Why Javier Bardem Is Excited About Joining Denis Villeneuve’s Dune

After years of preparation, director Denis Villeneuve is finally getting ready to get his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune into production, and in recent weeks he’s been assembling a cast with some of the most talented stars in the industry. Certainly one of the standouts is Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem, set to play Stilgar in the film, and from an outside perspective he seems like a major get for the project. According to Bardem, however, this is a case where he feels the pleasure is really all his, as he is both a huge fan of the source material and the filmmaker bringing it to life:

The most important thing is that I love Denis, since Prisoners. What a luxury! He asked me if I would ever be interested in being part of Dune. Are you kidding? How much do I have to pay? It’s one of those blessings that you have in this amazing, blessed life that I happen to have: having a job that I love, and make a living with, and also work with people that I truly admire and respect, and I’m getting inspired by it. It’s a lot.

Javier Bardem can currently be seen in select theaters starring opposite Penelope Cruz in the Asghar Farhadi drama Everybody Knows, and it was at the end of a conversation about that film this morning that I had the chance to ask the actor about his part in Dune. I inquired about his path to the project, and what led him to say yes, and he made it very clear that the whole thing is practically a dream and an opportunity he sees as a “blessing.”

In Dune, Javier Bardem will have one of the most significant parts, as Stilgar has a key role in the story through his relationship with hero Paul Atreides (who will be played by Academy Award-nominee Timothee Chalamet). On the desert planet Arrakis, Stilgar is one of the main leaders of the indigenous people known as the Fremen, and it is because of his alliance with the Fremen that Paul is not only able to fight against the corrupt Emperor and the dangerous members of House Harkonnen, but fulfil his ultimate destiny as a messiah.

Despite Stilgar’s importance to Dune, however, there is still some question how big his role will be in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming movie – purely because of the specific plan for the adaptation. Rather than trying to cover Frank Herbert’s entire epic novel in a single blockbuster, the idea for this new take is that the book will be split in half, with the first film establishing the world and characters, and a sequel completing the plot. The reason this is significant is because while Stilgar does appear early the story, his presence is much more important in what will be Part 2.

Of course, this is only true if Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is aiming to be a perfectly straight adaptation of the novel, which is not something that is known at this point. If the script plays around a bit with non-linear storytelling, which is something that the director has done many times, Stilgar’s role in the first half could be just as important as any of the other key characters.

We won’t have a full picture of what to expect until more details emerge – which will happen when we are closer to production – but for what it’s worth it sounds like Javier Bardem is game to contribute to a version of Dune that is as faithful and honorable to the source material as possible. Talking about his personal history with the story, Bardem told me that he not only read Frank Herbert’s first three books in the series – Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune – but also vividly remembers his experience as a teenager seeing director David Lynch’s adaptation for the first time and loving it:

I read the first three books, and, of course, I saw David Lynch’s film. I’m going to be turning 50 on March 1st, so I saw David Lynch’s film, which I loved. I remember the day I saw it in 1984, I think, and it was weird! And I loved it! It was big and weird, and those sandworms!

There is clearly going to be a lot of love for the material on the Dune set, and that just makes the project all that more exciting.

Sadly, as high as anticipation may be, we do still have quite a while before we get to see the end result, as Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment have planted a flag in a release date a year-and-a-half from now – specifically November 20, 2020. If you really need a Javier Bardem fix, however, as mentioned, you can see him now in Everybody Knows – and we’ll have more about that particular film coming your way in the next few days here on CinemaBlend.

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How To Train Your Dragon 3’s Director Thinks The Franchise Should Continue

After almost a decade of How To Train Your Dragon movies, the newly released The Hidden World has audiences saying goodbye to the animation trilogy. But with all the good vibes and major dollar signs already being sent the movie’s way, is this really the end?

