Friday, May 8, 2009

Film News: Pixar Expands, Lots of X-Men, Weisz Becomes a Whistleblower and "Whoa"

- Disney/Pixar is launching an animation studio located in Vancouver. The Canadian studio is expected to open this fall and will focus in Pixar's "evergreen" characters such as Buzz and Woody from Toy Story and Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars. Disney/Pixar's newest full-length animated film, Up, bows on May 29. [Hollywood Reporter]

- A Deadpool X-Men spin-off movie is in development. Ryan Reynolds will reprise his role as Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, a character first introduced into the film franchise in the recently released X-Men Origins: Wolverine but a long-time favorite of fans of the X-Men comic book series. Twentieth Century Fox is also continuing the X-Men franchise by readying Magneto and X-Men: First Class. [Variety]

- Twentieth Century Fox is also prepping a Wolverine sequel focused on a samurai storyline set (not surprisingly) in Japan. The story was hinted at in one of the "Easter egg" end credit scenes that showed Hugh Jackman's character sitting in a bar in Japan after the events at the end of the first Wolverine movie. Read Pop Wenches' review of Wolverine here. [Variety]
- It seems that Hugh Jackman will have no shortage of projects in the near future. He is set to star in Personal Security as "a tough Gotham police detective forced into bodyguard duty for a spoiled teen heiress who is receiving kidnapping threats." The film is a newly acquired spec script penned by Matt Lieberman. Jackman will also topline the big screen version of the James Sallis novel Drive. Jackman "will play a solitary man who drives race cars by day and getaway cars by night in Los Angeles." An updated version of the Rogers & Hammerstein classic Carousel has also gotten new life thanks to a new script by David Magee. Jackman would play Billy Bigelow and has named Anne Hathaway as a favorite choice for the role of Julie Jordan, although talks with Hathaway's representatives have not yet begun. The busy Wolverine star is also slated to head back to Broadway in 2010 in the lead role in Houdini. Danny Elfman is writing the music with David Yazbek writing the lyrics. [Variety]

- Rachel Weisz will star in The Whistleblower, an indie drama based on the true story of "a female cop from Nebraska who serves as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and exposes a United Nations cover-up of a sex trafficking scandal." The role is described as similar to Weisz' Oscar-winning role as a political crusader in The Constant Gardener. [Variety]

- In truly frightening news, Keanu Reeves will topline a modern retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Universal. Insert your own "whoa" comment here. [Hollywood Reporter]

- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is close to signing a deal with CBS Films to star in the action drama Faster. A change from Johnson's recent family friendly movies, Faster would see him playing "an ex-con bent on avenging the death of his brother, murdered 10 years earlier when the two were double-crossed during a heist." [Entertainment Weekly]

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