Monday, July 31, 2006

Done Deal.....The Joker is Heath Ledger.

The great news:
The next Batman film will be called "The Dark Knight."

The "Ummm?" news:
Heath Ledger is most certainly playing the Joker.

Warner Bros. has made it official, unless he plans on getting drunk and publicly yelling anti-Semitic statements, while calling a policewoman "sugar tits," Heath Ledger will be playing the most recognized supervillian of all time... The Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, Mr. J himself.. The Joker.

To my eyes and ears, there is one definitive performance of this character. Mark Hamill's voice acting and Bruce Timm's visual design from the DC Animated Universe. However, this version borrows heavily from many sources, like 'The Killing Joke.' When Nicholson played him, I always thought he just played Jack. I liked it, but I always felt that Tim Curry would have been a better choice.

Here's my own definition of the Joker from my post
"Alright Already! Who is the Joker?" (Here!):

"To me, the essence of the Joker is a snobbish smile of sociopathic detachment matched with nervous laughter, bordering on ghoulish hysteria. He's an aristocratic, a foppish vaudevillian, who laughs at the violent nature of life.

The same tragedy that creates in The Batman, a creature of unbending will and a bleak determination to control chaos, creates a Joker that rejects control, rule and societal constructs, a Joker who has no sense of morality that embraces the chaotic nature of cruelty.

While, Ra's Al Ghul may be the only villain that is Batman's match, when done right the Joker is something scarier... Batman's opposite. This new film is supposed to re-introduce us to Batman's most famous foe...So whose gonna play the Joker?"

The problem I have: Ledger is such a sullen and subtle actor. In "Monster's Ball" and even films like "Brokeback Mountain" he pretty just grunts and mumbles in every scene. (add your gay cowboy joke here) I think he is an impressive actor, but can he play silly, chaotic and crazy? Looks like we're gonna find out.

I understand that Nolan is going his own way. I give him my best and award him the "Sam Raimi -Do what you please- Award." But as good as Batman Begins was, it allowed the public to again think about Batman as a fresh and exciting movie series, but it didn't knock the door down for the general audience. It opened that door, the next film will really draw the crowd. And that is the reason this movie has to be the Spider-man 2 and not the X3. The door will easily close again, for years and years.

If Heath can emote and really jump outside anything he's ever done, good God, then let him at em! If not, if we get a "It puts the Batarang in the basket or it gets the Hose!" then please Mr. Nolan, think now.... Heath could make a great Aquaman hmmm?

Below is the press release from The Warner Brothers themselves.
(What happened to Dot?)

BURBANK, CA, 31 July 2006 –
As a follow up to last year’s blockbuster Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan is set to direct Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight, written by Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The film will be produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan. Additionally, Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker. The announcements were made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Christopher Nolan revamped the Batman franchise in 2005 with the immensely successful Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale in the title role, which chronicled the early years of the superhero. Nolan first garnered attention from critics and fans in 2000 with the groundbreaking drama Memento, which he wrote and directed. He went on to direct the thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams, and recently wrapped production on The Prestige, with Hugh Jackman and Bale.

Bale was most recently seen in the ensemble cast of Terrence Malick’s The New World. His other credits include Little Women, Portrait of a Lady, Metroland, American Psycho, Laurel Canyon and Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, which was his first starring role.

Ledger most recently earned Oscar Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award nominations and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in the award-winning drama Brokeback Mountain. His other credits include Casanova, Monster’s Ball, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm and The Patriot.

“Chris’ unique vision is what made Batman Begins such an outstanding film and we could not imagine anyone else at the helm of The Dark Knight,” said Robinov. “We also can’t wait to see two such formidable actors as Christian and Heath face off with each other as Batman and The Joker.”

“I'm excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins,” added Nolan. “Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale’s Batman is going to be incredible.”

Production is set to begin on The Dark Knight in early 2007.

Nolan and Ledger are represented by CAA.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Black Dahlia....Starring The Joker?

Hi all, Just saw a great trailer for this movie.

It stars:
Josh Hartnett
Scarlett Johansson

Hilary Swank
Aaron Eckhart

Wow, Josh, how did you get into this movie with such a great cast?
Here's your chance!

Funny thing is, all of a sudden, the Joker appears for a split second about a third of the way in. I don't know why, or for that matter, who it's really supposed to be, but just when they start describing the horrible murder of this young woman, the trailer shows a tiny flash of this image:

Funny, I bet this is the exact tone that Christopher Nolan will go for in "Batman Begins Some More."

