The Hush-Hush News Report: 03.06.13: Iron Man Can't Sleep
Posted by Jeremy Wilson on 03.06.2013
News and thoughts on the new Iron Man 3 trailer, Carrie Fisher confirming her involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII, Joss Whedon's firm denial of Planet Hulk, the new Evil Dead TV spot, Resident Evil 6 and more!
Hello there 411mania readers. I'm Jeremy Wilson and this is the Hush-Hush News Report. Apparently a new SNOWPOCALYPSE is descending on us as I write this. I'm fully prepared for every scenario except losing power. I'm terrible when the power goes out, since literally all the things I like to do require electricity. So I'll either be watching movies for the next 36 hours or reading my Kindle by candlelight. Lord, please don't let the power go out. Now, let's do this thing.
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We'd still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it's better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news....
New Iron Man 3 Trailers
Earlier on Tuesday, Marvel finally released new domestic and international trailers for one of the year's most anticipated films, Iron Man 3. The new trailers continue with a darker tone than what we've become accustomed with the first two films, shedding even more light on Tony Stark's state of mind and the consequences of what happened in and after New York. The action is ramped up with a focus on some of the bigger set pieces we're going to get...including a "whoa"-type moment at the end of the trailer. It also exposes how Tony's love of Pepper Potts plays into the story and might be his biggest weakness – one that The Mandarin will likely exploit.
Kevin Feige and Shane Black also spoke with Collider and talked about the process of bringing Black on board, what they wanted to do with The Mandarin, continuing to have Tony Stark / Iron Man in a more grounded, realistic story setting:
I'm curious how the project came together in terms of story. How early on did you know this was the exact story you guys were going to make and how much did it change along the way?
Feige: "Well we first started meeting with Shane in spring of 2011 maybe because you came in on the mix day, I think we were mixing Captain America at Fox and we were having meetings with him there. We knew a few of the elements that have remained. We had pillars of we want it to be: a Tony Stark-centric story, we want to blow up his life and see how he deals with a nemesis without his suits working, get him back metaphorically to the cave with a box of scraps, like the first movie. That has remained and carried on through, and it was one of the reasons we connected with Shane. Because if we wanted to do a big "It connects to The Avengers and then Nick Fury comes in and stuff," I don't think Shane would have been interested in that and I don't I don't think he would have been the right guy for it. But to take a Tony Stark journey and explore his character deeper than we had since the first act of the first film, he was the man. It evolved over the next 8 or 9 months after that into basically what it is now."
Of course during that you also have to sprinkle some things in for the fans, you have to make it part of that bigger world. Can you both talk about finding the balance in your jobs?
Black: "I consider the fan base to basically be Marvel's job. Mine is to be a fan and I am one and I have been from a young age, of Iron Man, so for me, I just please me and I hope that pleases the rest of the fans. It should. For instance, one of the joys for me has always been seeing how you take a villain from the comic book and realize him in a slightly more realistic way for the movie, render him for movies in a way that's recognizable, but different. And that's fun. Like the Joker in The Dark Knight is not the Joker from the comic book, but there's just enough of him that you recognize him and go, "Wow, what a creative way of interpreting the Joker for motion pictures." So that was our task here too. The fans love this character The Mandarin and we just said, "Well, what we don't want is this potentially racist, stereotype of a Fu Manchu villain just waving his fist." But we found a way, I think, to get an iteration of The Mandarin that we like. We got very excited about bout having cracked this story when we found out that we could include The Mandarin and give him a character that would be a perfect match, the ultimate Iron Man villain, but without relying too heavily on what the comic book stereotype was."
From what we saw today, I thought what was really compelling about even just that brief glimpse of him was how stage managed he was. To see the set that they had set up for him to deliver his address and see how very savvy the media set up is, and yet the character he's playing is more archetypal and I think more arch than that. It's a really interesting idea, a media terrorist, or a media-age terrorist and certainly something that we can't help but be aware of right now, how those things get used. Was that part of what attracted you to this notion of him?
Black: "From the very beginning we were all about that, yeah, the idea of just a real world interpretation of this guy who, I hate to break it to you, but he's not from space in this. The rings are rings. They're showmanship. They're accoutrements. They're paraphernalia of warfare that he sort of drapes himself with. He studies Sun Tzu. He studies insurgency tactics. He surrounds himself with dragons and symbols of warlords and Chinese iconography because he wants to represent this sort of prototypical terrorist who – we use as the example Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now - this guy who may have been an American, may have been a British National, someone who is out there doing field work, supervising atrocities for the intelligence community who went nuts in the field and became this sort of devotee of war tactics, and now has surrounded himself with a group of people over which he presides, and the only thing that unifies them is this hatred of America. So he's the ultimate terrorist, but he's also savvy. He's been in the intelligence world. He knows how to use the media. And taking it to a real world level like that was a lot fun for us."
