Posted on 20 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Will Smith is in early talks for his next film appearance, the lead role in The Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures adaptation of the Marcus Sakey novel Brilliance. Sakey’s novel tells the story of an alternate history in which some people, called “brilliants,” are born with extraordinary mental powers. Smith will star as a federal agent who is also a brilliant who is tasked with hunting down another brilliant, a terrorist intent on fomenting a civil war.
David Koepp is scripting the adaptation with Julius Onah set to direct.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the studio is looking at turning this into a franchise for Smith. It certainly feels high concept enough to do so and the novel is the first in a planned literary trilogy. And if Smith is enthusiastic about this project’s franchise potential, I can see how that enthusiasm may have influenced his recent decision not to participate in Independence Day 2, a film that would probably be more limiting in terms of future work than Brilliance and a franchise could provide.
Via The Wrap.
Posted on 20 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Director Josh Trank has chosen the quartet of actors who will play the eponymous superhero team for his upcoming reboot of Twentieth Century Fox’s Fantastic Four comic book adaptation franchise.
According to the Wrap, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell will be filling in the roles of Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, Sue Storm and Ben Grimm otherwise known as Mr Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Invisible Girl and The Thing. The studio is currently in negotiations with all for actors’ reps.
Jordan’s name doesn’t surprise me much, as he has been mooted as being in contention for his role for about a year now. More recently Teller and Mara were mentioned as being on the studio’s shortlist for their characters.
Personally, the cast strikes me as looking a bit young, even though three of them are 27 with Mara being 30. But their younger looks do feed into the rather awful plot synopsis that surfaced that Fox’s lawyers don’t like us talking about, even though Trank has said that it was fake.
The film is set for a release on June 19, 2015.
Posted on 20 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Noted science-fiction author Harlan Ellison has granted an option to writer/producer J. Michael Straczynski for his classic short story “‘Reapent, Harlequin!’ Said The Ticktock Man” based on a screenplay that Straczynski developed on spec.
Of course, the fact that Straczynski and Ellison have been longtime friends, with Ellison previously serving as Creative Consultant on Strczynski’s groundbreaking Babylon 5 television series in the 1990s.
Deadline is reporting that although the project is originating under Straczynski’s JMS Studios production shingle, he is going out to look for production partners and a director for the film, with Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro heading the list of people whom he will approach.
Ellison’s story, written in a six hour stretch at a 1965 writer’s conference, tells the story of a dystopian future society where being late is illegal, and the proportional amount of time that is wasted by a person is deducted from their life. It won the 1966 Hugo Award and the 1965 Nebula Award.
Straczynski first announced the project back in 2011, but the project may have hit a bump when the similarly-themed In Time premiered and bombed at the box office. Ellison initially filed a lawsuit against that film’s producers but later withdrew the suit.
Although Ellison has written for film and television in the 1960s and has had various of his short stories adapted for various television series such as the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone and the 1990s revival of The Outer Limits, this will be only the second time that one of his stories have been adapted for the big screen. Previously, his post-apocalypse novella A Boy And His Dog was adapted by director L.Q. Jones in 1975.
Posted on 19 February 2014 by Rich Drees
The last James Bond film, Skyfall, was filled with a number of lovely things and moments, all preserved in the beautiful photography of cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose work brought the look of the franchise to new artistic heights. And while Deakins has a history of working with Skyfall director Sam Mendes, he won’t be rejoining the director when shooting on the next Bond adventure takes place later this year.
The news was brought to us late yesterday from In Contention’s Kris Tapley –
Tapley doesn’t elaborate further as to why Deakins wouldn’t be back, but it is not hard to imagine why. Deakins has always been a much sought after cinematographer and very probably already has a busy schedule ahead of him already. Deakins passed on working with another longtime collaborator, the Coen Brothers, on their film Inside Llewn Davis so perhaps they have him secured already for their next film?
Posted on 18 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Producer Bryan Fuller may be a busy guy these days with his work on NBC’s Hannibal series and the upcoming High Moon for SyFy, but that doesn’t mean he has forgotten about past projects. Specifically, the cancelled-too-soon ABC series Pushing Daisies, a supernatural romance which centered on a pie-maker (Lee Pace) whose touch could reanimate the dead.
Speaking with Broadway World, Fuller stated that he is still exploring ways to bring the series back, and one of those ways might be on the big screen.
I’ve had conversations very recently with Barry Sonnenfeld about financing a film, and with Kristin Chenoweth and Warner Brothers about developing a stage musical.
(Broadway star Chenoweth was a cast member on the series, which very quickly discovered that it was a good idea to sometimes allow her to sing on the show.)
Pushing Daisies had a strong start, but when the 2007-2008 Writers Guild Strike interrupted its first season, the audience never seemed to come back when the show returned for a second season in the fall of 2008 and it was cancelled. But a continuation has remained a talked about possibility almost since the moment the show was cancelled. More recently, Fuller talked about the possibility of using Kickstarter to fund a film, similar to the way that the upcoming Veronica Mars film turned to fans for funding, though it seems as if nothing has come from that. There has also been a graphic novel continuation that was in production, but outside of at least a few pages being completed, no one knows the current status of the project.
Given the show’s whimsical nature, which while very much at odds with its premise still managed to strike just the right chord, I suppose a stage musical wouldn’t be too out of the question. But do fans really want to see other actors inhabiting the characters after they were played so well by the series’s original cast? Perhaps a compromise can be struck and the Pushing Daisies continuation can be an original movie musical?
Posted on 13 February 2014 by Rich Drees
If you’re a fan of Scarlett Johansson’s appearances in Marvel Studio’s films as the SHIELD agent codenamed Black Widow, you’re in for a treat, as reports are stating we are going to be seeing much more of her character in the future.
