Hoffman in 'Catching Fire'; Fassbender in 'Creed'; Peter Pan all over the place
Two announcements about casting seem to have caught some people by surprise. First, Philip Seymour Hoffman has joined the cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as Plutarch Heavensbee, the gamemaker of the next Hunger Games tournament. The rumors had been circulating for nearly a month that the Oscar winner would be joining the second film, but it still seems surprising that the character actor would do such a role. Still, as most actors are realizing these days, doing popular, pop-culture films is not a horrible way to make a living.
The other comes in the form of Michael Fassbender, who was perhaps the brightest aspect of Ridley Scott’s disappointing semi-prequel to Alien, Prometheus. The actor will star and produce a big screen version of Assassin’s Creed, based on the Ubisoft video game of the same name. Fassbender will play Desmond Miles, a bartender descended from families of prominent assassins, whose story bounces between medieval and modern settings as he fights the Knights Templar.
The long-gestating adaptation of The Mortal Instruments is finally moving forward, and now two antagonists have been cast. Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Robert Maillet (Sherlock Holmes) have been cast as Pangborn and Blackwell, two henchman of the film’s main villain, Valentine. Based on the first book in Cassandra Clare‘s young adult novel series, City of Bones centers on a young woman who discovers she is the descendant of a line of secret cadre of half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect the world from demons.” Lily Collins and Jaime Campbell Bower are set as the leads. Financial issues delayed the project, but Screen Gems and Constantin Film recently teamed up to back the pic. Harold Zwart (The Karate Kid) will direct, with film set for release on August 23rd, 2013.
Rumor has it that Disney has been quietly developing a sequel to its 1993 Halloween classic Hocus Pocus. The original film starred Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as a trio of sister witches resurrected on Halloween night in Salem, Massachusetts, who begin wreaking havoc on the town. While the film has retained a cult status (and played endlessly during the Halloween season on the Disney Channel), it was never fondly remembered by many outside the age group it was made for then. According to Moviehole, the film will be titled Hocus Pocus 2: Rise of the Elderwitch. There’s a presumption that the new film will focus on an entirely new set of characters and situations, since most of the original cast has either gone on too much bigger things, while others (Omri Katz in particular) have vanished from Hollywood.
With the popularity of fairy tales popping up all over the place on broadcast TV and movies, we can guess, in the short run, we’ll be getting more of them. Part of the reason is that fairy tales cost no money to secure rights too, so that will make the bean counters happy. Also, by taking popular characters and creating prequel’s or updated sequels, the studios tap into an audience familiar with the brand. Which is why 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV are developing The League of Pan, a modern day twist on the on the story of Peter Pan. The concept is from Brian McCauley Johnson and is described as a re-imagining of the Peter Pan mythology set in modern day times 10 years after the Lost Boys left Neverland. In J.M. Barrie’s original novel and play had the Lost Boys returning to London to living with the Darling clan –only in the Disney movies, it’s just Peter. With ABC’s Once Upon a Time, NBC’s Grimm and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast over at the CW (and the two Snow White movies from this spring), this newest project should not be taken as a surprise. And just like Snow White, the Peter Pan story has quickly risen in Hollywood to become the hottest ticket around. There are three films in development, including one from actor Channing Tatum called Neverland, Pan starring Aaron Eckhart and Tink, which is from Disney and will star Elizabeth Banks. Then, of course, there is the Broadway play Peter Pan and the Starcatchers. The two studios are in search of a showrunner and once that’s done, and script is finished, it’ll be shopped to the broadcast networks for fall 2013.