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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.
I could go on and on until I'm blue in the face about how excited I am for the new action thriller, Triple Threat. I won't, but I will throw my hat in with some words for seasoned stuntman and filmmaker Jesse V. Johnson who, in the wake of a stagnant directing career salvaged by the appeal drawn from his latest release, Savage Dog, has risen above expectations in opportune fashion.
It truly is something to be proud of... a succession accompanied, no less, by a line-up of some serious, prominent action starpower; Names like Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen as well as Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping and Jeeja Yanin are all but what one would dream of seeing in a single movie together on the big screen, which, at least until starting late last year, almost felt like an impossibility.
Then again, there were people who thought that Jaa would never appear in a movie with Donnie Yen dating back twelve years ago as the Thai action star took the mantle with groundb…
I think it's safe to say you know your movie sucks when you not only screw the rights holders whose name and content you base your unsanctioned film on, but when said rights holders join the chorus of critics panning your movie from literally every angle of the internet. That is the level of achievement you have reached if your name is George Nolfi and you've directed a film called Birth Of The Dragon, long hyped to be a hopefully legendary homage to Bruce Lee, the late founder of Jeet Kune Do and patriarch of American martial arts movie fandom.
You've seen him play the Game Of Death opposite Bruce Lee in the late martial arts star's final film. You've watched him go down in the iconic bar room brawl as "Sticks" in Out For Justice. You might have even caught him in a heartfelt and defining moment in the finale scene of David Mamet's 2008 martial arts drama, Redbelt.
Or, if you're immersed in the martial arts niche enough then you've likely given a glance at martial arts legend, Dan Inosanto, in various viral self-defense videos online or in segments from the many documentaries he's been featured in within the last few decades, namely Jay Ignacio's The Bladed Hand: The Global Impact of the Filipino Martial Arts or Pete McCormack's I Am Bruce Lee. For certain, the actor and ardent teacher and FMA mainstay's relevance is guaranteed this week with the news of a new biopic based on the Guro's little-known life and history which includes helping the Dallas Cowboys win Super Bow…