Author: Josh Wigler

‘X-Men’ Are ‘Waiting For Godot’

‘X-Men’ Are ‘Waiting For Godot’

If you’re not based in England but need a reason to travel to London, well, here you go. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are about to share the stage together.

That’s right, homeboys! Magneto and Professor Xavier have mutually knocked over their respective king pieces, deciding on a "gray" middle ground over a "black" or "white" dominant party, and are starring alongside one another for an on-stage production of Waiting For Godot.

Okay, yeah, before you leave, we’re talking about theater. No major shifts in the sociopolitical dynamics between mankind and mutantkind, but, hey, this is pretty close.

The two well known thespians, who shared the silver screen with each other as Erik Lansherr and Charles Xavier in the X-Men trilogy, will star alongside each other in Waiting For Godot on The West End, according to Variety.

The trade reports, "Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will topline a Brit production of Waiting for Godot that will launch a U.K. tour in March ahead of an April bow at the Theater Royal Haymarket."

American audiences will recognize the actors as having shared the screen as nemeses in X-Men, but Stewart and McKellen had previously costarred in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour in 1977.

Waiting For Godot
focuses on two men waiting for a man whom they’ve never laid eyes upon before, but know that his presence is incredibly important to their own self-worth. McKellen and Stewart play the two men, Estragon and Vladimir, respectively. The play is written by Samuel Beckett, and despite multiple attempts, has never seen a film adaptation. Waiting for Guffman, filmed and written by Christopher Guest, plays on Godot‘s themes without being a direct knock-off.

If anyone has tickets to London, please direct yourself to ComicMix. We’ll trade you in beets and other various candies.

Two ‘Heroes’ Go Down

Two ‘Heroes’ Go Down

If you thought Uatu’s jaw dislocation was surprising, wait until you’ve heard this one… Jeph Loeb is no longer involved with Heroes.

The producer of NBC’s television epic and the frequent comic book writer has been axed from the daily ongoings of Heroes, according to Variety. Jesse Alexander of Alias fame is also off the series, says the trade. Both Loeb and Alexander were day-to-day managers of the show under the direction of creator/executive producer Tim Kring since season one.

No reasons are listed as to why the two producers have been kicked off the show, though it’s no secret that Heroes has been disparaged since the debut of its second season. The show, now in its third year, promised a departure from the formulaic nature of its sophomore season, and with consistent critical hammering, a hardcore decision was bound to be made to save the series’ financial future. The departures of Loeb and Alexander are likely seen as moves to fit that bill.

Jeph Loeb has made a career in the super-hero industry. His graphic novels Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory, in particular, have gained him critical acclaim, as has his work on Superman: For All Seasons. He’s also known for his work on the "color-centric" comic books over at Marvel Comics, specifically Hulk: Gray, Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and the forthcoming Captain America: White. Loeb, whose best known super-hero work may be his collaboration with artist Jim Lee on Batman: Hush, had been involved with Heroes from the show’s beginning.

Loeb’s frequent collaborator Tim Sale, who illustrated both much of Loeb’s comic output starting with Challengers of the Unknown, is the artist behind the show’s frequent "future-telling" paintings such as those by Isaac Mendes or the newly introduced African painter. Whether or not Loeb’s departure will influence Sale’s continued work remains to be seen.

Whether or not Heroes, which suffered poor ratings during its strike shortened second season, will be negatively effected by the apparent removal of Loeb and Alexander remains to be seen. However, given that the show should be "King of the Jungle" but has merely kept its head above water in the midst of poor ratings, a true reckoning for Heroes remains to be seen.

Two Roles for Samuel L. Jackson

Two Roles for Samuel L. Jackson

The King of Cool himself, Samuel L. Jackson, booked two new acting jobs this week. Up first is the widely reported remake of The Last Dragon. Jackson will play Sho’nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, a part originally played by the late Julius Carry.

The Last Dragon
, released in 1985, focuses on a young martial artist named Leroy Green. He travels New York City to achieve the Last Dragon, the highest level of martial arts accomplishment. Those who achieve the Last Dragon possess the Glow and become the greatest fighter alive.

