Freeman for ‘Hobbit’ Lead? Neeson Joins ‘Battleship’ and Caine Takes a ‘Journey’


Michael Fassbender in Hunger

Director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender, the tandem behind 2008’s critically acclaimed Hunger, will be re-teaming for the sexual drama Shame. Fassbender will play a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life.

While that doesn’t explain much, I’d be keeping an eye out for this one regardless based on the quality of their previous collaboration. The film will be introduced to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival. [Variety]

Sylvester Stallone has been tweeting up a storm since joining the social network in a seemingly endless attempt to keep the hype machine for The Expendables running. One tweet of particular interest confirms that the director’s cut of The Expendables will be out in about six months and the documentary Inferno: The Making of The Expendables will be out soon as well. Sly describes the documentary as being “hardcore – everybody’s on it,” and Deadline claims it will include the botched stunt that occurred while filming a fight between Stallone and Steve Austin, complete with Sly’s ensuing trip to the hospital. It is unclear if these features will be a part of the initial DVD release (which would put the DVD out far past the now-standard 3-4 month DVD window) or if it will be out on an additional package later on. Stallone also reportedly just finished work on The Expendables DVD commentary.

Martin Freeman

According to The Sun and now confirmed by Entertainment Weekly, British actor Martin Freeman (Hot Fuzz) has turned down the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit due to prior commitments with playing Dr. Watson on the BBC series “Sherlock.” However, EW says it’s not over yet saying, “New Line and MGM, the studios backing the Hobbit films, have since come back to Freeman with a proposed schedule that would allow him to shoot both projects. All parties are currently negotiating a deal.”

Perhaps adding a bit of credibility to a cast that currently includes Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker and Rihianna, Variety reports Liam Neeson has joined the cast of Universal’s $200 million board game adaptation Battleship. Neeson will play Admiral Shane, the father of Decker’s character and the future father-in-law of Kitsch. Skarsgard and Kitch will be playing brothers in the film. Battleship takes place during a battle for planet survival against a superior alien force and is set for a May 18, 2012 release.

Michael Caine is in final negotiations to join Dwayne Johnson and Josh Hutcherson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, where he would play the Hutcherson’s grandfather in the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. The film will see Hutcherson team up with Johnson, who plays his mom’s boyfriend, on a trip to a mythical island to find his grandfather. Heat Vision reports the grandfather role is not a cameo, and Caine will be engaging in several chase sequences.

ShockTillYouDrop caught up with Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg on the set of their new comedy 30 Minutes or Less in hopes of learning about the status of Zombieland 2. Eisenberg said that a first draft of the script by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick has been completed and turned into Sony. While Eisenberg admits to not having read it yet, Fleischer says he has. “Yeah, I read it. I mean, it’s an early draft and we have plenty more to do to work on it, but I think it’s going to be amazing, I’m really excited about it,” he said, although he isn’t sure if it will be his next project after he finishes work on 30 Minutes or Less.

Universal has finally officially hired Red director Robert Schwentke to helm the supernatural auctioneer R.I.P.D. after months of speculation. The adaptation of Peter Lenkov’s Dark Horse comic focuses on a police department of the dead and stars Ryan Reynolds. [Variety]

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Reagan, a $30 million dollar biopic following Ronald Reagan’s life from boyhood to Hollywood actor to leader of the free world, is eyeing a release for late next year. Jonas McCord is writing a script based on two Reagan biographies by Paul Kengor: “The Crusader” and “God and Ronald Reagan.” No actors or director have been cast yet, but THR suggests names like Andrew Garfield, James Franco, Zac Efron, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Chris Pine for the lead. I’m not sure I could see any of those guys in the role, but I’m having a hard time thinking of a suitable candidate. Who would you suggest? James Brolin played Reagan in the 2003 Showtime miniseries “The Reagans,” which focused on his life after the 1981 assassination attempt.