Joss Whedon quite possibly on "Avengers"

Deadline Hollywood, who has some of the best sources in the gossip business, says that Joss Whedon is Marvel’s guy to direct “The Avengers:”
http://www.deadline.com/2010/04/marvel-close-to-whedon-hire-on-the-avengers/

I don’t even have to say anything about this, do I?

If this is true, it’s at once the surest thing and the biggest gamble Marvel could take.

On the one hand, Whedon is “in the family” having done a lot of comic writing for Marvel, and he’s beloved in the “fanboy” community on a level usually reserved only for the “actual” superheroes. Waaaaay back when they were setting up the first Spider-Man movie, Marvel bought themselves the ultimate in fan-reassurance by tapping geek icon Sam Raimi to direct. This, if true, will have a similar effect: Avengers will be “awesome until proven guilty” from now until it comes out. Smooth sailing and nothing but free advertising and hype from the web set from here on out.

On the OTHER hand… for all the fan worship, Whedon basically has ONE successful TV show (and it’s spinoff) to his name, while the rest of his output consists of one-season-wonders and movie that.. well, sorry, but pretty-much tanked. That’s not to say he’s NOT talented – he’s a great writer, knows “team dynamics” in genre ficiton inside and out and can direct action – just that it’s impressive that Marvel would trust him with what’s prospectively the biggest superhero movie ever made.

"don’t you mean extinct?"

17 years ago, CGI dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” essentially put hundreds (if not thousands) of Practical FX technicians out of work – or at least got the ball rolling.

Apparently, Warner Bros. “Green Lantern” movie is looking to do the same thing to the costume design business. So says Slashfilm: http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/04/11/exclusive-green-lanterns-suit-will-be-almost-entirely-cg/

Short version: Ryan Reynolds is doing the part wearing a motion-capture suit over most of his body, and they’ll be rendering a CGI Green Lantern costume over him in post-production. Which, of course, makes perfect sense because there’s simply no way that GL’s ridiculously complicated uniform of a black-and-green body-stocking could possibly be accomplished with fabric. Clearly, this was a job for a few million in rendering tech. Left unsaid is whether or not Reynolds “actual” head and face will be visible, or if they’re going to roll the dice and see if human fleshtones can look as “acceptable” as Na’Vi ones.

…Interesting.

Something like this has been coming for awhile. Warners has been making chirps about doing the next Superman with a “real” Clark but a “CGI Supes,” and this certainly sounds like what they might’ve been talking about. Done right, this could theoretically end the problem of actors having the personality but not being in the right “shape” for roles like this… though I’m already filled with nightmare visions of the disembodied heads of gangly character actors and/or over the hill “stars” pasted on top of brawny comic-appropriate CG bodies.

It could go VERY wrong – it reminds me of the Holophoner Opera in “Futurama” which, for some reason, required live actors “wearing” hologram costumes – but I could easily see something like this become a cost-saving standard and a way to “broaden the field” of available actors. Reynolds, for example, has generally been in great shape since Blade 3; but concievably an actor with just an average (or “too old”) build could play Superman, Flash, whatever this way. It might also solve the problem of actors not being able to MOVE inside Batman’s cumbersome, impractical costume.

Or it could look incredibly silly.

I saw a movie…

…and for various legal reasons I don’t think I can tell you what I thought of it yet, or probably get specific at all. So let me be say two things:

1.) What you’ve heard is true.

2.) Nicholas Cage is the best Batman ever.

That is all.

"I Give A Damn"

Here’s some insight into how my mind works.

Below, the innaugural TV spot for “I give a damn,” a public service campaign aimed at making LGBT issues more publically talked-about – the idea being that the “I don’t care what you do but I don’t need to hear about it” attitude contributes to violence against gay, bisexual and transgendered people by keeping said issues “impolite to talk about.” Nobel cause, tastefully executed, deserves the support of all thinking (or even just compassionate) people… all in all, very serious business:

…But yeah, I’ll admit it: My FIRST thought (followed quickly by all the proper, compassionate and serious reactions, yes) was, “Whoa! Anna Paquin’s into chicks? AWESOME!”

