Five for the Fifth October 2012: Spy Edition

Hello folks, since October 5 2012 edition of Five of the Fifth happens to fall on Bond’s 50th Anniversary, all the questions have a SPY theme in honor of our super spy 007.

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here. So let’s get started, shall we?
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1. Well, now that Adele’s Skyfall theme song has been officially released, I’m quite pleased to see the classic ballad is back again. I’ve listened to it half a dozen times now and the melody easily gets stuck in my head. I like that there’s a trace of the Bond theme in it, and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a big fan of Adele’s voice. She’s channeling Dame Shirley Bassey, though I don’t think anyone could match the Welsh singer’s powerful pipes. So take a listen below…

Now on to the two-part question: Thoughts on Adele’s song AND which singer/band do you wish would sing the Bond theme song next?

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2. James Bond might be the world’s most famous spy character, but Ian Fleming isn’t the only popular British spy author. This article on Word and Film site lists all the films based on English author John le Carre’s classic British spy and espionage novels. I have only seen three of them on the list: Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, The Constant Gardener and The Tailor of Panama, and they’re all very good.

I’m curious to check out the rest from that list, especially The Spy Who Came in from the Cold starring Richard Burton. That sounds really intriguing.

Are you a fan of Le Carre’s work? Which of his books is your favorite?

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3. A few days ago I came across this Best Bond Movies poll that the MI6-HQ site conducted late last year. Below are the results of the ‘most favored’ James Bond films by the fans:

Rank Film Actor Score
1 Casino Royale Daniel Craig 75%
2 Goldfinger Sean Connery 54%
3 From Russia With Love Sean Connery 53%
4 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service George Lazenby 46%
5 GoldenEye Pierce Brosnan 37%

The Living Daylights made the top 10 at #8 (which makes me happy), but what I find most interesting is that On Her Majesty’s Secret Service made the top 5!

So even though people didn’t like George Lazenby, apparently they still love the film. That’s one of the Bond films I really want to revisit again, I might do it yet this month as I don’t remember much about it aside from that heartbreaking finale. I’m even more curious as Christopher Nolan said it’s his favorite Bond film, so who knows, perhaps a remake is in order with a more capable Bond actor?

What’s your thoughts on the poll and/or OHMSS film specifically?
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4. Now switching gears from MI-6 to CIA… Americans’ got our own super spy too, y’know 😀 The name is Ryan, Jack Ryan. Ok it doesn’t have the same catchy ring to it and the franchise is not nearly as lucrative, but the Tom Clancy’s character has quite a fan base.

And the reboot coming up next year seems to be going back to basics, titling it simply Jack Ryan, and casting the young and hip Capt Kirk Chris Pine in the role. Interestingly enough, he’s surrounded by Brits: Kenneth Branagh is directing and starring as the villain and Keira Knightley as his wife. But hey, he’s got Kevin Costner as his CIA mentor.

For me, my favorite Jack Ryan actor is Harrison Ford, but it could be because Patriot Games was the first movie I saw of the franchise. I know most of you probably love Alec Baldwin most as he’s the first in The Hunt For The Red October, and I might revisit that movie at one point, but I quite like Ford’s intensity. He might appear curmudgeon, which somehow I find endearing, but to me he captures that hard life and being constantly on edge as what I imagined his job would entail.

So, who’s your favorite actor portraying Jack Ryan?
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5. Now, back to Bond again as today is Global Bond Day after all. As the franchise keeps going on and on, let me turn to the one who started it all: Ian Fleming. I’d love to see the creator of Commander Bond gets a proper biopic treatment on the big screen. Well, last May there were reports circulating that Duncan Jones (director of Moon, Source Code, etc.) is going to be at the helm. As The Guardian article says, Fleming’s fascinating life story seems to be worth telling and no doubt inspired his creation, inspired by his years in the British naval intelligence during WWII. He reportedly lived a hard life too, smoking and drinking (60 cigarettes a day??!), and was also quite the playboy.

I haven’t heard of who’d be cast as Fleming. I think I heard James McAvoy was rumored at some point, which would be a good choice I think, aside from the fact that Fleming has Scottish roots. Now if they decide to do a biopic on his later years though, I’d love to see Geoffrey Rush play him. I mean, I even found this photo when I was searching on Google, so obviously I’m not the only one who think of their uncanny resemblance!

