June 15, 2009
Newsbites: The fantasy edition!
2. The Hobbit director Guillermo Del Toro has confirmed that Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving will all be back as Gandalf, Gollum and Elrond, respectively. Del Toro also says he is "very close" to announcing who will play the young Bilbo Baggins; the older Bilbo was played in The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) by Ian Holm. And while The Hobbit is being split into two films, Del Toro says he will not direct any so-called "bridge" film, i.e. a film that would bridge the gap between the two Hobbit movies and the three Rings movies. -- BBC Radio, MTV Movies Blog (x2)
3. A lawsuit filed by J.R.R. Tolkien's heirs against the studio that made The Lord of the Rings will go to trial before a jury as planned in October, now that a state court judge has turned down the studio's request that she alone should consider the lawsuit's claims. -- Variety, WENN
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will open in regular theatres on July 14, but it won't play on IMAX screens until July 29 -- and the fact that IMAX venues won't be getting the film until it's more than two weeks old prompted IMAX shares to fall 4% last Monday. The delay is due to Warner Brothers' decision last year to postpone the film's release date, which was originally set for November; when the decision was made, all the IMAX screens had already been booked for most of July by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe says the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which has been split into two films, will end on "a very tense cliffhanger"; that film will come out in November 2010, and the second part of Deathly Hallows will come out in July 2011. -- Hollywood Reporter, Empire
6. Marcus Nispel, whose credits include remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Pathfinder (2007) and Friday the 13th (2009), has been set to direct the remake of Conan the Barbarian (1982). -- Variety, CHUD.com
8. Neil Patrick Harris has joined the cast of Beastly, the modernized version of Beauty and the Beast; he will play "a blind tutor who helps and bonds with a teen . . . who is shellshocked from being turned into a hideous young man." -- Hollywood Reporter
9. Kevin Lima, the animator turned live-action director whose rÃ©sumÃ© includes Disney's Tarzan (1999) and Enchanted (2007), is now attached to direct a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964), the part-animated, part-live-action film that starred Don Knotts as "a man who turns into a talking fish." The original film marked the last work ever done by the original Warner Brothers animation division; it is not yet clear what sort of animation the new film will use. -- Hollywood Reporter, Cartoon Brew