Arterton for Ridley’s New Alien? Mara as Lisbeth and Perhaps a ‘Halo’ Movie?

Rooney Mara on the set of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Noomi Rapace

Just above is your first look at Rooney Mara in David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo due Dec. 21, 2011, which will obviously cause comparisons to Noomi Rapace (right) who played the titular character in the Swedish-language originals. However, the images are so small it’s almost impossible to draw any kind of legitimate comparison. You can click here to browse a few additional images.

Terry Gilliam is looking for new funding for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a film he has been trying to make for decades. According to Gilliam, he should be shooting right now, but “the financing collapsed about a month and a half ago.” He currently has Ewan McGregor and Robert Duvall on board for the film, which is rumored to tell the story of a filmmaker (McGregor) who is charmed into joining the eternal quest of Don Quixote (Duvall) for his ladylove. [Variety]

Although it is seemingly taking forever to get off the ground, a Variety profile on the $2 billion “Halo” video game franchise reveals that a film adaptation is still in Microsoft’s plans. “We’re still interested in making an excellent Halo movie,” says Frank O’Connor, who oversees the Halo franchise for Microsoft. “We’ve created an awful lot of documentation and materials to support a feature film. We have a good idea of what kind of story we want to tell, but won’t move on until there’s a reason to do it. We’re in no particular hurry.” Connor also says the film would likely serve as a standalone story and not be “a verbatim retelling of the game.” For those unfamiliar, Halo was close to getting the green light in 2005 for producer Peter Jackson and director Neill Blomkamp but the proposed $135 million budget was too much for co-partners Universal and Fox. Jackson and Blomkamp instead went on to collaborate on District 9, which turned out pretty well for the duo.

Jonathan Landreth of The Hollywood Reporter reports Jan de Bont (Twister, Speed) is set to direct Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha, Hero) in an independently produced, English-language co-production of a live-action version of Mulan. The classic story, which was previously brought to American audiences in the 1998 Disney animated film of the same name, tells the story of a young female soldier who joins an all-male army. Shooting is expected to wrap in January.

Director Alfonso Cauron (Children of Men) is still looking for an actress to replace Angelina Jolie for the lead in his 3D space travel film Gravity. The current rumor is the film’s producers are looking at Rachel Weisz to play the sole surviving member of a space mission who desperately tries to return home to Earth and her daughter. While a previous report had Scarlett Johansson stepping into the role, it’s now safe to consider that debunked. Although the cast is also rumored to include Robert Downey Jr., it has been said that much of the film will feature the lead actress alone in space (much like Sam Rockwell in last year’s Moon) so it would seem imperative that the star has considerable talent and box-office pull. Weisz would be a fine replacement for Jolie, but her casting would no doubt force the producers to trim the budget. [Latino Review]

James Mottram of The Independent wrote a really interesting profile on Ridley Scott that I think is worth reading all the way through, but i’ll summarize the “newsworthy” bits as they pertain to his upcoming Alien prequels here. It’ll be a two-parter shot in 3D and set 30 years before Scott’s 1979 original. As for the subject matter? Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

“The film will be really tough, really nasty. It’s the dark side of the moon. We are talking about gods and engineers. Engineers of space. And were the aliens designed as a form of biological warfare? Or biology that would go in and clean up a planet.”

Here’s hoping the originator can revive a once-great franchise that has since been tarnished by dismal sequels and spin-offs. As for the cast, Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) has revealed she will be meeting with Scott about starring in the prequels according to Digital Spy. Arterton has convinced me (mostly with The Disappearance of Alice Creed) she is capable of being a strong action heroine, not that I would expect her even remotely approach Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in that regard.

Andrew Garfield

Jay A Fernandez of The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Andrew Garfield at the Telluride Film Festival and offers a very informative Q&A on the site. There’s nothing really groundbreaking news-wise, but it features all sorts of good stories and insight. Garfield talks about working on his flexibility for his upcoming Spider-Man movie, his experience on and off the set of The Social Network and offers some depth to his character in Never Let Me Go.

Lastly, IM Global has offered up the synopsis for their upcoming Judge Dredd reboot, which they currently have listed simply as Dredd. Here it is:

DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.