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Phil Lord & Chris Miller Still Want To Re-Open Clone High
“We’re working on it…”

It may not have enjoyed the widest audience in the world, but to those who saw it, madcap MTV ‘toon Clone High is still a hilarious treat. Now, Lego Movie/Jump Street duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-created the show with Scrubs man Bill Lawrence, want to bring it back in some fashion.

Clone High, which ran for 13 amazing episodes back in 2002/2003, was set in a high school that also served as a mad military experiment designed to clone famous historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi, with the resulting school-age kids rounded up and sent for education. Sounds weird, was brilliant.

You have to imagine that with the combined clout of their Lego success and the encouraging early figures for 22 Jump Street, Lord and Miller could wrangle almost any project back into existence, with studios clamouring for their magical comedy touch. But as they’ve explained to Collider, it’s really not that easy, even if you have had a run of hit movies.

“We talk very regularly now with Bill every few months or so, we talk about ‘How are we going to get this back in whatever form we can?’” says Miller. “We get our lawyers to talk to each other, and business affairs people to talk to each other. It’s very complicated. It’s very hard because it’s at Viacom/MTV, we have a TV deal at Fox, he has a TV deal at Warner Bros.”

And it’s not just rights issues holding them back. While the trio isn’t sure whether the concept would be best served as a movie or a new TV series, there’s also the question of tone.

“It’s also a tricky thing because we basically made a PG-13 TV series, and if you’re gonna do a movie you wonder, ‘Am I gonna have to justify the budget that it’s gonna take by trying to broaden this to a family audience, and is that gonna kill what was fun about the original thing?’ Because there’s so much blood in the original series. And JFK sex jokes.”

Here’s hoping they manage to pull it off eventually – JFK sex jokes and all.

James White

What We Do In The Shadows sequel is called We’re Wolves

There was plenty of joyful swearwolving when we learned in August last year that What We Do In The Shadows co-directors Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi were planning a follow-up about the loony lycanthrope characters introduced in their vampire comedy. Now we know the film is tentatively titled We’re Wolves.

Previously called What We Do In The Moonlight, the new, even punnier title is still largely under wraps, but will focus on Rhys Darby’s Anton and his polite pack of lycanthropes who try their best to follow a strict code of behaviour, despite the temptation every full moon to turn into howling beasts.

Quite what they’ll be up to is locked in the minds of Clement and Waititi for now, and we’ll have to wait to see it as the latter will be slightly busy working on Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel, when he’s not promoting his latest comedy, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, which just premiered at Sundance and has a trailer online. He also has an idea for the story of a boy in the Hitler Youth during World War II, but that will likely be pushed back further by everything else he has going on. Still: more werewolves? We’re well up for that.

James White

Domhnall Gleeson eyed to play Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne

Whilst Winnie the Pooh has been a pop cultural icon for decades, less has been shown about his creator, AA Milne. My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis is looking to change all that, and has Domhnall Gleeson in talks to play Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin.

The film will follow the relationship of Milne and his son Robin, who became the inspiration for Christopher Robin and whose toys provided the characters for Milne’s most famous work, including Pooh himself, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. It wasn’t always the easiest time for the gather-son duo, but working on creating the residents of Hundred Acre Wood helped with that.

Gleeson himself is much in demand at the moment; currently back in the black coat as the sneering General Hux for Star Wars: Episode VIII, he’s looking to split time between that and playing one of the founders of National Lampoon magazine in Netflix-backed film A Futile And Stupid Gesture. After those are complete, he’s attached to work with his Frank director, Lenny Abrahamson, on the latter’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, and has drug trafficking drama Mena due to arrive on screens in January next year.

James White

Exclusive new trailer and poster for Oscar Isaac’s Mojave

Oscar Isaac had one hell of a 2015, enjoying scene-stealing roles in the likes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ex Machina. 2016 promises to be just as fruitful, with appearances in X-Men: Apocalypse– and now, indie crime thriller Mojave. Empire has an exclusive new look at Mojave’s first trailer and poster.

Set in the Californian desert of the title, it sees Isaac on villainous duties, playing a mysterious drifter named Jack who comes up against depressive artist Thomas, played by Garrett Hedlund.

Mark Wahlberg and Walton Goggins also star in the film, which is being directed by William Monahan, best known for his screenwriting work on the likes of The Departed (for which he won an Oscar),Oblivion and The Gambler.

John Nugent

10 things we learnt from Captain America: Civil War’s commentary

Captain America: Civil War – truly, the Kramer vs. Kramer of superhero movies – has finally arrived on Blu-ray, and unsurprisingly comes packaged with a whole host of juicy special features (including a gag reel, where they all decide to stop fighting and have a bit of a lark about). Among the disc’s treasures is a very interesting and illuminating commentary track from the film’s directing siblings, Joe and Anthony Russo, and its two writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, offering previously untold insights and intuition into the film. Here’s ten of our favourite tidbits.

WARNING: there are spoilers for Captain America: Civil War throughout this article.

1. Zemo was originally chasing the ‘Mind Crown’

The film’s nominal villain, Zemo (Daniel Brühl), spends much of the movie searching for Hydra’s mysterious notebook which activates Bucky (Sebastian Stan) into full-blown Winter Soldier mode. But it twasn’t ever thus. “There were many drafts where they were chasing the ‘mind crown’”, explains the film’s co-writer, Christopher Markus, referring to the Hydra device which fits over Bucky’s head and turns him from docile Dr Jekyll into super-assassin Mr Hyde. “Then someone just said: ‘Couldn’t it just be like a notebook or something?’”

