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Pratt in ‘Guardians’; ‘Star Wars’ stand-alones confirmed; Selick to helm ‘The Shadow King’ & RIP Robin Sachs

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Chris Pratt, Andy on the brilliant NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, has landed the role of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Quill was born of a human mother and alien father, and is a master strategist and combat expert who wears an ability-enhancing suit and pilots a psychically-linked ship. While many actors were rumored for the role, in the end, it appears, it went to an actor that appeared on no one’s list. Pratt has comedic talents, which shine on Parks&Rec, but he can be dramatic as well, with his appearances in the Oscar nominated films Zero Dark Thirty and Moneyball prove. However, the casting of Pratt –on the heels of rumors that Marvel was looking to comedic actors as Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler- does seem to indicate that director James Gunn plans on adding more humor to the film. Now that the main character has been hired, expect a fairly rapid casting of the other roles to come out soon, as the film rolls closer to production.

The theatrical edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives on Blu-ray/DVD/download on March 12. There will be a 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack, a 5-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, and a 2-Disc DVD Special Edition.

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We’ve more or less got confirmation that Disney is indeed working on other Star Wars films besides the upcoming new trilogy. Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said in interview on CNBC that both Larry Kasden and Simon Kinberg are working on them. This comes on the heels of the latest rumor that there would be a stand-alone film based around the character of Yoda. So maybe the rumor about Zac Snyder helming a Seven Samurai style Star Wars movie reported three weeks ago is less of one now.

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The saga of director Henry Selick latest, secret project has finally been revealed. The stop-motion animator was working on a project for Disney for a while –at least most of 2011 and into 2012. Then in May, Disney announced he would also direct a version of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. But because he was working on the secret project, no timeline was released for that Gaiman adaptation. Then in August of last year, Dsiney pulled the plug on his secret project. That seemed to imply work on The Graveyard Book would begin, but then Disney decided to make a live-action version of that book, with Ron Howard attached to direct. Got that? Now it looks like funding has been found for what will now be The Shadow King, a “magical tale about nine-year-old New York orphan Hap who hides his fantastically weird hands with long fingers from a cruel world. But when a living shadow girl teaches him to make amazing hand shadows that come to life, his hands become incredible weapons in a shadow war against a ravenous monster bent on killing Hap’s brother Richard and ultimately destroying New York.” It can be assumed some work on the stop-motion film has commenced, but there is no word on what has been completed and what still needs to be done.

robinsachsActor Robin Sachs, know to Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans as the unethical Ethan Raynes, has passed away from undisclosed causes on February 1, just four days before his 62nd birthday. The British born actor career took off in the early 1990’s on such American productions as Dynasty: The Reunion and guest shots on Babylon 5 along with Buffy, Star Trek: Voyager and Torchwood: Miracle Day. He was also the villain –in heavy make-up- Sarris in the Star Trek inspired satirical comedy Galaxy Quest. His other movie appearance was The Lost World: Jurassic Park and had providing voice work for such games as Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2 & 3, SpongeBob SquarePants and last year’s CGI film Resident Evil: Damnation.

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