Quick News – January 5, 2011

“127 Hours” star James Franco wants to direct feature film versions of the classic novels “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying”. High hopes? Well, in an effort to try and secure the former, Franco filmed a teaser, featuring such actors as Mark Pellegrino, Scott Glenn and Luke Perry, and presented it to the producer – who loved it. ”We made that as a way to convince Scott Rudin to give us the rights”, Franco tells EW. “It was like, why should he give it to me when Ridley Scott didn’t make it? So I called him up and said, ‘I’m planning on doing this. You don’t have to give me any money, I can finance this shoot. Would you just wait? Don’t do anything with it until I show this to you.’ And I showed it to him and he loved it.”

The first cast photo from the long-delayed “Red Dawn” remake (starring Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Edwin Hodge, Connor Cruise, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), is up here. Don’t get too excited though, the film’s still without a release date.

Filmmaker Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”, “Constantine”) is in talks to direct a feature film version of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling new book ”Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”. Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”) is in talks to write the script.

It would seem Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) is the favourite to direct the 3D “Cleopatra” movie starring Angelina Jolie, while McG (“Terminator Salvation”) is the frontrunner to direct “Ouija”, a Universal Pictures flick based on the Hasbro Board Game.

Fox 2000 are turning bestselling crime book “The Monster of Florence” into a star vehicle for George Clooney. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander are aboard to write the script, which tells of an author and journalist who set out to solve a 30 year-old murder.

Gemma Arterton (“Tamara Drewe”, “Clash of the Titans”) has been cast as ‘Gretel’ in ”Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” opposite Jeremy Renner. In the film, Renner plays a bounty hunter who brings down witches. Hope the film makes more than breadcrumbs.

There’s more set pics of Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg on the Canadian set of “Mission : Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Set here.

January Jones (“Mad Men”) is speaking a little about her role as Mystique in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men : First Class”. “When I heard that this installment of ‘X-Men’ was gonna take place in the ’60s I was like, ‘Oh my God, you must be kidding me!’” Jones said. “But I read the script and familiarized myself with the character of Emma Frost. She’s so, so far from Betty and from ‘Mad Men,’ and it takes place in that time but it doesn’t feel like a period movie.”

Frank Miller says the “300″ prequel “Xerxes” (which though only a comic for the time being will likely end up becoming a film) “begins 10 years before 300 and the story starts with the Battle of Marathon, which was killer to draw, by the way, even if it was a lot of work. The lead character is Themistocles, who became warlord of Greece and built their navy. The story is very different than 300 in that it involves Xerxes’ search for godhood. The existence of gods are presupposed in this story and the idea is that he well on his way to godhood by the end of the story”.

The “Star Wars” Blu-ray sets look to be announced this week at this year’s Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas.

Is this top-secret J.J Abrams’ “Super 8″ project now titled “Darlings”?! Or is it just the new title for select territories? Whatever the case… What the heck!!?

Finally, for those of you with ‘Bieber Fever’, Paramount has provided us with the first clip from the upcoming “Justin Bieber : Never Say Never”.