Film News: Why Robert Downey Jr. quit Gravity, Peter Dinklage talks X-Men

Article by News Team | 24 Feb 2014
  • Peter Dinklage

In Iron Man, he may have played the world's leading technologist, but the on-set technical challenges presented by Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity proved too much for Robert Downey Jr., the Spanish-born director revealed recently in an interview with THR. Cuaron also divulged that the role taken on by Sandra Bullock was originally intended for Angelina Jolie, who had to withdraw due to commitments on the new Tim Burton / Disney production Maleficent and other projects. 

"It became very clear that, as we started to nail the technology, or narrow the technology, that was going to be a big obstacle for his performance," Cuaron said of Robert Downey Jr. "I think Robert is fantastic if you give him the freedom to completely breathe and improvise and change stuff," he added. "[But] we tried one of these technologies and it was not compatible. And, after that, we [had a] week that we pretended as if nothing was happening and then we talked and said, 'This is not going to work. This is tough.'"

With worldwide hit fantasy show Game of Thrones set to return to the small screen in April for a fourth season, and a role as villainous technologist Bolivar Trask in the upcoming Bryan Singer-helmed sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, Peter Dinklage is in demand at the moment. In an interview with Den of Geek, Dinklage revealed what attracted him to working on superhero movies, specifically the X-Men franchise: "It's the complex storytelling," he says. "Great characters." But, he also reveals, "I never was a big comic book fan. Obviously I'd heard [about] them growing up from my friends who did read them, but I never was a big comic book reader."

Asked about his role in the film, Dinklage replies: "It's set at the time of Watergate, and Richard Nixon is a character in the movie, who I share several scenes with. So that sets the tone for nefarious doings, politically. Trask's agenda... he's very good at what he does. How can I be more vague? He sees humanity threatened, and he has the ability to protect it, so that's what he chooses to do." On his casting, Dinklage comments: "I said yes without even having read the script. That was partly because I wasn't allowed to read the script until I said yes!"

Turning his attention to Game of Thrones, Dinklage spoke about some of the new actors joining the cast this season, including Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris. "Every time we have someone new coming on our show, we welcome them with open arms and get revitalised by this new presence," he comments. "Then we kill them off very quickly." Read the interview in full here.

Why on Earth would they want to bring back the dire, Jeph Loeb-produced Heroes? A show which capitalised on, and in some ways prefigured the superhero boom of the mid-00s, the original Heroes was the most blatant X-Men rip-off since Avi Arad's unbelievably bad 2001 series Mutant X. The more successful Heroes launched the careers of Hayden Panettiere and Zachary Quinto, delivering a half-dozen decent enough episodes before running out of ideas and pilfering the Marvel archives for storylines and superpowers. Now, NBC reports that the show will return in 2015, issuing the teaser below to whet our appetites. With Quinto and Panettiere now big box office and small-screen draws respectivelty, it seems unlikely they will return for the new 13-episode 'miniseries' - although NBC say they "won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in."

DC Comics and Warner Brothers' planned TV reboot of the John Constantine character, created by Alan Moore and featured in the long-running 'mature readers' comic Hellblazer, now has its main actor - Matt Ryan, a relative unknown with minor credits on shows like Vikings, Criminal Minds and Torchwood, will take on the title role previously essayed by Keanu Reeves in the dire 2005 film adaptation. Although the character, as originally written, is from Liverpool, the casting of Ryan reflects a slightly more accurate origin story for John Constantine, who rather than being a louche LA lounge-wizard, will be portrayed as "a working-class Londoner with rakish good looks, scruffy blond hair, deadpan humour and signature trench coat, who has been studying the dark arts since he was a teenager," according to Deadline

Console Wars was a book by Blake J. Harris examining the fight for dominance between Sega and Nintendo over the lucrative home console market in the 80s and 90s. Now, Sony have picked it up as a feature film, with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, recently linked with the long-awaited TV adaptation of DC Comics' Preacher, on board to write the script, according to Gamespot. Harris is reportedly at work on a documentary on the same topic, and will act as executive producer for the feature.

And finally, good news for fans of Farscape, the late 90s / early 00s cult science fiction show co-developed by the Jim Henson Productions, may be returning with a new feature film, helmed by Brian Henson. According to Australian website, writer Justin Monjo is attached as script writer, having worked on the original show. 

Teenage is a new documentary which tells the story of the rise of the 'teenager' - a word unknown before the 1950s, and the advent of rock and roll. The filmmakers promise a "living collage of rare archival material, filmed portraits, and voices lifted from early 20th Century diary entries" which document the period running up to this turning point, where "a struggle erupts between adults and adolescents to define a new idea of youth." It's territory that has been covered before, in both social science and popular culture, but from the looks of the trailer, Matt Wolf's new film, which examines the rise of the teenager from the turn of the twentieth century, could offer new insights into this important cultural shift. 

And finally, the documentary about Stones Throw, the legendary West Coast hip-hop label founded by Peanut Butter Wolf, and home to Madlib, Jonwayne, and the late, great J Dilla, gets a UK release this month - here's the trailer, featuring Peanut Butter Wolf, Kanye West, A-Trak, Common, Tyler The Creator, Questlove and Snoop Dogg.