Archive | Directors

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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


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.


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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Is Joss Whedon Done With The Marvel Cinematic Universe After AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON?

Posted on 03 February 2015 by William Gatevackes


Eight years isn’t really a long time to be doing any one thing in Hollywood. Heck, successful TV series run for more years than that. But if you are a creative genius such as Joss Whedon, eight might just be enough.

Whedon talked with BuzzFeed News last week, and the writer/director hinted that his involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be coming to an end.

Whedon gave this response when asked if directing Captain Marvel might be in his post Avengers plans:

Um, I would never rule anything out, because I like working here. By the same token, the biggest thing for me is that I need to do something that I create myself. It’s been way too long since I created a universe. The last thing I did before The Avengers was [directing an episode of] Glee, and in between I did Much Ado About Nothing. So I haven’t created my own universe for over five years. That feels wrong. You know, my own universe might be a book of haiku. I’m not necessarily saying I’ve got a grand scheme.

I will say that when I was thinking about, Well, if I wasn’t going to do Avengers 2, what would I want to do? — of course the first thing I thought of was “turn-of-the-century female Batman.” Not Batman actually. But, you know, something cool. One person. Can’t stress that enough. Movie about one person — not a team, not 10, just one. But [I would] do a nice sort of hard action movie that combined all my favorite things. Something that would be the love child of Sam Fuller and Edward Gorey. You know, I’ve had many thoughts since then. Oh, I could do this! Oh, I could do that! But it is my instinct to want to tell those stories.

Captain Marvel I don’t know as well. There have been a few [versions] of her. I have the first issue of Ms. Marvel, back when she was that, and had the Farrah hair. My only issue with her is that she always felt sort of on top. She was very driven. A winner. I always like to dig into the soil of things to find my heroes, if I can.

Now, you can read Whedon’s comments a number of ways. But it seems that he is interested in at the very least taking a break from Marvel to work on original properties. Also, that Carol Danvers is too much of a winner for him to tackle.

While his guiding hand has made Marvel a cinematic juggernaut, anytime the creator of Buffy, Angel and Firefly wants to create something new and original, I say we let him.

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LEGO MOVIE Directors Comment On Oscar Snub

Posted on 15 January 2015 by Rich Drees


It’s not an announcement of Academy Award nominations without some surprises and snubs. One of the biggest surprises this year was the snub of critically and publicly popular The Lego Movie not being nominated in either the Best Picture or Best Animated Feature categories. (Which raises the question as to whether Academy members were unsure as to which category to place a nomination for The Lego Movie, thus diluting the support for it across the two categories.)

And while there seems to be an uproar going across the internet about the film’s lack of nominations outside of one for Best Original Song (“Everything Is Awesome”), co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller demonstrated a sense of humor about things as they took to twitter to comment.

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Why Wasn’t James Gunn Able To Use Those Characters in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY?

Posted on 06 January 2015 by William Gatevackes

JamesGunnBy now, you might have heard about the interview Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn did with The Movie Crypt where he goes into detail about characters that he wanted to use in the film but couldn’t. In case you haven’t, here’s the gist of the comments:

There’s characters that I’ve been interested in that I’m not allowed to use but I won’t go so far as to say I definitely would have had them. There was a really good chance Bug was going to show up in the first movie but we do not own him… but, anyway, that was going to happen, perhaps. Listen, I really love Rom: Spaceknight, as everyone at Marvel knows because they’ve given me Rom stuff… but we don’t own Rom. I would love for Rom: Spaceknight to show up because I love his story, I love the way he looks, I love everything about him…

There are other characters, but basically, some characters we can work around and we can use. Listen, I wanted to use the Badoon, but the Badoon we don’t own… they’re really interesting. They would be like the cannon fodder guys who were like the Sakaaran in my movie… I wrote them as Badoon but I just did a search-replace-Sakaaran when I found out we didn’t have Badoon. It was strangely late in the process when I found that out. They were designed as Badoon.