In the film, the character of Sho’nuff is a tough-talking egomaniac, a character type that Jackson typically excels at. The Hollywood Reporter describes one of his character interactions:

"[Sho’nuff’s] spiel included asking ego-driven questions like ‘Am I the baddest mofo lowdown around this town?’ Each time his gang of thugs answered, ‘Sho ’nuff!’"

Says Jackson of the role: "I’m a huge fan of the original and look forward to bringing Sho’Nuff into the 21st century."

The film will be produced by John Davis and Kerry Gordy. Gordy is the son of Berry Gordy, the man behind the original The Last Dragon.

Jackson also landed a role in Quentin Tarantino’s latest picture Inglourious Basterds, which is intentionally misspelled. Jackson will provide the voice of the narrator, who isn’t present often in the film, "but mostly pops up at random time in the script to add some context and background info" according to The Playlist. The Web site also says that Maggie Cheung has been cast in the film as Madame Mimieux, a French matron of the Cinematheque, one of the film’s centerpieces. She also takes in a homeless Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent), the film’s female lead.

‘Boldly Going Nowhere’ Expands Cast

‘Boldly Going Nowhere’ Expands Cast

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox’s upcoming sitcom Boldly Going Nowhere has added two new actors to its growing cast. Lennon Parham will play the female lead alongside newcomer Chad L. Coleman. The two join Ben Koldyke, previously cast as the lead character Captain Ron Teague, and Tony Hale of Arrested Development as the ship’s robot.

Boldly Going Nowhere is produced by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton. The show focuses on the day-to-day events of an intergalactic spaceship. McElhenny, Day and Howerton do not consider the series as a science fiction, but rather a unique twist on the workplace sitcom. Wayne McClammy (I’m F–king Matt Damon) directs the pilot.

Parham, a newcomer from the Upright Citizens Brigade, plays Joyce, the ship’s by-the-book pilot. McElhenney describes her as "a diamond in the rough," found only due to the recommendation of co-star Tony Hale.

Coleman (pictured), meanwhile, plays self-absorbed Cobalt, the intimidating head of security. The actor appeared in 26 episodes of HBO’s The Wire, which McElhenney admits isn’t something you’d say "in the same sentence with a broadcast comedy, but we’ve been going for fresh faces and strong actors."

The trio behind Boldly have said the same about newcomer Ben Koldyke.

"We love the idea of finding talented people out there," they said of his casting. "The fact that Ben is unknown is great but irrelevant. We wanted the best guy for the lead and he was it."

It’s certainly a refreshing approach for an industry dominated by name recognition.

Speaking of familiar names, THR is also reporting that Courtney Cox is coming back to television after her last series, Dirt, got buried in the ratings. ABC has given the go-ahead to Cougar Town featuiring Cox as a MILF with a 17-year-old son. The series was created by Bill Lawrence, whose Scrubs moves to the Alphabet network later this season.

"Forty-year-old women on TV are so beautiful and perfect and wrinkle-free," Lawrence told the trade.  "People don’t do the reality of it, and there is a real comedy area about a woman who is talking about Botox, about having sex with the lights on and how her body is changing."

Ron Perlman is Elvis

Ron Perlman is Elvis

In what he calls an "on record" statement, actor Paul Giamatti announced to Ain’t It Cool News that Ron Perlman will play Elvis in the upcoming Bubba Nosferatu, a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep.

"He’s a great guy," Giamatti says of the actor. "He’s an amazingly great guy and I’ve always loved him as an actor, so when he actually was interested, I couldn’t believe our luck man, like ‘This is f—ing great!’ He’s a really terrific guy."

In the sequel, Giamatti plays "Colonel" Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager. Giamiatti wouldn’t reveal too many specifics, but hints at quite a bit of Nosferatu‘s plot line.

"You know part of the great thing about this is not only are these wonderful genre movies, but [director Don Coscarelli] is actually taking a weird, interesting take on the whole Elvis myth and kind of investigating the whole Elvis myth in a really interesting way," Giamatti describes the film. "So it’s got a lot of stuff about Col. Parker being responsible for a lot of what happened to Elvis and kind of literally making him a vampire in some ways, you know? A kind of a blood sucker… It plays on a lot of things, this movie, in a great way and it’s got Sitting Bull in it and there’s a peyote trip in it that is amazing and it’s just a big leap beyond the other movie. It’s ten times more insane and bizarre and it’s great and hilarious, too. It’s funnier than the other one is even. It still ends up being this great character study of this Elvis guy."

