‘Batman 3’ Rumors, ‘Ghost Rider 2’ Chatter, New ‘Thor’ Picture and Snyder Talks ‘300’ Sequel

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There have been several new developments on the Ghost Rider sequel that fans have undoubtedly been craving for the past several years. Nicolas Cage confirmed Thursday (July 15) on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (brought to my attention by Coming Soon) that he has signed on for the film, tentatively titled Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. He also confirmed that Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (the team behind the Crank films) will direct. That’s the same duo who penned and were then booked from directing the monumental failure known as Jonah Hex. David Goyer (Blade), however, has been working on this screenplay. It’s also worth noting Super Hero Hype has the news Eva Mendes, the most enjoyable part about the original, has confirmed she will not be back as Cage’s love interest.

In more exciting superhero news, First Showing has received word that a casting grid for Christopher Nolan’s Untitled Batman Project (aka Batman 3) lists The Riddler as a character. Which actor’s name is next to the character? Joseph Gordon-Levitt! While none of this is confirmed at this point, I don’t think I’m alone in saying “count me in!”

Adding to the excitement is Eric Ditzian of MTV, who reports Nolan and director of photography Wally Pfister have set a goal to shoot the entire movie in IMAX. Here’s the quote from Pfister on why he prefers IMAX over 3D:

“I must say I’m a huge IMAX fan. I like IMAX more than I like 3D. Chris’ films are so densely layered and have so much going on visually in every way that IMAX helps enhance that because of the scope and the scale of it – it becomes a much larger canvas to paint on. That’s what we found on Dark Knight.”

“I’m not a big fan of 3D. I liken it to my View-Master I had 40 years ago. Are you really getting more out of the story with 3D? When you separate those different planes and you’re creating artificial depth, it looks phony to me.”

Amen.

This new photo from Thor and his hammer just arrived and you can get a much fuller look at the pic in the RopeofSilicon gallery for the film right here. It’s better than the previous Shakespearean dress-up shots that were previously released, it still looks a bit hokey to me. If nothing else, it’s reassuring that Chris Hemsworth has been putting in the gym hours necessary for the role.

Geoff Boucher at the L.A. Times has a lengthy piece with director Joe Johnston explaining his approach in making Captain America: The First Avenger. “We’re sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers,” he explains. They’re apparently trying to make him less of a “flag-waver” and more of “just a good person” in an attempt to reach the international audience that was so kind to the Iron Man films.

Continuing on the Thor and Captain America train, the official websites for both films are officially online. Visit Thor.Marvel.com for Thor and CaptainAmerica.Marvel.com for Captain America.

Borys Kit of Heat Vision has the exclusive story that Emily Mortimer and Michael Stuhlbarg have joined the cast of Martin Scorsese’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Mortimer (Shutter Island) and Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man) join a cast that has Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz already lined up for the 3D family adventure. That one is currently set for a December 9, 2011 release.

The Los Angeles Times brings word on Frank Miller’s Xerxes, a follow-up of sorts to his graphic novel “300,” which Zack Snyder directed to over $450 million in worldwide box office receipts in 2007. Snyder tells the site he and 300 collaborator Kurt Johnstad began working on the script about a week ago and the presumption is Snyder will direct this film, but that’s not a done deal yet. The story is neither a sequel nor a prequel to 300 as it tells an entirely different story, and coincidentally a portion of it actually takes place during the same three days that were the foundation of 300.

Bleeding Cool’s Brendon Connelly has the inside scoop on Planes, the upcoming Cars spin-off. Disney Toon Studios, which typically handles direct-to-video sequels for Disney, is developing the project, but Pixar’s exact involvement is unknown at this time.

Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm has the full details on Monsterpocalypse, a board game that Tim Burton is developing as a project to direct in 3D. I know nothing about the game, but apparently the plot of the movie centers on a battle between giant monsters and giant robots. That sure sounds like the plot of a potential Michael Bay movie to me, but I guess it could be fun if Burton makes it in the style of Mars Attacks.

Coming Soon offers an update on The Hangover 2, the sequel to last year’s smash hit. The script has the crew traveling traveling to Asia, and production is set to begin in Thailand this fall. The film is already set for a May 26, 2011 release.

Perhaps the most interesting news of the day comes from NBC New York‘s Drew Magary, who reports that Mickey Rourke is interested in modeling a movie after Gareth Thomas, the Welsh rugby player who came out of the closet a year ago and is often credited with being the first openly gay active athlete in professional sports. I love Rourke, but the guy is 57 years old. How is he going to play an athlete more than 20 years younger than him who is still in peak physical condition. I’m sure Rourke is looking at this as a potential Oscar vehicle to win him the award he should have won with The Wrestler. I can just picture his thinking on this – “hm… Invictus + Milk = Oscar… that’s a bingo!” Come to think of it, I think a Tropic Thunder follow-up needs to be made. I’d love to hear Kirk Lazarus’s take on this.