While Gunn stated that he could use those characters because Marvel didn’t own him, this will cause a number of comic book fans to scratch their head.

rom toyRom would be the only one fans would not have a question with. Rom was a space knight who traveled the universe to track down a vile alien race called the Dire Wraiths. Rom did star in a Marvel Comic book from 1979 to 1986, but Marvel only licensed the character from Parker Brothers, who came out with a Rom the Spaceknight doll, seen to the right. While the toy flopped and the comic book was a hit, Marvel was unable to hold on to the license after the comic book’s run. Rom eventually returned back to Parker Brothers, and the character has never appeared (other than in legally dodging ways) in a Marvel Comic book. This is the reason why the series has never, and likely will never be, reprinted and the character’s crossover appearances in other books face the same fate.

Bug’s ownership is more in doubt.BugOneShot1 He, like Rom, first appeared in a comic book licensed from a toy company that debuted in 1979. The Micronauts were based on a toy line manufactured by Takara Co. Ltd and was published by Marvel from 1979 to 1984, with a second series, Micronauts: The New Voyages, published from 1984 to 1986. Bug appeared in the first three issues of the original series under the name of Galactic Warrior, which was the name for one of the toys in the line, before being renamed Bug for the remainder of the concept’s time at Marvel.

The character has made a number of appearances after Marvel lost the Micronauts license, including his own one-issue series in 1997 and time as a member of the comic book version of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Brian Cronin over at Comic Should Be Good theorizes that Marvel was still able to use the character because the comic book design was different from the Galactic Warrior toy, so the name change made the character a unique Marvel creation (one of a number in the series, by the way). But perhaps present day Disney lawyers didn’t want to risk having to defend the “name-change-as-form-ownership” in a court of law, and forced Gunn to err on the side of caution.

badoon first appearanceThe Badoon being on the non-use list was puzzling. The scaly alien race existence as a Marvel creation was not in doubt. They didn’t first appear in a toy tie-in, but in an issue of a comic book Marvel own the complete and utter rights to.

However, that comic book was Silver Surfer, Vol. 1, #2. Since the aliens appeared in a comic starring Silver Surfer, and Silver Surfer first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic book, the Badoon’s film rights are apparently owned by 20th Century Fox, who holds the Fantastic Four rights. Yes, even though the aliens have appeared in just about evey comic book and are vital to the creation of the Guardians of the Galaxy (they conquered the Earth and were the enemy the original incarnation of GotG were formed to fight), because they first appeared in a spin-off of the Fantastic Four, Marvel cannot use them. Odds are that Fox won’t use them either.

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Michelle MacLaren Signed To Direct WONDER WOMAN

Posted on 24 November 2014 by Rich Drees


Michelle MacLaren has signed on to develop and direct Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers. The director with episodes of Breaking Bad and Game Of Throne episodes to her resume will be making her feature film debut with the project and is the first female director of a comic book movie since Lexi Alexander helmed 2008’s Punisher: War Zone.

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that MacLaren will be working with as-yet-unnamed writers on developing a screenplay for the project which will be one of the major cornerstones of the studio’s plans to assemble a series of interconnected films based on the superheroes published by DC Comics in a manner similar to how Marvel Studios has managed their interconnected film franchise based on Marvel Comics properties.

Warners had been seriously searching for a director to handle the project since the summer, with MacLaren reportedly becoming the odds-on favorite in August. A few weeks ago, reports began to circulate that she had landed the job.

The film will star Gal Gadot, who will be debuting as the character in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Wonder Woman has a June 23, 2017 release date. Gadot will also be appearing in the two-part Justice League film that the studio has scheduled for released on November 10, 2017 and June 14, 2019.


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Has Warners Found Their WONDER WOMAN Director?

Posted on 12 November 2014 by Rich Drees


A few weeks ago reports began to circulate that Warner Brothers was looking to hire a female director to oversee their planned Wonder Woman film planned for a 2017 release. The reported shortlist had a number of good candidates on it and it now appears as if the studio has picked a name from that list they like.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog is reporting that their sources are telling them that Game of Thrones director Michelle MacLaren has emerged as the most likely candidate for the job in the studio’s deliberations.

