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Director Round-Up: Ratner on Conan, Johnston on Captain America

Today's Round-Up is a mixed bag. Sometimes you reach in and pull out a nugget of gold, and sometimes you pull out a cow pie. Sometimes you end up with a little of both. Let's just start with what is potentially the biggest pile to come out of the bag: Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 3, X-Men: The Last Stand) is close to signing a deal to direct the half-anticipated, half-dreaded Conan update. On the plus side, the writers reportedly looked to Robert E. Howard's original pulp stories of the 1930s to create their version of the sword-wielding barbarian. On the minus side for Ratner detractors, they're now "doing a quick polish" to work in some of the would-be director's ideas. What those ideas might be is left to your imagination. Perhaps Ratner will work all the crap out of his system on Beverly Hills Cop 4, which he's likely to complete before starting any other project.

On a more positive front, Marvel Studio's First Avenger: Captain America is closer to becoming a reality now that Joe Johnston has signed on to direct. "Joe Who?" some may be asking. While not a household name like, say, a Scorsese or a Spielberg, Johnston has a few projects under his belt that seem to make him a good match for the World War II-set movie. Having recreated the 1930s in The Rocketeer and the 1950s in October Sky, Johnston has an eye for the retro look of both fictional and realistic Americana. Marvel Studios seems to have confidence in him, and they've been picking good directors for recent hits like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Of course, much depends on the writer, who hasn't been chosen at this point, although Marvel reportedly expects to hire one soon. [May we absolutely not recommend Brett Ratner? - Zach]

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