So the writers opted for a considerably lower-tech McGuffin: a notepad containing the Winter Soldier’s trigger words. Co-writer Stephen McFeely says they “picked Russian words that had some chewiness to it”, which included ‘Freight Car’, ‘Benign’, and most intriguingly of all, ‘Homecoming’. A reference to the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, perhaps?

2. Robert Downey Jr. is basically the same age as his screen mother

We first meet Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in a sort of StarkTech holodeck, in which the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist reconstructs his final encounter with his parents. Hope Davis plays baby-faced Tony’s mother, Maria; as observed on the commentary, there’s only a year separating Davis (52) and Downey Jr. (51). It’s thanks to the miracles of CGI that the filmmakers were able to restore RDJ to his youth and make this a more age-appropriate casting.

3. Jaws inspired the confrontation scene

The emotional thrust of Tony Stark’s motivations comes from this early scene, where Iron Man is confronted by a grieving mother – and according to co-director Anthony Russo, it has Spielbergian DNA in it. “This scene is inspired by Jaws – [the scene] when Brody is confronted by the mother of the little boy who is the victim of the shark attack”.

In both films, it’s a brutal guilt trip that spurns the characters on. It falls to veteran actress Alfre Woodard to deliver the crushing blow. According to Joe Russo, “It was Robert’s idea to cast Alfre Woodard, because he knew how important the scene was”.

4. Vision and Wanda will have a “key relationship” in future films

Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) are seen getting cosy at Avengers HQ, and Markus hints that there’s more to come from this pair-up. “This is a key relationship in the movie,” Markus says, “and it’s going to be a key relationship moving forward”. A romantic subplot, perhaps? We can only imagine the children. (In the comics, the unlikely pair do indeed get together, and even marry.)

5. Vision’s clothes are a projection

Vision wears a rather fetching shirt-and-cardigan combo at Avengers HQ, which makes him look like the kind of purple cosmic robot ready for a business conference. According the filmmakers, it’s his attempt to “assimilate” into the real world – but you won’t be able to buy his outfit from Marks & Spencer. “Vision is always naked,” explains Christopher Markus. “Everything is made from his skin. It’s a projection.”

6. Black Panther’s costume is entirely CGI

Chadwick Boseman made his well-received debut as T’Challa/Black Panther in Civil War. While the actor was very much in-the-flesh on set, his costume was brought to screen by computer trickery. “Every frame of Black Panther is a CG outfit,” says Joe Russo. His bulletproof vibranium-weave suit has “certain luminescence to it” which could not be created by real-life materials, and would make it impractical for an actor to wear “without sweating to death,” as Russo puts it. (Plenty of stuff was in-camera, however – the stunt where Bucky grabs the motorcycle, for example, was entirely real.)

7. The other Winter Soldiers are played by the film’s stunt doubles

Late on in the film, it’s revealed that there are five other Winter Soldiers besides Bucky. If you were thinking these actors look to be in incredibly good shape, well, there’s a good reason: they’re played by the film’s own stunt doubles, in a rare occasion where the camera actually shows their faces. The doubles for Cap, Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye all make appearances – and they also choreographed the bloody action scene.

8. Tom Holland was so nervous he forgot his cue

Tom Holland’s spidey-sense failed him slightly in this sparkling introductory scene with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. According to Anthony Russo: “Tom forgot the blocking of the scene. This line about [moving] the leg is Robert, staying in character, telling him: ‘You’re supposed to move now, so I can sit on the bed.’ Not only does he use it, but he uses it in a way that’s really entertaining and fun. That’s such a dexterous and inventive move on an actor’s part.”

So, what could have been a ruined take becomes a true-to-character ad-lib, and one that adds an extra bit of colour to the scene. As Anthony Russo puts it: “You’re never gonna be a better actor than when you’re acting across from Robert Downey Jr.”

9. Yes, that’s the Arrested Development stair car at the airport

Watch out for hop-ons! Eagle-eyed Bluth fans will have already spotted it, but the commentary confirms it: that is indeed the iconic airport stair car from cult sitcom Arrested Development, rebuilt especially for the movie. The Russo brothers – who directed several episodes of the show, including the pilot – couldn’t resist the cameo. “We would have people come and visit the set, and say, ‘Is that the Bluth stair car?’”. Rumours that the stair car has signed a five-picture deal with Marvel Studios are still to be confirmed.

10. Steve Rogers is no longer an Avenger (but probably not Nomad, either)

At the film’s end, Steve Rogers drops his shield, seemingly abandoning his Captain America mantle and the Avengers, writing to Tony Stark that “the Avengers are yours”. Where this leaves the character for future Avengers movies remains to be seen, though the filmmakers teased (tongues sounding very much in cheek) the possibility of Nomad, Captain America’s brief alter-ego which boasted a rather revealing costume.

“All I can say is I cannot wait to put Chris Evans in the Nomad outfit,” chuckles Joe Russo. “There is a lot of character in that chest of Chris’s.”

Noah Brown, John Nugent

From Slipknot To Captain Boomering (And Back Again): Meet The Suicide Squad
All the characters from David Ayer’s villainous superteam explained

Suicide Squad, the second Warner Bros./DC Comics film targeting a 2016 release, represents the companies’ attempt to do something Marvel so far hasn’t: focus on a group of villains rather than heroes. As a concept created in 1959 by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, Suicide Squad is a revolving team of super-villains who carry out missions for the US government in exchange for commuted sentences. Formally titled Task Force X, they’re an unpredictable bunch, but then that was itself predictable, given their largely villainous nature. For those whose first introduction to the characters was the casting of Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto and the rest in the upcoming film adaptation, here is a handy guide to the group that will hit screens on August 5 next year…

Rick Flag Jr./Rick Flagg Jr.

