Bird for ‘Mission: Impossible 4,’ New Release Dates and a Cruise and Witherspoon Rodeo

Brad Bird Considered for Mission: Impossible IV Director’s Chair: Yes, the director of The Iron Giant, Ratatouille and The Incredibles is in the running to direct Mission: Impossible IV alongside the other contenders such as Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz). While it’s not exactly the first name that comes to mind, should Bird direct M:I 4 to success it could mean a lot for animated directors in terms of being taken seriously as not only animated film directors, but directors without a descriptor. While Bird’s past shows only animated success, he was expected to direct 1906, a film set around the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but that film has been in development hell for years as a result of budgetary concerns, concerns rumored to stem from Bird’s unproven live-action track record. I guess an actioner on the scale of Mission: Impossible IV would be as good a place to start as any, especially with star power the size of Tom Cruise aboard to once again reprise his role as Ethan Hunt.

No further details are known at this time, but I expect we will have a decision soon as production is expected to get underway this summer for an already set May 27, 2011 release. [Heat Vision]

Anderson to Direct Buck Rogers: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) has been tapped to direct the feature film adaptation of Buck Rogers which originated as a late 1920s and early ’30s comic serial and then went on to become the more familiar NBC TV series in the ’80s. The film was at one time in the hands of Frank Miller (The Spirit), but that has obviously gone by the wayside. Buck Rogers is expected to be filmed in 3D and will revolve around a relatable present-day hero flung into the future. Iron Man co-writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway are adapting the script.

The original story centered on a fighter pilot who awakens in the 25th century, is credited with helping turn outer space into a setting for exploration and action-adventure stories, and getting the public used to space-age technologies during the Space Race. [Variety]

Cruise Considering Cowboy Role Alongside Witherspoon: Tom Cruise is reportedly eying a starring role in Paper Wings alongside Reese Witherspoon. The rodeo love tale sees a rodeo champ (Cruise) falling for an up-and-coming country singer, played by Witherspoon. Of course Witherspoon has belted out country tunes before, playing June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, but Cruise as a cowboy? I guess if Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger can pull it off why not Cruise? Several directors are being considered and with Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment producing, Gabriele Muccino’s (The Pursuit of Happyness) name has surfaced as one of many. [Los Angeles Times]

Gainsbourg for von Trier’s Melancholia: I head this a while back, but there has yet to be confirmation that Charlotte Gainsbourg will re-team with her Antichrist director Lars von Trier for his apocalyptic feature Melancholia, but the news is beginning to spread. To the right is the first piece of artwork released by production company Zentropa leading to further speculation as to the film’s subject matter, which has been kept quiet thus far. Described as a psychological disaster film von Trier has promised “No more happy endings!” which I guess we could assume means the picture of the Earth likely crashing into another planet may be Melancholia‘s finale. The film has been budgeted at $7.5 million-$8.8 million and will shoot in Sweden from July to August to make use of Swedish summer light. [Allocine / Variety / BD]

Bassett Joins Green Lantern Cast: Angela Bassett is a late addition to the cast of Green Lantern, which recently started shooting in New Orleans with Ryan Reynolds in the lead role and Martin Campbell directing. Bassett joins Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong playing Dr. Amanda Waller, a government agent who is a staple of the DC Comics series. The film is set for a June 17, 2011 release. [Variety]

New Release Dates: Several new release dates have surfaced recently. For those wondering about Wes Craven’s once titled 25/8, the film is now titled My Soul to Take and it makes the following list. Here’s a look:

On top of this, it’s been revealed Clash of the Titans will be opening on April 1 with 8 PM screenings. [Box-Office Mojo / CHUD / STYD]

HBO’s ‘Relationship’ Set for May 29: One film I noticed several Oscar prognosticators had on their early lists for the 2010 awards season was The Special Relationship directed by Richard Loncraine from a script by Peter Morgan. The film examines the extraordinary alliance between U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1994-98. However, it’s not hitting the bigscreen, but the small one as HBO has announced a May 29 television debut. In the film Michael Sheen will portray Tony Blair for the third time in his career, Dennis Quaid is set to portray Bill Clinton and Hope Davis plays Hillary Rodham Clinton. So count the Oscars out, but perhaps the Golden Globes and SAG Awards will have special kudos for it. [HBO]

Weinstein’s are Company Men: The Weinstein Co. has picked up domestic distribution rights to The Company Men, directed by John Wells and starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Rosemarie DeWitt, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello and Craig T. Nelson. The drama deals with how layoffs at an industrial plant affect three generations of men and their families. A release date is expected for later this year. [Risky Business]

Diablo Cody Grows to Become a Young Adult: Diablo Cody (Juno and Jennifer’s Body) has a new original screenplay titled Young Adult, which she has set up at Mandate Pictures. The story involves a thirtysomething, divorced, young-adult fiction writer in Minneapolis who returns to her hometown to chase the ex-boyfriend, who’s now married with a kid, that got away. The project is on the fast track while it looks for a director. [Risky Business]


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