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Film intelligence: The end is nigh

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: the world ends, the road to Cannes begins, and the Avengers get slapped with a hulking clean-up bill.

1. ON THE ROAD to a U.S. Release

It’s been a long road to the silver screen for the movie version of Jack Kerouac’s legendary Beat novel On the Road. GODFATHER director Francis Ford Coppola first bought the rights to the book back in 1978 and now, almost thirty-five years later, the film is finally coming to U.S. theaters, courtesy co-distributors IFC Films and Sundance Selects. This version, which will premiere later this month in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, comes not from Coppola (although he’s still an executive producer) but MOTORCYCLE DIARIES filmmaker Walter Salles. His version stars Sam Riley as Sal Paradise (a.k.a. Jack Kerouac) and Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty (a.k.a. Neal Cassady), along with Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen. If I were a horrible hack, I would say it’s an unbeatable cast. So, yeah, it’s an unbeatable cast. [Los Angeles Times]

2. THE WORLD’S END Comes Soon

Director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s first two films together — the zomb-com SHAUN OF THE DEAD and the Michael Bay action spoof HOT FUZZ — are two of the finest genre satires in movie history. This fall, they’ll go for the trifecta as they team on THE WORLD’S END, the third installment in their so-called “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy,” a reference to a popular British ice cream cone that appears in all three films. WORLD’S END will supposedly follow five childhood friends who reunite for an “epic pub crawl” and realize “the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s.” Sounds like after tackling zombies and action movies, the boys from Spaced are trying their hands at the apocalypse. Given the incredible quality of their first two films, I suspect this one will be anything but a disaster. [Deadline]

3. Are You Experienced (In Copyright Lawsuits)?

Many people are intrigued by the idea of a Jimi Hendrix biopic, particularly one starring musician-slash-actor Andre Benjamin from Outkast in the lead role. The problem, though, is that there’s one small group of people who aren’t intrigued by the idea, and those are the people who actually have a say in this thing: they’re Experience Hendrix LLC, the small company that manages Hendrix’s estate. They announced this week that while they’re not theoretically against the idea of a Jimi biopic (which would have to be called THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE), they have not endorsed this particular one, which, they add, cannot be undertaken without “their full participation.” If you have a burning desire to see Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix, you may need to accept the fact that you’re going to be standing next to that particular fire for a long time to come. [Wall Street Journal]

4. Russell and Cohen Get Unchained from DJANGO

You would think a movie that’s already in production, that opens in something like seven months, would have a locked cast list. You, dear reader, would be wrong. Quentin Tarantino’s hotly anticipated new film DJANGO UNCHAINED, his first since 2009′s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, opens this Christmas, but it just lost two of its stars. Sacha Baron Cohen had been set to play a small role as a man who buys the title character’s wife as a prostitute, but he announced this week that he had to bail on the film to fulfill his promotional responsibilities for THE DICTATOR. Meanwhile, Kurt Russell has dropped out of his much larger role as slave trainer Ace Woody. Russell, who previously appeared in Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF, gave no reason for his departure, but Internet speculation suggests that Russell wasn’t happy with his role, a convincing rumor given the fact that Russell was already a replacement himself, after Kevin Costner was initially cast and then dropped out (maybe he has to go promote THE DICTATOR too?). So far no replacements (for the replacements) have been announced so it’ll be interesting to see who joins the film, and whether they can do it in time to meet the current December release date. [Cinema Blend]

5. The Avengers Are Pricey House Guests

THE AVENGERS grossed more than $200 million last weekend, good enough for the biggest domestic opening of all time. Which is good because if the city of New York ever comes a’calling on the team to pay for the stuff they smashed during their big, city-destroying climax, they’d need a lot more dough than that. According to Kinetic Analysis Corp, a “leading disaster-cost prediction and assessment firm,” if the alien invasion depicted at the end of THE AVENGERS actually took place, the estimated damage between destruction, cleanup, and loss of lives would cost $160 billion. Eesh. Even Tony Stark doesn’t have that kind of money. Avengers assemble: for a serious fundraiser! [The Hollywood Reporter]