Thoughts on this biopic, now who would you like to see portray Ian Fleming?


Well, that’s it for the Special SPY edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! 😀

Hollywood Movie Draft Pitch III: Untitled Sci-Fi by Duncan Jones

As part Anomalous Material’s Hollywood Fantasy Draft blog event, I posted my dream cast last week. Now check out the movie pitch below… tentatively titled …

The Renovaré Project

(Renovaré is Latin for “to renew” or “to restore”)

Photo by thmc | deviantart.com

LOGLINE:

In the year of 3020, a fraction of the earth population are now living temporarily in a distant planet. A young military protégé on a mission back to earth discovers that everything he knows about the apocalyptic event is not what they seem.

BACKGROUND:

This untitled sci-fi drama is a mix of NBC’s The Event and the ‘V’ miniseries with elements of Equilibrium thrown in. It’s a story of overcoming unspeakable deception and the courage to fight against insurmountable odds in the name of humanity and love. Because of the nature of the storyline, the film will have more of an open-ended conclusion. I envision this to be a two-part or trilogy series.

It’s a post-apocalyptic setting… most of the world as we know it has been destroyed by a catastrophic meteor shower two years prior. Humanity is facing extinction on earth as only a select few of surviving humans are now living temporarily in a distant planet called Bhumi, a dystopian society that are far more structured and sterile-looking environment where diseases are rare and conflicts are minimized as the citizens have been “programmed” to obey and please authorities without question nor protest.

The Bhumi authorities are in fact an alien colony called the Luciens who are responsible for the meteor attacks. They are a highly-intelligent and technologically-advanced creatures who have shape-shifting abilities. They live off of minerals similar to what exists at the earth core, and their government is totalitarian in nature. They’re a slow-breeding race, so their population only numbering in the hundred of thousands. On top of that, the shrinking mineral resources on their planet slow down their reproduction ability even more.

A new leader in their society, who goes by the name Damien, wants to solve that problem, as well as create a perfect world of hybrid race of Luciens-humans who’d submit to him. The Luciens can’t simply invade earth because the high air pollution in the earth atmosphere endanger their health in much bigger impact than they do humans. Therefore, instead of a full-on invasion, the Luciens think it’s more effective to do it strategically and in phases. They’d obliterate most of the earth population (using their own bombs that are made to look like meteor attacks), sparing only those they deem intelligent enough to match their kind. These men and women are the chosen ones who were ‘rescued’ and trained months before the catastrophe happened, as they possess the skill set needed for the Renovaré project. The purpose of that is two-fold: One, to help rebuild earth once the effect of the meteor shower have subsided; and two, to be mated with their own kind to start the ‘perfect’ breed. The Luciens’ shape-shifting power enable them to blend in with humans and they use their supreme intelligence to gradually brainwash various earth leaders into believing meteor attacks are imminent and the only way to save what’s left of humanity is to create a temporary living quarter in a different planet.

The Luciens’ grand vision of the new earth

All the human survivors now living in Bhumi have been brainwashed to think that Renovaré‘s main mission is to reset the world as we know it to improve or make it better. The film’s protagonist, Joshua Prescott, has been made leader of one of the ELITE team of the Renovaré Project because of his intelligence and military prowess. The team created by Bhumi’s new government to clean up and rebuild a new, better environment on earth. Bhumi is a relatively-small planet that will not big enough to accommodate Bhumi’s targeted population of the hybrid race, but they have to make sure the climate is ready for them to move in. It’s whilst on a mission back to earth that Joshua slowly learns the truth about what he’s been conditioned to believe…  and suddenly he’s faced with a darker reality that is even more bleak than he’s ever thought or imagined.

DIRECTOR:

Duncan Jones
The 40-year-old British director may be a relative unknown to most moviegoers, but in just the past 2 years, he’s directed two critically-acclaimed movies. His directing debut Moon won Best British Independent Film in 2009. I feel that he’s got the chops to create an emotionally-engaging sci-fi flick that is heavy on the plot and character-development and less about the bombastic action sequences. I also think he can handle the romantic aspect of the story, based on what I’ve seen in Source Code.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:


Chris Hemsworth is Joshua Prescott, the film’s 31-year-old protagonist. Prescott is an aerospace engineer who’s also a pilot, tall and handsome in a grizzled kind of way, and a charismatic leader. He had just proposed to his long-time girlfriend Lena Bouvier when he’s recruited by the Luciens for the Renovaré project.


