With Saoirse Ronan already locked in for Andrew Niccol‘s The Host, the search is on for two handsome young lads to play the male leads. Jake Abel has just been selected for the part of Ian, beating out several competitors including Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines), Thomas McDonnell (Prom), and Augustus Prew (Charlie St. Cloud). Abel, who’s still negotiating his deal, has worked with Ronan once previously on Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones. More recently, he’s also starred in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and I Am Number Four.

Based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, The Host revolves around a woman named Melanie (Ronan) whose body is possessed by an alien parasite named Wanderer. Ian is a human who initially attacks Wanderer, but eventually falls in love with her. The other major mail character, that of Melanie’s boyfriend Jared, is still being cast; Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Jai Courtney (One Shot), and Max Irons (Red Riding Hood) are among the contenders for that part. [Deadline]

After the jump, Taken 2 adds another newcomer and Rose McGowan gets some company in Napa.

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The nominal news here is that Rade Sherbedgia will play the bad guy in Taken 2, which brings Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace back to the action fold under the brand name that made Fox a surprisingly large amount of money in 2009.

But the real news is that, along with that casting announcement, trades have revealed the plot of the film. It isn’t quite what I expected. According to one account, Taken 2 sounds like a full reversal of the original film. I suspect there’s some exaggeration there, but it still isn’t sounding great. Read the details below and see if you agree. Read More »

Along with Fox’s reveal of the name and release date for the fifth, mostly unwanted Die Hard movie, the studio today added a bunch of other films to the calendar for 2012 and 2013. We begin with Olivier Megaton‘s sequel to Taken. The Liam Neeson action movie is currently called Taken 2, and it will open just under a year from now, on October 5, 2012.

The following month is busy for Fox: Curtis Hanson‘s surfing dram about real-life surfer Jay Moriarty, formerly called Mavericks, will co out on October 26 2012 as Of Men and Mavericks. And Parental Guidance, starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, and Marisa Tomei, will open on November 21, 2012.

Then a couple dates have hit for 2013: the second Percy Jackson film, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters will now hit on March 27 2013. And the BBC co-production Walking with Dinosaurs, which brings the popular show and traveling animatronic dinosaur exhibit to screens in 3D, moves up to October 11, 2013, from December 20, 2013. [BoxOfficeMojo]

Two sequel shoot dates have cropped up in the last 24 hours. The first is for Taken 2, which Luc Besson told ComingSoon will shoot in October. Director Olivier Megaton has “everyone back for the sequel,” including Famke Janssen, says Besson. Which means that Taken 2 is going to be about Liam Neeson fighting the reanimated corpses of all the people he killed in the first movie, I suppose. (If one wants to read ComingSoon’s paraphrasing literally.) I’d see that movie.

After the break, we’ve got the possibly bigger news: The Wolverine is now likely to push back to a Spring 2012 start date, to accommodate both Japanese weather and Hugh Jackman‘s schedule making Les Miserables. Read More »

One franchise moves forward and another moves backwards in this edition of Sequel Bits. 20th Century Fox, who released the surprise 2009 hit Taken, has just signed on to distribute its sequel, Taken 2, which will once again star Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace and be directed by Olivier Megaton (Transporter 3, the upcoming Colombiana, whose trailer came out today).

Also Mario Puzo, who not only wrote the novel that was the basis for the The Godfather films, but won Oscars along with Francis Ford Coppola for their screenplays, apparently wrote an unproduced prequel script to the series called The Family Corleone. Instead of making it into a movie though (thank god) it’ll soon be turned into a novel due out in stores next year. Read more about both of these projects after the break. Read More »

Maggie Grace Confirmed for ‘Taken 2′

Briefly: The big drama surrounding Taken 2 was whether or not Liam Neeson would, in fact, return to be a badass former CIA agent whose daughter was once kidnapped. No one has really voiced much thought about the return of Maggie Grace, who played the object of Taken‘s title in the first place. But Deadline now confirms that Ms. Grace has finalized a deal to reprise her role as the daughter of Liam Neeson’s character. How does she fit into the story? Please just let us find out that she is kidnapped again; I want an entire series of these films in which Maggie Grace is kidnapped, leading to a My Dinner With Andre-style final sequel/coda where her character and Jack Bauer’s daughter sit down to vent and angrily tear apart lobsters at a fancy restaurant for 90 minutes.

Olivier Megaton, who has a name that is as badass as Liam Neeson’s character, will direct this sequel. He has already worked with producer Luc Besson more than once, most recently when he directed The Transporter 3. (Remember, too, that Maggie Grace is also in the ‘Taken in space’ movie Lockout, with Guy Pearce.)

Liam Neeson May Leave ‘Taken 2’ [UPDATED]

UPDATE: Moments after publishing this, I saw that Deadline had updated the source story completely changing it. In the original piece below I suspected that the first story published at Deadline was a way to push forward a deal between Liam Neeson and the producers of Taken 2. Whether or not that was the intent, such a thing is now happening. So everything below, ninety minutes after Deadline first reported it, is now a non-issue. The actor and producers have worked things out and a shoot for late this year or early 2012 is now being scheduled. Original article follows.

After Taken proved to be a wild, unexpected hit, it didn’t take long for talk to begin of Taken 2. Liam Neeson has said that he was definitely ready to do the film, and a script has been under way. But now there is a big wrinkle: the actor is reportedly pulling away from the film, which producer and co-writer Luc Besson wants to shoot this year. The actor, meanwhile, wants to take some time off. It could be stalemate, but Luc Besson may just go ahead with the film, with a different actor in the central role. Read More »

Narnia fans know that when Aslan speaks, you listen. And Aslan the lion, voiced by Liam Neeson in the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is currently doing a lot of speaking. Neeson, out promoting his new film, has confirmed that he’ll start shooting a sequel to Clash of the Titans called Wrath of the Titans in March and that, eventually, we’ll see Taken 2. Would you like to know more? Read More »

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