Movie File: ‘Rambo IV,’ Ludacris, Vince Vaughn, ‘Harry Potter’ & More

Sylvester Stallone reveals sequel title; rapper plays elf opposite Vaughn's 'Fred Claus'; Daniel Radcliffe hopes Harry dies.

Get ready to party like it’s 1985 (well, those of you who can remember it), because Rocky Balboa is returning to theaters later this month, and the iconic Sylvester Stallone is hard at work filming a sequel to his other legendary franchise as well. But just don’t try to attach any roman numerals to it. “Right now, it’s called ‘In the Serpent’s Eye,’ ” the action star said, shooting down reports that the return of John Rambo would be called “Pearl of the Cobra.” “And maybe in parentheses ‘Rambo IV.’ ” Whatever Sly decides to call it, it will check in on the disgruntled Vietnam vet after a 20-year absence from civilization as he emerges from seclusion in Thailand to escort Christian missionaries on a humanitarian mission in Burma. “It’s a journey into a war-torn country,” Stallone said of the film, which he will direct. “The Christian missionaries are taken hostage, and it’s Rambo’s fault because he took them there, against his better judgment. … But he’s just like the guide — the people have no idea what he is — but the audience knows. Slowly, he’s being pulled back into this savage instinct that he possesses and that he’s been fighting for years.” Stallone summed up the 2008 movie with this message: “Once a warrior, always a warrior.” …

Rap star-turned-master thespian Chris “Ludacris” Bridges knows that holidays can bring out the worst in families — and he he told MTV Europe he’s learning right now that it can even happen at the North Pole. Ludacris’ next movie is “Fred Claus,” a comedy featuring Vince Vaughn as Santa Claus’ brother. So does the man playing an angry elf consider it a departure from his previous work? “That’s the whole point of acting,” Ludacris said. “You want to stretch your limits, and you don’t know exactly what the right role is until it confronts you when you read it.” So after the Academy Award-winning “Crash,” and now “Claus,” what’s the perfect role for Bridges? “I won’t know what the perfect role is until it’s staring me in the face,” he claimed, laughing. “[But] what could I not say no to? A $20 million check — that’s what I couldn’t say no to!” …

Expecto Patronum! Like Harry repelling Dementors, fans of the young Mr. Potter are going to need all the happy thoughts they can muster after star Daniel Radcliffe told Australia’s “Today Show” that he hopes Harry dies in the series’ final installment. “I’d like to think so, yes. I don’t know if there’s any other way [author J.K. Rowling] could end the series, really,” the 17-year-old actor said in a televised interview, discussing his expectations of Rowling’s upcoming final book. “If she ends it with Harry alive, the calls for more books would just be [enormous].” …

As the Human Torch, “Fantastic Four” star Chris Evans knows all about keeping things hot — but unfortunately he can’t just yell “Flame on!” in his next film, a Danny Boyle-directed psychological thriller called “Sunshine.” “It takes place in the future,” Evans said. “The sun is dying, it’s burning out. And astronauts have to deliver a bomb made up of material from Earth that we shoot into the sun to keep it artificially burning.” Laughing, he added: “Long story short, tragedy ensues.” The up-and-coming actor promised some intelligent sci-fi, doing for the genre what Boyle’s “28 Days Later” did for horror. “It’s going to have layers,” he insisted. “Whatever you think it is on the surface, there’s more intellect to it in the script.” The flick is set for release March 16. …

If you think eating bugs for money is as low as reality TV can get, Eva Mendes said her new film “Live!” will make you think again. “I play an executive hired at a network [that has] to compete with the other networks that are kicking our butts because of the trash they have on TV,” the Latin beauty explained. But after “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor,” what haven’t we seen? “I come up with a way to put Russian roulette on television,” Mendes said of the film’s plot. The “Network”-like film, which Mendes is producing, will be based around a timely message. “We’re dumbing down America [with these shows]. We’re deep into that,” Mendes said. ” ‘Live!’ makes a major statement [about that] that I’m really excited about.” Co-starring Jay Hernandez and Katie Cassidy, the movie is due to hit theaters next year. …

Legendary “Raging Bull” producer Irvin Winkler has denied reports that Michael Douglas will star in his remake of “The Mechanic,” the 1972 action classic starring the late Charles Bronson as a methodical hit man with a suitcase full of weaponry. “We’re starting from scratch,” Winkler said at the mention of Douglas’ name. Adding that “[the original] was a pretty good film,” he insisted that little more than the concept is remaining intact as the script continues along the writing process. …

Oscar winner Helen Hunt has kept a relatively low profile of TV movies and Woody Allen flicks since breaking through around the turn of the century, but now she’s putting the finishing touches on a labor of love that she’s writing, starring in and directing. “It took me a long time to get it made,” she said of the drama “Then She Found Me,” due in theaters at the end of next year. “It’s a story I’ve loved for many years, and I finally got the thing in the can, so I’m cutting it now. … I hope it’s funny and moving.” Based on a novel by writer Elinor Lipman, the plot revolves around a 36-year-old adopted woman who suddenly finds herself overwhelmed by the desire to meet her biological mother. “She’s found by her birth mother, played by Bette Midler, and at the same time is ending a marriage with Matthew Broderick and falling in love with Colin Firth, and that gets all messed up, and everybody goes in the wrong direction. It is a movie about love and betrayal and getting your heart broken and putting it back together.” Very much Hunt’s passion project, the actress insisted that she’s giving this one everything she’s got. “I am really pouring myself into it,” she said. “I really hope everyone comes and sees it.”

Check out everything we’ve got on Ludacris, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and Vince Vaughn.

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