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Ben Affleck Out As Batman

As the DC Extended Universe continues to dissolve into disarray, Ben Affleck confirmed that he would no longer be donning the cowl of the caped crusader.

The news came Wednesday afternoon when Deadline broke the story about Warner Bros.’ upcoming The Batman spinoff, which is going to be written and directed by War of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves. Reeves joined the production in Feb. 2017 after Affleck previously abandoned the project as its former writer and director, and for a long time, it was rumored Affleck was considering leaving the role altogether.

Now Affleck has confirmed it over Twitter: he will not be Batman for the upcoming third reboot of the superhero.

“Excited to see ‘The Batman’ in summer 2021 and to see [Matt Reeves’] vision come to life,” Affleck tweeted along with a link to the Deadline story.

It remains to be seen whether the decision to leave the Batman role was Affleck’s or Warner Bros.’. The actor and the studio reportedly had several creative differences over the project when Affleck first took over as director in 2017, and since then Affleck has seemed increasingly disinterested in the role and the baggage that came with it (hey, look at DC fans’ reactions whenever Affleck was first cast as Batman. You’ll see what I’m talking about).

It’s also unclear whether Affleck is permanently vacating the role or is simply taking a break from it. Reeves’ version of The Batman is reportedly focusing on a younger version of Batman during the earlier days of his career, and one of his inspirations on the project is even Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One.” At 46 years old, it would be very difficult to take Affleck’s features and make him look more like his 20’s, even with the strides we’ve made in de-aging special effects over the past several years.

Either way, I think Affleck stepping away from this role was a good move, both for himself and Warner Bros. It’s very clear that Affleck was getting drained from all of the superhero hype that comes with fandom culture, and it was evident enough in his run-of-the-mill performances in DC’s Suicide Squad and Justice League that the job was taking a toll on him. Taking a break from the role might give him the reinvigoration he needs to come back and do it even better in a future installment, or even walking away from it altogether will force Affleck and Warner Bros. to work on bigger, better things for themselves.

Either way, DC is in the market for its sixth Batman. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get tired of these reboots.

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see a new Batman in 2021, or do you think it was too soon for Batfleck to hang up his cape? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Deadline, Heroic Hollywood
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Marvel Legend Stan Lee passes away at 95 

COURTESY: JONATHAN ALCORN/BLOOMBERG

Marvel’s real-life superhero has passed away. 

Stan Lee, the comic book writer, editor, and publisher responsible for several Marvel Comics characters, passed away Monday morning. He was 95 years old. 

Working with notable comic book artists including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee helped launch several Marvel Comic icons throughout his career, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and perhaps most notably Spider-Man. Even when he retired in 1972, he never stopped expanding his universe, becoming a public figure for Marvel and making cameos in several movies, including Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6, and Mallrats. 

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers,” Stan Lee previously told The Washington Post. “And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

Stan Lee was a beloved comic-book icon who had helped bring several heroes to life through the pages of his comic books and his movies. He will be deeply missed by all of his fans.

1922 – 2018 

– David Dunn 

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, The Washington Post

Henry Cavill Is Hanging Up His Superman Cape

The man of steel is no more.

After talks broke down between Superman actor Henry Cavill and Warner Bros. to potentially cameo in DC’s upcoming movie Shazam!, Cavill has parted ways with Warner Bros. and has, for now at least, put his superheroing days behind him.

“Superman is like James Bond,” remarked one studio representative. “After a certain run, you have to look at new actors.”

Yeah, but after five years? That’s not passing the torch; that’s throwing it on the ground before urinating all over it. What in the name of Hera is going on?

Note: Yes, I know the Spider-Man movies transitioned between three different actors in less than 10 years. I thought that was stupid as well.

To be clear, nobody knows what exactly happened between Warner Bros. and Henry Cavill while negotiations were going on, and people are equally clueless on what this means for the man of steel’s cinematic future. Some say Cavill left due to scheduling conflicts, which make sense since he was recently cast in Netflix’s upcoming series “The Witcher.” Others say it’s because Warner Bros. does not have a Superman sequel scheduled on its slate through 2020.

Or it’s the more likely reason that the DC Extended Universe has become completely bonkers and Cavill has become tired by it.

