Wednesday, February 26, 2014

STAR WARS EPISODE VII Casts Adam Driver in Villain Role

Score one for the Dark Side.

Variety reports that actor Adam Driver is close to signing on to play the lead villain role in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Episode VIILittle is known about Driver's character, but according to the article, it's "said to be in the vein of iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader."

The 30-year-old actor is best known as Adam Sackler on the HBO series Girls, and also appeared as Samuel Beckwith in the film Lincoln and Al Cody in Inside Llewyn Davis.  Reportedly, Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving were also under consideration for the role.

Driver is the first of the Episode VII cast to be revealed and more announcements are expected over the next month.  The movie is scheduled to begin filming in April at London's Pinewood Studios and is expected to feature the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in their iconic roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo.

There had been rumors of Driver's involvement, but the delay in making a decision was due to scheduling issues with Star Wars and Girls.  According to the article, it wasn't just Season Four that was the problem, but also future seasons, since future Star Wars films could create conflicts.  Apparently, the scheduling issues have been worked out and a deal should be finalized shortly.

Abrams recently announced that the script he co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan was finished and that they would soon begin focusing on casting decisions.  Michael Arndt wrote the original draft, with Kasdan and Abrams taking over last fall after a "difference in opinion of which characters to emphasize."

Star Wars Episode VII is currently expected to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.

Monday, February 24, 2014

DOCTOR WHO Casts Samuel Anderson as New Companion Danny Pink

It's like the First Doctor, Ian and Barbara for the twenty-first century...

The BBC has officially announced that Series Eight of Doctor Who will have a new recurring character, with Jenna Coleman's former Emmerdale co-star Samuel Anderson joining the cast.  Anderson will play Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School where Coleman's character Clara Oswald has been teaching since "The Day of the Doctor."

"I was so excited to join Doctor Who I wanted to jump and click my heels, but I was scared I might not come down before filming started!" said Anderson.  "It’s a quintessential part of British culture and I can’t believe I’m part of it.  It’s an honor to be able to work alongside Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman and I can’t wait to show people how my character becomes involved with such a fantastic duo!"

Steven Moffat, lead writer and showrunner, added, "For the fourth time in Doctor Who history, Coal Hill School is coming to the aid of the TARDIS.  In 1963, teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright accompanied the First Doctor.  These days it’s the turn of Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald.  And very soon now, Sam Anderson as Danny Pink will be entering the world of the Doctor.  But how and why?  Answers are coming later this year in Peter Capaldi’s first series of Doctor Who!"

Moffat's "first series" statement there feels somewhat important, considering recent speculation that Peter Capaldi is going to pull a "Christopher Eccleston" and appear in only one season as the Twelfth Doctor.  A possible attempt to reassure viewers this isn't the case?

And interestingly, the official BBC announcement only refers to Danny Pink as a  new "recurring character," but the Radio Times piece refers to him as a "new companion."  Given the emphasis of the announcement, my money's on full Companion status as well.

Filming recent began on episodes four and five of Doctor Who Series Eight, with the Series rumored to air sometime this fall.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

HEROES to Be REBORN with 13-Episode Miniseries in 2015

As if there isn't enough going on in 2015, NBC wants you to save the cheerleader, save the world.  Again.

During tonight's broadcast of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, NBC aired a fifteen-second promo that teased the return of the superhero series Heroes.  Similar to the TV miniseries 24: Live Another Day, Heroes will return sometime in 2015 with a 13-episode miniseries titled Heroes Reborn.

Created by Tim Kring, Heroes ran for four seasons on NBC from 2006 to 2010 and featured a random group of people who discover they have distinct superhuman abilities following a strange solar eclipse event.  The series was notable for launching the careers of Zachary Quinto (Gabriel Gray/Sylar) and Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), in addition to featuring actors such as Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli), Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura) and Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet).

The decision to bring back Heroes is an interesting one, considering the series started off with a fantastic first season, only to drop considerably in quality during Seasons Two and Three, and finally rebound slightly in Season Four, but too late to recover its diminished ratings.  However, with high-profile superhero movies The Avengers: Age of Ultron and the still-untitled Superman/Batman film scheduled for 2015, and the rising number of superhero TV projects from various networks, it seems NBC is hoping to get some of that for themselves.

