A new show from Rome co-creator Bruno Heller will focus on the origins of Commissioner James "Never Without a Mustache" Gordon rather than any crusaders who happen to be caped. Some of Gotham's extraordinarily thematic villains will put in appearances, should that soothe your batarang'd heart. Fox won the bidding war in what Deadline, on the night of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere, called "one of the biggest drama deals this season." The network has given a series commitment.
What is Hollywood's natural response to a summer of blockbuster duds like The Lone Ranger, which blew a hole in Disney's balance sheet so big you could drive a derailing steam engine through it? Why, double down, of course! You would think studios would take a breath before assembling production slates equivalent to the gross domestic product of Madagascar, but the summer of 2015 is already turning out to be a franchise battle royale: Batman vs. Superman, Star Wars Episode VII, and an Avengers sequel.
Vin Diesel, despite bearing an unsettling resemblance to what it would look like if you were to try to shoplift a side of beef from the butcher by hiding it inside an enormous white tank top, is an utter delight. We will brook no dissension on this point. And now that he has become a Hollywood Immortal by having his essence forever sealed into a star-encrusted slab of concrete on the Walk of Fame, his legacy is secure; he no longer is required to give a fuck. It comes with the sidewalk. He is not only playing with house money, he's putting it on green, and he's winning five out of five spins. This is a man who not only survived Chronicles of Riddick, but he's heaving a new one at you in less than 24 hours, because he cannot be hurt any longer. Strike at the side of beef with a cleaver and see what happens.
I'm not psychic — stop it; I'm not! — but I'm predicting right now that the summer of 2015 will look vastly different from the one we just suffered through. (Summer of 2014 is pretty much all booked. Sorry.) There will certainly be your Batman-Superman mega-movies, but I'm guessing there will be fewer of them than there have been in the past. Setting aside the box-office numbers (the summer appears to have been a success), the art itself was pretty monochromatic.
Complaints about the summer of 2013's sameness — Earth destroyed and abandoned once, twice, 10 times; even in comedies — were being logged as early as April, when Oblivion opened. By the end of June we were wiped out. Not so much by homogeneous plots, but homogeneous scale. We're eating a lot of $200 million movies these days, far exceeding our recommended seasonal allowance. Every week it was a porterhouse and sometimes all that steak makes you want just a salad. Pacing and variety are important. What if summers were programmed to look more like fall and winter?
Scrutiny over the Man of Steel sequel, and Batman's return alongside Superman, would have been fierce no matter who was cast. But in going with their boy Ben Affleck, and nailing a perfect swirl of aptness and WTF-ness, Warner Bros. has launched fevered anticipation over its big tentpole into the stratosphere. And again: This thing doesn't even shoot until next year. (In Detroit!) Anyway: In the coming months, with actual news hard to come by, expect a lot of side-chatter, like Justin Timberlake — who stars alongside Affleck in the upcoming Runner Runner — being asked if he'd play Robin.
Finally, finally, someone asked Matt Damon about Ben Affleck playing Batman. It was a bit malapropos: The reason Damon granted the interview with The Times of India is that he's traveling through the country plugging his organization, Water.org, which provides clean water and sanitation to villages. And, alhamdulillah, that didn't stop the reporter from finally asking Damon about Affleck playing Batman.
Well, VMAs, I have to hand it to you. You've hijacked all of the feeds. You're drunk, you're driving, you're being tailed by police, you're hitting telephone poles and you're still going. I guess you've won. I guess we've been dwarfed by your enormity, your force. The fact that the Internet's reactions to the performances — Miley's most of all — spawned so many aftershocks, even though not all of them were real (see: Will Smith and family) reactions to begin with, makes this post-VMA redux seem like the show was actually a peek into a meme-breeding facility. The ceremony seemed pre-GIFed. Talking points were offered to the Internet like appetizers on trays, like the VMAs were saying, "Sir? Ma'am? You asked for content? Here it is."
Man, you guys (the Internet) are brutal. As soon as the word got out that Ben Affleck had been cast as the new Batman, everyone reacted with the kind of horror usually reserved for, you know, real news. Director Zack Snyder spoke of Affleck's "acting chops" and "charm," and you haters can only talk about Gigli. As Variety points out, remember how much you hated the idea of Michael Keaton as Gotham's rich bat-eared hero? I'm not saying R. Kelly wouldn't make a great Batman, but give Affleck a chance (and hold onto the hope that Damon will be his Robin, though I guess I always ’shipped them in the opposite roles despite the color of their hair). He's never going to come out of his bat cave if this negativity continues, and the movie will wind up being like a comic book Waiting for Godot (great pitch, actually — no stealsies).
