Henry Cavill

Ben Affleck Batman

On the surface, this may sound like the most throwaway news in the entire world – Ben Affleck is 41, whatever, you guys, even Wikipedia knows that – but the reveal of just how old Affleck’s character will be in his highly anticipated Batman debut signals one major plus for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: no more origin stories, we’re done with that stuff now. One of the superhero film’s producers, Michael Uslan, recently spoke to the Asbury Park Press (via Comic Book Movie and /Film) and let slip the following: “So, [the Batman universe casting backlash] has happened time and again, and it happened with Affleck. To go back to the original thought of Bruce Wayne in his mid-40s, I think he’s going to be extraordinary.” Nice job slipping that little tidbit in there, Uslan. Of course, the news that Batman will be older than we’re used to seeing on the big screen isn’t really news, at least rationally speaking. At forty-one, Affleck is the oldest actor to play the role in a cinematic capacity (Christian Bale was thirty-one when Batman Begins debuted, George Clooney was thirty-six when Batman & Robin hit the screen, Val Kilmer was thirty-five in Batman Forever, and Michael Keaton was thirty-seven when he began his Batman run), but this is confirmation that the character itself will be older than we’ve previously experienced on the big screen. What’s most surprising about this news, however, is how it impacts another facet of Batman’s life: how long he’s actually been Batman.

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batman-v-superman-logo

Warner Bros. took the stage this morning at Comic-Con in San Diego to show off some of its upcoming film slate, including a quick look at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (yes, they are still serious about that title). According to reports from various media attending the event, Zack Snyder took the stage, fresh off a plane that came directly from the film’s set, to show off a short teaser trailer. He also welcomed the trinity of headlining cast — Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot — to the stage before also showing off some images of the cast in their costumes. After the break, we’ve got descriptions of the footage and a first (slightly blurry) look at Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman armor, complete with a sword.

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Batman v Superman

Comic-Con has begun to rear its ugly head. And with it, the fans patiently waiting for Comic-Con have quietly gone insane, and are now treating every baseless internet rumor like pure liquid truth dribbled from the mouth of a loving God. But fear not, you crazed rabble. Warner Bros and Zack Snyder have provided something real: the first photo of the Man of Steel (thanks to USA Today) in this Man of Steel sequel with a completely different title. Take it in below. (And please adjust your screen brightness accordingly. You’ve been warned.)

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Man from UNCLE

Guy Ritchie’s take on NBC’s espionage series is arriving early next year, with a theatrical debut January 16, 2015, over Martin Luther King weekend. Starring Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill, this will be the first return of the property to mainstream audiences in over thirty years. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ran from 1964 to 1968, and starred secret agents Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) and, no joke, a guy named Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn), as a two-man team defending the free world from the nefarious organization, THRUSH. One of the unique aspects of the show was creator Sam Rolfe and producer Norman Felton’s narrative of international cooperation, with the two main agents hailing from North America and Russia, working for an international organization united under one cause.

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Gal Gadot

Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot is already nailing down the boldness she’ll be expected to impart in her role as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, as she’s straight up dropping big info on her role as the iconic Amazonian; at least so far as cash and contracts are concerned. Via Batman-News, in a story reported on Good Evening With Gai Pines, a show in Gadot’s native Israel, we learn that Warner Bros will be ponying up $300,000 for her first appearance alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman. What’s more, we get a solid starting date for filming, with Gadot saying the Man of Steel sequel gets rolling in May of this year. As noted previously by Variety, the film’s release date has been pushed to May 6, 2016.

