Getty Images/Kevin Winter
San Diego Comic-Con: the annual gathering of comic book nerds, blockbuster action movie fans and the slightly terrifying people who still watch Supernatural religiously. It's the biggest pop culture event of the year, a time when studios bring the biggest and most shriek-inducing stars together to unveil new projects and showcase the exciting things fans will eventually be camped out all night for. And even though not all of us are lucky enough to experience Comic-Con in person, that doesn't mean we don't deserve to get all the up-to-the-minute news, reports and surprises. Since we here at Hollywood.com don't want you to miss out on all the excitement happening in Hall H or the surprises being unveiled over the weekend, we're running down the biggest news to come out of San Diego during the convention to ensure you can stay on top of everything, whether you're stuck in the office or waiting in line for another sold out panel.
Dr. Strange? More Like Dr. Nope Sure, there are other panels happening at Comic-Con this year, but all anyone really cares about are the new films and casts that Marvel is set to unveil on Saturday. And since Dr. Strange just happens to be one of those films and Benedict Cumberbatch is rumored to be the frontrunner for the role, MTV just happened to ask him to reveal whether he will indeed be playing the super-powered sorcerer. His answer? “As far as I’m aware, even if that was the case, it couldn’t work out because I’m doing a little play called ‘Hamlet’ in London, so I don’t think I could even if that was in the cards. It sounds like a fantastic project. It’s a shame if I miss out, but who knows?” So, it’s not an outright “no,” but it seems like Marvel might have to look elsewhere for their Dr. Strange.
There’s No Stan Lee Cameo This Time A living legend in the comic book world, Stan Lee has basically become the face of Comic-Con, attending all but a select few since its inception over forty years ago. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to add 2014 to the absentee list; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee has cancelled his appearance after losing his voice to a bad bout of laryngitis, and he certainly can’t command a convention center without a voice. Don’t get too upset, though: his cameo in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy has already been filmed, so no illness will keep you from seeing him then.
A 24 Movie May Be In the Works The key word there is “maybe.” According to Deadline, star Kiefer Sutherland and executive producer/director John Cassar mentioned during the 24 panel that officially kicked off this year’s con that they were “still talking” about a movie now that the series’ reboot has been so successful. Of course, that didn’t stop fans from freaking out about the mere possibility of it, but Comic-Con’s a place for overwhelming enthusiasm. They could announce another Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern film and people would be excited.
Twenty Hours to Cumberbatch Waiting in absurdly long lines are a time-honored tradition of Comic-Con, but some of them are redefining the word “dedication,” like the ones who lined up to see Cumberbatch on the Dreamworks Animation panel a whole 20 hours early (via CinemaBlend). That’s right: they waited almost an entire day to watch Cumberbatch talk about voicing a cartoon wolf in the new Penguins of Madagascar movie. Not Sherlock, not The Hobbit, not Star Trek. Penguins.
Na na na na na na na… Batsuit! If you thought the set picture of Ben Affleck in the latest incarnation of the Batsuit was too dark to actually see anything – seriously, has Zach Snyder ever met a shadow he didn’t feel the need to add in? – then DC has answered your prayers. The studio unveiled Affleck’s redesigned cape and cowl for Comic-Con visitors to compare against the ones in the comics live and in-person, and /Film has plenty of pictures for those of us who prefer to critique costume choices from our own homes.
Avengers Assemble (Literally) In anticipation of their no doubt world-shattering panel this weekend, Marvel has released several exclusive posters for the Avengers: Age of Ultron featuring concept art from the film. But like Beyonce’s visual album, all of the individually exciting parts come together to make an even more exciting whole. In this case, it’s a bigger group image that sees the team fighting side-by-side. The Dissolve has already started putting it together for you, so as long as you find that last corner piece, you should be all set.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
Action man Dwayne Johnson has teased fans by suggesting he is set to bring comic book superhero Shazam to life on the big screen.
The Fast Five actor has been in talks with studio executives at Warner Bros. for several months to find him the perfect role in a new DC Comics adaptation, and now he has dropped the biggest hint yet about the kind of character he is preparing to play.
