This week:

A Resident Evil actress joins Transformers 4; Wolverine: Origin is coming to DVD in July; Sean Penn is in talks for Inherent Vice; an alternate scene kept Star Trek 2‘s villain secret; Peter Jackson teases the final days of Hobbit filming; and The Weinstein Company buys the rights to distribute two Keanu Reeves films.

Li Bingbing has joined the cast of Transformers 4.

According to China Movie Channel, one of Transformer 4‘s producers, Bingbing is the first of what should be several Chinese-born actors to join the production. Although she has starred in dozens of Chinese productions, most moviegoers here in the States will recognize her as fan-favorite character Ada Wong from Resident Evil: Retribution.

Paramount Pictures is making a strong play for the Chinese market by promising to set part of the film in China, to use numerous Chinese-born actors, and to shoot there as well. That way, the studio can circumvent the Chinese import quota that takes part of a foreign production’s box office earnings. Basically it’s a way to make more money while increasing interest from a growing foreign market.

Transformers 4 will hit theaters June 27, 2014.

Source: m1905 (via THR)

Before fans witness the iconic character’s next chapter in The Wolverine, they will have the opportunity to see Logan’s early days in the animated feature Wolverine: Origin.

Not to be confused with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this Marvel Knights Animation production is an origin story that is in no way connected with the FOX franchise. This particular home video release purports to follow James Howlett before Weapon-X and before the bar room brawls.

The story for Wolverine: Origin was written by Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins, and Bill Jemas, and the film features artwork by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Wolverine is the best there is at what he does – although of course, what he does isn’t very nice. But long before he was a member of the X-Men, a tormented experiment of the Weapon-X project, or even a savage bar brawler known as Logan – he was simply a young boy.

What incredible forces created this man, the world’s greatest killing machine? For years, Wolverine has searched desperately for answers from his past, from the wilds of the Canadian Wilderness to the teeming cities of Japan and beyond. And despite his perseverance and longing for the truth, he remains an enigma to himself and those around him. But, in this landmark event, Marvel reveals all: the birth and childhood of young James Howlett…the intriguing secrets of his family history…and the tragedy that changed everything.

Wolverine: Origin will be available on DVD July 9th.

Source: Marvelous News

Sean Penn is reportedly in talks to join Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, which is an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel.

If cast, Penn will join an ensemble that already includes Joaquin Phoenix as P.I. Doc Sportello, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, and Reese Witherspoon. It’s unclear which part Anderson wants Penn to play, and it’s hard to speculate given the novel’s eclectic and numerous cast of characters. In other words, Penn could work in several roles.

Even though the film allegedly started shooting this month, casting announcements continue to come fast and furious. It’s certainly a change of pace for a PT Anderson project, which usually take several years to get going.

Source: C&RV

By now, most fans know the true identity of Star Trek Into Darkness‘ villain, as played by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Although it wasn’t exactly the best-kept secret in movies, it was a secret that J.J. Abrams and his crew took concerted efforts to preserve nonetheless.

How did they go about doing so? Well, as it turns out, Abrams altered a crucial detail when showing off an action-packed scene to the press.

The scene in question features Kirk and Cumberbatch’s character hurtling through space wreckage (if you’ve seen it you’ll know the one). In the press version, Cumberbatch was identified on an Enterprise screen as “Harrison,” and several characters even call out that name. In the finished film, however, Cumberbatch is identified by a different name.

Trek co-writer Damon Lindelof explains the challenges inherent in such a large-scale feat of deception:

“[Producer] Bryan Burk was the one who first proposed that we use the space jump sequence as a way of getting folks excited for the movie. The challenge was obvious [because] this is AFTER the reveal. Therefore, J.J. and post production supervisor Ben Rosenblatt executed a “Harrison Cut” to preserve the secret.  I’d rather not get into the details of how this was accomplished, suffice to say it wasn’t easy. It was, however, worth it.”

So, while Abrams and his crew thought the action-packed scene would play well with the press, they still had a secret to preserve. Oh, the insane lengths some filmmakers will go to keep audiences in the dark.

Source: /film

Peter Jackson has released an image teasing the final days of shooting on films 2 and 3 of The Hobbit trilogy.

The on-set photo features Jackson and Ian McKellen – who is in full Gandalf garb – hanging out on set. The image might seem inconsequential given the numerous updates and behind-the-scenes videos Jackson has released, but this one is pretty special. That’s because it marks the beginning of the end for Jackson and his crew – the final days of shooting on anything Tolkien related.

Granted, there are still two more Hobbit films – The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back and Again – slated for release in 2013 and 2014, but after these pick-ups all that will be left is post-production work (editing, effects, score, etc.).

Source: Peter Jackson – Facebook

The Weinstein Company has picked up distribution rights for two Keanu Reeves films: The Man of Tai Chi and Passengers.

The Man of Tai Chi is Reeves’ directorial debut, and is currently in post-production. The film features Tiger Hu Chen (Reeves’ trainer on The Matrix films) as a martial artist who uses Tai Chi to earn money in underground fight clubs.

Passengers, on the other hand, is still in the early stages of pre-production. Reese Witherspoon was just recently cast as the female lead in the sci-fi film, which was written by Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts. The film’s story centers on a space traveler who finds himself awoken ahead of schedule while traveling to a distant colony. In order to keep sane (or maybe just for company), Reeves’ character wakes up a fellow female traveler (Witherspoon).

Source: ComingSoon