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Kin Dza Dza
Arguably, it's the best sci fi comedy ever made and yet it's also the most famous film that nobody has ever heard of! Kin Dza Dza is a giant of science fiction and near the top of all good sci fi movie lists. If you like good, unusual cult sci fi -you need to see this film! Checkout the SadCAST review of Kin Dza Dza or click the links below to see the film on the Mosfilm Youtube channel.
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Coventry Telegraph - Geek Files
As a film student at Chapman University, DC Comics scribe Kyle Higgins did his thesis in the form of a short film titled The League, featuring unionized superheroes fighting crime in 1960s Chicago.
This half-hour short transcended being a graduation requirement as it garnered attention from both of the big two - Marvel and DC - who were interested in Kyle's take on the comics side of the genre.
Joining a growing fraternity of filmmakers turned comic writers, Higgins has quickly made a name for himself writing for characters such as Captain America, Deathstroke, Batman and, of course, the original Robin, Dick Grayson, now known as Nightwing.
While making a stop in the Midwest to attend Chicago's Comic and Entertainment Expo, Higgins is also returning to his old stomping grounds.
Chicagoland native Kyle took some time to talk with us about his past, present and future as a writer in the Batman Universe sandbox.
As a New York Times bestselling author with the graphic novel Batman: Gates of Gotham, Kyle has had the chance to shape current readers' views of the storied city. So we began by asking if his take on Gotham was influenced by his home town?
"That's an interesting question because when we were doing Gates of Gotham and we were settling on an era of the city to explore, I'm a big fan of Devil in the White City, which is the Erik Larson book about the world's fair and turn of the century Chicago, so I was essentially doing my take on that Gotham City," says Kyle
"The building of the first skyscraper in America and the rise of the modern city through the prism of Gotham, that's the whole crux of the book. So I guess you could say the answer is: A lot."
Currently writing Nightwing since its New 52 relaunch, Kyle takes the former Boy Wonder out of Gotham and gives him a city of his own to protect. One the writer is familiar with: "And now, moving Nightwing literally to Chicago, [artist] Brett [Booth] and I are doing some things stylistically that are a little different but we're still trying to ground it in the real place. As you'll see in issue 20, there's a nice little scene on the top of the Congress Hotel that people should recognize.
"My editor and I were in agreement that a real city was inherently more interesting than something made up," he explained when discussing the decision to move the character away from the Bat-family.
"There are notable exceptions - Gotham and Metropolis - that are kind of their own and have their own personalities now, but they've also been developed over the course of sixty plus years."
But Chicago wasn't the first choice: "When we talked about where to move him to, we first talked about New York. But New York is used so frequently and you associate it so closely with Marvel and Spider-Man and Daredevil that I wanted to do something different so I suggested Chicago. It made sense when trying to pick a location for him going forward. Plus, I wanted to see him surf on L-trains."
But before the big move, Kyle and team were faced with the daunting task of standing out in a world dominated by the Bat: "That's something we were up against. The first nine issues of the series were tied into Batman pretty tightly with the Court of Owls story and the back-story of the Court and Dick Grayson's association with the Court. It was definitely a balancing act.
"We're trying to build a world for Dick that was inherent to him and wasn't dependant on Batman. The circus was the most significant decision we made for the book that was unique to Dick Grayson but even that was touched by the Court of Owls."
Not that being tied to Batman writer Scott Snyder is a bad thing, but: "That's one of the really exciting things right now with moving him to Chicago and him being on his own. He's not involved in any crossovers or anything in the Batman books. That's not to say those relationships aren't there or that he won't interact with characters but it's definitely the creation of his world in a physical place that's different from Gotham."
And with a new place comes new characters: "I'm creating them all. The Prankster is formerly a Superman villain that we've reinvented in the new 52 but will hopefully be a Nightwing villain going forward."
As for life after - or during - comics, is there any interest for the young writer to return to his motion picture roots or maybe taking on television writing or directing?
"All of the above! I came to comics through film and directing and that's my first love," he says, with the smile on his face proving that statement true.
"I've been making movies since I was seven years old. That's something I definitely want to get back into whether they're comic-specific or not.
"I have a couple of things right now that I'm working on that I'm going to do as a creator-owned comic and in the back of my mind I'm thinking this would be a really cool movie or long-form web series."
Kyle is currently writing Nightwing and will soon be adding Batman Beyond to his duties at DC. His previous works include the award-winning Batman: Gates of Gotham, Marvel's Squadron Supreme and the film that started it all, The League - which you can check out the trailer for here.
Thanks to Kyle for his time and the staff at DC for setting everything up.
Downey is not signed to return as the armoured hero and has now entered negotiations to appear in two more Avengers movies, says The Hollywood Reporter, but the possibility of an Iron Man 4 has not been part of the discussions.
The charismatic actor has proved to be the franchise's moneyspinner. The four films featuring Downey Jr - three standalone films and The Avengers - have been the most financially successful, with Avengers earning $1.5billion worldwide and latest release Iron Man 3 already on $711 million globally after just two weeks.
Marvel announced that Iron Man 3 had rocketed to No 1 at the US box office this weekend with a $174.2 million debut making it the second biggest US opening of all time after The Avengers. It has already shot past the total global box office of Iron Man ($585 million) and Iron Man 2 ($624 million).
Released a week earlier in the UK, the film held on to the top spot last weekend and has reached £26.2 million in 11 days. The UK opening weekend (£11.4 million) is the biggest of 2013 so far, smashing the previous record held by Les Miserables and significantly exceeding the opening weekend of the previous Iron Man movies (Iron Man took in £4,799,504 and Iron Man 2 £6,750,982), although it didn't beat the £15.8million launch of Avengers.
Downey Jr has already earned big bucks from the franchise, pocketing more than $50 million for The Avengers. So signing him for any more films could prove very costly.
It's not known if the actor wants to do another Iron Man solo film. The third one does wrap up the story in many ways although its heavy use of remote-controlled suits of armour could be a neat get-out clause for limiting the actor's involvement. Given the actor's box office draw, Marvel seems unlikely to go down the recasting route.
Another point of debate is how much of a part Downey Jr will play in the next Avengers.
Arguably, he could have a small but pivotal role that still brings in mainstream audiences while reducing his salary to less jaw-dropping levels.
Joss Whedon has already spoken of adding new characters in the Avengers sequel, mentioning "my two favorite characters from the comic book, a brother-sister act, they're in the movie" - almost certainly a hint at Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, superpowered siblings who are the mutant children of Magneto.
While Fox owns the film rights to the X-Men franchise, Kevin Feige indicated in April 2012 that Marvel Studios can also use the characters, who went from being X-Men villains to Avengers heroes in the comic books.
"It's a little complicated," studio president Feige revealed, "but if they [Fox] want to use them in the X-Men movies they could, [but] if we want to use them in The Avengers movies, we could."