The trailer is great, very "LA Confidential," which, for my money, is a type of film that I can watch again and again.

The Black Dahlia is a real case. Elizabeth Short was the victim of an infamous murder in 1947. She was born July 29, 1924 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. On January 15, 1947, her body was discovered in a vacant lot in a Los Angeles neighborhood, cut in half at the waist and mutilated.
This case has become more lore than truth in the hearts of hard boiled crime fans and I suspect Brian de Palma's film is about as close to the truth as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is to the real story of Ed Gein, who it's supposedly based on.

The trailer is HERE!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Zach Braff is Fletch

Not so long ago Kevin Smith was going to do this series with Jason Lee starring as sneaky reporter/conman Irwin M. Fletcher, who would do anything and be anybody to get the story. Smith was unable to get those crazy Weinstein brothers to agree to sign Lee up. On his blog, Kevin responded to angry fans by sighting Lee's unfortunate ability to pick lackluster vehicles like 'Dreamcatcher', 'A Guy Thing' and 'Big Trouble,' as the reason Lee wouldn't be cast. Kevin had big plans of leaving Jay and Silent Bob behind and embarking on a career as a mature filmmaker. He first step out into the brave new world was 'Jersey Girl.' A movie that had you questioning everything, especially what kind of agents Mr. Smith and Mr. Afleck have.

Time has passed. The planets have realigned. Kevin Smith has refound his career, just where he had gloriously left it, in the good hands of Mr. S Bob and his life partner/love slave Jay. Former stunt skateboarder Jason Lee has erupted into a fiery, fame volcano as everyone's favorite karmic red-neck and Carson Daily worshiper, 'Earl,' all over the TV as one of NBC's only hits last season.

Now I ask you, have not those planets aligned for a reason? Have not these two rejuvenated souls been given another chance to make a Fletch movie starring Jason Lee with all his attitude on full power and Kevin's verbal assault machine cranking that handy script dial up to 11?


'Scrubs' creator Bill Lawrence (one of NBC's only other funny shows) has been passed the ball, while Kevin Smith went to nurse his wounds. He has, rather competently, cast 'Scrubs' star Zach Braff a the trouble finding Mr. Fletcher. Braff, deserves it. He's funny and talented and while his film 'Garden State' was shy of the brilliance of it's trailer, nailing this role could elevate him to another level of possibilities. I've never seen Mr. Braff play a more aggressive role like Fletch, so I can't see it in him. That doesn't mean it's not there.

I'm sad that I won't see Jason Lee in a role that everyone felt was made for him, but as long as he can keep the sweet hearted energy in 'Earl' for a few more years, I'm sure he can snag a good movie deal on the way.

The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop HERE!

'Fletch' lives as Lawrence, Braff scrub in
By Gregg Goldstein

NEW YORK -- "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence is writing and directing a prequel to the '80s franchise "Fletch," and if he has his way, Zach Braff will star in the title role.

The Weinstein Co. has signed Lawrence to helm and adapt Gregory Mcdonald's 1985 comic-mystery novel "Fletch Won," which follows the irreverent detective from his early days as a ne'er-do-well junior newspaper reporter to his partnership with a crime reporter to solve a murder.

Mcdonald's best-sellers were brought to the screen in 1985's "Fletch" and 1989's "Fletch Lives," both starring Chevy Chase.

"Zach is perfect for the role," Lawrence said in an interview from his Los Angeles office, where Braff sat laughing in the background. "I'm going to use all my pull trying to make him do it." Filming is expected to start in April once the current season of "Scrubs" completes filming. No cast members have been signed yet.

It was Braff who helped bring Lawrence on board by suggesting his "Scrubs" executive producer to Harvey Weinstein, leading to talks between the pair over the past six months. "Zach knows I can recite the original 'Fletch' movie line for line," said Lawrence, who also has read all of Mcdonald's "Fletch" novels.

The director is well aware of the cult surrounding the books and films, which seems to weigh heavily on him. "My closest friends from high school don't care about my career," he said. "This is the only job I've ever gotten where every one of them said, 'Congratulations,' and then said, 'Don't fuck it up.' "

Lawrence plans to make his "Fletch" with a bit more edge. "There were definitely broader, sketchier parts in the earlier films," he said. "I'd compare this one more to 'Beverly Hills Cop,' where there was a sense of real jeopardy. Like 'Batman Begins,' I (also) think people will enjoy seeing how Irwin Fletcher became Fletch."