It's interesting because obviously when Iron Man started part of what was so appealing about Jon's approach was how grounded it was, how real world it was, and now over the course of the rest of the Marvel movies, you've introduced a god from Asgard, space aliens, Loki, and all these truly fantastic elements and yet you still have to have Tony grounded in something recognizable. Has that been a balancing act in this film? Is there some sense that the fantastic has changed him and then changed how he deals with this world that he lives in?
Feige: "Yes, and it sort of answers your other question, which is that the only real connective tissue we wanted from Avengers in this movie was Avengers' effect on Tony's psyche. This man who comes from this grounded universe – I always say it's grounded enough although he builds an iron suit and flies around – the notion that Tony Stark, who is the shit and always thought of himself as top dog, now has been to outer space, nearly got killed by freaking aliens, has encountered a god that can smash him across the forest with a hammer, has encountered a guy that his father used to talk about from 1945. It's no mistake that we meet Tony at the beginning of this movie and he's just building suits, putting himself in the suit, and he's much more comfortable when he's in the suit. And a lot of this movie is about Tony learning to become Tony Stark again outside the armor, and he has a little help in that his house is completely destroyed."
Black: "He's in a world where all of the sudden, without this armor, there's elements with which he cannot hope to compete. So his comfort in his own skin has diminished at the start of this movie by the fact that he feels like, unless he can build the perfect man, he's going to be outdone and outshone by these people who are literally gods. So how he can then have those suits taken away from him until he's just a man and he can't possibly compete, that was the impetus for this movie, rip everything off him and say, 'Yes, you're alone with these incredible forces aligned against you, and you don't even have your armor.'"
Feige: "And in all of our films, particularly this one with what Shane and Drew Pearce have done, you can have heightened elements. Look at Avengers, you can have these crazy otherworldly things as long as the way the characters are responding to those things…the emotional response of the characters, that's where grounding it in reality is most important. Even in the comics, by the way, that's the difference between caring about a comic book character and not, is if their emotional response is believable and is appropriate. Certainly what Tony is going through based on the events of Avengers is very real and, is not quite as dire as this, but is a form of post-traumatic stress. He is actually dealing with it in a way you don't see superheroes deal with it much."
Black: "It's almost like a sub-genre in a way of taking a comic book movie and then imposing on it what would happen in the real world if this happened. And people have done that with 'Damage Control' or whatever, so this is just more about trying to maintain the sense of reality form the first Iron Man given that there's a god from space. Because if in the middle of Iron Man, when he was in the cave with Yinsen and Thor came in you would say, 'What the hell is this movie? That doesn't make any sense.' But now, Thor is there so what does that mean for our character?"
When in the process did you come in to it? How much had Marvel and Marvel Film Division mapped out what Iron Man 3 was going to be? And at any stage in the process did you guys go, "Well we better take it down because we can't go bigger than Avengers right after Avengers?"
Black: "They said that to me upfront and I agree. That was the touchstone of the first meeting was that we can't go bigger than we've just gone."
Feige: "Well it would be a fool's errand to do that. There's no reason to do that. Shane was in early days. Again we wanted to get Tony, we were sort of internally talking about, back to basics, metaphorically blow him up on a convoy, put him back in a cave and see what he can do with a box of scraps. That was about as far as we had – and it was not an Avengers-centric story outside of just the effect that all of it has had on him. So no Nick Fury, no Black Widow; those were really the only parameters. And we did want him to have a mystery to uncover and solve that he would [be] on his own for. That was about it and then Shane and Drew brought it to life. And we certainly are looking over their shoulders and giving them input every step along the way, but it was a collaboration form that point."
After cell phones came out ,horror directors had to come up with elaborate ways to explain why people wouldn't call someone on a cell phone for help. Now that all The Avengers know each other do you have to come up with excuses for why Tony Stark wouldn't reach out when he needs a hand?
