The Week in Spandex – Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Rises, X-Men: First Class and more

Our weekly round-up of all the talking points from the world of movie superheroes…

We start things off this week with the news that character actor Michael Shannon (The Runaways, Jonah Hex, Boardwalk Empire) has signed on to Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel as bearded baddie General Zod, a role made famous by Terence Stamp in the original Superman and Superman II. Shannon won the part against rumoured competition from the likes of Viggo Mortensen and Edgar Ramirez and his casting seems to have been met with a positive response from the fan community. Shannon joins a cast that so far includes Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, and he had a few words about meeting with Snyder and Cavill in a short interview posted earlier this week.

Sticking with Metropolis for a moment and LatinoReview posted some potential spoilers from a ‘reliable source'; concerning the film’s Batman Begins-style approach, Man of Steel will go into some detail retreading – sorry, rebooting – Superman’s origin and includes both Kal-El’s Kryptonian parents (with Daniel Day-Lewis having been under consideration for Jor-El as opposed to Zod) and his infant homeworld, which is apparantly going to look a bit like Coruscant. Oh, and the female villain – yes, the one Lindsay Lohan has been linked to – isn’t Ursa, but rather Faora, the comic-book character that served as the inspiration for Zod’s ‘right hand bitch’. If the past few weeks are anything to go by, expect more Man of Steel announcements tomorrow.

Moving on and Christopher Nolan continues to populate the cast of The Dark Knight Rises, with Variety reporting that a trio of actors are up for supporting roles. Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me, Grey’s Anatomy) is tapped to portray a ‘courageous special forces operative’ and Diego Klattenhoff (Mean Girls, Lucky Number Slevin) a ‘rookie cop looking to make a difference’, with Burn Gorman (Layer Cake, Torchwood) also said to be under consideration for an unspecified part. Furthermore, Lost’s Richard Alpert – a.k.a. Nestor Carbonell – is in talks to reprise his role as the Mayor from The Dark Knight and should negotiations go smoothly they’ll join a burgeoning cast that includes Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Juno Temple, Josh Pence and – if and when they finally get around to confirming it – Marion Cottilard.

The first superhero movie of the summer hits this weekend as Marvel Studios’ Thor receives its world premiere in Sydney, Australia. We’ve been inundated with promotional material over the past month and the marketing machine continues to roll on with the release of a couple of cool Thor apps and a behind-the-scenes featurette that features the thoughts of Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Kenneth Branagh, along with a brief glimpse into the world of Asgard. Finally, if you’re interested in spoiling yourself further, AICN posted a pretty good breakdown of the Thor footage show at the Kapow Comic-Con in London last weekend.

Elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and with filming about to commence on The Avengers, we’re starting to get a few scraps of information about Joss Whedon’s upcoming superhero ensemble. Hemsworth and Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Chris Evans had a few words about the scale of the project, promising that there’ll be “plenty of conflict” between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, while Mark Ruffalo suggested in an interview that his version of the Hulk could be sporting a full-on gamma-enhanced chest rug. And, looking further ahead, Captain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely spoke to MTV and briefly touched upon their approach to the post-Avengers Cap sequel.

Another franchise planning well in advance is Fox’s X-Men; in addition to a host of spin-offs (more on those in a second), X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn and producer Bryan Singer talked to Total Film about possibilities for the remainder of the proposed trilogy, including shifting the action to the 70s and 80s for the next two installments. Meanwhile Harry Knowles over at AICN got word that Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones was set to meet with Fox about stepping into Darren Aronofsky’s shoes on The Wolverine, despite a reported lack of interest in the project. Finally, it’s also been announced that Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool project is now going by the name of X-Men Origins: Deadpool, which begs a couple of questions: a) haven’t we already seen Deadpool’s (hideous) origin in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?; and b) why on earth would they want to associate the new film with that disappointing mess, especially when it’s meant to be a reboot of the character?

And the best of the rest…

…A while back we heard that Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) remained attached to their live-action Ant-Man feature for Marvel Studios, and speaking at the Kapow Comic-Con last weekend the pair confirmed that they had just delivered a second draft of the screenplay…

…Could Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy have competition for Andrew Garfield’s affections in The Amazing Spider-Man? SuperHeroHype discovered a casting call for an “actress to portray beautiful red-headed teenage girl for featured background”, which immediately opens up the possibility of a cameo by Mary Jane Watson…

…Oscar-nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, Daredevil) is close to a deal to lend his voice to Kilowog in Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern, joining a cast that includes Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Temuera Morrison, Taika Waititi and recent addition Geoffrey Rush…

…And finally, THR have announced that Bradley Cooper (The A-Team, Limitless) has started negotiations with Relativity Media to star in their remake of The Crow, which is of course based on James O’Barr’s gritty underground comic series. The project seems to be coming together quickly, with Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) coming on board just last week and production expected to get underway later this year.

Gary Collinson

  • Eddie

    I think having Daniel Day Lewis as JOR-EL, is the best freaking idea I've ever heard!!!!

  • flickeringmyth

    Yeah, he'd be great although can't see him doing it unfortunately.