New Line released a statement today to clarify that although actors’ unions had abandoned their boycott of The Hobbit, the studio might still seek a location other than New Zealand for its enormous productions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequels. “NZ Equity/MEAA continued to demand, as a condition of the retractions, that we participate in union negotiations with the independent contractor performers,” read the statement. “We have refused to do so, and will continue to do so. The actions of these unions have caused us substantial damage and disruption and forced us to consider other filming locations for the first time. Alternative locations are still being considered.”
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Derek Zoolander, Ben Stiller’s dimwitted model from the 2001 movie, will be reborn as a cartoon on the Internet. The actor told the New York Times that he’ll voice the character in a series of animated digital shorts, and that he hopes actors from the original film, like Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, will also be involved.
Sam Raimi is interested in directing a new adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids, Deadline reports. Mandate Pictures won an auction for the rights to the book, about a meteorite storm that leaves the majority of the population blind and vulnerable to an army of ambulatory, man-eating plants. Mandate will produce the film in conjunction with Raimi, who has expressed interest in helming the project.
After reports that action star Jean-Claude Van Damme had suffered a heart attack while filming the movie, Weapon, in Louisiana, the actor took to his Facebook page to deny that any health scare had occurred. “Please, do not believe all what you read from rumors on any unofficial JCVD sites. Jean-Claude Van Damme is 100% healthy, training well for taking the fight and sending his fans & friends much love — JCVD”
James Cameron discussed his plans for two Avatar sequels at an event to promote the Nov. 16 release of the blockbuster on Blu-ray, ComingSoon.net reports. The director told reporters he intends to shoot the second and third Avatar movies back-to-back as one long production, then release them a year apart. “In order to do that, we have to refine our technical processes beyond the end of where we were finishing Avatar one a year ago,” he said. “We need to future-proof ourselves out five or six years to the end of the third film.” He added that Sigourney Weaver could easily return for the sequels despite her (seeming) death in the first movie: “Who said she died?” Cameron said. “Nobody dies in a science fiction movie. Whether Grace lives or dies depends more on Sigourney’s agent than anything.”
Sandra Bullock and director Anne Fletcher, who teamed up for last year’s hit comedy, The Proposal, are reuniting for another film, according to Variety. The untitled drama, which reportedly will combine elements of An Unmarried Woman and Saturday Night Fever, will be written by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis, the duo behind The Wedding Planner.
John C. Reilly (Cyrus) has joined Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the Tony-winning play, God of Carnage. A rep for the Oscar-nominee (Chicago) confirmed that he’d play Jodie Foster’s husband, joining Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) in the story of two couples who collide after their sons cross paths in a violent schoolyard fracas. Though the original play was set in Brooklyn, the production will not be filmed there, as Polanski’s fugitive status prevents him from working in the United States.
Michaela Watkins has joined the cast of Wanderlust, David Wain’s upcoming comedy, produced by Judd Apatow. The cast also includes Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta. According to Variety, the film “revolves around a couple who leave behind the big city to join a free-wheeling community where the only rule is to be yourself.” Watkins will play Rudd’s sister-in-law.
A spokesperson for Disney has confirmed that Keith Richards will indeed avast-ye-mateys once more in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. In an article that appeared in the London Times last Friday, the Rolling Stones guitarist announced that he had joined the cast of the fourth Pirates movie. “It takes two hours to put the wig and make-up on,” Richards said. “Back into the hairy prison. ‘Ooooh, sorry about my sword, babe,’ ha ha ha.” Johnny Depp famously based the character of Captain Jack Sparrow on the musician.
Megan Fox has joined the cast of Friends with Kids, the upcoming comedy from Kissing Jessica Stein‘s Jennifer Westfeldt. Adam Scott and Westfeldt play the main couple in the story, while Westfeldt’s real-life boyfriend Jon Hamm and Kristin Wiig play another couple. Fox will “play a girl who Scott begins to date,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
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