Besides playing Smaug in The Hobbit, Benedict Cumberbatch says he'll also voice another familiar villain. Plus Karen Gillan talks abpit leaving Doctor Who, J.J. Abrams explains Star Trek's 3D conversion, and Sam Neill hints at his Alcatraz role.
Star Trek 2
J.J. Abrams says he wasn't too keen on the idea of converting this sequel to 3D, but seeing some samples of his first Trek movie convinced him:
I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn't want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool.
And apparently, filming starts Thursday. [Collider]
Benedict Cumberbatch can't say much about the project other than "I'm hugely, hugely excited," but Variety says he's playing a villain — the role that Edgar Ramirez auditioned for, which might or might not be Khan. [IGN]
We do know that Nazneen Contractor — best known from her turn on season 8 of 24 — will be playing the wife of Noel Clarke's character. [Entertainment Weekly]
Speaking of Mr. Cumberbatch, turns out he's doing a bit more than we realized. He told Empire,
I'm playing Smaug through motion-capture and voicing the Necromancer, which is a character in the Five Legions War or something which I'm meant to understand. He's not actually in the original Hobbit. It's something [Peter Jackson]'s taken from Lord Of The Rings that he wants to put in there.
The Necromancer — who was merely mentioned in the original novel — eventually becomes Sauron. [Empire]
Here's a nice promo image of Bilbo, as well. [USA Today]
This new promo pic offers a look at Merida and her family. [USA Today]
Thor and Captain America assess the damage in this promo pic. [USA Today]
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
This photo offers a sneak peek at this work-in-progress. [USA Today]
Looks like the film will definitely feature the underwater areas of Pandora, as James Cameron plans to shoot underwater. Sam Worthington is also currently learning to scuba-dive. [MTV]
Supermodel Brooklyn Decker will be playing "the daughter of [Liam] Neeson's character, Admiral Shane, and the love interest of Navy SEAL Alex Hopper." She says, "Battleship was a much more difficult movie for me but I found it so rewarding because of how hard I had to work to conquer that role." [Sports Illustrated]
Tangled Ever After
The Beauty and the Beast 3D re-release will include a short sequel to Tangled, appropriately titled Tangled Ever After. [SlashFilm]
If there is a Kick-Ass 2, Matthew Vaughn probably won't be directing. His co-screenwriter Jane Goldman says,
I think the only thing that is fairly sure is that right now, Matthew doesn't have any plans to direct it. He and I are not currently talking about writing it either. It may well be that Matthew oversees ['Kick-Ass 2'] in a producer role, and I may also be involved in that capacity.
She added that he's talking to someone who is interested in writing and directing. [MTV]
A new clip shows Selene versus a Lycan. [Shock Till You Drop]
And in this one, Selene blows up an elevator shaft. [Shock Till You Drop]
Bloody Disgusting says Splice director Vincenzo Natali has chosen his next project, and it's called Haunter. It's written by Brian King and it's:
kind of "reverse" ghost story. Instead of following the "haunted", the ghost flick will be told through the eyes of a spirit named Lisa, who, along with her family, died in 1986 under "sinister circumstances" but remain trapped in their house. Lisa haunts (and possesses) a young "living" girl by the name of "Olivia in an attempt to save her from the same fate.
Man of Steel
In an interview, Peter Rubin talks a bit about the designing the look of Krypton. "It was all about the aesthetic and the culture of these aliens - characters that everybody thinks they already know, which made it all the more challenging." [Film Sketchr]
Tim Burton would very much like to cast Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., as Geppetto in a new, live-action adaptation, where the puppet-maker goes looking for his lost creation. However, Warner Brothers is developing the project, and Burton is still merely in talks with the studio, and Downey doesn't have a deal yet, either. [Hollywood Reporter]
First-timer Robert Stromberg has signed on to direct this Sleeping Beauty retelling. In the past he's done visual effects for movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and was a production designer on Avatar. Angelina Jolie will still star. [Deadline]
Ghost Rider 2
Director Brian Taylor plans to punt the viewers right into the action, and that includes throwing in lots of new faces: "We've dropping you into a world with a whole bunch of new characters. Even if you're really familiar with Marvel comics, you've never seen these characters before." [SFX]
Men In Black III
K and J face down something serious in this new promo pic. [USA Today]
Jemaine Clement's character will be riding a fairly fabulous custom motorcycle in the film. More pics at the link. [Clutch and Chrome]
The movie's still happening, apparently. Vincenzo Natali says of his plans:
A literal translation of the Neuromancer book would be a disastrous movie. It would probably be impossible, because you could never condense it into a single film. So I wasn't literal in my adaptation, but I very much stayed true to the tone of it and the spirit of it.