So, yeah… one-track-mind. Though I suppose it’s worth noting that having the gorgeous lead actress of a hit TV show “out” herself in the spot is just about the most perfect (positive) publicity a campaign like this could ask for. The campaign’s official site can be found HERE: http://www.wegiveadamn.org/

Bucky Barnes? Seriously?

This has been up for most of Thursday, but I was waiting to see whether or not it was an April Fools joke. Apparently, it is not. Heat Vision (and now everyone else) reports that Sebastian Stan – apparently one of the also-rans for Captain America – got a consolation prize when the role ultimately went to Chris Evans: He gets to play Cap’s sidekick, Bucky Barnes.
http://www.heatvisionblog.com/2010/04/captain-america-sidekick-sebastian-stan-exclusive.html

In this case, the surprise is that Bucky is in the movie AT ALL, I’d say. Honestly didn’t expect that. If you had to ask me what the first thing you’d jettison (or at least trim way, way down) for an Avengers lead-in Captain America movie, I’d say Bucky right off the bat.

Quick primer for non-fans: Since Captain America originated in the 1940s, he came completely with the then-all-but-mandatory “boy sidekick,” a’la Robin. So goes the story, Stan Lee was never terribly fond of the boy sidekick angle, which is why basically none of the “Silver Age” Marvel Heroes started out with one. So when it came time to ressurect Cap – and concoct an altered backstory to erase the ill-advised 50s “Commie Smasher” Cap/Bucky books – Stan etc. opted to kill two birds with one stone: In the “new” version of Marvel history, the same circumstances that led to Cap being frozen in ice since the end of the war ALSO flat-out KILLED Bucky Barnes.

In the short term, “guilt at responsibility for Bucky’s death” served as Cap’s version of the Marvel-mandated “heroic flaw” (he was actually pretty over-the-top hysterical about it… Venture Bros. fans who recall Captain Sunshine’s recent appearance? Yeah, pretty much that) before “WWII hero doesn’t fit in 60s America” became more compelling; but in the long term it wound up as an important benchmark in Marvel continuity: “Bucky’s death soured everyone on the concept” became the default “why we don’t have kid sidekicks” explanation, and OBSD – “Only Bucky Stays Dead” – was a mantra on the ressurectability of dead heroes for decades.

Anyway, the movie question will be “what will he DO?,” since the character has undergone a lot of re-interpretation over the years. Regular-Marvel Bucky has, historically, been played as a wartime Robin – all gee-whiz and let’s-go. In the “Ultimate” universe – which has inspired a lot of the Marvel movieverse – Bucky is just a regular army grunt Cap hung out with during the war (he doesn’t die and Cap meets him again, as an old man now long-married to Cap’s onetime ladyfriend, after being thawed out, which would probably be a KILLER scene in a movie.)

The HV story, however, may unwittingly give away a pretty good idea of where they might be going by noting that Sebastian has signed for “five or six” movies as the character. See, since it’s unlikely that Sebastian would sign to play himself in old-man makeup in six movies, it seems like Bucky might be running around “young” in future Cap and/or Avengers movies. How might that work?

Well, a few years back when Ed Brubaker began what’s become an acclaimed run on the Cap books, he started off with a MAJOR reworking of Bucky’s official backstory: Now, the “gee-whiz” kid thing was an act, and his “real” function was as Cap’s one-man “wetwork” team; i.e. he did all the throat-cutting and guard-neutralizing that the Army didn’t want to tarnish Cap’s symbolic stature with. In addition, well… he threw out the “Only Bucky” death rule once and for all: As it now turns out, Bucky was revived in the future, too: As a brainwashed, semi-cyborg Soviet assassin called “Winter Soldier;” who Cap discovered, fought and rehabbed into a good guy… good enough that he briefly took up the Captain America mantle when Cap died after “Civil War.” In other words, add at least ONE prospective story-point/bad-guy to the Cap/Avengers sequel rumors.