Star Wars Artist Ralph McQuarrie Dies

The Movie world is currently in mourning at the sad news that Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary concept artist best known for his work on Star Wars, has died aged 82.

 In a world where it’s often the director, screenwriter or star who gets the most recognition for the success of a movie, it’s a testament to McQuarrie’s considerable talent and influence that his is a name familiar to many.

McQuarrie’s art helped George Lucas to envision some of the most memorable characters in the Star Wars universe, including Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca and the Stormtroopers.

McQuarrie also contributed designs to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T., and he won an Oscar for his special effects work on Cocoon.

George Lucas said in a statement:

“His genial contribution, in the form of unequalled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original Star Wars trilogy.”When words could not convey my ideas, I could always point to one of Ralph’s fabulous illustrations and say, ‘do it like this’.”

Jason Segel… Man or Muppet?

Is Jason Segel a man, or is he a Muppet? He seems to have definitely decided he must be a man now as he won’t be returning for the next Muppets adventure.

Earlier in the week we heard the joyous news that a follow up to this year’s triumphant Muppet return was officially in the planning stages, but Segel has confirmed he won’t be involved.

“It’s true but it’s totally amicable. My goal was to bring The Muppets back. I did what I set out to do, and now I wanna pursue more human-related projects. All I wanted to do was to set the stage for them to do whatever they wanted. I’m sure I’ll return in some capacity here and there, but that was half a decade of my life, five years of hard work. I’m ready for a little puppet break.”

As welcome a presence as he was in The Muppets, Jason was careful not to make it The Segel Show. The stars were Kermit and co., as is only right and proper. No human interloper has ever continued through more than one Muppet movie, and whatever is planned for the future, the Muppets’ anarchic non-template to date probably dictates that it won’t be a straight-up sequel.

Although we’ll miss him in the next installment, if you’re looking for your next Jason Segel fix, We’ll next see him in Jeff, Who LIves At Home, out in the UK on April 20

Meanwhile The Muppets director James Bobin will take over writing duties for the next adventure for Kermit ad the loveable puppet gang.

Orlando Bloom joins Zulu cast

Orlando Bloom and Djimon Hounsou are reportedly attached to star in Zulu, a film which has absolutely nothing to do with the 1964 Michael Caine Classic.

Adapted from Caryl Férey’s police procedural novel, it follows two Cape Town investigators as they get to grip with the brutal murder of an 18-year-old girl.

The victim just so happens to be the daughter of a member of the championship-winning Springboks rugby team, leading to heavy pressure for Hounsou and Bloom to solve the case while pulling off better South African accents than Leonardo Di Caprio in Blood Diamond.

The film will be directed by Jérôme Salle, whose 2005 French thriller Anthony Zimmer was later adapted into The Tourist.

Del Toro set for Day Of the Dead

Guillermo Del Toro, one of our very favourite human beings, has decided to abandon hopes of ever sleeping again in favour of adding yet another project to his hectic schedule.  The Mexican maestro will now be producing Day Of The Dead.

Co-written and directed by Jorge R Gutierrez the film will tell a Romeo & Juliet style story set against the colourfully morbid backdrop of the Mexican festival of Dia de la Muertos.

Celebrated between the first and second of November, the holiday honours the deceased, with festivals, parades, prayers and offerings of food.

Gutierrez animated film will look to capture all the eccentric beauty of the festivities via CG with the help of Mexican company Reel FX.  It will also feature a strong musical element with Del Toro currently scouting for international artists to contribute to the soundtrack.

Day Of The Dead should be ready for release in late 2014. In the meantime Guillermo is already busy making massive monster adventure film Pacific Rim which should be terrorizing cinemas sometimes next year.


Edgar Wright Will Direct Night Stalker Remake for Johnny Depp

In an effort to keep Johnny Depp playing a pirate until the world ends or we all get bored of drunk Keith Richards impersonations, Disney have green lit a remake of paranormal cult classic Kolchak The Night Stalker.

The original was a 1972 American TV Movie about investigative reporter Carl Kolchak’s pursuit of a serial killer who turns out to be a supernatural monster.

They’ve now put the project in the eager little geek hands of Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar

Wright hasn’t been so quick to jump back on the horse since Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World unfairly failed to impress at the box office, but he recently announced a start on writing a new project with Shaun of the Dead collaborator Simon Pegg, and Marvel has long had him attached to direct an Ant-Man movie.

There also still isn’t a writer for this one yet but Depp is confirmed to star as soon as details are in place.  So although it could be a while before anything comes together in the end Depp will bring his own unique brand of wide eyed kookiness to the role.  Expect to see something like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Sleepy Hollow having a movie baby.