Let me play Uncle Fletch? Please?

Comic Con: Edgar Wright 's Ant-Man

This is a project that just can't loose!

(unless I'm wrong and it does)

Take: the Director of "Shawn of the Dead"

Add: Marvel's smallest Avenger

You get: ANTMAN, The Movie!

This is how Marvel can get back on track. Small, fun characters with a low profile that still have rich histories and great potential. Hook them up with young directors that have demonstrated talent, not just proficency. Directors that are self driven to make movies that they played a part in developing and writing. I feel really good about this. But who knows, he could cast Tom Cruise and ruin my day. (Although he could actually play his own height for once!)

Superhero hype talks with Mr. Wright about his approach to the movie below. Check out the whole interview HERE!

Exclusive: Edgar Wright Talks Ant-Man

Source: Edward Douglas

July 26, 2006

You seem to be taking everything that's gone on since then in stride.

Wright: The Marvel thing is interesting, 'cause like I was saying in the [Marvel] panel yesterday, it was weirdly, a treatment we'd written that before "Shaun," so it's kind of odd to come back to that. Basically, this writer Joe Cornish… Before we'd written or maybe around the same time we'd written the first draft of "Shaun," I was in L.A. and I'd met with Artisan and at the time, they had some of Marvel's lesser-known titles, and they asked if I was a Marvel comics fan, and I said that I always was a Marvel Comics kid, and they said, "Are you interested in any of these titles?" The one that jumped out was "Ant-Man" because I had the John Byrne "Marvel Premiere" from 1979 that David Micheline had done with Scott Lang that was kind of an origin story. I always loved the artwork, so when I saw that, it just immediately set bells going off kind of thinking going "Huh, that could be interesting. " So we actually wrote a treatment for it, which was never sent to Marvel. It was like more our pitch on the thing. Ant-Man was basically doing a superhero film in invert commas, and it takes place in another genre, almost more in the crime-action genre, that just happens to involve an amazing suit with this piece of hardware. The thing I like about Ant-Man is that it's not like a secret power, there's no supernatural element or it's not a genetic thing. There's no gamma rays. It's just like the suit and the gas, so in that sense, it really appealed to me in terms that we could do something high-concept, really visual, cross-genre, sort of an action and special effects bonanza, but funny as well. There will definitely be a humorous element to it as well. So we wrote this treatment revolving around the Scott Lang character, who was a burglar, so he could have gone slightly in the Elmore Leonard route, and they came back saying, "Oh, we wanted to do something that was like a family thing." I don't think it ever got sent to Marvel. So then about two years ago I met Kevin Feige and Ari here and they said, "Are you interested in any Marvel titles?" and I said, "Weirdly enough, I did something for you," [At this point, writer Joe Cornish walks into the room with a camera, because he's also the official Hot Fuzz "blogographer."]…so we basically said, "Do you want to read the thing that we did three years ago?" So they read it and that's kind of the basis for what we're working on.

I think it's interesting that the Ant-Man you knew and grew up with was the Scott Lang one, since most people I would think know the one who hung with the Wasp in "Tales to Astonish."

Wright: Well, the thing is that what we want to do, the idea that we have for the adaptation is to actually involve both. Is to have a film that basically is about Henry Pym and Scott Lang, so you actually do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60's, in sort of "Tales to Astonish" mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang's story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him. So it's like an interesting thing, like the "Marvel Premiere" one that I read which is Scott Lang's origin, it's very brief like a lot of those origin comics are, and in a way, the details that are skipped through in the panels and the kind of thing we'd spend half an hour on.

Obviously, you're going to need a lot of ants, so are you going to hire an ant wrangler or get into the whole CGI thing?

Wright: Oh, yeah, yeah, totally. Visually, the two kind of powers… aside from the shrinking--obviously the shrinking is incredibly visual, the fact that he can shrink and enlarge, kind of mid-combat, it's not like a peril thing where he shrinks and then he's stuck there. It's not like "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" or "The Incredible Shrinking Man", he can enlarge as well. So the thing that really appealed to me, the idea of doing action scenes, fight scenes, like hand-to-hand combat scenes with a protagonist who can shrink to an inch high and still have the same punching weight, and then spring back up up mid-fight. So I think you could do some crazy Jackie Chan sh*t with that.

Some people might not think much about the character or even know about him, so is there less pressure because it's not "The Incredible Hulk" or "Spider-Man?"