"The enormous impact Heroes had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening," said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.  "Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment.  We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept.  Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in."

You can check out the 15-second teaser below, in all its vague and uninformative glory, thanks to NBC's official YouTube account...


Saturday, February 22, 2014

CONSTANTINE Casts Matt Ryan as John Constantine

Well, at least he's from the U.K....

The Hollywood Reporter has word that 33-year-old Welsh actor Matt Ryan has been cast in the lead role of John Constantine for the Constantine pilot for NBC.  Ryan is perhaps best known as Mick Rawson on the series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and as Richard Pace on The Tudors.  He's also appeared in the movie Layer Cake and the Torchwood episode "Meat."

The project was announced last September with John Constantine originally described as "an enigmatic and irreverent conman turned reluctant supernatural detective, who is thrust into the role of defending the human race against dark forces from beyond."

Providing a few more details, this latest article describes Constantine as "a working-class Londoner with deadpan humor who is a mysterious conman and occult detective
haunted by the recent loss of a young girl's soul.  No stranger to the dark underworld that exists parallel to our own, Constantine has been studying the dark arts since he was a teenager.  He's taught himself spells, rituals, curses and conjuring, but the one person he most wishes to see -- his mother, who died giving birth to him -- remains out of reach, at least so far.  When Liv, the daughter of a late friend, is targeted by demons, Constantine steps in to save her and the two form an alliance."

The character of John Constantine first appeared in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in 1985 and was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben.  Based physically on the musician Sting, Constantine proved popular enough in 1988 to be spun off into his own VERTIGO series Hellblazer, which ran for an impressive 300 issues until earlier this year.  The replacement series Constantine immediately followed, after Constantine was brought back to the relaunched DC Universe as part of "The New 52" to lead the supernatural team Justice League Dark.

Ryan will be the second actor to portray the character in live action, after Keanu Reeves starred as an Americanized version in the 2005 film Constantine.

Game of Thrones' Neil Marshall will direct the pilot from a script by Dexter's Daniel Cerone.  Batman Begins and Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer will executive produce.

Friday, February 21, 2014

ARROW's Suicide Squad Roster Revealed

Suicide Squad...assemble?  Nah, too derivative.

Two and a half weeks after the CW series Arrow teased DC Comics' team the Suicide Squad, the entire group has now been revealed.  Comic Book Resources has posted photos showing the full roster, which includes (from left to right) Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger/Ben Turner, Sean Maher as Shrapnel/Mark Scheffer, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Amanda Waller, Michael Rowe as Deadshot/Floyd Lawton, Audrey Marie Anderson as Lyla Michaels, and series regular David Ramsey as John Diggle.

Waller, director of the organization A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans), first appeared in the season two episode "Keep Your Enemies Closer" to get Diggle and Arrow's help in retrieving Lyla from Russia.  She later returned in the episode "Tremors" to recruit Bronze Tiger into the Squad, hinting at its upcoming appearance in the series.

At a press event earlier this month, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg remarked, "Dig was our way into Amanda Waller, and in this episode, Amanda comes to Dig and Lyla, and she recruits Dig for a mission, and tells him he's going to need a team -- and she saddles him with the Suicide Squad."

The episode, naturally titled "Suicide Squad," was written by Keto Shimizu and Smallville writer Bryan Q. Miller.  As previously revealed, Diggle will receive his own flashbacks during the story, set during his time in Afghanistan with former friend Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder).

Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, the Suicide Squad first appeared in 1959's The Brave and the Bold (vol.1) #25 and was comprised of four nonpowered adventurers that fought against dinosaurs, monsters and superpowered opponents.  The Squad's leader, Rick Flag, Jr., was carried over into a more modern version that debuted in 1987's Legends #3 as a team overseen by Waller, but made up of supervillains taking on dangerous missions as a way to offset their prison sentences. 

In addition to Flag and Waller, Bronze Tiger and Deadshot were central characters in this version, which also included notable characters such as Captain Boomerang, Count Vertigo, Nemesis, Nightshade, Oracle, Shade the Changing Man, and Vixen.  Since Count Vertigo has already appeared on Arrow and Captain Boomerang is an enemy of The Flash, it's possible those characters could end up in a future Suicide Squad episode, if another one happens.