Viggo Mortensen is Bhumi’s Commander in Chief Damien and the film’s main villain. He’s the leader of the alien beings who are highly-intelligent and has shape-shifting abilities. Damien has the appearance of a man in his late 40s, charismatic with a quiet grace but is relentlessly ambitious to create a perfect ‘breed’ between his own kind and the ‘best’ of the human race.


Emily Blunt is Lena Bouvier, Joshua’s fiancée who survives the meteor strike and is a member of the remaining resistance group who knows about the Luciens and that they are behind the meteor attack. She is a nurse who’s in the middle of a night shift when the attack happens, but fortunately her father gets to her in the nick of time to bring her to safety.


Hugo Weaving plays Lena’s father, Léon Bouvier, a scientist who has been skeptical about the real cause of the meteor attack. Deeply distrustful of the government that grows increasingly strange in the months leading to the catastrophe, he builds a secretive underground scientific chamber for his research as well as hiding place. When Lena’s mother is killed in the attack, he grows even more vigorous in his quest to uncover the truth.


Romola Garai plays Saffron, the Lucien girl chosen by Damien as Joshua’s mate in Bhumi. She is one of the few female members of Damien’s ultra-secretive science program and is fiercely loyal to him and his cause. She’s been instrumental in the brainwashing process of Joshua and his team.


James Purefoy is Seth Jones, the leader of the earth’s resistance group in Europe. He lives in the same Scottish castle ruin where Lena and the remaining earth survivors dwell in. He’s a British air-force pilot whose family is killed during the meteor attack and shares Léon’s conspiracy theory of what happens on earth. He has feelings for Lena and after two years being heartbroken about Joshua, she finally opens up to him… that is until Joshua suddenly reappears.


Idris Elba plays Andrew Cudjoe, a former executive of a Global Natural Resources Corporation based in London. Because of the company’s main focus in mining, processing, and energy operations, the Luciens have surveyed his company for information even a year before the meteor attack. Andrew is Vivien’s husband, but they were separated when she got recruited by the Luciens. He’s now become Seth’s right hand man in the resistance.


Thandie Newton plays a sculpture artist Vivien, whose beauty catches Damien’s eye. She has been Damien’s lover in the past two years though like Joshua, she too has been haunted by dreams of a man she doesn’t remember. She has become attached to Damien but somehow can’t shake the feeling that there is something strange about life in Bhumi and that Damien might be keeping something from her.


Sir Sean Connery plays an ailing Protestant pastor Charles Wilby, whose son is also recruited by the Luciens. Even though he’s injured in the meteor attack, he’s been ministering the group of people to remain hopeful of a better reality despite the circumstances. He dies shortly after Joshua tells him that he’s met his son who’s one of the engineer in Bhumi’s central station.


ADDITIONAL CAST:
Jamie Bamber – Michael, Charles Wilby’s only son
Sean Bean – A Lucien general, Damien’s right hand man
David Bowie – Cameo as a Lucien cleric


SYNOPSIS:

Two years after the meteor strike, a dozen group consisting of about 24 people are sent to survey various areas of earth. They’re tasked to make sure earth is ‘ready’ to be rebuilt and report back to Bhumi’s authorities. All the human survivors now living in Bhumi have been brainwashed to think that Renovaré’s main mission is to ‘reset’ the world as we know it to improve or make it better.

Joshua Prescott is the leader of Faction 316 consisting of eight men to survey the area of formerly the UK, and set up their station in a Scottish moor. In their sixth day, they come across a group of survivors living in the basement of a castle ruin. They survive on canned foods and water they’ve managed to collect just before the meteor strike. Prescott and his team have orders from the Renovaré general to execute survivors because of threat of meteoric ‘poison’ that will potentially contaminate the area and endanger the lives of the survivors who’d later occupy the space. Prescott normally have no problem obeying orders, as he believes that sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. But when he meets Lena, a beautiful woman who’s rumpled and scrawny given the circumstances, it’s as if he’s seeing the woman in his dreams, so he’s unable to kill her and her friends. He orders his team not to harm the group.

