The cast of Edgar Wright's superhero adventure, Ant-Man is growing at an exponential rate, and after the recent additions of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Michael Pena to the cast, Evangeline Lilly is now being considered to play the female lead.
Lilly is no stranger to genre film, after spending six years battling smoke monsters on Lost, and appearing in Peter Jackson latest The Hobbit movie. While the jury is still out on who the actress will play in the upcoming film, the scuttlebutt over at Variety is hinting that she might be cast as the daughter of Hank Pym (Douglas), and a love interest to Scott Lang (Rudd, Ant-Man himself). Since Lily is taking her first step into comic book filmmaking, we wondered what roles the rest of her Lost castmates could play. We've already heard rumors of Josh Halloway being considered to play Aquaman, or some other DC fixture, in the bizarrely cast Batman vs. Superman. We think his casting as Aquaman could work, given he plays the hook-handed and more roguish version of the character, and not the vintage boy scout of the sea of yesteryear that probably cries a lot after watching Finding Nemo. So now that we're in Lost mode, which superheroes can we match up with the other islanders?
Matthew Fox (Jack)What Character?: The Red HoodWhy: The Red Hood is a former incarnation of Robin who gets blown up by the Joker and feels betrayed that Batman never killed the dastardly clown in retaliation. Those are some Jack-level daddy issues. We've already seen Fox play maniacal in Tyler Perry Presents: Alex Cross, so maybe he could pull it off in a future Batman movie.
Terry O'Quinn (Locke)What Character?: Lex LuthorWhy: Terry O'Quinn is already bald so that's already a mark in his favor, but his period as "Evil Locke" showed that the actor exuded the right mix intelligence, charisma, megalomania to be Superman's greatest foe.
Naveen Andrews (Sayid)What Character?: ArchangelWhy: Archangel or Warren Kenneth Worthington III was a young rich playboy whose mutant powers manifested into a pair of giant wings that allowed him to fly. Several very comic book-like plot developments turned him into a dark and misunderstood anti-hero. Sayid had a similar slide into darkness during Lost and, Naveen Andrews is well-equipped to play a similar character.
Emilie de Ravin (Claire)What Character?: JubileeWhy: Jubilee is a young and feisty member of the X-Men. Actress Emile De Ravin has a lot of the same exuberance and sweetness that has made the character such a popular addition to the X-Men mythos over the years.
Dominic Monaghan (Charlie)What Character?: SpeedyWhy: Green Arrow's troubled sidekick grappled with a crippling drug addiction, and is generally underappreciated in the comics world for being the sidekick of a character whose only ability is to shoot arrows pretty well. Who is better to play Speedy than Dominic Monaghan, who plays a wounded drug addict extremely well in Lost.
Jorge Garcia (Hurley)What Character?: The KingpinWhy: Jorge Garcia has always played the nice guy, but maybe it's time for some career diversity. We want to see the actor take on a role that's really a 180 from anything that he's done before.
Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim (Jin and Sun)What Character?: The Wonder TwinsWhy: One of Lost's most crushing moments was the demise of Jin and Sun. In fact, we still wonder why Jin didn't leave Sun behind, no matter how painful it would have been, to raise their baby, but that's an Internet rant for another day. Bringing the actors back in roles where they would hardly ever be separated from each other is the only remedy for our post-Lost blues.
Harold Perrineau (Michael)What Character?: The PunisherWhy: Michael lost his only son on the island, and has done some unsavory things in order to find him. Loss has driven him to do some terrible things, but deep down he's still a good guy, just a bit misguided with the methods he uses.
Malcolm David Kelley (Waaaaaaaaaalt)What Character?: Franklin RichardsWhy: Walt seemed like a normal kid in Lost's first season. That is until he started using creepy backwards speak and was revealed to have some sort of mystical connection with the island that had viewers going "What the f**k is up with that kid". He could definitely play Franklin Richards who also seemed normal, before becoming a reality-warping mutant.
Michael Emerson (Ben Linus)What Character?: Doctor OctopusWhy: Michael Emerson played the manipulative and intelligent Ben Linus in Lost, and he'd be perfect to play Dr. Otto Octavius in the new Spider-Man series.