Feige: "It's a good question, and it's sort of half and half. I am betting that like the comics you don't have to keep…if you are reading a standalone Iron Man comic, they don't spend every page explaining where every other Marvel hero is. The audience kind of accepts that there are times when they're on their own and there are times when they are together. I'm betting that movie audiences will feel the same way. That being said, there is a little bit of lip service here and there to that. There is also just the very nature of Tony wants to, once he barely survives that house attack you saw today, and even you saw it in the message he left for Pepper, he's basically saying 'I'm going off the grid to try to figure something out.'"
Iron Man 3 will hit theaters on May 3rd.
Carrie Fisher Confirms Star Wars: Episode VII Return
In an interview with the Palm Beach Illustrated Carrie Fisher definitively confirmed she would be appearing in Disney's new Star Wars film.
When asked is she confirm whether she'll reprise the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars: Epidsode VII, Fisher responded with a firm "Yes."
When asked what Leia is like today, Fisher joked: "Elderly. She's in an intergalactic old folks' home [laughs]. I just think she would be just like she was before, only slower and less inclined to be up for the big battle. The bagel buns and the bikini, because probably she has sundowners syndrome. At sundown, she thinks that she's 20-something. And she puts it on and gets institutionalized."
Fisher, along with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford have all gone back and forth issuing confirmations, "tongue-in-cheek" confirmations and denials since Disney officially bought LucasFilm and announced there would be new films in the Star Wars universe. Various reports from respected sources have made it clear that all three are interested in returning in some capacity and that Disney wants them back. The obvious explanation for the back-and-forth is that deals are currently being worked out for the trio and nobody wants to come right out and announce what we all know until the deals are signed. However, these reports in conjunction with Fisher's pretty firm confirmation should give hope to fans of the actors and of the series that we will once again see Luke, Leia and Han on the big screen.
Star Wars: Episode VII is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters sometime in 2015.
Joss Whedon Denies Planet Hulk & World War Hulk Rumors
Somebody is going to have egg on their face when this all gets settled. Last month, El Mayimbe and Latino Review dropped a bomb on the Internet by reporting that Marvel was setting up Hulk storylines for Phase 2 and 3 that would involve some versions of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk leading to The Avengers 3.
Everyone was left to stew for a few weeks until AICN came out with a story that pretty much put the kibosh on those rumors. And their reasoning was pretty sound, since Planet Hulk doesn't really feature Bruce Banner...and Marvel is rather keen on utilizing Mark Ruffalo and capitalizing on the success of the actor's portrayal in The Avengers.
Now comes a rather terse and fairly definitive-sounding word from new Marvel sheperd Joss Whedon. Speaking with IGN, Whedon summed up the Planet Hulk rumors with "Well, I'm really not supposed to comment, but no, that's nonsense." Harsh.
Obviously, studios and filmmakers lie all the time (see: J.J. Abrams). They want to control the message and keep as much of their biggest projects secret as possible. However, after reading the AICN rebuttal and now listening to Whedon, it seems pretty likely El Mayimbe may have gotten played. Unless he didn't...who the hell knows.
All I know is that I buy the argument that Marvel isn't necessarily interested in doing a solo Hulk movie, especially along the lines of Planet Hulk. I buy the argument that I don't think Marvel is close to have Hulk be "the bad guy" in this universe yet. And I buy the argument that Mark Ruffalo is as important to the character's portrayal (as Bruce Banner) as the Big Green Guy is and that Marvel will want to utilize Banner as much as Hulk (at least we know they're won't be a third attempt at an origin story). I'm also convinced they have everything as planned out into the future as is possible, probably even through Phase 3.
TMNT Creator Disses Megan Fox Playing April O'Neil
Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was asked for his thoughts on the casting of Megan Fox (rumored to be April O'Neil) in Michael Bay's reboot of the series.
Speaking with Comic Book Movie, Laird said: "My only exposure to Megan Fox as an actress is through her role in two "Transformers" movies and the wretched (but happily forgettable) "Jennifer's Body". It may not be fair to judge her range of acting skills just from those three movies, but I think it is safe to say that there are probably hundreds of better choices for the role of April O'Neil. Of course, her name has promotional value, and maybe that's what they want. Who knows? I can't get myself too worked up about it."
The new Turtles film will be directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) and produced by Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes banner. Though delayed, it is scheduled to be released on June 6, 2014.
Rupert Wyatt Drops Out Of The Equalizer
Well, this isn't a great sign. The Equalizer feature film adaptation of the 1980s crime drama about a former covert ops officer who dedicates his life to helping people in trouble has now lost its second possible director in as many months. The film lost its original helmer, Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) in January over what was reported to be "creative differences." Now comes word that Rupert Wyatt won't be taking the director's chair for the project either.