Apocalyptic depiction of a future London by German artist Marco Bauriedel

It turns out there are imperfections in the Luciens’ memory erase program. On some individuals, the procedure has ‘leaks’ in that the subject will recall bits and pieces of their past in the form of dreams. In the last few months leading up to the mission, Joshua has been dreaming more frequently of Lena, but he has no idea who she is. The fact is, Joshua and Lena had gotten engaged just months before he’s recruited by the Luciens and had his memory wiped out. In Bhumi, Joshua has been involved with another woman, Saffron, a Lucien chosen by Damien specifically for him, yet he can’t help feeling drawn to Lena. Joshua doesn’t remember Léon even though he was pretty close with Lena’s father prior to being recruited. This convinces Léon even more that something has been done to these human recruits that causes them to lose their memory.

Seth sees Joshua as a personal rival as well as a threat to his group. The next day, he and a few of his loyal men launch an attack against Joshua, which results in several of Seth’s group getting killed in the process. Léon begs Seth for cease fire and tells him that that he believes Joshua is the key to knowing the truth about what really happened. Joshua is the only one who can provide proof of the Luciens’ existence, besides, the resistance is no match to the much more well-equipped Renovaré team. Seth reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s dreams of Lena are getting more intense ever since he came back to earth, to the point that he would wake up weeping uncontrollably. Frantically, he goes back to see Lena and Léon and find them in the middle of a praying session with Charles, whose condition is getting worsened because of the injury he sustained during the meteor attack. Yet his eyes are still full of hope as he reaches for Joshua’s hands to calm him down. He tells him about his son Michael who’s about the same age as Joshua and proceeds to show him a torn picture of him that Charles carries with him at all times. Joshua recognizes Michael as one of the engineers working at Bhumi’s central station and when he informs Charles this, the ailing 75-year-old makes Joshua promise that he’d make things right and help the survivors find the truth. The next day, Charles dies.

One of the Renovare’s team’s earth-bound stations

Joshua now feels torn between his allegiance to Damien and a life he’s grown accustomed to in Bhumi, and his strong feelings and deep empathy for Lena and the resistance group. Despite what he’s learned on earth, he still can’t fathom that Bhumi is ruled by an alien race as they look and behave just like humans. A week later, right before he makes a quick trip to Bhumi to report to Damien, Andrew finds Joshua behind Seth’s back and tells him about a strange visit he encountered in his office just weeks before the meteor attack and how his guests were very interested about the iron ore-grade commercial mining operations in various parts of the world. He doesn’t know what it all means, but figures that it might provide a clue to the origins of the Luciens. Joshua notices a tattoo of a woman’s face on Andrew’s arm, she is the splitting image Damien’s lover but he refrains from saying anything.

Back in Bhumi, Joshua and Saffron are invited to dinner by Damien at his compound. Damien is very fond of Joshua and tells him of his grand vision for earth. Joshua does his best to pretend everything is ok, but every time he looks at Vivien, he can’t help wondering her connection with Andrew. He also feels incredibly uneasy to share a room with Saffron because of his feelings for Lena, and refuses to sleep with her. In the middle of the night, he leaves his room to get some air in a secluded lake. He finds Vivien there and Joshua uses the opportunity to ask her about Andrew. Sure enough, Joshua’s description of Andrew fits the picture of the man in her dreams. Joshua tells Vivien what he learns from earth and Vivien breaks down in tears and Joshua consoles her in his embrace, telling her to make sure to keep this a secret for now. At this point, Saffron sees the two of them and thinks they’re having an affair.

The next day, Saffron confronts Joshua and threatens to tell Damien about the affair. Joshua denies it but Saffron refuses to believe him, and in a moment of panic, he lunges at her and accidentally knocks her unconscious. That night, he drugs Saffron and takes her to earth to be examined by Léon. Indeed he finds an alien DNA in Saffron, thus proving his theory. Joshua goes berserk realizing he’s been utterly betrayed and lied for the past three years, and immediately wants to return to Bhumi to kill Damien. But Lena stops him, telling him that being brash about this might actually cost them dearly. Damien is so powerful that he not only would kill Joshua but could also wipe out the surviving earth population. Right now, the human population controlled by the Luciens in Bhumi outnumbered the survivors, so the only way to fight against the alien colony is by setting the humans free of the Luciens’ ‘spell.’

