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June 15, 2009

Newsbites: The fantasy edition!

1. Taylor Kitsch will play the title character in John Carter of Mars, and his X-Men Origins: Wolverine co-star Lynn Collins will play the Martian princess Dejah Thoris. Thomas Haden Church has also indicated that he, too, may have a part in the film, which will be the first live-action movie directed by Pixar stalwart Andrew Stanton. Two months ago, it was reported that Michael Chabon had been hired to rewrite the script, but there is no indication of that in this week's reports, which credit the script to Stanton and Mark Andrews. Filming may start as early as this November, in Utah. -- Variety, Hollywood Reporter, ComingSoon.net, The Amazing Website of Kavalier & Clay, Hitfix, Salt Lake Tribune

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

4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will start shooting in Australia next month, or possibly in August. -- GoldCoast.com.au (x2), Brisbane Times, Hollywood Reporter, NarniaWeb

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

7. Chris O'Dowd has been cast in Gulliver's Travels as the "bad guy" or "Lilliputian nemesis" to the title character, who is being played by Jack Black. -- Hollywood Reporter

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 résumé 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

Related Tags: beastly, conan the barbarian, gulliver's travels, harry potter, hobbit, incredible mr limpet, john carter of mars, lord of the rings, narnia