Casting Friday: Ant-Man News, Hunham out of Shades, Larson in Gambler

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

JGL & Rudd as Ant-Man

Variety reported this week that the hotly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3 film Ant-Man is close to being cast: the role now evidently comes down to either Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Paul Rudd.

According to the Variety article that broke the story, the two actors are set to meet with Marvel execs before a final decision is made.

The two actors are 12 years apart in age. Levitt already has experience in comic adaptations, appearing in last year’s Dark Knight Rises, as well as next year’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.  The film would, however, be a departure for Paul Rudd, whose career has so far been marked mostly by comedy.

The film is set to be the first of the Phase 3 films, to follow Avengers 2: Age of Ultron on July 31st, 2015. Edgar Wright is directing the film, co-written with Joe Cornish, whose directorial debut Attack the Block made waves in 2011.

Rashida Jones as the Wasp

This is not the last of the Ant-Man news to surface this week, however: according to Superhero Movie News, casting is underway for the titular hero’s wife and super hero Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp. According to the site’s source, she will not appear in her superhero identity, but will play the love interest.

Currently, the rumor is that Rashida Jones, best known for her role in Parks & Recreation. Her co-star Chriss Pratt is already appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy as Peter Quill, Star Lord.

She is reportedly being chosen due to her chemistry with Paul Rudd, who may play Hank Pym, Ant-Man himself. The two appeared together in Our Idiot Brother and I Love You Man.

While the Wasp will reportedly not perform any superheroics herself in the film, she reportedly is planned to do so in later films (likely Avengers 3).

The Wasp has already been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the recently released initial animatics for the first Avengers, a still from which can be seen below:

Hunham Out of Shades

Charlie Hunham is evidently no longer interested in becoming the universe’s most desirable male, as he has left the lead  in Fifty Shades of Grey which was all but certain guarantee of that.

While there is no hard fact on the reason for this move, the rumor is that he was refused “extensive creative input”, which he was seeking in the form of script approval. Other speculation involves him not being popular with the franchise’s fans (a petition to remove him from the project received over 88 thousand signatures as of now). The official reason is that his television commitment to Sons of Anarchy  was simply too demanding, but logic dictates that he would have been aware of those well before initially agreeing to star in the picture.

Brie Larson in Gambler

Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 21 Jump Street) is set to appear alongside Mark Wahlberg in the upcoming The Gambler, a remake of the 1974 James Caan original.

The remake is currently rumored to be directed by Rupert Wyatt, who previously did the fantastically engaging Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Casting Friday: Kit Harington, Saoirse Ronan in FF Reboot; Nicole Kidman in Silent Wife

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

Kit Harington, Saoirse Ronan in FF Reboot

According to Variety’s sources, casting is beginning for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot, and we have a rumored shortlist for actors. The list for Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four, includes Kit Harington, who appeared in Game of Thrones as Jon Snow, Jack O’Connell, who will be in 300: Rise of an Empire, and Miles Teller of … FootlooseProject X? I guess The Spectacular Now is supposed to be good.

Meanwhile, Saoirse Ronan, Kate Mara and potentially but I guess now not really Margot Robbie tested for Sue Storm. I’m struck by thinking that, isn’t Saoirse potentially too young for the role? I guess they have a direction in mind here. Saoirse has been in the news a lot recently, as she also apparently read for Star Wars Episode VII.

Michael B Jordan has long been rumored for the role of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, and that hasn’t changed, no new names have been thrown in. No word yet on the Thing’s casting.

The film is being produced by Fox and is currently slated for a 2015 release. 2015’s gonna be a busy year!

Nicole Kidman Lead in Silent Wife

Nicole Kidman is producing and will play the lead in Silent Wife, an adaptation of the successful novel by the same name, according to Deadline. As the author of the novel, A.S.A. Harrison passed away shortly after the release of her novel, so the deal was made with her estate for the film rights.

There is no word yet on who will appear as Kidman’s co-lead, or who will direct.

Casting Friday: Giamatti Rhino, Olsen Avengers

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

Giamatti Rhino

While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is yet to come out (it is scheduled for May 2nd, 2014), actor Paul Giamatti, who plays the villain Rhino in the film, already confirmed his appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The film is currently slated to be released on June 10th, 2016. Whatever else could be said about this news, it is definitely a spoiler for the second film.

In the same interview, Giamatti said he does not know whether he will be appearing in the 4th film of the franchise, also already greenlit. He did not reveal anything further about the rumors of a Sinister Six team-up in upcoming films.

