Nicolas Cage's research for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance prominently involved insects and ancient Egyptian dance. Benedict Cumberbatch discusses his involvement in the Star Trek sequel. Plus director Rian Johnson addresses the biggest challenge of his time travel epic Looper!
All that plus Don Cheadle talks Iron Man 3, Chris Evans boards a post-apocalyptic train, the first official plot description of the Total Recall reboot is released, Benjamin Walker reveals the secrets of how Abraham Lincoln hunts vampires, Doctor Who adds a writer, Fringe has a big kiss coming up, the Chuck finale goes right back to the beginning, and much more!
Spoilers from here on out!
Top image from Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
Co-director Brian Taylor explains how he, partner Mark Neveldine, and star Nicolas Cage created the dual role of Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider, and it's pretty much everything you would expect of Nicolas Cage at peak insanity. Here's the quote — I've bolded the parts that are particularly awesome:
"We thought it would be fascinating and a lot of fun to have Nic approach this dual role and create a completely new persona for this creature. Nic took it on as a creative creature challenge. He did a lot of research and had a lot of nightmares, and really went deep into what his version of that demon would be. He was coming at us with some really crazy stuff, like ancient Egyptian ceremonial dances, and we wanted him to study insects, and the way that they move. Some of the things that we came up with are so leftfield that we almost didn't think they'd make the movie, but we ended up putting them in. As a character the Rider is constantly keeping you balance and doing odd little that you don't expect — as much as he's burning people alive, it's almost more about psychological warfare."
Basically, if this film isn't better than Casablanca, I'll be shocked. Anyway, my sky-high yet completely reasonable expectations aside, Taylor revealed how he and Neveldine made the movie awesomely violent while keeping the studio-friendly PG-13 intact:
"The good news for us is that he's the kind of character where we can let him be just as gnarly as he wants to be and we don't really run into trouble," laughs Taylor. "Here's a little bit of advice for young filmmakers who are trying to make a PG-13 movie that's super violent. You can burn as many people as you want. It's not a problem. Where you run into problems is if you're slicing people's arms and heads off, but you can burn hundreds of people alive and they don't have a problem with it!"
And, last but oh so definitely not least, Taylor explains what is pretty much the apotheosis of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - that part in the trailer where Ghost Rider pisses fire:
"That was actually a joke. I think that [executive producer] Avi Arad came up with it one day, and you have to be really careful when you make jokes around us, because we'll just take it and run with it and it ends up in the movie. That was pretty much how Crank 2 got made."
As someone who has seen Crank 2, I can confirm that that's pretty much the only way that film could have possibly been made. [Comic Book Movie]
And here are a ton of new promo images. [Comic Book Movie]
War Machine actor Don Cheadle says the most recent draft of the script he saw was "more action-packed" than the previous two films, and that's also "a lot more fun." He revealed that "the interplay between Robert's character [Tony Stark] and myself is a lot more dynamic." Cheadle also confirmed filming begins in May. [Comic Book Movie]
Idris Elba says he definitely expects to be back as the Asgardian gatekeeper Heimdall, though he admits he hasn't yet met with sequel director Alan Taylor. He also says he hasn't done anything for The Avengers, though a last-minute cameo isn't absolutely 100% out of the question. [MTV]
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch reveals that he starts filming next week, and that he is "working out nonstop" to prepare for the role, and learning as much as he can about Star Trek lore. Speaking of which, Cumberbatch refuses to confirm that his character is actually the villain, which of course may simply be some J.J. Abrams style secrecy:
"I don't think we do know that, actually. That's just supposition. And that's all I'm going to say about it."
Brick director Rian Johnson discusses one of the biggest questions about his upcoming time travel film, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an assassin ordered to kill Bruce Willis, who it turns out is an older version of himself. Specifically, how the hell are you going to convince anybody Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are the same person!? Johnson reveals that Gordon-Levitt wore some fairly extensive prosthetics to more closely resemble a younger Bruce Willis, although he says a lot of it just comes down to the acting:
"But the biggest thing is Joe's performance, he's really doing Bruce in a big and daring way, but he strikes a balance between obviously imitating Bruce and also building this organic performance."
Here's a new promo photo of Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson as Haymith Abernathy, and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. [The Los Angeles Times]
This had been rumored before, but Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours writer Simon Beaufoy is reportedly already working on the script for the Hunger Games sequel, and original movie director Gary Ross is in line to return. [The Wrap]
Here's the official synopsis for the reboot, written by Equilibrium's Kurt Wimmer and starring Colin Farrell and the inestimable Bryan Cranston:
"Total Recall" is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.
Star Benjamin Walker explains the ax-based martial art that Lincoln uses to fight those vampires:
The stunt guys and the fight choreographer, Mic Rodgers, who is a stunt legend, and a gentleman named Don Lee - all of these guys are martial artists and stuntmen. They created a form of fighting that would be unique to Lincoln at that time, that's never been in a movie before. As I'm learning it, they're creating it. It was really fascinating.
What is it comparable to?
It's comparable to a kind of bow staff fighting. If you imagine a shorter bow staff with a blade on the end of it, a kind of continuously spinning, ruthless and simultaneously graceful martial art.
