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‘Apollo Solo’? Mid-production Star Wars Han Solo movie gets new director, Ron Howard

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The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive up that Ron Howard is getting the nod for the latest Star Wars tale. This flick is, like Rogue One, a “Star Wars story,” not part of the main plot which continues to follow Luke Skywalker & Co.

The as-yet untitled movie is about Han Solo, a younger Solo. The original directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, were sacked from the production after clashes with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who had the backing of Disney’s Lucasfilm head and executive producer Kathleen Kennedy.

And why should Disney put their trust in Lord and Miller over Kasdan? They shouldn’t. Lord and Miller are known for their comedic, freewheeling improvisational style. Kasdan prefers directors to shoot what’s written. Kasdan is a legend, having written my favorite Star Wars film, and perhaps favorite film of all time, “The Empire Strikes Back.

A few improvisations are fine (as when Harrison Ford famously changed “I love you, too” to “I know” in the carbonite scene), but Solo is Kasdan’s character. That’s a good thing, because George Lucas writes in a turgid, expository way that tends to ruin everything (“I hate sand”) except the original burst of genius in the original 1977 version.

With Lucas gone, Disney has few options to regain fan trust after his endless retcons, editing, and prequels. They must do what’s necessary keep the franchise vibrant (believe me, with $4 billion invested, they are very protective).

Rogue One received a makeover from Tony Gilroy after director Gareth Edwards finished shooting. At all costs, Star Wars-anything must be protected from any kind of box office disaster.

If Kasdan said Lord and Miller must go, well, that was that.

Ron Howard has a very soft touch, a way with drama, and two Oscars. He’s good with the actors, and his name lends gravitas to the production. And George Lucas likes him very much, although that means little to the Mouse.

Howard, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, will meet with the actors — Alden Ehrenreich is playing the iconic smuggler, Donald Glover is playing Lando Calrissian, with Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton also on the roll call — to soothe a rattled set and will pore over a rough edit to see what the project needs. Filming will resume on July 10.

In the end, Lord and Miller apparently had a more slap-stick, funny version of Solo in mind than Kasdan’s.

The creative clash, according to one insider, also came down to differences in understanding the character of Han Solo. “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,” said that source.

Oh, and, Mr. Howard, for the record, Solo shot first.

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Entertainment and Sports

Jack Reacher reboot: Smaller screen, bigger actor

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Jack Reacher reboot Smaller screen bigger actor

Tom Cruise is one of the biggest actors in the world when it comes to popularity and recognition. He’s also one of the shortest leading men in Hollywood, stretching to hit 5’7″.

His two-movie portrayal of Jack Reacher was enjoyed by many fans, including the book series’ writer, but there was something missing – about 10 inches. In the books, Reacher was described as 6’5″ with hands the size of dinner plates.

There will be no more Jack Reacher movies. There will be a new actor to play the role. The next version of the drifting former major in the military police will come to us through the small screen, almost certainly as a streaming show on Netflix or Amazon.

“Cruise, for all his talent, didn’t have that physicality,” series creator Lee Child told BBC.

So, who could replace Cruise?

The next Jack Reacher

We know Reacher’s character is tall intimidating. He is physically fit and can handle himself well in most fights.

Age isn’t much of a factor. He left the military at age 36, so they have a lot of flexibility depending on which stage they want the story to be picked up.

He’s American, Caucasian, and generally jovial except when he’s kicking butt. He’s blond in the books, but that’s malleable.

So, here’s a list of people who fit the bill. Some of them are hard to imagine playing a television role, but it’s 2018. That’s much more common in the streaming age. A-list actors don’t consider television a downgrade the way they used to.

In order from my favorite to least favorite choice for the role…

  1. Vince Vaughn
  2. Adam Baldwin
  3. Liam Hemsworth
  4. Joe Manganiello
  5. Billy Campbell
  6. Armie Hammer
  7. John Corbett
  8. Ben Affleck

Anyone who balks at Vince Vaughn playing the tough guy as Jack Reacher hasn’t seen Brawl In Cell Block 99.

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Entertainment and Sports

Golden State Warriors to sell $100 monthly passes that don’t have a view of the court

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Golden State Warriors to sell 100 monthly passes that dont have a view of the court

Some people want to see a basketball game live. Others will have to be satisfied with a view of a television screen in a bar at Oracle Arena. To get that honor, fans will have to pay $100 a month for a pass.

If that seems crazy, consider this: There are 44,000 people on the Golden State Warriors’ season pass waiting list and they’re about to sell out their 300th consecutive home game.

Admittedly, the atmosphere at the stadium is wonderful. Feeling the floor rumble after a huge dunk is great. But dealing with parking, crowds, lines at the bathroom, and $13 cans of beer may not be worth the $100 per month. Then again, they expect to sell out these passes as well, so who knows?

I’m happy with my grocery store cans of beer, parking in my driveway, shorter lines to the restroom, and a big plasma screen for the game.

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Entertainment and Sports

Stan Lee’s 10 greatest comics

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Stan Lees 10 greatest comics

Stan Lee has died. While modern audiences probably know much more about the Marvel movies and televisions shows that dominate our viewing pleasures, it was his genius in creating so many beloved comic book characters decades ago that fuels Hollywood today.

Looper put out a video with his greatest comics. These subjective lists are usually fodder for debate, but I was so pleasantly surprised by their choices I decided to post it here. It may be the first time I agree with nearly everything in a video top 10 list. Fitting that it surrounds an icon like Lee.

From his quirky cameos in every Marvel movie to his down-to-earth perspectives present in every interview, there’s plenty to love about Stan Lee. But it was his comic book creations that have made a permanent mark on American culture.

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