Unlike the creative differences cited when Refn departed, Wyatt's departure (or failure to officially sign on, if you prefer) is reportedly due to a scheduling conflict. Wyatt's upcoming WWI drama Birdsong, which recently landed Nicholas Hoult for the lead, likely will conflict with The Equalizer's production schedule as Sony reportedly wanted to start shooting in May.
It is puzzling what Sony can't seem to pin down a decent director for a film that has long had Denzel Washington attached to star, but perhaps it is that fact – Washington's casting occurring before a director – that is scaring away premier filmmakers.
Resident Evil 6 Is Coming, Critics Everywhere Cringe
It was inevitable.
Death. Taxes. And another Resident Evil movie. These are the things we can count on in life and Sony/Screen Gems aren't going to disappoint as they have set the release date for the sixth installment in the popular zombie video game adaptation franchise. Resident Evil 6 will arrive in theaters on September 12, 2014, which means it is likely Anderson and Jovovich will start shooting sometime this Fall.
However, while Jovovich is definitely on board to star, Paul W.S. Anderson isn't as sure a thing to return to the director's chair. It is possible his commitment to direct Pompeii (starring Game of Thrones' Kit Harington) may keep him from doing both projects. It is not known whether Anderson would drop RE6 to do Pompeii or vice versa, but if it came down to one or the other it's probable he'd pick Pompeii. Anderson has helmed three of the five Resident Evil movies, but has acted as a creative force behind the entire series. It is entirely possible he'd let another director step in for him on RE6 – unless it really will be the final film he and wife Jovovich will do (fat chance).
Resident Evil: Retribution – the fifth installment in the franchise – was released last September and grossed $221 million worldwide on an estimated $60 million budget. The possibility of a sixth film was almost assured and was strongly hinted at the conclusion of Retribution when Alice and her friends (including Wesker) were on top of the White House in a plague-infested Washington D.C. Anderson has said he has had a "trilogy" of sorts planned all along, so he likely knows how it is to end in RE6, although if it's anything like Retribution, it doesn't really matter.
First TV Spot for Evil Dead
Sony Pictures has released the first TV spot for Evil Dead. The spot, which compiles reactions to the bloody red band trailer, can be viewed below. Not much footage is shown, especially compared to the truly bloody and gory red band trailers that have been released so far, but it is rather interesting to see how they're going about marketing what will undoubtedly be on the goriest mainstream films of the year. The answer so far? Leave the gore for the Internet and use TV to sell you on it scaring everyone else.
Evil Dead is directed by Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore. It opens on April 5th.
The film follows five twenty-something friends who become holed up in a remote cabin where they discover a "Book Of The Dead." An archaeologist's tape recording reveals that the ancient text was discovered among the Khandarian ruins of a Sumerian civilization. Playing the taped incantations, the youths unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival. Fluids will spew, limbs will be cut and you'll never want to go to a cabin in the woods again.
Whoo boy did Jack the Giant Slayer lay a big old egg at last weekend's box office. We're talking a John Carter and Battleship-sized egg. Mind you, it wasn't completely unexpected; re-shoots, release delays, a director change after production has started and a weak marketing campaign all led people to wonder if WB just wanted it out and done with (the studio has higher hopes and better bets the rest of this "blockbuster season").
Things aren't looking better for Jack though as a major Disney entry enters the arena and aims to slay WB's fantasy adventure film with one of its own. Oz the Great and Powerful is the Mouse House's (perfectly legal) attempt at reinventing and telling a new story based on The Wizard of Oz. Directed by Sam Raimi (helmer of the Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies), the film stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and others, telling the story of when "The Wizard" first came to Oz. It's a smörgåsbord of visual effects, pretty colors and things flying at you in 3D and is sure to be a hit with kids. Whether it connects with older kids and adults remains to be seen, but they are who the film and Disney will have to depend on if the film is to turn a profit.
Joining Oz in theaters this week is Dead Man Down from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the original one) director Niels Arden Oplev and starring Collin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper. Limited releases include horror anthology The ABC's of Death, Christian Mingui's (4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days) newest film Beyond the Hills,Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey and Emperor starring Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
Rex Reed: Professional Critic, Amateur Human Being,
Two weeks ago in Rex Reed: Professional Critic, Amateur Human Being, Ever-Lasting Troll, we covered Rex Reed's bizarrely incorrect interpretation of The Cabin in the Woods and attacks on fanboys and the critics who appease them. This week, we're hopping in the way-back machine to one of the first – and most notable – of Sexy Rexy's numerous shenanigans.
