Posted on 24 March 2013 by Rich Drees
In 1983 director Alex Cox took out an option of the science-fiction novel Bill, The Galactic Hero, author Harry Harrison’s reaction to what he saw as the fascist tone of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but he was never able pull the funding together for the project. Perhaps inspired by the reaction that the Veronica Mars feature film Kickstarter campaign received, the director has turned to the crowdsource funding website to raise the funds to shoot the project as a low-budget, black and white feature primarily on the campus of the University of Colorado where he is currently teaching screenwriting and production.
Cox states in the video below that the crew would primarily be composed of his filmmaking students, though it would be padded out with the likes of special effects expert Phil Tippet (who won an Oscar for Jurassic Park and ironically was nominated for his visual effects work on Paul Verhooven’s adaptation of Starship Troopers), sound designer Richard Beggs (Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban) and cinematographer Tom Richmond (Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist and Cox’s Straight To Hell). On the project’s Kickstarter page, Cox goes into further detail as to how the University of Colorado’s facilities will be used, including mention of how the film’s opening and closing segments will be animated by the school’s anime department.
As I wrote this, Cox has already earned pledges that total just shy of 20% of his goal, though he only launched the campaign two days ago. I’ve enjoyed Cox’s past work and have always saw him as a talented filmmaker who never seemed to quite get the break or acclaim that he really deserved.
Posted on 24 March 2013 by Rich Drees
I am not sure who is more excited about the prospect of J. J. Abrams directing the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII – fans of the ionic film franchise or Abrams himself.
At least that’s the feeling I have after reading some comments from the director in the latest issue of Britain’s Empire magazine. Abrams is currently starting to do the press for his upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness due out this summer, and it is a sure bet that journalists will be peppering him with questions about what he will be doing over the next few years in a galaxy far, far away. But it turns out that Abrams himself isn’t quite sure yet and admitted as much when Empire asked him about how he is approaching the project.
I don’t know because we’re just getting started. So it’s a great question that I hope I’ll have a good answer to when I know what the answer is. There are infinitely more questions than answers right now, but to me, they’re not that dissimilar. Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ‘Ooh, that’s really exciting.’ And even though I was never a Star Trek fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think ‘that’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that.
How we were going to get there, what the choices were going to be, who was going to be in it – all of those things I knew would have to be figured out, but it was all based on a foundation of this indescribable, guttural passion for something that could be. It’s a similar feeling that I have with Star Wars. I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.
Abrams also addressed how he came to change his mind about taking on Episode VII after first publicly stating that he didn’t want to take on the film.
My knee-jerk reaction was that I’m in the middle of working on the Star Trek movie and I can’t even consider it. But then time went by and I got further along working on the movie and getting to a place where I had done most of the heavy lifting. So when I met with Kathy Kennedy we just started discussing it and I was able to actually engage in the conversation. I went down to tell Katie, my wife and I said ‘I had just a very interesting conversation with Kathy.’ That was the beginning.
I will say that Steven [Spielberg] was very encouraging of Star Wars. It’s funny because I talked to him about it and it turned out he knew all about what was going on.
Currently, Star Wars: Episode VII has been targeted for a 2015 release, though in the past Abrams has expressed some concern about meeting that deadline.
Posted on 15 March 2013 by Rich Drees
To the winner goes the spoils, or so the old saying goes. And I guess that’s true for this next story. Ang Lee, who beat out Steven Spielberg last month to win the Best Director Academy Award, may be stepping into to helm Warner Bros.’ Moses biopic Gods And Kings following Spielberg’s recent departure from the project. The studio has apparently approached Lee about directing the Biblical epic after Spielberg dropped the project.
Spielberg first signed on to the project back in late 2011, but wit hth enumber of projects that the director always seems to have in development, there weren’t good odds being offered that he would actually be behind the camera if it were to ever get a greenlight. The film is written by Stuart Hazeldine and Michael Green, whose take on the life of the Biblical figure is reportedly more gritty and less glossy than previous Hollywood tellings of the story. So I guess not so much Charlton Heston.
Gods And Kings isn’t the only Moses film currently in development. Twentieth Century Fox also has a project, Exodus, scripted by Tower Heist writers Bill Collage and Adam Cooper, that Ridley Scott is set to direct after he finishes work on The Counselor, though I am unsure as to where that leaves the status of the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea adaptation he has been developing for some time now.
