Just days after Patty Jenkins lost the Thor 2 directing gig over those ever-pesky "creative differences," Marvel is said to be narrowing its list of possible replacements. THR reports that Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan, two prolific TV directors with minimal feature-film experience, are the leading candidates to helm the sequel to the 2011 summer blockbuster, which starred Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding Norse hero and Natalie Portman as his plucky love interest. THR adds that the studio is mulling different writers for the job of re-tooling Don Payne's Thor 2 screenplay draft, including John Collee (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Robert Rodat (TNT's Falling Skies) and former Tarantino collaborator Roger Avary.
Thor 2 may not have a director or a screenwriter, but it does have a release date: November 15, 2013.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
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In the beginning of Happy Feet you might think a handful of moviegoers forgot to silence their cell phones; it’s just the emperor penguins singin’ their beaks off to one of any number of songs popular circa 2003. In Antarctica that’s how they stick together--it’s how they harmonize so to speak. But with the birth of one penguin Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) the whole colony is shaken up. Mumble has the voice of a puberty-stricken boy and is unable to keep a tune but he can dance like the dickens! His mother Norma Jean (voiced by Nicole Kidman) thinks it’s a cute habit but his father (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and the rest of the tight-knit community ostracize him. After toiling around a while with his new buddies (of which two are voiced by Robin Williams) some of whom are “Latino penguins ” Mumble realizes his only chance at redemption is to find the source of the penguins’ current fish famine--and he’ll stop at nothing not even “aliens." Robin Williams is quite the odd bird himself. Nowadays--movie-wise at least--he’s better heard and not seen (i.e. voice-over roles like this one) whereas his mile-a-minute physicality was once a necessary evil to get the full 3-D effect of his personality. His animated self obviously less in-your-face Williams’ dialogue does all the work in Feet and gives a performance that matches his beloved Aladdin Genie. Frodo alert: Wood also starring in this weekend’s Bobby hits all the er wrong notes to turn in a solid performance as the movie’s lead Mumble. Since he sounds (and looks) much younger to most people than his actual age (25) it’s another in his long line of impeccable role choices. As the unattainable object of Mumble’s affection Brittany Murphy stars as Gloria a character that if nothing else allows the actress to display her singing talents as a preview of her reported upcoming album. (Yes seriously.) The biggest names Kidman and Jackman with small parts don’t offer much besides superficial mainstream appeal but bit parts from Hugo Weaving Anthony LaPaglia and the late Steve Irwin round out the formidable cast with some zing. Penguins have long been ripe for the animating what with their waddling clumsiness and stuffed-animal cuteness. March of the Penguins outed them as lovable misunderstood Antarctic creatures Madagascar turned them into ‘toon comedians and now Feet director and co-writer George Miller (Mad Max) gives them the full treatment by animating and literally humanizing them. Miller’s labor of love which he’d deliberated over for some time encompasses all the kiddie messages we’ve come to expect while managing to toss in the rare animation curveball: ecological themes. Miller is clearly an animal lover--he also wrote and produced Babe--a passion he ties into the film without forcing. But the animation nonstop musical numbers and technical aspect of the film will truly and pleasantly surprise you. In fact a few scenes in particular involving humans juxtaposed with animated penguins make for memorable images--and messages. He and his team of co-writers Warren Coleman John Collee and Judy Morris also formulate typically quicker-witted dialogue for the primarily Aussie cast but it’s the overall heartwarming tale and execution thereof that’ll have you smiling all movie long.
Top Story: Law Wants Penn To Win Oscar
Jude Law, nominated for best actor for his portrayal of Confederate soldier Inman in Cold Mountain, wants Sean Penn to win the statuette instead of him, The Associated Press reports. "I've always loved Sean Penn's work. He's someone I've respected and looked up to and admired for years and years and years, and I think it should be his year," Law told reporters at the Berlin International Film Festival Wednesday. Penn earned his fourth Oscar nomination for his role as a bereaved father in Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed tragedy, Mystic River. He has never appeared at an Academy Awards show, but says he plans to this year. Law is in Berlin promoting Cold Mountain which opened the festival, but is not in competition. This is Law's second Oscar nomination, having been nominated in the best supporting actor category in 2000 for his role as the roguish Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley. He is expected to be in attendance at this year's ceremony later this month.
