Daily digest of some of the sci-fi and fantasy news that’s caught our eye including: Benedict Cumberbatch in Bond 24; Predators and Terminator sequels; coke-head Carrie Fisher (love her); and a new Mummy film.
Benedict Cumberbatch, the next Bond villain?
Bond producers are looking to lock down Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain in Bond 24.
Predators and Terminator sequels unlikely
First up: Predators. The 2010 Robert Rodriguez sequel starring Adrien Brody was a pretty darn good flick, and a return to form for a franchise that had gotten off the rails as of late.
According to Robert Rodriguez, director of the 2010 movie Predators, a recent shake-up at 20th Century Fox has likely derailed any chances for a seque anytime soon – “We were thinking about it. I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to them. They just had a regime change over there – we’ll see what happens.”
And Arnold Schwarzenegger recently told Empire, “I think (producer) Megan Ellison owns the rights to ‘Terminator 16,’ or whatever it is. They have been trying to put a script together but I’ve not seen it, so I’ve no idea. There’s nothing on the drawing board at this point. Nothing on the plan.”
So it looks like neither franchise will be making it back onto the big screen for some foreseeable time.
J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron to team up for new pilot
J.J. Abrams is set to produce a possible new show for NBC. Alfonso Cuaron, director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, will co-write and direct the pilot. The as yet untitled pilot is about a girl with special powers that will grow over seven years, and the man who is broken out of prison to protect her until then.
Carrie Fisher on cocaine while filming Star Wars
Carrie Fisher has been quite open about her drug past while working on the Star Wars trilogy. Circulating the web this week, is this fun fact – you can actually see evidence of it in The Return of the Jedi. Check out her first finger on co-star Harrison Ford’s shoulder.
In other interviews Carrie Fishers has given over the years, she recalls partaking in drug taking with members of the Star Wars cast on the Hoth set.
Len Wiseman to direct ‘The Mummy‘ remake for 2014
Producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jon Spaihts, with Universal are bringing The Mummy back to the big screen after the successful franchise starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz .
The trio have chosen Len Wiseman to direct the remake, and this time The Mummy will have a modern setting.
When I first heard Universal was relaunching this, that is the image that popped into my head, the period tale, the old monster, but when Bob and Alex pitched it, there was a great new take and approach, and a very different mummy as well. It’s a darker twist on the material, a scarier version.
Matt Smith to appear at MCM London
Matt Smith will be appearing at MCM Expo London Comic Con at ExCel on Friday 26 October. The Eleventh Doctor will be at the MCM theatre, chatting about all things Doctor Who and launching the new Doctor Who Series 7, Part 1 DVD (released 29th October). It will also be streamed online for any fans that can’t make it.
Weekend tickets cost £29 and include entry into Friday’s preview show which is when Matt Smith will be attending. For tickets and more info see www.londonexpo.com/faq/tickets/
We’ve managed to bag ourselves an exclusive Q&A with film director and Predators producer Robert Rodriguez. Known best for films such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City and the Spy Kids franchise, Robert Rodriguez certainly has a few hit films under his belt, including the latest offering from the Predator universe.
How did you get Adrien Brody for the film?
I was trying to hire him for another role, but he read the script to Predators and said, “No, I think I can do this role.” I said “Really?” and he sent me a photo from a film he had just done, a prison movie, and he was all buffed out. And I was like, “Damn! That’s cool!” I knew it would be interesting because I was trying to find somebody different for the role. The other role isn’t even in the movie now. It was early on when we were coming up with stuff. But for Royce, we saw other actors, and they had just done it so many times. It’s the same people. And one actor in particular was playing the same exact role but in another movie! It was very much like when I did From Dusk Till Dawn. I was trying to find someone to play the part that George Clooney played. And it was the same thing. You’d see the same actors who do that kind of role all the time. I was looking for someone fresh and new and I hired George who hadn’t done that kind of part up to that point. Antonio Banderas had never done an action movie until Desperado. I felt this was the same type of thing. We wanted someone really interesting and just a terrific actor. He wanted to do it and when you have an Oscar-winning actor wanting to be in a Predator movie, you say, “OK! That’s the way we’re going to go.” Can’t get any better than that.
