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Michelle MacLaren Signed To Direct WONDER WOMAN

Posted on 24 November 2014 by Rich Drees

Michelle-MacLaren

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

Michelle-MacLaren

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

HayaoMiyazaki

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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Y,THE LAST MAN Rights Officially Revert Back To Creators

Posted on 26 September 2014 by William Gatevackes

YTheLastManWhen we last checked in on the Y, The Last Man film, co-creator Brian K. Vaughan said that the film rights would revert back to him and artist Pia Guerra if the film did not go into production in a couple of months.

That was back in January, so the rights have reverted back, right?

Right.

Dan Trachtenberg, the most recent director attached to the project was asked about the progress on the film on Twitter on Wednesday. This is what he had to say:

Trachtenberg went in more detail in an interview with /Film, stating the right have been back with Vaughan and Guerra for months. The director also went into what his take on the film would be, which would be an adventure film in the mold of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Big Trouble in Little China. It’s been a while since I read the series, but from what I recall that doesn’t seem to be exactly the best tone to take for the property.

While he hints that Vaughan’s involvement with other projects might mean that a Y, The Last Man film is for all purposes dead, Trachtenberg himself expresses a wish that if the property doesn’t remain the exclusively in the comic book medium, that a television show would be the only thing that would “suffice.”

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David Ayer May Direct SUICIDE SQUAD

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Rich Drees

250px-suicide_squad_-1Another clue as to what Warner Brothers mysterious long term plans for their DC Comics adaptations has come to light today as the Hollywood Reporter is stating that director David Ayer is considering helming an adaptation of the publisher’s Suicide Squad.

Warners had been developing the project for some time with Justin Marks attached to write back in 2011, but when the studio turned its attention to Man Of Steel and the upcoming Justice League, Suicide Squad was put on the back burner.

A group of villains forced to work together by the government for deadly covert missions, the Suicide Squad first appeared back in 1959’s Brave and the Bold #25. Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, the Squad made intermittent appearances until the late 1980s when writer John Ostrander brought them to prominence as the headliners of their own series. Prominent members of the Squad include Deadshot, Bronze Tiger, Count Vertigo and Captain Boomerang. A version of the Squad appeared on the last season of the CW’s Green Arrow series, Arrow.

Ayer’s next film, the World War Two action flick Fury, opens October 17.

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Matt Damon And Paul Greengrass Returning To BOURNE Franchise

Posted on 15 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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Perhaps taking a page from former James Bond Sean Connery, actor Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are returning to the Bourne spy franchise for the series’ fifth installment.

Deadline is reporting that Damon, who appeared as the hunted former covert assassin Jason Bourne in the first three films of the franchise, and Greengrass, who directed its second and third installments, are in the process of making deals with Universal to return to the franchise which most strongly flourished during their collaboration.

This comes as a bit of a surprise as both Damon and Greengrass have stated that in the past that they did not see any creative way to continue to the story of Jason Bourne. Indeed, after their departure, the studio created another character who was part of the same covert program that created Bourne for the franchise’s fourth installment, 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner.

The studio had previously staked out a July 16, 2016 date for an untitled-Bourne sequel, and Deadline believes that this is where the Damon/Greengrass collaboration will go. This would push the Renner-headlining Legacy sequel, which has Justin Lin signed to direct, back to some as yet unannounced date. Reportedly that project is still on as Universal would like “to broaden its franchise base, much the way that Marvel cranks out superhero films.”

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George Clooney Directing Drama About UK Phone Hacking Scandal

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Rich Drees

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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

Destroyer

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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