In the first official picture from Marvel's upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, we get to take a gander at Groot: a humanoid-tree creature from space who will be voiced by Vin Diesel. A great many trees have laid their roots accross the pop culture landscape, and they often take the form of ancient beings offering pearls of wisdom to young adventurers. Our friend Groot isn't much for wisdom (considering he can only say three words), but he is a noble warrior ready to defend the galaxy.
In celebration of Groot and his bark-laden brethren, we've compiled a gallery of our favorite trees in pop culture history. Be they sentient branched creatures in epic fantasy films or the metaphorical characters from the storybooks that were printed on the paper of the very species they told about, each of these arborial heroes holds a place in our heart. Check out our list, and see if your favorite spruce or oak made the cut.
GALLERY: The 10 Best Trees in Pop Culture
Vin Diesel has been confirmed to play a walking, talking tree in upcoming superhero film Gaurdians Of The Galaxy. The Fast & Furious actor will join a star-studded cast to provide the voice of Groot in the sci-fi film based on the fictional superhero team which appear in books published by Marvel Comics.
Director James Gunn confirmed the news by posting a snap of Diesel on Twitter.com posing with a model of the character. He captions the photo, "Vin Diesel is a super awesome dude. I can't tell you how much I like this guy," adding in a later post, "Yes, Vin Diesel is OFFICIALLY Groot in Gaurdians of the Galaxy."
The action man will join Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in the movie which is due for release in August next year (14).
Vin Diesel has confirmed Fast & Furious 7 will be released in 2015 after bosses put production on hiatus following Paul Walker's death last month (Nov13). The actor perished in a fiery car crash in California on 30 November (13), a day before he and his castmates were scheduled to resume filming in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bosses at Universal Studios closed work on the movie while the cast and crew were in mourning, and producers came up with a plan on how to resume filming without the franchise's main star.
Now Diesel has reached out to fans on Facebook.com to reveal the movie will hit cinemas in April, 2015, almost a year after its planned release date in July next year (14).
He writes, "There was a unique sense of completion, of pride we shared... in the film we were now completing (sic) ... the magic captured... and, in just how far we've come...Fast and Furious 7 will be released April 10th 2015! P.s. He'd want you to know first."
Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson has been named the top-grossing actor of 2013. The action star has made his way to the top of Forbes magazine's new list, thanks to his multiple blockbuster films over the past year.
Most notably, Johnson's car-racing film Fast & Furious 6 earned $789 million (£526 million) worldwide. Together with G.I. Joe: Retaliation and two smaller films, he racked up $1.3 billion at the global box office.
Johnson narrowly beat out Iron Man 3 star Robert Downey Jr., as the superhero movie earned $1.2 billion. However it was Downey Jr.'s only film that released in 2013.
Funnyman Steve Carell placed third thanks to Despicable Me 2, while Johnson's Fast & Furious co-stars also made the countdown thanks to the latest installment of the hit franchise - Vin Diesel placed fourth and the late Paul Walker came in sixth place.
Sandra Bullock rounded out the top five after finding box office success with Gravity and The Heat.
Actor/writer Danny Strong has been handed the task of updating the script of classic movie musical Guys And Dolls for a remake. Studio bosses at 20th Century Fox have been working on the project for over two years and have now decided to move forward with The Hunger Games screenwriter.
The movie will be based on author Damon Runyon's short stories about the gangsters and gamblers of the 1920s and 1930s.
The original 1950 movie starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra.
Earlier this year (13), Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt expressed interest in bringing the film back to the big screen, with the pair eager to take on lead roles.
Meanwhile, Baz Luhrmann, Vin Diesel, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman have all previously considered taking on the project.
Casting details for the new Guys and Dolls reboot have yet to be revealed.
A second man accused of stealing the roof from the sportscar Paul Walker took his last ride in has been released on bail after surrendering to police on Tuesday (10Dec13). Los Angeles authorities charged both Anthony Janow, 25, and Jameson Witty, 18, with one felony count of grand theft of personal property on Monday (09Dec13), amid allegations they stole parts of the wreckage of the Porsche Carrera GT that the Fast & Furious star and his pal, driver Roger Rodas, were in when they crashed on 30 November (13).
They also face misdemeanour counts of destroying evidence.
Witty was arrested last week (ends06Dec13) and released from custody, while Janow handed himself in to authorities at the San Fernando court house for booking on Tuesday. He has since been released on $60,000 (£40,000) bail.
Both men face up to four and a half years behind bars if convicted.
Meanwhile, Walker's family is reportedly set to hold a private funeral for the star at Hollywood's Forest Lawn Memorial Park after his remains were released by coroners this week (begs09Dec13).
Sources claim the tragic actor's Fast & Furious franchise co-stars, including Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster, will be among those invited to attend the small family memorial.