Today was another big day for TV, as The X Factor FINALLY announced that Khloe Kardashian and Mario Lopez would take over my beloved Steve Jones' role as hosts for the rapidly approaching live shows this season. X Factor's was certainly today's glitziest announcement, but there were plenty of other notable TV tidbits that took over this fine Tuesday:
Opie Lives On: After his tragic, untimely death on Sons of Anarchy, Ryan Hurst will be taking his talents to TNT's upcoming drama pilot, King & Maxwell. The show will follow private eyes Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, who are both former secret service agents. Hurst will take on the role of Edgar, a suspected serial killer-slash-autistic savant with "an extraordinary ability to see patterns and numerical sequences." He'll form a special relationship with King that leads to a breakthrough in their case. [Deadline]
Glee Nabs Another Starlet: Who needs sites like this when you have Ryan Murphy's Twitter? The multi-talented showrunner told Twitter today that during last night's God's Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards, he had asked Hollywood legend Bette Midler to guest on Glee:
I just asked the incredible Bette Midler to be on Glee in front of 1,000 people. I hope she says yes!— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) October 16, 2012It would appear that Midler is a fan of the show, since she later replied with a role suggestion:
Ok, @rpmurphy, I have one vote for Rachel's grandmother...hmmmm.I'm thinking, I'm thinking!!— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) October 16, 2012Broadway crooner Idina Menzel has already appeared as Rachel's biological mother, so we think that Bette Midler as granny would be pretty believable.
More Burgers For All: Congrats (and milkshakes) are in order for the folks at Bob's Burgers, as Fox has officially granted the animated comedy a 22-episode fourth-season order. Sandwiched between Simpsons and Family Guy, Burgers has seen the greatest year-to-year growth of any returning broadcast series in the male demographic, according to Fox. [Deadline]
Gordon Ramsay Gets Another Show: He's everywhere! Reality chef megastar Gordon Ramsay will team up with Ted producer Scott Stuber for The Inferno, an NBC drama project set in a restaurant. In a situation you would see on Ramsay's Fox hit Hell's Kitchen, the show will focus on two restaurants that are on the brink of bankruptcy, until a mysterious Italian chef comes in and saves the day. The only problem is, anything that seems too good to be true probably is — the restaurants will become hits, but at a "terrible cost." Ramsay will contribute with stories from his own vast array of experiences. [Deadline]
Another Olympian Heads to the Small Screen: With McKayla Maroney on Hart of Dixie and Gabby Douglas on The Vampire Diaries, someone had to show some love to the swimmers. Today, Pretty Little Liars showed that love by nabbing Missy Franklin, who will play herself, for a guest spot. In the episode, Emily (Shay Mitchell), who is a swimmer, will have coffee with the gold medalist. Hopefully, it'll be a better conversation than the one she'd have with Ryan Lochte. [EW]
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TV Tidbits: Dave Navarro Joins 'Sons of Anarchy' While Rachel Zoe Gets a New Project
TV Tidbits: Tyra Banks’s Teen Years, a ‘Gossip Girl’ Villian Returns
TV Tidbits: Matt Bomer is 'The New Normal', Bonnie & Clyde Get a Modern TV Makeover
This weekend, everything you learned in history class takes a backseat to blockbuster entertainment as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter unleashes itself upon the masses. It’s the story of our nation’s sixteenth president and his secret campaign against the bloodsucking undead. This is not the first fantastical cinematic recasting of historical figures. Earlier this year, James McTeigue’s The Raven offered the supposition that Edgar Allen Poe not only wrote chilling horror stories, but also matched wits with serial killers. Nor will Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter be the last example of this trend. Later this year, we’ll see FDR: American Badass, in which Franklin Roosevelt hunts werewolves, and there’s even talks of a pending movie in which sailor John Paul Jones battles sea monsters.
So what’s the deal with all these history/fantasy mash-ups? Did Inglourious Basterds instill in us a desire to revise history to more satisfying ends? Are we so desperate for twists on familiar movie tropes that we have begun trying to incorporate them into historical context simply to lend them some sort of added subconscious legitimacy? It’s not as if there weren’t enough movies hitting theaters this summer that we absolutely needed a high concept action horror film to entice people to the multiplexes.