MacLaren became a favorite back in August, taking several meetings. Things cooled over the autumn as the studio widened its search, even beyond the female perspective. Sources say that MacLaren’s name surfaced again in the last week as a front-runner, even though as studio insiders say the company is not married to the idea of a woman director.

If MacLaren gets the job, she’ll have beaten the likes of Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) and Tricia Brock (The Walking Dead), all of whom were reportedly being considered for the job by Warners. It would also make MacLaren the first female director of a comic book-based film since Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone (2008).

MacLaren’s work on Game Of Thrones certainly gives her hands on experience with visual effects as well as action – two elements that will undoubtedly be a part of the film. And I dare say that while the idea of a female director for a Wonder Woman film does run the risk of tokenism – I would be more impressed if the studio was looking to let female director helm a male headlined superhero film – most of the directors on the studio’s short list do have impressive enough qualifications he job.

Warner Brothers had no comment, and will probably remain silent until a deal is reached and signed.


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Miyazaki Not Retiring After All

Posted on 11 November 2014 by Rich Drees


Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki isn’t quite as ready to attend a retirement party in his honor as had previously indicated. In fact, he is now stating that we can forget about having such a soiree for him at all.

Last week, while in Los Angeles to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Miyazaki indicated that previously reported statements about him retiring were premature, telling an AP reporer –

I’m going to continue making anime until I die… I like creating stories and drawing pictures.

Well, that’s just fine by me. And I hope that it his ultimate “pencil down” date is not for several years to come.

But this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Soon after the news came out of the 2013 Venice Film Festival that Miyazaki was going to retire, Toshio Suzuki, a producer at Studio Ghibli which Miyazaki had helped to found, stated that what had been reported was based off a misinterpretation of something he had said.

Reports vary as to what Miyazaki’s next project may be. We do know that Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno may be working on a sequel to Miyazaki’s 1984 film Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, though it remains uncertain if Miyazaki will have any participation in the project.

Via Rocket News 24

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Warners Looking For Female Director For WONDER WOMAN

Posted on 26 October 2014 by Rich Drees

Now that Warner Brothers has revealed their planned superhero film schedule through 2020, the news is starting to come fast and furious about these projects. We know that they are currently casting on 2016’s Suicide Squad and that Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice director Zack Snyder will be helming their two part Justice League film due in 2017 and 2019. And as the studio is searching for directors to take on the various solo superhero films filling out their schedule, they have a special requirement for one of those projects as the Hollywood Reporter has stated that Warners is keen on getting a female director to head up their planned 2017 Wonder Woman film.

The sad fact is that while we certainly seem to be in a boom period for comic book/superhero films, I can only think of two female directors who have ever really worked in the genre – Rachel Tallaly’s Tank Girl from 1995 and Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone (2008). Neither film was exceptionally well received at the time of their release, though they have gained some appreciation in the time since. The only other female director who has come close to directing a superhero film was Monster’s Patty Jenkins, who was up to direct Thor: The Dark World though she and Marvel Studios were unable to come to terms on her deal.

As to whom the frontrunners might be, Forbes is suggesting that Kathryn Bigelow is Warners top choice, but Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Mimi Leder (Deep Impact), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), and Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) are all also under consideration, as well as such television veterans Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) and Tricia Brock (The Walking Dead).

Bigelow, with an Academy Award nomination for Zero Dark Thirty and an Oscar win for The Hurt Locker, is certainly the heavy hitter here. As the most powerful female director in the business, Bigelow certainly has her choice of projects available to her, so Warners would have to present a pretty convincing case for her to take on Wonder Woman.

