We’ve known for a couple of months that the next film from Quentin Tarantino was going to be a spaghetti western. And we now know what the title for the film is.
Late yesterday afternoon Twitter user AgentTrainee tweeted a picture (since removed) showing Tarantino’s handwritten cover to the just completed script -
Admittedly it sounds a bit dodgy, but Indie Wire’s Anne Thompson was able to confirm the title and that the script had been handed in to the Weinstein Company earlier this week. Thompson also reports that the story will center around a freed slave, Django, who sets out to save his wife from an evil plantation owner. Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds villain Christoph Waltz is set to play Django’s friend who helps him on his quest.
For those versed in spaghetti westerns, Django is the name of the 1966 spaghetti western starring Franco Nero as an enigmatic gunslinger who is tracking down the leader of a group of bandits who murdered his wife. The film was such a hit that it spawned numerous imitators which helped solidify the spaghetti western hero archetype.
There’s an ear-cutting scene that is thought to be the inspiration of the famous ear-cutting scene in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Additionally, Tarantino appeared in Japanese director Takishi Miike’s 2007 film Sukiyaki Western Django, which contained numerous references to the original film.
The advertising for The Hangover Part II has gotten some mileage out of the joke of Ed Helms’s character acquiring a face tattoo similar to the one Mike Tyson has at some point during the cast’s misadventures. It’s also a nice call back to Tyson’s cameo appearance in the first Hangover film.
But not everyone is thrilled with the tattoo joke, most especially S. Victor Whitmill. Whitmill is the original artist responsible for Tyson’s distinctive face tattoo and he has filed a copyright infringement suit federal court in Missouri on Thursday against Hangover Part II‘s studio Warner Brothers.
When Mr. Whitmill created the Original Tattoo, Mr Tyson agreed that Mr. Whitmill would own the artwork and thus, the copyright in the Original Tattoo… Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. — without attempting to contact Mr. Whitmill, obtain his permission, or credit his creation — has copied Mr. Whitmill’s Original Tattoo and placed it on the face of another actor … This unauthorized exploitation of the Original Tattoo constitutes copyright infringement.
The injunction asks that the judge orders the halt of the film’s May 26 release.
Warners hasn’t commented on the suit, but they do have a few possible defenses. They could challenge that the original copyright isn’t valid or that the use of the tattoo is “transformative” as it is part of anew, larger work. They may even try to argue fair use through parody. With Tyson having appeared in the first film they certainly can’t claim that the similarity is a coincidence.
The timing of the suit is a bit suspicious though. Promotional material featuring the tattoo have been out fora few months now. Why just a few weeks before the film’s release does this suddenly pop up? It would cost the studio a large sum if they had to postpone the release of the film. Of course, if Whitmill agrees to a settlement, the amount could possibly be less than what a delay would cost. I’m not saying that Whitmill is definitely trying to shake down Warner Brothers, but the timing doesn’t seem to do him any favors.
David Koepp has become the latest writer to take a crack at the screenplay for Paramount’s revival of their Jack Ryan franchise based on the series of techno-political thrillers from Tom Clancy. Koepp will be replacing Steve Zaillian on the project who was hired but then almost immediately left the project without turning in any work.
Deadline is reporting that Koepp will be getting a seven figure salary to “redraft the script by Adam Cozad.” But if you have followed the comings and goings of screenwriters on the project, you are probably asking yourself, “Which script by Adam Cozad?”
For the uninitiated, Paramount had been looking at reviving the franchise for a while, after it had crashed and burned with the 2002 Ben Affleck-starring installment The Sum Of All Fears. Hossein Amini had delivered a screenplay that the studio seemed to have liked, but they set aside when they bought the 2007 Black List spec script Dubai by Cozad, hiring Cozad to retool it into a Jack Ryan franchise relaunch vehicle.
After Cozad turned in his new draft, now titled Moscow, Anthony Peckham was brought in to do further work on it. Paramount brought Cozad back on board for another run through the script before hiring and then loosing Zaillian.
So which script of Cozad’s will Zaillian be working on? It is doubtful that the studio is backtracking all the way to the original Dubai draft, so that leaves the retooled Moscow or the post-Peckham draft.
It remains to be seen if Koepp will be the one to turn in a draft that the studio likes enough to give the greenlight to director Jack Bender to go ahead and get the film in front of the cameras. But if he is the one get the job done or if the studio has to go through another round of writers, I can only hope that the final project will be as entertaining as the Writers Guild arbitration for screen credits are promising to be.