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Superman Batman and Wonder Woman

There’s a wacky political theory (hear me out and stop yawning) that commercials for presidential candidates don’t actually do anything. The thinking is pretty simple: since commercials only increase name recognition, and the people running for the highest office already have a metric ton of name recognition, candidates spend hundreds of millions to move the needle not at all. Strangely, no campaign has ever had the brass buttons to give us a real-world test of the theory. The movie studio corollary is fairly simple to spot — particularly in an age where the name of your franchise is theoretically far more important for your movie’s potential popularity than the name of the actor playing the part. We’re in a post-star era, but the extent of actors’ diminished effect on bringing in fans isn’t really clear, leading to an important franchise question. Would it really matter who played Superman? Batman? Wonder Woman? Katniss? That Sparkly Vampire Guy? Actors have already caught on to the phenomenon and capitalized on it by extending their profiles into the independent world, going as far as ensuring financing for small films that otherwise wouldn’t be made without them. Best of all, they do this without risking their “personal brand” as “big time movie stars” at all. In that sense, the shift has been freeing, and it can be freeing for studios, too, as they become more comfortable choosing from outside the same 10-name list for higher profile roles. In the best case scenario, it’ll give directors […]

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Jared Harris

Guy Ritchie‘s adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. begins shooting in less than a week – specifically, on September 9 – so this latest casting announcement comes just in the nick of time. Jared Harris, best known for his roles in Mad Men and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, has been cast in the upcoming spy-thriller-action-comedy-TV adaptation. What we don’t know, however, is what role Harris will be playing. The film doesn’t have its villain yet, and Harris has a certain high-class charm that would lend itself perfectly to a sneering spy villain role. Plus, Harris was the villain in Ritchie’s last directorial outing (the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes sequel) and the rest of the cast has already been filled in. Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer will be playing lead spies Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, with Alicia Vikander as a fellow agent, Elizabeth Debicki as some kind of femme fatale, and Hugh Grant as the head of British Naval Intelligence. I can only assume we’ll see them all on some world-saving spy mission at the behest of U.N.C.L.E., the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.

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news ben affleck is batman

Per The Wrap, Ben Affleck will play Batman in the upcoming sequel to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Go ahead. Bitch, moan, complain, and vent about how terrible this casting is because of Gigli or Daredevil or his association with Kevin Smith. We’ll wait.

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The Investigation Into The News Of The World Phone Hacking Allegations Continues

Though the big screen adaptation of A Man From U.N.C.L.E spent quite a bit of time being one of those doomed projects that kept cycling through directors and stars without ever actually getting made, lately it’s solidified itself as a spy movie that’s not only looking like it’s really going to happen, but is actually looking like it’s going to happen pretty darn soon. Director Guy Ritchie has stuck with the film and overseen its development, even through some ups and downs, Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer have been attached as agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin long enough now that it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to drop out at this point, and the film has even begun to fill out the rest of its cast by recruiting Swedish beauty Alicia Vikander as the female lead and Australian vision Elizabeth Debicki as a femme fatale. Things are looking good. Need even more proof that U.N.C.L.E. is no longer in trouble, and is actually now gearing up to go into production? Well, another big name has just been enticed into joining the film in a supporting role, and he’s one who lends the espionage pic some additional international flavor.

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elizabeth_debicki_in_the_great_gatsby-wide

The potential reimagining of the classic TV spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the big screen is a project that we’ve been hearing about for so long that it’s begun to feel like one of those doomed productions that’s never going to happen. Or maybe it even feels like it came out a year or so ago, and nobody we know saw it, so we’ve already forgotten about it completely. Neither is the case though. U.N.C.L.E. has not yet come out, and it does indeed seem to still be happening. It’s just had something of a troubled history. The whole thing started out as a Steven Soderbergh film that was going to star George Clooney, then it became a Steven Soderbergh film that seemingly nobody wanted to star in, then that incarnation of the film came apart completely, then it became a Guy Ritchie film that was going to star Tom Cruise, and then Cruise dropped out as well. That’s about the time everybody kind of gave up on it. But Ritchie has kept working, quietly assembled the core of his cast, and now that he’s hired a promising up-and-comer to fill a supporting position, it’s looking like this is a project that’s actually got its ducks in a row and is getting ready to shoot.