In an interview with TotalFilm.com, the actor reveals he initially wanted to star as John Stewart, one of the many characters who take on the identity of Green Lantern, but it was too soon after the 2011 film flop that starred Ryan Reynolds as the title character.
Instead, Johnson hints that he will play Billy Batson and his alter ego Shazam, a man with incredible strength and the power of light.
The new Hercules star says, "He has the power of Superman. And it's not the Green Lantern by the way. Believe me - John Stewart - he is a character who I wanted to play, but there was already a version of Green Lantern, and so now we've gone in a slightly different direction. But this character has the power of Superman. He can throw down."
He adds, "Just say the word. That's all I'm going to say." In the comics, Batson famously just has to utter the name of his alter ego to transform into the red and gold costumed superhero.
Director Peter Segal had previously been linked to a Shazam movie in 2010, but the plans stalled and the proposed project was shelved indefinitely.
Scarlett Johansson is to marry her French fiance in August (14), according to a U.S. report.
The Avengers star, who now lives in Paris, France, is expecting a baby with her partner Romain Dauriac and they will tie the knot in just four weeks' time, reports the New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
No further details have been revealed, but the publication's editors suggest the ceremony will take place in either Johansson's native New York or the French capital. Johansson became engaged to the journalist in September (13).
She was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds.
"He's going to be a great father and leader and patriarch - he's so meant to be all of those things. The fact that he lived so much before we got together, he's the exact realised person that he should be. And so I get to share my life with the person he's become, and we get to grow from there." Blake Lively gushes about her husband, actor Ryan Reynolds.
A dress drama almost ruined Blake Lively's 2012 wedding after a sparkler burned a hole in her designer gown. The Gossip Girl beauty has opened up about the highly-private South Carolina ceremony in the new issue of Vogue magazine, revealing her big day, which featured a reception performance from her singer pal Florence Welch, was almost ruined by a hand-held firework.
She recalls, "I look down and my wedding dress has a big burn mark from one of the sparklers. Right on the front! And it was just so heartbreaking to me."
But Lively learned to love the damage done to the custom-made Marchesa gown after her husband Ryan Reynolds helped her gain a new perspective on the wedding day drama.
She continues, "Later, my dress was hanging up and Ryan said, 'Isn't that beautiful?' I said, 'What?' And he pointed to the burn. My heart just stopped, because it was such a sensitive little subject. And he said, 'You'll always remember that moment with Florence singing and the sparklers. You have that forever, right there, preserved'. Now that's my favourite part of the dress."
The comment has since inspired the name of her new lifestyle website, Preserve.
Lively also reveals her rustic wedding ceremony may not have happened at all had it not been for the help of lifestyle queen Martha Stewart, who came to the couple's rescue as it faced a series of last-minute problems.
She explains, "Our wedding was becoming a disaster, and we didn't know what to do, so we called Martha! She said, 'Don't worry. I'll handle it'. She sent her team down to save us. And then she called her friends who have a home in South Carolina and set us up at the most amazing getaway. This is (on) the day of our wedding!"
Photos from Lively and Reynolds' big day were later published exclusively in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.
Hollywood veteran Burt Reynolds is still feeling the effects of his divorce more than 20 years later as his ex-wife continues to pursue him for unpaid alimony. The Deliverance star's five-year marriage to Loni Anderson ended in 1993 and he was ordered to hand over $234,794 (£138,114) as part of the settlement.
However, his long-running financial issues have left the actor unable to pay Anderson off and he has now been ordered to hand his ex the remaining $154,520 (£90,894), according to TMZ.com.
Actor Penn Badgley is dating again a year after splitting from Zoe Kravitz. The Gossip Girl star has been linked to singer Domino Kirke, the daughter of Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke and sister of Girls star Jemima Kirke, according to Usmagazine.com.
A source tells the site, "They've been dating for awhile. They have a number of mutual friends. It is a very mature and free relationship. Domino is a great girl for him, being a musician. Their interests align."
Badgley dated X-Men star Kravitz for two years before they went their separate ways in June last year (13). He has also previously romanced his Gossip Girl co-star Blake Lively, who went on to wed Ryan Reynolds.
