Archive | Directors

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Josh Trank – Fired Or Quit STAR WARS: ANTHOLOGY Film

Posted on 03 May 2015 by Rich Drees

JoshTrank

The big news that finished out this past week was that Josh Trank was no longer to be the director of the second Star Wars spinoff film scheduled for 2018. In hindsight, the announcement was not much of a surprise as Trank was not in attendance for the Star Wars Anthology panel at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim last month, with the stated reason later given being that the director was sick. Coincidentally (?) enough, the newest trailer for his upcoming film, Fox’s Fantastic Four, was released at the same time that the panel was going on.

Star Wars: Anthology is the umbrella title recently revealed for Disney/Lucasfilms’ planned Star Wars spinoff films that will be released in the years between the main saga’s installments.

In a statement posted at StarWars.com, Trank said –

After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the ‘Star Wars’ universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow ‘Star Wars’ fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, [Lucasfilm VP of Development] Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.

While Trank is explaining away is leaving his Star Wars film due to an ambiguous “personal issues,” the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Trank’s handling, or rather mis-handling, of the Fantastic Four production may have led the studio to show the Trank the door more so than him heading towards of his own volition.

[P]roducers on Fantastic Four, set for release July 30 (sic), are said to have faced great challenges pulling the film together given behavior described by one insider as “erratic” and at times “very isolated.” Trank did not offer clear direction, this person adds, saying, “If you’ve got someone who can’t answer questions or who isn’t sure or is in hiding, that’s not good.”

A Fox spokesman says the studio is “very happy with the movie and we can’t wait for audiences to see it” but acknowledges, “There were definitely some bumps in the road.”

While an unnamed studio source tells the Reporter that the studio is impressed with Trank’s talent – “No question there’s talent there. You can’t do [Trank’s 2012 directorial debut] Chronicle by accident.” – they feel that he may not have been ready to be thrust from the world of indie film into the one of big-budget tentpole pictures, likening the director to “one of these kids who comes to the NBA with all the talent and none of the character-based skills to handle it. There’s equipment he doesn’t yet have.”

The checklist of behavior issues that the studio has to contend with from Trank include such things as approximately $100,000 worth of damage done to a home that the studio had rented for the director while the production was in New Orleans. Trank was also reportedly “indecisive and uncommunicative” on set, necessitating producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker to take a more active, on set hand in the shooting.

The film has already gone through a number of reshoots and pickups even though its release is just a few weeks away. The most recent session of reshoots were three days done at the end of last month that had to be scheduled around the availability of stars Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan who were all deep into work on other projects. The most reshoots also mean that Kinberg and Parker had to leave the set of X-Men: Apocalypse in Canada, which they are also producing.

Reportedly, it is Kinberg, who was set to work with Trank on the Star Wars: Anthology film as both a writer and producer, who communicated his displeasure with the director to Kennedy, which set in motion the decision for Trank to leave the film. Disney, of course, declined to comment to the Reporter.

If it is true that Trank was bounced from the gig for his Fantastic Four behavior, it makes sense from Disney’s point of view. The studio has much invested in the Star Wars franchise, with it and the films from Marvel Studios serving as a major part of their annual slate. These films need to be in theaters when they are planning on them being there in order to meet certain revenue expectations for each quarter. There is no room for them to miss their release dates. Variety, however, is reporting from unnamed sources that the Star Wars standalone film will be pushed back to 2019, but there has been no confirmation of that.

Fantastic Four has bounced around on Fox’s schedule with two other announced release dates for this year before the studio finally settled on August 7. It should also be noted that Fox has already announced a summer 2017 release date for a Fantastic Four sequel, though no creative personnel, including Trank, have been announced as attached to the project. It is unclear if Trank’s possible non-involvement is a result of a studio decision or one made by the director due to anticipated time needed for his Star Wars: Anthology film.

After years of seemingly uninspiring news about Fantastic Four, the most recent trailer did instill some hope in for me the project. Unfortunately, this latest word of additional reshoots so close to the film’s release goes a way to dashing them again.

So far, there has been no announced replacement for Trank on the project, but I wouldn’t be surprised if stories about a shortlist of directors under consideration for the job start to appear very soon.

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WONDER WOMAN Has Already Found New Director In Patty Jenkins

Posted on 15 April 2015 by Rich Drees

Patty-Jenkins-to-direct-Wonder-Woman

In what is probably the quickest turnaround in recent memory, Warner Brothers has already filled the director’s chair for their upcoming Wonder Woman film vacated less than 48 hours ago by Michelle MacLaren.

According to Deadline, the job is now going to Patty Jenkins, perhaps best known for directing Charlize Theron in the serial killer drama Monster (2003).