Garfunkel Pleads Guilty in Marijuana Case
In a reversal of his original plea, Art Garfunkel has pleaded guilty to marijuana possession, Reuters reports. Garfunkel, who comprised one half of the popular '60s duo Simon and Garfunkel, was charged with marijuana possession after his limo was pulled over for speeding January 17th in Hurley, New York, and 6 grams of marijuana were found in the singer's jacket pocket. His driver received a ticket and Garfunkel was given the choice of contesting the marijuana charge or paying a $100 fine. Initially Garfunkel wished to plead "not guilty" and a hearing was set for Feb. 11. His lawyer then changed Garfunkel's plea and paid the fine a week early. Garfunkel did not appear in court.
Master Takes Command at British Critics' Awards
Peter Weir's seafaring epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World took top honors at this year's London Film Critics' Circle awards, winning three awards and completely routing favorite The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Reuters reports. The Russell Crowe starrer took best picture, best British actor (Paul Bettany), and best screenwriting (John Collee and Peter Weir) awards at the annual ceremony held by British film critics who write for newspapers throughout England. Best director (Clint Eastwood) and actor (Sean Penn) awards went to Mystic River with the best actress award going to Julianne Moore for Far From Heaven.
German Director Decries "Primitive" Reception of Film at Berlin Fest
Director Romuald Karmakar expressed his displeasure with the less-than-ideal reaction to his film Nightsongs at the Berlin Film Festival yesterday, Reuters reports. The film, a tragedy based on a play by Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse, suffered many audience walkouts during the screening and many in the audience laughed during the conclusion of the gloomy love story about two lovers who are about to run off together when the woman's husband kills himself by jumping out a window. "It's getting too primitive here and I'm sick and tired of it," Karmakar said of the audience's reaction, "How far have we fallen?" He went on to explain, "It's a love story, just without a happy ending. You find that everywhere but it's underrepresented in movies. Reality is full of problems. We have four million unemployed in Germany."
Majority of Americans Believe Jackson Reveal Intentional
Janet Jackson intended to reveal her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show as a publicity stunt, a poll conducted by Billboard.com suggests. Of the 8,307 polled, 65 percent believed right from the get-go that Jackson fully intended Justin Timberlake to rip off her bustier cup and show her naked breast to the world, while 35 percent believe that the full exposure was unintentional. Both Jackson and Timberlake have since apologized for the incident, though they have repeatedly said the breast fallout was due to a "wardrobe malfunction." The Federal Communications Commission is investigating the incident, so as to punish the guilty and protect the nation's fragile eyes.
Aguilera, Elliott To Pitch Viva Glam
Makeup addict Christina Aguilera, along with Missy Elliott, Linda Evangelista, Chloe Sevigny and Boy George, will pitch Viva Glam, a makeup line that funds HIV/AIDS programs. All proceeds from the MAC-owned Viva Glam V Lipgloss and Lipstick will go to care of people afflicted with AIDS as well as awareness and prevention programs. Since the Viva Glam collection debuted in 1994, over $32 million has been raised from sales of the lip products. MAC president John Demsey said the most recent collection of models were chosen because they represent the many faces of AIDS victims, who are "all ages, all races, all sexes". The lipgloss and lipstick will be available starting next month.
Yao Ming Top Chinese Celebrity
According to Forbes magazine's Chinese edition, Houston Rockets star Yao Ming is the top Chinese celebrity of the year, AP reports. The magazine based its list on the celebrity's exposure in the media and their income for the year. Ming earned $14.6 million last year, placing him second to action star Jet Li, who earned $17 million, but ranked 10th overall.
