Lots of big announcements coming out lately regarding superhero adaptations, probably the biggest being the announcement that Samuel L. Jackson has signed a nine picture deal with Marvel, ensuring that he will be playing Nick Fury to our geek hearts' content, or at least three years, given Marvel's current production schedule of two movies a year. I guess all that complaining about Marvel being cheap worked for him. I mean, it's not like Mickey Rourke has a deal to play the villain in "Iron Man 2" yet, despite principle photography beginning in April.
In the world of "well, that's just freaking cool," it has also been reported that Michel Gondry will be the new director for "The Green Hornet," after Stephen Chow dropped out a while back. Sure this clearly represents that Gondry is selling out, but at least we're going to get a movie that is going to be directed by Michel Gondry and feature Stephen Chow as Kato. That alone is more interesting than the old television series ever was.
Then there's the news that Warner Bros. may actually be ready to make and release a superhero movie that isn't Batman or "The Watchmen." At least, that's what the announced December 17, 2010 release date for the Green Lantern movie would seem to indicate. Personally, I'll believe it when I see it. Fortunately, Warner Bros. has a lot of movies planned for 2010 and 2011, with at least a few of them being a sure bet for release. Particularly interesting is the planned 2011 grudge match between Harry Potter and The Avengers, and I'm looking forward to Christopher Nolan's "Inception," since I don't think he's made a movie I haven't liked. (via Comingsoon.net, with plenty more release dates at the link.)
Now Variety reports that Dan Lin is going to produce a "Suicide Squad" movie, with geek screenwriter extraordinaire, Justin Marks (he of Supermax, He-Man, and many other geek-baiting movies fame), penning the script. We won't really know how good he is until "Street Fighter" comes out on Friday, and even then it seems unfair to judge anyone on a Street Fighter movie, but he sure is getting a lot of work. I'm just looking forward to seeing the mother of all badasses, Amanda Waller, on the big screen.
Back at Marvel, they issued a press release all about what an awesome 2008 they had financially (Thanks, Iron Man!). It's boring, and I don't recommend you read it. They also confirmed stuff we already knew, like Kenneth Branagh directing Thor (which I still think is fantastic), and gave a July 16, 2010 release date. (via The Beat) If Marvel really wanted to impress me, they would have given a release date for the "Runaways" movie Brian K. Vaughn is suppsed to be writing. Thankfully, movies weren't all they had to offer.
By far the most exciting news is that we finally know when the Spider-Man musical is going to open on Broadway, and what it is going to be called. YAY! "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark," directed by Julie Taymor with music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge, will open on February 18, 2010, with previews beginning January 16. Casting will be announced soon. For more details, you can read the announcement here, and go to the official website here.
Now, I love musicals and I love Spider-Man. Really, it's like two of my absolute favorite things. Will it turn out to be my own personal peanut butter cup of entertainment? I kind of doubt it. I'm just not convinced that superheroes and musicals are two great tastes that taste great together. There's certainly a lot of talent involved, but I've never been a huge U2 fan, and while I think Julie Taymor is brilliant, I still haven't been able to bring myself to watch that Beatles musical she did. It's all kind of hit and miss for me. And while the announcement says it is "drawing from over 40 years of Marvel comics for inspiration," the presence of the character Arachne in the casting calls suggests otherwise.
Fortunately, I also love things that are awful, so I don't see how I can lose with this. There is so much potential for it to be a spectacular, no pun intended, trainwreck. It's title is "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark," apparently after one of the songs. Isn't that just terrible, like it can only be related to some really painful metaphor? On the other hand, there is always a chance that it, unlike the Superman and Batman musicals that have come before it, will actually be good, in which case I get to see a musical about one of my all time favorite characters. It's a win win for me.
The only thing that I'm nervous about is the casting. Julie Taymor has said repeatedly that she wants Evan Rachel Wood to play Mary Jane, and she is probably the only actress I can imagine that will be even drearier than Kirsten Dunst. In a dream world, they would get Felicia Day, of "Dr. Horrible" fame, to play MJ. We already know she's got a great voice, and she's a gorgeous red head. It's perfect. They should just go ahead and get Alfred Molina to reprise his role as Otto Octavious too. I saw the man in "Fiddler on the Roof," and he was fantastic. Also, he's done the singing Doc Ock thing already.
So, who else is psyched? Unfortunately, single tickets don't go on sale until June, but if we get together a group of 12 or more, we can get them now and make sure we see it before the buzz kill critics tell us how much it sucks. Who's with me?