How To Train Your Dragon writer/director Dean DeBlois was able to see his vision through. He has always planned the series to be a trilogy, and for a good reason: to create a satisfying and focused franchise from beginning to end. However, considering how successful and beloved the movies have become, the chances of it coming back in some shape or form are quite likely. While DeBlois is sticking to ending the movies with The Hidden World, here’s what he thinks about how the franchise should continue:

There you have it! The filmmaker feels solid about leaving the franchise be, but can imagine the world opening up if a different point in time and characters were explored and his trilogy was left alone. During my recent interview with Dean DeBlois at DreamWorks in Glendale, he talked about this along with discussing what he wanted to deliver from the ending. Check it out below:

We love a thoughtful ending and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World does just that! After selling out hundreds of early screenings, many fans were walking out the theaters in tears of bittersweet joy, thanks to the movie’s conclusion.

You’d think it’s not wise to touch a good ending, but then there’s the Toy Story franchise. After the touching conclusion to 2010’s Toy Story 3, audiences thought they were saying goodbye to Woody, Buzz and the gang. Then Toy Story 4 came along. Almost a decade after the conclusion, Pixar didn’t mind continuing the franchise anyway.

Messing with a good ending can be sacred, which is why Dean DeBlois’ idea to have the How To Train Your Dragon continue by exploring a completely different world is a clever approach. Star Wars and Star Trek have done that in a sense, and it has proven to be an intriguing way to explore the world created in more depth.

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World follows Hiccup, Toothless and the Berkians as they try to escape a dragon hunter named Grimmel and Toothless becomes smitten with a Light Fury. The movie is expected to win the weekend when it comes to theaters tomorrow, February 22. Bring tissues, the last installment of the trilogy is a tearjerker… though it’s a satisfying tearjerker.

Neill Blomkamp Had A Cryptic Response To The Colonel Sanders RoboCop

It’s official, folks: we live in a world where RoboCop can be Colonel Sanders. Earlier today, KFC debuted several ads featuring the cybernetic hero promoting its fried chicken and protecting the secret recipe, complete with Peter Weller vocally reprising the character. Make no mistake, it’s a bizarre thing seeing RoboCop wearing the Colonel’s signature facial hair, glasses and bowtie, but now District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, who’s tackling the next RoboCop movie, has sent this peculiar tweet in response to the KFC ads.

What’s the problem here? Did KFC inadvertently pull from the story that Neill Blomkamp and writer Justin Rhodes have planned for RoboCop Returns? Is Blompkamp upset that RoboCop has sold out to fast food? Is he worried that a cyborg programmed to throw fried chicken at people will cause more good than bad? Or it is something as simple as Blomkamp thinking that this isn’t a good advertising campaign? Whatever the explanation, this Twitter post indicates that Blomkamp is not a fan of RoboCop filling the Colonel Sanders shoes. Would he have preferred The Terminator take on the mantle instead?

It’s worth mentioning that last November, it was reported that Peter Weller will not appear in RoboCop Returns, despite the fact that Neill Blomkamp that Weller was his top choice to play the part. It’s legitimately possible that Blomkamp is displeased that Weller turned down the opportunity to star in the upcoming movie, but he was willing to voice the character again for a fast food chain. If that is the case, I wouldn’t blame Blomkamp for being disappointed.

In any case, as far as we know, Neill Blomkamp’s RoboCop Returns is still moving ahead as planned. Rather than be a sequel to the 2014 RoboCop reboot, RoboCop Returns will be a sequel to the original 1987 RoboCop, but also ignore what happened in RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, which is the same kind of creative approach that last year’s Halloween and this November’s Terminator: Dark Fate used. Granted, most of RoboCop’s face is covered, so it’s easy enough to any actor in the Robo-suit, but it still would have been nice to see Peter Well properly play the character again since this sequel is set in the original RoboCop continuity.

Beyond that, RoboCop Returns will reportedly see the protagonist returning to Detroit to fight crime and corruption as anarchy reigns supreme in the city. Producer Ed Neumeier, who co-wrote the original RoboCop, said that this sequel will feel as if Paul Verhoeven had directed another RoboCop movie, suggesting that those who enjoyed the tone of the first story can look forward to RoboCop Returns channeling that same kind of energy. It’s probably also safe to assume that RoboCop won’t he touting any fried chicken during this new adventure.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning RoboCop and other movie characters brought in to sell fast food. In the meantime, be sure to look through our 2019 release schedule to learn what movies are hitting theaters later this year.