Played in the movie by: Joel Kinnaman

Bio: As with so many comic book characters, there are different incarnations of Flag. The name Rick Flag has been used by three generations, all of them military men, and all linked in some way to a version of Task Force X. The main Flag is described as a former fighter pilot whose brush with death and tragedy – in his case, his entire unit being wiped out – pushed him towards an early attempt at the squad that fared little better. He agreed to lead the squad overseen by Waller and chafed at having to work alongside villains, balking at any idea that he and Deadshot (see below) might be similar. Expect similar conflict in the film, while the presence of Corina Calderon playing a character called Grace points to the potential inclusion of the love of Rick’s life, Karin Grace.

Deadshot

Played in the movie by: Will Smith

Bio: Floyd Lawton has a reputation as the world’s greatest marksman and works as a hired assassin. Thanks to an overpowering death wish, he was willing to kill anyone for the right price, but on the flipside was committed to protecting his estranged ex-wife and daughter. He pre-dates the squad’s birth as he was originally created by Bob Kane, David Vern Reed and Lew Sayre Schwartz in 1950 as a prime villain for Batman. He’s known for his trademark eyepiece and mask, which Smith will be wearing during the film.

The Joker

Played in the movie by: Jared Leto

Bio: He’s the one character in the film who doesn’t need and introduction as he’s been a pop cultural icon since Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane brought him to cackling life as Batman’s primary antagonist in 1940. He’s possibly the most famous comic book villain out there, appearing on TV and whenever Bats has hit the big screen. In the past, the likes of Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have played him, and Leto has a lot to live up to embodying the Clown Prince of Crime, the Jester of Genocide, the Harlequin of Hate, and the Ace of Knaves. He’s usually seen first as a criminal (in the comics, one named Red Hood) who falls into a vat of chemicals that bleaches his skin, colours his hair and renders him insane. It’s unlikely that will be explored here, as, like Ledger before him, Leto’s Joker appears to be fully formed when we meet him. The Joker isn’t a member of the squad itself but rather an inmate at Arkham Asylum that early drafts of the script had Harley Quinn trying to break out.

Harley Quinn

Played in the movie by: Margot Robbie

Bio: Harley is an unusual creation in the DC Universe in that she first appeared in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and proved so popular that she was added to the comic books. Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, she’s a frequent accomplice and often lover for The Joker (not the healthiest relationship, as you might imagine), sharing his penchant for madness, violence and unpredictability. She is also usually portrayed as a talented psychiatrist with the alter ego Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzelc (subtle!) In the relaunched timeline of the comic books, she goes on a murderous frenzy of vengeance after a falling out with ol’ smiley face and is forcibly inducted into the squad. Robbie’s performance will be the second time she’s been seen in live-action form, after short-lived DC TV series Birds Of Prey.

Captain Boomerang

Played in the movie by: Jai Courtney

Bio: George “Digger” Harkness is an Australian thug who gets his name from the high-tech boomerangs he utilises to commit crimes. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1960, he’s usually found causing trouble for The Flash, at one point nearly killing the hero by strapping him to a giant boomerang and shooting it into space. He likes boomerangs, is what we’re saying. A less-than-effective villain, he’s also known for his abrasive personality and frequent racist outbursts, though we wonder how much of that latter aspect will make it into the movie.

Enchantress

Played in the movie by: Cara Delevingne

Bio: Enchantress has had a couple of different variations through the years. First created by Bob Haney and Howard Purcell for National Comics (which became DC) in 1966, she appeared in Strange Adventures. Also known as freelance artist June Moore, she’s initially a heroic character empowered by a magical being called Dzamor (bless you) to battle evil creatures. But when she later returns to comics, she’s become misguided, and an enemy for Supergirl, among others. She’s recruited into Task Force X in an attempt to curb her villainous side but her very first mission unleashes it full force. She learns that the Enchantress side is a separate evil entity controlling her and takes measures to eliminate it. Her powers include healing, teleportation and the ability to affect any non-living object with her magic. She can also walk through walls, which seems a little redundant, given the whole teleportation thing.

Killer Croc

Played in the movie by: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Bio: An enemy of Batman dating back to 1983 and first crafted by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, Killer Croc, is, as you could infer from his name, a super-strong villain with a crocodile-like appearance. It’s later revealed that it’s because he was born with a form of atavism that gave him reptilian traits. His was not an easy youth, hated by his drunken aunt and spurring him to a life of crime. He boasts superhuman strength, speed, agility, reflexes, stamina, durability and senses. Plus, he can swim like no one else, and he’s also an expert marksman. He spends a lot of his time in Arkham Asylum, but will end up at Belle Reve for the film.

El Diablo

Played in the movie by: Jay Hernandez

Bio: There have been three characters of differing alignment using the pseudonym El Diablo in the DC Universe and it would appear Hernandez is playing Chato Santana. Originated by Jai Nitz and Phil Hester, he ended up in Belle Reve prison after burning down a building containing gang members who owed him a debt. Upon discovering that there were innocent women and children inside, he gave himself up to police. On death row, he was forcibly recruited into the Suicide Squad and implanted with a micro-bomb to ensure his obedience. Among his powers is the ability to control fire, which will be handy on squad camping trips.

Slipknot

Played in the movie by: Adam Beach

Bio: Nothing to do with the band, his alter ego is Christopher Weiss and he was created by Gerry Conway and Rafael Kayanan in 1984. Beginning his career as the humble employee of a chemical company, he develops a formula for durable, powerful ropes and is indoctrinated by a criminal organization known as the 2000 committee dedicated to taking over the world by, you guessed it, the year 2000 (bit late there, guys). Sent to help kill a hero named Firestorm, he fails and ends up in police custody while also attracting the attention of the Suicide Squad. Recruited, he’s sent on missions with the team until a fateful day when, encouraged by Captain Boomerang, he decides to test whether the bombs they’re all forced to carry to stop them going too far out of range are fake or not. Answer? Not. Result? One exploderised right arm. We have no idea if Ayer will put that concept into the film, but we would not put it past him.