Honestly, whether Cavill left voluntarily or was forced out, I can’t blame the guy either way. Both Batman V. Superman and Justice League failed spectacularly in staying true to the character, turning him from the shining beacon of Christopher Reeve-hope he once was into a super-punching jock so generic that Mighty Mouse could be taken more seriously.

Whatever happened behind closed doors, I am disappointed by Cavill’s departure since he was one of my favorite aspects of the DCEU (I actually rated Man of Steel as my sixth favorite DC Comics film last year). Regardless I am happy Cavill is going to be able to put this part of his career behind him, and I hope he goes on to shine in spectacular blockbuster roles and continues to be successful at the box office.

By the way, his most recent film Mission Impossible: Fallout was not only the best Mission Impossible movie but it also arguably featured one of the best Henry Cavill performances. Yes, that includes his appearances as Superman.

What do you guys think? Are you sad to see Henry Cavill hang up the cape, or are you glad to see him go up, up, and away? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes

Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift Join ‘Cats’

Cats like Taylor Swift, like, a lot. And no, I’m not talking about Olivia and Meredith.

COURTESY: @taylorswift

In case you didn’t know already, the broadway musical Cats is getting the live-action treatment from director Tom Hooper, whose work ranges from the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, to the operatic Les Miserables, to the daring The Danish Girl. The cast was announced earlier this week, and it is nothing short of spectacular.

First of all, Jennifer Hudson is cast in the lead as Grizabella, the former “Glamour Cat’ of the Jellicle tribe. This in and of itself is exciting, because Hudson has starred in a slew of musicals, including Black Nativity, Sing, and her Oscar-winning performance in 2006’s Dreamgirls.

But that’s not all. The film also casted late night host James Corden, Lord of the Rings and X-Men actor Ian McKellen, and of course Grammy award-winning pop singer Taylor Swift. Cats will be Swift’s fourth film role, with the first three being Valentine’s Day, The Lorax, and The Giver.

Creative Commons

I never saw the Cats musical (I know, I know, I’m ashamed of myself too), but looking at the cast alone, I must say I am very excited for this picture. Hudson and McKellen themselves are incredibly talented dramatic actors, and Corden is a comical force to boot.

I’m even excited for Swift’s inclusion as well. While her former film roles retorted to stupid, silly clichés and included Swift seemingly just for name recognition, Cats looks like it will be the first of her roles to truly utilize her talents as a vocal performer. I’m very excited to see how well she does performing in a musical, even if I’m still lacking confidence in her acting ability. But who knows? Cats might give her the big break she needs in the movies.

What do you guys think? Are you excited for these actors to take on Cats, or do you wish they’d get dragged off of the stage? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Daily Mail, Deadine

Miles Teller Cast As Goose’s Son In ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

SOURCE: Vulture.comMiles Teller is feeling the need for speed.

After waiting over 30 years for a sequel to Tom Cruise’s highly popular Navy action film Top Gun, Paramount Pictures confirmed that a sequel was coming out next year titled Top Gun: Maverick and will be directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion).

But that’s not all they confirmed. They also announced that actor Miles Teller would be playing Goose’s son Bradley in the sequel as well.

Fans of the original Top Gun will remember that Maverick’s best friend Goose, portrayed by Anthony Edwards, died after an ejecting accident in the first movie. Although details for the sequel are kept under wraps, we do know that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are reprising their roles as Maverick and Iceman respectively.

And of course, Teller is involved with the project as well.

Teller is really starting to develop a name for himself as an actor. Making his debut years ago in the 2010 drama film Rabbit Hole, Teller has gone on to star in numerous successful projects, including the coming-of-age film The Spectacular Now, the musical thriller Whiplash, and more recently the military drama Thank You For Your Service. He even collaborated with Kosinski before on the firefighter picture Only The Brave.

All the same, I just don’t see the resemblance between Teller and Anthony Edwards. Other actors in the running included Nicholas Hoult and Glen Powell, and both of them look more similar to Edwards than Teller does. Teller, meanwhile, looks more like Tom Cruise than he does Anthony Edwards.