"Suicide Squad" is scheduled to air on The CW on Wednesday, March 19th at 8 p.m. EST.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fox Finds FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot Cast, Facepalming Resumes

And here you thought Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg and Gal Gadot were bad casting decisions...

The Hollywood Reporter claims their sources confirm that 20th Century Fox is making deals with Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell (shown above) to star as Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman and The Thing, respectively, in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot based on the Marvel Comics series.

The project, still scheduled for just over a year away, so no rush or anything, was first announced in 2009 and was about to happen last fall until rewrites forced a delay.  Simon Kinberg signed on as co-writer and producer in October 2013 and the film now appears to have a script that sufficiently pleases the studio.

The decision to go with a younger cast hints that the reboot may adapt Marvel Comics' Ultimate Fantastic Four series, which featured younger versions of the Fantastic Four that gained their superpowers from a malfunctioning teleporter accident instead of rocketing into space as adults and being bombarded by cosmic rays.

Fox's previous films directed by Tim Story, Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, did well for the studio, making over $330 million and $289 million worldwide respectively before home video sales.  However, the films were panned by both critics and comic fans, and with former Human Torch Chris Evans moved on to considerably more success as Captain America, it's no surprise the studio has decided to go with a different cast.

A rumored storyline for the film was posted on Under the Gun Review, only to be denied by Trank.  However, Trank also denied many of the casting rumors, so it's possible the storyline rumors could end up actually being legit.  Here's what was posted...

'The Fantastic Four’ will tell the story of two very young friends, Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. After an event transforms the boys, they find themselves empowered with bizarre new abilities. Reed becomes a scientific genius who can stretch, twist and re-shape his body to inhuman proportions. Ben becomes a monstrous, craggy humanoid with orange, rock-like skin and super strength. However, the two end up being owned by the government and used as weapons. But after they mature, two others with powers come into the picture – Sue Storm 'The Invisible Girl' and Johnny Storm 'The Human Torch.'

And as you might expect, the internet already has a few choice opinions about the casting, some of it positive, some of it...not so much.  Here's what you can find using the Twitter hashtag #FantasticFour...

The Fantastic Four reboot is currently scheduled, believe it or not, for June 19, 2015.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Full Trailer Hooks On a Feeling

What a bunch of a-holes.

Late last night on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, the first full trailer to James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy premiered, giving us a decent two-minutes, thirty seconds look at Marvel Comics' favorite misfits of space.

The trailer opens with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) pulling an Indiana Jones and sneaking into a temple to retrieve an orb.  He's quickly confronted by Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou), an agent of the Kree Empire.  When Korarth asks who the thief is, Quill replies "Star-Lord," which gets a quick "Who?" from Korath.  "Star-Lord, man," Quill repeats.  "Legendary outlaw?  Forget it..."

We then cut to a Nova Corps detention facility, where Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) gives another Nova Corps officer (Peter Serafinowicz) a rundown on the arrested Guardians using their rap sheets:

"Drax (Dave Batista)...a.k.a. The Destroyer.  Since his wife and family were killed he’s been on a rampage across the galaxy in search of vengeance."

"Gamora (Zoe Saldana)...Soldier, assassin, wanted on over a dozen counts of murder."

"Rocket (Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper)...Wanted on over fifty charges of vehicular theft and escape from lock-up."

"Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)...He's been traveling recently as Rocket's personal houseplant/muscle."

"Peter Jason Quill...He's also known as 'Star-Lord.'"  When asked who calls him that, Dey replies, "Himself, mostly.  He's wanted largely on charges of minor assault, public intoxication and fraud."  Quill slowly cranks up a middle finger for Dey, triggering an "Obscene Gesture Alert."

The prisoners are brought in to the cells, with one of the guards listening to Quill's old-school Sony Walkman that has the song "Hooked On a Feeling" by Blue Swede.  Quill goes to confront the guard, demanding he take the headphones off, but only receives some form of stun baton as a response.