Talk to us about the fascination with the Predator series.
There’s a hunter quality to it and there’s something about the original Predator character that is enduring. I think it’s because he’s humanoid, so he feels like a human character. People like villains and getting to see a villainous human character is something that you can identify with, the dark side of a person. The more adventurous, hard hitting side of a person. That’s one of the reasons we pushed to do it live action and not make it a CGI Predator.
Any Lost influence on this? Seems like a few elements could have been taken from it.
Yeah. The falling out of the sky, shooting in Hawaii. I know what you mean. But no, it wasn’t intentional. Plus I wrote the original script fifteen years before Lost came out.
Can you go over the history of the project? It had a long gestation period.
This was the only time I wrote a film that I didn’t plan on directing. I didn’t do it after that because it was a weird experience. I thought it would be fun. It was fun. But then you give the movie away and you think, “God! I like some of those ideas and I don’t get to even make them now.” So it was great to come full circle and actually finish the project instead of having it sitting in a drawer somewhere. It was just because I was between projects. I had finished Mariachi and hadn’t yet started Desperado and so I did a writing assignment to get some extra work. I thought it would be easy, but then it ended up being tough, because you’re liking what you’re writing but then you don’t get to see it happen. The assignment was over at Fox and I thought it would be fun so I went over and wrote it. I knew they were trying to get Arnold back to the series and I knew he loved the jungle aspect of it, so I set it on another planet but made it in a jungle on another planet so it would be different. And that was the idea. But then they ended up doing the Alien vs. Predator series and Arnold decided he didn’t want to do any more Predator movies. So they did those other ones. But just last year they brought me back the script and told me they still wanted to try and do it.
How close is this to your original script?
Oh, I had to change a lot, because that first one was tailor made for Arnold. I brought in some other writers to take the idea of the planet and the different tribes of Predators and the hunting aspect and the crucified Predator and all that, which was in the original script, and put different characters in there. It was a group before, but it was a different group, bringing Arnold to this planet.
There’s a scene in the movie where a creature chases Topher Grace’s character and then gets shot. What was that creature?
That was one of the things from the cages. Remember when they go to the cages and they see insects crawling out? That was one of the other things that was dropped there. There’s a bit, I could see how you missed it because I think they’re running when they say it, but they say “That was one of the things from the cages” and Royce says “He must have thought we were the ones who dropped them here.” It wasn’t trying to be aggressive, it was just defending itself. It was in the same situation as they were: Dropped into the middle of nowhere and not knowing what’s going on.
How is it different directing a movie versus producing?
They asked me first if I would direct it. I couldn’t because I was already directing something and they needed it out for this summer. But they asked if I could at least produce it. I said, “Sure! That would be fun.” Because that way I could keep it at home base and watch it get made. I could be part of making it and designing it.
How much influence did you have on it versus other movies you’ve produced?
I’ve never produced before, so I don’t know. Some producers find a property and they hire the people and then sit back and let the other guys carry on, but I was more hands on than that. But I wasn’t directing. Nimrod would direct. I would help with the script, help design the movie, worked closely with music, effects, and editing in post.
Would you direct a sequel?
I don’t know. I’d have to see what else I was doing and if there’s a script I like. That’s the cool thing about producing, is I could look through scripts and say “Hey, yeah, I want to direct that.” I could find scripts that I want to develop more.
You’ve done a lot with your film making. Is there still something you’d like to do that you haven’t tried?
I like doing effects-type movies. Even in my non-effects movie, my Once Upon A Time In Mexico or Machete movies that look very natural, they have hundreds of effects in them. They’re just very invisible effects. But going full-bore with an effects film, I’d like that.
Did you consider going 3D for this movie?