There have been no hints so far of Magneto having any children in the X-Men films and with the franchise now having been on screen for 13 years, it seems unlikely that the master of magnetism sired any offspring in Fox's big-screen mythos. A third child of Magneto, the similarly-powered daughter called Polaris, has also yet to appear in the X-films but seems a slightly more hopeful candidate as she has no links to Avengers or other Marvel/Disney projects.
With Hugh Jackman's The Wolverine gearing up for a July screen debut and the massive crossover event X-Men: Days of Future Past in production for a 2014 debut, the mutants are proceeding with their cinematic evolution.
And there's plenty afoot in the comic books too. Marvel very much had X-Men on its mind when it gathered the troops at Chicago convention C2E2 2013 to lay out the mutants' path in the printed world.
Kicked off by moderator Arune Singh, the panel featured editors: Tom Brevoort, Jordan White and C.B. Cebulski (also Marvel's talent scout) as well as the writer and artist talents of Rick Remender, Paul Cornell, Brian Wood, Declan Shalvey, Ramon Perez and Jordie Bellaire.
First up was not an X-title but a book that included X-Men in its cast, Uncanny Avengers, which would be dealing with the rise of the Apocalypse Twins and their newly christened Four Horsemen: Sentry, Daken, Banshee and the Grimm Reaper. "All characters that I like a lot and we're going to have a lot of fun with," explains the title's scribe, Remender.
Rick added that these Horsemen would add a "bad blood" factor when dealing with this group of Uncanny Avengers - Daken vs his father, Wolverine, is the easy guess on one of the conflicts.
Brian Wood then chimed in about his forthcoming X-Men book - the one with the all-girl roster - teasing there would be a seventh member to the team revealed by the close of X-Men issue 1. These talks then lead to the announcement of Marvel's X-book crossover, X-Men: Battle of the Atom.
In the companion books Uncanny X-Men and All New X-men, where Brian Michael Bendis expands on the fallout of last year's Avengers vs X-men event, The X-Men of old have been transported to our time to help avert a new human/mutant civil war. It's now time for them to return to their era in Battle of the Atom and what X-Men story with time travel would be complete without - you guessed it - more time travel. Now a future team of mutants has arrived to see the classic group returned to their rightful place to avoid a disastrous future.
Days of Future Past and Age of Apocalypse come to mind, but with Bendis and Wood behind the pens I'll reserve judgment without further details. Amid promises of huge payoffs and tied-up loose ends the panel divulged that September and October would be the months this story hits shelves and that Frank Cho (Savage Wolverine) would pencil Issue 1. Here's a list of all books involved:
• X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1
• Uncanny X-Men #12-13
• All-New X-Men #16-17
• Wolverine & The X-Men #36-37
• X-Men #5-6
• X-Men: Battle of The Atom #2
Another revelation was news of the upcoming storyline staring the mutant who's the best there is at what he does, Wolverine. The new arc - written by the recently returning author, Paul Cornell (Demon Knights, Stormwatch) - is titled Wolverine: Killable and it kicks off in Wolverine 7.
Based on the title, plot points from the upcoming film The Wolverine and Cornell's comments ("Sabretooth and a number of the great X-Men villains decide that because of something that's about to happen, Wolverine is going to become killable. We're leading him into the shadow of the valley of death with Kitty Pryde by his side") I think it's safe to assume old Wolvie is stripped of his healing factor. We'll find out at the end of Wolverine 6.
On a somber note, speculation was confirmed that the wonderfully written and wildly underrated series X-Factor will be coming to an end with issue 262.
Penned by TV and comics great Peter David (Babylon 5, She-Hulk) X-Factor has quietly been one of Marvel's most consistently entertaining books since its return via a Multiple-Man mini-series in 2005, .
Ending the title doesn't seem related to David's recent health challenges though as editor Jordan White explained that Peter felt it was time to end the story.
Stay tuned for more C2E2 round-ups.
Ray Harryhausen, the special effects master famed for such fantasy classics as Jason and the Argonauts, One Million Years BC, Clash of the Titans and three Sinbad films, has died at the age of 92.
Los Angeles-born Mr Harryhausen died at his home in London on May 7, it has been confirmed.
Ray was known for his painstaking work using stop-motion animation to bring fantastical creatures to life on screen.
I was honoured to have the rare opportunity of an exclusive interview with Mr Harryhausen in 2010 following the release of a remake of Clash of the Titans.
Tribute was paid to the visual FX legend by Darren G. Davis, publisher at American comic book company Bluewater Productions, which has released a number of graphic novel sequels to Harryhausen's cinema classics.
In a statement, Darren G. Davis said: "Today we lost a master magician with the passing of Ray Harryhausen. Although deeply saddened by the loss, we feel that his legendary work will live on forever, and that we at Bluewater were so very fortunate to be a part of that legacy.
"We send our thoughts and prayers to his wife Diana, his family and to the legion of fans that feel the effect of his passing."
He added: "Ray was an inspiration for me. From the first time I saw Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, I was spellbound. There are no superlatives worthy enough to let him know what his work meant to me.
"I feel so blessed for the opportunity to have worked with him throughout the years on numerous comic book adaptations, graphic novel sequels and other projects based on his visionary work.
"In an entertainment industry dominated by computer-generated effects, Ray Harryhausens's hand-crafted mastery still sparks the imagination like no other - it truly emphasises the word special in special effects.
"Ray, thank you for all you given us and the wonderment you left behind. You will be missed."
The Ray Harryhausen Presents series of sequel comics published by Bluewater have included Jason and the Argonauts - the Kingdom of Hades, It Came From Beneath the Sea... Again and Wrath of the Titans (whose name was acquired for the 2012 movie sequel).
In 2010, many of Mr Harryhausen's models and artwork went on display at London Film Museum and it was announced shortly afterwards that he would be donating his life's work to the National Media Museum in Bradford.
Fans are getting the chance to ask Hugh Jackman questions about his upcoming movie The Wolverine in a Twitter chat.
The second solo adventure for the metal-enhanced mutant is released on July 25.
The Twitter chat comes hot on the heels of the unveiling of a CinemaCon trailer for the movie, for the first time showing armoured archenemy the Silver Samurai in action against Jackman's character.
Check out the Twitter pages for Hugh Jackman and The Wolverine today, (Thursday, May 2) at 5pm UK time to see Hugh answer your questions via video.
Start tweeting your questions now with #TheWolverine #AskHugh and comment on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheWolverineMovie for the chance to have them presented.
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern-day Japan.
Out of his depth in an unknown world he will face a host of unexpected and deadly opponents in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed.
Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
There's also been a new shot of Jackman (see below) on the set of his next superhero project, Bryan Singer's much-anticipated X-Men: Days of Future Past.
While not offering a view of the actor's face, it shows him wearing a brown leather coat that appears to be similar to the bomber jacket worn in the comic book storyline.