Olsen Avengers

I’ve previously talked about the rumor of Olsen playing Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, but there has been no confirmation of it until now. Granted, the quote does not specifically mention the role, but Samuel L. Jackson, who of course is playing Nick Fury in the film, confirmed that she is involved:

“I don’t think we begin shooting before March of next year. I know we’re shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. [Elizabeth] Olsen, but I don’t know what she’s doing, if she’s on the inside or the outside. I haven’t seen a script.”

Not many more casting news this week. I, for one, am waiting for news on who’s playing Constantine in the upcoming tv pilot!

Casting Friday: Furious Russell, Lex Cranston, Fifty Shades of Hunnam, more

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

Furious Russell

According to Variety, Kurt Russell (Death Proof, Escape From New York) is joining the cast of Fast and Furious 7. The role had reportedly been previously offered to Denzel Washington.

The sequel is being directed James Wan (SawInsidiousThe Conjuring).

The film’s cast has also recently been supplemented Tony Jaa. “Having a chance to work with Vin Diesel and The Rock already makes me a winner,” said the martial artist about the opportunity. Good for you, Tony!

Kurt Russell has been noticeably absent from the big screens since 2007’s Death Proof, which was also a car-centric movie. Is cars what it takes to bring the actor out nowadays?

Lex Cranston

Despite tweets from Latino Review, which sent a flurry of speculation across the internet throughout August, Bryan Cranston is NOT going to be playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film.

The star of Breaking Bad inflamed some of the rumors himself by saying “I like Lex Luthor. I think he’s misunderstood. He’s a lovable, sweet man.”

When asked by the Boston Globe about the rumored six picture deal, the actor responded with ““Six? This is all news to me. I think that maybe my name is bandied about because I’m known to be bald. ‘What bald guy can we get?’ The reality is they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him.” Presumably, this means he’s not doing it.

Fifty Shades of Hunnam

Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy star Charles Hunnam has been cast for the adaptation of the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey book. Hunnam will take on the role of Christian Grey, while his costar Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele (don’t you love it when you can discern the level of writing by the lead character’s names?).

Having not read the book, I have very little to say about these news, except that they’ve happened and that there are a lot of people on the internet that seem to really be either upset or happy about this. Fanboys, amirite?

 

Star Cumberbatch

The rumor, evidently starting at Screen Crush, was that Cumberbatch was poised to join the cast of the upcoming Star Wars sequel, in a villainous role. According to Badass Digest, he was meant to play a Sith. The rumours appeared to have validity due to Cumberbatch having very recently worked with J. J. Abrams on Star Trek Into Darkness – considering the director is now moving across to the other “star” franchise, it seemed reasonable he’d poach one of the actors, as well. The actor had also recently left the cast of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which, speculation went, may have been to make room for a Star Wars role.

Cumberbatch’s representatives have, however, denied the rumor entirely: “There is no truth to the rumor Benedict has been cast in Star Wars. I think the rumors are circling because J.J. and Benedict have just recently had a wonderful time working together on Star Trek.” At the same time, however, the actor said he would not say no to that opportunity if it came along.

 

Casting Friday: Ultra-Spader, Huisman of Thrones, and More

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

Ultra-Spader

Less than a week after the earth-shattering casting news for the Man of Steel sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron is not to be outdone. Announced yesterday, Ultron, the titular villain of the film, will be played by James Spader, a veteran screen actor.

The actor’s career goes all the way back to Hughes’ classic Pretty in Pink, but more recently he’d be better known as Robert California in The Office, his work on Boston Legal, or Lincoln

Spader seems to be a well-liked actor, as the response online has been largely positive, in sharp contrast to last weeks news. It isn’t like Spader looks particularly like Ultron. In fact, considering the villain is a robot, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious reason he would look like James Spader. Perhaps the idea is to use motion capture, or just the actor’s voice? No further details to clarify this point were released. If this shows us anything, it’s that, obviously, the internet is far more open to having their villains redefined than the heroes. I suppose it stands to reason.

Joss Whedon recently spoke about the character of Ultron, making it clear Spader will have work to do aside from “standard robot stuff”:

“I knew right away what I wanted to do with him. He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain. And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch.”

Huisman Naharis

michiel-huismanGame of Thrones fans must be sitting on the edge of their seats as the fourth season of the show is being filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Dutch actor Michiel Huisman will be appearing in the series.

It was later confirmed that Huisman would actually be replacing an existing cast member – Ed Skrein, who played Daario Naharis in the previous season.

There has been no word on why Ed Skrein is leaving the show.

Huisman recently appeared in World War Z, the series Treme, and the recently passed-on The Sixth Gun pilot, based on the Oni comic book.