You may remember that Jenkins was briefly attached to direct another superhero project a few years back, Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World. She left that project over “creative differences,” the same reason that was offered for MacLaren’s departure from Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman will mark Jenkins first feature film work since Monster. She has filled the time in between working on TV series from Arrested Development and Entourage to The Killing. Normally, I would be concerned about the lack of big budget experience for a project this size, but if Marvel initially felt good about working with her as does Warners now, I suppose they are privy to things we may not be.

Gal Gadot has already been cast to star as the Amazonian superhero who will first appear in next spring’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice before Wonder Woman hits the screen on June 23, 2017. The character will follow through to November 17, 2017’s Justice League: Part One.

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Fox Interested In Matthew Vaughn Directing FLASH GORDON

Posted on 15 April 2015 by Rich Drees

matthew-vaughn-lexiconTwentieth Century Fox is looking to have Matthew Vaughn helm their in-development adaptation of the classic comic strip hero Flash Gordon.

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the studio is hoping that the Kingsman: The Secret Service director will take the reins of the film being developed by producers John Davis (Predator) and George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) and writers J D Payne and Patrick McKay (Star Trek 3).

If Vaughn signs on, this would make the fifth comics-based property in a row for the director, starting with 2007’s Stardust and continuing through 2010’s Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class (2011) and Kingsman. With Kingsman being a surprise hit for the director, making $392 million worldwide off a lean budget of $82 million, it is not surprising that studios are eyeing him to direct a number of projects that they want to get up on the big screen.

As I have enjoyed Vaughn’s work to varying degrees so far, I want to be cautiously optimistic at this news. But I am a big fan of the 1980 version of Flash Gordon directed by Mike Hodges. The film is probably best remembered for its throwback campy tone, a vibe similar to what Vaughn achieved with Kingsman. Hopefully, Fox isn’t looking to Vaughn to replicate that tone in the new film. What Hodges did was capture lightening in a bottle, and we know how hard it is to try and recreate a previous film’s tone. (Yeah, Superman Returns and Bryan Singer, I’m looking at you…)

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Michell MacLaren Departs WONDER WOMAN Director’s Chair

Posted on 13 April 2015 by Rich Drees

Michelle-MacLaren

Michelle MacLaren has pulled out of directing Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Allegedly, there were creative differences between MacLaren and the studio over the direction of the superhero project due in theaters on June 23, 2017.

Gal Gadot has already been cast to star as the Amazonian superhero who will first appear in next spring’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice before Wonder Woman hits the screen. The character will follow through to November 17, 2017’s Justice League: Part One.

The news comes as a disappointment as MacLaren seemed like a good pick for the job. Although this would have been her feature film debut, she already has gained plenty of experience directing episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul.

Warner Brothers had been developing multiple screenplays for Wonder Woman, with MacLaren supposedly working with the writers and their various takes. The studio will need to move fast to get another director in to get the project into shape and in front of cameras to meet its scheduled release date in 26 months.

wonder-woman-bvs

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Warners Want Lord And Miller To Direct FLASH

Posted on 06 April 2015 by Rich Drees

Flash

Warner Brothers certainly has a hit on their hands with the WB TV series The Flash, adapting the superfast superhero from DC Comics. As a spinoff off from the popular Green Arrow adaption Arrow and with another superhero show on the show, the CW is building up its own interconnected comic book universe the way Marvel Studios has done in the movies and how Warner hopes to also leverage their DC Comics characters in film.

The problem, ironically, with Warners’ cinematic plans is that the TV versions of the heroes, and by extension the actors playing them, will not be carried over to the studio’s film universe. This has upset some sectors of fandom who are enjoying Grant Gustnin’s take on the superhero  question the wisdom of keeping the TV and film incarnations separate rather than allowing crossover between the two mediums, a la Marvel’s films and the Agents Of SHIELD, Agent Carter and the upcoming five series from Netflix being kicked off with Daredevil later this week.

Warners seem to have that in mind and appear to be looking very much at attempting to capture lightening in a bottle – Flash pun very much intended – again.

This weekend on SchmoesKnows Meet The Movie Press video podcast, The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider indiacted just that when he revealed that the studio is working at trying to land The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller for the director chairs of the big screen version of The Flash that the studio announced last October.

We’ve just heard a bit of a tug of war going on between Warner Bros. and Sony, which would like the same two directors for one of its big franchise movies … If maybe Warner Bros. wanted them for The Flash and Sony wanted them for a Ghostbusters movie, which would Lord and Miller do?

