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Joss Whedon on board for 'Avengers' sequel, working on Marvel-based TV show

Joss Whedon will suit up once more to write and direct the sequel to The Avengers, EW has confirmed.

UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. PT: Marvel Studios has released the following statement: “Joss Whedon has signed an exclusive deal with Marvel Studios for film and television through the end of June 2015. As part of that deal, Whedon will write and direct Marvel’s The Avengers 2 as well as help develop a new live action series for Marvel Television at ABC. He will also contribute creatively to the next phase of Marvel’s cinematic universe.”

Earlier on Tuesday, during a conference call about Disney’s quarterly earnings, Disney chairman Bob Iger revealed that Whedon would return for the second installment of the film that has grossed nearly $1.5 billion worldwide since opening just over three months ago. Iger also said Whedon is working on a live-action TV series based in the Marvel universe for ABC, but had no further details.  READ FULL STORY

Obama gives thumbs-up to Catwoman at celebrity fundraiser

Anne Hathaway, President Obama thinks you are the cat’s meow.

At a big-ticket fundraiser at Harvey Weinstein’s Connecticut home Monday, Obama singled out Hathaway’s performance in The Dark Knight Rises while speaking to donors who paid close to $36,000 a plate. Catwoman was among those in attendance, as was Jerry Springer and Aaron Sorkin, according to the New York Times.

“She’s spectacular,” the President said of Hathaway. “And I did get a chance to see Batman. And she was the best thing in it. That’s just my personal opinion.”

Obama also had kind words for Sorkin by saying the creator of HBO’s The Newsroom “writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.” The President also showed some love to Joanne Woodward, the widow of the late Paul Newman, by saying, “Joanne and Paul were not only I think what was best about American film but also just embodied the American spirit in so many ways.”

Weinstein called Obama “the Paul Newman of American presidents.”

Hathaway and Sorkin served as the fundraiser’s co-hosts.

'Cockneys vs Zombies': Check out the horror-comedy's gore-drenched, red band trailer

According to tradition, a “Cockney” is a someone who was born within earshot of the bells of London’s historic St Mary-le-Bow church. Meanwhile, a “zombie” — at least since George A. Romero’s undead classic Night of the Living Dead — is a revived corpse who enjoys luncheoning on the innards of the still-breathing. Put them together and what do you get? That’s right, a revived corpse who was born within the sound of “Bow bells.” And the new British horror comedy Cockneys vs Zombies, which stars Michelle Ryan (the Bionic Woman revival), Alan Ford (Snatch), Honor Blackman (Goldfinger, cult TV show The Avengers), and the-largely-unknown-in-America-but-absolutely-awesome Richard Briers.

Inevitably, comparisons will be made between Cockneys vs Zombies — which receives its U.S. debut at this September’s Fantastic Fest — and Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, a high-water mark of the Londoners-versus-undead-lurchers genre. And it is worth pointing out that Briers’ costar in the long-running ’80s Brit-com Ever Decreasing Circles, Penelope Wilton, played Simon Pegg’s mum in Shaun. (The pair’s fellow Ever Decreasing cast member Peter Egan should feel free to start rehearsing the line “I’ve been bitten by a blinkin’ zombie!” round about…now.) On the other hand, the new red-band Cockneys trailer does make it look like a (foul-mouthed and gore-drenched) hoot.

Take a “butcher’s” (Cockney rhyming slang: “butcher’s hook”/”look”) and see if you agree.

Read more:
‘You’ve Been Trumped’ documentary director talks about taking on The Donald
‘Dredd 3D,’ ‘Room 237,’ and ‘Cockneys vs Zombies,’ to play at Austin’s Fantastic Fest
‘Cheers’ legend George Wendt returns to the New York stage with… ‘Re-Animator: The Musical’

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes,' 'Super 8,' 'Breaking Bad,' and 'Fringe' win big at the Saturn Awards

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Super 8, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 may have been skunked when it came time to hand out Academy Awards, but they cleaned up but good at the Saturn Awards, which honor the best in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. At a ceremony Thursday night in Burbank, Calif., Rise of the Planet of the Apes won Best Science Fiction Film, as well as Best Supporting Actor (for Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance as the sentient ape Caesar), and Best Visual Effects. Super 8‘s director (J.J. Abrams), composer (Michael Giacchino), and young star (Joel Courtney) all earned Saturn trophies. And the final Harry Potter film took home the Best Fantasy Film Award.

In the television category, Fringe won best network TV show, Breaking Bad best syndicated or cable TV show, and The Walking Dead best TV presentation (a category for anything lasting 10 episodes or less). Director and actor Frank Oz, and actor James Remar both won Life Career Awards; writer-director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) won the Filmmakers Showcase Award; and The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman won the first ever Innovator Award. (Check out a full list of the awards at the end of this story.) READ FULL STORY

Matthew Modine Rises: Private Joker on the Dark Knight, Steve Jobs, and a Batman/Iron Man steel cage match

When Matthew Modine calls The Dark Knight Rises the “most insane film that I’ve ever been involved with,” that’s really saying something. After all, this is the same man who did a famously lengthy tour of duty with Stanley Kubrick to complete the seminal 1987 war film, Full Metal Jacket, an exhausting odyssey that lacked a scripted ending until the final stages of production. When Modine describes Christopher Nolan’s sprawling new Batman epic in such terms, however, he’s not referring to such chaos, but the sheer scope, the stirring action, and the swirling winds of philosophical and political commentary that are howling through Batman’s cape, Catwoman’s spandex, and Bane’s mask.

