Maggie Grace takes role from Mischa Barton

Maggie Grace (The Jane Austen Book Club) has replaced Mischa Barton (FOX’s The O.C.) in the lead of Malice In Wonderland, a British re-telling of Lewis Carroll’s famous book. Since both girls are very pretty, this probably means that the American Maggie is more convincing in an English accent than the British Mischa… Anyway, the movie will probably be the better for it, since even though Maggie Grace hasn’t really proven herself as an actress yet, she’s miles ahead of the incredibly wooden Mischa Barton, who couldn’t emote if her life depended on it.

Described as an action movie, Malice In Wonderland co-stars  Nathaniel Parker (St. Trinian’s, amovie ironically starring Mischa Barton). It is directed by Simon Fellows and written by Jayson Rothwell (who already worked together on Second In Command). The film is now currently shooting.

In the meantime, you can catch (sooner or later, depending of where you live) Maggie Grace is the amazingly badass actioner Taken, co-starring Liam Neeson (Seraphim Falls) kicking ass and Famke Janssen (the X-Men films) moping around. I caught the flick at the beginning of the year, and if you hadn’t guessed, I strongly recommend it. Taken is directed by Pierre Morel (District B13) and written by the Luc Besson/Robert Mark Kamen team (the Transporter films).

Meanwhile Mischa Barton, whose career is fading faster than you can say “hey!”, is resorting to staged paparazzi outings to keep her name in the papers (true story) and is seeing all her post-O.C. efforts go straight-to-DVD in the States. In fact, her latest turd, Virgin Territory, was released last week. The film co-stars Hayden Christensen (Jumper) and Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk) and was written and directed by David Leland (The Land Girls). Also, don’t buy it (more about that here).

Other Alice In Wonderland movies to be released in the next few years include the adaptation of American McGee’s Alice video game (which has been gestating forever it seems) and a new Disney film by Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street). Both of these movies will give a darker spin to the tale.

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Beverly Hills Ninja 2: coming soon

The sequel you haven’t been waiting for will start filming next month in South Korea and Los Angeles under the direction of Mitchell Klebanoff, who co-wrote the first film and will make his helming debut here. Klebanoff also wrote this film, which is titled Tokyo Jones: The Legend of the Dancing Ninja. Moviehole has the plot:

Caucasian but raised by an Asian family after a mix-up at sea when he was a baby, Ikki grows up knowing that he’s different from those around him, but also quite confident he is a ninja and not just any ninja, but the legendary Dancing Ninja. Ikki gets to prove himself when his beloved Sensei is murdered and Ikki goes to Hollywood to track down his killer, the evil action movie superstar Ansel LaDouche.

Ansel LaDouche, how subtle. No word on who will star in this sequel, but a casting notice went up early August with further details on some of the characters (link here).

The original 1997 film, which had a similar storyline, was directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) and starred the late SNL performer Chris Farley, as well as Nicollette Sheridan (ABC’s Desperate Housewives), Chris Rock (Madagascar) and Nathaniel Parker (Stardust). Beverly Hills Ninja, which I haven’t seen, isn’t regarded as a very good film, but it does have good visibility among moviegoers thanks to its goofily memorable movie poster. I could see a sequel working as a straight-to-dvd affair, not too sure about theatrical though.

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