It's true! Warner Bros. made the announcement yesterday: When Batman returns in the Man of Steel sequel, it'll be its golden boy Ben Affleck taking over for Christian Bale. In a statement, director Zack Snyder said, "Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry [Cavill's] Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retains the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him." Well, well, well.
You thought Bruce Wayne enjoying a mocha frappuccino in the sunny palazzos of Tuscany with the chick from Bride Wars was the last we'd see of the vigilante playboy billionaire for the foreseeable future? You thought wrong! As was just recently announced at this year's Comic-Con, Batman will return to us in 2015, at the behest of Zack Snyder, when he'll face off with Superman in the Man of Steel sequel. Exciting stuff, to be sure. Exciting enough to warrant casting speculation two years ahead of time, and before a script has even been written? Yeah, sure, why not.
Since Christian Bale is hanging up the suit, it's time for an enterprising new fellow to step in. And this weekend, we got some clues as to what that fellow will look like. As THR reports, "Snyder is only just beginning to look at actors. But the real insight is the kind of Bruce Wayne/Batman that Snyder is looking to cast. According to numerous sources, this Wayne/Batman will be in the late 30s or around the 40 mark. He will be established and rugged." So, of course, that means 32-year-old Ryan Gosling?! Ehh, what?
“No, no, no,” the tall guy in the hoodie says into his phone. “I’m past the pirate ship.” He cranes his neck up to look at it, a giant promotional buy for something no one will remember in a year’s time. “Yeah, no. I got here at five.”
It’s a little after 6 a.m. on Saturday, and I’ve crawled out of bed after three hours’ sleep to get in line for Hall H, the central cathedral of San Diego’s Comic-Con, the four-day pop culture extravaganza that devours an extended summer’s weekend for more than 100,000 of the devout. The day before, I consulted with every Hall H expert I knew to figure out when would be early enough to get in line for a full day’s movie excitement. The assurance I received from every one of them was that 6 would be more than early enough. Hell, 6:30 might be safe.
About 3:30, a friend gets in line and sends out a tweet to say he’s right on the cusp of getting in to the venue. People haven’t just been camped out since the night before; they’ve been camped out since the afternoon before for Saturday, traditionally the big day in Hall H, when Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Marvel Studios all make their presentations. These three studios, not coincidentally, are responsible for nearly all the superhero films released each year. (Only Spider-Man, which remains with Sony and was presented on Friday, did not make an appearance on Saturday.) As such, Saturday in Hall H has always been a big-ticket item — or it would be if one could buy tickets for it.
By the time I make it to the line, it snakes underneath five tents, the last of which divides people into four “chutes,” like cattle, to send them into Hall H. (When they finally enter, volunteers will line every step of their journey, applauding, as if they are returning conquerors or Super Bowl winners.) Get past the tents and the line crosses a busy street to continue up a sidewalk alongside a nearby hotel, before ending up at a seaside harbor walk — where the aforementioned pirate ship is docked. The line then snakes around as many more times as it needs to accommodate every person who arrives. At various points this weekend, the line will hold in excess of 10,000 people and perhaps as many as 15,000 (it’s impossible to get an exact count). It is big and intimidating and exhausting just to look at, the Sisyphean ordeal all Hall H attendees must endure to enter the promised land.
Hey, put it on my Grimes. The new Walking Dead prepaid debit cards are billed as "an exciting way for fans to incorporate the series' art into their daily lives," but I think they're probably best saved for special occasions, like when you want to join other zombie enthusiasts in an abandoned mall for a nice, leisurely stroll, or those times when you're browsing brains and don't want to pay for gray matter with a boring old MasterCard.
Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle got together at the Comedy Cellar, texted Jay-Z, and left late-night voice mails for Lenny Kravitz and Arsenio Hall. They also discussed — joked? After midnight it's anybody's guess — touring together. RumorWatch continues with another drip from the Celebrity Survivor faucet. THIS IS PROBST'S LAST ATTEMPT. Jeff Bridges, come on, man. Haven't you always wanted to try your hand at puzzles? I think you could win this thing. Twelve more celebrities and we might have a green light.
The capper to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy drew mixed reviews during its theatrical run, so if the bad ones kept you away, now's your chance to form an opinion before its inevitable nomination for several technical Oscars and probably none for writing or acting.
Bane's (Tom Hardy) plot: too complicated? Bane's voice: too silly? Anne Hathaway's Catwoman: superior to Michelle Pfeiffer's? Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) using his Batman voice, when he's suited up, with Morgan Freeman's Fox, even though Fox totally knows who he is: still?! You'll be able to answer all these questions and more — and, best of all, you can pause it for bathroom breaks, and you will need to, because this thing is LONG.