Joshua realizes there is not a lot of time before Damien finds out about Saffron and his team members to grow suspicious of his activities on earth. It turns out there is a mole on his team who saw Joshua sneaks Saffron to earth. He alerts Damien immediately unbeknownst to Joshua who’s on the way back to Bhumi. Damien is furious and in his wrath, he trashes Joshua’s compound. Vivien tries to provide an alibi for Joshua but Damien accuses her for conspiring against him and in his rage, he chokes her to death.

City Chase by Tiger 1313

Damien orders his subordinates to capture Joshua who’s still en route to Bhumi. Joshua notices there are three military planes trailing him, and an intense air chase ensues. Joshua’s plane is hit but he manages to land about twenty miles from his earthbound station right in the middle of a thunderstorm. But by now he can’t go back there because members of his Faction are loyal to Damien. He has no way of contacting Léon to run away, so he must kill his former team mates because they know the location to the resistance group’s hiding place. He gets into a shootout with members of his Faction, which leads into a chase across the hilly Scottish moor. Joshua is the best-trained shooters in Bhumi, so he manages to kill them all but he does get shot in the left shoulder. Seth ends up finding him unconscious just a mile outside of the compound and brings him inside. When Joshua wakes up the next day, Lena has treated his wound and tells him Seth rescued him. She tells Joshua she was terrified of losing him again. Though he still doesn’t remember her, he falls for her all over again and they share a kiss.

Léon is ecstatic that his future son-in-law has returned and he tells the group a new hope has arrived. The resistance group welcomes Joshua with open arms, and even Andrew who’s been Seth’s best friend, proclaims that he could be the group’s new leader. Joshua suddenly realizes Seth isn’t amongst the crowd. Joshua searches for Seth to thank him for saving his life, but finds neither he nor Saffron are in the compound.

EPILOGUE

Joshua and Lena marry in a small ceremony. There is a new hope for the resistance group now that Joshua is on their side. But it’s no time for celebration as they have to move to a different hiding place in case the Luciens find out their current whereabouts. There’s also a whole new uncertainties concerning Seth and Saffron.

© 2011 FlixChatter.net – All rights reserved.


What do you think, folks? Would you be interested to see a sci-fi movie like this one? If you have any ideas/suggestions about the plot or title, please let me know.

Hollywood Fantasy Draft Pitch III: My sci-fi movie’s dream cast

My pal Castor has created quite an addiction with his annual Hollywood Fantasy Draft event. Every year, we movie bloggers get to indulge in our fantasy of creating our own movies with our favorite actors. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, chances are you’ve read my first movie pitch Hearts Want, a romantic thriller starring Timothy Dalton, Helen Mirren and James McAvoy; and the second one which I adapted from a novel of the same name, Last Voyage of the Valentina starring Rufus Sewell, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron. Yep, I have drafted the leads of X-Men: First Class previously, now you see why I’m super excited for that movie 😀

Starbuck & Apollo in BSG

Well, this time I’m going back to creating an original story like I did with Hearts Want, I’m not going to reveal the story yet except to say that it’ll be a sci-fi set in a post-apocalyptic world of the future. Yes, there’ll be droids and spaceships, etc. but at the heart of it will be a love story. I’m a romantic at heart, don’t cha know, besides, a lot of sci-fi movies I like (i.e. Blade Runner) are actually quite romantic. I also adore Battlestar Galactica series — the contemporary one, not the original — and there are plenty of intertwined romances in that one, and plenty of um, pent-up passion that rival any soap opera. The scorching chemistry between Katie Sackhoff and Jamie Bamber as the star-crossed lovers Starbuck and Apollo is one of the main highlights of the sci-fi series.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my weekend roundup post, I spent hours a couple of weekends ago bidding for the major cast for my movie. I’m happy to say that I get most of the actors I wanted, with the exception of Carey Mulligan who’s my first choice as the female lead, but Castor snatched her! But it’s ok, I actually have another replacement who’s actually one of my favorite actresses and she’s on my list of top five noteworthy young actresses!

