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Casting Updates: Taken 3, The Whole Truth, Marvel & xXx 3!
Fresh off the wire as this week's festivities move forward for the European Film Festival in Berlin, Deadline confirmed that director Olivier Megaton will return to the director's seat once again for the Liam Neeson actioner, Taken 3. Neeson is expected to reprise his role with much of the main cast, namely actress Maggie Grace who plays his daughter, in addition to the film's newly annouced cast member, Forest Whitaker.
The film marks the third installation of EuropaCorp's surprise franchise success that began with Neeson starring as former CIA operative Bryan Mills trekking through France's seedy underworld of Albanian sex traffickers to hunt down his daughter's kidnappers in the Pierre Morel-directed 2008/09 film, while the 2012 sequel pit our hero against their blood thirsty family members hungry for vengeance as they stalk Mills and his family through Istanbul. As for the third offering, no plot details have been made, although Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen are back to treat the script.
Neeson will appear in his second film opposite director Jaume Collet-Serra for the high-flying hostage thriller, Non-Stop, set to release in North America on February 28, 2014.
Variety is also reporting that actor Daniel Craig is lined up for a new role in a courtroom thriller titled The Whole Truth. Nicholas Kazan, who wrote director Michael Apted's 2002 domestic violence action drama, Enough, and Michael Karbelnikoff's 1991 prohibition-era gangster crime drama, Mobsters, is providing the screenplay, while Richard Suckle and Courtney Hunt will produce and direct respectively.
Craig is currently returning to his fourth stint as the iconic MI6 agent, James Bond in the tentatively titled Bond 24 with Sam Mendes back to direct for a November 6, 2015 release.
In Marvel news, while Tom Hiddleston's previous efforts to nab the role of Marvel superhero Thor eventually segwayed into that of his adopted brother, Loki, actor Chris Hemsworth will no doubt return for the role with Hiddleston in the pending release of Thor 3 as per the slate of films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: The Dark World's executive producer Craig Kyle and writer Christopher Yost will be penning the script, which might center around the cyclic death and rebirth of the Asgardian gods, otherwise known as the Ragnarok story arc.
Meanwhile, reports also suggest that a writer is still being sought for the third Captain America film, but now the directors of the upcoming April 4, 2014 release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Anthony and Joe Russo are now on board to direct the third film, with actor Chris Evans reprising his role.
Marvel has three dates slated for untiltled new films between now and 2017, which could mean Thor 3 may land one of those dates. In the meantime, Hemsworth and Evans are rejoining the principle cast for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, in addition to new actors, including South Korean local actress Kim Soo-Hyun who has been newly cast as another villain. The film bows on May 1, 2015.
Last but not least, Marvel's Guardian Of The Galaxy voice-over co-star, actor Vin Diesel continued to correspond with his #Vinbook community with viral videos and posts on Facebook accompanied by the tunes of singers Beyonce and Katy Perry. Reports suggest that Universal Pictures is granting last year's successful theatrical release of Riddickwith a sequel, which was reported in previous headlines to begin exploring 'The Underverse'. In addition further news highlights the completion of the script treatment for the long gestating development of the tentatively titled xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage following Diesel's role in the 2002 film with actor Ice Cube replacing him in the 2005 sequel.
Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy release on August 1, 2014, while Diesel continues to complete the epic production of Fast And Furious 7 slated for April 10, 2015.
There's a ton of things happening right now with all things John Wick. The origin comic, as well as two spin-offs are among the raft of projects already in development as Chad Stahelski now looks toward bringing the third film in the canon to life for next year.
For this, casting is already underway and with exclusive reporting from That Hashtag Show which reveals the addition of actor Sanada Hiroyuki to the movie. Sanada, whose international career has seen him work with legends like Fukusaku Kinji, Corey Yuen, and stars like Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh.
Reuniting with 47 Ronin lead Keanu Reeves reprising the title role of the John Wick franchise, Sanada will star the head of a crime syndicate with a score to settle with our stoic assassin now on the run from his former fellowship of clandestined assassins. The two will reportedly be rejoined by actress Ruby Rose and actor Common following their appearances in last year's sequel in which both go toe-to-toe with Reeves.
Crowdfunding officially kicked off on Monday with a new Indiegogo campaign for The Martial Arts Kid 2: Payback. Action stars Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock are back and co-producing, as well as rejoining a cast of returning and new faces led by title star, actor Jansen Panettiere, and once more with writer/director Michael Baumgarten who helmed the first film as well as last year's Paying Mr. McGetty. Plot details are unknown for the sequel following the first installment centered on an embattled teenager struggling to face the odds in a new neighborhood with help of his martial arts expert sibs, Uncle Glen and Auntie Cindy. Returning are Brandon Tyler Russell, Matthew Ziff and martial artist TJ Storm to reprise their roles with Chuck Zito emerging for the sequel next to actor Sasha Mitchell and with award-winning stunt coordinator James Lew back to direct the action. Florida's Cocoa Beach will again serve as the backdrop from a script by Baumgarten with …
Segueing from steering the action and stunt work coordinating films like Ant-Man, Ninja Assassin and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Peng Zhang now rests his prospects at the helm. This one is no small feat either however - reportedly five years and with a tall order of $100 million dollars to date for Ningxia Film Group's upcoming Buddhist fantasy action adventure, Asura, making it China's most expensive movie in history, and as the hopeful first in a trilogy.
Signaling this month with an official teaser trailer ahead of a release midway in 2018, the film introduces a story set in the titular realm of pure desire which now finds itself threatened by a staged coup from a lower kingdom. Leading the way are burgeoning talents, actress Zhang Yi Shang (Railroad Tigers) with Lei Wu (The Shanghai Job, upcoming Nehza) starring as saviors to the realm and evident love interests to each other amid the upheaval of emerging villains and fantastic visuals host to spectacular scenery, battle…