Patel Bashes ‘Airbender,’ Phillips Eyes Belushi Biopic and Waltz Won’t be in ‘Spider-Man’

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Jay A. Fernandez of The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive on Todd Phillips (The Hangover) working to bring a John Belushi biopic to the big screen. Phillips will produce, but has not yet committed to directing duties. It is unclear at this time who will play Belushi, who starred in movies like Animal House and The Blues Brothers before dying of a drug overdose in 1982 at age 33, but Fernandez suggests names like Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. Seeing as how Steven Conrad (The Pursuit of Happiness) is penning the script, the movie is sure to have a dramatic edge so I don’t agree with the idea of casting a pure comedian. A more versatile actor like Joaquin Phoenix (with a little bit of weight gain) seems like a much better fit to me. Any other suggestions?

A few days ago, I posted a story citing a rumor that Sony wanted Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) to play the main villain in the upcoming untitled Spider-Man reboot, but SuperHeroHype has since debunked that rumor after speaking with sources inside the production. Their sources offer only this information: “when the role is cast, there will be a great actor involved.”

Following the news that the Juno tandem of screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman will again be teaming up for Young Adult, it now looks like Josh Brolin may jump on board as the counterpart to the already cast Charlize Theron. Theron will play a ghostwriter of young adult novels who returns to her hometown and reconnects with her high school acquaintances. Brolin would presumably play her former flame, who is now married with children.

Adam Rosenberg at MTV has the news that “Glee” creator and Eat Pray Love helmer Ryan Murphy will direct an adaptation of Larry Kramer’s semi-autobiographical play The Normal Heart, which focuses on the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York between 1981 and 1984. Kramer himself is writing the screenplay, and Mark Ruffalo is attached to star. I’m not so sure about Murphy as a director but if done right this has Oscar written all over it for Ruffalo, who in my opinion has been long overdue for that type of recognition ever since his brilliant work in You Can Count on Me

According to Steven Zeitchik of the L.A. Times, Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, Red) is being considered to direct the graphic novel adaptation R.I.P.D. for Universal with Ryan Reynolds already attached to star. R.I.P.D. tells the story of dead cops patrolling the underworld. McG (Terminator Salvation) was originally courted to direct but opted out in favor of the romantic comedy This Means War, and now Universal is looking to begin shooting next summer when Reynolds has a hole in his busy schedule. Of course, how this all plays into Ryan Reynolds’ plans is unknown. Latino Review detailed last night the situation concerning Reynolds’ involvement in not only the Green Lantern franchise, but Fox’s hopes of getting the Deadpool spin-off off the ground. Apparently Warner Bros. wants to get moving on Green Lantern 2 as soon as possible and unless the timing is right the Deadpool film may end up… dead. Get the full details on that mess right here and if you need a little more Schwentke how about browsing some of the new stills from Red right here.

Heat Vision‘s Borys Kit has the news that Paramount has won a bidding war for the rights to a coffee table book called “Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter.” The book, which will jump into the graphic novel form, tells the story of a bounty hunter created by a weapons organization who is framed and sent to prison before escaping and attempting to uncover the reason behind his set-up. Am I the only one who can’t look at the words “Bounty” and “Hunter” together without thinking about the Gerard Butler atrocity from earlier this year?

Ending on a rather humorous note, Dev Patel revealed via The Geek Files that he had doubts about working on The Last Airbender, but has actually been inspired by the pummeling the film has taken from critics. “I read the entire script and I had my concerns – I was like, I’m not too sure if I really wanna be doing this. I wasn’t blown away,” he explains. He later signed on anyway after being impressed by director M. Night Shyamalan’s “vision.”