Meet the Cast of 'X-Men: First Class'

Cast of 'X-Men: First Class'
The MSNmovies site posted an article that does a good job of bringing us up to speed on the backstories of the main players in X-Men: First Class. It's a quick way to be in the know about who's who in the big ensemble cast (opening June 3 in the USA).

Here's a sample of what Michael Fassbender had to say about his character, Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) -
"At the start of the movie we get introduced to Erik as a boy. We start in the concentration camps with him and it cuts to 20 years later and it's the early 60s and it's Erik as a grown man. He's on a quest to get Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon. Shaw had him in these concentration camps - and as we know the Nazis were doing lots of experimentation with all sorts of things like measuring skull size and brain size and running experiments on human beings, essentially. Shaw is trying to unleash this power in Magneto - he's recognised that he can manipulate metal - and so we catch up with Erik on a quest to basically hunt Shaw down."
Reed the entire article --> X-Men: Meet the first class!

'The Avengers' Filming Starts in New Mexico TODAY

Avengers copyright Marvel Comics - painting by Alex Ross

The day we've all been waiting for has arrived. Disney/Marvel Studios issued the following press release today (4/26/11), announcing the start of filming on The Avengers
Production has commenced today in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated movie “Marvel’s The Avengers,” directed by Joss Whedon (“Serenity”) from a screenplay by Whedon.  The film will continue principal photography in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City. Robert Downey, Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) returns as the iconic Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) as Thor, Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Captain America, Jeremy Renner (“Thor,” “The Hurt Locker”) as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are Alright”) as Hulk, Scarlett Johansson (“Iron Man 2”) as Black Widow, Clark Gregg (“Iron Man,” “Thor”) as Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) as Nick Fury.  Set for release in the US on May 4, 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the first feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009. 
Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.
 Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Marvel’s The Avengers” brings together the mightiest super hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time. The star studded cast of super heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios’ feature “Thor.”
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is being produced by Marvel Studios' President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios’ Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce. 
The creative production team also includes Oscar nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”), production designer James Chinlund (“25th Hour”), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs (“Iron Man 2,” “The Matrix”), visual effects producer Susan Pickett (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell (“Superman Returns”), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Iron Man,” “War of the Worlds”). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell (“Collateral”) and Jeffrey Ford (“Crazy Heart”). 
Marvel Studios most recently produced “Iron Man 2” which was released in theatres on May 7, 2010. The sequel to “Iron Man,” starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the number one spot its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million. To date the film has earned over $620 million in worldwide box office receipts. 
In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies, “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.”  “Iron Man,” in which Robert Downey, Jr. originally dons the super hero’s powerful armor alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008 and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million its opening weekend and grossed over $571 million worldwide. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released “The Incredible Hulk” marking its second number one opener of that summer. The spectacular revival of the iconic green goliath grossed over $250 million in worldwide box office receipts. 
In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Thor" on May 6, 2011; "Captain America: The First Avenger" on July 22, 2011; and "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013.
Thanks to HitFix for the heads up

Tom Hardy on the Set of 'Dark Knight Rises'

Bane, copyright DC Comics
Blastr (via ComicBookMovie) posted this pic of Tom Hardy that is allegedly from the set of The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy is playing Batman nemesis, Bane, in the flick which is scheduled to open on July 20, 2012.
Tom Hardy (R) via ComicBookMovie
Read the entire article here

Branagh's Shakespearean Roots Bring Thor to Life

Thor, copyright Marvel Comics
Geoff Boucher at the Los Angeles Times has posted another great article that looks at the challenges that director, Kenneth Branagh, faced in bringing Thor to the screen. It sounds like Branagh's Shakespearean experience on the stage and in film has made him well-suited for this tale of the Norse god banished to earth.

Kenneth Branagh
The article includes quotes from some of the cast that show how much respect they had for their director.

Ken Hemsworth (Thor) had especially nice things to say:
“You could be in awe of Ken, but he’s such a nice guy that he puts you at ease,” said the 27-year-old Hemsworth. “He has such a plan and so much attention to detail. There aren’t many people who have so many ideas about character and background and subtext. To talk to him about kings and sons and empires.” - Ken Hemsworth
Stellan Skarsgard, who plays a scientist in the film, explained why Branagh's acting experience was so important:
“It’s definitely helpful to have a director who is also an actor, as long as he’s a good director, too, and Ken is a good director,” Skarsgård said. “You work with some directors who are afraid of actors. They don’t what to use them for really, all they are is bodies moving around in their images. Ken is very different. He knows when an actor is uncomfortable… His take on this kind of movie is he wants to bring authentic psychology to the characters so they become three-dimensional human beings in this big fantasy film.” - Stellan Skarsgard
Read the entire article here 

Thor opens May 6 in the USA

McAvoy Talks 'X-Men: First Class' Sequels

James McAvoy
Interesting news making the rounds today about possible (inevitable?) sequels to X-Men: First Class (opening June 3, 2011 USA). It seems James McAvoy, who portrays Charles Xavier in First Class, had a chat with an Italian web site called Comicus and hinted at potential future storylines. 

Empire Magazine, May 2011
McAvoy sounds like he's totally immersed himself in the character of the young Professor X and is already thinking about how Xavier could develop. 
        "I have a plan for stuff I’d like to  do, but I need to get in there quick! If they decide they want to do another movie, I’m going to need to get a big hammer and hit someone over the head with it and make them sit down and talk to me! 
The possibilities are just so, so exciting in terms of what could happen. For all the characters, I have to say. They’re all going through so much and they’ve all been through so many traumas now that you can have them be really messed up. They’re all pretty saintly by the time they get to X1, so let’s have them really struggle for now. So yeah, I’ve got a lot of ideas about where it should be taken. I just think it should be really messed up, and that’s all I can really say because they probably won’t let me do any of it!" - James McAvoy
Thanks to ReelzChannel for the heads up.

Thor Star Says Film Will Roll on 'Avengers' Soon

Marvel Studios
It was a relatively quiet week in superhero cinema, but the Thor promotion continues to ramp up in anticipation of its May 6 opening day in the USA, and some cool Avengers info dropped.

Of course, we're all waiting to see the Norse god get his own flick, but what we really want is for summer 2012 to get here so we can witness the team-up of Marvel's superhero icons in The Avengers.

The Avengers - copyright Marvel Comics, painting by Alex Ross
This week, Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, was interviewed by MTV and gave a bit of info about the preparations for The Avengers. He said that he and the other actors that make up the superhero team haven't officially sat down and conducted a read through of the script, but he said filming on The Avengers will begin shortly after Thor opens.

Also in the interview, Hemsworth was asked, "Whose film is it?" - meaning "Which character is the star?" He said that director, Joss Whedon, plans to give all of the Avengers their share of screen time.
"Everyone really does get a go and I think Joss has done an incredible job of throwing it together and making sure that happens." - Chris Hemsworth
Check out the interview below or see the MTV article

Interview with Henry Cavill - the New Superman

Superman copyright DC Comics - painting by Alex Ross

HitFix has posted an interview with the next Superman on film, Henry Cavill, and it gives us a little glimpse into what he's thinking since landing the part. The chat was conducted at WonderCon in San Fransisco on April 2, and Cavill explained what it felt like to don the most recognizable costume in the world.

See the entire article at HitFix

Empire Magazine Spotlights X-Men: First Class

Empire magazine devotes two different covers of its May edition to X-Men: First Class. One features James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast). 

The other has a great pic of the Hellfire Club, with Michael Fassbender (Magneto), January Jones (Emma Frost) and Jason Flemyng (Nightcrawler's dad, Azazel). 

X-Men: First Class opens in the USA on June 3, 2011