Tag Archive: Batman

It’s Just Some Random Guy posted his 100th VIDEO this week.

If you haven’t seen any of these before, the videos started as a spoof of the PC/Mac commercials using Marvel and DC characters. These shorts evolved into two serial movies, After Hours and Happy Hour. In the serials, the action centers around the adventures of all the major DC and Marvel heroes and villains as they kick back and relax at Stan’s Place, a super hero bar owned by Stan Lee. The characters also comment on the state of their movie franchises and parody other popular summer movie offerings.

What’s so surprising about these videos is the amount of emotional depth IJSRG is able to generate using nothing but action figures. I dare anyone to to watch Twas the Dark Night Before Christmas and not tear up just a little.

When not making parody videos, It’s Just Some Random Guy and Girl are creating promotional videos for various Comic Cons (and the Ontario PGA Golf Merchandising Show – HUH?).

If you are a comic fan, it’s worth the time to sit down and watch these videos. These are great stories filled with stellar character moments – my favorite being  Green Goblin busting out singing Summertime. Even if comics aren’t your thing, pop some popcorn and settle in for a great ride. I promise you will bust a gut laughing.

I hope the series goes on for a long time. Keep up the good work and again, congratulations!

The action continues with Zero Hour.


Wow! There’s been a lot of talk in the media this week about which actors can, or some would say should, be allowed to play certain characters on-screen.

Sean Hayes as Chuck Baxter from Promises PromisesThe big blow-up came back at the end of April, when Newsweek posted the now infamous article by Ramin Setoodeh, essentially insisting that gay actors can’t play straight characters. Sean Hayes (Jack from Will and Grace) was the initial target of his ire:

Hayes is among Hollywood’s best verbal slapstickers, but his sexual orientation is part of who he is, and also part of his charm. (The fact that he only came out of the closet just before Promises was another one of those Ricky Martin-duh moments.) But frankly, it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is.

The question of appearances in casting, whether it be their personal reality (someone’s sexuality for example) or their ethnicity has been a hot topic for a while. Just this week Darren Franich of  Entertainment Weekly suggested that Beyonce Knowles should play Wonder Woman. As you can guess, the boards lit up with mostly negative reactions. Earlier this year M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender generated a load of controversy surrounding it’s casting when the call for auditions was published, calling for Caucasian actors (or any other ethnicity) to play mainly Inuit and Asian roles:

Last Airbender Casting Call - Via io9.comNo ethnic actors were originally cast in the movie, although Dev Patel stepped in as Zuko, replacing Jesse McCartney who pulled out due to scheduling conflicts. The outcry prompted the film’s producer, Frank Marshal to insist that the original casting call did not specify race, but that the ‘poorly worded’ request for auditions came from a third-party talent agency employed by the production firm:

“Ultimately, we all take responsibility for not doing a more thorough job monitoring these frequently used third-party agents and Paramount has since been in regular dialogue with Asian American advocacy groups including the Japanese American Citizens League and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans to ensure that such a mistake does not happen in the future.”

Noah Ringer as Aang - The Last AirbenderThis has not stopped fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender from accusing the movie producers and Shyamalan of “racebending”, the casting of an actor in an ethnic role who is not of that race. Recently, SciFi Wire has posted two articles on either side of the casting divide. (The Yea article is written by Marissa Lee of Racebending.com. The Nay article doesn’t claim an author.) As a matter of fact, Racebending.com is even calling for a boycott of the movie in protest the casting selections and to promote greater use of ethnic actors in major Hollywood productions.

A greater representation of ethnicities in major motion pictures is definitely a laudable and obtainable goal, but is truly color-blind casting even possible? My father likes to say that people these days are so open-minded that their brains have fallen out. I don’t believe that he’s correct, but I do wonder if being politically correct in terms of story telling does a disservice to the character.

Keanu Reeves was *NOT* John ConstantineCasting a character for a movie, especially one that has already been visually defined in either comics, anime or animated features, must be incredibly difficult because fans already have an idea in their heads about what the characters look like. Characters like Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman have been around for years, and are considered icons of the genre. To mess with their appearance is tantamount to sacrilege in certain circles. I remember when Keanu Reeves was cast as John Constantine back in 2003; the hue and the cry because he wasn’t English, he didn’t have an accent and he wasn’t blond was close to deafening. (Reboot with Paul Bettany, please? Pretty please?) And producers weren’t doing any racebending in that case. Can you imagine what would happen if Beyonce was cast as Wonder Woman? Or if Jet Li played Blade? Or if Freida Pinto played Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha?  It wouldn’t work. Why?

People wouldn’t believe them in those roles. Not because people are racist, but because it would prevent them from suspending their disbelief that would be required for them to enjoy the movie. Would anyone accept a movie where the entire Zulu nation was played by Apache Indians? No, we’d sit back and wonder what the heck the production crew was smoking when they cast the movie.

