Hong Kong director Kirk Wong will be ending a ten year retirement in order to direct the martial arts action flick Six. Wong is perhaps best known for directing 1996’s Crime Story, one of Jackie Chan’s best films. He has also directed the 1998 action comedy The Big Hit starring Mark Wahlberg.
[F]ollows a mad scientist who fuses human and animal genes to create fierce fighters. A group of five must join together when another of their kind sets out to hunt them down and harness their powers. The project also has elements of romance and Manga.
OK. That sounds a bit nuts but in a fun way.
There is no cast in place yet, but producers are looking at a mix of Asian and American actors for the film. Production is hoped to start in November with location shooting in Louisiana and China.
Billy Bob Thorton may be getting close to putting on that Santa suit again. Hot Tub Time Machine director Steve Pink is reportedly in early talks to rewrite and direct Dimension Films’ Bad Santa 2. Previously, Johnny Rosenthal, whose action comedy script Iron Jack made it onto the Black List a few years back, had turned in a draft for the project.
In addition to directing Hot Tub Time Machine, Pink also served as co-writer on the John Cusack films Grosse Point Blank and High Fidelity.
Dimension is supposedly looking at a December 2013 release for the film, so I would expect production to start up early next year.
Does Jon Chu have the power of Grayskull? Sony Pictures seem to think so and have entered into negotiations with the director to have him take charge of their long in development Masters Of The Universe based on the popular Mattel toy line.
This would be Chu’s second toy adaption with the Step Up director having helmed GI Joe: Retaliation for Paramount. That film was pushed by the studio from its summer release to next March to accommodate a post-production 3D conversion.
Mattel has been trying to get a live action Masters Of The Universe film off the ground for a number of years. Initially, the toy maker was teamed with Warner Brothers with Justin Marks turned in a draft entitled Grayskull: Masters Of The Universe in 2008. Mattel took the project to Sony in 2010 with the writing team of Alex Litvak and Mike Finch, who worked on The Three Musketeers and Five Against A Bullet, having done the most recent script work.
Can we all agree that the 1987 live action film with Dolf Lundgren never happened? Thanks.
We’ve had a teaser trailer and a television commercial, and now here is the first two full-on trailers for the upcoming James Bond adventure Skyfall.
At first glance, it seems as if this third film of the Daniel Craig-starring rebooted franchise is bringing in some more elements from the previous five decades worth of films. We get to see Bond’s first meeting with the British Secret Service’s quartermaster, codenamed Q, this time being played by Ben Whishaw. But more intriguingly, the trailer reveals a plot point that is definitely lifted from one of Sean Connery’s Bond adventures. The trailer also provides our first good look at a bleach-blond Javier Bardem as the film’s villain, Silva.
What I find interesting in the two trailers – one for US audiences and an international trailer – is the way that they use much of the same footage but have different modes established at the beginning.
Skyfall opens in the US on November 9, though the lucky British get it on October 26.
When Marvel Studios screened some test footage shot by director Edgar Wright for an adaption of the superhero Ant-Man at the San Diego Comic Con a few weeks back, it was the first visible movement we had seen on the project in some time. And since then there has been speculation as to when the film might actually take the next step and get into active production.
There is now a new report floating around that Ant-Man will go before cameras early next year in the same London studio that is currently hosting Marvel’s Thor sequel, Thor: The Dark World, shooting. This would certainly allow the film to be released in 2014, a timeframe that Marvel’s co-president Louis D’Esposito has already hinted at.
This certainly lines up with what we know about director Wright’s current workload. He is now in the process of prepping The World’s End, his third comedy collaboration with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. That should begin shooting sometime in the four or five weeks. That would place production concurrent with Dark World. Furthermore, Pegg has tweeted that Wright would move on to Ant-Man after World’s End.
Now it should be noted that the original source for this story is Latino Review, who usually have a good track record with stories out of Marvel Studios. However, Latino Review recently was on the receiving end of a letter from Marvel politely threatening them to give up the name of the source for their scoops. Latino Review rightly refused to do so. I would suggest that there is a remote possibility that Marvel internally floated the Ant-Man shooting date to a small number of people in the hopes that Latino Review’s source would inadvertently reveal him or herself. As you know, the best way to disguise a lie is to cloak it in the truth. I’m not saying that this is probably the case with this news, but it is something to keep in the back of one’s mind until we get some independent collaboration.