After Bigelow, out of all the remaining choices, I think the next most solid is Leder. Deep Impact was a well crafted movie, it suffered only by being released in the same summer as Michael Bay’s bombastic Armageddon. Taymor is an interesting, if out of the box, choice. With her theater background, Taymor’s sensibilities tend towards much more artier fare than one would expect from a comic book film director, although her Shakespearian adaptations of Titus (1999) and The Tempest (2010) may serve her with some of the character’s mythological trappings. But as director of the now infamous Spider-Man Broadway musical, will Taymor want tore-enter the world of superheroes? MacLarena would also be a strong choice given the amount of visual effects experience Game Of Thrones has probably given her.

Interestingly, while everyone who considers that there is some sort of horserace between Marvel and Warners in terms of their respective superhero franchises insists that Marvel is way out in front of Warners, an actually scheduled Wonder Woman film does put Warners in the lead as to bringing their various comic book properties to the big screen. Marvel has been dithering back and forth as to whether they will allow the up-until-now-supporting-player Black Widow, as played by Scarlett Johansson, or any other female superhero to headline their own feature film. And if Warners manages to land a female director for Wonder Woman, that would put a second first in their column against Marvel.


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AVENGERS 3: Will The Russo Brothers Be Directing It?

Posted on 14 October 2014 by William Gatevackes

russobrothers2So, it’s pretty obvious that Marvel trusts the Russo Brothers. They signed them on to Captain America 3 before Captain America: Winter Soldier even hit theaters, as savvy move considering how well that film was received by audiences and critics. But are they good enough to replace Joss Whedon on the Avengers franchise? We might just find that out in the future.

Devin Faraci over in his examination of the news Robert Downey Jr. has signed for Captain America 3 over at Badass Digest, drops the bombshell that the Russos are in negotiations to take the reigns from Whedon starting with Avengers 3 and leading the franchise at least through Avengers 4.

Since Captain America 3 will lead heavily into Avengers 3, having the Russos take over will provided a seamless tie between the two. But it seems almost sacrosanct for anyone one else besides Whedon to helm an Avengers film.

Faraci also lets us know that the Avengers after Avengers: Age of Ultron will consist of Cap, Falcon, War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, and possibly The Vision. The team will be Cap-less as it goes into Avengers 3, as Cap doesn’t make it out of Cap 3. Since they are supposedly adapting the Civil War arc from the comics, and Captain America was killed (temporarily) at the end of that arc, one could assume that the same thing would happen here. But we all know what happens when one assumes, don’t we?

He also has a theory on how the Civil War will play out in the films:

How will Civil War play out? I know that at the end of Age of Ultron Tony Stark retires from The Avengers and possibly even from being Iron Man. He feels very responsible for what happened in that film, as the Ultron project was his brainchild. Here’s my guess for Cap 3: with that in mind, and aware of the destruction his out of control robot caused, Tony thinks that the Age of Miracles is too unregulated. With the fall of SHIELD there’s simply no one keeping tabs on everybody. That scene of Black Widow in front of the Congressional committee in The WInter Soldier was a late addition, and it speaks to this – these super beings are answering to no one. And Tony decides that’s wrong. Which brings him into direct conflict with Captain America, who is still leading a team of Avengers. I don’t think this will follow the exact outline of the comic book story, but simply take the concept and the beloved Marvel idea of heroes battling.

I have a few issues with this theory. Stark has has problems with authority in Iron Man 2 (where he didn’t want to hand over his Iron Man technology to the government) and The Avengers (where he hacked into SHIELD to get info he felt Fury was hiding from the heroes). I don’t see him spearheading a program where a government agency will act as a Big Brother for the world’s heroes. I do see him providing funding to Agent Coulson’s SHIELD, which Faraci seems to forget already keeps tabs on everybody they can afford too every Tuesday night. The team’s poor financial situation is a major plot point. I’m sure Stark would be willing to help his friend Coulson out, if and when he finds out he is alive (possibly in a heavily promoted cameo during a sweeps week.) On the other hand, Cap was adamant in Winter Soldier that SHIELD not return in any way, shape or form. To find out that the organization is back and being bank rolled by Stark, boom, instant conflict.

Of course, that is just my theory. Feel free to come up with yours.

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