Top Story: Rings Gets Top PGA Honor
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the Producers Guild's highest honor for a film at the PGA Awards, which took place Saturday night at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. The 2,000-member guild presented producers Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh and Barrie M. Osborne with the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award for The Return of the King. The accolade makes The Return of the King a clear Oscar frontrunner, since 10 of the last 14 producer of the year winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar. The Return of the King has been hailed by several major critics organizations and has won the best film award from the New York City film critics and a best director award for Jackson from the Los Angeles critics. Other PGA winners include the HBO drama Six Feet Under, which took best TV dramatic series and the network's Sex and the City, which was named best comedy series. Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy won best reality or game show series, while My House in Umbria took the top prize for best TV movie or miniseries.
FBI Probes Leaked "Screener" Videos
The FBI is looking into how four video screeners sent to Academy Award voters ended up on the Internet, including the films Something's Gotta Give, The Last Samurai, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Thirteen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the copies of the four films have been traced by their respective studios to screeners intended for use by character actor Carmine Caridi, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Penalties for an Academy member who fails to safeguard their screeners could be disciplined with expulsion from the Academy, but illegally distributing copyrighted works is also a federal crime that could lead to more severe penalties. Screener copies of House of Sand and Fog and Cold Mountain have also turned up on the Internet but have not been linked to Caridi. Cardini could not be reached for comment.
Mystic River, Seabiscuit Honored
Mystic River and Seabiscuit tied for this year's University of Southern California Scripter Award, which honor the best English-language adaptation. The Associated Press reports the tie will require a runoff between two films with the final results to be announced Thursday. The award will be presented Feb. 15. Nominees this year include: Mystic River-- screenwriter Brian Helgeland/author Dennis Lehane; Seabiscuit screenwriter Gary Ross/author Laura Hillenbrand; Cold Mountain screenwriter Anthony Minghella/author Charles Frazier; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King screenwriters Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson/author J.R.R. Tolkien; and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World screenwriters Peter Weir and John Collee/author Patrick O'Brian.
Jamie Foxx, Sister Enter Not Guilty Pleas
Comedian Jamie Foxx and his younger sister, Deidra Dixon, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from a fight with police officers and security guards last year at the New Orleans Harrah's Casino. A Feb. 3 trial date was set at the hearing. According to the AP, Foxx and Dixon were arrested April 26 after police said they and a group of their friends refused to show identification at the door, entered the casino and then refused requests to leave. The two were each charged with two counts of battery on a police officer causing injury, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace. Dixon is also charged with resisting an officer, another misdemeanor.
Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Hello!: Part II
Just when you thought it was finally over, a judge in London granted celebrity magazine Hello! permission Friday to appeal a ruling that it acted improperly in publishing unauthorized photos of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones' extravagant 2000 wedding at New York's Plaza Hotel. According to the AP, Judge John Lindsay also gave the couple permission to appeal part of his decision that publication of the photos didn't infringe on their privacy. In November, Lindsay ordered Hello! to pay the couple $26,000 in damages--far less than the $900,000 Douglas and Zeta-Jones had sought. He also ordered Hello! to pay $1.9 million to rival celeb tabloid OK!, which had an exclusive deal for pictures of the couple's wedding. No date was set for the appeals.
UPN Gets Amish in the City
UPN is preparing a reality series that follows Amish teenagers having their first experiences outside of their society, the AP reports. Members of the Amish religious sect, present in rural Pennsylvania and Ohio, dress simply and shun modern technology. But at the age of 16, Amish teens are allowed to break free of the religion's strict code of conduct to decide whether or not they want to be baptized into the Amish faith. "To have people who don't have television walk down Rodeo Drive and be freaked out by what they see, I think will be interesting television. It will not be denigrating to the Amish," said CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, who also oversees UPN. The Amish series is tentatively scheduled for this summer.
Johnny Rotten Joins I'm a Celebrity
To the shock and dismay of punk fans worldwide, former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten has agreed to appear in the reality s