Archive | Directors

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George Clooney Directing Drama About UK Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Rich Drees


It seems that you can’t turn on a news program this week without coming across some discussion about the most recent incident of private photos being stolen from their phones, so it is a rather surreptitious timing that Sony Pictures is announcing that George Clooney will be directing a film about a different phone hacking story.

The story that Clooney will be telling is also ripped from the news headlines, though from a few years back. It is the phone hacking scandal that closed down the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Of The World tabloid after it was revealed that the paper had been hacking into the cell phones of elected officials and celebrities. A further incident in which reporters for the paper hacked into the phone of a missing teenaged girl hampered the police investigation into her disappearance.

The film, which will be titled Hack Attack, will be an adaptation of journalist Nick Davies’ book that was the end result of six years of investigation.

Clooney, whose father Nick Clooney was a one-time journalist, explained his interest in the project to Variety

This has all the elements – lying, corruption, blackmail – at the highest levels of government by the biggest newspaper in London… And the fact that it’s true is the best part. Nick is a brave and stubborn reporter and we consider it an honor to put his book to film.

Clooney is no stranger to real-life tales about the media. His 2005 film Good Night, And Good Luck dealt with newscaster Edward R. Murrow’s crusade against the fear-mongering Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.

Shooting is scheduled to start next year.

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Shane Black Directing THE DESTROYER

Posted on 21 August 2014 by Rich Drees


His name is Remo Williams, and Shane Black will be directing his movie adaptation.

Writer/director Black is already working on adapting the 1930s-era classic hero Doc Savage to the big screen for Sony, and he just signed on to direct an adaptation of the long-running men’s adventure novel series The Destroyer. Black will only be directing this one, working fro a screenplay by Fight Club adapter Jim Uhls.

For the uninitiated, The Destroyer started off in the 1970s as just another in a sea of novel series that saw their heroes through adventures that tried to out-James Bond James Bond. Created by Richard Sapir and William Murphy, the Destroyer was Remo Williams, a cop whose framed and sentenced to die as part of his recruitment into a super top secret spy organization consisting of just one other person and whose existence is known only to the president. Since he is needed to be the ultimate assassin, Remo undergoes continual training from Chiun, the Korean master of Sinanju, the martial art from which all others are derived. The first several books in the series are fairly standard stuff, but as the series progressed, Murphy and Sapir started addingd a commmical and satirical spin to the books that made them stand out against the crowd.

Deadline spoke with the project’s producer Charles Roven, who stated –

Shane has been a fan of the original Destroyer book series since its inception and he has an incredible vision for this film. [We] couldn’t be more fortunate to be working with this talented director on this material. The narrative Jim and James have created is incredibly rich and while it’s a story rooted in adventure, it is also very much character driven.

That Black and Uhls are concentrating on characters is good as much of the novel’s comedic tone stems from the relationship he has with Chiun.

There have been previous attempts to bring Remo Williams to the screen before. Back in 1985, Fred Ward starred as the titular hero in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. Obviously, they were hoping to launch a franchise with the film, but Christopher Woods’ script was a bit too campy for audiences and critics, though the film’s fight on the Statue of Liberty, lifted from an unproduced James Bond script, is pretty nifty. The film did get an Academy Award nomination for Carl Fullerton’s makeup which transformed Joel Grey into Remo’s Korean mentor Chiun. A television pilot was produced a few years later that was hoped to bring Remo to the small screen on a weekly basis, but it was never picked up.

It’s been years, OK probably more like decades, since I’ve read a Destroyer novel, but back in high school and college, I devoured a goodly number of the first hundred or so in the series. (The series now sports 150 titles.) There were fun, breezy reads and I think Black’s sensibilities line up with the books fairly well. Should be interesting to see how this develops.

