ILM to fully animate new film Rango for Paramount

A new animated film reuniting versatile director Gore Verbinski with his Pirates Of The Caribbean star Johnny Depp has been announced. Written by John Logan (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street), Rango is based on an original idea by Verbinski which has Depp’s character being “a household pet that goes on an adventure to discover its true self”.

One of the most interesting aspects of the project however, is that George Lucas’ special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (responsible for the visuals of half the American blockbusters you see each year) is set to animate the film, making this the first time the company undertakes such a project. I fully trust their work will be nothing short of amazing, and have included ILM’s sole experience in full animation, the cinematics for the superb video game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter from 2002.

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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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