Pretty good nerd news this past week. Pretty pretty pretty good.
1. Casting begins for THE HOBBIT -
It's been long rumored that Martin Freeman (BBC's "The Office", HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE) will be taking on the role of Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT and this past week we got confirmation. According to producer and now director of the film, Peter Jackson, there was never anyone else. The titular role, previously played by Ian Holm, is a difficult one to cast. It calls for an actor with both comedic and dramatic chops as well someone who can elicit enough empathy without being too pathetic. I dare say that Freeman is all of those things and the perfect choice. Of all the actors mentioned in connection to this role, he is the only one I was ever excited about.
Also, a good portion of the Dwarves were also cast:
Richard Armitage - Thorin
Graham McTavish - Dwalin
Robert Kazinsky - Fili
Aidan Turner - Kili
John Callen - Oin
Peter Hambleton - Gloin
Rumored for the production are:
Sylvester McCoy - Radagast the Brown (For the uninitiated, Radagast is the third wizard in the triad also featuring Saruman and Gandalf. He's not as powerful and spends most of his time in the wilderness, but he's still a pretty rad character.)
Michael Fassbender - in an unspecified role. It would be awesome to have him as part of the cast, but I can't be sure of who he'd play. Possibilities include: Beorn, a Wood Elf, or Bard. My money is on Bard though.
Leonard Nimoy - an unspecified role. This would also be great. I'd be happy with him in any role, especially a live-action one, but my suspicions have him voicing Smaug the Dragon.
British actors David Tennant ("Dr. Who") and James Nesbitt ("Jekyll") are also rumored for the film.
Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving are said to be returning in their LOTR parts.
2. TOTAL RECALL remake casting rumors -
Who cares, really? I'm not even a huge fan of the original and I'm even less of a fan of this remake with Len Wiseman at the helm of a Kurt Wimmer script. I'm just passing along the news: Colin Farrell is apparently the top choice for the lead, but Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy are also in the running.
3. Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" is being made into an animated film -
I may have heard this news before, but I've completely forgotten it until now. Apparently, Danny Devito will be voicing the title character and Ed Helms ("The Office") will take on the antagonist role. This story about a sour and persistent tree-hugger is incredibly timely and should make for a fun film. Look for it in 2012.
4. A correction from last week:
I wrote a bit about THE CROW reboot last week and mentioned Stephan Norrington (BLADE) as the director of the film. However, it now appears that Norrington has dropped out of the film due to creative differences. I'm still interested in this reboot, primarily because of Nick Cave's involvement, but this news could spell the end of the project's potential.
5. Spielberg picks his next project -
Now that Spielberg has wrapped up production on both his animated TIN TIN film and the WWI drama WAR HORSE, he's quickly moved on to another project - ROBOPOCALYPSE. Based on the yet-unreleased book of the same name, the film will deal with the aftermath of a robot uprising. I haven't read the book, so I can't speak to the narrative's quality, but I'm a bit iffy about this movie's potential. I love a good post-apoc/evil robot scenario, but this just doesn't seem like a good fit for the director. Spielberg lacks the energy of his youth and all I can anticipate from this film is something similar to the uninspired WAR OF THE WORLDS. I bet some annoying actors will be cast as the leads and the entire film will follow them being hounded by monstrous robots. Frankly, it's even more likely that the film never gets made and Spielberg moves on to something else. The most I can expect from ROBOPOCALYPSE: that it's better than last year's dreadful TERMINATOR film.
6. Speaking of evil robots...BSG is coming back!
That's right, nerds. A new "Battlestar Galactica" pilot just got the greenlight from SyFy. This potential series, entitled "Blood and Chrome", would follow William Adama in the 10th year of the first Cylon War. No release date has been set for the two-hour pilot and no casting announcements have been made about the main character. This project is very much in its infancy, but SyFy and Ron Moore seem serious about it, so we can hope for the best. I, for one, am very excited about the possibilities that come along with "Blood and Chrome". I don't hate "Caprica", the BSG prequel series, but it diverges so drastically from the tone of its predecessor that it leaves me wanting. "Caprica" has its own important story-arcs, which is cool, but the Cylons are such a backdrop that I fear they'll never surface as something important to the series. I want a return to Battlestar warfare and wartime drama. Hopefully, that's what this series will bring to the table (if it ever actually gets made).