Face it, Tiger, We Hit the Jackpot!

With director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone signed, sealed and delivered for a sequel to this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man, it’s time to start speculating about the working-titled Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While people wonder which members of the rogues’ gallery Spidey should battle next, the filmmakers are concentrating on complicating Peter Parker’s personal life first. The Hollywood Reporter says Shailene Woodley (breakout star of The Descendants) has secured the role of red-haired temptress Mary Jane Watson, who was the primary love interest in the three Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire, in which Kirsten Dunst played M.J.

The addition of Mary Jane sends a strong signal about the direction of the sequel and gives a big hint about the baddie. THR also confirms that the “studio seeks to build to the classic ‘Death of Gwen Stacy’ story.” In the comic book series, Gwen Stacy was Peter’s first love — until she became collateral damage in a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. As a consequence, M.J. will play a very tiny role in movie, laying the groundwork for a bigger role in any possible third film.

Peter meets M.J.

I think Woodley is a terrific choice for this character; she’s gorgeous and has a feistiness about her that doesn’t seem bitchy. So she appears to be a great blend of strong and sexy, which is M.J. all the way.

After getting noticed playing the lead in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Woodley was cast as George Clooney’s rebellious daughter in The Descendants — a role that earned her a boatload of critical adoration, including a Golden Globes nomination for best supporting actress, and won her an Independent Spirit Award.

As luck would have it, TSLOTAT was just canceled, so Woodley is filling her schedule. In addition to the Spidey flick, Woodley has also booked the lead role in Divergent, the adaptation of the Young Adult novel tipped as the next Hunger Games.

Jenna-Louise Coleman on Location

I thought these images of DOCTOR WHO’s Jenna-Louise Coleman — who plays the new companion who may or may not be named Clara — filming on location were particularly striking and worthy of their own post. No one knows which episode will feature the motorcycle scenes she was taping, but I look forward to seeing it.

Jenna debuts in the next new episode of DW, the Christmas special/regular episode.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM 2.1: “Welcome to Briarcliff”

AMERICAN HORROR STORY, last season’s delightfully macabre surprise hit on FX, has returned, completely retooled, for a second season. Gone are the infamous Murder House and its weird neighbors. In its place is an asylum called Briarcliff with its strange staff and inmates. And while some of the cast is returning, they are playing very different new roles.

But one thing has not changed: AHS’ pedal-to-the-metal, all-out weirdness at any cost philosophy of storytelling. Viewers are pummeled with intense, flashing visuals and bombarded by story details that fly, making an hour’s viewing truly exhausting to keep up with. In the debut alone, we meet the new protagonists and most of the new supporting cast, establish the new status quo and put in place the pieces for several mysteries. The teleplay is a great achievement from Tim Minear, one of the masters of TV weirdness.
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The Doctor Rides a Motorcycle; Motorcycles Are Cool

Heartbroken fans of the Ponds may feel like the world has ended now that Amy and Rory are gone, but life goes on for the Doctor — and that means the balance of series seven still must be filmed with the Time Lord’s new companion.

Here are some great shots of the Doctor (Matt Smith) and “Clara” (Jenna-Louise Coleman) riding a motorcycle. Word from the set is that the Doctor drives it out of the TARDIS to rescue Clara from… something. Did he grab the bike from the TARDIS garage? Imagine if he’d picked up the keys for a revamped Whomobile! There’s no word on which episode this is from.

Matt and Jenna will be seen in the next episode of series seven, the Christmas episode, which is slated to air on Christmas Day.

Neil Gaiman Has a Follow-up Appointment With the Doctor

Best news of the day by far: Neil Gaiman has been 100 percent confirmed as a writer of an episode in the back half of series seven. He has penned the 12th episode, which will be followed by Steven Moffat’s season’s ender.

Of course there is no word yet on the episode’s title or storyline or guest cast, but just knowing that it is going to happen is awesome. Fans will recall that Gaiman won a Hugo award for his previous contribution, last year’s “The Doctor’s Wife.”

Confirmation of this news comes from the newest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which lists the writers and directors for the rest of the season — but no broadcast dates or story titles. The rest of the writing roster looks like this:

1) 706. Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Colm McCarthy. (Filming now)

2) 707. Written by Neil Cross. Directed by Farren Blackburn. (Not filmed)

3) 708. Written by Mark Gatiss. Directed by Douglas Mackinnon. (Filmed)

4) 709. Written by Neil Cross. Directed by Jamie Payne. (Filmed)

5) 710. Written by Stephen Thompson. Directed by Mat King. (Filmed)

6) 711. Written by Mark Gatiss. Directed by Saul Metzstein. (Filmed)

7) 712. Written by Neil Gaiman. Directed by Stephen Wolfenden. (Not filmed)

8) 713. Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by TBA. (Not filmed)

Hey, It’s a Series About Our Pal, HANNIBAL!

