MGM and New Line have signed Guillermo del Toro finally to direct two films for the Lord of the Rings franchise.

Namely, the highly anticipated “Hobbit”, as well as a LOTR “prequel” of sorts, one that will fill in the gaps between “The Hobbit” and Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Jackson will serve as executive producer on the projects.

Since Jackson did not wish to return to the director’s chair, del Toro is a nice choice. He’s a great director with spectacular vision. But, most importantly, he’s a huge fan of the material.

Personally, I would rather have seen “The Hobbit” turned into two films than the current plan of action. There is a LOT that goes on in that book that would be wonderfully served by two films. Still, I won’t complain too much…

With the all-important task of finding a director complete, now comes the equally daunting task of casting the epic first film.

Here are my thoughts on possible choices for the roles.

Bilbo Baggins – Ian Holm is simply too old to pull this off like he did in the short LOTR flashback. Another actor must be found, but one that can really pull off that whining factor. Remember in the original tale, Bilbo is a constant whiner and complainer, to a fault. That kind of acting needs a comedic hand. So, why not go with Ricky Gervais? He’s the best British comedic actor out there. He doesn’t resemble Ian Holm, but we’ll forgive that easily when we see him bitching about elevenses on the trail with the dwarves. Other possibilities – Elijah Wood (probably the popular choice, but I don’t think so…let his Frodo performance stand alone), Eddie Izzard, Simon Pegg (a dark horse choice; he’d be a GREAT pick for the role, but he might be too tied up with the new Star Trek franchise to be available (he plays Scotty in the new film)).

Ricky Gervais

Elijah Wood

Eddie Izzard

Simon Pegg

Gandalf – Ian McKellan. No-brainer. He’s all but come out (no pun intended) and said that he’s been signed to do it.

Thorin (leader of the dwarves) – John Rhys-Davies would be a nice choice (but he may be reluctant to return to that makeup he became so allergic to). Other than him, I’m really drawing a blank…I’ll think more on this one and update. UPDATE: If you don’t use Beorn in the film, use Brendan Gleeson here. He’d be excellent in this role as well.

John Rhys-Davies

Brendan Gleeson

Elrond (King of the Elves) – Hugo Weaving. Another no-brainer.

Beorn – This encounter with the shape shifter by Bilbo and the dwarves will more than likely be cut, especially considering the plot will be condensed into one film. Still, a guy can dream, can’t he? My pick would be Brendan Gleeson (aka “Mad-Eye” Moody).

Bard the Bowman from Lake Town – Strong rugged, trustworthy type. Christian Bale could do well here, as could Hugh Jackman, pick a 30-40 something actor (British or no).

Christian Bale

Hugh Jackman

Another good choice would be Gerard Butler (see picture below).

Gollum – Andy Serkis IS Gollum! Next!!!

Smaug the Dragon – Now HERE’S where it gets interesting…Smaug is present for only a short part of the story, but his presence is pivotal. Since he will obviously be CGI, you gotta find a VOICE. So, I’ve itemized a list for you.

Hugo Weaving
Hugo Weaving – He’d do a great job, no doubt. Problem is, his voice has become almost TOO recognizable. That, and he’s already performing as Elrond in the film (another short role) would probably preclude him from doing it, though he’d undoubtedly be a fan favorite.

Ron Perlman
Ron Perlman (aka “Hellboy”) – Ron’s got an excellent voice for this role. Deep, powerful, but with an edge that can do the comedic elements of it as well. Plus, he’s obviously got a great working relationship with del Toro throught the “Hellboy” franchise, so he might be the early favorite to land the role.

Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler (from “300”) – He spent most of “300” yelling, but in the quiet moments, you could hear a lot of power in that voice. He’s a possibility.

and my dark horse would be…..

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman. He could seriously be the best choice out there. If you’ve read the book, you know that Smaug plays mind games with Bilbo for the most part, only exploding in anger at the very end. No voice would better encapsulate those mind games better than Rickman. He would be my #1 choice.

Other roles needing to be filled…Orc King, King of the Wood Elves, Lord of the Eagles, Spider Queen, the three Trolls,

What are your thoughts? Let’s get this thing going?


Say it ain’t so, Mary Ann!!!

Dawn Wells, famous for her role of Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, was sentenced to six months probation after police found marijuana in her car.

Apparently, she was driving home from a surprise birthday party in her honor back in October when police pulled her over for swerving on the road. When they questioned her regarding a marijuana smell coming from her car, Wells said…now get this…that she had just picked up three hitchhikers who were smoking “something” as she stopped to pick them up (always wise to pick up hitchhikers in groups of three, Mary Ann). Later a friend “confessed” to smoking the pot while in her car. However, it should be noted that Wells also failed a sobriety test when she was arrested.

What would the Professor say?

Juliet (one of my favorite characters) was front and center in this episode, as is our old pal and nemesis, Ben Linus.