Wright: Yeah, yeah, I think so in way. This is something me and Joe were talking about… [urges Joe to come over for his first ever interview]… come and join us! That's what is interesting in a way is that I think a lot of the really successful comic book adaptations, are either from books. I think "Spider-Man" and "Batman Begins" are kind of the two exceptions, but prior to that, some of the best comic book adaptations were either of lesser-known titles, like "Men in Black" or they were films that traded so much on comics without actually being an adaptation like "RoboCop" and "The Matrix," they're both kind of steeped in comic book lore. "Robocop" probably wouldn't have existed without "Judge Dredd." "The Matrix" may not have existed without a lot of Anime and stuff… or Grant Morrison. [Laughs very loudly at his own joke.]

Okay Wiki, do your thing!!
Wiki links:

Ant-Man I - Hank Pym HERE!

Ant-Man II - Scott Lang HERE!

Ant-Man (Hank Pym)

Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe, a founding member of the superhero group The Avengers. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist/co-writer Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962). A chemist, biologist and inventor of artificial intelligence, Pym is one of the most brilliant human scientists in the "Marvel universe." He is the creator of "Pym particles," a substance that allowed him and his love interest/partner the Wasp to shrink to minute sizes. Later alterations to the particles allowed Pym to increase his size as well. Originally called Ant-Man, Pym’s adventures with the Wasp were featured in Tales to Astonish until The Avengers became the primary platform for their careers. Both as a superhero and as a scientist has been invaluable to the team, but a long-nursed inferiority complex and bouts of mental illness have caused innumerable problems for the team and made Pym abusive towards loved ones.

In addition to Ant-Man, Pym has several different costumed identities over the years, including Goliath, Giant-Man and his current moniker Yellowjacket. Several related or semi-related characters have taken Pym’s previous identities

At one point, Henry Pym was married to a Hungarian called Maria Trovaya. Sadly, their marriage was cut short when Maria was killed by Hungarian Secret Police. Shortly after that, biochemist Hank Pym discovered what he called Pym particles, a rare group of
subatomic particles from which he formulated a size-altering formula. Testing the solution on himself, he found they were far more powerful than he hypothesized—one type of these particles had the power to make things shrink and the other to restore an object to its natural size. He was shrunk down to the size of an insect and narrowly escaped the inhabitants of an anthill. He then restored himself. After he undertook an exhaustive study of ants, he later constructed a "cyber-helmet" that would let him communicate with and control insects. He designed a costume and gave himself the superhero name Ant-Man. On his first outing as Ant-Man, he defeated some KGB agents that were trying to steal some anti-radiation gas that Pym had made. He started a career as Ant-Man and fought many supervillains and monsters.

Later, Pym was contacted by Dr. Vernon Van Dyne, who asked for Pym's help in contacting aliens. He refused, but became attracted to Vernon's daughter, Janet Van Dyne. Vernon Van Dyne was later slain by an alien outlaw. Janet asked for Hank's help to avenge his death. Pym then revealed his secret identity to her. Hank used some Pym particles on her and grafted wasp wings beneath her shoulders (but they disappeared when she was normal size and came back again when using Pym particles). Janet assumed the name of The Wasp. They tracked down and defeated Vernon's killer, thus forming a permanent partnership and starting a relationship, before becoming founding members of the Avengers. Shortly afterward, he developed a variant Pym particle that could increase his size; using these, he became Giant-Man and later Goliath.

However, Pym suffered a series of mental problems. Shortly before his wedding, he had a breakdown during which he became amnesiac and developed the cocky "Yellowjacket" persona; he only fully recovered after his wedding to Janet. Almost immediately prior to that incident, he had created an android called Ultron, which, to his horror, became self-aware and evil, and plotted to kill and replace him and the rest of humanity with robots. The extent of his guilt involved in Ultron's creation was not revealed until years later, when he admitted that Ultron's brain patterns were in fact based on his own.

Several years later, Pym had a complete breakdown, and became extremely paranoid. During the course of this breakdown, he became overbearing and verbally abusive towards Janet. At the nadir of this degeneration, he struck her, and then proceeded to concoct a plan to make himself look good in front of his teammates by staging an attack upon them which only he could stop. This plan backfired and Pym was exposed, disgraced, and expelled from the Avengers, and the couple divorced.