Vin Diesel was so devastated at the death of his close pal Paul Walker, he broke down in front of his Fast & Furious co-star's grieving family. Walker was killed in a fiery car crash earlier this month (Dec13) when a Porsche driven by his friend slammed into a pole, killing both driver and passenger.
In an emotional Facebook post, Diesel reveals he flew to California to visit Walker's family to offer his support as soon as he heard about the tragedy, but he ended up being comforted by Walker's mother.
He writes, "When I heard, I immediately flew back to California, and went directly from the plane to his mother's house...I thought they needed my strength, but realized (sic) when I got there and broke down before his family, that it was I who needed theirs. His mother hugged me and said I am so sorry... I said sorry? You're the mother who lost a son?... She said yes, but you lost your other half..."
Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has urged fans to cherish their loved ones as he struggles to come to terms with the loss of his Fast Five co-star Paul Walker. The actor was killed in a car accident in California last Saturday (30Nov13) and movie tough guy Johnson poured his heart out about his friend's death in an interview on EW.com earlier this week (begs02Dec13), revealing they bonded over their connections as fathers to daughters on set.
He has now taken to his Instagram.com page to remind fans of the importance of showing friends and family that they are appreciated.
Alongside a photo of himself and Walker, Johnson writes, "Losing a loved one jolts our hearts to the core. It also has a very special way of helping us move forward to live & love as greatly as possible. Hug our loved ones a little tighter. Pray a little stronger. Work a little harder. Smile a little bigger. Life goes on and memories are forever cherished..."
Walker's fellow Fast and Furious franchise stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris have also paid tribute to the late actor in the days since the tragedy.
Meanwhile, photos showing Walker serving as his brother Caleb's best man at a family wedding in October (13) have been obtained Us Weekly magazine. The touching shots, which include one of the siblings posing with their arms around each other, were taken at the Dove Canyon Country Club in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, where Caleb exchanged vows with his girlfriend Stephanie just six weeks before his brother's death.
Filmmakers behind the Fast & Furious franchise have paid tribute to Paul Walker by creating a video montage dedicated to the late star. The 40-year-old actor died on Saturday (30Nov13) in a car crash in Santa Clarita, California just days before he and his castmates were due to resume filming Fast & Furious 7.
Now the company behind the movies has honoured Walker in a two-minute long video, which features scenes from the action films and is set to Sean 'Diddy' Combs' Diddy - Dirty Money track Coming Home.
The video was posted online with a link to Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW), encouraging fans to make donations to the organisation in lieu of sending flowers.
Production on Fast & Furious 7 has been put on hold by movie executives to allow the cast and crew to mourn Walker's death.
Copyright Universal/courtesy Everett / Everett Collection
For the immediate future, it appears as if the Fast and Furious franchise is going to take a break from filming. According to The Wrap, the production for Fast & Furious 7 has been put on haitus in the wake of the unexpected death of Paul Walker.
With only a little over half of his scenes filmed, the death of Walker in Saturday's car crash has led to quite a conundrum for Universal and director James Wan. The nearly $200 million project has come to a screeching hault, and those involved with the production of the film have been in talks about how to proceed with the seventh film.
On Wednesday morning, Universal released a statement confirming the report that production has been suspended:
"Right now, all of us at Universal are dedicated to providing support to Paul's immediate family and our extended Fast & Furious family of cast, crew and filmmakers. At this time we feel it is our responsibility to shut down production on Fast & Furious 7 for a period of time so we can assess all options available to move forward with the franchise. We are committed to keeping Fast & Furious fans informed, and we will provide further information to them when we have it. Until then, we know they join us in mourning the passing of our dear friend Paul Walker."
So what does this mean? It means that studio execs and those involved in the film haven't decided what they're going to do yet, and honestly, that's probably the best move they could make in light of Walker's death. There will most likely be negatives and positives to any path they choose to go down, and therefore it is vital that they take the time to make the best decision. Here are a few possible outcomes that we think could happen:
They continue as planned:But this seems unlikely as there isn't enough material with Walker in it to have a complete movie.
They scrap the film entirely: The Wrap reports that this option is definitely viable. While it's not the best case scenario, the studio has insurance that would cover the costs. However, this probably isn't going to happen. (And we definitely don't think Walker would want things to turn out this way.)
They rewrite the film and take Walker entirely out of the script: But this wouldn't do justice to the time and energy that Walker put into the franchise. It would be a dishonor to his memory, the franchise, and his fans.
They rewrite the film, but keep certain scenes that Walker filmed in the movie: Who knows what footage the film already has, but hopefully there is something in there that they can use so that Walker can still be in the film. This would mean that Walker could possibly get a suiting farewell, and the storyline could respectfully continue on without him.
Whichever option Universal and Wan decide to go with, the fact that their taking the time to consider all possible options is a good sign that they're trying to do good by both Walker and the franchise's fans, and that's all we can ask for.
Fast & Furious 7 was originally set to hit theaters July 11, 2014.