It could be that this new craze is the natural evolution of something that’s been a part of our shared national heritage for hundreds of years: the tall tale. There was a time—before the inception of social media, the Internet, or even film itself—in which people would hand down these fish stories of legendary figures accomplishing unbelievable deeds or facing down incalculable odds. Characters like Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Calamity Jane, and John Henry became American folk heroes. Their feats and their stories were mythic and they were born of the frontier spirit. They were fearless, self-reliant, and possessed of either gargantuan stature or inhuman strength; thematically communicating the zeitgeist of manifest destiny and pioneer survival.
Most interesting about folk heroes, the fodder of tall tales, is the instances wherein tall tales and history begin to overlap like a Venn diagram of fiction and fact. The best example of this crossover has to be Texan hero Davy Crockett. His actions during the battle of the Alamo canonized him into American folklore. Yet, if you believe the folksong, he also killed a bear at age three. Even though some of the finer details of his exploits are the subject of controversy, the fact remains that there is documented proof of his existence; a (once) living legend.
Take a slight step further and arrive at one of history’s greatest leaders: Abraham Lincoln. This is a man who saved a young nation from being ripped apart by secession and took the first decisive steps toward racial equality; eradicating generations of bondage and oppression. So why then add a fictive vampire hunting hobby to the man’s story? It’s possible that his actual deeds are so heroic that they had to amplify his legend with genre trappings in order to market it to modern audiences. Our need for heroes has advanced to the point that we begin retrofitting comic book sensibilities to even those figures who once earned monuments by virtue of their actual accomplishments.
Yet therein lies the catalyst for the evolution of the tall tale. The boundaries of our nation became tangible, the qualities we admired shifted, and eventually tall tales became so tall they were able to leap buildings in a single bound. As comic books began to redefine heroism, they actually began to push the concept of a tall tale into a more exaggerated and graphically pronounced medium. Leave that to stew for a few decades and superheroes are the new representations of mythic idealism. Spandex-clad folk heroes, their metaphor-laden origins and spectacular talents becoming pop culture lore as they move from the confines of literature to the silver screen. But it’s reaching a tipping point now wherein superhero films are so ubiquitous that the tall tales they weave are losing their appeal. The larger-than-life factor, a requisite for the tall tale, is taken for granted.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and all historical fantasies of that ilk, is both a look backward at what used to distinguish a folk hero and the next logical stage of development in the evolution of the tall tale. Now, if they could only get that Johnny Appleseed: Zombie Slayer off the ground, we’d be in business.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter': First Look at Anthony Mackie — PICS
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter': New Trailer Features Patriotic President/Slayer
First Image From ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ Is Very Presidential
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Relativity Media’s Immortals tops the chart with a bigger-than-expected $32 million. Featuring an international cast including Henry Cavill and Luke Evans, Immortals in 3-D is an action fantasy adventure set in a mythological world. Mickey Rourke also stars in the latest film from visionary director Tarsem Singh and the producers of 300. 70% of locations played the film in 3 and 66% of the gross was on 3D screens with 34% on 2D.
Adam Sandler takes second place with $26 million in Sony’s Jack and Jill which features Sandler playing Jack Sadelstein and his identical twin sister Jill in this holiday-themed comedy. On her dreaded annual Thanksgiving visit, the annoying Jill turns Jack’s and his family’s tranquil life upside-down in the PG-rated film that also stars Katie Holmes as Jack’s wife. The weekend gross was on the high end of expectations with support from a 52% female audience.
Paramount/Dreamworks’ Puss in Boots which continues its amazing run at the box office completes its third weekend in third place with another $25.5 million. The fall season hit has now earned $108.8 million in North America to date.
Universal’s Tower Heist starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller realized a 45% drop in its second weekend with a heist of $13.2 million in box office loot. Despite having debuted on the lower end of expectations last weekend, the film has held up solidly in the mid-week derby and crosses the $43 million threshold by Sunday night.