Granted, looks aren’t everything, and if we’re only looking at talent exclusively, then Teller’s got that in spades. Still, it never hurts to look more like the character you’re related to, and when the movie comes out, that is an obstacle Teller and crew will have to overcome together.

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Teller hop into a fighter jet, or do you wish he would have stayed grounded? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly

Joke’s On You: Joaquin Phoenix Cast As Martin Scorsese’s Joker

We’re going to be getting a lot of Joker for the next several years.

Several projects attributed to Batman’s arch-nemesis has been making its way out of the woodwork for the past several weeks now. For one thing, DCEU confirmed a Joker spinoff following Jared Leto’s portrayal of the character after his debut in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. The character is also reportedly rumored to make an appearance in upcoming movies from DCEU’s slate, including Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, and The Batman.

Beyond that, however, there’s another Joker movie that functions as a prequel and is being produced by Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Wolf of Wall Street) and directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy). The casting for Martin Scorsese’s Joker has just been announced, and it is none other than Walk The Line actor Joaquin Phoenix.

At first glance, this casting seems like an odd choice to play the Joker, especially in a Martin Scorsese production. With roles in movies including I’m Still Here, The Master, and Her, Phoenix is more recently known for playing the introverted, quiet character. He isn’t really known for playing extroverted, animated characters outside of Gladiator and Walk The Line. With that in mind, it seems odd to cast him as a psychotic criminal who wears a purple suit and clown makeup on his face.

That is until you realize this is a Joker prequel, and most of the scenes presumably are going to portray the character before he took on the villainous mantle. Rumored to be loosely adapted on The Killing Joke storyline by Alan Moore which showed the Joker before going on a downward spiral of madness, it’s very possible that Phoenix’s portrayal is just going to be a regular old Joe that has one very bad day that transforms him into the Clown Prince of Crime. Through that scope, Phoenix’s casting is pitch-perfect, and it will be fascinating to see how he slowly turns from a Gotham City everyman into Batman’s greatest nemesis.

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Phoenix become the Joker, or are you going to skip it in favor of Jared Leto’s portrayal? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Independent, Screen Rant

Ewan McGregor Cast In ‘The Shining’ Sequel

Ewan McGregor is having a great year.

First, he’s starring in the titular role of Walt Disney’s upcoming live-action Winnie the Pooh movie Christopher Robin. Then Disney announced an upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, which is potentially looking at McGregor to reprise his popular role. Now he’s being tapped to play the lead in the upcoming sequel to Stephen King’s horror saga, The Shining.

Indiewire first broke the news that McGregor officially signed on for the role of Danny Torrence in Doctor Sleep, which shows what happens to an older Danny and his mother after his father Jack (Jack Nicholson) goes mad in The Shining. Details of the film are still being kept under wraps, however much of it is expected to loosely follow the events of the book which it is based on. It’s also going to be written and directed by horror filmmaker Mike Flanagan, who gained notoriety years earlier for directing the slasher film Hush and Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game.

Ewan McGregor? Stephen King? The Shining? Yes please, sign me up for all of it. Stephen King has had no shortage of success in the film industry, his most successful adaptations including The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, The Mist, Carrie, and more recently It. Hearing that we’re going to get more Stephen King horror goodness is exciting enough on its own. The fact that an actor as talented as McGregor is going to be on board with it is downright heart-stopping.

What do you guys think? Are you excited that McGregor is going to be entering the Stephen King universe, or do you wish they’d leave King’s classics alone? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: IndieWire, Entertainment Weekly

‘Star Wars’ FINALLY Gives Boba Fett His Own Movie

SOURCE: Comic Book Movie

As the opening weekend for Solo: A Star Wars Story quickly approaches, another Star Wars character was added onto the lineup for their own solo feature. That character is none other than the fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Finally.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that not only would Boba Fett get his own feature film, but that it would also be written and directed by James Mangold, whose most recent Wolverine film Logan garnered critical appraise and earned a best screenplay nomination at the Academy Awards. X-Men and Sherlock Holmes screenwriter Simon Kinberg was also listed to produce and co-write the film as well.

