Howdy, folks. Hope you had a relaxing weekend and that you’re tanned, rested, and ready for another work week. While this particular week ends in one of our favorite holidays, Halloween, it’s not too early to bring you news on what’s bound to be one of this Christmas’s highlights — a spin-off of the hit Will Ferrell comedy Elf! Elves, albeit of a very different kind, are also featured in the upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; and we’ve got word of that film’s epic final battle sequence, straight from director Peter Jackson himself. Plus, in the world of non-elf related news, we’ve got the latest on the The Lego Movie 2, Fast & Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more!
Fans of director Jon Favreau’s hit 2003 Christmas comedy Elf that would love to see more of its cheerful universe yet fear a sequel will never do the original justice are about to get what may be the best of both of worlds — a spin-off TV special. The stop-motion animated Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas is on its way from Warner Bros. Animation and Screen Novelties, which produced It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! for Nickelodeon in 2012. Based on both the Will Ferrell-starring film and its Broadway adaptation Elf: The Musical, “the hour-long special will include nine songs, among them “Happy All the Time,” “A Christmas Song” and “Nobody Cares About Santa Claus.” Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) voices Buddy, the lead.”
Longtime fans will recall how Favreau was inspired by classic holiday specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in creating the original Elf, even including a bit of stop-motion animation in the film as a tribute, so it should be fun to see Buddy return to his true roots. Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas debuts on NBC on Tuesday, December 16th (8pm ET/PT).
The Lego Movie 2
Plans for a sequel to this year’s smash The Lego Movie have been in motion for some time, but Warner Bros. just took the one absolutely necessary step to insure The Lego Movie 2 achieves the same critical success as its predecessor — the studio has signed the red-hot filmmaking team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller to write and produce it. Lord and Miller wrote as well as co-directed the original, and their impish humor, more than any other element, helped it win the hearts of audiences young and old.
A director has not yet been signed for the project. But, in the meantime, Chris McKay, another co-director of the original film, is directing The Lego Batman Movie, with star Will Arnett returning to voice the Caped Crusader.
Fast & Furious 7
After much speculation over what name the seventh Fast and Furious film will take as its title, the sequel — which suffered the tragic loss of star Paul Walker last year — has been officially announced by Universal as Furious 7. The title — as well as a new poster (featured below) with Walker and stars Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Tyrese Gibson — was unveiled yesterday on the Fast & Furious Facebook page. Furious 7 arrives via Universal on April 3rd. The live Road to Furious 7: Trailer Launch Event will take place this Saturday, November 1st, at 12 PM PST on the Facebook page and on E!
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the titular battle sequence in the third film of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy will be a whopping forty-five minutes long, and feature as much much inter-species mayhem as fans would expect of the director’s final Middle-Earth movie. “There’s a lot of logistics that have to be thought through,” says Jackson. “We have dwarves and men and elves and orcs, all with different cultures, with different weapons, and different shields and patterns and tactics.” EW has also secured a battle plan from the Oscar-winning filmmaker, to help you follow the madness that erupts when The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies debuts on December 17th.
Paul Greengrass has proven himself to be one of the most skillful action directors of our time with films like The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. Now the filmmaker is turning his attention to a real life tale of heroism with The Tunnels, based on Greg Mitchell’s upcoming book about a group of West Germans trying to escape East Berlin in 1961 via a series of underground passageways. Greengrass is still linked to several other film projects, including the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring American Nightmare and the next Matt Damon-starring Bourne film; and so, unsurprisingly, there’s no word yet on when filming will begin on this one.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
In the latest issue of Total Film, James Spader reveals a little bit more about the evolution his Avengers: Age of Ultron villain undergoes throughout the course of the sequel: “When you first meet Ultron, his physicality is very different to what he evolves to. It was in the script but we arrived at the metamorphosis of him on the set. In practice, in rehearsals… we were able to create the physicality of the character on the motion-capture stage. They would dot me up and I was wearing a helmet that had two cameras on my face, and they could live stream it to a monitor so we could try different things.”
The actor adds that he performed his scenes alongside his fellow cast members, with his voice recorded on-set for the final film: “I’d go and shoot the scene with the other actors and they’re recording all of it, including my voice. Nine times out of ten they were not using ADR (additional dialogue recording) after the fact.”
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