Archive | Directors

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Jackie Chan Teaming With Renny Harlin And Seann William Scott For SKIPTRACE

Posted on 21 May 2014 by Rich Drees

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Although his work in numerous Hong Kong-produced action films have been rightly praised the world over, his work done in Hollywood has been at best a mixed-bag. But will Chan bringing elements of Hollywood to Hong Kong for a film produce better results? We may just find out as Die Hard 2 director Renny Harlin is in talks to direct the Hong Kong-produced Skiptrace which is set to star Chan and Seann William Scott.

According to the Hollywood Reporter -

The story, based on an idea by Chan, centers on a good cop (Chan) whose niece (Fan Bingbing) gets into trouble with a crime syndicate run by a man the detective has been chasing for a decade. The cop is forced to track down the one person who can help save the niece — a fast-talking American gambler (Scott) — and bring him to Hong Kong.

Harlin has had a career that has seen both some highs and lows and hopefully this will be more Die Hard 2 than The Exorcist: The Beginning. What’s more interesting is to see a name director like Harlin being hired for a film not being funded by a Hollywood studio. Instead, the budget is being covered by China’s Talent International Film Co. and Dasym Entertainment. It will be interesting to see if this will lead to more creative freedom for Harlin, Chan and the rest of the production team.

It might be a while though before we may be able to see the end results as there’s no word yet as to any distribution deals for the film in the United States being set.

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Alfonso Cuaron In Talks To Direct HARRY POTTER Spinoff FANTASTIC BEASTS

Posted on 19 May 2014 by Rich Drees

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As his follow up to last year’s mesmerizing Gravity, director Alfonso Cuaron may be returning to the world of the boy wizard Harry Potter to direct the franchise spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

The currently website-less Nikki Finke tweeted out the news earlier today –

Given that from a directorial standpoint, Cauron’s previous contribution to the Harry Potter franchise, 2004′s The Prisoner Of Azkaban, was the highlight of the series. But just the fact that he is already familiar with the world of Harry Potter as well as having worked with franchise producer David Heyman on Gravity as well makes Cuaron not only an obvious choice but a great one.

The spinoff series will focus on Newt Scamander, a scholar who literally wrote the book on the various magical beasts that exist within the secret world of wizards and witches that Harry Potter and his classmates use in their studies at Hogwarts Academy.

Given that Warner Brothers has scheduled the film for a November 18, 2016 premier, they’ll be needing to have their directorial choice locked down pretty soon. In order to meet that release date, they’ll have to start shooting early next year and with a project as doubtlessly ambitious as this one, that director will need all the pre-production time they can get.

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Roberto Orci To Direct STAR TREK 3

Posted on 14 May 2014 by Rich Drees

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Screenwriter Roberto Orci is adding a hyphenate to his name. The man who has contributed to The Amazing Spider-Man and the Transformers franchise will be making his feature film directing debut at the helm of Star Trek 3, according to Variety.

Orci has reportedly been lobbying for the job for months and it looks as if producer JJ Abrams and Paramount have finally deemed to give him the job. Orci, along with his former writing partner Alex Kurtzman, worked on the screenplays for the franchise’s 2009 reboot as well as last summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness sequel. He is currently working on the screenplay for the third Star Trek film with writers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.

It is hard to know what to say about him taking the job as we don’t have any reference for him as a director. Given the film’s probable scope and the fact that the franchise is one of the studio’s crown jewels, the fact that Paramount has approved a tyro like Orci to step in behind the cameras is an incredible sign of confidence in him. There is no release date set for the film yet, so we don’t know when we’ll have the chance to see if that faith is justified.

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Danny Strong Setting Up SALINGER’S WAR For Directorial Debut

Posted on 30 April 2014 by Rich Drees

Danny Strong got his start as an actor, most famously as one of the Nerds of Doom on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, before moving on to earn acclaim as a screenwriter of the HBO made-for-cable movies Recount and Game Change and the recent film Lee Daniel’s The Butler. Now, he is looking to add another career onto his resume – director.

Strong is currently setting up his first directorial project, Salinger’s War, a biopic that focuses on the life of reclusive author J. D. Salinger, specifically his during which he served in the US Army during World War Two and how he wrote the first drafts of his classic novel Catcher In The Rye. Strong’s screenplay is based on Kenneth Slawenski’s book JD Salinger: A Life, which Strong optioned with his own money.

The project comes on the heels of last year’s documentary Salinger in which screenwriter and director Shane Salerno pieced together the life of the famed author and even managed to catch a glimpse of the famed recluse.

Via Hollywood Reporter.

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Zack Snyder Will Be Directing JUSTICE LEAGUE

Posted on 27 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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It may seem as if the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel which everyone is calling Batman Vs Superman was going to basically be a Justice League movie given that it is looking as if many of the superheroes who make up that group were going to be in the film. But Warners definitely has a full-fledged Justice League film in the works and now we know who will be directing it. Unsurprisingly, it will be Man Of Steel and Batman Vs Superman director Zack Snyder.