Honestly, at this point hearing that a Boba Fett movie is getting made at all is reason enough to be excited. When LucasFilm originally confirmed Rogue One and Han Solo prequels for its spinoff series separate from the main Star Wars storyline, fans were understandably wondering why on Earth the studio didn’t start with a Yoda or Boba Fett prequel, considering that so little is known about those characters to begin with. While wait, Yoda will, for his own solo feature, the fact that Boba Fett is finally put on the drawing board is cause for celebration. Solo: A Star Wars Story tickets, anyone?

But more than that, the fact that they brought on Mangold and Kinberg straight from the get-go is cause enough to take a breath of fresh air and feel assured that the movie is in good hands. Kinberg has been involved in writing and producing several of the X-Men films, from X-Men: First Class all the way to Deadpool 2. His involvement in the production is definitely something to look forward to, but it’s even more exciting knowing that Mangold is going to be the one behind the camera. Besides The Wolverine and Logan, Mangold has also directed several other successful features, including the psychological thriller Identity, the Johnny Cash-biopic Walk The Line, and the western remake 3:10 To Yuma. The guy has a very solid and strong career behind him. With his hands on Boba Fett, there’s no telling where he can take it, besides a galaxy far, far away.

It’s unclear if they will bring back Temuera Morrison to portray Boba Fett for the film, who previously played his father Jango in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. But what do you guys think? Are you excited we’re finally getting a Boba Fett movie? Or do you wish he stayed buried in the stomach of the Sarlacc Pitt? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, IGN

Star-Lord Confirms ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Is Filming Next Year

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.

For those of you still in shock after watching what happened at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, don’t worry. Here’s some news that might pick your spirits up just a little bit.

In a recent Instagram birthday message to co-star Pom Klementieff, Chris Pratt, the actor who plays Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, confirmed that not only is writer-director James Gunn working on the script for the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but that the Guardians will actually begin filming for it next year as well.

For those of you that aren’t confused at reading this, that’s probably because you haven’t watched Avengers: Infinity War yet. With that, this is your last warning.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS : INFINITY WAR.

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos wins against the Avengers, collects all of the Infinity Stones, and uses them to wipe out half of all life in the universe. This includes half of the known superheroes as well, which of course includes the Guardians of the Galaxy. With the exception of Rocket, who remains on Earth with Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, and Thor, the rest of the Guardians disintegrated thanks to the Infinity Gauntlet, including Groot, Mantis, Drax, and Star-Lord.

Since the Guardians were killed at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, however, how is it that they’re all back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? My guess is that their deaths, as well as everyone else’s, will be undone for the sequel Avengers 4. After Thanos wiped out half of the universe in the comic books, Nebula gets ahold of the Infinity Gauntlet and uses the Time Stone to undo everything that Thanos has done up until then. Since the title and premise for Avengers 4 is still being kept heavily under wraps, it’s impossible to know whether the newer movies will follow this storyline or not. Nevertheless, it’s safe to assume it will follow some loose adaptation of the storyline, and that it will lead to the Guardians getting resurrected in time for their third movie.

What do you guys think? Are you excited to see the Guardians come back from the dead, or do you expect the sequel to introduce a new team of Guardians to the Galaxy? Comment below, let me know.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Sceenrant, MovieWeb

The Academy Awards Ousts Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski

Time’s up for Bill Cosby.

After a lengthy court battle that has dragged on since 2015, 80-year old comedian and actor Bill Cosby was declared guilty on three counts of sexual assault. Shortly after his sentencing, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed up by expelling Cosby from their membership, citing its standards of conduct for their expulsion.

“The board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity,” the Academy said in a released statement.

But Cosby was not the only one the Academy expelled from their ranks. Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski was also expelled from the Academy as well, for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in the late 70’s. Polanski is most known for directing Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist, the last of which won him an Oscar for Best Director in 2003.

Given the Academy’s more recent escapade with media mogul and pig excretion Harvey Weinstein, this marks the second time the Academy has taken action against sexual predators working in the entertainment industry. It’s action that has been long overdue. Cosby was first accused of sexual assault in 1980 when the first incidents took place, then again in 2014 after a resurgence of accusers mounted against him. Polanski was charged for his assault in 1977, but fled the country before he could be sentenced.

It took a long time for the Academy to finally respond to these men’s vicious crimes. Better late than never, I suppose.

– David Dunn

SOURCE: Reuters, CBS News
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