Warner Bros. impressive period drama J. Edgar released in 1,910 theaters made an impression in the top five with around $11.5 million. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, the Clint Eastwood directed film is already generating Oscar buzz and critical acclaim. Featuring an incredible cast of actors playing true-life characters including Richard Nixon, Bobby Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt, J. Edgar will remain a fixture in the top 10 throughout the holiday season.
Top Movies for Weekend of November 11, 2011 (Estimates)
Movie Gross Total to Date
1. Immortals (R) $32.0M $32.0M 2. Jack and Jill (PG) $26.0M $26.0M 3. Puss in Boots (PG) $25.5M $108.8M 4. Tower Heist (PG13) $13.2M $43.9M 5. J. Edgar (R) $11.5M $11.6M
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The romantic action comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is like nothing — and if you’re a person between the age of approximately 18 to 35 everything — you’ve seen before. British director Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead Hot Fuzz) adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley graphic novel is so densely laden with pop-culture references it often times feels less like a movie than a mixtape. Those who share the tastes of the film’s 31-year-old writer and 35-year-old director will find the experience to be exhilarating; those who don’t however will likely be at a loss to comprehend what all the fuss is about.
The list of ‘80s and ‘90s video game nods in Pilgrim alone is daunting: Tekken Super Mario Bros. Tetris Zelda and even retro titles like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man are represented just to name a few. To fit all of it in Wright must practically invent a brand-new kind of filmmaking. Using techniques and iconography culled from the holy fanboy triumvirate of comic books video games and anime/manga and armed with a clearly generous effects budget he splatters the screen with a dazzling array of CGI visual aids as the action unfolds: informational pop-ups supply key details on each character as they are introduced; words like “Boom!” and “Pow!” burst forth when blows are landed during fight sequences; a “Level Up!” graphic indicating increased levels of key character attributes appears after the film’s hero triumphs in battle. Even the old Universal Studios logo has been revamped by Wright rendered in the rudimentary graphics and sound of the old 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Call it easter-egg filmmaking.
At the center of this digital maelstrom is Scott Pilgrim a 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif played by 22-year-old Canadian hipster waif Michael Cera. Unemployed and in no great rush to find work he splits his time evenly between jamming with his middling band Sex Bob-Omb (a Super Mario Bros. reference) combing thrift shops for new additions to his near-limitless collection of ironic t-shirts and pining for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a beguiling New York City emigre whose signature attribute is her constantly-changing hair color.
After a few abortive encounters Scott finally gets Ramona to reciprocate his affections. Thus begins the quest — or "campaign " as gamers call it — portion of the film as Scott soon discovers that in order to secure Ramona’s hand he must defeat each of her seven evil exes (six boys and one girl) in spontaneous death matches of decreasing novelty. (A few of them could easily have been excised without harming the narrative but that might invite the ire of comic book fans who typically demand nothing less than absolute adherence to the source text.) With a variety of found power-ups and an entirely implausible collection of fancy kung-fu moves he faces off against among others a pompous vegan straight-edge (Brandon Routh) a self-absorbed action star (Chris Evans) a spiteful lesbian (Mae Whitman) and a smarmy record producer (Jason Schwartzman).
I expect Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will polarize audiences and not just because of Wright’s distinctively dizzying directorial style. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it occasionally overdoses on manufactured quirk and is a bit too proud of its cleverness.) The film glosses over Scott and Ramona’s wooing process in its rush to commence with its succession of comic-book battles which grow somewhat tedious toward the end. It’s simply assumed that Ramona would fall for our protagonist as it’s likewise assumed that we already have. But not everyone will embrace Scott’s castrati hipster affect which too often comes across as grating rather than charming. (The movie’s funniest moments come courtesy of Scott’s sassy gay roommate played by Kieran Culkin who is never without a clever barb for his lovelorn pal.) And beneath Cera’s self-effacing sheen exists an unmistakable whiff of pretentiousness that isn’t entirely justified — at least not yet. Far less debatable is the appeal of Winstead whose spunky Ramona appears every bit worth the hassle of fending off seven or more ex-lovers.
God knows what she sees in him.