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Gilliam Finally Has Funding For DON QUIXOTE, Latest Rewrites Will Make Film More Meta

Posted on 11 August 2014 by Rich Drees


Terry Gilliam has been trying to get his film project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote made for so long that lead paragraphs equating his quest to do so with Cervantes’ titular hero has become something of a cliche. But that quest may finally be reaching its conclusion. And yes, we are aware that we may have said that before.

The Wrap is reporting that Gilliam has finally secured financing for the project after years of various financial deals falling apart for various reasons and is now planning on having the film in front of cameras be December.

The problems that Gilliam had the first time he mounted a production of his script with Johnny Depp in the lead were recorded in the documentary Lost In La Mancha. Ever since that attempt fell apart just days into principal photography for a variety of reasons, Gilliam has been endeavoring to find the right combination of funding and casting to restart production. Through that time, he saw the process begin to inform the screenplay.

I keep incorporating my own life into it and shifting it. The basic underlying premise of that the version Johnny was involved in was that he actually was going to be transported back to the 17th century, and now it all takes place now, it’s contemporary. It’s more about how movies can damage people.

Our main character actually made a Don Quixote movie a lot earlier in his history and the effect it had on many people wasn’t very nice. Some people go mad, some people turn to drink, some people become whores.

Gilliam has come close to getting his film in production before, so even holds an amount of skepticism about these latest developments, jesting “I’ve done it so many times — or not done it so many times — I’ll believe it when I see it. However, I’m behaving as if it’s all going to happen as planned.”

In the meantime Gilliam’s latest film, The Zero Theroem, which is fantastic by the way, premiers on Video On Demand on August 19th prior to a limited theatrical release on September 19.

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If Paul Feig Directs GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Will It Be A Sequel Or A Female-Led Reboot?

Posted on 04 August 2014 by Rich Drees


Just when you thought the long, arduous saga that is Sony’s attempts to get a third Ghostbusters film on the screen couldn’t get any more twisted, along comes this latest left turn.

It is being reported that in their attempt to find a director for the project now that Ivan Reitman has stepped aside to just produce the long in-development comedy sequel, Sony has turned to Bridesmaids helmer Paul Feig. In and of itself not a bad choice to direct an ensemble comedy. But some of the reports that started circulating yesterday stated that the project is now morphing from a sequel to a full-on reboot of the franchise, with the leads all being female this time around.

Nothing is official right now, as it is being reported that the studio is interested in getting the director to take on the job. But the idea of rebooting the franchise, instead of having cast members from the original two films handing off the franchise to a new group of younger characters may be the idea on which the negotiations hinge.

Ghostbusters creator/writer/co-star Dan Aykroyd had been trying to get a third film going for some time now. Most recently, Men in Black 3 writer Etan Cohen did a rewrite of the screenplay completed by The Office writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg which reportedly Aykroyd, Reitman and the studio were excited about.

I can certainly see how this would excite studio honchos. Sony does not have too many reliable franchise heavy-hitters on their bench outside of the James Bond franchise. Their plans for their Spider-Man franchise has been in seeming disarray following the less than stellar returns for this summer’s Amazing Spider-Man 2. And with original Ghostbusters star Bill Murray’s continual disinterest in the project and co-star Harold Ramis’ death earlier this year, there has been the growing feeling that a third film just would not be able to live up to original.

This is by no way set in stone yet, so the studio’s plans could change. Right now, Feig has just wrapped shooting on his next comedy Spy, which reteams him with his Bridesaids co-stars Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne.

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Alex Kurtzman Directing Universal’s MUMMY, But What Of VENOM?

Posted on 01 August 2014 by Rich Drees

alex-kurtzmanA few weeks ago we learned about Universal’s plans to revitalize their classic monsters film brand with a new Marvel Cinematic Universe-style series of interconnected franchises with writers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan heading up the effort. And now we now that Kurtzman will be adding some additional duties to his plate for the project as he will be taking on the directorial reins for the first film in the cycle, The Mummy.

Kurtzman is stepping in after Len Weisman dropped out of the project and a deal with next choice Mama director Andy Muschietti couldn’t be worked out.