Among other recent tidbits for that X-Men ensemble, Singer showed chairs for the actors' characters that confirmed that Warpath and Bishop are in the film.
It's likely that Booboo Stewart is the native American mutant Warpath and it's long been presumed that Omar Sy is playing Bishop.
At the time each was cast in the film, their characters were not disclosed, leading to much speculation about who they were playing.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is released in July 2014.
Marvel's latest adventure with Robert Downey Jr as the brash but brilliant Tony Stark aka Iron Man took £13.7 million at the UK box office over its four-day opening (Thursday to Sunday) and £11.4 million over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
This opening is the biggest so far in 2013, beating the previous record held by Les Miserables and significantly exceeding the launches of the previous Iron Man movies (Iron Man took £4,799,504 in 2008 and Iron Man 2 made £6,750,982 in 2010). But it didn't beat the Avengers UK opening of £15.8m.
Internationally, Iron Man 3 has taken an estimated $195.3 million which has beaten the Avengers opening weekend of $185.1 million.
The UK box office results were the highest of the 42 territories the film has opened in to date with major markets like the USA and China opening later this week.
Retailers have added a range of Iron Man 3 products to existing Avengers, Spider-Man and other Marvel product ranges. Tesco have launched their own Stark Armoury Iron Man 3 app in store and online.
Coming up next from Disney/Marvel is Ultimate Spider-Man starting on May 9 on Disney XD, followed in the autumn by the debut of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. leading up to the big-screen release of Thor: The Dark World, which is out in the UK on October 30, 2013.
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce and Shane Black.
British actors with a background in classic theatre are known for bringing some gravitas and credibility to comic book movies, whether it's Anthony Hopkins as Odin in Marvel's Thor, or Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor Xavier and Magneto in the X-Men films (including the upcoming Days of Future Past).
From that same generation of veterans comes Ben Kingsley, stepping into the role of archnemesis the Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
The movie is Marvel's biggest departure yet from the comic books it publishes, with the studio (now under the aegis of Disney) clearly aiming for a much more populist and comedic approach. It certainly worked with the snappy humour in Avengers and now there's more of that in Iron Man 3, though I'd argue the laughs weren't as effective as Whedon's spot-on quippery.
The characterisation of Mandarin has caused much consternation among the hardcore fanboys, though it works within the movie. It's possibly the most radical reinterpretation of a classic comic book character to date, so how did Sir Ben Kingsley approach the role?
We caught up with the actor at the premiere of Iron Man 3, where he also spoke about other projects including upcoming sci-fi film Ender's Game and rumoured links to the role of Herod.
You have played many different characters over the years, including some fascinating villains such as Don Logan (in Sexy Beast), Fagin (in the 2005 film of Oliver Twist) and The Hood (in the 2004 live-action film of TV's classic Thunderbirds). This must be one of the juiciest and most complex villains.
You mention some wonderful characters. I think what I have to put at the back of my mind is the magic word villain because I think the classic villains have a great sense of righteousness and destiny.
[The Shakespeare play] Richard III begins by saying words to the effect of: 'This is all wrong and I am going to sort it out, stay with me.'
In Sexy Beast, my Don Logan was an abused child who was never held and went on to abuse others. That was my key into Don. And I think our Mandarin has to have a profound sense of right.
I didn't do any specific research into looking at anybody in particular but I am fascinated by documentary footage. I got a huge amount of information from that. What I found, right from 1933 onwards and probably before, though it is not recorded, is an extraordinary sense of righteousness and destiny that these chaps have: 'I know the way. It has to be this way.'
I think Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark refers to him as sounding like a preacher. I think, what I have to do as an actor is push the villain word right to the back and bring forward, however distorted, their absolute sense of right and sense of destiny, which the Mandarin had to have throughout. A deep seriousness and dedication to his cause. And it must become the world's cause.
I think you have said on occasion, without exploring the dark side, the light, the good doesn't mean anything.
It doesn't. Drama, it has to be the light and shade, braided together and pulled really tight. But it has to be those two factors. I think this what is lovely about this franchise and what I have seen of (Iron Man) 1 and 2 and Avengers is it is always dark and light. There is always a really threatening dark moment and then a moment of tenderness and vulnerability or comradeship, irony, wit, self-deprecation. All these wonderful things thrown into the pot that give our hero, whether it is a hero of good or a hero of anti good, a vulnerability. Robert is great at exploiting this. It is always that 'What am I without my Iron suit?' question in him all the time.
How did you come up with the character's voice and accent?
I got it from the script because I just read that Robert's character says 'He sounds like a midwest preacher but he is this and this and this...' So I got a lot of clues from within the script, from what Tony Stark sees on the screen. A certain degree of repetitive speech, which is a classic device of the manipulative dictator, and the skill in broadcasting, the use of the word lesson a great deal. So from Tony Stark and from the script - suddenly it hit me in a hotel room 'Oooh, there he is'.
He seems to be a composite of many things. Was that so the finger couldn't be pointed at any one country or religion?
I think what is disconcerting about those broadcasts (of The Mandarin) is the rhetoric and the language and the voice and his attacks on western iconography with quite a degree of knowledge. It is attacking the very familiar in a voice which is also familiar to a western audience. So that could be very disconcerting. It is closer to a political broadcast than it is an alien threat. Alien threats are somehow easier to cope with than when you hear the timbre of someone who could have filled your car with gas the other day, or be your doctor or your lawyer. You're thinking 'I know that voice. What he is saying is appalling but it is in a familiar pattern of speech'. I think that is what they were going for.
Also the imagery that is at odds with one another: the extremely oriental cape, the army boots, the fatigues, the crazy anti-establishment T-shirts, the dog tags, the rings and the tattoo on the back of the neck. They are all there to be very disconcerting. I think my favourite lines are 'You know who I am. You don't know where I am. You will never see me coming.'
There is nothing about me where you can go 'Oh I know where you are coming from' because you don't. It is really there to worry and disconcert.
What was most appealing to you about his character?
I think the most appealing to me was working with Robert Downey Jnr and Don Cheadle and that team. It is that team that allows you to take risks and breathe some kind of life into a character that is clearly fictional.
What was appealing is being given a team, a wonderful context, brilliant people to work with. Then you can start to talk to people about righteousness and act that. With a lesser group they wouldn't know what I was talking about, they'd just say 'No, be a baddie. What's all that stuff?'. With this team you can really go into those more resonant deeper layers which I think are more disconcerting for an audience.
You are allowed, within their framework, to take risks, to push, to push, to push. You know intuitively and they know exactly when you have hit it. They will say print it and move on. That makes it really thrilling.
Were you a fan of the comic books?
Kevin gave me a lot of material to look at which I really loved. The comics weren't really part of my younger years. Mine were the British comics - The Eagle, Dan Dare.