Bernal Desierto

220px-GaelGarciaBernalLFFJonas Cuaron, son of director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of MenGravity), is making his English-language feature debut in Desierto, about illegal immigrants being pursued by an American that had taken the border patrol in his own hands.

Gael Garcia Bernal is set to star in the film as one of the immigrants leads.

While I am not familiar with Jonas Cuaron’s previous work, Bernal is a fantastic actor, and Alfonso Cuaron is one of the greatest currently working directors, so with him producing, I have faith in this being a potentially impressive movie.

Casting Friday: Batffleck, Rocket Cooper, Scarlet Olsen, and more

Each Friday, I will summarize the important casting news or rumors from the preceding week, giving you a preview of who’ll be playing who in the future!

Batffleck

affleckIn what is by far the biggest movie headline of the week, Ben Affleck was confirmed to be playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie. The news coming out last night simultaneously ended months of speculation, and set hundreds of thousands of fans on a joke/complaint tirade across the internet.

This is hardly surprising, as the decision is definitely controversial. Ben Affleck has gone from being written off by Hollywood entirely, to winning several Oscars last year for Argo. His road to redemption has, however, been in more grounded films, playing simpler characters, and letting the film’s writing and directing drive the picture. Is a return to superheroics a good idea for Affleck? That being said, Affleck is clearly a capable actor, and while his resume is not characterized by very broodingly dark characters, maybe that is precisely what the Batman franchise needs. Clearly, the era of the Dark Knight is done, Christin Bale is not returning to the role. Going in a slightly different direction is what the new DC franchise very much needed.

Zack Snyder, director of Man of Steel as well as the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film had the following to say in the press that broke the story: “Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him.” Ben Affleck is Cavill’s senior by 11 years.

This is not the first we’ve heard of Affleck flirting with the DCU, of course – a year ago, Affleck reportedly may have been offered the director’s chair for a Justice League movie, and turned it down, sources claiming he may simply be not interested if he is not allowed to play one of the leading characters.

An interesting side-note is the fact that Affleck himself has already played Superman – or at least, worn the suit, when he played George Reeves, the 50s TV Superman, in the 2006 biopic Hollywoodland.

The same press release that confirmed the casting news, also reported on an initial release date, which is July 17th, 2015. This sets the release of the film two months after the planned May 1st release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is sure to be the film’s main competition in the box office. So, three years later, we have another Avengers vs Batman rematch in terms of success in the cinemas; a battle which was won by the Avengers in 2012, making over 623 mln. in domestic box office vs Dark Knight Rises‘ 448.

I suppose we really won’t know what to really expect with the direction the character is taking until we begin seeing set photos and a trailer, which will most likely be coming in a bit over a year.

ComicBookResources’ poll currently says 49.3 percent of voters said “I’m not sure – I’ll have to wait and see”, while 34.8 percent selected “He’s absolutely the wrong choice”, and 15.9% – “He’s perfect for the role – I love it!”. What do you think? State your opinions below!

Rocket Cooper

cooperMoving over to the Marvel side, last week we had news that Vin Diesel is voicing Groot in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. This leaves one spot on the core cast available – that of Rocket Raccoon, the talking, flying, gun-toting racoon.

It may be filled shortly, however. According to Latino Review, which, while having a spotty record, has broken big Marvel news in the past (including the fact the studio is working on a Guardians of the Galaxy film), claims that Bradley Cooper is in talks to voice the character in the upcoming picture.

This news has since been confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, making this seem all the more likely to be true.

Scarlet Olsen

olsenThe same article by The Hollywood Reporter also claimed that Elizabeth Olsen, who made big waves in the indie community in 2011 with Martha Marcy May Marlene, and is starring in next year’s Godzilla, is in talks to play the Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Her and the character’s brother Quicksilver are the two major new additions to the hero cast of the film, with all of the Avengers from last year’s film expected to return.

Olsen’s talks for the role are evidently further along than Cooper’s are for the Guardians.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is reportedly in talks to play Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch’s brother. Quicksilver is also set to appear in next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Cumberbatch-less Peak

cumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch has dropped out of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, a gothic horror film which the filmmaker says will be “the first time I get to do a movie more akin to what I do in the Spanish movies.”

According to Deadline, Cumberbatch’s departure is not due to scheduling conflicts – which means there was likely some disagreement or creative difference must have caused it. Perhaps with time, the details of the move will be released.

The film is still expected to star Mia Wasikowska in the lead role.

22 Russell Street

Wyatt Russell, who previously had roles in Cowboys & Aliens and This is 40, is confirmed to have a role in the sequel to last year’s delightfully funny 21 Jump Street, which will feature the returning characters played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in college. The sequel will be called 22 Jump Street and is set for a June 13, 2014 release.