The next Hannibal Lector movie, Hannibal Rising, is a prequel to the previous books and films. Notably, Anthony Hopkins is not involved. It will be interesting to see if people remain interested in the character sans the actor.
Weirder is that the novel the movie is based on will hit shelves only two months before the film is released. Author Thomas Harris worked on the book and the screenplay at the same time, which is kind of funny, because I think it took him like ten years to write the first sequel to Silence of the Lambs, when such a book was truly being slavered after.
For the trivia minded, this will mark the third actor to play the role; Brian Cox (as Hannibal “Lecktor”) in Michael Mann’s Manhunter, Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, and Gaspard Ulliel as the young Lector in Hannibal Rising.
For the record, I’ve seen Silence and Manhunter, and that’s it.
Disappointing hundreds of millions of rabid fans, no doubt: “By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. ... Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon." – Ben Affleck. Following that logic, but the way, he’d never appear in a movie again, period.
Meanwhile, superhero films remain hot—no doubt helped by the recent breakout TV series Heroes—although the blah results of the latest Superman and X-Men movies (not to mention how awful Ghost Rider looks) indicate that it may, maybe, take more than another hopefully rousing Spider-Man movie to get things going again.
We’ll find out soon. The next Fantastic Four movie is out this summer, and there’s no reason it couldn’t improve on the lackluster first entry. So anyway, 2007 will see Ghost Rider (probably sucks), Fantastic Four 2 (probably decent), and Spider-Man 3 (hopefully terrific). Another sort-of, comic book movie, and a potentially fabulous one, is 300, a film about the Spartans at Thermopylae, as adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name.
Meanwhile, there’s another Batman movie in the works, currently set for 2008. That will be a busy year. The summer of 2008 has already been staked out for an Iron Man movie—starring a well-cast Robert Downey Jr.—and a second, presumably more crowd pleasing, Hulk film.
Going more in an action direction, the sequel will pit the Green Goliath against his long-time comic book adversary The Abomination. Whether they will bother trying to bring back the actors from the first movie, like Eric Bana, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, although Wonder Woman was originally meant for a 2007 release (apparently Marvel and DC are alternating years), it hasn’t even been cast, yet, so even if it does get made, that would probably come out in 2008, too. Superman will be returning to the screen again too, via the lead actor and director of Superman Begins, despite that film’s disappointing box office. I assume that film is looking towards a 2009 release date.
Anyway, all of those 2008 films—Batman, Iron Man, Hulk, Wonder Woman—could be pretty good. I figure if two of them manage to be so, that will be about all you could hope for.
Robert Downey Jr., by the way, is pushing himself as a comic book fan as a kid, and says he actually went after the role of Iron Man, but “To tell you the God's honest truth, I'd thrown them all away for [DC WWII war comic character] Sgt. Rock.” (!!)
Downey wisely admits, though, that he fits Tony Stark a lot better than the beefy Rock. By the way, let me again say I’m thrilled that they cast an actor in his early forties to play Stark, and not some kid. He’s also indicated he would be available for sequels, should they be warranted. Presumably Downey’s at the age where he’d like to pull in a few major paychecks while he’s still young enough to star in mainstream movies.
Iron Man will also be featured in an animated original film being released to DVD in January, followed later in 2007 by an animated Dr. Strange film. Presumably Iron Man will be voiced by the same actor who played him in the two earlier Ultimate Avengers movies.
Speaking of Spider-Man 3, CBS is supposedly set to run a commercial/preview trailer for the film this Thursday. No time has been announced, but presumably it will air either during (or between) Survivor and CSI. A trailer (maybe the same thing) will also be available on-line that day.