Marvel’s Doctor Strange starts to rev up while Ant-Man continues to stagnate
Before we get to witness the results of Super-man James Gunn’s wacky space opera Guardians Of The Galaxy this summer, we are privy to the continued attempt at world domination from the Alliance of Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Motion Pictures. Unfortunately for them, and the fans out there who remain uncynical enough to still buy in to their Paint-By-Numbers filmmaking formula, not everything is going rosey for the production behemoths.
After Brit-com director Edgar Wright announced his departure from the fledgling Ant-Man movie that is currently in production – due to “creative differences” (that’s what they all say…) – the rumour mill has been running rampant with possible replacements, from Anchorman‘s Adam McKay to Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer. But instead of these credible choices (they do specialise in genre hi-jinks, after all), Marvel have instead plumped for one Peyton Reed. Who? Why, the director of Jim Carrey letdown Yes Man and the first installment of cheerleader anthem Bring It On, of course! Clearly a sign of the studio heads throwing their hands in the air and just giving up, what originally looked set to be one of the more promising entries in Marvel’s recent output has now squandered any and all interest from the non-comic bookers that Wright’s involvement brought to the table. Let us hope that the screenplay – co-written by Wright and Attack The Block‘s Joe Cornish – remains relatively intact once the smoke has cleared.
But as one project creatively sinks, another rises from the depths of Marvel’s backdraft. A Doctor Strange feature has been in the pipeline for a while now, and with a script from the writers of Sahara (erm…), a director has now been confirmed. That being Scott Derrickson, the man behind Keanu Reeves remake The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) but who is perhaps more fondly remembered for surprise horror hits The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and Sinister. An interesting choice to head Strange’s big screen debut (certainly more so than Reed, anyway); indicative of a darker approach, perhaps? We can only speculate on who will don the cloak for the Sorcerer Supreme, although recent hints point to this year’s Oscar winner Jared Leto being courted for the role. That’s certainly better than earlier “contender” Johnny Depp. My personal preference? Liam Neeson. Well, Neeson via Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins, to be more precise. Check out some concept art, you’ll see the resemblance.
Outside Marvel, Disney’s other big acquisition, Star Wars, is gaining more cast members for incoming entry Episode VII. Lupita Nyong’o, of 12 Years A Slave award-winning fame, and Game Of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie are now on board, sating the unnecessary anxieties of those who worried the film would only feature one (new) female character after the initial announcement leaned a little heavy on the Y side of things.
In other Star Wars related news, Josh Trank, first of superhero surprise Chronicle, now of even bigger superhero potential surprise The Fantastic Four, will be taking one of the announced spin-off productions off of Disney’s hands. Along with Gareth Edwards (also stretching his legs with the Godzilla reboot), they have the choice of Yoda, Boba Fett or Han Solo’s fettered journeys to chart after part one of J.J. Abrams’ main story concludes.
Following Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella and recent release Maleficent, Disney (them again!) are taking another of their beloved animated fairy tales and giving it a shiny new (converted to 3D?) update for profit. Beauty And The Beast, considered by many to be one of the best nostalgic gems Disney has to offer, will be “gifted” the live-action treatment courtesy of Bill Condon, director of Twilight closers Breaking Dawn Part 1 and 2. Considering Condon’s previous experience with musicals as well (Dreamgirls), could this be a sing-along storybook? Does anyone really care?
Also, Oliver Stone will direct an Edward Snowden biopic, Jupiter Ascending has been delayed until 2015 to allow the Wachowski siblings ample time in post, and Sony is in talks with The Kings Of Summer‘s Jordan Vogt-Roberts to adapt Hideo Kojima’s seminal stealth video game series Metal Gear Solid.
As always, you can check out the full stories, and more news and such, at Focus Film.