Later it was revealed that his erratic behavior had been sparked as part of a plan from supervillain Egghead (who at the time was presumed dead) to ruin Pym's reputation and cajoling him into stealing the national reserve of Adamantium. The plan went into effect and Pym was eventually captured and blamed for the theft while Egghead escaped; blaming the whole thing on a reputedly-dead villain was initially taken as further proof of Pym's madness and was only through the sheer effort and determination of the bow-wielding Hawkeye that the real perpetrator was exposed and Pym cleared of charges. (Egghead died when pulling the trigger of a laser gun in which Hawkeye had just shot one of his arrows).

After Pym's mental state returned to normal he rejoined the Avengers, first in an advisory role and later as Giant-Man. After the events of "Avengers Forever", Pym re-adopted his Yellowjacket costume, to put the past behind him and acknowledge his healed psyche. After a time, he and the Wasp became friends again and, some years later, resumed a romantic relationship. In the events detailed in the "Avengers Finale", Pym and Janet left the team to re-kindle their relationship in England, where Pym had accepted a residency at Oxford.

Ant-Man (Scott Lang)

The second fictional superhero Ant-Man in the Marvel Comics universe, following the 1960s original, Dr. Henry Pym, is Scott Lang, an electronics expert and reformed thief. Lang first appeared in The Avengers #181 (March 1979) and became the second Ant-Man in Marvel Premiere #47 (April 1979).

Scott Lang turned to burglary when his occupation as an electronics expert failed to support his family. Apprehended, he served his prison sentence and was paroled after
three years for good behavior. In prison, Lang furthered his study of electronics and was soon hired by Stark International to work in its design department. When his daughter Cassie became seriously ill, Lang decided to return to burglary as a final resort. He broke into the home of Dr. Henry Pym and stole his Ant-Man uniform and shrinking gas canisters. Garbed as Ant-Man, Lang broke into Cross Technological Enterprises and discovered that Dr. Sondheim, the only person capable of helping his daughter, was being held prisoner. He rescued the doctor and was relieved when Sondheim was able to save the life of his beloved Cassie.

Lang had intended to return the Ant-Man costume to Pym and turn himself in for its theft but Pym, aware of the use to which Lang had put the stolen goods, offered to let him keep them, provided he only use them to uphold the law. After that encounter, Lang donned the Ant-Man costume on various occasions to assist Iron Man and the Avengers, and briefly was hired by the Fantastic Four when Reed Richards was missing and presumed dead.

After Lang's ex-wife gained custody of their daughter Cassie, Lang accepted an offer to join the Avengers officially. His personality clashed immediately with fellow Avenger Jack of Hearts. However, shortly before Jack committed suicide in The Avengers Vol. 3, #76, Jack helped save Cassie from a child-murderer.

Lang dated private investigator and former superhero Jessica Jones briefly, but broke it off when he learned Jessica was pregnant with the child of Luke Cage, another superhero. Shortly afterward, during a catastrophic episode when the reality-altering former Avenger the Scarlet Witch went insane, she resurrected Jack of Hearts, who against his will returned to Avengers Mansion and blew half of it up, killing Lang in the process.

Lang's daughter Cassie has taken up his mantle as Stature, in the Young Avengers. Stature's full name is Cassandra Eleanor "Cassie" Lang.

Powers and abilities

Using a gaseous form of "Pym particles" kept in a compartment in his suit, Ant-Man had the power to shrink to the size of an ant, and communciate telepathically with insects via his cybernetic helmet.

Dr. Hank Pym is a scientific genius of the highest order with expertise in both the fields of robotics/cybernetics and biochemistry. His greatest scientific achievement, "Pym particles", led to several costumed identities. Pym particles enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension. By imbibing special capsules of Pym particles, Pym was able to shrink to half-inch size and adventure as the Ant-Man and, later, to grow to 30-foot size and adventure as Giant-Man and Goliath. He later switched from using capsules to a Pym particle-filled gas, but eventually his body had absorbed enough particles to shrink and grow at will.

As Yellowjacket, Pym used his shrinking ability along with a bio-energy gun (used incorporated into blasting gauntlets.) In his insect guises, Pym also used a communication device in his helmet that allowed him to communicate and control insect life (mostly ants.) At one point, Pym found himself able to use the Pym particle field about his body to shrink and grow objects in contact with him, and he carried various high and low tech equipment in his jumpsuit. Currently, he can only shrink and grow objects that have been specially-treated with Pym particles beforehand. As Hank's abilities have fluctuated between growth and size reduction, he has remained an intellectual at heart.