Deals & Rumors Report: NINJA TURTLES and IRON MAN 3

TMNT Iron Man 3

TMNT Gets a title?

It appears Michael Bay has set off yet another fiery explosion, but this time it's not of the incendiary type. Fans of the '80s inspired comic-book-to-TV-to-movie series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became incensed last week when word got out that the braintrust (led by producer Michael Bay) behind a live-action reboot of the franchise was going for a tweak of the reptilian story by changing the origin of the creatures from the swampy sewers to outer space. Looks like the ninja turtles will be of an alien race in the reboot. Here's Bay's comment about the change of the traditional origin of the characters: "These turtles [in the reboot] are from anĀ alien race, and they're going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable."

The filmmaker's follow-up did little to assuage the torch-bearing masses, but that likely had more to do with Bay's tone than the actual content of his message:

"Fans need to take a breath, and chill. They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world."

Flash-forward to this week where there's been yet another bombshell dropped. Bleeding Cool is reporting that the new working title for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot project is Ninja Turtles. While it's not readily evident whether or not the ninjas on the half-shell will even be teenagers, what has become crystal clear is that major changes are afoot, and that most TMNT aficionados aren't going to go down without swinging. Stay tuned!

Casting Call Confirms Black Widow for Iron Man 3?

Shortly after The Avengers swarms theaters this May, production will begin on Iron Man 3 with main star castings taking place in Los Angeles. But a brief observance in the recent casting announcement for the film, spotted over at The Daily Blam, draws special attention to something long on rumor and speculation. It appears that Scarlett Johansson will return as villainess Black Widow in the next Iron Man installment despite swirling back-fence talk that the communist will meet her demise in this summer's The Avengers. Word of caution though: these casting calls are often written with great lengths taken to avoid spoiling anything about the film, so the mention of ScoJo's return could be a major deflection. Having said that though, if I were a betting man, I'd put money on the return of Black Widow.

Below is an excerpt from the casting call:

Principal actor auditions and extras casting registration is underway for the Walt Disney Studios/Marvel Studios superhero feature film "Iron Man 3". Shooting will take place in the Wilmington, NC area and other locations in North Carolina from May 21, 2012 through September 7, 2012. The film's main stars are being cast out of Los Angeles, however many supporting and day player acting roles will be cast in North Carolina. All of the extras, photo-doubles and stand-ins for the films stars will be cast in North Carolina. The production will create 550 "high-quality, well-paying jobs" and 1,000 talent opportunities in N.C.

Two-time Academy Award nominated Robert Downey Jr. will reprise his roles as as Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a powered exoskeleton and becomes the technologically advanced superhero, Iron Man. Scarlett Johansson will return from "Iron Man 2" playing Natasha Romanoff aka "The Black Widow", and Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark's closest friend, love interest, and business partner Pepper Potts. Don Cheadle, who replaced Terrence Howard after the first "Iron Man", returns as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes - Stark's personal pilot, chief aviation engineer for Stark International, and one of Stark's closest friends.

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