After a steady stream of rumors surrounding its storyline and lead actors, Josh Trank’s “Fantastic Four” reboot is finally underway and filming, with Miles Teller, Jamie Bell, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan set to battle Dr. Doom (Toby Kebbell). However, there are still some shifts to be made, as the superhero film has added one actor and also denied another from signing on to a long-gestating biopic.
Actor Tim Blake Nelson has joined Trank’s film as scientist Harvey Elder aka Mole Man, not as a crucial aspect of the film, but rather a tease for future sequels. Nelson is no stranger to comic book adaptations of course, having factored similarly into 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” but we’ll see where his role leads. Meanwhile, Michael B. Jordan’s commitment to “Fantastic Four” has thrown a wrench in the Ice Cube/Dr. Dre-produced N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” which claimed to have him for a while as playing a young Dre. The film’s studio Universal claims that it’s still on its way to being greenlit, despite having zero roles locked, but time will tell if it ever gets off the ground. [THR/THR]
Now that a rough time at the box office has rendered a sequel to “Ender’s Game” essentially off the table, director Gavin Hood has moved swiftly on, instead tackling the action thriller “Eye In The Sky” with Colin Firth. The Guy Hibbert-penned film will follow Firth as a London-based intelligence officer who is forced to grapple with a terrorist strike in Nairobi once a nine-year old girl unexpectedly enters the kill zone. Sounds like a gripping tale, especially with Firth at its center; the film starts production in South Africa on August 11th. [Deadline]
A military thriller is also next for “The Lone Ranger” actor Armie Hammer, who will star in “Mine," set to be produced by Peter Safran (“The Conjuring”). The film stars Hammer as a soldier who botches an assassination attempt and loses his way in the desert, suffering the psychological and physical toll as the deadly heat wears on. Hammer is also exec-producing the project, which will go before cameras this fall. [Variety]
Down a more lighthearted route, “Pitch Perfect 2” is gearing up for another round of acapella antics with actress Elizabeth Banks directing and Kay Cannon returning to write the screeplay. Now the film has added “True Grit” star Hailee Steinfeld to its original cast of Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Brittany Snow, with the details of the Oscar-nominee’s role under wraps for the moment. Look for more news this month though as the film goes into production, aiming for a May 15th, 2015 release. [THR]
Finally, actress Sally Hawkins—last seen in a fantastic Oscar-nominated turn in “Blue Jasmine”—will topline “Maudie," a biopic based on the life of Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis, charting her occupation as housekeeper to a curmudgeonly man who soon becomes her manager. The Canada-Irish co-production will be written by Sherry White and directed by Aisling Walsh (“Song For A Raggy Boy”), and starts filming in Newfoundland in August. [THR]