When you look at the comics, the dialogue that comes out of their mouths is very precise, it has to be very precise. It is so unambiguous, also the primal colours that are used, the unequivocally red, green, orange, black, blue. They are primal colours. In a sense the film also reflects that too. The texture of the film is so inviting and tactile and the primal colours that they use.
I didn't have to separately absorb the Marvel culture, I was in it on the set. So on a daily basis, by osmosis you are soaking it in and participating in it. That was very nourishing for me.
Did you look at the speeches by Hitler? He used those repetitive phrases.
I didn't research Hitler and repetitive phrases for Marvel but I have for other projects. Actually there is a gesture that might have crept into my performance. It is 'One million, two million, three million, four million, five million, six million. Wie lange noch. How much longer?'. The repetition of that is completely mesmerising and terrifying because he is blaming someone for this. And behind those figures is terrible blame. And also behind those figures is the pre-echo of the horrendous retribution he wreaked on Europe.
There are also extraordinary examples in life for great good. With Martin Luther King - beautiful use of repetitive speech and rhythm. That mechanism, tragically, can be used to manipulate for terrible causes as well.
As Mandarin, did you feel a risk portraying a man so connected to real-world events?
I had the privilege of playing Hamlet for the RSC. One of his lines that I hold dear is 'You hold the mirror up to nature'. That is in his speech to the players. You have to do this, you have to hold a mirror up to nature. How beautifully put. I think any film, however subtle, however incidental the resonances are, I think an audience is excited and comforted by storytellers who are talking to them in their world, with the issues they have to deal with. However disguised they are or in whatever context, we have to hold the mirror up to nature.
Last year you were linked to the role of King Herod in director Alister Grierson's Mary Mother of Christ, a prequel to The Passion of The Christ. Are you going to be playing that character?
This is very hypothetical. This has been so on the backburner that I have heard about it for the first time in ages at this table.
When I get the script, when I start to investigate, I can't judge him. I am not allowed to as an actor. I have got to say 'Look, here is my portrait of Herod to the best of my ability. You can draw your own conclusions from his behaviour.'
But however deranged and narcissistic and megalomaniacal he is, I would have to give Herod the Great his sense of righteousness. He believes that, for the destiny of his nation, he has to wipe out all these children.
What are your next projects?
It is still a bit random. I am still at the mercy of what arrives on the desk as it were. I am producing now. My wife and I have a production company. To a certain extent we can create our own material and are guided by our own tastes and what we want to put on the screen. Aside from that it is quite a random process.
Of the scripts that come in, it's when I feel a resonance, a special voice within me that says 'There you are'. When that happens, it is thrilling. and you know how many pitfalls there are between that moment and it actually arriving on the screen. But it is that recognition I am looking for.
That is why it is so exciting to read a script, read the map of the Mandarin and say 'There your are'. It is that which I think drives me forward, and always has. I am very blessed that the first ten to 12 years of my career were with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Do you think how your life would be different if you hadn't done Gandhi?
The only thought I have is 'Thank God it was me'. I have never had to look at another portrait of him other than the one that Richard Attenborough and I and John Briley created.
I am not very good at looking back. I am very much in the present. You have to be between action and cut.
Certainly it is an absolute fact that it was the golden key to that gate through which I walked into the film industry after 15 years in the theatre. I am eternally grateful for that. Everything comes from that. Because of that confidence that Attenborough had in me.
Ender's Game is coming out later this year. How did that work out?
Lovely, but quite different from the challenge of the Mandarin. With Mandarin I was very rarely involved in green screen. In Gandhi we had none. We actually had 4,000 people on screen for the funeral.
In Ender's Game we had a lot of green screen. The kids in the film were obviously challenged by being told 'It is all going to be CGI-d later but you have to react' . Gavin (Hood) looked after them so well and they did form a wonderful relationship with him. So that he would, where possible, talk them through what they were seeing while they were reacting to it.
He really knocked himself out pumping energy into those kids who couldn't see anything. I think it is going to be a wonderful film.
Tell us about your role.
Mazar Rackham. He is a combination of historically ancient warrior in that he is descended from Maori and has Maori tattooed on his face. And at the same time he is teaching children how to operate drones. So he is very advanced and also rooted in an ancient warrior tradition.
What felt more special, getting the Oscar or getting the knighthood?
It is quite hard to separate the two because I think they are connected. It is all part of having a blessed journey.
It did feel there was a difference between the two. One is from your peer group and the other is from your nation, which I love deeply.
I think we can safely say the Brits are quite reticent about praising you. They don't go barmy with enthusiasm, so one wonders, being a Brit actor, if anyone has ever noticed what we're doing. Then you get this extraordinary embrace saying 'We have seen you. We have heard you'. it's completely overwhelming.
What do you recall of the ceremonies?
I was in mild shock on both occasions. From when John Travolta read my name out and going to receive the Oscar, I can't remember a thing.
With the knighthood, I do remember the Ballroom. I do believe Her Majesty used the sword which her father King George VI had as Commander in Chief of our armed forces during World War Two. To see that sword move over my head was absolutely thrilling and beautiful.
You are the classic age to play the Scottish King. There has not been a great film version yet.
It hadn't crossed my mind. That is a fascinating idea. Many years ago I thought of setting him in a World War I context, and his witches in sepia...
You are not saying his name?
You have to got outside and swear and spit.
You are still being approached with scripts. Does age not seem to be as much of a barrier to men getting good roles?
It seems to be that way. But I think it is because I have some kind of a flexibility as well. I am possibly the only person at the RSC who has played both Hamlet and Othello.
The first look at Halle Berry in costume as Storm in X-Men: Days of Future Past surfaced online tonight via director Bryan Singer's Twitter page.
Production began a week ago in Montreal, with earlier set pictures showing Patrick Stewart and Shawn Ashmore in uniforms that appeared to be of a similar design and material.
First sightings of superhero movie costumes, viewed out of context rather than in the finished movie, almost always stir up mixed feelings among fans. Thor, Captain America, Superman, Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Bane, Joker and others have all been subjected to similar debate and scrutiny over their onscreen design.
In my experience, such first-look images need a lot of mental processing over several hours or even days before the divide between colourful comic-book artwork and the practicalities of live-action reality begins to blur.
The look of Storm in the picture is in keeping with the story being partly set in a dystopian future beyond X-Men: The Last Stand.
Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the cape (which, on initial consideration, seems a little underdesigned as well as too short, starting too low down and something of an afterthought) but the rest seems fine and Halle's baby bump is remarkably well hidden.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is released on July 18, 2014.
X-Men: Days of Future Past has added Adan Canto to its cast, as fan speculation suggests Michelle Trachtenberg could also join the production.
Filming is now under way in Montreal and director Bryan Singer posted an image on Twitter showing himself and several members of the film's cast wearing hockey jerseys as they watched the Montreal Canadiens.
The tweet revealed Adan Canto as a member of the cast for the first time.
