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The Sludge Report: August 18th – August 24th

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Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Olsen, And Another Week With Marvel


While DC and WB admittedly stole the thunder and headlines with the Ben Affleck announcement, Marvel kept plugging away, potentially filling in two massive roles in their Phase 2 films. What follows is a round-up of all the notable Marvel news of the past week, with emphasis on GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (have they found their Rocket Raccoon?), AVENGERS 2 (do we know who will be Scarlet Witch?), and MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.


I’ll start with the biggie, which got overshadowed by Batman. Marvel is in early talks with Bradley Cooper, star of THE HANGOVER trilogy, to voice the Rocket Raccoon in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the only notable role left unfilled, assuming that Vin Diesel is Groot at this point.

I’m not a huge Bradley Cooper fan, but he’s a perfect choice for Rocket Raccoon, much better than the rumored Adam Sandler. Marvel continues to impress with its decisions.

[Sidenote: If you're a follower of Gunn's work (SUPER and SLITHER), you'll be familiar with Tyler Bates, who scored both films. He's also worked on 300 and WATCHMEN, and is joining back up with Gunn for the music on GOTG.]

[Another sidenote: Gunn continues to surround himself with buddies, as actor Gregg Henry (SUPER, SLITHER, THE KILLING) has tweeted that he's joined the cast in London for the film. No word on his role.]

James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is aiming for an August 1st, 2014. The cast includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace, Ophelia Lovibond, Djimon Honsou, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, Gregg Henry, and Karen Gillan. Yeah, what a versatile collection of talent.

If you’re not convinced of this movie’s quality, check out how cool Michael Rooker looks when blue on this set photo (more here):




Another Marvel nugget, featuring a smaller name (for now), is that Elizabeth Olsen is in negotiations to take the role of Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch in AVENGERS 2. It had been rumored earlier in the week, but now it seems closer to being a sure thing.

Elizabeth Olsen (sister to the fabled twins) made her mark with MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and other indie fare, but with OLDBOY and GODZILLA upcoming, she’s about to be in the big-time. I think she’s a fantastic choice, and am frustrated that I didn’t see it coming. As of now, it sure feels like Aaron Taylor-Johnson of KICK-ASS fame, will be playing her brother Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver, though that hasn’t been officially announced. They’ve worked together on GODZILLA, which surely helps both of their causes (unless they hated each other).

Beyond the casting news though, everyone is still wondering what Joss Whedon has up his sleeve for an Ultron that doesn’t involve Hank Pym.

“I knew right away what I wanted to do with him…He’s always trying to destroy the Avengers, goddamn it, he’s got a bee in his bonnet. He’s not a happy guy, which means he’s an interesting guy. He’s got pain. And the way that manifests is not going to be standard robot stuff. So we’ll take away some of those powers because at some point everybody becomes magic, and I already have someone [a new character, Scarlet Witch] who’s a witch.”

The key will be “…To ground [the character] while still evoking that guy. As a character I love [Ultron]…because he’s so pissed off.”

Most villains are angry, so that hardly seems like stunning commentary, but evoking Scarlet Witch and magic is intriguing.

If you want another perspective on the evil robot, here’s an interesting one. ANT-MAN director Edgar Wright, who’s all over the place due to THE WORLD’S END, talked about why there’s no Ultron in his ANT-MAN movie: “It was never in my script…Because even just to sort of set up what Ant-Man does is enough for one movie. It’s why I think “Iron Man” is extremely successful because it keeps it really simple. You have one sort of — the villain comes from the hero’s technology. It’s simple. So I think why that film really works and why, sometimes, superhero films fail — or they have mixed results — because they have to set up a hero and a villain at the same time. And that’s really tough. And sometimes it’s unbalanced.”



It’s been a while since we got some more tidbits from the next-next Marvel movie (after THOR 2), so leave it Sam Jackson to provide us with something to tide us over about his one-eyed character:

“You see Nick Fury the office guy, him going about the day-to-day work of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the politics as opposed to that other stuff. It’s great to have him dealing with Captain America in terms of being able to speak to him soldier to soldier and try to explain to him how the world has changed in another way while he was frozen in time. Some of the people who used to be our enemies are now our allies — him trying to figure out, “Well, how do we trust those guys?” or “How do we trust the guys that you didn’t trust who don’t trust you? And explaining to him that the black and white of good guys/bad guys has now turned into this gray area…..Nick lies to him all the time, too. (Laughs) But he’s trying to help him navigate the waters of the new sharks that he doesn’t know anything about.”

He also talked about Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce:

“He’s part of that World Security Council I was talking to in (The Avengers), just he wasn’t there. We also know each other because we’ve been comrades for a very long time….There’s some stuff that’s said that gives you an idea of how he’s been part of that environment for a long time and the kind of guy he was.”

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER opens April 4th, 2014, starring Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Scarlett Johansson, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Georges St-Pierre.



Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon’s SHIELD show will arrive in little over a month (premiering September 24th on ABC), and a new EW issue is delivering a lot of new juicy tidbits.

Whedon likens the show to a certain episode of BUFFY, and gives you a taste of its purpose and scope:

“This is basically a TV series of ‘The Zeppo’ [episode of Buffy], which was a very deliberate deconstruction of a Buffy episode in order to star the person who mattered the least…The people who are ignored are the people I’ve been writing as my heroes from day one. There’s a world of superheroes and superstars, they’re celebrities, and that’s a complicated world — particularly complicated for people who don’t have the superpowers, the disenfranchised. Now obviously there’s going to be hijinks and hilarity and sex and gadgets and all the things that made people buy the comics. But that’s what the show really is about to me, and that’s what Clark Gregg embodies: the Everyman.”

In another interview Joss Whedon compares the show’s format to THE X-FILES:

“It’s a little bit like the “X-Files” model…You can come each week and see [that episode] and not have seen everything, but if you have, it’s a richer experience. And as we move forward, those things will start to weave together more and more. But we do want to always have every episode have its own beginning, middle and end, and feel like its own [thing].”

“We definitely don’t want anybody ever to watch an episode and have to have watched all the others. That’s definitely a goal of ours. But we think there’s a way to do that, [similarly to] the way that they’ve done it with [Marvel films] where it’s just a better experience if you have been keeping track. And also we’re pretty sure that we will be asking enough interesting questions that people will want to hear the answers. At least that’s our goal.”

And on the subject of magic:

“We will deal with two scientists facing things like a hammer that only one guy can pick up and trying to piece that together in their minds and get a grip on a world that doesn’t make sense.”

Tancharoen on any of the AVENGERS showing up: “We’re open to any opportunity…They all have an open invitation to swing by — any Avenger.”

It’s coming Tuesday, September 24th at 8 PM. If you can’t wait until then, check out Elvis’ spoiler-free review of the pilot.

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