Katana

Played in the movie by: Karen Fukuhara

Bio: AKA Tatsu Yamashiro. First appearing in the DCU in 1983 as a creation of Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, she was content to live with her husband and family until her brother-in-law, who had competed for her affections, killed him in a duel with a mysterious, mystical sword known as the “Soultaker.” Fleeing after her family is also killed, she trained with a master called Tadashi and then travelled to the US in order to fight for justice using the Katana name. She’s often been found as a member of a team called The Outsiders, assembled by Batman during a disagreement with the Justice League. But she has also crossed paths with the Suicide Squad, and it appears she’s part of the team in the movie.

Amanda Waller

Played in the movie by: Viola Davis

Bio: First crashing into the DC Universe in 1986 as the product of John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne, Amanda Blake Waller is renowned as one of the most ruthless characters in espionage and politics. Despite possessing no superpowers, she’s highly trained in logistics, strategic management, military tactics, game theory, espionage and martial arts. Escaping a Chicago housing project following the murder of most of her family, she went on to study political science and became a congressional aide. Her access to the upper echelons of government led to her learning of the early versions of the Suicide Squad and pitched a new variant, earning the chance to oversee its operations. She proved to be a controversial leader, often disagreeing with and outright defying her superiors in Washington to pursue her own agenda. She’s also widely disliked by the squad. The feeling, apparently, is mutual.

Also appearing…

There are several other actors whose characters have yet to be fully confirmed. Ike Barinholtz is reportedly playing Batman nemesis Hugo Strange, an evil genius and psychologist who has massive intelligence and combat skills, who crated Monster Men to do his bidding. Jim Parrack will be Johnny Frost, one of The Joker’s henchmen. Raymond Olubawale is listed on the IMDB as King Shark, known in the comics as a humanoid shark (the clue’s in the name, people), while Common and Alex Meraz’s characters have yet to be named, though the former could be Bronze Tiger. And we can expect cameos from Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, both of which are established in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

James White.

Emma Watson Infiltrates A Cult In The Colonia Trailer
She wants to rescue Daniel Bruhl

Throwing aside the idea of the damsel in distress, Emma Watson takes matters into her own hands when Daniel Brühl is snatched from her. She’s been proactive when it comes to the first trailer for new drama Colonia, too. While the video from her Facebook page isn’t working for us at the moment, take a look via YouTube below.

Colonia follows Costa-Gavras’s Missing (1982) in charting the brutal aftermath of the Pinochet-led coup in Chile in 1973. That film had Jack Lemmon trying to get to the bottom of his son’s disappearance; this one sees Emma Watson’s Lena doing likewise when her partner, Daniel (Daniel Brühl) is abducted by the secret police. Lena tracks him down to Colonia Dignidad, an anti-communist sect run by Michael Nyqvist’s lay preacher Paul Schäfer. There she joins the cult to find Daniel. Of course, it’s not going to be that easy…

German director Florian Gallenberger put the fact-based film together based on his own script, and shot in locations in South America, Germany and Luxembourg. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and has a German release date set for January, but there’s no indication of an Australian slot yet.

James White

Eddie Redmayne Eyed As Fantastic Beasts Lead
Update: He’s now officially in talks

Update: Variety brings word that Redmayne is in talks for the film, though we’ll have to wait for an official statement on the subject to see if he makes a deal.

The spirit of the Harry Potter cinematic universe is alive and well at Warner Bros., with the studio going full speed ahead on the first of a planned trilogy based on J.K. Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. With Potter veteran director David Yates aboard, the film might have found its leading man. Newly minted Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is Warners’ top choice.

The first Fantastic Beasts film, adapted by Rowling from her novella, already has a set date of November 18, 2016, with the sequels penciled in for 2018 and 2020.

That initial film and its follow-ups will be very loosely based on Rowling’s universe-expanding textbook about magical creatures. It’s set in the wizarding world and boasts creatures and characters both new and familiar to Potter but is not a direct prequel to the current stories, instead set 70 years before Harry sets foot in Hogwarts. That puts the setting somewhere around 1921, featuring Magizoologist and credited author of the book Newt Scamander (Redmayne, if he signs).

Redmayne most recently reunited with his Les Miserables director Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl, which will be out here on early next year.

James White

Constantine: Blu-ray release and interview with Matt Ryan

It may have only lasted one season, but the television version of Constantine certainly made an impression, as did actor Matt Ryan in the title role as the reluctant demon hunter and dabbler in the dark arts. In fact, so impressive was Ryan as John Constantine that he reprised the character in a fourth season episode of Arrow and will voice him in 2017’s animated Justice League Dark. All of which makes it even more exciting that Constantine: The Complete Series has been announced for Blu-ray on October 4th.

Developed for television by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer, the series, based on the DC comic Hellblazer, co-stars Angelica Celaya as Zed, Charles Halford as Chas and Harold Perrineau as Manny. The complete series includes (naturally) all thirteen episodes, a trailer, on set report and a 2014 Comic-Con Q&A panel with the cast and creators.

In describing the power of the series, Ryan explains, “I think it’s the juxtaposition, the balance between it being a very dark and serious story, but then John being able to maneuver within that, and the humor and the wit being set against that. It’s those two things, I think, that make the show unique. You’ve got this central character who’s cracking the joke in the middle of something which is really fucking serious.”

