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February 21, 2008 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | February 21, 2008 |

It’s somehow appropriate that this week saw the announcement of a pair of films with a postapocalyptic/dystopian vibe. The brief hint of spring felt here in Los Angeles has retreated into a week of overcast skies, rainy nights, and accident-filled highways, the brightness of the new season turning its back and walking away. It’s like the sun came out just long enough to remind you that life could be good again before disappearing for a few more weeks. First up: David Fincher, who made razor-edged dildos and masochistic schizophrenia household discussion topics, is attached to direct Black Hole, based on Charles’ Burns graphic novel, for Paramount/MTV Films. Black Hole, originally published as a limited comic run between 1995 and 2005 and which has since been collected in a single hardback volume, is set in suburban Seattle in the 1970s and deals with a group of teens who contract an STD known as “the bug.” The bug eventually manifests as physical mutations, which I’m sure will be lovingly rendered by Fincher in a way that will be both engrossing and terrifying. The script is being adapted by Roger Avary and Neil Gaiman, which ensures some genre credibility, so it could be a good one.

It was also announced this week that the anime feature Akira is going to be remade as a live-action feature for Warner Bros. with Leonardo DiCaprio producing through his Appian Way company. Gary Whitta has been hired to write the adaptation, which will be directed by Ruairi Robinson in what the studio envisions as a two-part epic. The original film, which began life as a manga, takes place in 2019 in New Tokyo in the aftermath of a nuclear war. I’ll fully admit I’ve yet to see Akira — anime has never really been my thing. But by all accounts the film is a classic, so I guess it was only a matter of time before it was remade by white people with the action shifted to New York. Warners is planning a 2009 release for the first film.

In casting news, Dustin mentioned the other day that Ryan Reynolds has been tapped to play Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a way to prep audiences for his spinoff, but there have been several other additions, as well. Danny Huston will play Stryker, the military general in charge of the experiments that grafted the adamantium onto Wolverine’s bones, which is a solid choice; Huston’s a good actor, and can provide an air of believable authority and menace (The Proposition). But, of Black Eyed Peas and probably a couple Old Navy commercials, will play Wraith, whose mutant powers include turning himself translucent and making really shitty pop hip-hop. There’s also Lynn Collins, a blonde who will play the stripperishly named Kayla Silverfox, Wolverine’s lover. But the best casting news is that Taylor Kitsch, aka Tim Riggins from “Friday Night Lights,” aka the guy I would go gay for so fast it’s not even worth joking about, will play Gambit, who can manipulate kinetic energy and is easily one of the most badass X-Men ever. Kitsch has proven he can do the whole sarcastic rogue thing, and his casting could be the most weirdly apt one since Kelsey Grammer played Beast. Plus, I find myself oddly urged to mention again, he’s a damn good-looking man.

…Well, moving on. I’ve got a trio of trailer this morning, so let’s get right to it. First up is the clip for Edward Zwick’s Defiance, based on the true story of three Jewish brothers during World War II who escape their native Poland and build a small village in the forest for Jews fleeing the encroaching Nazi forces. No release date yet, but take a look:

Next is Backseat, an indie road comedy that features the kind of sex- and drug-fueled hijinks that only seem to happen on movie road trips. Still, it looks entertaining:

Finally, The Signal is a low-budget horror flick about a broadcast signal that starts driving people crazy and turning the populace into murderous beasts. It opens this Friday, and it looks kinda terrifying:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. He still thinks Landry should never have wasted his time with Pixie McDeathmetal when Tyra was there all along. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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