So without further ado, let me present you …

My dream cast:


My director pick is Duncan Jones. Originally I went with Matthew Vaughn but I figure he might be too busy (and too expensive) after the success of X-Men: First Class. I feel that Jones might be a better fit for my story having just seen Source Code and hearing all the great things about sci-fi drama Moon. He’s only done two feature films so far but both are very well-received by critics and audiences alike. I just realize that all three of the directors I’ve drafted so far are Brits! And guess what, I just realized Jones is David Bowie’s son, so you can count on having Mr. Bowie to have a brief cameo in my movie 😀

Viggo Mortensen is the most expensive cast I bid for, but he should be worth the money. I need someone of his acting caliber and popularity for my movie. Mortensen is a fine actor with the kind of screen intensity and emotional depth. He also has this quiet grace about him that is unpredictable. Those who’ve seen him in History of Violence and Eastern Promises know he can be quite menacing as well, which is perfect for the role I have for him. He’s also never done a full-blown sci-fi movie, yet.

I hadn’t planned for a Lord of the Rings reunion here, it sort of just worked out that way. Hugo Weaving has always been an actor I admired, he’s my top ten favorite Aussies and his masked performance in V for Vendetta is utterly impressive. He’s also amazing in the little-seen Aussie indie Little Fish where he played a junkie, and this role would require more of that raw performance rather than his cool, bad-ass rendition of Agent Smith in The Matrix.

For the female lead and the protagonist’s love interest, I need someone who is beautiful but with an earthly quality as well as intelligence. I’ve seen Emily Blunt in several films, and she always impresses me. I especially like her performance in Young Victoria so for sure she can handle emotionally-complex roles.

For the movie’s protagonist, I wanted someone who’s young and can handle the fight sequences believably. After seeing Chris Hemsworth in Star Trek and THOR (twice!) within one month, I’m convinced he’s the right man for the job. He’s definitely got a strong screen presence, as well as being very easy on the eyes without looking like a frivolous male model. I also wanted someone who’s a natural leader with the credibility to lead a big group of people to fight for the cause he believes in. In the two films I saw him, he could also pull off the romantic scenes which makes him a compelling ‘romeo’ on top of being a bad-ass fighter.

I’ve been a fan of James Purefoy for quite some time. He seems to be somewhat typecast in period action pieces like Iron Clad and Solomon Kane, perhaps because of his astounding turn as Marc Antony in HBO’s ROME. But I know this gorgeous and soulful Brit is capable for more! I need a strong male character who’s powerful enough to go against the grain, but also one with the good sense to choose where to place his allegiance.

The fact that Romola Garai is not a household name is beyond me. The 29-year-old Brit is not only drop-dead gorgeous but is massively talented to boot. You’ve likely seen her in Atonement as the adult version of Briony (who’s played by Saiorse Ronan as a kid). People talk about Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave (who plays the older version of the same character) a lot but Garai is equally compelling as both of them in that role. She is also great in Amazing Grace and in the BBC miniseries Daniel Deronda. I don’t believe she’s done a sci-fi flick yet, so she’ll be playing a role she’s never done before in this movie.

Ever since I saw Idris Elba in Rocknrolla as Gerry Butler’s BFF, I immediately notice the magnetic quality about the tall, London-born actor. He’s also great as Hemdahl in THOR as someone who’s revered but loyal and compassionate. Elba has a natural swagger about him but he also has a comedic side that’d work well as comic relief in my movie.

I first notice Thandie Newton in Mission: Impossible II as Tom Cruise’s love interest. She has kind of an otherworldly look about her — beautiful, mysterious but also can appear vulnerable. She’ll play Viggo’s lover who later has a change of heart towards the end of the film.

Now, as you know I like to cast a seasoned actor in my movies 😀 This time we have another James Bond actor who’s reportedly already retired, but I hope that Sir Sean Connery would agree to do a small but important cameo in this movie. Not only will we’ll give him a hefty paycheck for a mere few days of work, but the filming location will be in the Scottish Highlands which should appeal to him on a personal level.

Possible Additional Cast:

  • Karl Urban
  • David Bowie

Well, what do you think of my picks? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of cast?