Cabin In The Woods, one of two projects that had been sitting on a shelf at MGM while the studio went through bankruptcy proceedings last year, will finally be getting released. The studio has sold the film to Lionsgate who will be getting the film into theaters later this year.
This is great news for genre fans, who have been waiting for the release of the movie for some time. The film was directed by Cloverfield scripter Drew Goddard, who co-wrote the screenplay with genre favorite Joss Whedon.
Lionsgate may have quite the coupe on their hands with the film’s acquisition. Included in the cast is Chris Hemsworth, whose career my just take off following the release of Thor next weekend which sees him in the title role.
While no official release date has been set for the film, the best guess is that Lionsgate will look towards releasing it in October. Such a time frame would but the film coming out approximately two years after its originally announced October 23, 2009 release date. As that original release date approached, MGM pulled the film to give it a post-production 3D upgrade. It was during that process that the studio fell on to financial hard times and the release of Cabin In The Woods, as well as their remake of Red Dawn, was placed on hold.
Jeremy Renner is quite the busy boy. Not only is currently shootingThe Avengers, but has an appearance in the next Mission: Impossible film already in the can and has recently signed up for The Bourne Legacy.
In-between all this, he has just started his own production company, and has started development on its first project – a bio-pic of acting legend Steve McQueen.
The proposed film will be based on the two biographies of McQueen written by Marshall Terrill-Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon. James Gray, writer/director of The Yards, is adapting the two books into a screenplay, but is not set to direct the film. Instead, music video and commercials director Ivan Zacharias has been tapped to direct what will be his feature film debut.
Coming out of the New York stage and live television scene of the 1950s, McQueen had his first starring role in the classic 1958 science-fiction film The Blob. His performances in such films as The Great Escape, Bullitt and others made him an icon of cool.
Now I’ll have to admit that I have not yet read either of Terrill’s books on McQueen, but tales of McQueen’s wild personal life are fairly legendary. I have talked to enough people who met him while he was in Phonexville, PA filming The Blob to know that while those stories are very probably true, he was also a pretty nice and good man. It seems to me that McQueen’s wild side is an outgrowth of a certain joie de vie that the actor had. Hopefully, the film will be able to capture that.
1. Fast Five (Universal, 3,643 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I saw the first Fast and the Furious at a drive-in double feature with the first Tomb Raider film with a group of friends. We went to see the later and didn’t think much of the former. We ended up liking Fast and the Furious a lot more than Lara Croft.
I’ll be damned if I remember the plot of that movie, or even if I saw the sequel. But the franchise has gone through quite a few unique changes. It went from losing Vin Diesel to losing all of the original cast to having the original cast reunite once again to, now, the original cast being joined by Dwayne Johnson as a cop chasing the team down.
Not many franchise could survive that much upheaval. I certainly didn’t think this one would. But it stuck through. Good for it. Don’t know if I’d exactly call it the beginning of the summer movie season, but it sure could be.
2. Prom (Disney, 2,730 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated PG): So, it sure took Hollywood long enough. The Prom is a major part of a teen’s life, perhaps the most tangible event that signifies the passage from childhood to adulthood. Being that it has such sentimental value, you’d think some studio would build a film around it much earlier than this.
This film, naturally, revolves around a bunch of teens preparing for and then enjoying their prom. It is chocked full of unknown actors, so it probably only cost $1.50 to make. So it should make its money back.
However, since it is a Disney film, I’d have to imagine that some of the less magical aspects of the prom experience–the projectile vomiting, the loss of virginity, the drunk driving arrests–will probably not make it into this film.
3. Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs Evil (The Weinstein Company, 2,505 Theaters, 85 Minutes, Rated PG): I didn’t see the first Hoodwinked! film, but I’ve heard it described as either a subversive, underrated gem to a abysmal piece of wasted celluloid. But whatever the opinion you might have, the fact that it made back three times its budget pretty much guarantees there will be a sequel.
Red ’s covert training is interrupted when she and the Wolf have to investigate the disappearance of Hansel and Gretel.
Anne Hathaway has bailed as the voice of Red, being replaced by Hayden Panettiere. I don’t know if I’d call that an improvement. But since Anne is of Oscar caliber now, I guess she’s out of the Weinsteins price range for voice work.
4. Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (Omni Lab/Freestyle Releasing, 862 Theaters, 107 Minutes, Rated PG-13): The good part about the latest comic book film trend is that producers have started scouring the lesser known comic companies for properties to develop. This film comes from an Italian comic book which began way back in 1986 and is published in the U.S. by Dark Horse Comics.
This film is a quasi-remake/spin-off of a 1997 Italian Film Cemetery Man starring a then quasi-famous Rupert Everett. The film focuses on a private eye named Dylan Dog who tracks down supernatural creatures in the Louisiana Bayou. Brandon Routh takes off Superman’s cape to add another comic book adaptation to his resume.
Fans of the original comic book attack the film for its lack of faithfulness to the original source material. But since not that many people are familiar with the source material in America to begin with, this might not be a bad thing.
Warners has released a new banner for Green Lantern, this one featuring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan along with several other alien members of the intergalactic police force of Green Lanterns. Click on the picture at the left for a larger version.
When the studio released some footage of the film featuring a large assemblage of Lanterns at the beginning of the month, I commented that as a long time reader of the Green Lantern comics, I could recognize several familiar faces. Going from left to right we have Bodikka, Salaak, Bleez, Stel, Abin Sur, Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Charqwep, Sinestro, R’Amey Holl and G’Hu.
We’re two months away from the release of Michael Bay’s latest strum und drang magnum opus, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, and we really haven’t seen a whole lot of the visual effects work for the film. We know that they are working almost literally around the clock to get things finished for the film’s July 1 premier.
This new trailer released this evening shows a bit of the sequences they’re rushing to complete and, well, my condolences to any of you Chicagoans who love your skyline.
The long search for someone to slip on the famous domino mask of the Lone Ranger may finally be over. While there has been no formal deal offered to the actor, the Hollywood Reporter is stating that actor Armie Hammer has met with the film’s director Gore Verbinski for discussions about the role.
But before we get our hopes up too high, let’s remember that just a few weeks ago Ryan Gosling was reported to have had meetings with Verbinski as well without ever landing the role.
A Lone Ranger film has been in development at Disney for some time. Johnny Depp has been attached to it for most of the life of the project and it was his involvement that secured Verbinski, his original Pirates Of The Caribbean director.
Hammer has been riding the heat off his performance as the Winklevoss twins in last year’s The Social Network. So far this year he’s landed a role in Clint Eastwood’s biopic J Edgar and has been cast as the Prince in Tarsem Singh’s upcoming Brothers Grimm: Snow White.
The Lone Ranger was created for radio back in 1933 by writer Fran Striker. Striker also went on to create a modern day version of the Old west hero in the radio series The Green Hornet. Striker even made the two characters related. Hopefully, this film will be much better than the recent Green Hornet film we were subjected to earlier this year.
Could the biggest Broadway hit of the season be making its way to the silver screen?
It’s possible. In the midst of a story that ran at Deadline over Easter weekend (classy scheduling there) concerning some in-development film projects that might rile up various conservative religious types, it was reported that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have thought about the possibility of bringing their musical The Book Of Mormon to the big screen. Parker and Stone confirmed that while no offers have been forwarded, the duo have discussed the possibility of a film version with the musical’s producer Scott Rudin.
Co-created with Avenue Q‘s Robert Lopez, Book Of Mormon opened this past March to rave reviews (including our own) and packed houses. Of course, much of the press coverage surrounding the show has been centered on the fact that the show does make fun of various aspects of the modern orthodoxy, but neglects to mention that it also is ultimately very respectful of the religion’s practioners.
And while Deadline’s overall piece was slanted towards making the point that studios can be skittish about producing films with overtly religious controversial material, Parker dismissed the notion that Book Of Mormon‘s subject matter would keep Hollywood from knocking on their door.
We’ve learned in our careers that as long as something is successful, they will give you money for it. They just want to make money in Hollywood, they don’t really care. As long as the musical continues to do well, I don’t think it’s going to be hard at all.
I would love to see a big screen adaption of Book Of Mormon, especially if they can get as much as of the original cast to participate as possible. (Josh Gad is a must!) I think the show has enough material in it that can be opened up for a cinematic version. And as subversive as the musical is of certain Broadway tropes, I can easily see Parker, Stone and Lopez being equally so with a movie version.
And, if you’ve seen the show, you just know that the show-stopping production number “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” could only be even cooler when realized on film.