Tony Martin, one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age of musicals, has died this past Friday, July 27, of natural causes at his West Los Angeles home it was announced today. He was 98.
Martin is perhaps best remembered for his role as the charming thief Pepe Le Moko who was at odds with Peter Lorre’s inspector Slimane in 1948′s Casbah. Although he had previously appeared in a number of films, it was his turn here that catapulted his career into stardom and his performance of the song “For Every Man There’s a Woman” in that film earned it a Best Original Song Academy Award nomination.
Brought to Hollywood in 1934 after MGM studio chief Louis B Mayer heard him performing on a San Fransisco radio show, Martin’s early career saw him being featured in such films as the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical Follow The Fleet, Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, Kentucky Moonshine, alongside the Ritz Brothers and Sally, Irene And Mary opposite Alice Faye, who would go on to be Martin’s first wife. He would marry his second wife, dancer and actress Cyd Charisse in 1948 and they would stay married until her death in 2008.
When audience demand for musicals began to wane on the 1960s, Martin went in to a successful recording and cabaret performance career.
Those who have travelled with me know that I like to work in visits to real world movie and television filming locations onto the itinerary. And such side trips have taken me from places like Cincinnati’s Fountain Square as seen in the opening to the classic sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati to the Tribecca firehouse that serves as the headquarters of the Ghostbusters.
The blog ScoutingNY has not only been a wonderful site highlighting the great and stunning architecture that Manhattan and its environs have to offer, but it has also been a great resource for finding sites that have previously been used in various films. The past two weeks, the blog has been taking a tour of New York City’s five boroughs, tracking down the locations of Woody Allen’s quintessential romantic comedy about New York, Annie Hall in which he starred with Diane Keaton.
Allen is well known for his use of the city as his own personal backlot, and this two part article is a great trip back in time to how the city looked in the 1970s. As location shooting traps sites in cinematic amber, this trip highlights the contrasts the changes three-and-a-half decades has brought. We can see where neighborhood movie theaters and Cooney island roller coasters have disappeared. Changes run from the cosmetic updates to the Central Park Zoo to a bookseller that now houses a Prada store. Perhaps more amazing is how some of the little things like street blocks, store fronts and even park benches have remained same.
It’s a fascinating read if you’re a Woody Allen fan or just planning on a trip to Manhattan and want to see some sites that aren’t your usual tourist destinations.
Update: Jump to the bottom for possible third film subtitles.
Confirming rumors from last week, Peter Jackson has announced that his two film adaption of J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit will be expanding to three films.
Here’s Jacckson’s announcement from his Facebook page-
It is only at the end of a shoot that you finally get the chance to sit down and have a look at the film you have made. Recently Fran, Phil and I did just this when we watched for the first time an early cut of the first movie – and a large chunk of the second. We were really pleased with the way the story was coming together, in particular, the strength of the characters and the cast who have brought them to life. All of which gave rise to a simple question: do we take this chance to tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as the filmmakers, and as fans, was an unreserved ‘yes.’
We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance. The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.
So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of “The Hobbit” films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three.
It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, “a tale that grew in the telling.”
The first two films are already scheduled for this December and December 2013. The third film will follow in the summer of 2014.
As I noted last week, this will be an enormous undertaking for Jackson and his crew and not just in terms of the additional shooting that will need to be done in order to expand the films. It is also going to involve a massive resturucturing of the story from essential a two act structure to a three act one. I have my reservations about this but given Jackson’s success at the herculean task of adapting Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings, I am inclined to trust him on this.
Update: Slash Film is reporting that recently domain names were registered by the same company that appears to be managing the website for the upcoming movie New Line Cinema that suggest that the third film’s could either be The Desolation of Smaug or Riddles in the Dark. Currently the first film is subtitled An Unexpected Journey and the second titled There And Back Again. however, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson drops the second title and names the second film Riddles In The Dark and the third The Desolation Of Smaug. This would also definitely give us a clue as to how he is restructuring the films.
Fortunately, Bond’s second appearance, in the form of a new commercial for the upcoming Bond cinematic adventure Skyfall. This new 30-second clip features some more action beats as shot by the Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins under the direction of Sam Mendes than we got to see in the initial teaser trailer released back in May.