6 Wrestling Legends Who Could Have Bonkers Biopics

As Fighting With My Family appears in theaters and Chris Hemsworth signs on for a Hulk Hogan biopic, it’s clear pro-wrestling films may be on the rise. If that is indeed the case and there’s a Hollywood producer or screenwriter looking for the next big wrestler to do a feature, then feel free to browse this list of wrestlers that led lives we think could make for a truly bonkers biopic.

Randy Savage

The Macho Man Randy Savage has become one of wrestling’s most revered personalities thanks to his knack for high energy wrestling promos and flamboyant costumes. There was once a time where he could’ve been Hulk Hogan, but he largely played second banana to the wrestler as Hulkamania ran wild throughout the ’80s. Is it finally time the Macho Man gets the recognition he deserves?

America would say so, but it stands to question whether or not the WWE would cooperate in such an endeavor without heavy oversight. Vince McMahon’s relationship with Macho Man was incredibly strained throughout much of the wrestler’s later years, and the reasons behind why aren’t explicitly clear. Whatever those reasons were, it kept the WWE from inducting him into its Hall of Fame until several years after his death in 2011. Perhaps that’s the story a film should cover.

Ric Flair

He’s already got a pretty extensive documentary about him, but who’s going to tell Ric Flair he doesn’t deserve a biopic of his own? The Nature Boy’s larger than life persona and antics have solidified him as one of the most iconic wrestlers of all-time. The question is, is there someone in Hollywood that can do enough justice to the way he says “Woo”?

That parts kind of important, but it’s about embodying the swagger of the stylin’, profilin’, limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun. Luckily, Ric Flair is still around to give tons of insight on how to do that, which would make the process easier on the actor to portray him. Perhaps this is the role Chris Evans was destined to play post-Captain America.

Brock Lesnar

When it comes to the most mythical figures of WWE history, few measure up to the accolades of Brock Lesnar. His seemingly inhumane physique and monstrous persona have served him well in the wrestling world, and at one time made him a dominant force from within the world of the UFC as well. That’s only further solidified his status as a dominant champion in the WWE, and made for some crazy story lines over the years.

Lesnar is such a high profile figure, yet quite the enigma in private. He’s said he doesn’t own a phone or computer, and only watches television to watch hunting and fishing shows. Wrestling is a big part of his life and has given him much fame over the years. Fame, it would appear, he doesn’t care much for unless the appearance is getting him paid. What makes a guy like that tick? I’d love to know the answer.

Vince McMahon

If there was a biopic to be made about the evolution of pro-wrestling, it would have to revolve around Vince McMahon. McMahon took his father’s business and turned a regional wrestling circuit into the most dominant wrestling organization in the USA. What he did was unheard of and seemed impossible, but with a little business savvy, Hulk Hogan and American pop stars, he ended up drawing enough attention to make the first Wrestlemania a huge success.

There’s so much more to Vince McMahon as a person though, it’s hard to highlight it all in even a film. A biopic would have to detail his whole life, or at least start at age 12, where he met his always busy father for the first time. The aversion to sneezing, painting himself to be a villain on national television, XFL run and wrestling feud with the President could all come after.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

An Attitude Era WWE film in general would be incredible, but why not focus on the man who ushered professional wrestling into its wildest and raunchiest era to date? Stone Cold Steve Austin was and still is a legend in the wrestling community, and his appearance at any wrestling event is still met with deafening cheers from fans of all ages. With a fanbase that wide, a biopic about him has huge box office potential.

Ironically, the best story to chronicle from Austin’s career might revolve around his eventual falling out with the WWE. Stone Cold’s relationship with Vince McMahon deteriorated to the point behind the scenes that it almost seemed as bad as the feuds they had for television. It all boiled over to the point that Austin walked out of live events, which was followed by Vince McMahon burying him on live television and announcing his firing.