The news comes to us from the Wall Street Journal who quote Warner Brothers president of worldwide production Greg Silverman as saying that a screenplay for the film is already being developed and that Batman Vs Superman will definitely lead into Justice League. No date has been set for the Justice League film, but given that Batman Vs Superman won’t be in theaters until 2016, Justice League will probably not be released before 2018.

Presumably, Justice League will see the three superpowered stars of Batman Vs Superman – Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gail Gadot as Wonder Woman – with a number of other costumed heroes to fight some world-threatening menace. Just this past week it was reported that Ray Fisher had joined the film in the smaller role of Cyborg, another superhero who in some iterations of the Justice League story is a founding member. It was also rumored this week that Jason Momoa had signed onto the role in an unspecified role.

Silverman also confirmed that the studio was in the process of developing a number of other films based on corporate sibling DC Comics properties including Metal Men, Shazam, 100 Bullets and Fables. Interestingly, he stated that the studio was not actively developing a Wonder Woman film even though Gadot had been signed to a three-film deal which everyone assumed would cover Batman Vs Superman, Justice League and a solo Wonder Woman film.

That is not to say that executives at the studio aren’t open to the idea of a solo Wonder Woman film. Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing is quoted by the Journal saying -

With the right script, that could be viable. The world is ready for her.

It sounds to me as if the studio is waiting to see if Gadot’s portrayal of the character catches on with audiences.

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Drew Goddard To Direct AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Spinoff SINISTER SIX

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Rich Drees

DrewGoddardDrew Goddard will not only be writing Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man franchise spinoff The Sinister Six, but will now be directing the feature as well. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the writer/director of Cabin In The Woods is the process of closing a deal to direct the spin-off which would see the teaming-up of several of Spidey’s biggest enemies for an unspecified reason.

Goddard was hired to write the film last December. At the same time, Sony also hired Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Ed Solomon to write a solo film for the Spider-Man villain Venom, with Kurtzman being eyed to direct.

Last month Sony executive Amy Pascal stated that much of the groundwork for the Sinister Six film will be laid in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which hits theaters May 2. In that film we will get three villains in Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Also lurking around in the Amazing Spider-Man universe is the first film’s villain the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), so there are four useable villains right there before we even get to the fact that the film’s trailer flashed a hint of two more – The Vulture and Doctor Octopus.

There is no official date set by Sony for the Sinister Six film. Right now, Goddard is gearing up to shoot Netflix’s Daredevil miniseries which will be part of the streaming service’s five-series deal with Marvel Studios that should start rolling out in 2015. If he got to work on Siniser Six soon afterwards, the could conceivably be ready by 2017. That would slot nicely in between between The Amazing Spider-Man 3‘s planned release in 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 hitting theaters in 2018, as well as fitting in with the studio’s plan to have a new Spider-Man film in theaters every year.

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Are Phil Lord And Chris Miller Going To Direct GHOSTBUSTERS 3?

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Rich Drees

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With Ivan Reitman stepping down from the director’s chair but Sony insisting on moving forward with a third Ghostbusters film, the search is on to find someone to take charge of the film. Or perhaps that should be someones.

Word is starting to circulate that The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller may be up fir the job of directing Ghostbusters 3. It was first reported by Nikki Finke, who still hasn’t launched her post-Deadline venture yet but apparently still is in contact with her numerous industry insiders.

While the idea of a Ghostbusters film without Reitman behind the camera or the recently passed co-star Harold Ramis in front of the camera does not necessarily enthuse me much, I suppose that Lord and Miller are a good choice. I had absolutely no expectations for their comedic big screen adaptation of the 1980s TV series 21 Jump Street and wound up being fairly entertained by the film to the point that I am interested in the sequel due later this year. They are perhaps the best choice to make something close to a silk purse out of this largely potential pig’s ear.

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Sony Pushing For Early 2015 Start For GHOSTBUSTERS 3; Reitman Drops Out As Director

Posted on 18 March 2014 by Rich Drees

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Sony Pictures is pushing to get a third Ghostbusters film into active production by no later than this time next year, but the man who helmed the first two films in the franchise, Ivan Reitman, is stepping down from the director’s chair. Reitman will still be staying with the project in the form of a producer and will help Sony exec Amy Pascal in the search for someone to take his place behind the camera.

Reitman, in an interview with Deadline, stated that the passing of his good friend and Ghostbusters co-writer and co-star Harold Ramis last month was just a part of a decision he had been mulling over recently -

There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters… I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters

When I came back from Harold’s funeral, it was really moving and it made me think about a lot of things. I’d just finished directing Draft Day, which I’m really happy with and proud of. Working on a film that is smaller and more dramatic was so much fun and satisfying. I just finally met with Amy and Doug Belgrad when I got back. I said I’d been thinking about it for weeks, that I’d rather just produce this Ghostbusters. I told them I thought I could help but let’s find a really good director and make it with him. So that’s what we’ve agreed will happen. I didn’t want all kinds of speculation about what happened with me, that is the real story…

It was such an amazing time in my life 30 years ago, and I felt that way on the second film,” he said. “With Harold no longer with us I couldn’t see it.

I can’t say as I am not surprised and I don’t see how anyone could begrudge him his decision.