The Great Oscar Conspiracy
Melissa McCarthy may have been the target of Rex Reed's personal attacks, but something tells me she'll be okay in the end. After all, McCarthy has already gotten the last laugh since Identity Thief is 2013's first and only true box office hit. Plus, the wave of sympathy and support McCarthy received out of it (and the classy high road she took in not responding) has not only put the unfortunate incident behind her, but has elevated her in the process.
You know who wasn't so lucky? Marisa Tomei.
Marisa Tomei was 28 when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in My Cousin Vinny. Before being celebrated on Hollywood's grandest night, Tomei had mostly been known as a television actress, getting her start in daytime on As The World Turns and then on A Different World. Tomei's Oscar win remains one of the most surprising upsets in the history of the awards and stunned many critics and industry experts. Some of the surprise was due to Tomei's relatively unknown stature in Hollywood, while others never expected her to come out on top of a group of nominees which included seasoned international stars Vanessa Redgrave, Judy Davis, Joan Plowright and Miranda Richardson who were nominated in more traditional and pedigreed Oscar fare. Because of who she beat for the Oscar, the role and film it won for (the chatty Mona Lisa Vito in the lightweight My Cousin Vinny) and her own youth and inexperience, Tomei's surprise win resulted in an urban legend that remains one of Hollywood's most famous myths to this day.
The legend goes something like this: 73-year-old presenter Jack Palance was supposedly confused on stage and when the time came, announced the wrong name. While there are many versions of the legend, the main one seems to be that Palance couldn't make out the name on the card and announced Tomei as the winner since her name was the last to appear on the teleprompter. The "real" winner was supposedly Vanessa Redgrave for Howard's End. Too embarrassed or ashamed, the Academy launched a massive cover-up which allowed Tomei to keep the Oscar and the "truth" to remain undiscovered.
While it remains unclear where the legend exactly started, what is crystal clear is that Rex Reed has fanned the flames of that false claim for years and was instrumental in its origins and propagation. Along with a mysterious "former son-in-law of an Academy Award winner" (who reportedly gossiped in Hollywood circles), Reed was out front in spreading the lie, going so far as to appear on Geraldo Rivera's TV show and declaring it as a massive cover up and one of Hollywood greatest, worst-kept secrets. Reed also intimated that Palance may have been drunk, a claim only fed by Palance's strange behavior in the last years of his career.
The fact that this all sounds like a giant conspiracy theory is because it IS a baseless, ridiculous conspiracy theory propagated by idiotic trolls that enjoy throwing bombs and received attention. As the Academy has stated repeatedly – including in an interview between Roger Ebert and Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis – representatives from accounting firm Price Waterhouse take vote counting very seriously and were stationed in the wings of the auditorium to ensure that no mistake like this could occur. In fact, they've been in the wings for every Academy Awards ceremony since 1953 making sure everything, including the announced winners, goes off without a hitch. If a wrong name were ever announced as the winner, one of the representatives would step on stage and announce the correct winner, no matter the embarrassment that would likely follow. As Davis told Ebert, "If such a scenario were ever to occur, the Price Waterhouse people backstage would simply step out onstage and point out the error. They are not shy." As Ebert put it in his column, "Not only is the rumor untrue, it is unfair to Marisa Tomei, and Rex Reed owes her an apology."
The extremely hurtful claim that Tomei didn't win on the merits has unfortunately survived, albeit not as prevalently spread today as it was a decade and a half ago. To my knowledge, Reed has never apologized for his role in the rumor. However, like McCarthy this past month, Tomei has probably gotten the last laugh. Not only did she go on to have an exemplary film career that continues strong to this day, she also received two more Oscar nominations for her work in 2001's In the Bedroom and 2008's The Wrestler, proving once and for all that her Oscar win was neither fluke, nor mistake.
Tune in next week for another installment in Rex Reed: Professional Critic, Amateur Human Being, Ever-Lasting Troll....
Trailer of the Week (You Might Have Missed):Stories We Tell
Trailer of the Week (You Might Have Missed): Part Deux:Frances Ha
Red Band Trailer of the Week:Rapturepalooza
Funny Video of the Week: "Star Wars: Episode VII As Directed By Michael Haneke"
That's all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT...