Thursday, May 06, 2010


I'm sure you're well aware of what Marvel is up to in the way of movies these days. While DC can't get their act together for a Superman movie but once every few decades, let alone the much desired Superman/Batman movie, Marvel is working up to "The Avengers". They're shooting for a May 2012 release. And they've got Joss Whedon directing.

What's special about this movie isn't so much the movie itself but what they're having to do in order to get to this movie. The Avengers is a team of superheroes. No, not like the Fantastic Four. More like The Justice League. Each hero has their own origins, back story, city to secure, and title or series of titles. You can't just jump into this movie. You need to have all the other stories first.

If you sat through the credits for "Iron Man" you saw Samuel L Jackson show up as Nick Fury for about 5 seconds. After "The Incredible Hulk" Tony Stark (Iron Man) shows up to talk to General Ross. Then, after a struggle, they got Samuel L Jackson to sign a contract for twelve (12) movies as Nick Fury. Nick is a major player. You don't want to have to change Nicks midstream. Coming in 2011 we have Captain America played by the dude who was The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four crap fests. And they just released pictures of Thor from the 2011 "Thor" movie.

That would be the guy who played George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk, playing the part of Thor.

I mentioned that there was some excitement about Joss Whedon directing "The Avengers". Well we've got Kenneth Branagh directing "Thor". Yeah, that's right. The director of "Hamlet", "Frankenstein", "Henry V", "Much Ado About Nothing", and "In the Bleak Midwinter (a.k.a. A Midwinter's Tale)" is directing a comic book movie. Lend a bit of respectability that Whedon, challenger to George Lucas's title, doesn't quite bring.

I tell you all that because I just found out today (yesterday now) that Brian Blessed will not be playing Odin. He was, but now he's not. The job has gone to Sir Anthony Hopkins. I respect Hopkins. I like Hopkins. The man is a great actor. But, honestly, I don't really see him as the father of Thor and leader of the Norse gods. In my mind, Hopkins brings King Hrothgar from "Beowolf" to the role. A king, sure, but not really a god. I'm sure he'll do a great job. I'm no casting director. If I were casting "The A-Team" I wouldn't have said "You know who could fill in for George Peppard? Liam Neeson." But the trailers for "The A-Team" look awesome. Liam is the most convincing of all the characters. I wouldn't have thought it, but, looking at Liam's career on IMDB it does make sense.

It's just... Brian Blessed had the job. Once I heard he was playing Odin I had to see that movie. Kenneth Branagh? That's great! But, it didn't matter if it was directed by Uwe Boll, I HAD to see that movie. It was too perfect. It was like when I first heard that Patrick Stewart was cast as Professor X. There was nobody else. The fit was perfect. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark? They're the same guy. Joss Whedon was writing and directing Wonder Woman. That's all you had to say. It's a success already. Honestly, taking Whedon off that project was what killed that movie. Clearly the producers weren't taking this seriously.

I don't recall where I first saw Blessed. Probably Doctor Who. I know that I was a fan of his even as a kid. He kind of has the same appeal that Andre the Giant had, but with acting skills.

When Brian Blessed laughs you have to laugh. You have to. But you don't want to be close to him when he laughs. There's power there. Like standing in front of a herd of nervous cattle. Every time the herd twitches or shifts you think your life is about to end. That's how I imagine it is standing next to Brian Blessed when he laughs.

If you look back at his career you see just an insane amount of Shakespeare. Sci-fi too. Dr Who, Space 1999, Blakes 7, Flash Gordon. Plus Black Adder, I Clavdivs, and the voice for more video games and cartoons than you can shake a stick at. He's a great actor.

I want to see him cast as Santa Claus. He's already got the beard and a fantastic laugh. But I'm not seeing him as the standard Santa. He's not fat and jolly and grandfatherly. He's big. He's jolly. He laughs a lot. But he's only grandfatherly if your grandfather was a lumberjack. He's Santa the fallen Frost Giant. He's a Santa that doesn't need magical reindeer. They fly because he damn well told them to. He's Santa Claus, the hard drinking, hard working, hard laughing, and he delivers all the gifts in one night because he bloody well said it was gonna happen that way.

I at least want to see his camera call. I want to see him auditioning for the role of Odin.

Here's Brian performing Snooker commentary.

And here he is on "Have I Got News For You".

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