Friday, October 17, 2008

Iron Man 2, Bourne 4, and Homer in Space!

First I'd like to share a personal update. My job is essentially a dead-end job. It is great experience and a strong resume-builder, but the only way to move up in the field is to go to grad school. So the whole past year, when people have asked me what my long-term plans are, I've responded that I'm considering going to grad school next year, i.e. fall 2009. Just a couple weeks ago now, it finally dawned on me that, if I actually do want to apply to grad school for next year, now is the time to apply. Panic! This reality check has sent me into a flurry of stressful school- (as well as soul-) searching, trying to figure out what to study, where to study, and with whom to study next year. And then there's the GRE that I'm signed up to take at the end of the month which I'm trying my darnedest to motivate myself to study for (a difficult task, indeed). So I haven't been posting as frequently as I was before I realized I have to apply to grad school. So yeah, there's my excuse. And on another note, the well that supplies my building is still testing positive for coliforms, so now it's over two weeks without full use of the water. I have no words of poetry left for the situation.

Anyway, on to the entertainment news that has caught my eye this past week.

Don Cheadle is set to replace Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes in Iron Man 2 (Variety, IMDb). After saying "Next time, baby" to the extra suit in the first movie, it turns out Howard won't be around next time when the character gets to don the suit as War Machine. I can't really imagine what would make Howard want to back out of the sequel (IMDb blames it on a salary dispute, but the media always blames it on salary, so I always take such reports with a grain of salt). The first movie was thoroughly entertaining and, well, pretty awesome, and in a summer dominated by The Dark Knight, it managed to hold its own (it did, of course, come out before Dark Knight). Anyway, I'm expecting great things from the sequel, and I am slightly saddened that the entire cast will not remain intact. That said, Cheadle is great, if very different from Howard, and as long as it's Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., the rest don't matter so much. So what's in store for Cheadle's Rhodes? Variety suggests "the sequel will see him become War Machine, Iron Man's nemesis." Hmm. I can see a plot where Stark would have to do battle with War Machine, but putting "Iron Man's nemesis" as an appositive for "War Machine" seems to suggest that War Machine is a permanent villain. I'm no Iron Man expert, but what I know of Iron Man tells me that's wrong. Hopefully it's just a misleading, uninformed turn of phrase. The sequel is scheduled to be out in 2010. Looking forward to it.

> Update 10/20/08: Terrence Howard claims that reports he turned down the Rhodes role in the Iron Man sequel over a salary dispute are totally fabricated (IMDb). He insists instead that he was snubbed mid-negotiations in spite of an existing contract. Ah, the intrigue! What will happen next?
> Update 10/31/08: Apparently, the story is that Howard, the highest paid actor on the first Iron Man film (!), was offered a dramatic pay cut for the sequel when the writers found he wasn't going to have a very large role. His agents were not pleased. It wasn't clear who walked away first, but Marvel quickly secured Cheadle for the role (EW).
> Update 2/6/09: The confusion continues. Though last year on NPR, Howard had called it the "surprise of a lifetime" when he found out that Cheadle had taken the role of Rhodes, and expressed his disappointment at the broken contract, he recently told Ebony magazine that he walked away from the role following the advice of Will Smith (IMDb). Will we ever know what really transpired?

Universal has found a writer, George Nolfi, for the fourth Bourne film (Variety). Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are already signed up for the fourth installment. They'd originally only planned on the trilogy, but who can resist all that potential money? The Bourne trilogy was pretty rare in that none of the three movies were stinkers. In fact, they were all pretty great. Hopefully, they'll be able to keep it up with the fourth. After last year's Summer of the Threequel, let's see if we can get a Summer of the Fourquel in a couple years. Shrek and Spider-Man are already gearing up for their respective number fours, though the release dates are not likely to be close. They should work on that. Frankly, though, I'm much more excited about Bourne 4 than the other two.

Brad Pitt has signed on for Warner Bros. project "The Odyssey" (Variety). Pitt will probably star in it, and George Miller who is also attached to the project will probably direct (it's all the early stages here, so little is certain). If this sounds like a sequel to 2004's Troy (which would be a bad idea, and besides, Brad Pitt's Achilles--spoiler!--died at the end), think again. Variety reports that they plan on creating a futuristic version of Homer's epic, with the tale set in outer space. Yes. A literal space odyssey. I'm not sure how Odysseus will prove his identity by stringing a laser gun (or if he actually deserves his faithful wife Penelope after all he does on his journey, without ancient standards of morality). I've been surprised before, and heaven knows I like sci-fi, even sometimes when it's bad, but this just seems like a misguided concept. Homer... IN SPACE!

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