Tons more at the link, including the fact that William Gibson has given lots of feedback on the script, and Natali sees it primarily as a "heist movie." [The Tyee]
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tom Hardy begins shooting the new Mad Max movie in Namibia in April (with costar Charlize Theron). [Mirror]
Expect an ambiguous turn from Sam Neill as Emerson Hauser. Asked whether he's a good guy or a bad guy, Neill says: "I'm not going to tell you because he's both of those things... Depends on where you are on the map on that day and where your moral compass is." [LA Times]
Karen Gillan says of leaving the show that, "It's such a massive relief that it is out and I can speak freely about it. I'm back next year for a few episodes but it's not actually confirmed when I go." She's not sure whether Amy Pond will die, but says it could be possible. [Zap2It]
Game of Thrones
Newcomer Paul Kealyn will be playing Harrenhal gaoler Weasel. Darren Killeen will be appearing in two episodes as a Baratheon guard. At the link you'll also find a breakdown of who's directing which episode. [SpoilerTV]
Fox's Kevin Reilly talked about the prospects for several high-profile shows teetering on the brink. About Terra Nova, he says it made money and the audience liked it, but "the perception got away from us at a certain point." That said, "If we had a bit more holes in out schedule, we'd be thrilled to lock that right in. We're going to decide very soon because it does need to get back into production." [E Online]
Reilly also discussed the prospects for Fringe. While it's a great improvement to the Friday night schedule, he says, "it's an expensive show, we lose a lot of of money on that show." [E Online]
Meanwhile, executive producer Jeff Pinkner says:
Worst case scenario, if this were the last aired season of Fringe — and as we've said before, there are other outlets where we could continue our stories, be they graphic novels or webisodes — we know what the end of this season is going to be, and it can function as a series finale.
A preview of the upcoming episode "Back to Where You've Never Been" reveals a few tidbits, including that Peter is accompanied by Lincoln on his visit Over There, and the fate of Peter's mother (in the alternate universe) will be revealed. [Examiner.com]
Once Upon A Time
The show has released a raft of gorgeous new cast photos. [Multipleverses
We've also got a synopsis for episode 11, "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree":
Sidney asks Emma for help uncovering evidence that could expose Regina's corrupt ways; David and Mary Margaret continue to meet secretly; King Leopold (Richard Schiff) is granted three wishes.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt says that Community is not — repeat, not — canceled. It'll be back later in the spring, but it'll likely move elsewhere in the schedule and a fourth season is far from certain. [E Online]
The Vampire Diaries
The attribution is vague in the extreme, but E! reports that Jeremy will be back eventually. [E Online]
Here are some promo photos for episode 12, "The Ties That Bind." [SpoilerTV]
Plus some general promo photos for season 3. [KSiteTV]
Here's a promo for episode 8, "Game Ogre," wherein the show tackles Jack and the Beanstalk.
And these stills from the episode offer a few more hints about what's to come. [KSiteTV]
The Vampire Diaries' Bianca Lawson will guest in at least four episodes as guidance counselor (and good guy) Ms. Morrell. [E Online]
Person of Interest
A promo for episode 11, "Super."
Here's a promo for episode 11, "Fire/Ice," which airs on January 12.
Plus promo photos for episode 12, "Witness." [KSiteTV]
Here's a promo for episode 12, "Sanctuary," which airs on January 13.
Episode 16, formerly "Another Man's Treasure," will apparently now be called "Out with the Old." [SpoilerTV]
Additional reporting by Charlie Jane Anders and Marykate Jasper.