While Universal has not yet set a date for the film to be in theaters, this added work for Kurtzman does cast a question over his involvement with Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. Last year, when the studio announced that they were expanding their line of Spidey films to include spin-offs featuring some of the villain characters from the comics, Kurtzman was attached to write and possibly direct a feature spotlighting the popular 1990s anti-hero character Venom. No date was given for that film. But right now, Sony’s plans for their Spider-Man franchise seem to be in a bit of disarray. With the underwhelming critical and box office response to this summer’s Amazing Spider-Man 2, the studio quickly reshuffled their release plans for the franchise, moving back the film’s direct sequel from its previously announced date in May 2016 back to an unspecified date in 2018 and announcing their villain-centric The Sinister Six for an unspecified date in 2016. If Sony were to keep to their every-other-year schedule, that would put a Venom film into the summer of 2020 at the very earliest.

But if Kurtzman has a success with The Mummy, there would certainly be an increase demand for his services from Universal. It appears that Sony does have first right to his services as the Venom project was announced several months before this week’s Mummy announcement. This could lead to a conflict between the two studios if both franchises are still active in a few years. Of course, if Sony’s misfortunes with Spider-Man continue, they may cancel their plans for a Venom film altogether.

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SDCC: ANT-MAN News: Lilly Pym’s Daughter, Yellowjacket Is The Villain

Posted on 26 July 2014 by William Gatevackes

AntManLogoMarvel didn’t waste any time starting promoting Ant-Man, as after a short montage showing their films to date and a short piece about Guardians of the Galaxy (with our first look at Thanos), the studio brought out director Peyton Reed, stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, long rumored cast member Evangeline Lilly, and new addition Corey Stoll.

EvangelineLillyLilly will be playing the daughter of  Hank Pym (Douglas) and was referred to as both Hope Pym and Hope Van Dyne on Twitter (Marvel’s website refers to her as Van Dyne). Does this mean that Janet could be her mother? I hope so.

Director Reed tried to ease the fears of anyone who was disappointed by Edgar Wright dropping out by playing up his geek cred. Apparently, Reed has been attending San Diego Comic Con for 20 years, and once portrayed Ant-Man on a poster for his punk band that paid homage to the cover from Avengers #1.

Corey StollStoll is playing Darren Cross, a former protege of Pym turned evil and has taken on the identity of Yellowjacket. In a recurring theme, he has also stolen some of Pym’s technology for his alter ego, and will be fighting Rudd’s character, who also stole Pym’s technology. This is believed to be the role that Patrick Wilson had before he dropped out from the project days ago. If so, this is might quick turnaround time for casting the part.

While Lilly is known to most from her work on Lost, Stoll is a bit of a lesser known quantity. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on House of Cards and can currently be seen in The Strain. He has appeared in films such as Midnight in Paris (where he played Ernest Hemingway) and Non-Stop.

The film will be shooting in Atlanta starting August 18th, although Marvel did show some test footage of Douglas as Hank Pym and Ant-Man riding a flying ant.

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Breaking: James Gunn Already Set To Write/Direct GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2

Posted on 25 July 2014 by William Gatevackes


Typically, studios like to see how a film will do before they sign the writer/director up for a sequel, but Marvel is not your typical studio.

The Wrap has found out through an interview with Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman that the film’s director and co-writer James Gunn will be returning as writer and director for an as yet announced sequel to that film.

While GotG has yet to be released, it currently has an enviable 100% fresh rating from advance reviews  at Rotten Tomatoes. Marvel likes to lock up creatives that get that kind of good buzz, case in point them locking the Russo Brothers in for Captain America 3 four months before Captain America: The Winter Soldier even opened.

Our own Rich Drees has also interviewed Ms. Perlman. Be on the lookout for that interview coming up soon.