When introduced on the series, Constantine is very much a loner and wants to keep it that way, though as things unfold he finds himself part of a core group of characters, a family, if you will, despite his best intentions.

“The interesting thing,” details Ryan, “is that in the back of his head he knows that somewhere along the line all of this is going to go to pot. It’s all going to go to shit, and it’s an inevitability, but it doesn’t stop a human being from having connections with other humans beings… and Angels. As the Rising Darkness he has to face is progressing, the burden on him is getting bigger and, suddenly, he’s accumulating these people who he has feelings for, and obviously they are feelings that have been buried deep down inside, but he is a human being at the end of the day. He’s going to feel something. If something bad happens to those people — and it does — it’ s a very interesting thing for him to be going through.”

Beginning October 4th with the Blu-ray and DVD release of Constantine, the audience will be right alongside Matt Ryan and John Constantine as they go through it all over again.

- Ed Gross

Andy Samberg’s on the wing in the new Storks trailer

We’ve had a couple of chances to take a look at new Warner Bros. animated adventure Storks, which features Andy Samberg voicing one of the titular birds. The new trailer adds a little bit more plot and a lot more jokes. Take a look below.

Storks is set at a time when the birds, led by Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) have left the baby-delivering business behind and switched to handling packages for an Amazon-style mega-corp called Cornerstore.com. But when a family’s request for a new addition unexpectedly shows up to be dispatched, Junior (Samberg) and human Tulip (Katie Crown) decide they’re going to make sure the infant girl makes it to her parents, with Tulip, long considered an orphan, hoping it might also find her own family in the process.

Of course, it’s against company policy, so the unlikely pair is soon being chased down by others, including an unusually silly wolf pack (led by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele). This is one group of feral canines that apparently shares some abilities with the Wonder Twins…

With Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell also in the voice cast and Nicholas Stoller writing and directing alongside Pixar veteran Doug Sweetland, Storks will flap into Aussie cinemas in October.

- James White

Tron 3 To Shoot This Autumn
Joseph Kosinski revs up his light cycles again

Well here’s a surprise. Given the lacklustre critical and box-office performance of Tron: Legacy, and the eerie silence in place of any news about a follow-up, you might have assumed that Disney had quietly put the project to bed. But almost two years since we last heard anything, it now turns out that Joesph Kosinski’s cameras will roll on the threequel in Vancouver this autumn.

Local Vancouver newspaper Vancity Buzz got the scoop, which has since been backed up by Badass Digest. There are no story details so far, but Garrett Hedlund is confirmed as returning to the snug wetsuit.

Tron: Legacy, most felt, was visually stunning (apart from the awful CG youngified Jeff Bridges) but narratively not so cutting edge. It involved Sam Flynn (Hedlund), the son of Bridges’ game creator Kevin, entering a game world much evolved from Disney’s 1982 original, in search of his father. Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner co-starred, Michael Sheen made an eccentric cameo, and Daft Punk did the music.

It had nostalgia and novelty working in its favour, and still didn’t quite manage to set the world alight in the way its studio Disney probably hoped. With the element of surprise now departed, Tron 3 will have to work even harder to make an impact. What’s Kosinski got up his digital sleeve?

Tron 3 delivers on the promise of Tron: Legacy, particularly its final scenes,” Kosinski promised back in 2013 while doing the rounds with Oblivion. “There’s a big clue there as to where we’ll go with the next one. There are also some characters we establish at the beginning of Tron: Legacy who have a much larger role in Tron 3.”

That sounds, as we mused at the time, as if Cillian Murphy’s Edward Dillinger Jr. might have some more heavy lifting to do this time around. Although as we said earlier, only Hedlund is confirmed in the cast at this stage. Back in 2013, Kosinski was also promising IMAX, but again, those details aren’t yet forthcoming.

Expect a flurry of new information in the months to come then. Production on Tron 3 is currently scheduled to start on October 5.

Owen Williams

Fox Plans Jingle All The Way Sequel
Starring Larry The Cable Guy. Because you… asked for it?

Jingle All The Way. The very name divides people into those who cringe at the memory of the slapstick-happy Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas comedy and those who have adopted it as a kitsch classic. The film was released in 1996, and someone has decided that what the world needs is an Arnie-free sequel featuring Larry The Cable Guy alongside WWE wrestler Santino Marella.

Don’t rush to your local cinema to begin queuing for this one all at once, however: it’s strictly being aimed at home entertainment audiences, under the deal between 20th Century Fox and the WWE company. It’s a collaboration that has brought us the likes of the Marine movies (and, indeed, The Marine 4, starring WWE’s Mike “The Miz” Mizanin is part of the announcement about the new Jingle).

What exactly the Jingle sequel will feature beyond its leading men remains to be seen. Will Marella (real name Anthony Carelli) take over Arnie’s role as stressed dad Howard Langston, who so memorably struggled to find the tough-to-buy Turbo Man doll for his son “Chamie” (Jake Lloyd)? Or will this be a completely original story of Christmas frustration and family bonding? We know you’re dying to find out. With Alex Zamm directing, this one will be out in time for, you guessed it: Easter. Sorry, Christmas. It’s set for Christmas.

- James White

Simon Pegg Discusses Star Trek 3
‘It’s weird to take ownership…’

Out on the rounds for Kill Me Three Times, Simon Pegg is, naturally enough, fielding a lot of questions about Star Trek 3. As revealed back in January, he’s not only returning to the Enterprise as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, but has also stepped up to the plate to co-write the next instalment with Doug Jung (Confidence). “It’s terrifying!” he laughs.