In addition to having a much larger role in this spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but that bigger role will carry over into 2015′s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Previously, we have been told that Winter Soldier will be the film from Marvel’s “Phase Two” that will most strongly feed into Age Of Ultron, so the carryover for Black Widow doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Speaking with Total Film (via CBM), Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says that additional screen time in Age Of Ultron won’t be just taken up with action sequences but will delve into the character’s only previously hinted at background.
We start filming the next Avengers film at the end of March. [Black] Widow’s part in that is very big. We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that.
Marvel has been very open that they have been exploring the possibility of solo films for a number of their characters. And the idea that there has been “some development” on a Black Widow film is exciting in that despite being in a boom time for superhero films, we still haven’t had one which featured a super heroine as its lead.
But not all of the properties that Marvel has been developing are destined for the big screen anytime soon, if ever. Remember that at various times we have heard about Dr. Strange, Black Panther, the Inhumans and the Runways have all been confirmed as being developed by Marvel as possible films and we still have yet to hear of any concrete confirmation that any of these projects are going forward.
Posted on 10 February 2014 by Rich Drees
With Jason Statham having decided to leave the Transporter franchise that was instrumental in the rise of his career as an action film star, the producers have found a replacement in the form of Game Of Thrones actor Ed Skrein.
According to Variety, the franchise’s producers EuropaCorp are looking at rebooting the franchise, and that writers Bill Collage and Adam Cooper “have given more depth to the character of Frank Martin, whose job is to transport goods and ask no questions. For instance, the movie will explore Martin’s relationship with his father.” Further plot details are being kept secret for the time being.
If they’re going to reboot the Transporter franchise I guess this guy is as good as any, and not just because he’s bald. He’s already started to make a name for himself and as demonstrated before, the franchise has the potential to make that a much bigger name for him.
Posted on 10 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Is Warner Brothers long in development live action adaptation of the classic manga and anime Akira finally going to get into production? Jaume Collet-Serra, the latest director who has been attached to the project, is doing his best to make sure it is.
While doing the publicity rounds for his latest film Non-Stop, Collet-Serra told Collider that Akira should be his next top priority.
I’m focusing on Akira though. So hopefully that’s the next one… I’ve done two movies since I put this little pause on that project… But now powers that be are interested.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as it is a confirmation of reports from last August that Warner Brothers was looking at reviving the project, which the studio had put on hold in January 2012 as casting was beginning to shape up over concerns about the film’s cost.
Budget problems have always appeared to be the root of the problem of getting a live-action Akira a reality. Albert Hughes was the first director on the project, but his take was in the very pricey neighborhood of $180 million, When Warners balked, Hughes walked. Collet-Sera had managed to cut the proposed budget in half down to $90 million but the studio still had cold feet and pulled the plug in early 2012 when he couldn’t get the budget down into the $60-$70 million range.
But Collet-Sera states that it wasn’t actually budget concerns as it was the scope of the film that has kept it from being made so far.
[I]t’s an overall conceptual thing. You know, it’s how big the movie should be, you know, for the complexity of the concept.
Granted Akira is a rather complex manga and I think that Katsuhiro Otomo did an admirable job in adapting his work into the 1988 anime classic. I don’t think that the material would be served by watering it down or skimping on the budget in order to reduce the scope of its story. I wish Warner Brothers would man up and take a chance on a full bore adaptation of this, but it doesn’t look like they are brave enough to do so.
Posted on 08 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Roland Emmerich has stated that he would be moving forward on an Independence Day sequel whether or not the original film’s star Will Smith would come back for a second round of fighting alien invaders. It appears as if Emmerich will be going it alone. Deadline is reporting that “Smith [has] informed the studio that he won’t be joining in on a sequel.”
Smith’s non-involvement shouldn’t necessarily derail Emmerich’s and the studio’s plans to get the film into theaters by their already announced release date of July 4, 2016. As we’ve mentioned before, screenwriter James Vanderbilt has been working on two versions of the sequel’s screenplay. In one version, Smith’s hotshot fighter pilot Captain Steven Hiller is the center of the action, while in the other the character is absent.
Deadline’s source notes that this is not quite written in stone yet, noting that the actor still has to meet with Emmerich and that “Smith has been back and forth before on whether to make the movie.” Smith’s vacillation on participating in the sequel has been noted before.
For me, I have to admit some disappointment that Smith is passing on returning to a film that helped launch him to superstardom. Most of his recent efforts have left me cold, and I think that the film could be a good point for him to reboot his own career.
Posted on 07 February 2014 by Rich Drees
Johnny Depp is back on board the bio-pic Black Mass. News coming out of the Berlin Film Festival (via Deadline) states that the actor has signed to play Whitey Bulger in director Scott Cooper’s film about the Boston gangster. Last spring, Depp had been in talks to appear in the film but wound up dropping out when an agreement over his paycheck couldn’t be reached.
Deadline is also reporting that Tom Hardy is in talks to play John Connolly, the FBI agent and childhood friend of Bulger, who is currently in prison for tipping off Bulger that he was about to come under federal indictment.
Bolger was the head of a Boston crime family who turned FBI informant but continued to maintain criminal connections with federal, state and local law enforcement officials. Fleeing a an impending RICO indictment, Bulger was on the run from the FBI from 1994 until his arrest at age 81 in 2011.
The screenplay is by Mark Mallouk, who has adapted Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill’s 2001 New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story Of An Unholy Alliance Between The FBI And The Irish Mob.
The production was originally scheduled to start shooting late last year, but that plan was scuttled when Derpp dropped out. The film will now get under way this May.