Mads Mikkelsen

So, what is the brilliant Bryan Fuller up to next, now that NBC has decided to cash out on his revival of THE MUNSTERS, called MOCKINGBIRD LANE and burn off the pilot as a one-shot movie on Oct. 26?

I’m glad you asked. He’s currently developing another… er, offbeat series for the same network, NBC, called HANNIBAL, and it’s based on the legendary Carthaginian general who… nah, I’m just pulling your leg. HANNIBAL is actually based on Thomas Harris’ series of novels about Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the protagonist of several big-screen movies, including the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs. The series will be another take on Harris’ novels.

Hugh Dancy

The 13 hour-long episodes will focus on FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), a criminal profiler hunting a serial killer. The FBI asks mad psychiatrist Dr. Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) help with the case.  Caroline Dhavernas (WONDERFALLS) will play Dr. Alana “Al” Bloom, “a psychiatric protégé of Hannibal’s who teaches psychology at Georgetown University and is consulting with the FBI on criminal profiling,” according to NBC. She introduces FBI profiling honchoJack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), who supervises Graham, to Dr. Lecter.

Fuller says he has seven seasons worth of stories planned for the series, with the first two adapting the first novel, Red Dragon. “Season one is the bromance, season two is the horrible breakup,” Fuller has said.

Speaking of horrible, the series does necessitate venturing into some pretty terrible territory: “We’re getting a lot of great ideas about how to cook people,” Fuller admitted.  The show has hired a consultant to explain exactly what Lecter really could or could not eat.

Carrie Teaser Trailer At Last!

The New York Comic-Con played host to a lot of lucky people — alas, I was not among them — this past weekend, who enjoyed tons of comics and movie promotions. One of the many presentations there featured a sneak peek at the upcoming horror remake Carrie, statting Chloë Grace Moretz in the role that put Sissy Spacek on the map.

In addition to unveiling an international poster — which I find to be very creepy, even though it’s just another version of Chloë’s blood-spattered face — a brief teaser reel was shown. Clocking in at just under one minute, the teaser is just that: a tease. We only catch a brief glimpse of Carrie herself. The meat of the clip seems to be the voice-overs by various characters that tackle the idea that Carrie goes crazy and destroys the whole town.

The international poster

Director Kimberly Peirce‘s visual style seems to be dark and sweeping, but it’s hard to tell from this tiny sample.
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Everyone pretty much agrees that what was wrong with the last season of THE WALKING DEAD was that it featured too many humans sitting around a dull farm chatting and whining about a missing little girl, and too few walkers walking — and even fewer of those zombies getting dispatched in creatively gruesome, ichor-soaked ways.

Well, it is clear that executive producer/show-runner Glen Mazzara has taken those criticisms to heart, because the premiere of the third season featured more zombies than all of last year’s shows combined, and our heroes got to kill them by the boatload in scenes of tense, close-up hand-to-hand combat.
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NBC Turns MUNSTERS Revival Into One-Shot Movie

NBC will air MOCKINGBIRD LANE, the reimagining of the 1960s sitcom that cost $10 million and two years to produce. But instead of doing a full-fledged season, NBC is presenting the two-hour pilot as a stand-alone holiday movie, set to air Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

Developed by Bryan Fuller, whose impressive (if short-lived) TV resume includes the quirky fan faves PUSHING DAISIES and WONDERFALLS, the new MOCKINGBIRD LANE series would have been an hour-long drama as opposed to a situation comedy. The cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster; Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster; Eddie Izzard as Grandpa; Mason Cook as Lily and Herman’s werewolf son, Eddie; and newcomer Charity Wakefield as Marilyn, the “plain” cousin. The premiere was directed by Bryan Singer of the X-Men movies.

As you can tell from these newly released publicity photos, this aborted series was not going to be your grandparents’ MUNSTERS.

I have to admit to being intrigued by the rumored twist on the concept that Fuller came up with: While the original Munsters looked like monsters but acted like regular people, the new version would look (more) normal but act like monsters.

NBC, however, saw things a little differently. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that network execs wanted the Munsters firmly grounded in a contemporary real-world setting that would lend itself to safe, familiar, fish-out-of-water storylines. Fuller, however, visualized a more stylistic world (more akin to his Daisies). Reshoots failed to impress the NBC suits.

Fuller told fans at this summer’s Comic Con International: San Diego 2012:

“I’m not afraid of reboots and reimaginations, I’m afraid of bad ones. I thought now was a good time to see a show about a family of monsters doing monstrous things. With the pilot, you’ll see it’s about monsters, but also parents trying to craft a way for their child, who’s a little different. There is no traditional family anymore — it doesn’t exist because there are so many different types of families. . Herman, who is essentially a zombie living in a constant state of decay, is married to a person who doesn’t age. This is about embracing the freak of your family and being proud.”

At least fans will get a glimpse at Fuller and Singer’s vision soon. And who knows, it might be such a hit that it becomes traditional Halloween viewing, just like good ol’ Charlie Brown.