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21 December 2011

Marvel Entertainment News: Thor 2 director Patty Jenkins Fired; Natalie Portman furious

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From Sydney, Australia to Tokyo, Japan, to Hollywood, California in the U.S, most of the world loves superheros, and Disney's Marvel Entertainment are widely regarded as the leaders of the pack, followed by DC Comics, with Frank Miller of 'Sin City' fame and a bush tucker bag of others following.

One of the things a studio always tries to do with big name actors who are starring in their big budget films is to keep them happy. But it looks like Marvel Studios will be working overtime in that department as Natalie Portman is reportedly furious at the studio over the firing of Patty Jenkins.

Last week, it was reported that Patty Jenkins was no longer directing ‘Thor 2’ due to “creative differences.” It seemed like it was an amicable split as it was suggested that Jenkins would probably have another chance to direct a superhero film for Marvel, it just wouldn’t be ‘Thor 2.’ Now a report from THR is indicating that Jenkins was actually fired without any warning and Natalie Portman is none too happy about it.

Portman was said to be instrumental in the hiring of Jenkins in the first place and strongly urged Marvel to employ her. Prior to this happening, she was considering taking a hiatus from acting to raise her baby boy who was just born last June. Portman decided to return in the role of Jane Foster for ‘Thor 2’ once she heard of Jenkins’ involvement. That and the idea of being part of a project that involved having the first female director at the helm of a big budget superhero movie appealed to her. So it was no wonder that Portman was livid at the studio when the firing occurred. Even though Portman is contractually obligated to film the movie, Marvel is said to be trying to smooth things over with the actress by including her in the discussions to find a replacement director.

What’s interesting to note, however, is the behind the scene details that THR was able to obtain as to why Jenkins was fired. According to a source near to the production, Marvel felt that Jenkins wasn’t moving assertively enough and didn’t think she could complete the film in time for its November 2013 release date. They felt that she displayed “a lack of overall clarity in her choices” which led them to believe that the filming process would be “difficult.” Keep in mind, however, that although Don Payne had written a script before Jenkins came onboard, Marvel wanted a rewrite so there was no official script in place for Jenkins to be decisive about.

This seems to coincide with what an insider from Jenkins’ side says. This person, however, blames the “lack of overall clarity” issue on Marvel’s part. Although initially excited about hiring Jenkins, mainly based on Portman’s enthusiasm, when the studio started to interview writers for a script rewrite, it was then that they began to second guess their decision and have misgivings about hiring Jenkins. “Marvel had certain things they needed to achieve,” says another source. “There were constraints on what she could do creatively.” Jenkins official statement of the situation is as follows: “I have had a great time working at Marvel. We parted on very good terms, and I look forward to working with them again.”

Rumor has it that Marvel is now considering hiring either Daniel Minahan (who has directed on ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘True Blood) or Alan Taylor (who has directed on ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Mad Men). Once a decision is made, we’ll let you know. But one thing is for certain, whatever the decision, it will still have to get the approval of Natalie Portman.


The Avengers full superhero line up revealed...

Marvel Studios have just released the first set of international posters for the highly anticipated superhero flick, The Avengers.
Although The Avengers isn't due until May 2012, its publicity campaign has already began.

Featuring an all star cast including Scarlett Johansson (as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow), Robert Downey Jr (Tony Stark / Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steven Rogers / Captain America) and Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner)

The film also stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton / Hawkeye), Tom Hiddleston (Loki - Thor's brother), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury) and Stellan Skarsgard (Professor Erik Slevig). The Avengers, a superhero team that join forces to defeat an unexpected enemy that is threatening global safety and security.


Chris Hemsworth Sad To See ‘Thor’ Director Kenneth Brannagh Not Returning For 'Thor 2'...

In a recent L.A. Times interview actor Chris Hemsworth talked about ‘Thor 2′ and director Kenneth Brannagh’s exit from the film.

Regarding Brannagh not directing ‘Thor 2′ Hemsworth said, “I’m really disappointed. Ken built that character, and everything I know about the Thor world I learned while shoulder-to-shoulder with Ken. I learned so much from him. As long as he’s happy that’s the thing.

I learned so much from Ken while we built [Thor] so at least I had that time with someone like that. The start of anything creative is the most important period in a way. That’s when the most can go wrong and Ken made sure we got it right.”

By all accounts, Marvel was very happy with the results of ‘Thor’ at the box office. It has grossed $447 million worldwide. ‘Thor 2′ was immediately greenlit and given a July 2013 release date. So, it seems the acclaimed director was not ready to jump right back in with a visual effects heavy sequel. He is instead getting back to acting on the British television series ‘Wallander’.

As Marvel works on the script for ‘Thor 2′ as well as finding a director, Hemsworth is in New Mexico filming Marvel and director Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’. The big ensemble film brings together many of Marvel’s biggest superheroes. ‘Avengers’ is set for a May 4, 2012 release date.


'Avengers' Movie Prelude Coming To Comics...

Marvel Studios has done a fantastic job building up to "The Avengers" with efforts like "Iron Man," "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" on the big-screen. And if you thought the House of Ideas would neglect a non-movie approach to what's surely their all-time biggest cinematic endeavor, think again.

Over at Marvel.com comes news that an official "Avengers" movie prelude is on its way in comic book form, courtesy of writers Chris Yost and Eric Pearson and artists Luke Ross, Daniel HDR and Geral Parel. Keep on reading for more details on the comic from the good folks at Marvel.

Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”--the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble in summer 2012. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013; and “Thor 2” on November 15, 2013.

"Marvel's The Avengers Prelude" #1 and #2, which kicks off a four-issue limited series, launches in March 2012. Keep an eye out, true believers.


Joe Simon dies at 98; co-creator of Captain America...

Joe Simon and fellow comic book industry pioneer Jack Kirby created Captain America in 1941 and went on to become 'the first superstar creators of comics.'

Joe Simon, a comic book industry pioneer whose defining career moment came in the dark days of March 1941 when he delivered a star-spangled superhero named Captain America, has died. He was 98.

Simon died Wednesday night in New York City after a brief illness, according to a statement from his family, and his death adds a solemn final note to the 70th anniversary of his greatest creation, Captain America, who leaped across the big screen this summer with the Marvel Studios film "Captain America: The First Avenger." The film took $369 million in worldwide box office and earned strong reviews despite early skepticism about the 21st century pop culture potential of a Roosevelt-era character who looks like a walking American flag.

Simon created Captain America with Jack Kirby, a key figure in American comics, and they would work together for various publishers as comic books went from quirky confections to American mythology.

The American superhero concept began in 1938 with Superman, the creation of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, but Simon and Kirby brought a different contribution to the genre, not unlike the way songwriter Chuck Berry would later add more ambition to the lyrics of the young form of rock 'n' roll. Mark Evanier, author of the 2008 Kirby biography "Kirby, King of Comics," said the signature duo became more of a brand than the masked men they put on the covers of their comics.

"Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were the first superstar creators of comics," Evanier said Thursday. "Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were hailed because of Superman, but Simon and Kirby were hailed because of Simon and Kirby. They didn't just have one or two great ideas. They were the go-to guys for the next thing in comics."

The pair had memorable creations such as the Newsboy Legion, the Fighting American, Blue Bolt, the Boy Commandos and the Challengers of the Unknown, but it was Captain America — a shield-carrying super-soldier created in a lab by American technology but defined by the country's earnest patriotism and integrity — that would resonate most.

"I was 24 when I first started creating Captain America, " Simon told the Philadelphia Daily News in 2005. "It's been a guardian angel hanging over me my whole life. Everywhere I went — in the service or wherever — I wasn't Joe Simon; I was Captain America. It was like a cloud hanging over me, but a good cloud. I loved it."

He was born Hymie Simon in Rochester, N.Y., in 1913, and as a youngster he was drawn to journalism. Instead, he ended up in the scruffy, deadline-driven comic book business that popped up in New York City in the 1930s. His first collaboration with Kirby came in 1940 with a hero called Blue Bolt, but they struck gold with Captain America — who was punching Adolf Hitler on newsstands months before Pearl Harbor. It turned out to be a quick hit for Timely Comics, which would later become Marvel Comics.

Simon, who was both a writer and artist, came up with the concept of the red, white and blue character, but it was Kirby — by most appraisals the most important comics artist ever — who created the dynamic artwork in the early issues.

After the success of "Captain America," Simon and Kirby followed opportunity over to DC Comics, the publisher of Superman and Batman, where they worked on titles such as "Boy Commandos" and "Sandman."

Both went into the military in 1943. On their return. they ended up at Harvey Comics and toiled on titles including "Boy Explorers" and "Stuntman." In 1954, the pair launched the creator-owned "Fighting American," a clear conceptual descendant of their most noted character — a hero with a shield and a costume Betsy Ross would love.

In the 1960s, Kirby began working with a new partner, Stan Lee, and they created the Fantastic Four, Thor, Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man and others.

Simon founded and edited Sick magazine, a publication that took the model of MAD magazine and ran from 1960 to 1980. He also packaged educational and political comics for various agencies, mostly in New York, and occasionally dipped back into the comics world, with oddball efforts like 1968's hippie hero "Brother Power, the Geek" and 1974's "Prez," about a teenager who becomes president.

Those comics were strange, politically informed and commercial fizzles, but they were fascinating to readers such as Neil Gaiman, the Newbury Medal-winning author of "The Graveyard Book" and the writer behind the DC Comics epic "The Sandman."

"What attracted me to Simon's stories was how unlike anyone else's they were, how full of life," Gaiman wrote in 2010 in a foreword to "The Simon & Kirby Superheroes" collection from Titan Books. "He created strange villains, part cartoon, part caricature, part embodiment of whatever he wished to talk about. While the trends in comics were toward realism in writing, Joe Simon marched in the other direction, creating his own reality.... The oddness of Joe Simon's work is where it gets its power."

Earlier this year, Simon attended the premiere of the Captain America film and in the surge of media attention he spoke often about Kirby, who died in 1994. For a younger generation of creators — such as Ed Brubaker, who has been the award-winning writer for Captain America for the last seven years — Simon and Kirby are titan figures.

"Joe and Jack Kirby created Captain America at a time when the U.S. was not in World War II yet and had to contend with pro-fascist Americans giving them death threats," Brubaker said Thursday. "I always think about that when I work on the book, the origins of both the character and the comic. Those were two brave guys creating what would be a classic character, who has definitely stood the test of time while other 'flag-wearing' heroes haven't."

Simon is survived by two sons, three daughters and eight grandchildren.

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