Canto, a Mexican actor who can be seen on Fox's television drama The Following, posted the message "thrilled to be X-Man" and had earlier tweeted about his next project: "I might turn into a ball of fire if someone p*sses me off."
Adan seems likely to be playing Brazilian mutant Roberto da Costa, aka Sunspot, who can absorb solar energy and channel it into strength, flight and blasts.
The character, originally chosen to appear in X-Men: First Class before being cut from the script, has been affiliated with many groups in the comics.
He began as one of the New Mutants - a squad of junior X-Men - and later belonged to villainous organisations such as the Brotherhood and Hellfire Club. His varied allegiances makes it tricky to pinpoint the mutant's role in Days of Future Past.
There is also speculation that Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy, Gossip Girl) could be in the film after Bryan Singer recently started following the actress on Twitter.
She also tweeted fans about changing her hair colour and becoming a redhead, leading to fans debating whether she might be playing a younger Jean Grey in the film's 70s timeline.
Other redheads in the X-Men comics include Rachel Summers (Scott and Jean's daughter in an alternate future) and mutant messiah Hope Summers.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is released in cinemas on July 18, 2014.
First poster for Thor: The Dark World as synopsis promises 'he will sacrifice everything to save us all'
The first poster for the film has now been sent over to us, and is included here.
Marvel's Thor: The Dark World continues the big-screen adventures of Thor as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself.
In the aftermath of his first appearance in Thor (2011) and then in Marvel's The Avengers (2012), the Asgardian thunder god fights to restore order across the cosmos - but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness.
Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.
Thor: The Dark World is directed by Alan Taylor, produced by Kevin Feige, from a story by Don Payne and screenplay by Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and is based on Marvel's Thor, who first appeared in the comic book Journey into Mystery 83 in August, 1962.
The film releases in the UK on October 30, 2013, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
The next stage of evolution has begun for Twentieth Century Fox's X-Men movie series.
Filming began this week on X-Men: Days of Future Past, with director Bryan Singer tweeting several teaser pictures from the production as the cast began to arrive on set.
The images released by Singer included a shot of Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy aka Beast (above).
The look is less animalistic than in X-Men: First Class and a little more like Kelsey Grammer's older Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand, providing a bridge between the two versions and somewhat resembling the character's physical changes in the comics.
Among the most recent pictures was an image of Shawn Ashmore, who is on set reprising his role as Bobby Drake aka Iceman. Ashmore (as seen below) has markers on his face, used to track facial movement in motion-capture filmmaking.
This means we're likely to see the character in the 'ice form' that's regularly depicted in the comics and was glimpsed at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand.
In the comic books, the ice form was initially an outer covering but as Bobby refined his abilities, he was able to convert his entire body to 'organic ice' much as Emma Frost transforms to diamond and Colossus becomes steel.
Shawn tweeted: "I've just wrapped day one of XMEN #DOFP! Just wait until you see what's in store."
You can also see that Ashmore is wearing a black jacket similar to the one seen on Patrick Stewart (below) when he posed for a picture on set. These may be the new uniforms of the X-Men in the story, which is based on a classic comic book where the mutants use time travel in an attempt to prevent their terrible future from ever happening.
The fact that Patrick was standing has led many to believe that Xavier will be walking and running in this film, though we earlier saw images of two wheelchairs (one used by McAvoy's past Xavier, the other assumed to be for Stewart's future version).
We don't know yet how Patrick Stewart's character will feature in the story. His version of Professor X died in a battle with Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand, although a post-credits scene showed that he had transferred his consciousness into the body of a braindead man he mentioned in a classroom scene earlier in the movie. In the DVD commentary, it was stated that the braindead man was intended to be Xavier's twin brother.
Or the new film could be depicting an alternate future in which Xavier never died or never ended up in a wheelchair.
Also known to be on set in Canada for the six-month production are Anna Paquin, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
Nicholas Hoult tweeted that he was "starting X-Men training" but doesn't yet seem to be in Canada, while Halle Berry was pictured flying out of Los Angeles (presumably heading to Montreal) earlier today. Halle is visibly pregnant so there will be a greater use of stunt performers for the character's physical and aerial sequences.
McKellen wrote on his Facebook page: "The Brotherhood reassembles in a Montreal studio. A month ago, I was scanned and measured for Magneto's latest garb, sleeker than ever. Then, Louise Mingenbach, the deft designer, came over to fit me at home in London.
"Why don't I need a helmet in Days of Future Past? That would be telling and I'm not allowed to."
We do know, though, that the younger Magneto - played by Michael Fassbender - has a helmet, as a picture was tweeted (below) of internet favourite Grumpy Cat wearing the headgear.
Hugh Jackman tweeted at the start of the week: "About to start Days of Future Past - amazing to come back to work with the same team who started it all 13 years ago."
Ellen Page is now returning to the set after promoting her new political thriller The East, telling eTalk: "Everyone's there shooting and it looks awesome. It's great to be in Montreal making that movie and that cast is phenomenal."
Next up from the X-Men franchise will be Jackman's Japan adventure in The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold and out on July 26, with Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past hitting cinemas on July 18, 2014.
While issue 7 of Marvel's Thor God of Thunder continues author Jason Aaron's current saga, it also serves as the beginning of his story's second arc and a perfect jumping-on point for those unworthy mortals who have yet to experience its greatness.
Following a standalone story introducing readers to a younger Gorr the God Butcher - the title's antagonist who does just what his name suggests - with the standard sympathetic origins of good man turned super-evil villain, No 7 takes us to a far-flung future where a modern-day Thor meets a much older God of Thunder.
Though time travel does occur, Aaron's story actually follows the golden-maned deity during three different eras that all include an interaction with Gorr.
Each era shows an advancing stage in Thor's investigation into the disappearance of his heavenly peers, with readers treated to masterfully portrayed perspectives of a young, present-day and eventually aged King Thor as the action builds to an engrossing climax.
Now that they've met, the dynamic between current and King Thor immediately takes center stage. As the two clash, current Thor discovers (and is horrified by) what most of us mere mortals have known for generations: that all men turn into their fathers in some shape or form.
And regardless of the cosmic-level threat before them, Aaron lets the story breathe via a natural humor during their interactions in much the same way he blends drama, high stakes and high jinks in another of his titles, Wolverine & the X-Men.
The Aaron connection to the X-verse is touched on ever so slightly by Thor's comment: "Perhaps this is one of those alternate futures the X-Men are always going on about."
That, and numerous references to the Thunder God's past, present and future serve as clues of what has and is still to come. Not forgotten is the youngest of the three's stories, which in this book serves as the more serious elements revealing the more humanizing aspects of the God, further setting up unseen confrontations with the nightmarish, Gorr.
The art by Esad Ribic on the series has been an equal high point to Jason's writing. Though I don't feel that issue 7 is Ribic's overall best offering, he has turned in fantastic efforts on all six of his chapters giving the three separate time periods their own feel and texture.