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Henry Cavill Clark Kent

In perhaps the first indication of level-headed thinking at the studio, Henry Cavill is claiming that Warners isn’t going to rush into Justice League. Until now, all public information (including rumors) indicated that the studio was testing the waters to see how much interest there would be in an attempt for them to have a delicious Avengers-style cake without following the slow cooker recipe. This was all before the litmus test of Man of Steel, but even though it’s been a big success, the star is indicating that the horses haven’t left the stable quite yet for a team-up flick. In an interview with ABC News (via Variety), Cavill said, “Justice League could be great if done correctly. It’s a very tough one to do because the DC comic heroes are all god-like in their power. So in this real world universe, real-world setting we’re telling our story in, it’s going to be tough to achieve that. It has to be done very delicately with a lot of thought. So, it won’t be right away. I hope it’s not, anyway. It may take some time of building up other movies and other characters and introducing them together in one way or another.” Imagine that. An actor who understands the nature of the narrative difficulty and the need to build things with purpose instead of throwing a mess of superheroes together and shouting, “Hey! We thought that’s what you people wanted!”.

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Will Smith After Earth

We are living in a post-movie star era, but Will Smith was the last one to find out. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air-turned-21st-century box office king has enjoyed his time as perhaps the sole exception to the many articles that have discussed at length the death of the traditional movie star (including ones written here). Smith’s magnetic charm, family-friendly aura, and conventional good looks (coupled, more importantly, with an incredibly calculated, decidedly un-risky series of career decisions) made him a star with mass audience appeal – an increasingly rare commodity as studio films geared more and more toward dedicated niche audiences. But Smith’s anachronistic career (even with two Academy Award nominations and 11 blockbusters under his belt in almost as many years) was growing ever more conspicuous even before his four-year absence from the silver screen. He came back with the serviceable (read: unremarkable) MIB3. However, it was this summer’s After Earth (whose opening weekend gross was $100K shy of, erm, Wild Wild West) that solidified the fact that even Hollywood’s “biggest star” no longer provided a guarantee that anybody would show up. Six months ago, Scott Beggs and I argued that 2012 signaled, with certainty, the death of the movie star. If the movie star died in 2012, then 2013 is most certainly its wake.

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Man of Steel

It has happened before and it will happen again – the Internet rumor perpetual-motion machine got some stuff wrong about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. While Snyder doesn’t ascribe to something even remotely like J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” way of hiding information (including the barest of facts) about his films, fans of Superman have been so revved up about the new Henry Cavill-starring film for so long that it’s understandable that a ton of rumors would be cooked up about the film before and during its production. After all, who wouldn’t expect to see Lex Luthor in a Superman film? In the wake of the film actually being released in theaters, let’s recap eleven big rumors about Man of Steel that got root on the interwebs (either via traditional reportage or speculative message boards) and have now been proven to be patently false. While a few of these have already been debunked, the release of the film finally signals the most formal of debunkings for all of them. Fortunately for fans of Supes, most of these are rumors we definitely didn’t want to see pan out (even if they did take some serious chatter wing for a bit there), at least in a newly rebooted origin story. Of course, there are tons of spoilers ahead for anyone who has yet to see Man of Steel, so beware.

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Man of Steel

We first meet Kal-El exiting his mother’s alien vagina. It’s no different from an Earth woman’s vagina aside from, presumably, its reinforced structural walls, but the birth is of extreme importance on the dying planet of Krypton. The infant’s father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), has accused Kryptonian politicians of dooming the planet and its people through short-sightedness and ignorance. General Zod (Michael Shannon) agrees with Jor-El, but instead of talking it out with those in power, he orchestrates a violent coup to seize control. It’s amid the ensuing chaos, both natural and man-made, that the baby boy is shipped off to Earth. More than two decades later Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a quiet loner, traveling the world anonymously in search of answers to who he really is and performing amazing feats of rescue along the way. His lack of identity never gets in the way of his desire to help people, but when an alien ship is discovered frozen beneath the ice, his curiosity triggers a chain reaction of events that provides him with answers while simultaneously leading to the brink of mankind’s destruction. Man of Steel is every inch a Zack Snyder/Christopher Nolan production, and there’s both good and bad in that statement. Snyder’s directorial hand ensures the film is a visual powerhouse filled with real spectacle while Nolan uses his producer powers to find the traditionally bright and colorful superhero’s darker, grittier and more angst-ridden tones, but they also bring with them a shared preference of imagery and […]