Posted on 15 March 2013 by Rich Drees
Earlier this week, as I watched the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign set records, I thought to myself, “Well, how long until someone starts calling for a Firefly/Serenity Kickstarter?” Now I do love Joss Whedon’s western-in-space tv series-turned-film and I thought that if there was any fandom out there that wopuld rally to try something similar, it would be the Browncoats.
Well, Whedon thought the same thing and he talked to Buzzfeed about why while he would love to go reunite the franchise’s cast for another film, it just isn’t in the cards right now.
I’ve said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I’m booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven’t even been able to get Dr. Horrible 2 off the ground because of that. So I don’t even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won’t. Couple years from now, when Nathan [Fillion]‘s no longer [on] Castle and I’m no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.
Whedon also goes on to discuss the cost differences between a Veronica Mars film and a Serenity one, as well as other practical considerations. The interview is worth a read, even outside of the Firefly/Serenity connection as it constitutes one of the first reactions from a major director about how the Veronica Mars film could possibly change how things are done in Hollywood.
Posted on 14 March 2013 by Rich Drees
Universal Studios has made a solid step forward to actually making a Jurassic Park IV today by signing Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow to head up the project. The announcement ends speculation as to who would direct the project which led some to suspect that maybe Steven Spielberg would return to the franchise he launched in 1993.
Currently the studio has a screenplay by Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver but with Trevor coming on board it is possible that Trevorrow may want to have a writer of his own to take a pass.
Based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, itself a reworking of his screenplay for 1973′s Westworld only substituting dinosaurs for robots, the Jurassic Park franchise has proved a lucrative one. The first film pulled $915 million at the box office in 1993 with the first sequel banking $619 in ticket sales. While the third Jurassic Park film, which Spielberg only served on as producer having handing over the directorial duties to Joe Johnston, only pulled $369 million, I would imagine that there is still enough interest in a return to the franchise, especially after all this time, that Universal could have a hit on its hands.
Posted on 12 March 2013 by Rich Drees
It seems as if anytime a TV show ends there is talk that it will continue on as a film or perhaps even a series of films. Whether it was just pie-in-the-sky speculation or there were actual plans, it just doesn’t happen most of the time.
When it ended in 2010, the Fox thriller 24 joined the chorus of voices promising a jump from the small to big screen. Premiering in the fall of 2001, each of the show’s eight season’s chronicled one 24 hour period in the life of Jack Bauer (Keither Sutherland), an agent for a top secret government organization tasked with protecting the country from terrorist threats. Each hour-long episode was presented in roughly real time, making a season a 24 hour day. How a two-hour movie would replicate the real-time, day long conceit was anyone’s guess, but a script was worked on and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua had been signed on to helm the project.
But after a hoped-for production start kept being postponed, it started to look bleak for the film. And now Fuqua has confirmed the worse for the project in an interview with indiewire -
Yeah, that’s not happening. I don’t think it’s gonna happen at all, definitely not with me… I met with Kiefer [Sutherland], Fox wanted to do it, it was a matter of his schedule before he went off to do his new show [’Touch‘]. I don’t think he was able to get a proper agreement with Fox. The time just passed, and I went off to go to what I was doing.
It sounds as if Fuqua is tacitly acknowledging the rumors that one of the main reasons the project kept being delayed was that Fox and Sutherland could not agree on a fee for his services, with the studio reportedly lowballing the actor.
So it looks as if, at least for now, 24‘s Counter-Terrorism Unit will remained closed.
Posted on 12 March 2013 by Rich Drees
A couple of geek friendly franchises – James Bond and Doctor Who – have recently turned 50 years old to much fanfare. The next series to reach that milestone will be Star Trek in 2016. Presumably Paramount is already looking at big plans to celebrate the science-fiction series reaching the half-century mark and a third installment in their big screen reboot of the original classic television series may be one of the things under consideration.
Trek film producer Bryan Burk hinted as much in a conversation with Digital Spy -
Digital Spy: Given that the Gene Roddenberry series debuted in 1966 and we’ve just had a huge Bond 50-year anniversary celebration – has Paramount been talking to you about making a 2016 release date for the next Star Trek film?