Guest Post: Musings on Darren Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine… and who should replace him

So late last week, Fox announced that Darren Aronofsky won’t be directing the new Wolverine film. As a fan of Wolverine and the X-Men franchise, this was a huge blow to me. Even though I’ve never read any of the comic books, I was a huge fan of the cartoon show that aired in the 90s. I also enjoyed the first two films quite a bit, not too much with X-Men 3 and the first Wolverine film though. So when Aronofsky said that he’s coming on board to retool the Wolverine movie, I was ecstatic because I think he’s one of the best young filmmakers in Hollywood today and Wolverine is one of my favorite comic book characters right behind Batman.

I thought the first Wolverine film has potentials but the final product was pretty lame. Some of you might even remember that the first film has so much drama behind the scenes too, so maybe Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with Fox executives and decided to just walk away now before he’s knee deep in production and couldn’t get out.

The official statements by Fox and Aronofsky said the shoot was going to be out side of the States and that Aronofsky didn’t want to be away from his family for that long period of time. When I heard that, I didn’t believe it for a second. I will bet anything that Aronofsky left the project because Fox executives won’t let him make the film the way he wants and also they probably gave him a very tight schedule to shoot the picture. I truly believe that Aronofsky wanted to make a very gritty and dark film about Wolverine and Fox executives probably said no, very similar to the first movie.

Fox didn’t like where the movie was going so they ordered the director (Gavin Hood) to make changes so they could market it to younger audiences. Rumor has it that Hood actually walked off the set and veteran director Richard Donner actually was the one who finished directing the movie, Donner’s one of the movie’s producers. I think Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with the stress and just walked away. Now some people will suspect the tragic that’s happening in Japan might have something to do with his decision to leave the movie (the new Wolverine film will take place in Japan), that could be true but I highly doubt it. If they’re so concern about the danger of shooting in Japan, they could go to some other country and shoot it. There are lots of country that can be substitute for Japan, The Last Samurai was in New Zealand.

A few years ago when Singer left X-Men to shoot the new Superman film (Superman Returns), Fox announced that Mathew Vaughn was taking over the franchise. Then a few weeks before shooting begin, both the studio and Vaughn came out saying that he’s leaving the project because he didn’t want to be a way from his family for too long. Sounds similar to last week’s announcement about Aronofsky isn’t it? Here’s the original article where Fox announced Vaughn was leaving X-Men 3. The real reason why Vaughn left the project was because Fox gave him an impossible shooting schedule and they demanded he shoot the film based on the new script, Vaughn wanted to stick with Singer’s original script. Had he or Singer made the film, the main story would’ve been about the Phoenix saga and we’ll finally get to see those giant robots known as The Sentinels, it was seen briefly in beginning of X-Men: Last Stand. Of course we all know what happened, even though Last Stand made a lot of money, I thought the film was quite awful compare to the first two X-Men films.

As of now Fox hasn’t announce who will take over the project yet, I just hope they don’t go and get some of the hacks to finish the job. If they do, you can bet they’ll go after someone like Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Stephen Sommers (he was fired from the G.I. Joe sequel so he’s looking for work) and Paul W. Anderson. Since most of my favorite and talented directors are busy with their own projects, I’m afraid Fox might just hired one of those hacks.

But just for fun, these are my ideal candidates to replace Aronofsky: Duncan Jones (Moon), Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), The Coen Bros. (why not, they haven’t done an action/comic book film yet and this could be very interesting project for them) and Quentin Tarantino.


I know those guys will probably never be on Fox’s list but even if they are, I highly doubt they’ll accept the job. One possible candidate that Fox might actually hire is Bryan Singer, he was in the running to direct the first Wolverine film so maybe he’ll come on board if Fox asks him.


Well, what do you think of Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine? Are you as upset as I am and who do you think should fill in the director’s chair for this film?

Random Thoughts: Who should Christopher Nolan pick as SUPERMAN reboot director?

