Thor finally gets a director, maybe

After director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust) bailed out to helm Kick-Ass and D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) threw his name in the mix, another filmmaker is now attached to Marvel Studios’ forthcoming adaptation of the comic book Thor, one that is the most unusual and the most interesting.

Indeed it’s none other than Northern Irish actor/director Kenneth Branagh (Much Ado About Nothing), who is probably being sought for his strong affinity with shakespearean themes, which are apparently prominent in the comic. If this pans out, I’m convinced Branagh could churn out an amazing film.

Thor will be firmly set in the same continuity as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and other forthcoming Marvel films, and like those movies will lead into the planned 2011 The Avengers movie. Thor will be released in 2010. The screenplay was written by Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend).

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Russell Crowe will have double the fun in Nottingham

We already knew that Rusell Crowe (American Gangster) will play the Sheriff of Nottingham aka Sir Robert Tornham in Nottingham, the new take on the Robin Hood tale courtesy of acclaimed director Ridley Scott (American Gangster), but it turns out he’ll play the prince of thieves as well! Why? Simply because in the script, the Sheriff and Robin Hood are actually one and the same.

Duo Ethan Reiff & Cyrus Voris (Kung Fu Panda) and Brian Helgeland (Man On Fire) wrote the screenplay of the film, which will also star the currently despised Sienna Miller (Stardust) as Maid Marian. No word on when the highly anticipated film will start filming, but it is set for release in November 2009.

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Cast member added to Kick-Ass

Clark Duke (ABC Family’s Greek) has joined the cast of Matthew Vaughn’s (Stardust) forthcoming independently-funded adaptation of Mark Millar’s (Wanted) comic book Kick-Ass. He will play Marty, the hero’s best friend.

About 17, a chubby Caucasian high school student who loves comic books. He is Dave’s funny best friend. Together with Dave and Todd, he loves to go to comic book stores, and checks out the latest issues, while talking about school, girls, the futility of teenaged life, and the exciting adventures of Myspace insta-celebrity Kickass. He never suspects that Kickass is in fact Dave Lizewski — and neither would you if you knew Dave.

Duke thus joins Aaron Johnson (Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging), Lyndsy Fonseca (ABC’s Desperate Housewives), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Nicolas Cage (Bangkok Dangerous) and Chloe Moretz (ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money) in the movie, set for 2009. See a side-by-side comparision of characters and actors here. Meanwhile, you can catch Duke in the funny-looking Sex Drive, premiering October 16th in the Netherlands (?) and a day later in the US.

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De Niro doesn’t want to be on the Edge Of Darkness anymore

Legendary but difficult-to-work-with actor Robert De Niro (Stardust) has quit the film Edge Of Darkness mere days after starting to work on it. A spokesperson explains:

Sometimes things don’t work out; it’s called creative differences

Edge Of Darkness is currently shooting in Massachusetts under the direction of Martin Campbell (Casino Royale), and tells the story of a detective investigating his own daughter’s murder, unveiling truckloads of conspiracies along the way. The film is a remake of the celebrated eponymous BBC mini-series from 1985, which Campbell also directed, and was adpated by William Monahan (The Departed) and Andrew Bovell (Stricly Ballroom).

No word on who will replace De Niro in the movie, which will mark Mel Gibson’s return to acting, six years after The Singing Detective. Robert De Niro will next be seen in the cop movie Righteous Kill starting next week, which is notable for being the first time the actor will really act alongside Al Pacino (they had no common scenes in The Godfather: Part II and Heat).

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Mark Millar discusses his plans for the Superman reboot

Scottish comic book writer Mark Millar (Wanted) has made it clear penning the recently announced Superman reboot (more about that here) would be a dream come true, and that he already has a trilogy planned and a famous unnamed director on his side. Now Millar goes into a little more detail with his vision, including the fact that the “big deal director” apparently won’t make the movie unless he writes it, and his idea to shoot the films back-to-back, Lord Of The Rings style.

“A director approached me about three months ago, and he said ‘look, The Man Of Steel might not be happening. If that doesn’t happen, it’s been spoken about the possibility of me coming in, would you like to write it?’ And I was like Yeah.”

“I’ve had this plan for like 10 years for a big three-picture Superman thing, like a big Lord of the Rings epic, starting over from scratch again with a seven-hour Superman story. And hopefully release them one year after another. If it works out, we’ll have to start shooting next summer.”

I still think the reboot should either follow Smallville‘s eight season with Tom Welling continuing his role on the big screen or feature Brandon Routh once again as the “Man Of Steel”. But all I really care about is that they get the franchise on its feet, and if Millar’s the guy for the job, then why not? He certainly cares about the character enough.

View G4‘s full interview, including talk of the forthcoming adaptation of Kick-Ass by Matthew Vaughn (Stardust), after the jump.

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Ghost Town team gets spooked (publicity stunt anyone?)

Update: Turns out the whole story is fabricated, or so says Ricky Gervais because he doesn’t want you to find out he pissed his thong when Marilyn Monroe’s ghost tried to give him a lapdance

Apparently prankish ghosts had the time of their undead lives scaring the hell out of movie types trying to throw a press junket at the famous Los Angeles haunted Roosevelt Hotel.

“We wanted the junkets at the Roosevelt because of its ghostly reputation. But we got so much more than we bargained for. A photoshoot we prepared was wrecked and two runners say they saw the figure of a lady in the full-length mirror.

“The final straw came when a production assistant stayed in the room earmarked for Ricky and claimed to have been freezing cold on the hottest day of the year. He said he woke up with someone whistling in his ear, even though he was alone, then heard a giggle before being pushed out of bed.”

Now I’m not saying this didn’t happen and I do believe in that kind of stuff, but it’s kind of convenient how supernatural beings are always willing to give films dealing about them a little publicity (anyone remember how Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt senses spirits ogling her in the shower?).

Ghost Town, a romantic comedy about a man who dies, gets revived and now has the ability to see ghosts who all want something from him, stars British comedian Ricky Gervais (Stardust), Téa Leoni (You Kill Me) and Greg Kinnear (Baby Mama). The film, which will premiere at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, was directed by superstar screenwriter David Koepp (Secret Window), who penned the script with John Kamps (The Borrowers).

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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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