Modine, too, plays an important role in the proceedings. As Deputy Commissioner Foley, he represents a misguided Gotham City that has turned its back on what is important during a time of relative peace. Like the rest of the police force — except Commissioner Gordon — he’s hungry to capture Batman for all the wrong reasons, and when Bane finally grabs the city by the throat, he’s not prepared. READ FULL STORY

'Wreck-It Ralph' adds voice actors from 'Modern Family,' 'The Office' and classic video games

Walt Disney Studios Animation

The animated arcade adventure Wreck-It Ralph has already added characters from Q*bert, Paperboy, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Sonic the Hedgehog to its cast.

Now the feature film from Walt Disney Studios Animation has added stars from Modern Family, The Office, 24, and the Disney Channel to fill-out the list of supporting players.

READ FULL STORY

Dianna Agron's 'Glee'-ful casting confirmation

Dianna Agron, A.K.A. Glee’s Quinn Fabray, has confirmed via her Twitter feed that she is in talks to play Robert De Niro’s daughter in the Luc Besson movie Malavita. The comedy thriller will follow an American mobster (De Niro) who moves to France under a Witness Protection Program but finds it hard to let go of his domineering ways, ultimately attracting the attention of the people he’s hiding from. Michelle Pfeiffer will play De Niro’s wife (and mother to Agron).

The casting news, broken by the Hollywood Reporter, also noted that Tommy Lee Jones is also in negotiations to come aboard.

Based on a novel by Tonino Benacquista, the script is being co-written by Besson who is also attached to direct. This could well be Agron’s road to a big-screen future after last year’s poorly received I Am Number Four.

Read more:
Entire ‘Glee’ cast expected to return next season
‘The Power of Six’ trailer

With 'American Idol' behind her, Jennifer Lopez eyes more films

Jennifer Lopez was part of the all-star cast that helped lead Ice Age: Continental Drift to the top of the box office over the weekend, and the entertainer is eager to focus even more attention on her once white-hot movie career.

“I do miss doing films. I feel like the last two years with American Idol, I’ve really, really focused on, you know, my music. … It was all kind of very synergistic, it worked really well together,” said Lopez, whose movie hits include Maid in Manhattan and Selena, and who was in What to Expect When You’re Expecting earlier this year. “But (film) is something that I really loved, it’s how I kind of started in this business, and it doesn’t leave you. I am an actress, I need to do that, too.”

She’ll certainly have more time now that she’s not going to be a judge on American Idol. She announced last Friday that she will not be coming back to the Fox talent competition, following in the footsteps of fellow judge Steven Tyler, who announced a day earlier that he would leave the show to devote more time to his band, Aerosmith. READ FULL STORY

'The Hobbit,' 'Django Unchained,' 'Iron Man 3,' 'Man of Steel' scheduled for Comic-Con

Comic-Con devotees know well that Saturday is usually the peak day at the convention, when the density of attendees hits its maximum and the air grows thick with excitement (and body odor). It’s no surprise then that, in the convention’s newly unveiled Saturday schedule, some of the most highly anticipated upcoming fanboy-friendly movies have slated their presentations for that day.

Quentin Tarantino will be on hand at the Hall H panel for Django Unchained, along with as-yet-unannounced cast members, and will offer a sneak peek at footage from his gonzo western about a slave turned bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) who sets out to rescue his wife from a cold-blooded plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio.)

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures will pack a major combination punch at their Hall H presentation, rolling out three big tentpoles sure to soak up a lot of buzz at the convention: Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi epic Pacific Rim, which pits giant monsters versus giant robots; Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel; and the first installment of director Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy classic The Hobbit, subtitled An Unexpected Journey.

Marvel will also be on hand to unveil a glimpse at Iron Man 3 at a panel featuring producer Kevin Feige and as-yet-unrevealed “special guests.” Will Feige also pull back the curtain on plans for Avengers 2? Stay tuned.

There’s plenty for TV fans in Saturday’s schedule as well, including a True Blood panel and Q&A (moderated by EW’s own Tim Stack) along with panels for The Simpsons, Once Upon a Time, Family Guy, Shameless, Grimm, and Glee.

For the full Comic-Con program schedule, you can head over to the convention’s official site. And keep checking back here for more updates.

Rose Byrne to romance underling Owen Wilson in 'The Internship' -- EXCLUSIVE

Rose Byrne is about to learn the first lesson of corporate America:

Hands off the interns.

Sources tell EW that the Damages and Bridesmaids actress is in final talks to co-star with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in the upcoming comedy The Internship, about two unemployed, 40-something guys trying to start new careers at the absolute bottom of the ladder at a Silicon Valley tech firm.

READ FULL STORY

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