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Javier Bardem for Dark Tower, Penelope Cruz & Woody Allen Reteam, The Hobbit’s Legolas & Gollum

Javier Bardem for Dark Tower, Penelope Cruz & Woody Allen Reteam, The Hobbit's Legolas & Gollum

Husband and wife (and new parents) Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz both boast new projects:

– Universal’s The Dark Tower, from director Ron Howard, will be an epic adaptation of Stephen King’s seven-novel series, starting with The Gunslinger (scripted for the movie and TV segment by Akiva Goldsman). The gunslinger, Roland Deschain, is set to be played by Javier Bardem. The deal for Bardem to star is nearing completion; he would star in both the film and TV element (serving as a prequel running between films #2 and #3). Goldsman tells Deadline that the world of The Dark Tower is: “an alternate Americana, one part post-apocalyptic, one part Sergio Leone.” Here’s our Biutiful interview with Bardem. Library Journal’s description of the character and the first novel are below:

The Gunslinger introduces protagonist Roland as he pursues the Man in Black through bleak and tired landscapes in a world that has “moved on.” Roland believes that the Man in Black knows and can be made to reveal the secrets of the Dark Tower, which is the ultimate goal of Roland’s quest. The Waste Lands sees Roland and his fellow travelers continuing the quest for the Dark Tower. They journey through imaginative landscapes, over astounding obstacles, and meet with and confront a unique and fully drawn cast of characters, both human and nonhuman.

– The superb combination of Woody Allen and Penelope Cruz, as evidenced by all the best scenes in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (pictured; Bardem was in them all, too) has prompted Allen and Cruz to reteam, likely for his announced film shooting in Rome this summer. Cruz confirmed to EW, “I know [what I’m doing next], but the thing is that I have to ask the director what I can say and what I cannot say. Because he’s very secretive. It’s…it’s a movie with Woody Allen. But I really cannot say anything about the story or the characters.” Cruz stars opposite Johnny Depp in this May’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

– Over in Middle Earth, The Hobbit is likely to get Orlando Bloom reprising his Legolas character. He says: “I’m really excited about going to see Pete again…It’s still a little up in the air but the idea of working with Pete would be fantastic. It’s looking like it and I can’t really talk too much about it at this point…I just got given the script to piece through so it’s quite exciting.” Before Legolas’s return, Bloom appears in Mark Ruffalo’s directorial effort Sympathy for Delicious and in The Three Musketeers as the Duke of Buckingham, in which he got “to be the giant petulant child in many ways that the Duke of Buckinghams turns out to be.”

– Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum in the LOTR series and the two Hobbit films is also serving as second unit director for Jackson (the director asked him via email – a total surprise). Serkis’s Gollum performance has already been shot, so he can focus on this new assignment. He says, “I think I understand Peter’s sensibility and we have a common history of understanding Middle Earth…A lot of the crew from The Lord of the Rings was returning to work on The Hobbit. There is really  a sense of Peter wanting people around him who totally understand the material and the work ethic.” He also says that The Hobbit will be “faithfully represented with a fresh interpretation.” Serkis has two more high profile characters for us to look forward to; Caesar in Planet of the Apes (leader of the Ape revolution) (out August 4) and Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn (the character in TinTin’s best friend and a multi-millionaire seafaring Merchant Marine Captain) (out in December).

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