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See The Unfinished THE DEATH OF ‘SUPERMAN LIVES': WHAT HAPPENED? Documentary Trailer

Posted on 25 July 2014 by William Gatevackes

BurtonSupermanLivesWhat is it about San Diego Comic Con time and unfinished documentaries about unseen comic book films?

Last year, Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four was looking for backers around this time. Now, it’s a documentary about the failed attempt by Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage to bring Superman Lives to the screen.

The film is titled The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? and will be done by producer/director Jon Schnepp. Schnepp has created a trailer for the film, and we see immediately that he has already spoken to many of the players from that project, including Burton, initial screenwriter Kevin Smith, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, production designer Rick Heinrichs, screenwriter Wesley Strick, costume designer Colleen Atwood, special effects supervisor Steve Johnson, storyboard artist Tim Burgard, and associate producer Derek Frey, with comic book writer Grant Morrison interviewed to provide context.

Schepp also got his hands on more of the legendary test footage Nicolas Cage shot for the project, including a shot of him flying. There is also a lot of unseen production art on display.

Schnepp is trying to raise the final $85,000 he needs to complete post production on the documentary. Currently, he has $7,332 of that on a fundraiser on the Fan Backed website. And, as is typical with this sort of fundraiser, there are rewards attached to certain donation levels ranging from getting you name in the end credits for $25 to becoming a producer for $25,000 which entitles you to every other perk from every other tier plus busts of Nicolas Cage and Brainiac from the movie.

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Edgar Wright Sets BABY DRIVER As Next Project

Posted on 22 July 2014 by Rich Drees


It has not been that long since Edgar Wright and Marvel Studios parted ways after the writer/director had spent years developing Ant-Man for them. But Wright appears to not be one to stew over the split and has already set what his next project will be – Baby Driver.

Deadline is vaguely describing the film as “a collision of crime, action, music and sound… [t]hat sounds like a close cousin to the Cornetto Trilogy.”

No word yet as to whether Wright would team up with his Cornetto Trilogy leads Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, though even if they aren’t the leads in the film I would not be surprised if they made some sort of an appearance.

Baby Driver is a film that Wright has been looking at doing for some, with it being mentioned as a possible project back in 2008 when Wright signed a two-picture deal with Working Title. The World’s End was his first film delivered under that agreement and now Baby Driver will fulfill the second obligation.

As a fan of Wright’s, I was definitely disappointed to see him exit Ant-Man back in May. But the fact that he’s already lined up his next project does take some of the sting out of it. Sure I would love to see what a director like Wright could bring to a collaborative effort like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, but I think I would like it more to see what next original project he has in store.

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Roberto Orci On SPIDER-MAN Franchise: “Not Officially Involved In It”

Posted on 13 July 2014 by William Gatevackes


roberto_orciBreakups are always hard, especially when there are children involved. You try to work together to provide your kids with what they need to go forth in the world, but that becomes tougher once other things occupy your time. And for Roberto Orci, it has become almost impossible.

Orci recently made an amicable split with writing and producing partner Alex Kurtzman, but the team was expected to stay together on anything that was already in the works. This was thought to include Sony’s planned Venom (which the pair was going to write and Kurtzman was going to direct) and The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Orci has stated in an interview with IGN when asked directly about the latter that he was not officially involved in it.

A lot of this might have to do with Sony’s uncertain scheduling. Orci said:

I don’t know what their plans are for that franchise. I don’t ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I’ve read probably as much as anyone else. There’s a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom — there’s an idea of Spider-Man’s going to be one of these characters that’s part of our business. He’s such a popular character. Spider-Man’s not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined.

If Orci is going to to direct Star Trek 3, as is rumored, he simply might not be available for the Spidey films. Whether or not this is another nail in the coffin of Sony’s plans to spin off Spidey into a shared universe remains to be seen. The idea seemed haphazardly thrown together from the get go, and the disappointing grosses and reviews for The Amzing Spider-Man 2 caused many wags to question of a line expansion was a good idea. Now they are going to have to go forward without one of the lynchpins of said expansion.

More on this as it develops.

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