, hopefully things get rolling soon.
5. James Cameron possible for CLEOPATRA with Angelina Jolie:
Well, if Cameron is involved, it's probably going to be quite the epic. I could easily draw comparison to the Mankiewicz film from the 60's, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and was (and is) one of the biggest financial failures in film history, but I don't think it'll be the same this time around. Despite my negative feelings toward AVATAR, there's no denying its place in history as a global phenomenon. Whatever Cameron touches turns to gold, so this should be no different. The confident director has not signed on to the film just yet and is still developing other projects, including the AVATAR sequel.
6. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES loses O. Russell as director:
David O. Russell (THREE KINGS, THE FIGHTER) wasn't attached to this film for very long and has now left the director's seat vacant. Scheduling conflicts and a chance to direct DRAKE'S FORTUNE have led him astray and now the race is on to find a new director. David Slade (ECLIPSE, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT) is high on the list. He was recently in the running for the WOLVERINE sequel, but now that that appears to be off the table, this is a strong possibility. Also rumored for this production is THE DESCENT's Neil Marshall. I'd say that either is a respectable choice, but I'd much rather see Marshall take this on as I could him turning this into something pretty special.
7. More ALIEN prequel news:
Speaking of P&P&Z - Natalie Portman recently vacated the starring role for fear that she was too old to play the part. Now she's heavily rumored for the lead role in Ridley Scott's Untitled Alien Prequel. Reports have it that Scott wants DRAGON TATTOO's Noomi Rapace for the part, but the studio is pushing for Portman. Details on the role are few at this point, but it's said that she'll be a high-ranking military officer. I think I'd rather see Rapace in this, simply because she's a better fit, but I wouldn't be disappointed with Portman either.
Also, Damon Lindelof handed in his revision of the script over the weekend and execs at Fox are said to be very pleased. Why? Apparently, his version makes the PG-13 goal a bit more attainable and also cuts down on the amount of large, intricate (and expensive) sets that need to be built. I can't quite picture what this film's end-product is going to be. To hear Scott talk about it makes it seem like it's going to be monumentally epic and expansive, but these recent reports paint it more as a smaller, horror-flick in the tradition of the original. I can't say I'd be upset with either, I'm just curious to see how things actually turn out.
8. Wahlberg offered the lead role in Norrington/Cave's remake of THE CROW:
I'm a big fan of the original and actually pretty much behind this production because of Cave's involvement. However, I don't think this would turn out well. I like Wahlberg, but he's just not right for this. He's already done a lot of revenge flicks and he doesn't need to be involved in this one too. My vote: shoot for an unknown.
Oh, I almost forgot these two interviews from this weeks Scream Awards -
Geoff Johns (Head of Creative at DC Films and Top DC Writer):
Damon Lindelof ("Lost", ALIEN prequel, STAR TREK 2 Scribe):