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“X-Men” producer talks “First Class” sequel, delaying “The Wolverine,” and redeeming “Deadpool”

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“X-Men: First Class” hits shelves on DVD and Blu-Ray this weekend, so it’s no surprise that “X-Men” franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner was doing the media rounds to talk up the film’s arrival. Of course, as is the case with these types of press circuits, Donner ended up chatting quite a bit about the other upcoming films featuring Marvel’s famous mutants.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what was said about each film:

With regard to a potential “X-Men: First Class” sequel, Donner told HitFix they hope to bring director Matthew Vaughn back for a follow-up film, despite the first film’s less-than-expected returns at the box office.

The next X-Men film on her plate, however, is “The Wolverine” — a follow-up to the financially successful yet critically panned “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” As has been indicated many times, Donner reiterated that the film will act as a standalone chapter in the franchise and not a traditional sequel.

“[We want] to distinguish it from the other one,” she explained to HitFix when asked about the title. “It’s much more of a standalone [movie].”

Originally expected to begin shooting this fall, “The Wolverine” is now likely to start filming in summer 2012 due to star Hugh Jackman’s busy schedule.

“I’m not sure when we’ll start,” she said. “Maybe summer 2012 we’ll start shooting. It’s based on Hugh’s schedule, frankly. When he’s available, we’ll film. …He’s doing ‘Les Miserables’, and then he has to come and train for us. So it’s all dependent on him.”

Spinning off of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a solo film for Marvel’s mouthy mercenary Deadpool has long been in the works but often the subject of heated online discussion, given the uncertainty that Ryan Reynolds will reprise his role as the character.

“We’re working on getting it ready and presenting some things to the studio,” she indicated, “because we’re gonna give it a little bit of a different look. It’s a different kind of movie. If you know ‘Deadpool’ …it’s true to ‘Deadpool’. So you know, it’ll be violent, and outrageous, and funny, and all that.”

Still, Donner seemed sure that Reynolds will be back in action as Wade “Deadpool” Wilson.

“[We’re doing ‘Deadpool’] with Ryan absolutely,” she told IAmRogue. “Can you see anybody else in it?”

And just in case you’re concerned about the tone the film will take with the fan-favorite character, Donner offered up some comments to TotalFilm that should calm fans’ concerns a bit.

“[H]e was treated totally wrong in the Wolverine film and yes we will redeem him,” she said. “We have a few more things to do and then it’s up to the studio to decide whether we’re going to go forward or not.”

What do you think about Donner’s plans for the X-Men movie universe? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“The Wolverine” start date may get pushed back

“The Wolverine” start date may get pushed back (photo)

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Though the first Wolverine movie, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” received a some…mixed reviews, excitement for a possible sequel has been palpable within 20th Century Fox as well as the fan community since the movie first hit back in 2009. Unfortunately, it looks like everyone is going to have to wait a bit longer for another Wolvey flick.

Deadline is reporting that though production on “The Wolverine” was rumored to begin in Fall of this year, that date was never an official one. The film’s story, which is reported to be heavily influenced by the classic “Wolverine” limited series by comic book legends Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, is set largely in Japan, and due to “weather-related considerations,” it’s questionable whether filming will be able to being before Spring 2012.

The exclusive report also states that filming “might switch to Canada or become a combination of the two countries,” or could even be pushed back until after the film’s star, Hugh Jackman, finishes work on “Les Miserables.” This isn’t the first hiccup in the ongoing saga of “The Wolverine,” as director Darren Aronofsky stepped away from the film back in March, presumably to free up time to make a movie about our favorite naked Biblical drunkard, “Noah.”

A few months later, “The Wolverine” picked up James Mangold as a director, who is best known for his work on “3:10 to Yuma” and “Walk the Line”. Mangold will be directing from a script by Christopher McQuarrie, who has previously written “The Usual Suspects,” “The Way of the Gun” and others.

Are you disappointed to hear about possible delays on “The Wolverine”? Do you think this movie will ever get made? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Marvel’s “The Wolverine” to begin shooting in Vancouver this November

Marvel’s “The Wolverine” to begin shooting in Vancouver this November (photo)

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Attention Canada: Wolverine is heading back to his hometown. You have been warned.

That’s the news according to the Vancouver Sun, which is reporting that Hugh Jackman and the rest of the team responsible for “The Wolverine” will be traveling to Vancouver in November to begin shooting the sequel to “X-Men Origins: The Wolverine.” Filming will reportedly begin November 11 and continue through March 1, 2012.

Far from the first film to shoot in the Canadian city, “The Wolverine” will be filmed in the same studio park where “Twilight” and “Fantastic Four” were shot, as well as the “Supernatural” television series.

The shoot will be a homecoming of sorts for Marvel’s clawed mutant, who originally hails from Canada in the comics. However, the new film will follow Logan on a journey to Japan, where he’ll fall in love, battle samurai, and learn important lessons about honor and controlling the beast that rages inside of him.

Written by Christopher McQuarrie, the screenplay for “The Wolverine” is based on an arc of the comic book series created by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont in the mid-1990s. James Mangold is expected to direct the film, though there’s been no official confirmation of his involvement thus far.

“The Wolverine” has no release date at this point.

Are you looking forward to “The Wolverine”? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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