Lord and Miller certainly have their plate full of genre related films to right now. Sony had approached the pair about directing a Ghostbusters film, back when it looked like it might be a third film in the original series. After they passed, director Paul Feig gave the studio his pitch for a female-fronted reboot of the franchise that is now currently shooting. That the studio is still interested in them in contributing to the franchise speaks to the seriousness of their plans to use Feig’s 2016 film as a launching point for a series of interconnected films. With the studio already eyeing their first Ghostbusters followup for 2017, possibly starring Channing Tatum and Captain America: The Winter Soldier co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo behind the camera, I have to wonder if Sony is looking for a Lord and Miller Ghostbusters film for 2018. Warners has already announced a March 23, 2018 date for The Flash, so it looks as if the timing is a bit too close for them to tackle both. Although, if Sony were amenable to pushing back their hoped-for Ghostbuster film a year, there would be time for both.

The pair are already producing a big screen adaptation of the 80s superhero comedy The Greatest American Hero. Wile they are not directing the Lego Movie sequel, they are writing and producing it along with the Lego-related Ninjago and The Lego Batman Movie.

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Brace Yourself, FROZEN 2 Is Coming

Posted on 12 March 2015 by William Gatevackes

FrozencastIf you are like me, then your kid has just started to let you listen to something other than the Frozen soundtrack in the car and they have stopped watching Frozen on a continuous cycle at home. Leave it to Disney to make this only a brief respite from all things Frozen.

Another tidbit of information to come from the Disney shareholders meeting is that Frozen 2 is officially in development at the studio. Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are set to return to helm the sequel. No cast confirmed as of yet, but since Josh Gad appeared at the meeting to make the announcement, one assumes that he will be returning to voice Olaf the Snowman.

The first film’s smash success caught Disney by surprise, as the company’s typically savvy merchandising arm had a hard time keeping Frozen merchandise on store shelves. The film went on to become the highest grossing animated film of all time and win Oscars for Best Animated Film and Best Song. I, myself, am a fan of the film, but not as much as my five-year old daughter is. The film has become a cultural touchstone for her the same way the first Star Wars films were for my generation.

No plot details are known nor is a release date is set, but I’d imagine that it will correspond to the completion of turning the Epcot’s Maelstrom ride into a Frozen themed attraction (rumored to be completed in 2016), part of a rumored permanent Frozen installation in Epcot’s Norway Pavillion (No date yet known). That is cold comfort for parents who will now be bombarded by pestering kids asking them when Frozen 2 will be coming out. To tide them over, take them to Cinderella this weekend, so they can see the new short film, Frozen Fever, which continues the story from the first film.

Via: Frozen’s Facebook Page

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STAR WARS Spin-Off Named, Sequel Release Date Set

Posted on 12 March 2015 by William Gatevackes

StarWarsLogoAnnual shareholder meetings are designed to do two things. One, let shareholders know how great the past year was and, two, let them know how great the upcoming year will be. And when it comes to Disney, the past was great, and the future is rosy. To so how rosy, Disney revealed some heretofore unconfirmed info about their upcoming projects.

Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff project has received an official title, and that title will be Rogue One (or, more likely, Star Wars: Rogue One). The film stars Oscar-nominee Felicity Jones and is set to begin filming this summer with a December 2016 release date.

Speaking of release dates, Star Wars VIII will return to the franchise’s typical  Memorial Day Weekend release with a May 26, 2017 release date. Disney also confirmed that Rian Johnson (Looper) will be taking over from J.J. Abrams for the sequel, assuming the role as writer and director.

If you have been paying attention, this means that we will have a new Star Wars film a year for the next three years, and probably more. And that Disney will be releasing Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Star Wars VIII just two weeks away from each other.

Via Benzinga

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Is Drew Goddard Writing/Directing Rebooted SPIDER-MAN Solo Film?

Posted on 03 March 2015 by Rich Drees

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Perhaps the biggest news story of the year so far is the February announcement of the deal that Marvel Studios and Sony reached an agreement to jointly share the film rights to Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, having the famous webslinger first appear in a Marvel Studios film, most likely 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before headlining a new solo film for Sony and then finally swinging back to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe for 2018 and 2019’s two-part Avengers: Infinity War epic. The news meant that current Spider-franchise steward director Marc Webb was out the door, along with the current actor playing Peter Parker/Spider-Man Andrew Garfield. Vacancies that the studio is now working hard at filling.

There’s been no official word yet as to who will be stepping behind the camera to oversee that new solo film, but rumor is starting to circulate that Sony is interested in getting Cabin In The Woods writer/director Drew Goddard for the job.

