thorcoipel§ Wow, shocker! Kenneth Branagh is gonna direct THOR? Branagh is a trained Shakespearean actor, acclaimed for his dynamic screen and stage renditions of the Bard’s work, so getting attached to a superhero movie sounds like a big stretch. But is it?

This news was so momentous that The Beat was quoted on E! Online and we did give them some of our best lines, but let’s face it: Thor is a medieval kinda guy, and he’s gonna talk like a character from THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and Branagh is an expert in bringing that kind of stuff to life, so it makes muckle sense.

Speaking of Marvel, Nikki Finke reports and a press release confirms that Paramount has signed a five-picture deal to distribute Marvel’s movie offerings. Finke:

I know that Paramount was thrilled with picking up those fat distribution fees during the enormous $574 million global success of Iron Man this past summer. Now it’s got a lock on Marvel Studios’ coming product which should prove successful at the box office if the publicly traded indie’s creative chief Kevin Feige doesn’t screw it up. I’m told that Paramount and Marvel have done a big overall deal calling for the movie major to distribute Marvel’s next self-produced films on a worldwide basis.

The deal covers IRON MAN 2 and 3, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers.

Speaking of The Avengers, it is apparently Marvel’s plan to introduce Iron Man, Cap and Thor in their own movies and then team them all together in a mega-tentpole. Now how cool would that be if Kevin Feige could pull it off? That’s just the kind of entertainment spectacle we’ll need to get us through the Great 21st Century Depression ’round about 2011.

§ MTV quizzes Kirsten Dunst; she sounds kinda like she’ll be coming back for the next two Spidey movies.

§ And now some great news for DC: Looks like the Green Lantern movie will start shooting early next year:

Earlier today I caught up briefly with producer Donald De Line, who is developing the Green Lantern film, and asked him for an update. He told me that “a new draft of the script came in” and they’re “gearing up to start shooting early spring.” While it’s not confirmed, he added that “it’s coming together and I’m excited about it. Hopefully we’ll make it to start gate. We’re really close – really close.”

Nisha Gopalan has more — script reports, which indicate a space opera-ish kind of origin story.


  1. So… Does Marvel have enough financing to film this slate?
    Here’s my Green Lantern pitch: 60s astronaut goes up mercury test launch. strange cosmological energies cause his capsule to malfunction, and he crashes off course, winding up on a deserted subantarctic island. He discovers an ancient temple and a mystical ring. It contains the spirit of a genie, who latches herself and the ring to her new master. Major Hal Jordan must maintain his normal identity as an astronaut, his secret identity as a superhero, and the crazy triangle of himself, his fiance, and the genie.

  2. Branagh on a superhero film doesn’t sound like any more of a stretch to me than Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro or Jon Favreau. Shakespearean actors have had a pretty good track record in genre work: Alec Guiness, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan . . . And Branagh has already directed one genre film, 1994’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Though, maybe it’s better to forget that one.

  3. I don’t know why everyone’s getting all excited about The Avengers as a movie, really the very earliest that can happen is 2013, not 2011. We’re not even going to see the second Iron Man movie until 2010 and that’s the earliest we’ll see Captain America or Thor as the only Marvel movie slated for next year is Wolverine. I don’t see Marvel having both Cap and Thor coming out the same year.

  4. Blah, blah, Shakespearean language, Branagh, yes. He actually has a better pedigree than that – Mel Gibson freely admits to ripping off “Henry V” for the battle scenes in “Braveheart” basically making Branagh the grandaddy of the modern medieval battle epic. As for Frankenstein being “bad”… It was actually ahead of it’s time, and Tim Burton owes the success of “Sleepy Hollow” and subsequently “Sweeney Todd” to it. At best it will be a fun Norse mythology/adventure/epic (hopefully with Brian Blessed as Odin.) At worst, it will end up a failure more noble than the Ang Lee Hulk, that people will rip-off and honor years down the line.

  5. It would be feasible if they can get the Hulk to be in on that Avengers film – that is, if Universal doesn’t object ( and co-produces it) – since Robert Downey did pull in a cameo in the Incredible Hulk film.

    Also – I spoke to someone from WB Animation over the weekend that there’s going to be a Green Lantern Warner Premiere animated film and a Flash one soon after. I don’t know when they’re scheduled to come out, though.



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