Haku/Meng/King Tonga

Pro-wrestling is a performance art, and while the fighting is choreographed, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tough guys who hang with the company. Of the many stories that have been shared over the years, there’s one name that consistently comes up as one of the toughest of the tough outside the ring. Haku may have been a middling wrestler throughout his in-ring career, but by all accounts, no one should test him in a fight.

There’s numerous stories of folks foolish enough to pick a fight with Haku in the real world, and most all end with the fighters wishing they never messed with him. That’s likely due to the Tongan wrestler’s large size, as well as his past experience as a sumo wrestler in Japan. It would all make for a great movie, as well as follow a wrestler who’s been in a bulk of the major wrestling organizations of the past few decades.

Fighting With My Family is making a run in theaters, and CinemaBlend will be keeping tabs on Chris Hemsworth’s Hulk Hogan biopic as more details come to light. For more wrestling related news, check out our review of Fighting With My Family, or check out what beloved game show John Cena just signed on for.

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Why The Black Panther Best Original Song Nominee Won’t Be Performed At The Oscars

Did you think that this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony was all figured out and locked down? Oh my sweet summer child, there are still a few days to go and as we’ve seen, this year’s Oscars are a constant work in progress. Today brings with it a bit of bummer news: Best Original Song nominee “All the Stars” from Black Panther will not be performed at the ceremony, but it’s not for the reason you probably think.

With all the efforts the Academy has made to try and reduce the runtime of the ceremony to help ratings, you might think that “All the Stars” was being cut for time, but that is not the case here. The Oscars were trying to get the song from Kendrick Lamar, Sounwave, Anthony Triffith and SZA to be a part of the show, but it simply came down to scheduling.

According to Deadline, Kendrick Lamar has reportedly been abroad, and after the Oscar nominations came out, there simply wasn’t enough time for him to put together a performance that would do the song justice at the Oscars. They tried to make it work, but ultimately couldn’t. Kendrick Lamar also couldn’t perform at his year’s Grammys because he was working overseas.

It wouldn’t make much sense to perform the song without Kendrick Lamar or to have someone else sub in for him, like Bette Midler is doing for Mary Poppins Returns’ “The Place Where Lost Things Go.” Moreover, the other “All the Stars” artists like SZA naturally did not want to perform the song without Kendrick Lamar. So a decision was reached between the Oscars and the Grammy winner’s team that there will be no performance of the song at Sunday’s ceremony.

This is surprising news considering that “All the Stars” seemed like one of the original song nominees that was guaranteed to be performed, along with A Star is Born’s “Shallow.” Earlier this year, it seemed that, in an effort to shorten the broadcast, only those two Best Original Song nominees would be performed.

That naturally led to backlash and the decision was reversed to have all the nominees performed. Now that number has been cut by one and only the songs from Mary Poppins Returns, A Star is Born, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and RBG will be performed. On the bright side, this should shave off a few minutes from the broadcast.

It’s a bit of a bummer that we won’t hear “All the Stars” on Sunday night, but at least the Academy tried to make it happen, and that’s commendable. I think if we were going to hear it, we would have wanted Kendrick Lamar to be there, so better to omit it entirely than deliver a performance all involved felt wouldn’t live up to the song itself.

The 91st Academy Awards airs Sunday February 24 at 8 p.m. E.T. Follow along with CinemaBlend on Sunday for all of the Oscars coverage and check out our release schedule to see the biggest movies headed to theaters this year.

Felicity Jones Wants To Play Her Amazing Spider-Man 2 Character For The MCU

While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was supposed to set up a larger world for Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, the movie underperforming resulted in Sony abandoning that continuity and striking up an alliance with Marvel to feature a new Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Among the scrapped ideas as a result of this decision was that Felicity Jones’ Felicia Hardy could become The Black Cat, just like in the comics. Nevertheless, Jones is still keen on reprising Felicia within the MCU, saying:

Felicia Hardy’s potential turn to the Black Cat life definitely wasn’t teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as her role in that movie was limited to being Harry Osborn’s assistant and later telling Harry that she’d overheard that the special spider venom was being kept in the Special Projects division of OsCorp. This year marks half a decade since The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s release, and during that time Felicity Jones has become a more famous actress thanks to her performances in The Theory of Everything, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and On the Basis of Sex. Still, she made it clear to Yahoo Movies that if the opportunity came along, she’d appreciate getting to reprise Felicia Hardy and actually showcase the character’s duality.