We flash back to Juliet’s initial stay with “The Others” on the island. On her first day, she meets Harper, the island therapist. Harper’s less than impressed with Juliet’s “celebrity status” on the island and immediately adopts a hostile tone to Juliet, but is interrupted when Tom (aka Mr. Friendly Beard) escorts Juliet to the new home that Ben has done up for her, complete with the opera classics on CD Ben knows she loves.

Meanwhile, back on the beach, and Jack discovers that Daniel and Charlotte (the Boaties) have taken off into the jungle. Jin did not stop them as Jack had said to everyone that they were ‘friends’. Jack is another of my favorite characters, but boy, does he have trust issues. He expects everyone to tell him everything, but he’s as cryptic as the rest. Jack and Juliet set off into the woods to find them.

While separated from Jack and tracking through the jungle, Juliet hears “the voices” and is all of sudden standing face to face with Harper, her former therapist. She tells Juliet that Daniel and Charlotte are attempting to reach the Tempest, a Dharma station. It appears as though the Tempest contains poison gas and a release system, enough to kill everyone on the island. She says that Ben sent her to find Juliet to stop them. When Juliet asks how this is possible since Ben is a prisoner of Locke, Harper simply states that Ben is exactly where he wants to be right now.

Fast forward, or backward in time. Remember Juliet’s relationship with a man named Goodwin. Well, it turns out ol’ Goodwin is Harper’s husband. And in the flashback, he takes a shine to Juliet, who has found her sessions with Harper inexplicably more hostile. It’s also revealed that Ben has a bit of a crush on Juliet himself, causing Harper to warn Juliet about her relationship with Goodwin. “You belong to him,” Harper hisses.

In the present, Ben plays some more mind games with Locke. He strikes a deal with Locke that if he lets Ben live in a cabin under normal conditions, he’ll tell Locke about the owner of the boat. Locke agrees, and Ben shows him a videotape of Mr. Widmore (Penny’s dad — remember him buying the log book last weekend) beating an Other to a pulp. Ben seems to think that the island represents some kind of miracle attraction to people (making Locke walk, allowing dozens of people to survive a horrific plane crash). He also gives Locke a folder containing everything he knows about Widmore. But Locke wants more. He wants Ben to tell him who his spy is on the ship. Ben agrees, but he warns John that he “might want to sit down for this”. We of course aren’t told this episode.

Remembering back to the plane crash, Ben had sent Goodwin to infiltrate the Tailies camp as a passenger, which eventually leads to his death at the hands of Ana Lucia. Ben even takes Juliet to Goodwin’s body to show her, ending in the ominous warning that Juliet does indeed “belong to him”.

In the present, Juliet and Jack encounter Kate in the jungle, who was knocked out by Charlotte when she encounters them in the woods. She’s suspicious after they tell her they’re going to get extra sat phone batteries that they’d dropped from the helicopter, even though she spots their phone working just fine. After asking to look through Daniel’s duffle bag, she sees 2 gas masks, and is knocked out by Charlotte. When Jack finds, Kate, Juliet says she’s going to get water, but takes off after them instead. She reaches the Tempest, and they are inside in Haz Mat suits and Gas Masks. She points a gun at Daniel and tells him to stop. But Daniel explains that they are actually trying to prevent the gas from being released by Ben. She doesn’t believe him, but is waylaid by Charlotte. Meanwhile a countdown to release begins, with Daniel at the controls feverishly. He stops it with 2 seconds left, and it turns out they were telling the truth. As they leave, they encounter Jack and Kate. Kate is naturally suspicious, and goes with Daniel and Charlotte back inside to check things out. But Jack says he trusts them. He and Juliet share a quiet moment, but Juliet tries to push him away, saying that if Ben found out how she felt about Jack, he’d come after him. Jack says he’s ready for him, and kisses Juliet.

We close out the episode with Hurley and Sawyer playing horseshoes. They then see their arch enemy, Ben Linus, walking calmly to his cabin with fresh linens. He looks over smiles and says “See you at dinner!”

Thoughts: Although this episode was a Juliet flashback, it was really about Ben. The lengths he will go to protect the island and what he feels is his. I actually think in some ways he IS the island, and the two have a symbiotic relationship. Time will tell.

Kinda weird that Juliet would take up with Jack so quickly given how recent everything is. I mean the plane crash is about 90 days old. She lost her boyfriend maybe 2 1/2 months ago. But Jack is her ideal, you knew it was going this way. However, with what we know happens with Jack and Kate in the Oceanic Six future, it would appear that Juliet won’t be in the picture for long.

Next week….we’ll finally learn that Michael is the last of the Oceanic Six and Ben’s spy on board the frieghter….Dunh dunh dunh!!!

This week’s recap will be quick.

Time shifting.

Desmond’s mind is shifting back and forth from the present (2004) and the past (1996), while he was still a member of the Scottish military. This apparently is a side effect from leaving the island and passing through the electromagnetic barrier.

The shock of such a shift often causes people to lose it, and eventually die…as their hold on one reality becomes more untenable.