No, there wasn’t enough time. Not even to convert it. It wasn’t thought of in 3D. You have to think of a project in 3D for it to work. A lot of my own movies you could convert to 3D, because there’s a lot of stuff coming to the camera. My stuff would lend itself well to that.
Well, you did a 3D movie. Two, in fact.
Yeah, I started this trend. Actually, I don’t know if it’s a trend. I did my first one seven years ago and it’s still around. You could say I started it. It was the biggest of the Spy Kids movies.
You seem to have a lot of fun with the violence and gore in your movies.
Yeah. In this one they wanted it to be R-rated. Because the last few were PG-13. And I made the script really R crazy. Then they called and said on the DVDs people really like uncut versions, so if we wanted to put more blood in it, they could add it to the DVD. We couldn’t even come up with anything bloodier. It’s fun because it’s that type of a movie. It’s fun for the audience to have something that they can put their hands over their eyes. And really, you don’t even have to show very much. If you show a little bit early on, then people will be afraid of what more they’ll see for the rest of the movie. You get by on what people think you’ll do as opposed to what you actually have to do.
There’s the spine-ripping bit.
Well, that’s been in all the movies. That’s not even new. We had to have that. That was what freaked people out about the first one, the spines getting ripped out. You have to do that, otherwise it’s like having the shark not eat somebody in a Jaws movie. You gotta have that. That’s required. Then on top of that you have to come up with some clever things aside from that.
Was there anything you avoided repeating from the other movies?
It was a different tone. The first film is more of an action/adventure movie. This one has more of a horror feel. Being stuck in a jungle and being chased by some unknown force.
In regards to your comments about unrated DVDs, do you think the studios are now trying to funnel the creative process through ancillary markets?
These genre pictures live and breathe in the ancillary market. You can’t say that for every movie, but for these in particular, they see more success that way. Ancillary markets have gone down so much that it’s this stuff that keeps it alive. So anything that’s new or different or alternate is good. It’s not just about being bloody. It’s if you have a director’s cut or an uncut version, the studios encourage that instead of discourage that. And with the discs getting so big, they can hold so much information that it’s fine to add alternate versions. It’s not a money issue like it used to be, where they’d have to do double discs and stuff like that.
Has the “torture porn” genre taken away the fun of seeing blood and gore and shocking the audience?
I don’t think it’s like that. It still has its power if you like the characters and you care about what happens to them. They can get a paper cut and you’d be like, “NOOOOOOO!!!” It’s not really about trying to top things. If that’s all you’re doing, if it’s all blood and no character and no story, then yeah you might as well get crazy with it. But if you’ve got good characters and a good story then it doesn’t really matter what happens. You’ll care about them no matter how bad or not bad it is.
The female character, played by Alice Braga, is not your typical action movie female. She’s not a damsel in distress, but she’s still afforded her female heart.
Yeah, she’s the heart of the movie. It was important to get that character right. For me in particular it’s a hard character to do, because it’s not done successfully much in these movies. And people were scared and were asking if we should even attempt it. But I think if you get it right, you get Sarah Conner in Terminator or Ripley in Alien, and you get a classic character. So it’s worth trying to write it as best you can and try to get a great character.
What was it like having all those great actors together on the same set?
It was fantastic. When Laurence showed up, everybody was so quiet and listening to his every word. He’s like that character. He’s been through it all in the acting world. It wasn’t hard for the other actors to believe that he was the coolest person on the planet. He just had that gravitas. It was amazing to watch him act and talk to him about movies. In the movie they’d be saying “How did you kill a Predator?” and offscreen we’d be asking “How did you do this movie role?” It was great to talk to him and to see the level of professionalism.
Did you have any trouble shooting in the jungle?
Well, the jungle is never easy. It’s a very dangerous place to work. It’s muddy, there’s a lot of roots on the ground and with every step you could break your ankle. It’s not that it’s deadly; it’s just a pain in the ass. I was really afraid there would be injuries. Really dumb ones like someone slipping on a rock they didn’t notice that wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s a dangerous terrain to just walk in, let alone carry around heavy equipment. But luckily no one was injured.