“It was a difficult decision,” Pegg told Collider. “I hemmed and hawed about it, a little bit, because it felt like a big responsibility. I owe J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burke an awful amount. I love those guys. I want to do right by them, so I felt like I should man up and do it. It’s weird to walk into something and take ownership of it, in a way. Everything else that I’ve written has been mine, from the very germ of the first idea, or shared with Edgar (Wright) or Nick (Frost).

"But with this, I’m walking into a realm that doesn’t belong to me, and I have to treat it with a degree of respect. Obviously, I always treat things with respect, but I have to abide by certain rules and do right by the original series, and not be too postmodern with it and not be too aware of itself. I have to try to take on the spirit of the show, rather than fill it with stuff that people will just go, 'Oh, yeah, that’s from episode something or other.’ It’s more than that.”

Speaking to Den Of Geek, meanwhile, Pegg revealed that his draft has been entirely started from scratch: he hasn’t read the previous iteration of the screenplay by Roberto Orci, and nor did the studio want him to.

“We went back to the drawing board”, he says. “We had creative meetings with [director] Justin Lin, and there were things he wanted in there. I haven’t written like this before… You’re given a bunch of stuff… so Doug and I go, 'Okay, right, let’s try and get that into it’. So it’s an interesting process”.

“I had certain issues with Into Darkness,” he continues, candidly. “I really, really am very proud of Into Darkness, but I feel like it kind of wanted to embrace itself a little too much, rather than take off and do what Star Trek did, which is to go off into the depths of the galaxy. It was about referencing not only a previous film but also kind of hanging onto the coast of Earth a little bit. So for me it’s now about the spirit of adventure and exploration and also, in modern terms, just how would that be for people, to be away for that amount of time and that kind of stuff. We’re trying to evolve the story at the same time as not letting it go.”

Shooting on Star Trek 3, “come hell or high water” (not the subtitle), gets underway in the summer for a release  next year. Kill Me Three Times is out later this year.

James White

Alien: Covenant -Noomi Rapace will not return as Elizabeth Shaw

She was the final surviving human in Prometheus, but in a surprise turn of events, director Ridley Scott has revealed that we will not now be picking up the story of Elizabeth Shaw, as played by Noomi Rapace, in Alien: Covenant after all.

We already knew that Katherine Waterston had been cast as the film’s female lead, but last we heard, Rapace was still set to return, albeit in a reduced capacity. Now, however, Scott’s response to a question about whether she’ll be back is a flat “no”, followed by, “we’re still casting”.

There are no further details, so it’s possible that deals are still on the table. It may, on the other hand, be a case of clashing schedules, with Alien: Covenant set to go shortly and Rapace currently in pre-production for the title role in the Amy Winehouse biopic. It may even be that, rather than make a minor appearance in Covenant, the plucky Doctor Shaw is being kept back for a larger part in future Aliens. Scott, after all, is planning two more…

Covenant will not completely abandon Prometheus though, since Michael Fassbender’s android David is still set for reassembly. Scott has also recently confirmed that, following the latter curveball, Convenant will be a full-on Alien movie. “There was always this discussion:” he said just before Christmas. “Is Alien, the character, the beast, played out or not?” Apparently not, since this time “We’ll have them all: egg, face-hugger, chest-burster, then the big boy.”

Alien: Covenant is set to start shooting here in Australia next month for a 2017 release.

Owen Williams

War On Everyone: new trailer for John Michael McDonagh’s crime comedy

“Let’s go fuck some scumbags.” So begins the full trailer for War On Everyone, the latest comedy from John Michael McDonagh. Having previously dealt with dodgy Garda in The Guard and dodgy priests in Calvary, the director now turns his eye to dodgy US cops.

Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña are the dodgy cops on the hunt for scumbags, though not above comically scumbaggy behaviour themselves, as this trailer demonstrates.

Alongside Skarsgård and Peña in the cast, there’s also Theo James,Tessa Thompson and Paul Reiser.

War On Everyone is gearing up for a October 7 release date in the UK, with no word yet on an Australian release.

- John Nugent

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EMPIRE EXCLUSIVE: Ladies & Gentlemen… Meet Hammer Girl.
The Raid 2 attacks Aussie cinemas on March 28.

Character Description Hammer Girl is a ruthless hired assassin who’s especially gifted with claw hammers. Hammer Girl and her brother Baseball Bat Man, left behind a broken home and abusive father in search of greener pastures. That search yields death and destruction for anyone in their way. Weapon of Choice Claw Hammers 

Charlie Hunnam talks King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

“He calls it fuck-dust. He liberally sprinkled fuck-dust on the film.” ‘Fuck-dust’ is, according to Charlie Hunnam, the term Guy Ritchie assigns to achieving just the right dose of magical realism.

For a boy who grew up “carving sticks into swords”, it was “a childhood dream come true to play King Arthur", (and for the seemingly unconventional choice of Guy Ritchie, no less) Hunnam affirmed to Empire. “[Ritchie’s] created a very rich, exciting world. I describe it to my friends as Lord Of The Rings meets Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. [It’s] an unlikely marriage of two things, but it works.” Maybe not such a leftfield choice of director after all.

As expected, the British director has a unique vision for the famous king. “We wanted to make an ignoble Arthur, at least at first,” Hunnam says. “We wanted him to feel contemporary, selfish, somewhat rough around the edges.”

The director also had a novel way of making sure Hunnam was the right Arthur for his film, pushing the actor so hard about being in shape that he snapped during the audition process. “I said, ‘You know what? Fucking stop the camera. I’m starting to lose my temper. I know those other pricks you’ve got reading for this role (namely Henry Cavill and Michael Fassbender). If you bring them in right now, I’ll fucking fight them both at once for the role, and we’ll see what’s up with the physicality.’ Guy said, ‘Fucking hell, alright – calm down, mate.’” Though we’d surely be foolish to bet against Supes and Magneto, it sounds like Hunnam is ready for the challenge.

