The Week in Spandex – The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Spawn, Kick-Ass 2, Before Watchmen, Daredevil, Arrow and more…

Our weekly round-up of the big news stories from the world of movie superheroes…

As we await the expected arrival of a brand new trailer for The Avengers next week, a couple of new images from Joss Whedon’s superhero ensemble have made their way online – one of which depicts Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) together and the other featuring Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) – and Tom Hiddleston spoke to Total Film (via ComicBookMovie) about Loki’s battles with Cap and The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Meanwhile Quint over at AICN reported on the early buzz for the epic team-up: “Word ’round the campfire is Marvel considers The Avengers to be their best outing yet. I’ve talked to some cynics in the group who weren’t sure it was going to come together and they’re all doing their mea culpas now. They say it has the heart, the action, the humor and the suspense a movie like The Avengers should have. The only criticisms I’ve heard is that Whedon’s eye isn’t as cinematic as it should be, but that the rest of the movie is so good that you accept it.”

Although Batman fans continue to suffer through a drought of juicy info from The Dark Knight Rises camp, composer Hans Zimmer took a few moments to discuss his work on the score for the upcoming Bat-blockbuster with Hero Complex, and also passed on his thoughts about director Christopher Nolan’s penchant for secrecy: “Well, I think that there are two elements to this. One is, I think, to be able to do really good work, you have to have the chance to fail in privacy. And if everybody’s watching you on the Internet, I think it stifles creativity. And I think The Dark Knight is the perfect example of this idea. Everybody knew we were making a Batman movie. But until it came out they didn’t know it was going to be that sort of a Batman movie… And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? We’re supposed to go and surprise you. And part of the experience has to be a surprise. It feels a little bit like we’re working very hard at protecting part of what is great about movies — the surprise. Because it seems like the world doesn’t want you to do that anymore. They want to know everything, they want to know about the stars and [this and that] immediately. And it’s not important to us. To us, really, the thing is the writing and the script and the ideas and the journey, and making it into something really good.” Be sure to check out the full article for more.

During an interview with Total Film (via CBM again), The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield described the approach of the Marc Webb-directed reboot, distancing the film from that of Christopher Nolan’s take on Gotham City: “We haven’t gone for gritty, we’ve gone for grounded. If we try and make Batman, we’ll fail. The new Batman is its own thing – and also in terms of tone, Spider-Man is nothing like that character. Spider-Man is witty, Spider-Man is a kid, Spider-Man wants to have fun, he’s a teenager and he needs to go through first love and piss around.” Elsewhere Rhys Ifans spoke to Empire Magazine (via CBM yet again!) about his role as Dr. Curt Connors / The Lizard, while Bollywood actor Irffan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire) also touched upon his experience on the film in a chat with ZeeNews, stating that: “It was wonderful working with Marc Webb… He is a fabulous director. Adapting a costume was not difficult but the way he approached me, the respect he showered on me is very rarely seen.” Irrfan has been cast as ‘Dr. Ratha’, although his character was initially announced as ‘Van Atter’ and is widely assumed to be a renamed Nels Van Adder, a.k.a. Proto Goblin. Whoever he is, Khan’s mention of a ‘costume’ seems to indicate that we’ll be seeing the doctor in something a little more elaborate that an Oscorp labcoat.

Wrapping up the best of the rest…

…With Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance now in cinemas, screenwriter Todd Farmer has given fans a glimpse of what might have been by posting an early treatment for the Ghost Rider sequel that was penned by Farmer and his writing partner, director Patrick Lussier. Entitled Ghost Rider 2: Riders on the Storm, the project and would have reteamed the duo with their Drive Angry star Nicolas Cage, had it not been rejected by Marvel’s Avi Arad for being “too violent” that is. Would it have been any better than Spirit of Vengeance? I’ll leave that for you to decide…

…And, in another case of what might have been, director McG spoke to The Playlist about his ideas for the ultimately aborted Superman reboot Superman: Flyby, which was based on a screenplay by J.J. Abrams and eventually fell apart in 2004 due to McG’s reluctance to film in Sydney, Australia: “We had Robert Downey Jr. locked up to be Lex Luthor, which I think would have been extraordinary. Ironically, we liked Henry Cavill a lot [for Superman], but we hadn’t cast him yet.” Meanwhile, in other Superman news, the alleged trailer description for Man of Steel that popped up online last week has (thankfully) been shot down as a fake, but a short teaser trailer is still expected to accompany The Dark Knight Rises this July…

…During an interview with Newsarama, Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane provided an update on his plans for a new Spawn movie: “We just had another conversation where I talked about clearing my schedule for a month and just going away and getting out of the office to finish [the screenplay] up. Because I just keep nibbling it, but I don’t get tunnel vision on it like I should have. People are still interested in it. An Academy Award-winning actor came out to the offices and said, ‘Todd, I want to be in it, so get that thing done.’ He calls me once a week going, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!’ So we’ll get that thing off the ground…”

…Despite the fact that director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman have ruled themselves out of a sequel to 2010’s Kick-Ass, Marc Millar told The Daily Record that cameras will roll on Kick-Ass 2 this summer (along with an adaptation of his comic book series American Jesus), while he also plans to reteam with Vaughn to produce another ‘Millarwold’ adaptation, The Secret Service, based upon the upcoming collaboration between Millar and Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons…

…On the subject of Watchmen, Ozymandias himself, Matthew Goode, has revealed his excitement over the controversial prequels to Alan Moore’s seminal tale and indicated that he’d be keen to reprise his role should a screen adaptation of Before Watchmen ever come to fruition: “Whether Zack Snyder would be involved in it again I don’t know, he’s pretty busy. I’m quite excited to see what they come up with. In some senses, my character was the one character where everyone else gets a bigger chunk of back story. I’d quite like to know what was going on. See if I was right about some of the choices I made…”

…Earlier in the week, Moviehole suggested that John Carter and X-Men Origins: Wolverine star Taylor Kitsch was under consideration for the role of Matt Murdock in Fox’s proposed reboot of Daredevil, only for the rumour to be promptly shot down by director David Slade via Twitter. Kitsch has also distanced himself from a return to the character of Gambit, although in all fairness there was probably zero chance of that happening anyway…

…Fans of DC’s animated offerings might want to check out a couple of new clips [see here and here] from Warner Premiere’s latest animated feature Justice League: Doom, which hits stores in North America on February 28th, 2011 and features a voice cast of DC Animated regulars such as Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tim Daly (Superman), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Nathan Fillion (Green Lantern), Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter) and Michael Rosenbaum (The Flash). Meanwhile, DC Nation debuts on Cartoon Network on March 3rd and you can check out a 30 second commercial for Green Lantern: The Animated Series here, along with a Plastic Man short and two clips from Young Justice over at ComicVine

…More names have been added to the cast of the CW network’s Arrow pilot, with Brian Markinson (Caprica, The Killing) said to have secured the role of the corrupt businessman and antagonist Adam Hunt, and Colin Donnell (Pan Am) coming on board as Tommy Merlyn, who will presumably follow the path of the comic books in becoming the villainous Merlyn the Magician, should the project get picked up as a series, that is. Previously announced as starring in the pilot are Katie Cassidy as Dinah Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / Green Arrow; take a look at what Amell had to say about the project in this video interview from the actor’s Facebook page…

…And finally, we end with a trailer for Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s (Going on 13) upcoming documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, which traces the evolution of DC’s Wonder Woman character. The film is set to premiere next month at SXSW and features contributions from Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman) and former Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter among others. Take a look…


Gary Collinson

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Around the Internet…

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