As the "Ooga Chaka" refrain starts playing, we get a series of fleeting images including all sorts of aliens, Quill's ship the Milano, explosions, dogfights, Benicio Del Toro's character The Collector, and our first look at Karen Gillan's character Nebula...

"They call themselves 'The Guardians of the Galaxy,'" continues Dey with a mocking sneer.  "What a bunch of a-holes," replies the other Nova Corps officer.

Needless to say, there's a serious Farscape vibe about this...which is a good thing.  If you'd like to see the full trailer, you can view it below thanks to Jimmy Kimmel Live's official YouTube account...

Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 1, 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sylvester McCoy Joins Inspector Spacetime in INSPECTOR CHRONICLES Movie

Well, this is one way to finally see The Doctor in a movie...

During a panel yesterday at the Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One, Travis Richey, star of the web series Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time, announced that instead of making a second season, his Siv-Art Productions company will instead be making a feature-length film titled The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.

The movie continues the adventures of Richey's character The Inspector, an unofficial version of the character Inspector Spacetime, which itself is a parody of Doctor Who featured on the NBC television series CommunityAnd even better, the Seventh Doctor himself, Sylvester McCoy, will be joining The Inspector in the film along with Robert Picardo (The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager), Chase Masterson (Leeta from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Mayim Bialik (Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory).

And hey, there's even a handy press release from Richey concerning this very thing...

Greetings, Inspectators!

In conjunction with our third standing-room-only panel at
Gallifrey One, Siv-Art Productions is proud to announce that the web series that’s been praised by MTV, Entertainment Weekly, Nerdist, the AV Club and the Huffington Post, as well as named “the best of TV on the web” by USA Today, has a brand-new guest star!

The Seventh Doctor himself,
SYLVESTER MCCOY ("Doctor Who", The Hobbit) is joining the guest cast that already includes Robert Picardo (The Doctor in "Star Trek: Voyager", "Stargate: Atlantis"), Chase Masterson ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), and Mayim Bialik ("Big Bang Theory", "Blossom"). They'll all be joining existing cast members Travis Richey (Inspector Spacetime on "Community"), Eric Loya, and Carrie Keranen.
Because of all these incredible casting additions, we've decided that instead of a second season of the web series, we'll be doing a feature-length film! "Untitled Web Series" will now become The Inspector Chronicles: Untitled Motion Picture About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time!! See The Inspector like you've never seen him before! See him face villains he's never faced before! And, of course, see him flee like he has never fleed before! Flown? Flew. Fled. ...like he has never fled before!

The film will be directed by acclaimed director Nicholas Acosta and produced by former Director of Development for Marvel Studios, Golan Ramras! Acosta directed the Prequel Episode that was just released for the series, which blew away all expectations about what this creative team could accomplish.

Executive Producer and star Travis Richey ("Pretty Little Liars", "Community") had this to say about the series’ latest casting coup: "As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I was thrilled with the possibility to work with Sylvester McCoy! We've been working on this for the last year or so, and I finally got a chance to meet Sylvester in October in London, where we discussed the project over tea. Come on. That's the kind of thing this small-town kid from Wisconsin never thought he'd be able to say...”

Co-writer and co-star Eric Loya exclaimed, "If the coolest thing I ever did was play a scene opposite Mayim Bialik's voice, I'd be a happy man. But to get to write for and act with actual Doctor Who and multiple Star Trek alums? I can't even wrap my brain around this!"

Director Nicholas Acosta (Riddance, Friend Request) couldn't help geeking out a little bit himself, “Doctor Who and Radagast the Brown with The Inspector? I feel like the universe is going to explode.”

Sylvester McCoy himself commented, "It's a brilliant piece of work! Marvelous, and I really want to work with The Inspector!"

The film is currently entering the pre-production phase, and is seeking help from fans while we also seek investors. You can help become part of this acclaimed series by pledging as little as $1 here:

Please DONATE if you can! There are some fantastic perks available, which you can view at the link, and of course you'll have the Inspector's eternal gratitude! Which, considering he's an immortal being, "eternal gratitude" is a pretty big deal...