It’s not often that an actor gets to play the same character in two different continuities of the same franchise (Judi Dench being M in the James Bond movies comes to mind), and as far as the MCU goes, I suspect that if Felicia Hardy were to be included, Felicity Jones wouldn’t be called to play the role. Assuming she and Spider-Man were to have some kind of relationship, the Marvel executives would presumably want someone closer to Tom Holland’s age, not to mention allowing more freedom with putting a different spin on Felicia.

However, Sony also has its own, separate live action Spider-Man universe going, albeit without the Wall-Crawler actually involved. Venom kicked off this new franchise last October, and in addition to the symbiote-powered anti-hero returning for a sequel, Morbius the Living Vampire is also slated for release. There were also plans for Black Cat and Silver Sable to appear in a movie together, but it was announced last summer that these characters would instead lead their own separate movies. If Sony wants some star power on its side, perhaps it could talk with Felicity Jones about leading the Black Cat movie. Whether that movie were to confirm that this Spider-Man universe exists in the same continuity as The Amazing Spider-Man movies or not, at least this would be a good chance for Jones to properly suit up as Black Cat and fight some bad guys.

The Fighting With My Family Moment Paige Fought Hard To Include In The Movie

When making a biopic on a popular figure, there’s always a key moment or two that always need to be included. Telling the story of WWE Superstar Paige’s rise to fame in Fighting With My Family is no exception, as there was one particular portion of her journey she felt absolutely had to be shown on the silver screen. It’s the moment where Paige tried to change herself to fit in with the rest of the WWE Divas candidates she came up with, and according to her, that story had to be told for the following reasons:

This moment comes towards the middle of Fighting With My Family’s narrative, where Florence Pugh’s Paige is feeling rather insecure when pitted against her fellow recruits. Her pale English persona clashes with their conventionally blonde and tan physiques, and she feels that if she’s going to get ahead, she needs to follow that same formula.

So for a little while in the film, we see a tanned and dyed Paige trying to be one of the girls. Of course, without any spoilers for writer/director Stephen Merchant’s film, it’s a moment that sees our heroine quickly revert back to her iconoclastic self. And it happens not a moment too soon, as it’s just in time for the big push into the film’s third act.

When you think of a typical biopic, this might be a moment that’s not necessarily always shown, or at the very least is glossed over in the telling of the story. But in Fighting With My Family, Merchant’s handling of the moment allows the story to feel the true weight of this decision. Paige’s story is far from clean cut, and there are some points where her courage falters, leading to decisions such as this one.

Rather than omitting or trivializing those moments, the film takes that piece of the story and integrates it into Paige’s underdog story at a point where it truly helps the story resonate. This, and the film’s beautifully off-kilter sense of humor, both help Fighting With My Family become not only a film that’ll interest wrestling fans, but also a biopic that can entertain non-wrestling folks as well.

You can see Paige herself describing the need to have that moment included in Fighting With My Family, as we personally spoke to her about the film at the film’s recent press junket; and have provided the footage below:

By time Fighting With My Family ends, there’s certainly enough of a story leftover for Paige’s continuing adventures to come back for at least one more entry in her life’s exploits. Should the film do well enough, we might not only see that prospect come to life, but more wrestling biopics like this and the currently announced Hulk Hogan film starring MCU superstar Chris Hemsworth.

For now though, you can catch Fighting With My Family, as it’s currently in limited release, with a wider rollout starting with early screenings tonight. And don’t forget to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more highlights from the film’s press day, as we have more coverage on the way.

Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson And Samuel L. Jackson Tribute Goose The Cat For Love Your Pet Day

Yesterday was National Love Your Pet Day, and while I believe that every day should serve as an unofficial celebration of that day’s ideals, it does serve as a reminder to give a little extra love to the feathered, scaled and furred members of our families. One cinematic family that celebrated Love Your Pet Day was the cast of Captain Marvel. Take a look below to see Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson give Goose some love.