While there's no doubt in each era that Thor is Thor, the Thunder God's demeanor, posture and character are depicted ever so differently, brilliantly matching the changes to the hero's backgrounds, locations and supporting casts.
Jason Aaron has shown across multiple titles his ability to intermingle action, humor and drama without losing sight of the stories themselves.
Thor: God of Thunder 7 exhibits all of those skills at what could be Aaron's highest level to date. Now take masterful storytelling and marry it with beautiful landscapes and emotion-driven characters filling up the panels via Esad Ribic's wonderfully realized line work and you have a win on all levels for comic fans.
If you're a fan of hero comics and you're not reading this title, forgive yourself and make up for that oversight immediately by running to pick up every issue.
Overall Score: 9 - Awesome!
A movie featuring Marvel's African superhero Black Panther has been on the comic book giant's radar for over two decades, since Wesley Snipes set his sights on the role in 1992, and the hiring of a screenwriter in 2011 suggested it might actually happen.
Numerous actors have been linked to a film version, including Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Djimon Hounsou, while Anthony Mackie campaigned for the part and ended up instead being cast as Falcon in the next Captain America movie.
All went quiet after that, but now Morris Chestnut has caused a new stir about Black Panther being adapted for the big screen.
The American Horror Story actor teased his fans on Twitter, proclaiming: "Time to get familiar with the Black Panther character!" He followed that with hints that the Wakanda-ruler-turned-crimefighter would be added to the line-up of Avengers 2 before any solo adventure was made. But both posts were then deleted.
An introduction in Joss Whedon's second team-up flick would make sense if Marvel intends to develop the character beyond the comics. But were there any truth to Morris's connection to the role, he may have dashed his own hopes by blabbing without official authorisation.
His Twitter account then published a disclaimer that the original messages had come from his social media and publicity team The MCCamp, saying: "All posts in reference to the Black Panther were originated by The MCCamp. Although Mr Chestnut applies earnest effort in communicating with his fans, occasionally there is assistance by The MCCamp in the best interest of facilitating production/filming and/or projects, as is the case at this time."
Chestnut later wrote: "Thanks to the fans for bringing Black Panther to my attention - NOT in talks about this project with Marvel. Overwhelmed with all the Black Panther tweets. Thanks for the support."
That leaves us with the questions of whether he would be suitable for the role (and if not, then who?) and if Avengers 2 is indeed a good launchpad for the character. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tom Cruise celebrated his 50th birthday on the set of his new film Oblivion, director Joseph Kosinski has revealed.
To celebrate the milestone, Kosinski presented the star with one of the futuristic Moto Bikes from the film.
"He turned fifty, believe it or not, in Iceland while we were shooting and as a gift, on behalf of Universal, I gave him the motorcycle he rides in the film. So now he can add it to his personal collection," said Joseph, who previously helmed Tron: Legacy.
The director admitted he hasn't spotted Tom on the bike but added: "He told me he was going to ride it around Los Angeles, so if anyone sees a guy riding the white Moto Bike from Oblivion in Los Angeles, it's probably Tom."
Tom also gave the director a present of his own.
"He gave me a beautiful die-cast model of the bubble ship in a glass case. It's just gorgeous.
"It is sitting in my house and my three-year-old is obsessed with it. He knows he can't touch it, so he just stares at it," Joseph said.
Tom took three hours before deciding he wanted to play Jack Harper in the sci-fi epic.
"I think he saw a film unlike anything he had ever done before," Kosinski explained. "Obviously he has done science fiction but never a story quite like this.
"He's always looking for a new challenge - he's made like, 40 films - and I think he saw that in this movie.
"I knew an original story needed a star like that to help get the film made, so to get him on board was amazing."
Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman and Andrea Riseborough also star in Oblivion, which is in cinemas now.
The film is among dozens to take advantage of the craggy, unspoilt beauty of Iceland's volcanic landscape.
Other Hollywood productions to have filmed in Iceland include Prometheus, Batman Begins, Die Another Day, A View To A Kill, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Stardust and upcoming movies Thor: The Dark World and Noah.
The 48-year-old is back in the hi-tech suit as Iron Man and his alter-ego Tony Stark in the third instalment of the series, alongside returning co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle and franchise newcomers Sir Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall and Guy Pearce.
Downey Jr said in a video clip on Fandango.com: "This is the most emotionally satisfying and entertaining of the three.
"The great thing about Iron Man 3 is we are really in continuation of the Avengers. We don't have to set up who he is so we can go back to some of the things which made the franchise fly to begin with."
Sir Ben, who plays supervillain the Mandarin, said: "There is something original and, dare I say it, intelligent in this approach to this film. I was really delighted to join."
Rebecca (who plays scientist Dr Maya Hansen) added: "It's interesting to come into something so iconic. It's thrilling to walk on and see the suit, and see Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow. It's really exciting stuff."
The star-studded cast will be in London on April 18 for the film's UK premiere, before the film opens in cinemas on April 25.
A fully-functioning Iron Man suit priced at £250 went on sale at the start of the month, along with a limited edition aftershave called Eau De Stark.
Combining existing military electronics and incorporating new, highly experimental technology, Firebox has created a safe-mode version, giving consumers an opportunity to truly feel like Ironman, without the hassles of saving mankind.
Modified for consumer use, the suit has been stripped of all weapons technology, but flight mode and the integrated sensory systems are all still fully functioning. For legal reasons a full waiver must also be signed, indemnifying Firebox in the unlikely event of injury or appearance of arch-nemeses.
The suit was made available for public purchase on April 1, 2013 and comes with a five to six-month delivery time.
Firebox also launched a cologne called Eau De Stark.
Distilling the very essence of Iron Man it combines wit, intelligence, courage and arrogance to create the ultimate fragrance for anyone aspiring to be a "genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist".
Each bottle is crafted from recycled pieces of used versions of the Mark XLVII suit worn by Robert Downey Jr in the film.
An extremely limited run of 100 bottles actually contains a single drop of Robert Downey Jr's sweat, collected under sterile conditions during the filming of Iron Man 3.
Hugh Jackman talks Jean Grey role in The Wolverine; Banshee not returning in X-Men Days of Future Past
So said director James Mangold on his Twitter page as he unleashed first a 'Tweaser' - his phrase for a Twitter video teaser - and then the full two-minute teaser trailer for Hugh Jackman's next solo mutant adventure The Wolverine.
Both videos are included here, along with a set of four new images that were released by 20th Century Fox.
The essence of the story appears to be that Wolverine is feeling the burden of the immortality granted by his mutant healing powers (and helped a lot by the protection of his adamantium-coated skeleton). And then someone offers to make him mortal again.
Visible in the Tweaser is Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, who died in X-Men: The Last Stand but is obviously still very much on Logan's mind in what appears to a hazy dream sequence or hallucination.