He also said — apparently with a straight face — that this is fundamentally a serious, dramatic story that is simply told through the lens of Lincoln fighting vampires. He also rather winningly promised that the vampires in his Lincoln movie will be better than the vampires in Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis's Lincoln. There's more at the link. [MTV]
Battlestar Galactica star Katee Sackhoff confirms she has been cast in the movie, but doesn't reveal anything about her role beyond the fact that she is "excited to go blow some shit up." You can also check out the link for the truly bizarre story of how she got cast in the movie, during which process she apparently thought she was going to be murdered or something. [Collider]
Here's a promo image for Tim Burton's full-length stop-motion remake of his 1982 short film. [/Film]
Captain America star Chris Evans is reportedly set to star in The Host director Bong Joon-ho's next film, which is set on a snowbound train in a post-apocalyptic future. According to the director, the movie is set in a new ice age, and the train features strict class distinctions that have set different groups against each other. [SFX]
The House of the Devil director Ti West says he has the cast and financing in place for a film about "pharmaceutical testing in space and paranoia." Here's his update on the project:
I have this science-fiction movie that I've been raising the money for, for the past six months… I've now cast the lead, and I've got most of it together. But it's a science fiction movie, so we need to build spaceships, so it's one of those things I can't really rush into and I can't do it for less than we need for it, because we have to build things. But I would hope that right after Sundance, that kicks into gear, and I would love to be prepping that in February.
On the film's budget, he said it is more than some of his previous films, but less than that of Cabin Fever. Assuming he's referring to his Cabin Fever sequel, that means it's less than $7 million, while Eli Roth's original Cabin Fever was just $1.5 million. Either way, he says money isn't an issue:
"But I don't care –the smallest amount of money to do what I do is what I want. I don't want a dime more, but I don't want a dime less either. Like I don't want to go, 'We've run out of money to put that extra thing on the spaceship,' but I don't want to have money for no reason. So I think it's going to happen – it's a great producer, I think it's a good script, it's a great cast."
Here's a promo photo of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones doing that whole memory-wiping thing. [The Los Angeles Times]
Here's a poster and promo photo for the upcoming "fighting aliens on the high seas" board game adaptation, which I'm assured is a real movie and not just some sort of elaborate prank. Well, actually, I suppose it can be both. [Coming Soon]
Mark Gatiss revealed in the latest Doctor Who Magazine that he will write an episode for season seven, and he gave three clues for his episode: "meat", "klaxon", and "Vienna." This will be his fifth episode for the show, following "The Unquiet Dead", "The Idiot's Lantern", "Victory of the Daleks", and "Night Terrors." He's the third confirmed writer for the seventh season, following Steven Moffat and John Fay, who previously worked on Torchwood. [Doctor Who Spoilers]
A notice for upcoming filming on January 18 says one of the things being shot includes "a scene of our two main actors meeting on the street and engaging in a kiss." They don't specify which two actors, of course, so feel free to speculate away. The most likely character combinations are presumably Olivia and Peter or Olivia and Lincoln, but I'm going to go for the rare double John Noble and say Walter and Walternate, just to really mess with people's heads. [Fringe Spoilers]
Star Emilia Clarke gave this brief preview of the second season:
"[It's] bigger and better. [Daenerys is] competing in a man's world. There's a bit more political drama for her this season, which is very, very interesting to play."
Here's a new sneak peek for the midseason premiere, "Nebraska", which airs February 2. [EW]
Star Zachary Levi drops some hints about the two-hour finale:
"[It] is very homage-y. There are nods to the pilot and the first few episodes of the first season. We come full circle on the characters and the relationships. There's a lot of Square 1 stuff, and I think the fans will get a real kick out of it."
Here's a pair of interviews with stars Sam Neill and Jorge Garcia.
You can also check out another interview with Garcia right here.
ER's Parminder Nagra reveals her character Lucy Banerjee may not be all she appears:
"That's going to happen with a lot of characters, where they're not really who they seem to be. [Executive producer] Daniel Pyne described it as Lucy will probably be one of the keys to Alctraz. That intrigues me because I don't know where that's going. [It] opens up another world."
Here's a promo for next Sunday's episode, "7:15 AM."
Jessica Lange says that she's likely to return for the completely different second season, and if she does she will not be playing Constance again:
"Yes, we are considering a second season. Nothing is definite yet...I know that everybody that is returning will be playing a different character. I rarely see a script that excites me. But with American Horror Story, every time we would get a new [script], they would have written something for me that was really exciting and challenging."
Costars Evan Peters and Taissa Farmiga, who played Tate and Violet respectively, say they're not sure if they will be back or not. [TV Line]
Star Sam Witwer discusses the second season:
"It is a darker show this time around. "If the first season was about them building this house and this home and trying to reconnect with their humanity, this season…we are all off on our individual own paths-getting really dark and naked."
Here are some cast photos. [Daemon's TV]
According to supervising director Dave Filoni, the show is officially set to return for a fifth season. [Den of Geek]
Here are some promo photos for the computer-animated series, which Cartoon Network has reportedly set for a March return date. [Comic Book Movie]
Additional reporting by Gordon Jackson and Charlie Jane Anders.