No Hulk for Norton? Bacon’s an ‘X-Men’ Villain? ‘Batman 3’ in April? Bond for Nolan?

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UPDATE: The story on Edward Norton’s role in The Avengers has gotten nasty. Click here for the details.

There’s been enough in the news lately to warrant a new Rumor Mill Round-up with stories from all corners of the Internet offering small nuggets of interesting information concerning several upcoming blockbusters and it seems only appropriate to begin with news surrounding X-Men: First Class since that seems to be the title generating the most headlines recently.

We begin with news from Deadline saying Kevin Bacon is negotiating to play the villain in First Class though the name of the actual character is unclear. After reading around the web I’ve seen bloggers suggesting he could be playing Mr. Sinister, Sebastian Shaw, Mastermind, David Moreau, Carl Denti or Graydon Creed. Since I don’t know who any of those characters are I will have to just nod and say, “Okay.”

Additional First Class casting news has EW reporting Lucas Till (Hannah Montana: The Movie) will play the role of Havok.

Keeping on the Marvel movie front, HitFix delivered a blow that had the blogosphere rumbling as they report Edward Norton is currently not expected to return as The Hulk in The Avengers, which is currently being written by Joss Whedon with Whedon also set to direct. The site writes, “According to Marvel sources, the company has decided that they are going to cast ‘an unknown’ to play Bruce Banner and The Hulk in the film.”

The report actually gets quite interesting, as movie gossip can occasionally be, with HitFix’s Drew McWeeny adding the following:

I sat down with Norton at SXSW this year, and one of the things we discussed was this exact scenario. At the time, he seemed to me to be interested in being part of The Avengers if the script and the director came together in an interesting way. This was before Whedon was hired, so it was all just hypothetical. Thing is, according to these same sources, Whedon’s been meeting the cast, laying out his plans for the film, and so far everyone seems incredibly excited by what they’re hearing. Hell, James Gunn and Nathon Fillion were Tweeting recently about how they hung out with Joss and what they heard convinced them that The Avengers is going to be insane.

One of the people who Whedon met with was Norton, and I’d love to know what they talked about. What I do know is that both Whedon and Norton reported their enthusiasm back to Marvel, and according to some calls I made today, it even sounds like Norton was making serious plans with his agency to keep his dates clear. And then…

… nothing. Marvel made a decision to hire an unknown, and they informed Norton that they won’t be using him in the film. And that is evidently that.

[poll id = “124”]

Personally I really liked The Incredible Hulk and actually liked it a little more than the first Iron Man and would prefer to see Norton return. Devin at CHUD discussed the possibility of Norton being dropped and wrote, “I’m a nerd, and nerds like continuity – but this doesn’t feel like a deal-breaker to me.” He then added a caveat saying, “If we’re going to spend a lot of time with Banner in human form, it would be nice to have Norton playing the part, in no small measure because he’s a very good actor, and if there’s a lot of screen time I’d rather it be with a good actor.” Where do you stand? Answer in the poll to the right.

Moving on we come to a report from Coming Soon who sat in on an interview with several other online bloggers discussing Clash of the Titans 2 with Sam Worthington, a man who seems to have his head screwed on straight and would be a lot of fun to hang out with. Worthington report the sequel will begin shooting early next year and it will be “shot in 3D.” He was adamant about making sure this aspect of the story be reported following the backlash concerning the 3D conversion of the first installment earlier this year. “Do put that in and make them fucking aware,” he added.

The discussion then turned to the story, which Worthington told CHUD he wants to “play a lot more and have a lot more fucking fun than just being a stoic young man who has to stand there and look pretty. I’m sick of doing that.” He then added, “They came to me with the story the other day. I said, ‘I kinda dig where it’s going, but can we make the character more of this? Can we make the character more of that?’ It’s kind of a case of, ‘How do we make Perseus a lot more fun?’ So we’re sort of shaping it down that track. And Warner Bros. has been nice enough to allow us to have a bit of input… I don’t want to stand there with a stick up my ass.”

As of right now there isn’t a director officially attached to Clash of the Titans 2.

Next we come back to the superhero stories as Michael Caine said in an interview with Digital Spy that Christopher Nolan’s Batman 3 will begin production next year. Caine said, “I think they’re going to do it in April, that’s about as much as I know.” You can see the interview just to the right.

The Nolan chatter didn’t stop there, however, as Nolan was quoted by the BBC saying, “I’ve loved the Bond films since I was a kid. For me, they’re always about the expansiveness of cinema. The first Bond films set up infinite possibilities about the world they create. I’d love to do a Bond film.”

This comes not as a surprise considering Nolan’s love for Bond was originally reported in EMPIRE magazine when Nolan Fans scanned a feature article with Nolan discussing Inception and its influences and said, “This is absolutely my Bond film… I’ve been plundering ruthlessly from the Bond movies in everything I’ve done, forever. They’re a huge influence on me.” So as intriguing as it may sound to have Nolan in the director’s chair for a Bond film it does seem to insinuate he feels as if he’s already been there.

And speaking of nostalgic action stars, the pencil-pushing action star Jack Ryan may be closer to getting back on the big screen as Lorenzo di Bonaventura spoke with Collider about the long reported return of Ryan to the big screen with Chris Pine (Star Trek) in the lead role. He says, “[We’re] hoping to get Jack Ryan off the ground with Chris Pine and that’s really exciting… It’s called Moscow [and we] have a very good script. I’m very happy with where we are today and we’re looking forward to – maybe with a little luck – starting early next year.” For more extensive story details on Moscow click here.

Finally, the following Levi’s commercial was directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) and has been popping up all over the Internet recently so I felt perhaps you too would be interested in giving it a look. So… here it is…

Thanks to io9, The Playlist and SlashFilm for providing information that contributed to this post.