Does this mean colour blind casting is impossible? Certainly not. If you look at EW message boards following Darrin Frannich’s article, people who were completely against the Beyonce casting, stopped and paused when Gina Torres’ name is mentioned

“Although, if we’re talking strong, African-American female actresses, can I offer you a Gina Torres? I want to see her more…”
“Gina Torres – good call!”
“If you’re going to forgo the “Wonder Woman is white” rule, please relax it for Gina Torres.”

Gina Torres as Wonder Woman? I'm there!Another example would be Idris Elba who’s been cast as Heimdall in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, a film where you expect as Aryan a cast as any ever assembled. Elba’s casting has been embraced by fans (it has met with derision as well, don’t get me wrong) as brilliant. The irony of ‘The White God’ played by a black man is too wonderfully ironic to ignore. Plus, Elba is an incredibly talented actor (we’ll pretend Obsessed never happened, ‘kay?). It was a bold move on the part of the producers.

And that, I think, is key when it comes to colour blind casting. The choices have to be bold. Beyonce is well-known as an actress, she’s very popular, and therefore bankable. As a result, casting her smacks of nothing more than a money grab. She’s also a mediocre talent onscreen and those two factors combine for a lot of backlash (cast her as Dazzler in an ensemble film instead). But cast Gina Torres, a proven talent, unconventionally beautiful, who is not generally well know and *BANG*, you have a choice most people can get on board with. She’s already played the most beautiful woman in the world (Jasmine on Angel), so people would be willing to buy her as an Amazon. The same can be said of Elba, he’s not that well-known, but he’s incredibly talented with a proven track record (The Wire, The Office, Luther)  and he plays with people’s expectations of the role of Heimdall. Again, with this characterization that works.

You can’t have it all one way or the other. Casting directors need to look at the story, the characters, their history, audience expectations, and the actors who are up for the role and try to find a balance between all these expectations and the best actor to play that character. Sometimes you are going to be able pull the unexpected out of the hat, other times you are going to have to stick with the traditional depictions from the source material. If that is the case, then every effort should be made to find an actor of the proper ethnicity. I don’t think that was the case with The Last Airbender. I don’t know if it was laziness on the part of Paramount, or lack of money, but if Kevin Costner could find enough Native Americans to cast Dances with Wolves, including the lead roles, there’s no reason that Shyamalan couldn’t do the same for the Inuit and Asian races for his movie.

Billy D. Williams played Harvey Dent in Batman (1989)Some characters can benefit from colour blind casting. Neo for example could have been from any race. Personally, I would have preferred Will Smith in the role, but that wasn’t because of his ethnicity, it’s because he’s a better actor. Other roles, like Captain America or Wonder Woman are iconic in that they have a definitive physical appearance. The same could be said for Blade or The Silver Samurai. In those cases, producers could play with the supporting cast. Would Superman have suffered if  Elijah Kelley played Jimmy Olson, or if Jesse L. Martin played Captain George Stacy? No, they wouldn’t have, any more than Tim Burton’s original Batman movie suffered for having Billy D. Williams play Harvey Dent, a casting decision I wish they would have carried over into The Dark Knight, at least in spirit.

As for actors sexuality, if the actor is the best person for the role, who they sleep with should have no bearing on whether they be cast or not. Was Russell Crowe less believable as John Nash in A Beautiful Mind because he never suffered from a  mental illness? Was Sandra Bullock less believable as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side because she never saved a young black boy from poverty (well, not at that point in her life anyway)? The answer to those two questions is “NO!” The same can be said for a gay actor playing a straight character. If he or she does his or her job properly, fill’s the shoes of the character, one’s sexuality should never enter into the equation.

Aaron SorkinSo when it comes to that issue, the problem lies solely in the laps of the audience. Because if we aren’t buying a portrayal of a straight character by a gay actor (or vice versa) and there is nothing wrong with the performance, the problem lies with us. We aren’t allowing ourselves to suspend our disbelief because of our own prejudices. Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) recently posted a rebuttal to the harsh criticism of Ramin Setoodeh in The Huffington Post where I think he nails the issue square on the head:

An actor, no matter which sex they’re attracted to, can’t “play” gay or “play” straight. Gay and straight aren’t actable things. You can act effeminate and you can act macho (though macho usually ends up reading as gay), but an actor can’t play gay or straight anymore than they can play Catholic. The most disturbing thing to me about this episode is that the theater critic for Newsweek didn’t know that. Of COURSE gay actors can play straight characters — it’s impossible to believe that Mr. Setoodeh would prefer if Ian McKellen would stop doing King Lear.


The problem doesn’t have anything to do with sexual preference. The problem has everything to do with the fact that we know too much about each other and we care too much about what we know. In one short decade we have been reconditioned to be entertained by the most private areas of other people’s lives.


if it were me, I’d re-direct my anger to the real problem. The honest-to-God, no kidding around, small-minded, mean-spirited, hysterically frightened, pig-ignorant bigots who don’t think homosexuals are fit to get married, adopt children or fight and die for their country. The ones who hold signs saying “God Hates Fags.” Those people aren’t in the backwoods of Idaho, they’re in Congress. Fight THEM. I’ll help.


Via: Entertainment Weekly, i09.com, Newsweek, Sci Fi Wire, The Huffington Post

Batman 3 - Coming in 2012Yup!

