Bardem’s a Bond Villain, Depp’s Lone Ranger is a Go, and Thor 2 Gets a Director

by | Oct 14th, 2011 | 7:30PM | Filed under: Movies, News

Some quick movie-news updates for ya!

Javier Bardem is the New Bond Baddie

Spanish actor and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem will face off against Daniel Craig’s 007 as the villain in the 23rd Bond movie, directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition).

The nature of Bardem’s character and his role in the plot are all still top secret. The film, which will hit theaters in November of 2012, does not yet have an official title, though there is online speculation it might be called Skyfall, based on the purchase of Internet domain names.

(Note that while we were discussing the idea of Idris Elba someday playing James Bond, Craig is and has always definitely been signed on for the next film, and probably has the job as long as he wants it–it’s just a question of how long Craig will want it.)

I’m a huge Bardem fan (and he certainly proved his bad-guy chops with his Oscar-winning work in No Country for Old Men), so this is all good news to me. (And yes, I’ve now read the first of King’s Dark Tower books, and I still think he’d make a great Gunslinger in that franchise.) However, it’s interesting to note this will be one of the bigger-name actors cast as a Bond villain–usually the role is filled by lower-profile character actors, like the excellent Mads Mikkelsen in Casino Royale and Mathieu Amalric in Quantum of Solace.

(Granted, folks like Sean Bean and Telly Savalas have played Bond baddies, but before they gained wider fame. The only real exceptions I can think of would be Louis Jourdan in Octopussy, Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill and maybe Joe Don Baker in The Living Daylights and Robert Carlyle in The World is Not Enough.)

The Lone Ranger is Finally Ready to Ride Again

Since mid-August the film industry and insider wags have been captivated by the game of chicken being played by Disney and the filmmakers behind Johnny Depp’s passion project, a big-budget action take on The Lone Ranger.

Cost-conscious during these rough economic times (and aware of how poorly Cowboys & Aliens did at the box office), Disney balked at the film’s projected budget and pulled the plug on the $250-million film, saying they would only make it for under $215 million.

Depp and his Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski all took pay cuts, but were reluctant to skimp any further on the script’s giant-sized (and expensive) action sequences. For a while it looked like the project would have to move ahead without Bruckheimer and Verbinski and perhaps Depp, or be sunk altogether.

Complicating matters was that Disney very much likes being in the Depp Business (the Pirates movies, Alice in Wonderland, and several more future projects being planned) and didn’t want to alienate him. So in the end Depp and the filmmakers agreed to further trim some of the film’s proposed CGI effects and lose one of their big railroad train action scenes, and basically called Disney’s bluff: they got the budget down and Disney honored its commitment to the film. This week the studio finally gave The Lone Ranger–starring Depp as Tonto and The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer as the Masked Man–a release date: Memorial Day weekend, May 31, 2013.

Thor 2 Gets its Director

While Avengers Fever for next May’s superhero movie is building (see the new trailer here), Marvel is always looking ahead to future films in the sprawling Avengers Universe.

Up next after The Avengers will be Iron Man 3 on May 3, 2013 (directed by Shane Black, writer of the Lethal Weapon movies, but more importantly, director of 2005′s excellent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, starring Robert Downey Jr).

Then comes Thor 2 in November of that same year, with Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Natalie Portman all returning. (Captain America 2 will probably be along in 2014.)

Though Thor was decently helmed by Kenneth Branagh, he’s out of the director’s chair for 2 and will be replaced by Patty Jenkins, the first woman to direct one of Marvel’s superhero movies. Jenkins is a very interesting choice tonally–she wrote and directed 2003′s Monster, starring Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos (a performance for which she won an Oscar), as well as the dark and moody pilot for AMC’s crime series The Killing earlier this year. Does this mean we might see a more brooding God of Thunder in a creepier superhero movie?

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4 Responses to “Bardem’s a Bond Villain, Depp’s Lone Ranger is a Go, and Thor 2 Gets a Director”

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    FOLLADORDEPROSTIS
    Posted on October 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Bardem rules in the sea inside too

  1. Angel
    Posted on October 18, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I can’t see Johnny Deep as Tonto but am looking foward to The Avengers, Ironman 3 and Thor 2

  2. Thirsty
    Posted on October 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Lexi Alexander was the first woman to direct a Marvel Film, with Punisher War Zone.

  3. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on October 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    You’re right, Thirsty — good catch. I could split tiny little Marvel hairs and say that The Punisher as a character is not really a “superhero” (doesn’t have a secret identity, doesn’t wear a mask, doesn’t have super powers or sci-fi gadgets) and that the Punisher movies are shoot-em-ups, not superhero movies, and I do believe that. But if we’re talking “Marvel comic-book movies” you are correct, thanks and my apologies to Ms. Alexander :)