What did you do to differentiate Brody’s character from Arnold’s in the original film?
We knew that we were going for something different. We still felt that physically he needed to be as imposing as he could. I didn’t want him to look like a professional body builder because as a soldier he wouldn’t have time for that. He needed to look believable like he was truly a man of action and could hold his own in a fight. And even with all the muscles, that doesn’t mean you’ll win. Arnold didn’t win in the original film. The Predator blew himself up. So it wasn’t like that was going to save him. It had to be about intelligence and other kinds of ways of fighting.
How did you balance the humor and the tension?
We didn’t go for “joke” jokes. It was just the humor coming out of the situation and every day walking the line and seeing where it could be funny and where it couldn’t.
Did you feel you had to be careful not to make a parody?
Oh, yeah yeah. All the time. We tried to put in as many safety nets as we could so we’re covered either way.
Why did you choose to kill Danny Trejo so quickly?
Because you wouldn’t expect it! You know if Danny’s the first to go, then they’re all screwed. They don’t stand a chance now!
Robert Rodriguez’ Predators arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 1st November 2010.
The Hunt Begins on Blu-ray and DVD 1st November 2010 – Including an Exclusive Motion Comic Prequel That Reveal Character Backstories
“This planet is a game preserve, and we’re the game.” The deadliest killers from two worlds face off in the ultimate game of survival…predator vs. prey when Robert Rodriguez’ Predators arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 1st November from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The Predators high-definition BD release is armed with all-new special features laser targeted to bring viewers deeper into the Predator universe. Leading the pack is a series of new and exclusive prequel motion comics that go beyond the movie and deliver a truly one-of-a kind Predators experience. In addition this Blu-ray harnesses the power of BD Live to take you deeper into the killer franchise with exclusive Predators content and interactive entertainment.
Starring Adrien Brody (The Pianist) as Royce and Alice Braga (Repo Men, I am Legend), with Danny Trejo (Heat, Machete), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Topher Grace (Valentine’s Day), Rodriguez’s reboot of the classic Predator franchise redefines fear and suspense while paying homage to the original thriller.
Drop into immediate nerve-racking thrills as elite killers find themselves falling out of the sky into the hostile terrain of an alien planet – the home turf of a gruesome pack of hunters. Chosen for their ruthless abilities to hunt humans, they must band together to survive against this race of merciless predators.
One-Disc Blu-ray Special Features
Robert Rodriguez presents exclusive prequel vignettes voiced by the cast of PREDATORS. Witness the secret adventures that turned our world’s most ruthless killers into the ultimate Predator prey
Evolution of the Species: Predators Reborn
De-cloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain
Intelligent Design: The Hunting Camp
Predators as Prey
Rite of Passage
The Chosen Featurette
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Dead Man’s Parachute
Cuchillo and Isabelle
Team “Orientated” Group
Third Most Wanted
“Why Are You Here?”
“They’re Smarter Than That”
Stans and Isabelle Naked
“They’re Still Coming”
Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director, Nimród Antal
Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene
Live Extras: Robert Rodriguez Exclusive Interview
Live Lookup – Powered by IMDB
DVD Special Features
De-cloaking the Invisible: Alien Terrain
Commentary by Robert Rodriguez and director, Nimród Antal
With only a week to go before the theatrical release of Robert Rodriguez’s Predators, here are a few stills from the movie to get you all excited (I know I am). Also, is it just me or does Adrien Brody look completely doable in this? And Topher Grace is looking cute as ever…
Predators, a bold new chapter in the Predator universe, shot under the creative auspices of Robert Rodriguez, stars Adrien Brody as Royce, a mercenary who reluctantly leads a group of elite warriors who come to realise they’ve been brought together on an alien planet… as prey. With the notable exception of a disgraced physician, they are all cold-blooded killers – mercenaries, Yakuza, convicts, death squad members – human “predators” that are now being systemically hunted and eliminated by a new breed of alien predators.