The story of The Wolverine is set after The Last Stand so it seems unlikely that Jean Grey will be back in the flesh - but then again she is the Phoenix, named after the mythical bird of rebirth and resurrection, so we can't be sure.
Back in September 2012, Patrick Stewart blurted out the names of several X-Men co-stars he believed were returning to the franchise for the next ensemble, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and among those he mentioned was Famke Janssen.
While Janssen's cameo in The Wolverine was already rumoured some time ago, there's been no news yet of Famke appearing in Days of Future Past.
In the full teaser for The Wolverine, there's the same brief glimpse of Wolverine and Jean in an embrace. We also get a look at Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as the villainous Viper, at one point appearing to shed her skin like a snake.
It seemed to delight Svetlana who was evidently seeing finished footage for the first time. She tweeted to James Mangold and Hugh Jackman: "Guys! I watched the trailer! OMG! It's awesome! You are amazing;)! Proud that I was working with you!"
The teaser also shows us Rila Fukushima as red-haired ninja Yukio and Will Yun Lee as the armoured Silver Samurai. We haven't yet seen much of Mariko Yashida (played by Tao Okamoto), the woman Wolverine becomes romantically involved with in the comic book on which the movie is based.
Giving a little more information on the teaser, Jackman spoke to MTV.
On Viper, he said: "Viper is a badass, for someone who plays Wolverine, who is pretty badass. She's not your girl next door. You're going to end up kind of loving every minute she has on screen."
Speaking about the fight atop the bullet train, Jackman said: "It is insane. It was insane to shoot it. It was, again, one of those brilliant ideas. One of the most emblematic things about Japan is the bullet train. I can't go on the bullet train without any incident.
"It was hairy, shooting that stuff. To recreate what that is like, the kind of winds at 300 miles per hour, let me just say, looking back at some of the footage, I thought 'It's time for a facelift.' "
And on Jean Grey, he adds: "There's no doubt that the most important relationship in his life is - we've seen through the movies - is his relationship with Jean Grey. Yes, we saw her die at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand, but in this movie, she has a presence, which I think is vital to the movie, particularly for him confronting the most difficult thing within himself."
The appearance of Jean Grey in Days of Future Past - either Famke Janssen's version or a younger incarnation - may look a little more likely with tonight's confirmation that Caleb Landry Jones is not reprising his role as the sonically-powered Banshee, introduced to viewers in X-Men: First Class..
Bryan Singer has only announced four returning characters from First Class: Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult). We reported that none of the Hellfire Club villains were coming back, and it seemed likely that Banshee and Havok (Lucas Till) weren't part of Days of Future Past either because they hadn't been in any of Singer's casting updates.
This would leave just Beast in the 1970s X-Men, making it feasible that more team members will be recruited. Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm would be the most obvious contenders.
It may sound like a large roster of characters to juggle but James McAvoy isn't worried about it.
He told EW.com: "I think it's different because it's melding two franchises, kind of the new blood and the old blood, which will be exciting in itself. I think that it does what X-Men movies always do really well, which is take a large amount of characters and it makes room for them all rather brilliantly.
"I think the other thing [fans] can expect is to be satisfied. I think some of the requests that fans have been making for years have been met. But also, there will be some surprises as well. I think they're going to be nicely surprised by a couple of things."
The Wolverine is released on July 26, 2013, and X-Men: Days of Future Past on July 18, 2014.
The official synopsis of The Wolverine is as follows:
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan.
Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
The tweaser. vine.co/v/bDExaiMjJ1F— James Mangold (@mang0ld) March 25, 2013
Geek Gossip: Evil Dead's cinema terror, Panic in 703 prepares to shoot, Frankie Howerd's House in Nightmare Park back on the market
And in anticipation of the remake's arrival on British screens, Studiocanal and Vue Entertainment have teamed up to offer interactive photo-booth experiences in the foyers of some London cinemas.
This evening was the turn of North Finchley Vue Cinema, tomorrow (April 12) the activity is at Westfield Shepherds Bush Vue Cinema from 4.30pm to 8pm and on Saturday (April 13) it moves to Islington Vue Cinema from 2pm to 6pm.
There's also a cryptic challenge called The Cursed Word, which you can find on the official Facebook page.
Pages of The Book Of The Dead which contain parts of a 'cursed word' have been hidden. Players need to find all the pieces and translate the word into English for a chance to win a range of prizes including a Book Of The Dead iPad, iPad minis, signed Bruce Campbell goodies, a Zombie Evacuation experience day and horror DVDs.
From the producers of the original cult horror classic, this remake sees five twenty-something friends holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon dormant demons which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.
At Risk Entertainment tells The Geek Files its upcoming thriller Panic in 703 is now in pre-production and will shoot in Los Angeles and Michigan. The company is rumoured to be in talks with actor Johnny Williams (Goodfellas, The Whole Ten Yards), and other talent.
Larry Simmons (Locked in a Room) will be directing and producing along with Emerson Rogers Jr and Brian Lassiter.
"I look forward to working with Emerson and Brian, who have also been long time friends of mine on this wonderful picture", said Simmons.
Independent UK film and home entertainment label Network Distributing has shown its commitment to classic homegrown cinema by acquiring the rights to 450 British titles from Studiocanal.
The titles include some of the most significant works from studios including Associated Talking Pictures, Ealing, London Films, British Lion, Associated British Picture Corporation and EMI.
The first film to benefit is The House in Nightmare Park, released on DVD on April 8.
Comedy legend Frankie Howerd stars as the victim of sinister shenanigans in this wacky parody of seventies British horror films.
From the director of Demons of the Mind and also starring Hugh Burden and Oscar winner Ray Milland, The House in Nightmare Park is now available for the first time in a brand-new transfer from original film elements in its cinema aspect ratio.
Paramount Pictures and MGM Studios today announced several new members have signed on to the movie Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Brett Ratner.
The new cast members are Ian McShane (above; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jack The Giant Slayer, Snow White and the Huntsman), Rufus Sewell (below; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, American Horror Story, Camelot, FlashForward), Rebecca Ferguson (The BBC's The White Queen), Aksel Hennie (Headhunters) and John Hurt (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
The film is set to begin production in May.
Based on Radical Studio's graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, the ensemble action film is a revisionist take on the classic myth set in a grounded world where the supernatural does not exist. The screenplay is by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos.
Producers are Beau Flynn, Barry Levine and Brett Ratner; executive producers are Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey and Jesse Berger.
"We are thrilled to surround Dwayne with an ensemble cast featuring legendary actors as well as some of the finest emerging talents working today," said Jonathan Glickman, MGM Motion Picture Group President.
"We are anxious to get production under way on what promises to be a high-action film that works around the globe."
Hercules marks the reinvigorated MGM's second original project, in addition to the previously announced film The Machine, with Vin Diesel, scheduled to begin production later this year.