Bryan Burk: We’re definitely talking about the next one, but we haven’t talked about a release date. We don’t want to wait four years, the same amount of time between the last one and this one, but it’s going to be a big year to celebrate, hopefully.
Now understandably there are a few things which will affect plans to have the film into theaters in 2016. First and formost will be the search for a director. Given that franchise reboot helmer J J Abrams is off to work similar magic on Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII, I severly doubt that he would be able to split his time between Star Wars and working on the development of a third Star Trek film. And that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt that Episode VII would even hit its announced release year of 2015, which Abrams was not sure about.
If Paramount is serious about getting Star Trek 3 into theaters in 2016, they will have to find themselves a new director. Will Abrams have a say in that search? Time will tell, though if he retains a producer’s credit on Trek 3, like he did with the Mission: Impossible franchise after Brad Bird slipped into the director’s chair after Abrams, than I wouldn’t be surprised if we see someone like Bird or Cloverfield‘s Matt Reeves step up to the job.
Posted on 11 March 2013 by Rich Drees
Mel Brooks has earned himself a place in cinema history many times over for his classic comedy films that include The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety. But at age 86, the writer/director doesn’t seem to be content on resting on his laurels. Instead, he is looking at making another film, though in a genre that one would not normally associate with the comedy maestro.
As Brooks told the Wrap -
I’m working on a horror film; it’s kind of a traditional slasher film called “Pizza Man.” It reminds me of those Hammer Films from the 1950s. So who knows — I might direct it, but I need to polish it and rewrite it.
I’ve got Cary Elwes playing the lead and Stacy Keach is interested in being the villain.
I’ve got to get the distribution though. I would be happy to go raise the money, but I won’t do that without distribution. That’s the mistake many of these people make, because they raise the money and then they can’t get a decent DVD deal because they don’t have distribution in place.
As a fan of Brooks’ films, I have to say that I am very intrigued by what this new film will look like. There is the fear that it could look old-fashioned to some sections of the audience if he is going for the feel of the old Hammer Studios film. But given that for his film parodies like High Anxiety or Young Frankenstein he has demonstrated such a keen eye for the details of the original, I think he can handle a straight up horror film.
Posted on 09 March 2013 by Rich Drees
Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great And Powerful is well on its way to make somewhere in the amount of $70 to $75 million dollars this weekend, and so Disney is already starting to gear up for a sequel to their Wizard Of Oz prequel. The studio has already asked original Oz screenwriter Mitchell Kapner to begin developing a script featuring the further adventures of Kansas circus magician Oscar Diggs in the magical land of Oz set before another Kansas resident’s notable trip there.
But director Raimi won’t be one of those making the return trip. In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Raimi stated that he was quiet happy with turning the reins of a follow up film over to another director. (Warning, spoilers ahead.)
I haven’t planned on directing the sequel. I did leave some loose ends for another director if they want to make the picture. I tried to make it a complete ending, so that the audience would be fulfilled, but I also let Evenora and Theodora get away.
I was attracted to this story but I don’t think the second one would have the thing I would need to get me interested.
Now it does seem that Raimi is leaving himself an out clause there at the end in case Kapner manages to come up with a story that piques his interest. So maybe he’ll change his mind if he has a meeting with Kapner or likes what he reads once a first draft is turned in. But until then transpires, I think we can count him out for now.
Posted on 07 March 2013 by Rich Drees
MGM has finally found a director for their long in development Poltergeist remake. Taking the helm of the film about a suburban family who disciver their home is infested with not so friendly ghosts will be Gil Kenan. And interesting choice as Kenan’s 2006 animated feature Monster House explored simliar stpry territory, albeit with a more kid-friendly tone.
Sam Raimi has been attached to the film as a producer for a while and some were starting to suspect that the director would wind up taking the reins of the film himself.
This Poltergeist remake has been in the pipeline for so long that a number of writers have taken a pass at the screenplay including David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz, The Great And Powerful), Scott Derrickson (Sinister), Juliet Snowden (The Possession), Stiles White (Boogeyman) and Paul Harris Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). The Writers Guild arbitration should be interesting.
The original Tobe Hooper 1982 horror classic starred Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams.