Wednesday 7 November 2012

A Trifecta of Non-Animation Disney News: The Muppets 2, Hanks as Disney and #Bird2015

Yes, this is A113Animation. But, hell, we're all nerds aren't we? And this is all Disney-linked at least...

This we knew: following the success of 2010(/2011 for the UK)'s reboot of The Muppets, Disney are well into production on a sequel - which is planned as a comedy caper, which will see the return of the newest Muppet, Walter. This we now know: Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, The Green Hornet) is in talks to play a villainous Interpol inspector opposing Jim Henson's creations as they trot around Europe, says THR. Other new (human) characters reportedly include "a Russian femme fatale and a male lead whose intentions are always in question."

Oscar-winning musician Bret McKenzie (pictured here with Kermit) is set to return for the sequel.

Although Jason Segel won't be returning (not even in a cameo role) director James Bobin is returning, alongside writer Nicholas Stoller - the two will co-write. Also set to return, says Collider, is Bret McKenzie, who wrote the songs for the first film. McKenzie won an Oscar for "Man or Muppet". Collider also tells us that The Muppets 2 will begin filming in January at Pinewood Studios, and that the filming will run until about April, with a view towards a 20th December, 2013 release.

The planned release date invariably means that UK Muppet fans will have to wait until early 2014. Ah well, the last one was worth the wait.

Next, we have an exciting titbit from the hotly anticipated Saving Mr. Banks, a biographical film about Walt Disney's efforts to convince hesitant author P.L. Travers to allow him to make a film of her Mary Poppins book series. As we now know, Disney's tactics worked, and the real-life story promises to be fantastic stimulus for a film. The casting helps; Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson will star, as Disney and Travers respectively. Hanks will be the first to portray Disney on film, and, today, the first image of the Big star as the American icon leaked.

He's hardly a doppelgänger for Disney, but given Hanks' fantastic acting ability, one has to believe that he'll turn in a convincing rendition! Hanks was spied in role while walking through Disneyland on the shoot (I bet he gave some attendees a bit of a fright!). Very exciting news, for a film that promises to be something quite special.

What seems quaint though is that Saving Mr. Banks is set for a 20th December, 2013 release - the same day as The Muppets sequel. The films don't have the same main target audience, but it seems a curious move by Disney.

Via @MelFarleyActor.

Lastly, given last week's galaxy-shaking news, speculation has been rife about what we can expect to see with Star Wars: Episode VII. Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) has been rumoured to direct, the original leading trio are open to returning, and fanboys and girls have all contributed their own dream choices who should helm it. Spielberg? Probably not. Nolan? It seems unlikely. Brad Bird? Hmm, now there's a thought. /Film speculates about the possibility of Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) directing and Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) writing.

Some people are really jumping onto the cause, and we even have a propaganda ad for Bird's 'election' to the role. Alas, it seems a long shot, given Bird/Lindelof commitments to 1952 for Disney. Unless... it's a ruse. Either way, it's interesting to think about; the Bird•Lindelof run is great food for thought. And, honestly, directing Star Wars is just a little more prestigious than being the US President.

Episode 7 is scheduled for a 2015 release. #Bird2015!

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