Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the action from the movie superhero world, which was of course dominated last time out by the first-look images of Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger and Andrew Garfield in the as yet Untitled Spider-Man Reboot. We thought that Warner Bros. wouldn’t want their DC characters left in the shade for too long and sure enough, after more Marvel character reveals earlier in the week (whcih we’ll come to later), they fired back with some juicy details on The Dark Knight Rises. Specifically, that Anne Hathaway would be following Michelle Pfeiffer (oh, and Lee Meriwether) in bringing Selina Kyle to the big screen while Tom Hardy would be portraying Bane, the man responsible for breaking the Bat in the classic story arc Knightfall.
So, Hathaway has landed one of the two leading roles that director Christopher Nolan had earmarked, although there was no specific details in the official press release on whether Selina would take on the guise of her alter-ego, the feisty feline Catwoman. It seems a bit odd that she wouldn’t (at least at some point), but would make sense if the rumours of Talia al Ghul’s inclusion prove true. The likes of Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley, Jessica Biel and Keira Knightly were said to be testing and must all still be in contention for the remaining female lead. With the rather surprising decision to go with Bane as the villain, I’m thinking Talia is probably a lock given their association in the comics and I wouldn’t bet against Tom Hardy’s real-life missus Charlotte Riley bagging the role.
Turning to Bane, his inclusion could be a great move as he really does have huge movie potential. Obviously Nolan wouldn’t have turned to an actor such as Hardy just to stick him in a mask and muscle suit a la Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, and while I’m eager to see what Nolan will do with the character I hope he retains some of Bane’s look from the comics. And as to whether he’ll deliver the old back-breaker, it would be nice to see a Knightfall influence in the story but I’d be very surprised if Nolan chooses to finish up his trilogy with Batman in a wheelchair. I do however foresee a pretty hefty beat-down in store for Christian Bale’s Dark Knight that will probably see him out of action for a portion of the film, and I’m thinking Michael Caine’s Alfred will be lucky to see it through to the end credits.
A couple of other Bat-related snippets this week; first up is word that Black Swan and The Wolverine director Darren Aronofsky has been talking to Clothes on Film about bringing his proposed Batman: Year One reboot out as a graphic novel, with the possibility of it eventually making its way to the screen. Now I’m a big fan of Aronofsky and I’m sure he could do a good job on Batman but not with this script, please (if you’ve ever read about it, you’ll probably be inclined to agree). However, perhaps talk of Nolan’s departure is premature with Christian Bale revealing to Empire that he wouldn’t be against returning to the cowl for a fourth outing should the director choose to continue.
Elsewhere, shokxone-studios also delivered a rather splendid fan poster for The Dark Knight Rises earlier this week (I’m guessing you’ve already seen at the top of this article), while our very own Trevor Hogg had a nice chat to editor Lee Smith about The Dark Knight Rises and X-Men: First Class that happened to crop up on a few sites such as /Film, ComicBookMovie, DailyBlam and Filmonic (read the full interview here) and leads us nicely into our next topic…
Despite only being a few months away from release, it wasn’t until this week that we had our first look at the line-up for Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming prequel X-Men: First Class. Going from left to right we have Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) as Magneto, Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later) as Moira MacTaggert, January Jones (Mad Men) as Emma Frost, Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) as Azazel, Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) as Beast, Lucas Till (Battle: Los Angeles) as Havoc, Zoë Kravitz (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) as Mystique, and James McAvoy (Wanted) as Professor Charles Xavier. The leaked image was met with a pretty stiff negative reaction, which led Matthew Vaughn to contact /Film to disown the image and vent his frustration…
“I freaked out on them yesterday. I don’t know where the hell that came from. I don’t think it’s a Fox image. It’s not a pre-approved image. When I found out, I said, what the fuck is this shit, and Fox is running around trying to figure out what happened as well. I agree. It’s like a bad Photoshop, which maybe it was by someone. It didn’t reflect the movie. I was shocked when I saw it. I was like ‘Jesus Christ’…”
I can totally understand his frustration because quite frankly he’s right – it looks shit, especially McAvoy as Professor X. In fact, there are only two things worth admiring in that picture and both of them belong to the White Queen. Meanwhile AICN also got their hands on the official teaser poster courtesy of producer Bryan Singer. Has it done enough to repair the damage? Personally my interest has taken a hit and while it’s not quite down to Green Lantern levels, the trailer will have some work to do to push X-Men: First Class back onto my ‘must-see’ list. However, the premise still sounds great and whatever happens I’m sure it will be an improvement over the rather awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
That’s about it for the main stories this week but there have been a couple of further developments worthy of a mention… THR revealed that both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger will enjoy ad time during Super Bowl XLV on February 6th (along with the likes of Battle: Los Angeles, Cowboys & Aliens, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Priest, Rango, Super 8 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon)… AICN posted some spy pics and footage of Marc Webb’s Spider-Man in production (which kind of reminds me of the old The Amazing Spider-Man TV show) as IGN suggested that there’ll be no place in the reboot for J. Jonah Jameson… and finally it seems that Marvel Studios are looking to increase their upcoming slate with the news this week that documentary scribe Mark Bailey has been hired to pen a screenplay for Black Panther, while Don Cheadle announced to MTV that a War Machine movie is also in the works, although he’s unlikely to show up in Joss Whedon’s superhero ensemble The Avengers.