King Arthur is released in cinemas on 24 March 2017.

- Emma Thrower

The cast of Star Trek: then and now

It’s been 50 years since the original Star Trek first graced our screens. Five decades since Captain Kirk and his intrepid crew first took to the stars in search of new worlds and new civilisations. In salute of Gene Roddenberry’s iconic show, we take stock of the those original actors who paved the way for everything that followed, from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek: Beyond.

William Shatner

Cast as captain of the starship Enterprise, it was Shatner who set the standard as James T. Kirk. Born in 1931 in Canada, and having a career that has spanned television, stage, screen, novels, video games, comic books, music and lord knows what else, this is a an 85-year-old who will not stop until he drops, and even then he’d probably argue, “What does God need with a starship…captain?”

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock was far from the first television sidekick to equal if not eclipse a TV show’s main star. Given what Shatner brought to Kirk, it’s says a lot about Leonard Nimoy’s ability that he could make a character in complete control (most of the time) of his emotions come across as more than a cardboard cut-out. He never allowed Spock’s quiet dignity to fade away, even when reprising the role as recently as in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness. Born in 1931, Nimoy enjoyed a working life in theatre, on TV and film (as both actor and director), and as an author, recording artist and photographer. He died on February 27, 2015.

DeForest Kelley

If there was one actor who brought the most humanity to Star Trek, it had to be the late DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy. Born in 1920, he had built a career playing TV bad guys, usually in Westerns, which is what made it so surprising when Roddenberry cast him as The Enterprise’s chief medical officer and Kirk’s conscience. After Star Trek finished its run, Kelley took on a couple of roles, but pretty much retired except for conventions, the first six big screen Star Trek adventures and a guest spot on the premiere episode of The Next Generation. He died on June 11, 1999.

James Doohan

He gave the engines all they had…and then some. It’s why James Doohan’s chief engineer, Montgomery 'Scotty’ Scott,” was the best in the fleet. Born in in Canada in 1920, Doohan enjoyed a career in Canadian radio and television before making the shift to America. Like many of his co-stars, following the end of Star Trek he found himself typecast and other acting opportunities difficult to come by. He scored character roles here and there, and, of course, reprised the role of Scotty in the feature films based on the show. He died on July 20, 2005.

Nichelle Nichols

She opened those hailing frequencies like a boss, making communications officer Uhura an essential member of the Enterprise bridge crew. Born in 1932, Nichols took on the laudable challenge of being an African American actress on television at a time when America was struggling with civil rights. As such, she became a symbol and an inspiration for many African-American women. Early in her career she enjoyed some success as a dancer and singer, eventually making her way to television, where she met Gene Roddenberry on The Lieutenant. When he was casting Trek, he knew he wanted her to be a part of it. For some years following the series acting roles were sparse, but she did parlay the growing popularity of Trek into a job at NASA, where she recruited minority and female personnel to the space agency.

George Takei

Like his co-stars, George Takei, born in 1937, spent many years trying to shake off the persona of Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu. But after embracing all of what Star Trek represented, Takei enjoyed something of a career renaissance. He acted in mostly small roles before Trek, co-starred in John Wayne’s The Green Berets. Besides reprising the role of Sulu in six feature films, he immersed himself in California politics, became an author, and in recent years seems to be almost everywhere, appearing on a wide variety of TV shows and most recently on stage in the musical Allegiance, set during the Japanese American interment of World War II, which Takei himself experienced as a child.

Walter Koenig

He joined Star Trek in its second season and, as navigator Pavel Chekov, was supposed to be the 23rd Century’s answer to the youth-appealing Monkees or The Beatles. Koenig was another actor who had come to Roddenberry’s attention through The Lieutenant, and was brought aboard the Enterprise in 1967, where he served through the remainder of the series and seven feature films (he joined Shatner and Doohan in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations). In between he worked as a television writer, gained popularity for his portrayal of Alfred Bester in the series Babylon 5 and appeared in a number of films. He also wrote a number of books – both fiction and non-fiction – and worked in comics as well.

Notable Movie Guest Stars

Stephen Collins

He portrayed Commander Willard Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Born in 1947, Collins is best known for roles in in TV shows such as Tales of the Gold Monkey, No Ordinary Family and Revolution, as well as the films The First Wives Club and Because I Said So. He also spent eleven seasons as the patriarch on 7th Heaven.

Kirstie Alley

Born in 1951, Alley portrayed Vulcan/Romulan hybrid Lt. Saavik in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Following the film she co-starred in the long-running Cheers, and went on to such shows as Veronica’s Closet and Kirstie, a number of guest star appearances and starring roles in films Look Who’s Talking, It Takes Two, For Richer or Poorer and Accidental Love.

Ricardo Montalban

Montalban guest-starred on the original Star Trek in the 1967 episode “Space Seed,” portraying 20th Century genetic superman Khan Noonien Singh. Revived from suspended animation, Khan attempted to take control of the Enterprise and, instead of being sent to prison, was given a planet to tame by Kirk. After that, Montalban (born in 1920 in Mexico), just as he had before that show, appeared in a wide variety of TV series, television movies and feature films, but is largely remembered for playing Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island and Zach Powers in Dynasty and The Colbys. In 1982 he reprised the role of Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which, as the title suggests, his genetic superman and his people escape the planet they had been left on, seeking vengeance against Kirk. Montalban died on January 14, 2009.

Christopher Lloyd

As the Klingon Kruge, Christopher Lloyd looked to be having a grand old time chewing the soundstage scenery with Shatner in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Lloyd’s long list of credits include the TV series Taxi, as well as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. He is undoubtedly most beloved for his role as Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back To The Future trilogy.

