Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson is set to join Marvel‘s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron in the role of Quicksilver AKA Pietro Maximoff. Earlier this month Elizabeth Olsen closed in on the role of Scarlet Witch, sister to Quicksilver. Both characters also appear in Marvel’s X-Men comics. The Avengers sequel helmed by Joss Whedon is slated for May 1, 2015.
EXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios is courting Aaron Taylor-Johnson for the role of Quicksilver in The Avengers 2, I’m told. Taylor-Johnson, who reprises the title role in Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall, has scheduling issues and I’m not sure this will work out, but Marvel wants him.
There have been reports on the comic-savvy websites that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who are twins, were in the current draft of Avengers 2 via Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios. Fox is also gung-ho on that character, as Bryan Singer, director of X-Men: Days Of Future Past announced on Twitter that he’d cast Evan Peters to play that role in his film for Fox. More intriguing is that Peters played in Kick-Ass alongside Johnson. I’ll let you know if this embryonic situation turns into something real and Taylor-Johnson gets fitted for spandex.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Don Winslow bestselling novel Satori and will develop it as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio to play a Westerner, raised in Japan and taught an assassin’s skills, who gets caught up in the chaos of post-WWII as the U.S., Soviet Union, France and China maneuver for power in Southeast Asia in the early 1950s. Shane Salerno will write the script with Winslow, and John Lesher’s Grisdi Productions and DiCaprio’s Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran are producing. Salerno is executive producer.
DiCaprio will play Nicholai Hel, raised in Japan by a martial arts expert and genius at Go, the complex chess-like Japanese game. The master, a Japanese general, passes on all his secrets and the student repays him by murdering his mentor as an act of devotion; the military leader would have been disgraced and killed as a war criminal.
For that act, Hel is thrown in solitary confinement in a Tokyo prison and tortured for three years. He is finally sprung by the CIA after agreeing to assassinate the Soviet commissioner to China. Hel is trained for the task by a beautiful French woman he falls in love with. Though he now sees a happy ending to the dangerous assignment, Hel is betrayed by his backers and, using his Go skills for strategy, makes his way through Vietnam hunted by American, Chinese, Russian and French intelligence agencies as well as a Corsican mob and Vietnamese criminal syndicate. It’s a sophisticated thriller, and the studio sees potential for its own Jason Bourne-type action franchise.
BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.
While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land.
It’s official: Atonement director Joe Wright and star Keira Knightley are reteaming for Anna Karenina, the Working Title films adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that was written by Tom Stoppard. The film will be distributed by Focus Features in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International worldwide sometime in the second half of 2012. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Paul Webster; the trio were 2008 Oscar nominees as producers of Atonement.
Despite the laughable claim of exclusivity just now by another outlet, I can report that Deadline’s March 19 scoop about Oliver Stone’s Savages heading to Universal is getting closer, but it’s not closed yet. They are now in exclusive …
Today at BAFTA Headquarters, jury member, film director, actor, and award-winning singer-songwriter Ben Drew announced the hotly anticipated nominees for the newly named Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award 2011. The nominations recognise five international actors and actresses whose talent has captured …
Bryan Singer is getting his green light on Jack the Giant Killer, and he’s now figuring out who’ll climb the vine and slay the oversized villain. I’m told it has become the role that young actors are circling. I’ve also heard that Singer’s sweet on Aaron Johnson, who played the title role in Kick-Ass, and portrayed the young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy. Now, Johnson is hardly a lock; New Line is seeing a lot of other young actors as well. Production will begin this spring. The remake was developed by New Line as a dark re-telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk fable, with a script by Darren Lemke and Mark Bomback. Singer sparked to it when he was simultaneously developing X-Men: First Class to direct. When the Jack script needed work, though, Singer was momentarily tempted to do the X-Men project first. But Warner Bros, which once pulled Singer away from X-Men 3 to do Superman Returns when Fox took too long to close, wasn’t leaving the possibility for payback. Warner Bros locked Singer into a holding deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s Columbia Pictures is getting closer to finding its new Spider-Man. I On Friday, studio decision-makers viewed the screen tests of most of the young actors they are seriously considering to play Peter Parker in the Marc Webb-directed relaunch of Spider-Man.