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brolinworkout

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that’s currently shocked and appalled that a mainstream actor has signed on to help legitimize Tom Six’s miserable Human Centipede series of body horror films. Read on to find out who has lowered themselves to delivering poop jokes. Paul Thomas Anderson’s next project, Inherent Vice, is an ensemble crime piece that’s going to see him working with a huge cast of talented actors. Already the film is looking to feature names like Joaquin Phoenix, Sean Penn, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Malone, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, and the list goes on. The latest news is that he’s looking to add Josh Brolin to the list, who, due to his recent acting comeback that got kickstarted by his starring in the Coen brothers’ No Country For Old Men, is no stranger to working with top tier directors. Brolin is said to be taking a feature role, so this should be a pairing that will produce exciting results.

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teaser man of steel shannon

Fair warning to anyone who thinks they can avoid a certain piece of information regarding who exactly Michael Shannon plays in the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel… this new teaser confirms something that’s been rumored for a while. So stop reading now if you’re still hoping to steer clear of that reveal. WB has released a new teaser for Zack Snyder‘s darker-looking continuation/reboot of the Superman films, but instead of including new footage (or any footage at all) they’re going the viral route a la Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight marketing. But just because we’re not seeing anything doesn’t mean there isn’t something to hear. Check out the teaser for Man of Steel below.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Today was basically Godzilla day on the Internet. All sorts of news regarding Legendary Pictures’ reboot of the big green guy’s film series broke, and some of it involves casting. THR broke the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was being looked at to star, but one of their writers, Borys Kit, was then quick to point out that his potential involvement in the film is long dead. Variety writer Justin Kroll then jumped in with the news that a few names that are still possibilities for the project are Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy, and Caleb Landry Jones. All of this news comes with a special thanks to /Film, who compiled all the chatter into a tight little narrative. Even though things between Gordon-Levitt and Godzilla didn’t work out, don’t let that make you think that he’s going to go an entire week without being attached to a high profile project. In more Gordon-Levitt news, Deadline has word that the in-demand actor has just signed on to play a big role in Robert Rodriguez‘s Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Apparently he’s going to be playing Johnny, a role that was meant to go to Johnny Depp at one point, and that is said to be a core character in the overlapping parts of the film’s story lines. This comes at the same time as news that Gordon-Levitt’s possible involvement in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t going to end up happening, which is essential information if you happen to be exhaustively journaling all […]

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Tarzan Bo Derek

It’s been over a decade since Tarzan graced the big screen in Disney’s animated adaptation and over three since the jungle hero was sexed up by Bo Derek in Tarzan the Ape Man. Between those two we’ve seen Christopher Lambert go ape in Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan…and that’s about it. But Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ high-flying hero looks set to be a hot property in the next couple of years. First up will be a motion-captured adventure starring Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz, but it’s probably safe to call that one a bomb right now. The much safer bet is the big budget reboot coming from WB. David Yates has been rumored to take on the directing gig for a few months now, but the veteran Harry Potter-helmer seemed to be in no rush to jump into another possible franchise. Per Vulture though, it looks like Yates has finally signed on the dotted line. The question now becomes who will be cast in the high profile but somewhat risky role of Tarzan?

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Zack Snyder

Superman doesn’t look all that happy in these first two (near identical) teasers for Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. If you thought Bryan Singer‘s Superman was an unbearable mope, wait until you get a peak at Snyder’s, who has apparently made one of our greatest heroes in the galaxy a bearded, lonely and sad fisherman. You can’t get more “gritty” and “real” than that shocking transformation. Check both teasers out below, one with Kevin Costner narrating and one featuring Russell Crowe’s melodic grumbling.

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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