Robin Curtis

When contractual issues came up between Kirstie Alley and Paramount following Wrath Of Khan, Robin Curtis stepped in to play Lt. Saavik for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and, briefly, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Prior to her tour of duty on the Enterprise, she guest starred on some TV shows, appeared in several films and amassed an impressive number of regional and national theatre stage roles. Between acting gigs, she’s also worked as a real estate agent.

Catherine Hicks

In the years prior to endearing herself to Star Trek fans as marine biologist Gillian Taylor in Star Trek IV, Catherine Hicks (born in 1951) had spent three years on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, starred in several short-lived series, was Emmy-nominated for her role as Marilyn Monroe in the TV movie Marilyn: The Untold Story and would go on to star in Child’s Play. Most notably she co-starred with Commander Decker (actually Stephen Collins) in 7th Heaven, which ran for eleven seasons beginning in 1996.

Laurence Luckinbill

Did you know Spock had a half-brother named Sybok? Nope, neither did we. Even Kirk had no idea, but that was one of the revelations of 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and it was Sybok who hi-jacked the Enterprise so everyone could meet (not) God. Laurence Luckinbill, born in 1934, has a long history of roles on television, stage and in film. He also happens to be married to Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball (who gave the green light for the original Star Trek in the first place) and Desi Arnaz.

Christopher Plummer

Not that we didn’t already know that Canadian-born Christopher Plummer could perform Shakespeare, but that point was really driven home in 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, for which he portrayed Klingon general Chang and which should have provided the Bard co-writing credit, given the number of quotes utilised. Born in 1929, Plummer’s extensive film credits (not to mention his acclaimed stage work) includes The Sound Of Music, Battle Of Britain, Waterloo, Inside Man, Up, The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Kim Cattrall

Admittedly it wasn’t Sex In The Starship, but the Liverpool-born Kim Cattrall definitely brought a lot of sexual energy to her role as the Vulcan Valeris in Star Trek VI, serving as part of a conspiracy to destroy a newly brokered peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Born in 1956, her film career began in 1975 with Rosebud and went on to include such efforts as Ticket To Heaven, Porky’s, Police Academy, Big Trouble In Little China, and Midnight Crossing. She is, of course, most famous for portraying Samantha Jones in the TV series Sex And The City and the two feature films spun off from it.

Ed Gross

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Batman Vs. Superman’s Gal Gadot Defends Wonder Woman Casting
“Breasts… anyone can buy for 9000 shekels and everything is fine”

Fast & Furious veteran Gal Gadot was recently annouced as cinema’s first fully-fledged Amazonian extraordinaire, Princess Diana of Themyscira, but you might know the character best as Wonder Woman. She’ll be part of Zack Snyder’s DC superhero mash-up due out in 2015, tentatively called - by the internet, at any rate - Batman Vs. Superman, if only because we’ve been promised some Supes (Henry Cavill) on Bats (Ben Affleck) battles.

Speaking to an Israeli journalist (as picked up by Batman-news.com) in her native Hebrew, Gadot was keen to defend her casting, which has been causing some consternation amongst die-hard fans of the original comics. Here, translated, is what she had to say:

Where were you when you heard the news that you’d been cast as Wonder Woman?

“I was just on my way to shooting in Los Angeles. I landed in New York on a connection flight when my agent, Hadas Lichtenstein, called me. She says to me, ‘Wonder Woman!’ And I’m like, ‘What?’ ‘The role is yours! And it’s a secret and the news is not yet announced and you can’t tell anyone…’”

“I’m saying to her, ‘Are you serious?’ Then we both scream! Now I’m on a plane from Israel to New York and I can’t make loud noises, and so I lean on a window, bending down to my legs, and just try to understand it all.”

It’s been said that you’re too skinny for the part. Wonder Woman is large-breasted, is that going to change?

“Hmm. I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world. Breasts… anyone can buy for 9000 shekels and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go ‘by the book’, it’d be problematic.”

So you’re not going to gain a little weight and start eating carbs before filming begins?

“It’s the physical preparations that I’m starting now. A very serious training regimen – Kung Fu, kickboxing, swords, jujutsu… I’ll gain body mass.”

The rather blunt journalist didn’t really dance around the problem most fans have with Gadot in the role: her physique. Fortunately, the actress was more than willing to stand her ground, and asBatman Vs. Superman isn’t out until 2015 - and it’s not clear how big a part Gadot will have in proceedings - there’ll be a decent wait to see how things pan out.

Ali Plumb

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Idris Elba’s big bad leads off new Star Trek Beyond IMAX posters

Like a flock of tribbles, Star Trek Beyond’s posters seems to be travelling in large batches. Warping online is a pretty nifty collection of character promos, showcasing – if that’s the right word to use about a psychotic space bastard – Idris Elba’s big bad Krall. Cast an eye down the page for the full gallery, also including Zoe Saldana’s Uhura, Sofia Boutella’s Jaylah and Simon Pegg’s Scotty.

Star Trek Beyond finds Kirk (Chris Pine), Bones (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and co. in the middle of their five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new… you know the drill. Despite the excitement and adventure of deep space exploration, the routine of charting the unknown has started to weigh on the captain, who is beginning to question his choices.

But he’ll be confronted with more than existential malaise when a brand new race, led by the driven Krall (Elba) seriously attacks the ship, leaving the crew separated, stranded and facing their biggest challenge yet.

With Saldana, Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin (who also co-wrote the script with Doug Jung) and Shohreh Aghdashloo in the cast, Star Trek Beyond, directed this time by Justin Lin, reaches Australian cinemas on July 7. Here’s the latest trailer.

Phil De Semlyen