Screen Talk: Up, up and away!

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The Independent Culture

The Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel is putting the finishing touches to an impressive cast ahead of the start-of-shoot in the autumn this year.

And to be in it, some are giving up a lot. Christopher Meloni is joining the movie after exiting popular US show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit after 12 seasons. Meloni adds his name to a cast that will also see Julia Ormond (above left) joining to play Superman's Kryptonian mother. Brit Henry Cavill plays Superman and Clark Kent. Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams and Antje Traue round out the cast. The cast is readying to film in Vancouver, Chicago and part of California later this year.

Director action

Oscar-winning directors Taylor Hackford (for short live-action film Teenage Father) and Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) have both been re-elected to posts at the Directors Guild of America. It's a serious business being voted in to look out for the interests of movie-makers in Hollywood. Hackford (above centre) has been re-elected for a further two-year term as president while Soderbergh finds himself re-elected as national vice president. It means when the DGA finds itself at the bargaining table, on the set or in Washington, DC among the political policy makers canvassing for film-makers, someone will be clutching an Oscar to bring more gravitas to the point of view.

Hot wheels

There really isn't anything quite like box-office success to move Hollywood studio interests. Which is why plans for Fast & Furious 6 already include a release proposed release date in June 2013. Universal set the date for the US opening after Fast Five parked the biggest opening weekend in Universal Pictures history, and will soon roar past $600m at the worldwide box office. So it's already established that FF6 will reunite cast members from previous editions with director Justin Lin. The wording means it is not a certainty Vin Diesel (above right) and Paul Walker will be buckling up.

Stream it and see

Hulu, the US web-based video streaming company, is busy shoring up its content suppliers to ensure movies and television shows people are willing to pay for are available on its subscription site. The site, whose stakeholders include Disney, Fox Entertainment Group and NBCUniversal, recently struck deals with the trio for premium content to flow. It's good news for Hulu, which is testing the waters after it received an unsolicited offer for its business. Yahoo and others are reportedly interested in purchasing Hulu, and some experts expect the bidding to approach $3bn, though not without commitments from Disney, News Corp. and NBCU to supply content for several years out. The sums are big enough to secure Hollywood interest: Hulu is on track to post $500m in revenue this year through ads and premium subscribers, which should reach one million by the end of 2011.

Drug deals

Plans are taking shape to bring the story of the Black Mafia Family, the Detroit-based drug-trafficking empire created by Demetrius "Big Meech" Flenory, who entered the hip-hop music scene through BMF Entertainment, to the big screen. The producing team behind the Tupac Shakur biopic, which starts production later this year, aims to tackle the story. Along with his brother Terry Flenory, Meech ran a $270m cocaine-dealing empire. They employed an estimated 500 employees, and based operations out of Atlanta and Los Angeles. In the 2000s the Black Mafia Family tried to legitimise their business by entering the hip-hop scene with BMF Entertainment. In 2008, the Flenory brothers were sentenced to 30 years each in prison. A script is being written now and will be out before them. Program Pictures and Morgan Creek Productions are joining forces on the project.