Nosferatu, unfortunately, takes a cue from Iron Man 2 in replacing cast members. In Bubba Ho-Tep, Bruce Campbell delivered a memorable turn as an aging Elvis Pressley forced to battle supernatural evils. The actor, however, didn’t want to return for a sequel.

"I’m not sure what his reasons were particularly," Giamatti says. "I think he’s doing a lot of his own stuff now like directing stuff on his own and he just wants to do that, I guess. It was a disappointment and we really tried and then after a while it was like ‘Now we are just going to start pissing the guy off! He’s being totally cool about it, I mean, but I don’t want to piss the guy off.’"

Giamatti first got involved in the project the old fashioned way: fandom.

"I saw Bubba Ho-Tep and it’s one of my favorite movies,’ says Giamatti. "I loved it and then somebody finally showed [Coscarelli] some interview in which I said that and he called me up."

Giamatti, who will help produce the film with his company Touchy Feely Productions, says that Bubba Nosferatu will hopefully begin shooting in Spring of 2009, when Perlman’s schedule opens up.

‘King’ Gets Thrown Off the ‘Hill’

‘King’ Gets Thrown Off the ‘Hill’

No, it’s not Friday the 13th. But it is Halloween, and the 13th season of King of the Hill looks to be its last.

Reports are coming in that the long-running Fox comedy will not return past the 13 episodes currently in production bringing the total to something like 250. King of the Hill, created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, has aired on the network since 1997. Although it’s not the ratings getter it once was, King stalwarts such as Ain’t It Cool News’ Hercules tout the series as Fox’s greatest comedy. Both Judge and Daniels have moved onto other projects. Judge’s newest animated comedy, The Goode Family, launches on ABC midseason, while Daniels is running NBC’s smash hit The Office. Judge still supplies the voice for Hank Hill on the series.

Meanwhile, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane continues to enjoy his renewed success over at Fox. Variety has announced that MacFarlane’s American Dad has been picked up for a fifth season. Dad, which features conservative CIA agent Stan Smith and his family, is currently in its fourth year. It’s noted that early pickups are required for animated shows due to their lengthy timetable, which could be a reason that both the American Dad and King of the Hill announcements came so close together.

MacFarlane’s road with Fox hasn’t always been smooth. Family Guy was initially canceled after struggling to find a consistent audience, in no small thanks to Fox’s constant reshuffling of the program’s schedule. When DVD sales went through the roof, Fox decided to raise the series from the dead. In the series’ first episode post resurrection, "North By North Quahog," the writers took a stab at Fox’s rationale for canceling the show in the first place.

"Well, unfortunately, Lois, there’s just no more room on the schedule," lead character Peter Griffin laments. "We’ve just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That ’80s Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, Freakylinks, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The $treet, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Louie and Greg the Bunny."

All of those shows, of course, have been canceled.

Now, MacFarlane’s relationship with Fox couldn’t be better. Not only is Family Guy flourishing and American Dad has a new season on the way, but MacFarlane’s new series, The Cleaveland Show, will also debut later this year. Cleaveland is a spin-off from Family Guy featuring the titular Cleaveland and his family.

You’ll Believe a Routh Can Fly

You’ll Believe a Routh Can Fly

If there’s one thing that’s certain about Superman, it’s that you can never count him out of a fight. Same goes for Brandon Routh, who played the Man of Steel in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns a few years back. Despite doing mediocre business (which, when it comes to Supes, is terrible business), the WB is still planning on resuming the franchise, albeit with a totally new direction and creative team. But Routh, as it turns out, might not be part of the cleaning house equation. The actor tells Web site that he’s still involved, as far as he knows.

Says Routh: "[The] most recent conversation I had was with Paul [Levitz, President of DC Comics] when I was in New York and we talked about what … Warner Bros. were thinking and what the situation was and obviously, thankfully, he is still wanting me to be a part of it and I certainly want to be a part of it."

