Archive | In Development

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PROMETHEUS Scripter Jon Spaihts Writing Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE

Posted on 19 June 2014 by Rich Drees


Now that Marvel has decided on a director for their upcoming Doctor Strange film in the form of The Exorcism of Emily Rose helmer Scott Derrickson, the studio has now turned its eye towards getting a screenwriter in place. Towards that end they have signed Jon Spaihts, perhaps best known for supplying the first draft to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus.

Deadline and Spaihts himself confirmed the news.

Previously, Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer had beenworking on a Doctor Strange screenplay for the studio. It hasn’t been reported if Spaihts is starting from scratch or reworking what has already been done.

Spaihts is a busy guy right now, as he is the assigned writer on Universal’s new Mummy film as well as Disney’s planned The Black Hole remake. He got his first big break in 2007 when his science-fiction screenplay Passengers landed on the Black List. Currently, that script has Keanu Reeves attached to it. It was on the strength of Passengers that Ridley Scott hired him to write the first draft of what would become the director’s 2012 prequel to his landmark science-fiction horror classic Alien.

Spaihts’s other script assignments will presumably take a backseat to Doctor Strange, as Marvel is looking to fast track the film into production. The studio currently has two release dates – July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017 – staked out on the calendar with Doctor Strange being eyed for one of those dates. Casting the titular character, a surgeon who becomes the world’s protector against supernatural menaces becoming its Sorcerer Supreme, is currently underway with Thomas Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jared Leto all as being mooted on Marvel’s short list.

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Confirmation Coming In For Momoa As Aquaman

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Rich Drees


Independent confirmation is starting to be reported that corroborates initial reports from this past weekend that Jason Momoa has been cast to appear in Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and the planned Justice League movie from Warner Brothers. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that their own sources are confirming what HitFix originally reported on Saturday, that the Game Of Thrones actor will appear as the undersea superhero Aquaman in the interconnected comic book adaptations.

The story itself has become widely reported over the last few days, but almost always being sourced back to the original HitFix article. The Reporter’s independent confirmation gives more credence to the news, even if Warner Brothers has not yet made any official announcement. Unless, of course, both sites’ sources are the same.

HitFix is reporting that Aquaman “will not have a major role in [Batman V Superman], but he will make an appearance, and it definitely sets him up to return once Snyder gets to Justice League.”

Interestingly, it has been now four days since HitFix’s story broke and Warner Brothers has neither confirmed nor denied the casting of Momoa. Does silence equal acquiescence or does it mean that the whole thing is beneath them to comment on. Odds are that we will find out in just a few weeks at San Diego Comic Con.

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Dueling Bowe Bergdahl Films In Development

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Rich Drees

BoweBergdahlOne of the more contentious news stories of the last couple of weeks has been the release of Army soldier/POW Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in Afghanistan in exchange for five prisoners being held in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. But as pundits and politicos inside the Beltway weigh in on the matter, there are two competing film projects based on Bergdahl’s story being readied in Hollywood.

The first of these projects is being developed by someone who is no stranger at taking military current event stories from that part of the world and turning them into compelling cinema – Kathryn Bigelow. The Zero Dark Thirty director is reteaming with that film’s screenwriter Mark Boal to explore the possibility of putting Bergdahl’s story onto the big screen.

Much like how they had tracked the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and were already in the process of writing a screenplay when the raid that took the terrorist leader’s life happened, Bigelow and Boal have been reportedly following the Bergdahl story for some time with the intention of turning it into a movie. The project would be produced under the banner of Boal’s new production company Page One, which receives funding from producer Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures. As such, Ellison, who also produced Zero Dark Thirty, has first dibs on the screenplay for this film.

If Bigelow and Boal do decide to go forward on this project, it will have to film after she wraps work on her next project, The True American. Gearing up for a possible shoot later this year, the film will tell the true life story of a Bangladeshi immigrant injured in a revenge attack by a self-proclaimed “American terrorist” following 9/11. After the man, who will be played by Tom Hardy, was sentenced to die by a Texas court, the immigrant met him face-to-face and eventually worked to free him from death row. However, Boal could certainly work on the screenplay for the Bergdahl project while Bigelow is on set with this film.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight has acquired the rights to the 2012 Rolling Stone article “America’s Last Prisoner Of War,” written by investigative journalist Michael Hastings. Hastings died in an automobile accident last year in Los Angeles, and his death spawned a number of conspiracy theories that were quickly debunked. Reportedly, In The Bedroom director Todd Field is attached to the project.