It doesn’t have a name! It doesn’t have a script! Heck, it hasn’t even started casting yet, but we have a release date!

Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus in the Batman universe will be released on July 20th, 2012.

This doesn’t give Nolan a lot of time to complete the movie, especially considering that work still ongoing on Inception (release date: July 16th, 2010) according to CHUD.com.

So now, the big question becomes, who is going to be the villain? Thus far, the movies have been pretty firmly based in this version of reality, with the most fantastical bad guy being The Scarecrow, and he wasn’t that unrealistic of a character. So, does this mean we’ll see a more technologically enhanced villain like Mr. Freeze (Patrick Steward, please?) or a skills based villain like Catwoman or The Riddler?

I’m sure the decision won’t be an easy one. Heath Ledger left some pretty big shoes to fill. It would be interesting to be in on the conversations between David Goyer and Nolan, trying to figure out where to take things.

Personally, I’d like to see Catwoman as she’s always been a favorite. And that leads us to the next big question: “Who to cast?” Some fanboys are leaning towards Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox, but that’s too obvious for my taste. What about Anne Hathaway or Amy Adams? Or go the completely unexpected route and cast Dianna Agron or Amanda Seyfried.

Thoughts? Opinions? Aspersions?

Via: CHUD.com and Entertainment Weekly

Me: I’ll take Comic Book Characters for $1000, Alex.

AT: Which superhero is still pissed off that the movie franchise based on their comic has yet to get off the ground?

Wonder Woman has finally had it with Batman getting all the movie glory.

Me: Who is Wonder Woman?

Artist: Britt Wilson

Via: io9.com (warning, some NSFW images in the comments)

Emily Blunt won't be Peggy Carter, but might be Catwoman?Remember when they were casting for Iron Man’s Black Widow, Emily Blunt was originally offered the role, but she turned it down due to scheduling conflicts with Gulliver’s Travels. At the time, the word was that Marvel would then offer her the female lead in an upcoming project. Well, it looks like the rumour is true, because the studio offered her the role of Peggy Carter, Captain America’s WWII sweetheart.

She turned them down.

The scuttlebutt is that Blunt has her eyes on the role of Catwoman in the third of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and won’t take on Captain America to avoid scheduling conflicts. There is also some thought that Marvel does not like to have its people playing in DC’s sandbox and she doesn’t want to jeopardize her chances by pitting the studios against each other. I’m not sure about the accuracy of that rumour considering Ryan Reynolds’ role as Deadpool in Xmen’s Wolverine and the upcoming spinoff hasn’t prevented him from filming Green Lantern (DC).

At any rate, this is still very much conjecture at this time.  You can get the complete details over at Batman on Film.

Christopher Nolan

Life must be pretty fantastic for Christopher Nolan.  He’s worked on some of the most influential, innovative and successful movies of all time. He stewarded Heath Ledger through the performance of a lifetime (tragically) and is one of the few to really master the art of non-linear story telling; Memento is a film that needs to be watched and re-watched several times before the full genius of it sinks in.

With the Batman franchise, he managed to supplant what fan’s of the Dark Knights considered to be the penultimate interpretation of the character – Batman the Animated Series.  After the disastrous state the movie franchise found itself in after Joel Schumacher was finished with it, the character needed a visionary to bring it back to life. Thankfully, that’s what the fans got. Saying that Nolan exceeded expectations for Batman Begins is an understatement. And we all know what happened with The Dark Knight.

So now we find ourselves at the initial stages of the creation of the 3rd installment of the Batman series, and where does Nolan find himself? Surprisingly, contemplating the end of the franchise:

“Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story. I’m very excited about the end of the film, the conclusion, and what we’ve done with the characters.”

Which I think for fans will be much more satisfying to have a complete story arc instead of an ever expanding series of adventures, that will eventually peter out when either the interest or the quality runs out.

“Viewing it as an ending, that sets you very much on the right track about the appropriate conclusion and the essence of what tale we’re telling. And it harkens back to that priority of trying to find the reality in these fantastic stories. That’s what we do.”

The question is, who will be the villain?  There has been lots of speculation online, but all Nolan will say to that question is:

“…it won’t be Mr. Freeze.”

And fanboys and girls let out a collective sigh of relief.

Superman / BatmanSo what will Nolan do when his work is complete on Batman?

Apparently he’s set his sites on the Man-of-Steel.  Nolan is set to act as ‘godfather’ and producer to the as of yet un-named director of the rebooted Superman franchise.  He and writer David Goyer are apparently tackling the character from a different angle than Richard Donner’s vision that was carried over into Brian Singers’ Superman Returns.  This new vision is…

“…a way of approaching the story I’ve never seen before that makes it incredibly exciting.”

(Read the rest of the interview at the LA Times.)

Personally I haven’t felt this excited about a new Superman story since The Death of Superman back in 1992.

So, what to do until the latest Batman and Superman movies are released sometime in 2011 and perhaps 2012?

Nolan’s latest oeuvre, Inception, staring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotilliard, Ken Watanabe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt opens July 16th.