The story is corroborated by Latino Review‘s report earlier this month stating Levitz’s continued interest in Routh as Superman.

The most recent Kent, other than TV’s Tom Welling, says that he’s unaware of any story details other than what he reads in the media. Given that, he’s not exactly thrilled with the idea of a "dark Superman."

"I don’t think the character necessarily has to be darker," says Routh. "I think he is kind of dark in a sense, emotional dark, in Superman Returns, and the movie as a whole was slightly dark, they could have had more prowess in it I suppose, and I think that’s one thing that can be done in the sequel, so I don’t know how much darker you want to make it necessarily. You make the stakes higher, you make the villain darker, I think that’s a way to do it. But I don’t think Superman himself needs to be darker. He definitely has to struggle, how does Superman be a part of the world? And does he have to make sacrifices to be a part of that world? To fit in and what purpose does he really play in the world? Those are all kind of dark places to explore. But, I don’t think Superman should ever be dark and brooding, that’s not [his] nature. And that’s [not] what people [want] to see."

As for a villain for the next chapter, Routh has an idea: Brainiac.

"I think it would certainly be interesting, I think there are a lot of things you could do with Brainiac," Routh muses. "He’s been given a lot of power and a lot of different abilities over the years in the comics, as far as I understand. I know that DC is working on a Brainiac storyline that they are excited about and I think combining the two and have that flow between the comics and the movie would be a nice thing. I honestly think there are a lot of interesting things you can do with Brainiac. Controlling people, controlling technology, a lot of cool things."

It’s a widely shared sentiment that a Brainiac driven Superman film has a lot of potential. Combine Routh’s desire to see the green-skinned villain in the sequel and his indication that DC’s also on board, plus with original director Richard Donner’s plea to give Geoff Johns a shot at the screenplay, and you can bet that Mark Millar’s locked himself away in a dungeon taking the pen and eraser to his planned eight-hour Superman epic.

Routh also talks a bit about another upcoming comic book film he’s working on. He’ll be playing Dylan Dog in Dead of Night, an adaptation of Tiziano Sclavi’s Dylan Dog. According to Routh, filming should start soon.

"Well, I think we are actually going to make it now (laughing)," says Routh. "I’ve never said that before, but I will now, all the paperwork is being finalized finally and  we are looking really strong for a January, mid-January start I believe, in New Orleans. And, [director] Kevin [Munroe] and I are looking at the script again and he’s got his draft and I am excited about it."

Lindsay-Abaire to Pen ‘Spider-Man 4’

Lindsay-Abaire to Pen ‘Spider-Man 4’

Relative newcomer David Lindsay-Abaire is stealing James Vanderbilt’s webshooters and hitting the New York skyline with Spider-Man 4.

The Hollywood Reporter states that Lindsay-Abaire, traditionally a novelist and playwright, is writing the fourth installment of the Spider-Man franchise for Columbia Pictures. Spider-Man 4 will once again feature Sam Raimi as director and Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. Kirsten Dunst is expected to return, though no officiall announcements have been made, apart from her impromptu "I’m in!" during an MTV News interview.

THR notes that Lindsay-Abire has little screenwriting experience. He wrote the scripts for Robots and Inkheart, and is working on an adaptation of his novel Rabbit Hole. The writer’s work tends to focus on "outsiders in search of clarity," which makes him like-minded with Peter Parker. It’s a sign that the studio wants to take Spider-Man in a more character-centric outing, "something that critics said got lost in the third installment" according to THR‘s report.

Previously, all signs had pointed to scribe James Vanderbilt putting the pen to Spidey’s script. The writer had allegedly scripted a two-part Spider-Man epic that would’ve led to the fourth and fifth installments being shot back-to-back. In THR‘s report, it’s noted that Vanderbilt "previously wrote a draft of Spider-Man 4," so whether or not his draft is being used as a template for Lindsay-Abaire or is being scrapped entirely remains a mystery.

Even when Vanderbilt was on board, plot details remained quite sketchy. Most fans assumed that actor Dylan Baker would finally get his chance to play The Lizard in the newest installment, but director Raimi isn’t quite as sure.

