By Jenny Priestley
★ The first one's not even out yet, but Marvel has announced a release date for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. James Gunn will return to write and direct the sequel, which is due for release on July 28, 2017. The first film arrives in cinemas in the UK and US this Friday and it absolutely rocks!
★ Marvel's also been busy putting the finishing touches to the forthcoming Ant-Man movie. The film's problems (aka Edgar Wright dropping out) have been well documented. Wright had also been followed off the film by cast members Matt Gerald, Kevin Weismann and Patrick Wilson. However, there is some good news for fans – Evangeline Lilly and Corey Stoll have now joined the cast. Lilly will play Hope Pym, the daughter of Michael Douglas's character, while Stoll has been signed up to play the film's baddie, Yellowjacket.
★ Meanwhile, Edgar Wright is busy lining up two new projects. He's expected to direct Baby Driver for Working Title which is described as "a collision between crime, action, music and sound", which I would say would be right up his street. He's also set to make Grasshopper Jungle, a coming-of-age story that focuses on an Iowa teen who manages to unleash a deadly genetically engineered plague that leads to an army of six-foot-tall praying mantises. He signed on to the project after being approached by the writer on social media.
★ Marvel is launching a new set of Star Wars comics set just after the end of A New Hope. Marvel has taken over the licence for Star Wars comics and plan to launch the new titles in January. The story is set a couple of weeks after the destruction of the Death Star and sees Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 still trying to size one another up.
★ Very exciting news for all Lord of the Rings fans: Peter Jackson has revealed he has yet more footage that he might release in a further-extended version of the story. "There are a few scenes that haven’t been seen from Lord Of The Rings, but not many," he revealed at Comic-Com. "We might try to put them back in. It’s a big logistical thing which haven’t wrapped our heads around. But if there’s enough interest…". Trust me Pete, there's interest!!
★ Jonathan Pryce is among the new members of the Game of Thrones cast. He'll be playing the High Sparrow in season five – fans of the books will know he's a devout and pious man. Other new cast members include Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand, daughter of Prince Oberyn. Castle-Hughes is probably best known for her Oscar-nominated role in the 2003 film Whale Rider.
★ George Clooney and Jodie Foster are teaming up on a new thriller. Foster will direct and Clooney will star in Money Monster. The film follows a TV pundit who is taken hostage live on air by a man who followed his advice on the stock market. The hostage-taker threatens to kill Clooney’s character if the cameras are turned off. Filming is expected to begin in the spring.
★ Michael Caine is to co-star with Vin Diesel in the supernatural action film The Last Witch Hunter. The story follows Diesel’s witch hunter who joins forces with his enemy, a female witch, to stop a plague on humanity unleashed by the covens of New York City. Game of Thrones' Ygritte, Rose Leslie, co-stars.
★ Alan Alda, Amy Ryan and Eve Hewson (aka Bono's daughter) are expected to join the cast of Steven Spielberg's next film. The Cold War thriller will star Tom Hanks as an attorney who finds himself at the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Filming's due to begin in September.
★ Ed Helms, Hilary Swank and Ed Harris are expected to star in a new TV drama from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. One Percent follows a husband and wife struggling to keep their organic farm from going under. Harris is expected to play the family patriarch.
★ Meanwhile, Anthony Hopkins is headed to TV signing on for the pilot of new HBO drama, Westworld. Evan Rachel Wood has also been cast in the drama which is "inspired by" Michael Crichton's story about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin. James Marsden is also in talks to join the cast.
★ Andy Samberg and Kit Harrington are to play rival tennis stars in a new mockumentary. They'll be joined in the comedy by Lena Dunham, Karen Gillan, Michael Sheen, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Mary Steenburgen and June Squibb. Samberg is expected to play a superstar bad boy while Harrington's character will be more "Andy Murray-esque". I can't wait to see it!
★ Denzel Washington and Will Ferrell will be picking up special awards later this summer. Washington is being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's San Sebastián Film Festival. Washington's new film The Equalizer is opening the annual event on September 19. Ferrell is being honoured by the Deauville Film Festival in France for his comedic work. Jessica Chastain and James Cameron are also being feted at the festival, which runs September 5 to 15.
★ Fresh from his guest appearances with the Pythons last weekend, Eddie Izzard will appear at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. He's co-hosting a special gig alongside Dylan Moran which will showcase some of Europe's best comics. Comedy Sans Frontiers will take place at the Pleasance Courtyard on August 5. It's a one night only event so book now if you want to go!
★ The stars of The Inbetweeners will be at the Apple Store on Regent Street this week to promote their forthcoming film. Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas will be at the event on July 31. They'll also walk the red carpet at the world premiere of The Inbetweeners 2 on August 5.
★ Robert Pattinson will also be at the Apple store on August 7 to promote his new film, The Rover.
★ David Duchovny is turning author with the publication of a novel next year. Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale follows Elsie Bovary, a cow who sees a television programme about an industrial meat farm. She joins forces with Jerry, a cranky, Torah-reading pig known as Shalom after his recent conversion to Judaism, and Tom, a turkey who can’t fly but can work an iPhone with his beak. It sounds like a lot of fun! The book will be published in the UK and US in February.