Clark Gregg

Joss Whedon‘s excellent action geek-out The Avengers hits US theaters this weekend after a storm of anticipation that’s lasted for four years and five movies. Marvel’s ultimate team is finally together, and the results are incredibly impressive. You can read my review here, but while you sit in your Captain America uniform, unwilling to remove it or bathe for the next week, gear up to new giddy levels of excitement with these behind-the-scenes videos. From a disoriented Robert Downey Jr. to Jeremy Renner in fight choreography practice to a running Scarlett Johansson to Mark Ruffalo blissfully posing with a nude mini-Hulk, there are some really fascinating bits here:

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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Somehow, in the age of the Internet and information overload, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has managed to complete production on a film that nobody ever knew was even in development. Apparently writing and directing Marvel’s upcoming, massive superhero team-up movie The Avengers hasn’t been keeping the creative visionary busy enough, because in his downtime he has penned an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, cast it, and put it in front of cameras. Wow, that shouldn’t help to make the Cult of Whedon any less fervent. Much Ado About Nothing is one of those Shakespeare comedies that takes several romantic couples and mixes up the pairings in order to produce momentary drama. I’m not sure if that’s really a legitimate way to categorize a work, but there are at least a few of them, I remember that much from college. The cast includes Whedon veterans Amy Acker and Alexis Denisoff playing the male and female leads Beatrice and Benedick, Franz Kranz and Jillian Morgese playing the secondary couple Claudio and Hero, and supporting roles by people like The Avengers’ Clark Gregg and additional Whedon vets like Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Maher himself confirmed on his Twitter account that this project isn’t a hoax by saying, “I promise you it’s the real deal and we’re VERY excited about it!” With those sorts of names put together in one cast, I’m sort of excited about it, too.

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It’s not quite hyperbole to say the The Avengers is the most eagerly anticipated film of 2012. The ensemble superhero film features several characters who have already proven themselves in their own movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor) as well as a few who haven’t (Hawkeye, Black Widow), but the idea of bringing them all together into one adventure has been a dream of Marvel’s and the fans for quite some time. And now it’s almost here. We’ve seen some images and a very brief teaser, but Marvel and Paramount have released the first real trailer this morning. It’s still teaserish at only two minutes, but it offers up a good idea of what we can expect from director Joss Whedon’s upcoming blockbuster. Check it out below.

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Here’s something cool for your Monday morning. Or afternoon, depending on your time zone and commitment to sleeping in. Marvel.com has revealed a full promotional banner for The Avengers, which is now the next big Marvel film event. In short, it’s going to be the Marvel event now that Captain America is out in the wild. Prepare yourself for months of inundation in Avengers, Avengers, Avengers. Anyone have objections to that? I didn’t think so. Moving on…

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It’s been a few months since we’ve heard anything about the upcoming Aubrey Plaza starring comedy The Hand Job. The film, written and will be directed by Maggie Carey, is about a virginal and studious high school girl (Plaza) who decides that before she goes away to college she needs to run down a checklist of sexual acts she has yet to accomplish. Joining Plaza in all of the fun are some big comedic names like Alia Shawkat, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Donald Glover. Needless to say, everyone who hears about this project is pretty enthused. But what’s up with the production lately? Two things, actually. First, somebody has finally seemed to recognize the fact that they’re not actually going to get away with widely releasing a film called The Hand Job, so the title has now been downgraded to the much lamer and more generic The To Do List. The change is disappointing, but inevitable. The second bit of news is less depressing. Clark Gregg and Rachel Bilson have been added to an already bursting cast. Gregg is best known for playing SHIELD Agent Coulson in Marvel’s recent string of super hero movies. Bilson is best known for being the girl that I have a pathetic, schoolboy crush on. Both of their presences are very welcome, as far as I’m concerned, and I leave this article looking even more forward to eventually checking out this film. Even if it does now sound like it should be a crappy […]

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Marvel Studios may be getting into the short film business to help boost their already bustling feature film trade. According to a source close to Marvel Studios, the company is setting some of their staff writers to developing smaller characters in the Marvel universe for future projects. These projects, only proposed as short films at this point, could lead to certain ancillary characters making appearances in future features or even becoming popular enough to headline their own film.

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The summer of 2011 will see the biggest assemblage yet of superheroes onscreen with the upcoming releases of X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern, and Captain America: The First Avenger. (At least until next year when The Avengers hits theaters.) Every movie is a gamble to some degree, but these three mitigate the risk a bit in that the X-Men film is the fourth in a popular franchise and the other two both feature highly recognizable actors in the title roles. But there’s one superhero movie this summer that’s flying with a hammer in place of a safety net. The potential hurdles include a relatively unknown lead actor, a director thought to be an odd choice at best and a terrible one at worst, and a hero built on magic and fantasy. Thor is a god, an honest to god deity, and that can be a hard sell in the science-fiction and technology-filled world of Marvel films. Thor opens with a brief intro in the Southwestern US with a pair of scientists (Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard) and their snarky assistant (Kat Dennings) tracking an odd weather phenomenon. They drive towards the center of the storm and accidentally collide with a figure emerging from the darkness.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of a young man named Michael Rogers who’s ambitious but lacks focus. He wants the entire world, but he also wants to settle down into his dream home with the woman he loves. He finds her – a beautiful, poor little rich girl named Ellie – while window shopping at a land auction for a tract called Gypsy’s Acre. They fall in love, build a gorgeous house, and set up shop on cursed land. Of course, it isn’t long until that curse comes crashing down on Ellie’s head.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and (500) Days of Summer.

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kate-mara-1

Two new cast members sign on to Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau twitters from the set and wait, did we miss the fact that one of our favorite guys from AMC’s Mad Men is playing Tony Stark’s father?

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giveaways-choke

To celebrate the DVD release of the subversive comedy Choke, which arrives in shops on 17th February, we’ve joined forces with Twentieth Century Fox home Entertainment to give you the chance of winning a copy of the DVD.

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Zooey Deschanel. 500 Days of Summer.

We’ve been checking out a ton of trailers lately, and this one hit us from left field. Like a baseball to the head. Except the good version of that.

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Choke director Clark Gregg and Sam Rockwell

For the record, Clark Gregg did not have his fly down for the entire interview.

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Choke author Chuck Palahniuk

Seven minutes into my conversation with Chuck Palahniuk, I’m still not sure that he exists.

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To the untrained eye (and unjaded soul) the headline above may appear to be misleading hyperbole. But no, these are hard facts taken directly from the author’s own mouth.

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The always witty and lethal Ninja from AskaNinja karate-chopped his way onto the press line at the MTV VMAs this past weekend, where he caught up with a few of film’s up and coming talents, along with someone named “Fatman Scoop.”

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Choke Poster Header

Could it be a coincidence that the first poster for Chuck Palahniuk’s movie Choke reminds us of the cover of his upcoming book “Snuff”? We think not.

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Fox Searchlight announces a date for its Chuck Palahniuk penned Sundance ’08 acquisition…

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From the writer of Fight Club comes a dark comedy about sexual addiction that is a joy to behold.

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