You can tell the future of Hollywood wrests with comic-book stories when Will Smith agrees to put on the tights again.
Six years after his titular role in the universally panned Hancock, the 46-year-old actor has inked a deal to play the costumed antihero known as Deadshot in the much-anticipated Suicide Squad film.
As reported in Variety, Smith will be joined by Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie and Oscar-winner Jared Leto in the big-screen version of the popular DC comic book, which revolves around a team of supervillains conscripted to tackle black-ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences.
In his followup to winning the best-supporting actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, Leto will play the Joker – the first actor to play the role since the late Heath Ledger.
Hardy will play the Suicide Squad's de facto leader, military expert Rick Flag, while Robbie has signed on for the role Harley Quinn, a longstanding foe of Batman.
Writer-director David Ayer (Fury, Training Day) is already booked to direct Suicide Squad, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Toronto next April.
And it's fairly obvious that the casting of A-list names in Suicide Squad speaks to Warner's ambition to carve its own slice of the lucrative superhero-movie pie. In mid-October, the studio announced plans to release 10 movies culled from the DC Comics universe.
In recent years, the Disney-owned Marvel Studios has overwhelmingly dominated the superhero-movie market with mega-hit franchises like The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and, most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy.
But unlike the Marvel game plan of casting relative unknowns (Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt) or career burnouts (Robert Downey Jr.) as their superheroes, Warner made a bold statement with Suicide Squad with the signing of Smith, who reportedly commands a minimum of $20-million (U.S.) per movie.
According to some reports, Smith wanted $50-million to reprise his role in the sequel to the 1996 hit Independence Day.
All of which brings us back around to Hancock.
Although the film casting Smith as the scruffy, flip-flop wearing superhero John Hancock was a modest success for Sony-owned Columbia Pictures (earning $624-million worldwide off a $150-million budget), the movie was more notable for the negative reviews it generated.
With rare exception, Hancock was roundly castigated by film critics, including The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Farber, who said, "It veers from comedy to romantic tragedy and introduces an elaborate backstory that never makes much sense."
Curiously, rumours keep resurfacing about a sequel titled Hancock 2 – with no less than Beyoncé herself starring opposite Smith.
But before that happens, Smith will assume the character of Deadshot, a hired assassin who wears a red jumpsuit and distinctive metal face plate and holds the reputation of never missing a designated target. Whether Smith pulls off the role remains to be determined by moviegoers.
Then again, if Will Smith can bounce back from the 2013 box-office debacle that was After Earth, he really might have superpowers.
EAT WELL, LIVE LONGER
Anyone looking to live longer might want to consider adopting the Mediterranean diet. A new study by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has determined that those women who adhered closely to the Mediterranean dietary regimen – which extolls the virtues of olive oil, fish, plant foods and a regular glass of wine with meals – enjoyed a longer life span. The study focused on the nutritional habits of nearly 5,000 women and revealed that the Mediterranean diet was responsible for the creation of longer telomeres, which protect the ends of cell chromosomes and tend to shorten with age. "We know that having shorter telomeres is associated with a lower life expectancy and a greater risk of cancer, heart disease and other diseases," said study co-author Immaculata De Vivo. "Now our research suggests the Mediterranean diet can slow this shortening."
Source: Boston Globe
AMC has apologized to viewers for spoiling the ending of last weekend's midseason finale of The Walking Dead. Moments after the East Coast airing of the episode last Sunday night, the cable channel posted a RIP photo on the show's official Facebook page showing Dead regular Daryl (Norman Reedus) holding the limp corpse of a character who had met their fate in the closing moments. Fans on the West Coast were enraged by the spoiler and reacted strongly on social media. On Tuesday, AMC went back on Facebook to tell fans, "We heard your feedback to last night's post and we're sorry. With zero negative intent, we jumped the gun and put up a spoiler."
Get ready to meet a whole lot of people named Sophia and Jackson in the future. As determined by the parenting website BabyCenter.com, the two names rank atop the most popular girl and boy names parents have given their children over the past year. After Sophia, the most popular girl names are Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Mia, Zoe, Lily, Emily and Madelyn. For boy babies, Jackson was followed by Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah, Mason, Ethan, Caden, Jacob and Logan.