Hollywood Ink: Universal Gives Up


· After a year comprising flops (State of Play), disappointments (Funny People), ungodly bombs (Land of the Lost, Green Zone), and conspicuous cancellations (Cartel), Universal has had enough. The beleaguered studio has called in Rowan Atkinson to reprise his role as the bungling title spy in Johnny English 2, the sequel to Uni's 2003 international hit. And by "hit," I mean the first film grossed $160 million globally on a $40 million budget. I know, right? A Rowan Atkinson film cost $40 million to make. Not this time. Can't wait to see how and where this fits in on the studio tram ride. [Variety]

Universal also finds a curious lead for Battleship, the clock is ticking for Aziz Ansari, and more Hollywood Ink after the jump.

· Taylor Kitsch is officially your leading man for Battleship, the Universal-produced, Peter Berg-directed adaptation of the classic game. And according to reports, the Friday Night Lights star will be fighting aliens in the film. So, for the record: Battleship. Taylor Kitsch. Aliens. May 2012. I'll just let that hang there for a while. [LAT]

· Aziz Ansari is in talks to join 30 Minutes or Less, Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland follow-up about a junior-high teacher (played by Ansari) and a pizza-delivery man who must rob a bank after a bomb is strapped to one of them. Danny McBride may play one of the bomb-strapper-onners; negotiations are ongoing. [THR]

· After a succession of stops and starts, Dermot Mulroney has locked in Mandy Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin and Jane Seymour to star in his directorial debut, the romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage. [THR]

· Another day, another Timur Bekmambetov rumor: Now it seems the Wanted director is most interested in Lionsgate's "edgy 3-D thriller" Red Asphalt. [LAT]