Veteran movie star Burt Reynolds is preparing to lift the lid on his failed romances with actresses Sally Field and Loni Anderson in an upcoming memoir. The Boogie Nights star, 78, developed a reputation as a ladies' man during his Hollywood heyday, dating the likes of Faye Dunaway and Kim Basinger, and enjoying marriages with British comedienne Judy Carne and Anderson.
He previously admitted his biggest regret in his personal life was letting go of the love of his life, Steel Magnolias star Field, and now he is set to reveal all about the relationships in But Enough About Me.
The autobiography, which will feature a foreword by his pal and Deliverance co-star Jon Voight, will also detail his friendships with fellow showbiz legends Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood and Bette Davis, and it will revisit his most famous screen projects, including Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard and Boogie Nights, which earned him an Oscar nomination for his role as porn director Jack Horner.
A statement released by Reynolds reads: "Setting the record straight is something that I have wanted to do for a while now, and with this book I will. This will be a project that will go into many areas I have never discussed."
But Enough About Me is scheduled for release by publishers at G.P. Putnam's Sons next year (15).
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
In what might be the first bit of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice casting news that won’t send fans into a tailspin, DC and Warner Bros. are reportedly adding Scoot McNairy to the cast of the upcoming blockbuster. However, though Deadline revealed the news, the character that McNairy will be playing is being kept securely under wraps, along with whether or not his role is a Zack Snyder original or if he’s someone comic book fans are already familiar with. Since he’s joined the cast this late into production, it seems unlikely that McNairy’s character will play a large role in Dawn of Justice, but we have to imagine (considering his cult acclaim) it will be one of thematic sigificance. All of this leads us to believe that even though McNairy might not have a lot of screen time in this film, he’s most likely going to play a larger role in one of the other films that the studio has lined up. In other words, his Batman V Superman cameo might be the inception of McNairy's role as a member of the Justice League.
Since DC has the Justice League film slated for release immediately afterwards, it would be a good way to introduce fans to McNairy without throwing him immediately into a major superhero role. Many fans seem to be speculating that he will bring The Flash to the big screen, which is most likely due to his appearance and previous roles, as well as to the fact that DC hasn’t revealed whether they plan to recast Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern... but of course they won't.
Casting McNairy as The Flash – or any major superhero, for that matter – would be a change of pace for Warner Bros' DC series, a company that has thus far stuck to actors who are already household names for this film, between Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jeremy Irons. Even Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill, who were unknowns when they were chosen to help fill out the Justice League, are blockbuster stalwarts (Gadot broke through to the mainstream in the Fast and Furious movies, while Cavill had roles in everything from Immortals to Red Riding Hood). McNairy, by contrast, is a character actor, one who is well-respected amongst critics and cinephiles, but not particularly well-known by the average moviegoer.
McNairy brings something of an edge to a cast that is already packed with A-List actors and respected talents. Affleck might have more awards, by McNairy is far more "hip"; he’s still an underground celebrity, which appeals to a different kind of audience than his co-stars might. It’s an avant-garde choice for DC, a step away from the standard big-name approach that they’ve been taking recently to turn an acclaimed indie actor into a major superhero. In fact, it seems much more like the kind of casting decision that Marvel would make. This is their equivalent of casting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man or Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Or just about anybody in Guardians of the Galaxy.
If McNairy does join the cast, it would be the closest that DC has gotten to following in Marvel’s footsteps. It doesn’t matter how quickly you can churn out blockbusters, or how much money they make, or even how heavily intertwined your universe is if you don’t have the right actors on board to inhabit the heroes. Sometimes, that means casting the best actor you can find instead of the most famous or the best looking one. McNairy would be a step in the right direction for DC in terms of building a solid cinematic universe, and depending on how fans respond to his character, it could be the model that the studio should follow when casting other roles. McNairy would give them a talented, well-liked actor with plenty of indie cred who could probably play any role they asked him to, and it would definitely benefit DC to have someone like that on their roster.
And it would benefit the rest of the world to finally see McNairy become a household name, rather than just “that guy who was in that thing.”