Bergdahl, raised and home schooled in Idaho by his devoutly religious parents, reportedly walked off the Army post he was stationed at in Afghanistan, only to be captured by the Taliban and held as the only US POW by them for five years. There are still many unanswered questions about Bergdahl and his actions, despite what many in the punditsphere seem to think. And as those questions are investigated and answered in the months to come, there will be some impact on how and even if these two projects go forward.

Via Deadline.


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Kevins Smith Confirms Rumored Warner Brothers Comic Book Movie Slate

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Rich Drees


The big news last week for comic book movie fans was the report of a possible slate of films that would see Warner Brothers putting out seven adaptations of DC Comics properties over a span of two years. It is a slate that will not only see the currently in-production Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and the expected Justice League film but solo films for Shazam and Wonder Woman, a team-up film for the Flash and Green Lantern as well as an adaptation of DC Comics popular Sandman graphic novel series.

The story originated with Nikki Finke, newly returning to the internet after her ouster last year from the site she founded, Deadline. The news sparked much debate online as to the veracity of her reporting and sources, but now another someone else is coming forward to corroborate her story.

Kevin Smith, who has a pretty good line into Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice via his good friend and that film’s Batman Ben Affleck, has gone on the record stating that he had heard the same lineup of films but had been unable to say anything about them at the time. He made the admission on the latest episode of his Hollywood Babble On podcast.

Yeah, that’s what I heard, that’s what I was told. This is cool… This is a list that would make Grumpy Cat smile. This is a list that is perfect.

Smith has already spilled some details about the Batsuit his friend Affleck is wearing in the movie and that proved to be fairly spot on. That Smith has talked to Affleck or others over at Warners about what their future plans are seems plausible to me as Smith is a known DC Comics fan, who has even written some stories for various characters of theirs. Plus, Smith himself took a crack at writing one of the ultimately unused drafts of a Superman film back in the 1990s.

It is expected that Warners will be making their film slate announcement next month at San Diego Comic Con.

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X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Will Take Place In The Year…

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Rich Drees


One of the fun things about the X-Men franchise is that it hasn’t constricted itself to a straight, linear progression in terms of the settings of its films. The initial X-Men film, and by extension its two immediate sequels, took place in “the not too distant future.” The bulk of X-Men: Origins – Wolverine is set in 1981. X-Men: First Class takes place in 1963, while this summer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past bounced from the future back to 1973.

And now we know when the next installment of the franchise, Age Of Apocalypse, will be taking place.

Age Of Apocalypse screenwriter Simon Kinberg appeared on the Q & A Podcast released this weekend, interviewed by host Jeff Goldsmith about his work on bringing the iconic Days Of Future Past comic storyline to the big screen. As the conversation turned to the possibility of having younger versions of classic X-Men film franchise characters appearing in Days Of Future Past, Kinberg did state that the next film will take place in 1983, with the implication that we will see younger versions of Cyclops, Storm and others. (Kinberg also stated that the little red-haired girl watching Magneto move the stadium towards the White House is intended to be a young Jean Grey.)

Of course, this does raise the question as to where the next installment’s villain, Apocalypse, was during the events of the original rise-of-the-sentinels timeline that was averted in Days Of Future Past. It is a question I don’t feel will be answered however, so I am not that worried about it. Of course, even with time travel and the rewriting of its own timeline as a result of the last movie, the producers of the series have always played fast and loose with its continuity, never allowing things to get too bogged down by past events or to allow what was shown before get in the way of the story that they want to tell now.

For Age Of Apocalypse we are expecting James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, and Evan Peters to all return for more mutant superhero action. The film has a scheduled May 27, 2016 release date.

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SABRINA, THE TEEN AGE WITCH Still In Development At Sony

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Rich Drees

SabrinaThis past weekend’s NYC: Special Edition comic show at Manhattan’s Javitt’s Center was organized by the folks who run the New York Comic Con every fall in response to complaints that the big show was starting to focus too much on pop culture and that comics were getting pushed off to the side. And while the show did indeed focus on comics books, their publishers and creators, it was inevitable that a little news related to film would slip through.

