Lots of Batman news going on that I haven't made time to comment on.
1. Nolan's Batman 3 = THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -
For those who haven't caught this already, that will indeed be the title of the next, and reportedly final, film in the Christopher Nolan Batman series. I'm not wild about it, though I'm not going to put up much of a fuss. It just seems there could have been a lot more dynamic titles to choose from. Adding the word "Rises" just seems a little lazy. Perhaps it will seem more relevant as more details about the film arise, or maybe it's just a way of tethering the film to the immensely successful sequel in hopes that it might possess some of the same magic. Anyway, I'm sure it'll grow on me.
2. Rumor has it a list of high-profile actresses have met with Nolan and Co. to discuss a couple roles in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -
One role - that of a love interest, another - that of a villain. Some astute observers have split the actresses into two camps, implying that each is vying for a particular role.
Group #1: The Young
Natalie Portman (though Portman is versatile enough for both groups)
Group #2: The Not-As-Young
Frankly, I'm in favor of most of these actresses landing a role. The only name I'd like to see excised from the list is Lively. Her performance in THE TOWN was more than passable, but she has a big role in the upcoming GREEN LANTERN and I don't think it's necessary to see her in two big DC properties.
3. This film might have some source material -
Word around town is that this 3rd installment might be loosely based on the graphic novel "Prey". This comes as no surprise as each of the previous films has a connection to a particular graphic novel; BATMAN BEGINS has "Year One" and THE DARK KNIGHT has "The Long Halloween". I've never read "Prey" but apparently it's considered a follow-up to "Year One" and involves the villain Dr. Hugo Strange. Strange is obsessed with Batman and manipulates people in power, including Commissioner Gordon, into creating a task force to hunt down the vigilante (which would follow the conclusion of THE DARK KNIGHT seamlessly). He then deduces the true identity of Batman and uses that to play mind games with him. Frankly, this sounds like an awesome 3rd film and a great way to end things off. There isn't a villain in Batman's Rogues Gallery that can stir up as much excitement as The Joker, so this film needs to have a tense and exciting plot. Hugo Strange is a great antagonist and certainly captures my attention more than The Riddler (long rumored for the film). Tom Hardy is the only new actor officially cast in the film and it's already confirmed that he'll play a villain. He'd be a good fit for Strange as the guy has menacing down (see BRONSON or even STAR TREK: NEMESIS). This rumor, like every other, is at the moment still just a rumor. We won't know things for sure until production gets along next year, but this sounds like it's a major possibility considering Nolan's style and the natural progression of the storyline laid out in the last film.
4. A live-action Batman TV show may follow the film trilogy -
This is definitely just a rumor, but one that's making the rounds. I'm on board with this idea and really hope it's true. Granted, a Batman show might turn out goofy and fall on its face, but I don't think that's likely. DC will be sure to funnel a ton of money into it and it's said that the feel they're looking for is in line with the Nolan films. DC is apparently pretty keen on the idea of reintroducing the Joker character in this new medium since it wouldn't step on the toes of Ledger's creation. This is smart; Batman vs. The Joker in any prolonged format could spell some serious ratings. The last detail mentioned in regard to this rumor is that the people in creative control are looking for someone like Karl Urban for the Batman role. That doesn't mean he's officially cast since this is in the very early stages and Urban is very busy for the foreseeable future, it just gives an idea of what kind of actor they're looking for.
5. Under Aronofsky, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE 2 becomes simply THE WOLVERINE -
This news only further validates my excitement for this film which began when Aronofsky was announced as director. People have moved on from the original X-MEN trilogy, there's no need to harken back to them with this X-MEN ORIGINS nonsense. The first WOLVERINE was silly, over the top and just a downright slap in the face to fans of the character. THE WOLVERINE is just such a classier title and it carries with it the edge that the character requires. The screenplay, written by Christopher McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS), tells of Wolverine's experiences in Japan.
6. The SPIDER-MAN Reboot recently had some less-than exciting casting news -
The couple of Uncle Ben and Aunt May will be played by Martin Sheen and Sally Field. I really couldn't care less who plays these parts, except I would rather it be anybody but Field for Aunt May. I just don't care for the woman. She was such an ass in MRS. DOUBTFIRE; I think that turned me against her. Anyway, Denis Leary has also been cast in the role of George Stacy, Gwen's father. This is fine. I don't watch "Rescue Me", so the only performances of his that I have to judge him from are DEMOLITION MAN and THE SANDLOT, both of which he's just fine in. Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield and Rhys Ifans have already been cast in the film as Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker and Dr. Curt Connors respectively.
7. ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER has gone into pre-production with WANTED director, Timur Bekmambatov, at the helm -
I haven't read the novel on which this film is based, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Retconning Lincoln's life to include a secret war against vampires which began after he watched them kill his mother as a child. I'm not at all a fan of WANTED, but I have faith in Bekmambatov's talents based on his WATCH films. Those films possess a unique brand of horror that might translate well in this film. It's scheduled to come out in June of 2012.
8. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES has a director in Mike White -
There you have it. Mike White's only directing credit is 2007's YEAR OF THE DOG, which isn't exactly encouraging, but who knows. I was hoping for someone a bit more high-profile like Neil Marshall. I was a lot more excited about this film when David O. Russell and Natalie Portman were involved.