As for how the film could possibly go on, in the wake of Ramis’s passing, it was reported last month that the original Ghostbusters characters were relegated to pretty much small, cameo roles and that it would be possible to write around Ramis’s absence. Reitman pretty much confirmed this with Deadline, stating “It’s a version of Ghostbusters that has the originals in a very minor role.”

The project has been a high priority for Sony for sometime, as the studio is looking to turn it into a viable franchise to stand alongside their James Bond and Spider-Man film series as perennial moneymakers.

We’ve heard reported start dates for Ghostbusters 3 times before, so it remains to be seen as to whether this is the time it will actually happen. I think I’ll believe when we see the first set picture of the new EctoMobile tearing down a Manhattan street.

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Freddie Mercury Biopic Loses DIrector

Posted on 17 March 2014 by Rich Drees

DexterFletcherSome in development film projects just can’t seem to get a break. The planned untitled Freddie Mercury biopic is one such film.

Deadline has reported that director Dexter Fletcher has left the troubled project just a few months after he had been hired for the project, reportedly as Fletcher was not seeing eye-to-eye with producer Graham King, presumably during the preproduction work that was already underway on the film.

Fletcher was hired for the film last December at the same time actor Ben Whishaw was signed to play the lead. Whishaw’s casting came on the heels of actor Sacha Baron Cohen leaving the project after circling the lead role.

The film will focus on Mercury as a member of the iconic rock group Queen, starting with the early days of the band and stopping at the triumphant comeback concert at Live Aid in 1985. The band has authorized the use of many of its songs in the film.

While the search for a director is already underway, this new setback will undoubtedly delay plans to have the film in production this summer. Further complicating things will be Whishaw’s shooting schedule for the next James Bond film, in which he will be reprising his role as the British Secret Service’s chief gadget designer Q, which is already scheduled to be shooting later this year.

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Zack Snyder Speaks On Casting Controversies In BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

Posted on 04 March 2014 by William Gatevackes

ZackSnyderWith 300: Rise of an Empire set to hit theaters, its writer/producer Zack Snyder is hitting the promotional trail. And as these things usually go, people are asking him about his NEXT project, Batman vs. Superman.

The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog spoke to Snyder and asked him specifically about fan reaction to his casting choices in that film. Snyder, never a man to shy away from sharing his opinions, met the challenge head on:

HC: How surprised are you by all the outcry over some of your casting choices? From Gal Gadot to Ben playing Batman? Jesse as Lex Luthor?

ZS: There are two ways to think about it. We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script. And we’re hoping that leads to enough originality, enough perspective on what we’re doing that you get something fresh and exciting. I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint. I think Jesse is going to be an amazing Lex. Let’s not forget he was nominated for an Academy Award. It’s not like I just grabbed my friend to play the guy! This guy’s the real deal. By the way, in looking at all the talk-back, you can get all different perspectives in there too. Some people are hating to hate. Some people — someone did some fan art. And you look underneath and someone wrote, “I guess I can see it.” Honestly, are you kidding me? Just stop it! It’s reassuring and frustrating at the same time.

HC: It seems like you’re not insulating yourself from fan dialogue about the project. You’re out there listening to what people have to say. But ultimately, you are trying to serve the material. So what you’re saying is, fans should take heart in that.

ZS: Not just that. [The movie] literally takes the “Man of Steel” and “Batman” universes and explodes them. You’re not as tied to the mythology. In “Man of Steel,” we had to create an origin story, a mythology, and there’s a lot of energy into that, which we love doing. Don’t get me wrong. But when you think about how fun it is too — now that you’ve got these characters — to now let ‘em loose. That’s fun!

If Snyder thought that this was going to put fan’s griping to rest, he’s sadly mistaken. And more than a little out of touch.

First, using “casting according to the material” is only works if people have unwavering faith in the material. There are people who blindly love everything that Snyder does, and for them this reasoning works. But there are people who hate Snyder’s body of work so much that if he came out with a film that was magically able to cure cancer, they’d still hate it. Then there’s the rest of us who think he is a director with peaks and valleys in his resume, and his name is not an automatic win-win situation. So, in this case, there is at best a “wait and see” feel about the material. And, if anything, the casting cast more aspersions on the material than it does ease fears.

And for a self professed fan, he should know how the fandom works. He should know how hypercritical comic book fans are whenever the things they love are adapted to the big screen, and he should know that not even he gets a “get out of trolling free” card.

Of course, he confirms the fan’s fears right in the interview. While he makes a point of letting us know he does “understand the canon,” in the very next answer he states that the franchise is “not as tied to mythology.” Even being generous and giving Snyder the benefit of the doubt, that what he’s really saying is that he’s creating something new and different that stays true to the cannon, he is still creating something new and different. Comic fans have a low threshold for “new” and “different.” They want the character’s they grew up with translated to the screen directly as the appear on the page, or a close to it as they can.  And, once again, the comic fandom has less faith in his abilities than he himself does, so they have less faith that the changes he makes will be an improvement. This is going to cause more problems than it solves.

I’ll just add this to the long list of things that is causing be to doubt Batman vs. Superman.

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