It’s hard to argue that Marvel’s been getting a leg up on DC with their movie adaptations, despite the comic company owning two of the biggest superhero franchises: Batman and Superman. British auteur Christopher Nolan could very well be regarded as a DC hero of sort the fact that he pretty much ‘rescued’ the Batman franchise from the pit that was Batman & Robin, practically the worst superhero movie of all time.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the son of Krypton and have the most respect for Nolan, so imagine my excitement when I first heard that Warner Bros asked him to be a mentor of sort on the The Man of Steel reboot. Then a month later came news that his frequent collaborator David Goyer came up with his dream vision of the über superhero. At the time, it seemed like the project is still so far away in our horizon, but perhaps it’s getting closer now that Nolan is currently shopping for a director to helm the franchise. The reason for the rush probably has a lot to do with the fact that DC will soon lose 50 percent of the  franchise’s copyright due to the notice filed by the heirs of the late Superman creator Jerry Siegel (per brandlaw.org).

Deadline reported Thursday that Superman producers Chris Nolan and [his wife and business partner] Emma Thomas are getting closer to resuscitating the Man of Steel… they have begun meeting with a short list of directors for the job of directing [the movie]…” The Superman reboot is slated to open Christmas 2010, whilst Batman 3 is scheduled to open right smack dab in the Summer Blockbuster month of July, 2012. Reportedly, Nolan and his team will have to select a director to helm the project and make their case in front of the studio before the project is to move forward.

So who made the list?

  • Tony Scott (Top Gun, Spy Game, Enemy of the State, Deja Vu)
  • Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In)
  • Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning)
  • Duncan Jones (Moon)
  • Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen)

My first reaction was to go with Snyder, as he’s quite a visionary director known for creating a visually-stunning film that combine highly-saturated color schemes with dynamic, high-octane action sequences. The former advertising commercials directors have won numerous Clio awards and he’s already got quite a few of buzz-worthy films under his belt despite his relatively short stint as a film director. The guy knows how to make killer trailers and has the ability to get a rousing response from audience at ComicCon. But after talking with one of my blog collaborators Ted S. (who’ve brought you the vision-to-film posts), I realize that perhaps all that razzle-dazzle visual feast isn’t enough to make up a truly worthy Superman film. So below is Ted’s rationale as who should get the job:

Out of all the directors from that list, I’d vote for Duncan Jones. Why? Well because I believe his style of filmmaking is very similar to Nolan’s. Just check out his first feature length Moon, it was very low budget film but yet with his direction and visual style, the film looked like it cost $30mil instead of $5mil to make. Also, the film dealt with identity and loneliness, isn’t that what Superman storyline has been about? Since we don’t know what the plot of the new Superman film is about, maybe Jones can bring us a new version of Superman like we’ve never seen before, just like what Nolan did when he introduced us to his version of Batman. Jones can probably tackle the issue of being the only super human in the world and how he feels being so isolated and yet people relies on him to save them. Whoever they choose to play the new Man of Steel, I truly believe Jones can bring out a great performance out of that actor. Sam Rockwell was pretty great in Moon.

As for the other directors, I’m not familiar with Liebesman’s or Reeves’ work. Reeves directed Cloverfield a couple of years ago, I refuse to watch that movie because I don’t care for that kind of storytelling. Liebesman’s resume is not too impressive either, although his upcoming Battle: Los Angeles looks pretty interesting.

I know that many will vote for Zack Snyder but I just don’t think he’s a good story teller; he’s great at making things blow up and can direct big action sequences. To me Snyder is more of a YES MAN type of director, you give him a script and he’ll follow it page for page, i.e. 300 and Watchmen.

Lastly, we have Tony Scott, I believe he’s run out of creative ideas when it comes to his directing style. If you saw the last couple of his films, you’ll notice that he had repeated his style from his earlier work. If you don’t believe me, watch the shootout scene near the end of Déjà Vu and then watch a shootout scene from his earlier film, The Last Boy Scout. Or watch Enemy of State then Domino, you’ll see the similarities in those films.

For this new reboot of Superman, I believe they should go with a director who not only can create great visual effects but one who can bring out the character of Clark Kent/Superman. Again, my vote goes to Duncan Jones, if you haven’t seen Moon yet, please give a rent, you won’t be disappointed.

Well, after reading his astute assessment, I think Ted has a really valid point about choosing Duncan Jones, and I’m even more curious to watch Moon now. Now your turn, readers. Who would you pick to helm the next Superman reboot?