We're thrilled to be bringing this to you, and we can't wait to get started! But, until then:
Check out all things Inspector here:

And join us on Facebook for the latest news, giveaways, and TONS of behind-the-scenes content!

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic support!!

Travis Richey
The Inspector

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

GOTHAM Casts Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock

And now Jim Gordon has a partner.

In the latest table tennis-style casting news between Fox's Gotham and the CW's The Flash, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed rumors that Donal Logue is joining Gotham as Detective Harvey Bullock.

The Batman prequel series centers around the period before James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) became Gotham City's police commissioner and was only a rookie detective.  This version of Bullock is described in the article as "Gordon's partner and mentor, who is rough around the edges and plays loose with police procedure -- but gets results and does it with old-school, forceful panache."

Logue, 47, is perhaps best known as Lee Toric on Sons of Anarchy, and Hank Dolworth on the short-lived series Terriers.  He's also had some previous comic book adaptation experience playing Mack in the 2007 Ghost Rider movie and Quinn in 1998's Blade.  This will be the first live action depiction of Bullock, although the character was voiced in several animated projects by Robert Costanzo.

In addition to McKenzie, Logue joins Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen and Erin Richards as Barbara Kean.  The actor playing the role of young Bruce Wayne has yet to be announced.

Created by Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin in 1974, Bullock first appeared in Detective Comics (vol.1) #441 as a crooked police detective under orders from Mayor Hamilton Hill to sabotage Gordon's career, but ultimately becomes loyal to him.  After the DC Universe was rebooted in in 1986, Bullock was reconceived as being loyal to Gordon from the start and becomes part of a small inner circle that Gordon knows he can trust.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Original Flash John Wesley Shipp as...???

The Flash now has The Fastest Men Alive.

TV Guide reports that John Wesley Shipp, who played none other than Barry Allen in the 1990-91 CBS series The Flash, is joining the cast of the CW pilot.  The only thing is, we don't know (yet) what role he'll be playing, but if The Flash is picked up as a series, his role will grow into a recurring status.

Shipp is the latest casting addition, joining Grant Gustin as the modern Barry Allen, Candace Patton as Iris West, Jesse L. Martin as Detective West, Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells.  The only remaining uncast role is Hartley Rathaway, known to Flash fans as The Pied Piper.

CBS' The Flash ran (get it?) for just a single season 22 episodes, but faced strong competition from Fox's The Simpsons and NBC's The Cosby Show.  In addition to Shipp, the series featured Amanda Pays as Dr. Christina "Tina" McGee, Alex Desert as Barry's fellow Central City Police Department forensic scientist Julio Mendez, Mike Genovese as Barry's boss Lt. Warren Garfield, Joyce Hyser as Megan Lockhart, Mark Hamill as The Trickster, Michael Champion as Captain Cold, and David Cassidy as The Mirror Master.

Although Shipp's role in the new Flash pilot is unrevealed, it's possible he could be playing Henry Allen, Barry's father who is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Barry's mother Nora.  The role was played in the 1990-91 series by M. Emmet Walsh.

The pilot, to be directed by David Nutter, is expected to begin filming next month.

GOTHAM Casts The Penguin, Alfred & Sarah Essen

Gotham City is getting more populated by the day.

Less than a week after Ben McKenzie was announced as Jim Gordon, Fox's upcoming series Gotham has cast four key roles for its world set in the years before Batman.  The Hollywood Reporter has revealed details on the following characters:

The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) -- Debuting in 1941's Detective Comics (vol.1) #48, The Penguin will be Gotham's first villain and is described in the article as "having the brains of a chess grandmaster and the morals of a jackal, who is a low-level psychopath for gangster Fish Mooney who hides his sadistic lust for power behind an exquisitely polite demeanor."  Taylor will be the third actor to portray the character in live action, after Burgess Meredith's memorable take in the '60s Batman TV series and Danny DeVito in the 1992 Tim Burton film Batman Returns.

Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) -- Bruce Wayne's faithful butler and mentor Alfred first appeared in 1943's Batman (vol.1) #16 and is described as "a tough-as-nails ex-Marine from East London, who has loyally served the Wayne family.  Now, in the wake of their tragic deaths, he is fiercely protective of the young Bruce Wayne."  Pertwee is the son of the late Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee and recently appeared as Gareth Lestrade on the CBS Sherlock Holmes series Elementary.

Captain Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) -- Created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli in the classic story "Batman: Year One," Sarah Essen first appeared in 1987's Batman (vol.1) #405 as Gordon's fellow GCPD detective and mistress, who later married him but ended up being murdered by The Joker.  Essen is described as "rookie Gordon's boss at the Gotham City Police Department Homicide Squad, who balances the two worlds of police and politics with a Machiavellian skill that is as much corporate litigator as cop."  Katee Sackhoff previously voiced the character in the animated Batman: Year One adaptation.

Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) -- JIm Gordon's wife was also featured in "Batman: Year One" and divorced him at some point, moving to Chicago with their son, James Gordon Jr.  In Gotham, Barbara is "a sophisticated ER doctor, who is engaged to marry Gordon.  She's joyful but with an edge of vulnerability who stands by her future husband…which can be difficult in a world as corrupt as Gotham."  The character first appeared in live action in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, played by Melinda McGraw, and was voiced by Grey DeLisle in Batman: Year One.

The Warner Bros. Television drama pilot, which has already been committed to a series, is being written and executive produced by The Mentalist showrunner Bruno Heller. Danny Cannon (CSI, Nikita) will direct and executive produce the pilot.  Gotham is expected to air on Fox sometime this fall.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

GOTHAM Casts Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon

Gotham City has a protector.

The Hollywood Reporter has details that actor Ben McKenzie has been cast in the upcoming Fox series Gotham as lead character James Gordon, the man who eventually becomes police commissioner and makes Batman his closest ally against crime.

McKenzie, now 35, is perhaps best known as Ben Sherman in the TV series Southland and Ryan Atwood on The O.C.  However, his previous role as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 2011 animated adaptation of Batman: Year One, which featured a young Jim Gordon encountering Batman for the first time, was probably the standout item on his resume.

Gotham's Gordon is described in the article as "a rookie detective for Gotham City Open Police Department's Homicide Squad.  A college football star and a war hero, Gordon was fast-tracked through the GCPD
 ranks. He's brave, energetic and honest.  Driven to live up to the classical virtues of a father he barely knew, he's an idealistic soul, to the point of naiveté.  That virtue is tempered by analytical intelligence and an ambitious alpha male ego -- he'll back up his naive ideals with action."

McKenzie will be the fourth actor to portray James Gordon in live action, after Neil Hamilton in the '60s television series Batman, Pat Hingle in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films, and Gary Oldman in the most recent Christopher Nolan trilogy.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said Gotham will explore other characters from Batman's world.  "This is not one of the things where you bought a franchise and then none of characters people know," said Reilly.  "We will follow Bruce Wayne right up until the point where he gets interesting."  

Reilly confirmed that Gotham will be an origin for other Batman characters in addition to Gordon.  "It's Gotham teetering on the edge," he said.  "This is all of the classic Batman characters."  The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin are mentioned in the article as planned, with Bruce Wayne becoming Batman at the end of the series, similar to Clark Kent finally becoming Superman after ten years in the Smallville finale.

Gotham is expected to air on FOX this fall.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Paul Bettany Cast as The Vision in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

Avengers fans are about to learn that even an android can cry.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that British actor Paul Bettany has been cast as The Vision in Joss Whedon's upcoming The Avengers: Age of UltronBettany, of course, has been known as the voice of Tony Stark's artificial intelligence system J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System) in the three Iron Man films as the first Avengers movie.

In addition to the returning cast of Avengers, Bettany joins Elizabeth Olsen as The Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, James Spader as lead villain Ultron, and Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Strucker.

Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in The Avengers (vol.1) #57 in 1968, The Vision was created by Ultron to use against his creator, Dr. Henry Pym.  The synthezoid was constructed using the brain patterns of then-deceased Avenger Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, housed inside a copy of the original android Human Torch that was created by Immortus.

The decision to introduce The Vision sets up some intriguing elements for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as Ant-Man, the first film in Wave Three of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.  In the comics, The Vision becomes romantically involved with the Scarlet Witch, eventually marrying her at one point.  This often puts him at odds with Quicksilver, who is fiercely protective of his sister.  And with Michael Douglas revealed as playing Hank Pym in Ant-Man, it would seem something of a wasted opportunity to not include him in Age of Ultron, if only in a cameo that encourages people to check out Ant-Man.

And for those who remember, the android Human Torch appeared in a three-second cameo in Captain America: The First AvengerIn the Stark Expo sequence, Phineas Horton's android creation is shown on display in an oxygen-deprived glass tube, so it seems likely that Ultron uses the android to create The Vision.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters on May 1, 2015, while Ant-Man is scheduled for July 17th that same year.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Candice Patton as Iris West

Barry Allen, meet Iris West.

Deadline reports that 25-year-old actress Candice Patton (The Game) has been cast as Iris West, Barry Allen's potential love interest in The Flash television pilot for The CW. 

Patton joins Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, Rick Cosnett and Danielle Panabaker in the pilot, which is scheduled to begin fiming next month in Vancouver.  This will be her second experience with superheroes, after playing Olivia in the first season of NBC's Heroes.

The leaked character description for Iris described her as follows:

IRIS – 22-28 – African-American – As smart as she is beautiful, Iris is in grad school studying psychology. She’s also Barry’s mile a minute, fast-talking, quick-witted best friend. Her father, Detective West, took in Barry when his mother was murdered, and his father was wrongly accused and imprisoned for her murder. In a tough childhood for Barry, she was the one “not tough” thing. She’s unaware of Barry’s strong feelings for her.

Created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in 1956's Showcase #4, the first appearance of Barry Allen as The Flash, Iris started off as Barry's girlfriend until the two were married in The Flash #165.  Years later, she was presumed killed by the Reverse-Flash, only to be revealed as alive and well in the 30th century.  With the DC Universe's relaunch in 2011, Iris is no longer married to Barry but the two appear to have a romantic attraction.

ARROW Producers Tease Birds of Prey & Suicide Squad

If you're a DC Comics fan who gave up on the CW series Arrow early on last season, you should really be kicking yourself right now.

About halfway through the show's first season, the creators abruptly dropped Oliver Queen's vengeance list of no-name criminals and started embracing characters and concepts from the DC Universe.  Roy Harper, The Huntress, Deathstroke, Black Canary, Barry Allen and more have integrated into the series' mythos, expanding the story potential and turning Arrow into one of the best comic book TV series ever made.

The Hollywood Reporter has new details on the second half of Arrow's season, with teases from executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg.

Tomorrow night's episode, "Heir to the Demon," features the introduction of Spartacus' Katrina Law as Nyssa al Ghul, the second daughter of Batman villain Ra's al Ghul.  She arrives in Starling City to reclaim Caity Lotz's character Sara Lance (a.k.a. The Canary) for the League of Assassins.  "Second to [Ra's al Ghul], [Nyssa]'s one of the most important figures in the League," said Kreisberg to reporters.  "They sent their first round of minions to come for Sara and that didn't go so well for them, so now they're bringing out the big guns."  The episode also features the return of Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance.

The series then takes a few weeks off, returning on February 26th with the episode "Time of Death," which features Robert Knepper as Clock King.  "The Promise" airs the following week.

The sixteenth episode of the season, "Suicide Squad," airs two weeks later on March 19th with -- you guessed it -- the Suicide SquadThe series has been setting this up for a while, with Amanda Waller turning up at the end of last week's episode, "Tremors," to recruit Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White) into the Squad.  The episode features the return of Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), who recruits John Diggle for a mission and "saddles him with the Suicide Squad, including Floyd Lawton (Michael Rowe)," said Kreisberg.  Diggle will receive his own flashbacks, set during his time in Afghanistan with former friend Ted Gaynor (Ben Browder).

One week later, fans will finally get to see The Canary and The Huntress together in the episode "Birds of Prey."  With NBC's Dracula presumably ended, Jessica De Gouw returns as the vengeance-driven Helena Bertinelli.  "We gave ourselves room to grow and evolve," said Guggenheim.  "Birds of Prey is very much the same thing.  You're not going to end up with the Holy Trinity of Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress right out of the gate.  We'll get there."  Added Kreisberg, "Helena is gone, all that's left is the Huntress.  She's become consumed by this vengeance for her father and when we see her she's in a very haggard and worn-out state.  It's the big final confrontation between her and her father, and Laurel (Katie Cassidy) gets in the crossfire, and the Canary has to go into the rescue."