The studio has several films slated for release this year including another Paramount partnership with G.I. Joe: Retaliation set for release on March 28, Carrie with Sony's Screen Gems due on October 18 and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug with New Line/Warner Bros set for December 13.
Hercules will be released by Paramount Pictures on August 1, 2014.
First look at Viper in costume in The Wolverine, plus new posters and images as we count down to trailer
New images from The Wolverine have finally given us the first proper look at one of the other key characters apart from Hugh Jackman's metal-clawed mutant.
The pictures unveiled by 20th Century Fox via Entertainment Weekly show Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova in a green costume (similar to her look in the comics) as Viper. We previously had a glimpse of the character in some set pictures from Japan. Now we just need a look at the film's other villain, Silver Samurai.
Director James Mangold said of his interpretation of Viper: "As her name would imply, she's kind of snakelike. She likes to play with toxins. She's immune to toxins. She's kind of formidable.
"Viper views Logan like a great hunter might view hunting a lion. There's kind of an admiration, a desire to destroy and a desire to consume and to have and to hold."
Jessica Biel and Amanda Seyfried were also considered for the role of Viper. Biel was offered the part but a deal couldn't be reached so she dropped out.
It was also once rumoured that Psylocke was originally going to be in the film and that Indian actress Priyanka Chopra was considered for the role, but she was written out of the script.
We have also been sent three new images and a new poster (all featured below) for the movie, which comes out in July.
The poster shows Wolverine in a city of crumbling buildings and cracked streets, a scene of destruction that wouldn't normally be associated with the more personal journey of the comic book story on which the film is based. Unless this is some sort of hint at the next X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, which is set partly in a dystopian future.
Director James Mangold says the first trailer is coming in a few days, promising a Twitter teaser on March 26 and then a full teaser online on March 27 and in cinemas this weekend with G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.
Jackman said: "I love the idea of this kind of anarchic character, the outsider, being in this world full of honour and tradition and customs; someone who's really anti all of that, and trying to negotiate his own way.
"The idea of the samurai too, and the tradition there - it's really great. In the comic book he gets his ass kicked by a couple of samurai - not even mutants."
Comics legend Chris Claremont, whose stories are the basis of The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past, said he is expecting some changes from the source material.
He told Comic Book Resources: "The sad reality of Hollywood, especially as it relates to comic books, is that there is never a direct adaptation of source material. I think Watchmen was maybe the only time that that was tried.
"The Wolverine was a project that the producer, Lauren Shuler Donner, has wanted to do ever since I've known her, which is going on better than fifteen years, now. She's loved the story that Frank Miller and I did and has wanted to bring it to the screen. In the story's original incarnation, in Christopher McQuarrie's original screenplay, that was what it was and it was really cool. I mean, I read it; it was good.
"This is when Darren Aronofsky was going to direct, and then, after last year's Oscars, he decided he had other things that were more pressing and withdrew from the project. The new director came in wanting to bring his own writing crew on the project, wanting to express his own vision, and it has, as I understand, morphed somewhat considerably from the original story.
"I believe there's a photograph, for example, of Hugh Jackman with the bone claws. That's really cool, it looks great, but that's not in my story. So I would assume it has morphed considerably. We'll find out this summer."
On the next X-Men team movie, he said: "There was a report online that Bryan Singer was talking about integrating Apocalypse into the Days of Future Past storyline, which would obviously be a significant evolution from the original material.
"Again, this is the nature of Hollywood, or as it seems to approach Marvel product. There is a tremendous amount of synergy between existing concepts and the finished film product. It's never a straight, you know, 'This week we do 'Harry Potter 1,' next week we do Harry Potter 2, the week after we do Harry Potter 3,' building up to the end. Which from the point of view, purely as a writer, one's reaction is, 'Goddarn it.'"
He added: "The reality of the situation is, these guys are professionals, they're filmmakers, they presumably know what they're doing and that's the way it is.
"Hopefully the end result will be really good and something that all involved will be proud of. Bryan and Lauren have certainly pulled together, at this point, one crackerjack cast. Not only the existing actors from X-Men: First Class, but pretty much all the key players from the X-Men films. I'm looking forward very much to seeing what comes out of it - next year."
The Wolverine is released on July 26, 2013. X-Men: Days of Future Past arrives on July 18, 2014.
Geek Gossip: Jurassic Park 4 gets surprising director, Dave Bautista wrestles role of Drax in Marvel's Guardians
There has been surprise and something of a mixed reaction online at the news that Colin Trevorrow is to direct Jurassic Park 4.
Frank Marshall, who will produce the movie alongside Steven Spielberg, announced on Twitter that he was "thrilled to have...an exciting young filmmaker who understands and respects the world that is Jurassic Park."
Trevorrow (above) made his feature film debut in 2012 with comedy drama Safety Not Guaranteed, which has won five awards.
It might seem a monster leap to Jurassic Park's prehistoric carnage but Safety Not Guaranteed did have sci-fi elements of time travel as a plot device.
While some think Trevorrow will bring something new and different to re-energise the dinosaur franchise, others feel it's an odd choice and a big risk not to go for someone with sci-fi blockbuster experience.
But with Spielberg still on board as an executive producer, there shouldn't be too much cause for concern.
On the thinking behind the hiring of Trevorrow, Deadline said: "He met with the studio and filmmakers, and they felt he was a good match for the material, having grown up a huge fan of the trilogy and part of a new generation of directors steeped in all things dinosaur. They felt he would preserve and protect the characters in the story they created."
No casting has yet been announced, but with a release date set for June 13, 2014, there will no doubt be more news soon as Trevorrow prepares for the creature feature to roar into life later this year.
The screenplay is by Rise of the Planet of the Apes writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, chosen for their franchise-reviving abilities.
Also gearing up for filming is Marvel Studios' adaptation of its cosmic comic Guardians of the Galaxy.
Dave Bautista (above) - a mixed martial artist and former WWE wrestler - is to play Drax the Destroyer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He joins Chris Pratt, previously announced for the role of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. These are the only two actors attached to the project so far.
It won't be Bautista's screen debut. He was previously in several direct-to-video releases including The Scorpion King 3, and will appear in Riddick, the third instalment in Vin Diesel's sci-fi series, which is set for release in September 2013.
Bautista has won four WWE World Heavyweight titles titles and two WWE Championship titles.
He appears to have wrestled the Drax role from Jason Momoa, the star of the recent Conan the Barbarian reboot (a box office dud earning $49million on a $90million budget) who was previously reported to have been cast as the character.
American actors Isaiah Mustafa and Brian Patrick Wade were also rumoured to be in contention. Mustafa is a keen comic book fan who portrayed Marvel's superstrong Luke Cage in a Marvel web short inspired by the actor's Old Spice commercials.
Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled to hit cinemas in August 2014.