This tweet from Marvel is pretty funny, coming off as two actors describing what it was like to work with one another and offering superlatives about their co-stars. And while those qualities can certainly describe the actors (Samuel L. Jackson is definitely iconic) in reality, Brie Larson was describing her other co-star, the cat Goose.

Samuel L. Jackson’s feelings might be a bit hurt by that, but who can blame Brie Larson? Goose is all of those things and more, a refined feline destined for icon status thanks to his role in Captain Marvel. He looks glorious here too.

Marvel clearly knows that cats sell, and this is another fun and savvy move from the House of Ideas that plays into that. As we’ve seen, Goose has had an unexpected, but welcome prominence in some of the marketing for Captain Marvel, and recognizing him on Love Your Pet Day is an appropriate way for the film to promote itself that ties in with the celebration.

Although this video from Marvel is mostly a fun bit of marketing, it does appear to show some footage from the film and we see that Goose finds himself in a lot of places. There’s the scene from the end of the second trailer where Nick Fury proves to be a cat lover, but there are also shots of him next to a suited Captain Marvel and in an aircraft with Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau.

Judging by the early reactions to the film, Goose will be one of the major points of discussion when audiences leave the theater. The word out of the early screenings is that Goose, along with Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, steals the show. That means that he isn’t just a way to sell the movie, he’s actually in it and plays a role.

He’s almost assuredly not a cat at all and is in fact a Flerken as all signs point to, but I would still anticipate that orange cat adoptions and the prevalence of Goose as a pet name both see an uptick after Captain Marvel.

You can see Goose, Carol Danvers, Nick Fury and the Skrulls when Captain Marvel hits theaters on March 8. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in Goose-related coverage, and check out our 2019 release schedule to see all the movies you can look forward to this year.

How The Kree-Skrull War Will Play Into Captain Marvel

In the pages of Marvel Comics, there is a long history in the hateful relationship between the alien races known as the Kree and the Skrull – but that conflict was kept out of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While there were certainly plenty of cosmic battles featured in the big screen franchise, that particular fight has not yet made its way to cinemas. That, of course, will change completely with the release of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s Captain Marvel, and on the set of the blockbuster last year producer Jonathan Schwartz discussed the heavy significance of the Kree-Skrull War:

Last summer I joined a group of journalists at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California to visit the set of Captain Marvel while it was still in production, and it was during a roundtable interview with Jonathan Schwartz that the subject of the Kree-Skrull relationship was raised – and its importance was explained.

In Marvel Comics, the Kree-Skrull War is a cosmic fight that has been waging for centuries – with both sides absolutely despising their enemy. They are generally seen as equally powerful, with the Kree possessing great strength and advanced technologies, while the Skrulls have the innate ability to transform into anyone or anything they see. The real big problem with their conflict is the fact that it doesn’t have any boundaries, and it’s common for innocent planets to get caught in the crossfire. For example, Earth has been “in the way” a lot over the years.

Jonathan Schwartz wouldn’t tell us exactly why or how Earth will be involved in the plot of Captain Marvel – a detail that’s only going to be revealed by the full film – but he did make an interesting point about how the blockbuster will delve into the long history behind the Kree-Skrull War. Essentially, what fans should expect is the basics: enough material so that you understand what’s going on in the story being told, and not so much that it overloads the story or becomes too much of a distraction. Said the producer,

Some fans may be a bit disappointed by this news, but logically it makes all the sense in the world. Comics have a lot more latitude when it comes to dealing out exposition, but movies have limited real estate to work with, and can only include so much without feeling overstuffed or starting to drag. So while you may go in hoping to learn a lot more about the origins of the Kree-Skrull War and the key events in its history, you may be a touch disappointed – but general audiences will know everything they need to know, and there will surely be plenty of movies in the future that can get more into it.

It won’t be long until fans get to see the first big screen adaptation of the Kree-Skrull War, as Captain Marvel is now just a few weeks away from release – arriving in theaters everywhere on March 8th. We’ll have plenty more coverage coming your way between now and then, so be sure to keep on to the lookout for updates here on CinemaBlend.