And in episode 18, Summer Glau returns as businesswoman Isabel Rochev after a lengthy absence.  "We'll find out what she's been up to," teased Guggenheim.

In other season two news, Roy (Colton Haynes) is still struggling to control his powers.  "The next five episodes really chart Oliver's attempts to keep Roy on the straight and narrow," remarked Kreisberg said.   "The cave's getting full," he added, referring to Roy's new interactions with Diggle and Felicity, "and we don't shy away from the fact and we're hopefully using that to our advantage."

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Falcon Soars in Extended CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Super Bowl Trailer

Now that's one impressive wingspan.

Once again, Disney/Marvel took advantage of America's most-watched sporting event by promoting their next cinematic universe film during last night's Super Bowl.  The 30-second TV spot proved to be more thrilling than the seemingly endless beatdown the Seattle Seahawks put on the Denver Broncos, showing us more from Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: The Winter SoldierHowever, a spiffier extended trailer was immediately released online, with two and a half minutes providing even more anticipation.

"Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists," begins Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow in a voiceover.  "The ones that do call him the Winter Soldier."  We see the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) waking up on a operating table with his new metal left arm, followed by a shot of him strapped into some form of mental conditioning chair and overseen by none other than Ed Brubaker, the former writer of Captain America who co-created the Winter Soldier with artist Steve Epting.  "He's a ghost," continues Black Widow.  "You'll never find him."

Meanwhile, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is having a serious conversation with Robert Redford's character Alexander Pierce, telling Pierce he joined S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect people.  "Captain, to build a better world," replies Pierce, "sometimes means tearing the old one down...and that makes enemies."

We then see the Winter Soldier launching an explosive disc that detonates underneath the car of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), flipping it over onto its roof and injuring Fury in the process.  As Captain America and Black Widow watch Fury being operated on, Steve muses about the assassin.  "He's fast...strong...had a metal arm," he remarks, naturally with accompanying shots showcasing each of those abilities.

"Are you ready?" Pierce asks Steve, who is wearing the "Super Soldier" version of his Captain America costume.  "All it takes is one step."  "People are gonna die," Steve responds.  "I can't let that happen."

Fortunately, Steve has a new partner to rely on -- Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie.  "Captain America needs my help," Sam tells Steve.  "When do we start?"  "We just did," replies Steve.  All at once, we see Sam, now wearing his Falcon uniform, extend his artificial wings and rocket over the side of a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.

More action scenes follow, with Captain America hurling his shield from a motorcycle into an attacking Quinjet, and Black Widow diving over the side of a highway bridge and using a grappling hook to land safely below as a car explodes behind her.  Nice move.

"The price of freedom is high," remarks Steve with more shots of the highway battle that involves the Winter Soldier, "and it's a price I'm willing to pay."  As the Falcon swoops in to attack during another battle aboard the Helicarrier, the Winter Solider brings him down with a grappling hook, but the Falcon quickly gets up and starts firing two handguns.

Another quick shot of Steve being attacked by several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in an elevator and defeating all of them with skillful ease.  "Looks like you're giving the orders now, Captain," remarks Nick Fury, who apparently survives his surgery.  "Damn right," remarks Steve in the elevator, smashing his wrist communicator.

An exterior shot of the Helicarrier crashing into S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters follows, along with the Winter Solider and Captain America facing off on some form of catwalk underneath the Helicarrier, and Captain America and Black Widow mourning a mysterious dead person underneath a sheet.

As the trailer ends, we see Captain America and the Falcon running across the Helicarrier flight deck, with the Falcon asking, "How do we know the good guys from the bad guys?"  Cap replies succinctly, "If they're shooting at you, they're bad."

If you'd like to see the extended trailer, you can view it below thanks to Marvel Entertainment's account on YouTube...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier arrives in theaters on April 4, 2014.