DrewGoddardGoddard is a good and fairly obvious choice for the studio to pursue. Before the big franchise shakeup, Goddard was hard at work on a planned Spidey spinoff film featuring the villain group the Sinister Six. Reportedly, the new Spider-Man solo film, now possibly titled The Spectacular Spider-Man after one of the hero’s several ongoing monthly comics titles, will be a reworking of the storyline he was developing for that film.

The story of Goddard’s involvement with the new Spider-Man solo film is originating from Latino Review, a sit we are normally skeptical of. But it looks like both The Wrap and Drew McWeeny over at Hit Fix are hearing similar things from their sources, so I am willing to put a bot more stock in it.In addition to confirming the basic story, McWeeny added that his own sources have told him that Sony is looking at possibly having one Spider-Man film in theaters per year, something that the franchise-lite studio had been hoping to do for some time now. The Wrap cautions that Goddard doesn’t have the job yet, but will be meeting with the studio this week. However, he may be just one of several meetings that the studio is taking before making their final decision.

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Leonard Nimoy, 83

Posted on 27 February 2015 by William Gatevackes

Leonard Nimoy, who originated the iconic role of Mr. Spock on the legendary Star Trek TV series, has died of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Before he became Spock, Nimoy got his start in films. He garnered his first lead with his third feature, Kid Monk Baroni, in 1952 and went on to star in roles big and small in a number of legendary B-movies such as Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), Them!(1954), and The Brain Eaters  (1958).

Nimoy also logged a number of guest appearances in television shows such as Dragnet, Sea Hunt, and Gunsmoke. However, his life would change forever in the mid-1960s when faced with a choice between a role in the soap opera Peyton Place or a role on a science-fiction start up from producer Gene Roddenberry, he chose the latter.

The latter was, of course, Star Trek, and although the show only ran for three years, it became a cult sensation in syndication. Star Trek became a blockbuster franchise in both films and televisions. Spock became a pop culture icon and Nimoy would reprise the character numerous times throughout the years in various spin-offs and sequels. He played the role for the last time in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness.

After Star Trek went off the air, Nimoy moved on to a career behind the camera to complement the one he had in front of it (Which continued with role in TV series such as Mission Impossible and as the host of the documentary series, In Search of…). His first directorial experience took place on episodes of televisions series, including his former co-star William Shatner’s post-Star Trek series, T.J. Hooker. Nimoy would move over to film directing by helming the 1984 Star Trek sequel, The Search for Spock. He would also direct the next installment of the series in 1986, The Voyage Home.

Nimoy would then direct one of the most successful films of the 1980s–1987’s Three Men and a Baby. The film, a remake of the 1985 French film, Trois Hommes et Un Couffin , starred Ted Danson, Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg as three bachelors whose lives are shaken up when a former paramour leaves a baby on their doorstep. The film was the highest grossing film of 1987, beating out films like Fatal Attraction and Beverly Hills Cop II.

Nimoy’s film directing career would continue into the 1990s and include the Diane Keaton drama, The Good Mother (1988) and the Gene Wilder comedy, Funny About Love (1990). Nimoy’s final film he directed was 1994’s Holy Matrimony.

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Might Angelina Jolie Direct CAPTAIN MARVEL?

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Rich Drees

AngelinaJolie

Some folks have compared the efforts of Marvel Studios getting their comic book characters to the big screen versus the efforts of Warner Brothers Studios bringing the superheroes of corporate sibling DC Comics to cinematic life as if it were some sort of arms race. As I am just happy to see both publisher’s spandex-clad heroes being brought to life, I couldn’t care less as to who reaches a certain milestone first. But for those of you at home who are scoring, while Marvel is certainly has a lead in getting a number of their stable of characters onto the big screen for solo and group films, they are trailing Warners/DC in terms of some of those solo films featuring female superheroes. While Warners have announced their Wonder Woman film for June 2017, Marvel won’t have their own female superhero-led film, Captain Marvel, on screens until 13 months later.

And now Marvel appears to be trailing Warner’s Wonder Woman again. Last November it was announced that Warner Brothers had picked Michelle MacLaren to direct Wonder Woman. Marvel appears to be following suit in looking for a female director, which would be a first for the studio, to take the reigns of Captain Marvel. As to whom might be in the director’s chair for Marvel? The supermarket tabloid OK! Magazine (via Bleeding Cool) thinks it knows.

OKMarvel

The first thing we should note, of course, is that OK! Magazine is a supermarket tabloid with no real track record for reporting on genre films, so proceed with the appropriate-sized grain of salt.

That said, I do think that Jolie would be an interesting choice for director. Her own acting resume contains a number of action films in a variety of styles, so that allows her to bring a very specialized viewpoint to the job. Of course, Marvel never comments on stories like this, so don’t expect to hear anything official for a good long while. But that won’t stop the rumor machine.

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