Desmond is told by the nerdy engineer dude Daniel to find him back in 1996 to help him, as 1996 Daniel tells him that he needs to focus on one thing or person in both timelines, serving as his “constant” or anchor to himself.

Desmond chooses Penny, his old fiancee, and convinces her in 1996 to answer a call from him on Dec. 24, 2004. She does, and he’s found his anchor.

Along the way, he is aided by Sayid and Frank the helicopter pilot, who seems less than thrilled to be working with the “boaties” (a reminder that he is a commercial airlines pilot and was supposed to be piloting Oceanic 815 on that fateful day).

In the end, Desmond makes the call to Penny, and he is cured.

All in all, a bit of a “blah” episode. The time travel was exactly like that of Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek Next Generation’s final TV episode, “All Good things…”, the one difference being that Desmond’s memory in 2004 is wiped until his call with Penny.

One mystery from the episode. At one point, Sayid and Desmond were held capture in the Sick Bay by the boaties, yet suddenly the door is inexplicably unlocked, and they are allowed to escape, heading to the communications room for the call.

Who set them free? Could it be the spy on Ben’s ship?

Yes. But until now, we have not been told who that spy is.

I know. That spy is Michael….


EDIT: One other curious thing that happened. Desmond confronts Penny’s father at an auction house in attempt to find her. Mr. Widmore has just purchased a log book by the first mate of the Black Rock, an 18th century British ship. The contents of the journal are known only to the family of the seller, a Tovard Hanso. That’s right, THAT Tovard Hanso, CEO of the Hanso Corporation and founder of a little thing called the “Dharma Initiative”.

And what about the Black Rock, the ship written about in the log? The ship was found on the island. There is a lot that happened there, chiefly it’s where they found the dynamite to blow the hatch. Check out Lostpedia for lots of fun info on the Black Rock.

Ok, I’ve said in an earlier post that Ben and Aaron were revealed as being part of the Oceanic Six. This has apparently been refuted on a number of different sites. I still maintain that Ben has assumed someone’s identity from the plane, and that Aaron counts?

But let’s posit for a moment that this is correct, just who are the other two???

Let’s go through each of the other “Losties” and discuss their plausibility as O-6 members.

Jin – Distinct possibility, but only if Sun is the other. He’d never leave her (with child or without).

Sun – See “Jin”

Bernard and Rose (older couple) – Not likely. Although she has said she’d gladly leave the island and risk the return of her cancer, Bernie would probably never allow it in order to keep his wife alive.

Sawyer – Not a chance in hell. He is starting to see this island as his chance to start over. No matter that his some time bed buddy Kate is one of the six, Sawyer ain’t goin’ anywhere.

Locke – Another zero possibility. Locke is “tied to the island”. It cured him of his paralysis, and he wants to discover its secrets and protect it above all else.

Claire – VERY low possibility. Especially considering Kate is now mother to her son. That would imply that she decided to stay or is more likely dead.

Michael – HIGH probability. They’ve been putting the actor’s name (Harold Perrineau) in the credits for months now, so it’s safe to assume that the first island leaver becomes one of the O-6.

Walt (Michael’s son) – Some possibility, but not as much as Michael’s. While Walt left with Michael on the boat, he has been seen on the island by Locke while hunting for Jacob’s cabin. Most “hallucinations” turn out to be real at least in part, so Walt may somehow have made it back to old Dharmaland.

Vincent (Walt’s dog) – DARK HORSE possibility. It would be just like the writers on Lost to throw the dog in as one of the six. As Ben is posing as a vet, might he be watching Vincent? Just what does Vincent know? It’s a real long shot, but a definitely distinct plot twist they might try.

UNNAMED LOST MEMBER? – Why not? We’ve got two and a half more seasons to explore other characters. Who’s to say we just haven’t been formally introduced yet?

What do YOU think????

Variety magazine is reporting that director Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Supremacy”) and star Matt Damon have committed to a fourth movie based on the reluctant superspy Jason Bourne.

The Bourne movies have been OUTSTANDING, the third in particular.

Now many have been reluctant to go with more films, notably Damon himself, as Bourne author Robert Ludlum only published three books. However, the films vastly differed from the novels and were still wildly successful.

In my opinion, “The Bourne Supremacy” was the best picture I saw last year, hands down. Here’s hoping they keep Bourne alive and kicking.

At Wondercon, a comic book and fantasy film convention, the first 10 episode titles of Season 4 were revealed.

They are:

1. “He That Believeth in Me” by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson
2. “Six of One” by Michael Angeli
3. “The Ties That Bind” by Michael Taylor
4. “Escape Velocity” by Jane Espenson
5. “The Road Less Travelled ” by Mark Verheiden
6. “Faith” by Seamus Kevin Fahey
7. “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner” by Michael Angeli
8. “Sine Qua Non” by Michael Taylor
9. “The Hub” by Jane Espenson
10. “Revelations” by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle

There also have been a bunch of mini spoilers, which I shall not divulge here.

BSG blasts off for its last season April 4 on the Sci Fi Channel.