Hollywood was on temporary pause but productions are gearing back up, release dates continue to be tweaked in preparation for theaters reopening, and things are slowly starting to return to normal – or at least, our temporary new normal. Movie news is once again starting to flow, with us bringing you a few hand-picked stories we think you’ll like.

Let’s hop to it.

Hugh Grant Cast As Villain In D&D Movie

Paramount and eOne’s Dungeons & Dragons project is gaining steam and it has recently cast Hugh Grant as the villain in the as-yet-untitled movie with IT and IT Chapter Two star Sophia Lillis also set for a starring role. Deadline broke the news. They joined a stacked cast that already includes Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page. Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, the writer-director duo behind Game Night and the co-writers of Spider-Man: Homecoming, are set to write and direct the project based on Hasbro’s wildly popular tabletop RPG game. At the moment, plot details are being kept under wraps, as are specific roles, but Grant has been confirmed as being the film’s protagonist, which should be a fun role for him, particularly if it’s a scenery-chewing kind.

Elizabeth Banks To Direct ‘Cocaine Bear’ From Lord & Miller

Also from Deadline comes an interesting headline: Elizabeth Banks is set to direct comedy-thriller Cocaine Bear for Universal. Phil Lord and Chris Miller producing under their Lord Miller banner with Banks and Max Handelman will produce through their Brownstone Productions banner off a script by Jimmy Warden. In case you might be thinking the title is a euphemism or symbolic, it is not: The script is literally about, well, a cocaine bear. The movie is based on true events that took place in Kentucky in 1985 when a bear found and ate 70 lbs. of smuggled cocaine. Unfortunately, the bear died of a drug overdose (as one would after ingesting 70 pounds of pure coke), but the focus of the film is said to be on the frantic search for the missing drugs. Universal is reportedly wanting to fast-track this, with the producers aiming to have the shoot underway by summer.

James Gunn Debunks ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3’ Casting Rumors

It’s always smart to verify the legitimacy of sources before believing any entertainment news rumor, particularly when it comes to geek sites and casting rumors. That lesson was taught once again by Guardians of the Galaxy and upcoming Suicide Squad helmer James Gunn, who took to Twitter to emphatically shoot down a rumor that had hit the internet. The rumor first appeared on the fan site The Illuminerdi, which claimed casting for the role of Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was currently underway and the studio was specifically looking for a Caucasian male Zac Efron type. Adam Warlock has indeed been a character fans have been anticipating for years, but Gunn’s rejection of the rumor made it clear there was no credibility to it and he was not pleased.

So let that be a good reminder to all: If the “scoop” isn’t coming from a trusted and proven source, it’s probably not a scoop at all.

Andy Serkis Would Walk On All Fours To Prepare For Gollum

Andy Serkis is inarguably Hollywood’s foremost pioneer in the realm of mocap acting and technology and it was his role of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies that put him, mocap, and Weta Workshop on the map. It was the first time a CGI creature had ever been imbued with such pathos and personality, with every nuance of emotion caught on his face. And while much of it was the wizardry of the folks at Weta working their digital magic, it was also down to Andy Serkis’ devastatingly poignant and dynamic performance as Gollum. As it turns out, getting into character was a rather all-consuming effort for Serkis, who went full method by walking on all fours even when not on the set of the films, as he revealed to The Guardian – and it made for a rather awkward encounter every time he ran into another person while down on all fours:

“I used to walk on all fours off set when we were filming Lord of the Rings. I spent a lot of time in preparation for that [as Gollum]; I would go off for walks on all fours for hours. I did occasionally come into contact with other people, so I just had to pretend I was looking for something. It’s fair to say that’s pretty method.”

‘Avatar’ Could Retake ‘Avengers: Endgame’ After China Re-Release

Here’s an interesting little bit of box office news. James Cameron’s Avatar is getting a re-release in China. It’s a rather surprising move considering the first movie came out 12 years ago in 2009 and that there’s nothing to tie it to, such as re-releasing it in the lead-up to the release of Avatar 2 which is still almost two years away. Honestly, it’s not really clear why it’s getting re-released, but as THR reported, “China’s Film Bureau has approved a surprise plan for the director’s 2009 sci-fi epic Avatar to get a wide re-release in the country on Friday, according to two sources at Chinese movie theater companies, which were informed of the arrangements.” Still, surprise or not, Avatar only needs $7.4 million at the box office to regain the title of biggest box office movie ever. It held the record with $2,789,854,370 until 2019 when Avengers: Endgame knocked it out of the top spot. The Marvel movie is currently sitting at $2,797,800,564, so it’s entirely probable that even with a relatively modest showing in China, Avatar will regain the #1 position. Regardless, no matter which movie loses, Disney wins: With their 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the House of Mouse now owns not just Marvel, but also the Avatar franchise.

Steven Spielberg Developing Movie Based On His Own Childhood

After a lifetime of making movies that deal with fictional children’s childhood’s legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg is finally developing a project based on his own childhood experiences. Deadline reports Spielberg will be cowriting the script with regular collaborator Tony Kushner, making it the first time in two decades Spielberg will also have a writing credit on one of his movies; the last time was 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The project appears to be moving forward quickly, with Deadline also reporting that Michelle Williams is in talks to star in the role loosely based on Spielberg’s mom, with other roles to shortly be added. The plan is to get cameras rolling this summer with the film hopefully hitting theaters sometime in 2022.

‘House Of Gucci’ First-Look Image

Filming on Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci is underway and we got our first look at Adam Driver and Lady Gaga as Maurizio Gucci and his then-wife Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli. The movie will revolve around the 1995 murder of Maurizio, the former head of the Gucci fashion house and grandson of the founder, Guccio Gucci. In 1995, Maurizio Gucci was brutally gunned down in front of his office in Milan and it was a national tragedy. That tragedy, however, became a full-blown scandal when it was discovered that it had been Martinelli who had hired the hitman to kill her ex, who had left her for a younger woman. The ensuing trial was one of the most infamous in Italy’s history, and Scott’s hoping to capture the whole circus. With the film expected to be in theaters in November of this year, images are starting to be released. Check out Driver and Gaga in character at a ski resort below:

Godzilla vs. Kong ‘Collision’ Featurette

Last but not least, check out this neat little featurette from Godzilla vs. Kong focusing on the human teams behind each monster.

The movie is set to hit theaters at the end of this month.

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