"[Dylan Baker’s] a great actor, and I think one day The Lizard’s story will be told," Raimi told MTV News. "I don’t know if it will be this one or not. I just don’t know. I’m definitely hoping to work with Dylan in the picture. I just don’t know who the villain is yet."

Whether or not he was playing coy remains to be seen. What’s certain, however, is that whatever little we knew before about this movie, we probably know even less now. Isn’t Hollywood fun?

JMS Heads to ‘Forbidden Planet’

JMS Heads to ‘Forbidden Planet’

This year’s Halloween might be dominated by Heath Ledger Jokers, but a few years from now, expect Robby the Robot to be the costume to beat.

That’s right, sports fans, Fordbidden Planet is coming back to theaters with a fresh relaunch. The Hollywood Reporter says that fan-friendly scribe J. Michael Straczynski is writing the script for Warner Bros., with Joel Silver producing through Silver Pictures.

Released in 1956, Forbidden Planet features a space expedition to a far-off colony populated by scientists. When they arrive, they find only the troubled Dr. Morbius and his daughter. Morbius, now smarter due to alien technology, warns that there’s an invisible monster terrorizing the planet. Dubbed a "monster from the id," the scientist, his daughter and the expedition’s captain band together to fight the creature and survive the encounter. Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen starred in the picture. The longest lasting effect of the film on popular culture is Robby the Robot, a silly little android that has warmed hearts for many years. (Journalistic integrity, as you can see, has been checked at the door. I just love Robby the Robot!)

Plans for a Forbidden Planet remake have been in the works for a while. THR sums it up quite well:

"Warners picked up the project on the down-low earlier this year. As late as last year, it was set up at DreamWorks with David Twohy attached to direct. Prior to that, New Line had it. James Cameron, Nelson Gidding and Stirling Silliphant have been associated with the remake over the years."

J. Michael Straczynski is famous to fandom for his comics work on The Amazing Spider-Man and his current run on Thor. He’s also the mastermind behind beloved sci-fi television series Babylon 5. In the film world, JMS worked on Ninja Assassin for the Wachowski Brothers, and has long been attached to a Silver Surfer adaptation for Fox. Soon, he’ll take over The Brave and the Bold for DC Comics, integrating classic 1940s era "Red Circle heroes" into the DC Universe.

If anyone can pull off a Forbidden Planet remake, it’s JMS. Despite being outdated by modern technology, any sci-fi lover that watches Planet can see just how easily the film would translate in a contemporary audience. It’s premise, that we ourselves are our greatest weakness, is a timeless motif that can resonate with audiences of any generation. As far as inevitable Hollywood remakes go, this is one that might actually be quite good.

Joaquin Phoenix Quits Acting

Joaquin Phoenix Quits Acting

When it comes to Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix has "been through that." So now, the 34-year-old actor is taking a cue from Sean Connery and quitting the acting business.

In a video interview, Phoenix told E! Online that his upcoming film Two Lovers will be his last performance as an actor. The film’s co-star, Casey Affleck, was present during the impromptu announcement. When the interviewer laughed at Phoenix’s remarks, the actor got visibly annoyed and emphasized that this wasn’t a joke announcement: Phoenix is done. Affleck, clearly taken off guard, further confirmed the news to E!, suggesting the actor will focus on his music full time from here on out.

Later, Phoenix confirmed the news to Extra, saying: "[Two Lovers] will be my last performance as an actor … I’m not doing films anymore … I’m working on my music. I’m done. I’ve been through that."

Phoenix’s representatives confirmed the news to Extra. "That is what he told me," says the actor’s rep.

Joaquin Phoenix has been in Hollywood since he was eight years old. His first role was, according to IMDb, on television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He gained mainstream appeal in his role as the villainous Emperor Commodus in Gladiator, and later appeared in two M. Night Shyamalan films, Signs and The Village. His turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line gained the actor an Oscar nomination.

This article feels a lot more like an obituary than it should. It’s definitely a bummer that Phoenix is hopping out of Tinsel Town so early, but, hey, whatever makes the guy happy. Honestly, he looks pretty stressed out in the video interview with E!, which you can check out below. Here’s hoping Joaquin lives up to his last name and rises up from the ashes of this seemingly Johnny Cash inspired moment.