The film is due to be released internationally on October 26 and in the US on November 9.
In a multi-part series, Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes will be tracing the history of comic book movies from the earliest days of the film serials to today’s big blockbusters and beyond. Along with the history lesson, Bill will be covering some of the most prominent comic book films over the years and why they were so special. This time, we bring our four week “vacation” overseas to an end with the most notable comic film franchises Japan has to offer.
Before we start this final installment, a caveat—we won’t be covering every film franchise based on manga here. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the genre, and the prevalence of adapting manga into anime, there are a lot of series to cover if I wanted to cover them all. And since I want to end this History of the Comic Book film series before I die, choices needed to be made. I have decided to focus on live-action franchises that have had some effect on the West. This means no One Piece, no Yu-Gi-Oh!, no Naruto, no BLEACH, not even Dragon Ball and that one had a live action version to go along with its animated ones.
Our first entry is the Lone Wolf and Cub series. Created by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojimain 1970, the influential manga focuses on a disgraced 17th Century Japanese warrior by the name of Ogami Ittō who travels the land with his infant son, Ogami Daigorō, seeking to avenge his murdered wife and his lost honor. The 28-volume manga influenced American creators such as Frank Miller and Max Alan Collins, whose Road to Perdition was greatly influenced by the work (we’ll be talking about the Road to Perdition film in the future).
WARNING: The trailers will be in Japanese and not English. I thought seeing them will give you an idea of the look and the feel of the film but don’t expect to understand the dialogue (unless you speak Japanese). You are forewarned! No complaints!
The manga inspired seven live-action films: Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972), Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972), Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972), Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972), Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973), Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974), and Shogun Assassin (1980), although that last one was a recut version of the first two films. Tomisaburo Wakayama starred as Ogami Ittō in all the films.
If you have seen Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series, you will get to understand his appreciation for Japanese films and culture. If you have read the Lady Snowblood manga or saw any of the films that it inspired, you will see how far Tarantino’s affection goes, as Kill Bill borrows numerous themes, characters, and even music from that particular work.
LadySnowblood first appeared in the pages of Weekly Playboy magazine in 1972, written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Kazuo Kamimura. The manga told the story of Lady Snowblood, a woman born for only one thing—vengeance. Oyuki was born in prison to a woman convicted of killing her rapist. The rapist was part of a larger gang of thieves that killed her father and brother. The rest of the gang escaped justice, so Oyuki’s mother seduced a male prison guard to impregnate her, hoping to give birth to a boy who would eventually avenge the death of her family. The mother died giving birth to a girl, Oyuki, and ensured that she would be trained to exact the vengeance she could never have. Once Oyuki came of age, she began working her way through the list of gang members her mother left for her, taking assassination jobs on the side until she was able to complete her mission.
The manga was adapted in 1973 as the film, Lady Snowblood. The film followed the plot of the manga with a few major changes. The vengeance exacted by Lady Snowblood was more vicious, the side assassination jobs lost, and her final fate far more grim that the comic. The film was followed by a sequel in which Lady Snowblood becomes an assassin hired by the government to steal a document from an “enemy of the state.” The film was also reimagined in 2001 as The Princess Blade, which relocated the story to a post-apocalyptic future.
Another manga featuring a young female assassin that was adapted for the big screen was Azumi. Like Lady Snowblood, Azumi was trained from a young age to be a warrior. Unlike, Lady Snowblood, vengeance wasn’t the motivation, but political assassination is. She is called upon to kill warlords and other warriors that threaten to upset the balance of power in Feudal Japan.
The manga was adapted to the screen in 2003 with Azumi, which received a limited U.S. release in 2006.The film was a loose adaptation, but still retained many of the darker elements of the manga (including the final part of her training where she had to kill her best friend in class in combat to “pass”). It was followed by Azumi 2 in 2005.
The final franchise we are going to talk about this week is Death Note. The manga, which was created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata, and ran in Shonen Jump from 2003 to 2006, focuses on a young man who comes across a supernatural notebook that can kill people if their names were written in it while the owner was thinking about what the victim looked like.
The manga inspired three films, Death Note (May 2006), its sequel Death Note: The Last Name (November 2006) and a spin-off L: Change the World (2008). Shane Black has been tapped as the director of an American version of the story.
Next time, we cover that American success story—the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.