At the panel held by Archie Comics, the company’s CEO Jonathan Goldwater confirmed that a film based on their popular Sabrina, The Teenage Witch comic is in active development at Sony Pictures with a first draft screenplay due to be turned in within two weeks. Screenwriters Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari are reportedly the ones working on the project with Mean Girls director Mark Waters overseeing things.

The film rights to Sabrina and her associated characters were optioned by Sony in April 2013. Sony

Now while it isn’t necessarily pointed out in the reportage on the panel from Bleeding Cool, I would feel confident that this new film project is not a continuation of the late 1990s TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart, but will be an entirely new live action iteration of the character.

I would suspect too that it is not going in the direction of the upcoming Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina series, which looks to be a more moody and adult-oriented horror series in a similar vein to Archie’s current critical hit Afterlife With Archie which tells of a zombie outbreak in Riverdale. Don’t worry, that series was optioned by Warner Brothers last year with Afterlife comics writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa working on the screenplay and Pitch Perfect‘s Jason Moore set to direct.

It was also reported that Goldwater stated that there would be more live action Archie news being announced soon. Perhaps it will be something from Warners about Afterlife With Archie? I dare say whatever it is, we’ll hear about it next month at San Diego Comic Con.


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Sony takes Their Turn At Bringing 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA To The Big Screen

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Rich Drees


Now that it looks as if Disney’s attempt to bring Jules Verne’s classic science-fiction adventure novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea with director David Fincher at the helm has been scuttled, Sony Pictures is looking to take their turn at the task.

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the studio has purchased a spec script from the writing team of by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar titled Captain Nemo. According to the Reporter’s sources, the script “offers a new take on the iconic antihero.” Producing will be the Maleficent team of Joe Roth and Palak Patel.

Although perhaps best known as the duo who created the long running Superman series Smallville, Gough and Millar have a long resume in film as well. The pair have worked on Lethal Weapon 4, Shanghai Noon, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

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Rumor: Warners Preparing Crazy Ambitious Film Slate To Announce At San Diego

Posted on 12 June 2014 by Rich Drees


For those who think that there is some sort of competition between Marvel Studios and Warner Brothers in getting their respective iconic superhero properties to the big screen, Wraners, with their stable of superheroes published by DC Comics, has been placing a very distant second to Marvel’s success. But if the rumor that Nikki Finke is reporting, that could be changing very soon.

According to the showbiz gossip maven, Warners is prepping a very aggressive slate of films to begin rolling out after the already announced Batman V Superman‘s release in May 2016. Specifically -

May 2016 – Batman v Superman
July 2016 – Shazam
Xmas 2016 – Sandman
May 2017 – Justice League
July 2017 – Wonder Woman
Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2

Finke was ousted from Deadline, which she had initially founded, last year, and this is the first story on her brand new, eponymously-named site. She certainly knows how to make an entrance.

It should be noted that Finke is cautioning that somethings are still in flux, but this is the shape of things right now at Warners. Finke states that the final, solidified schedule will be announced next month at San Diego Comic Con. Some of the possible projects that were considered but didn’t make this initial cut include a Suicide Squad and a Metal Men film. There is also no word as to whether director Guillermo Del Toro’s talked about Justice League Dark is still under consideration, but we can take consolation in the fact that any Green Lantern film will not star Ryan Reynolds.

But if this schedule holds to what we are seeing here, the summer of 2016 is shaping up to be the biggest superhero film summer of all time. It would open on May 6 with Captain America 3 going head-to-head at the box office with Batman V Superman. Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse would follow three weeks later on May 27. Another two weeks and we get Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10. July 8 will see an as-yet-announced Marvel Studios film hitting screens with Warner’s Shazam also landing in multiplexes that month. That’s six comic book adaptations within a potential 12-week span.

Of course, these films will follow interconnect, much in the same way Marvel’s Cinematic Universe does.

According to my source, “Like Marvel’s The Avengers, there will be cameos of superheroes for future installments. The cameos will include the already known Cyborg and Flash. Green Lantern [not played by Ryan Reynolds, thank god] may be introduced. And Aquaman will be seen in the Justice League movie. Problem is, Warner Bros Pictures was still negotiating with the actors for those cameos and future roles, meaning major contracts for multiple JL/character films to follow. The studio didn’t want to move forward until they had more of this secure so they held off starting production for a few months. Seemingly simple reason, but the implications are pretty darn huge.”

We’ve known for months that Warners has been gearing up to announce a slate of films, but I have to admit that I am surprised by the aggressiveness of this plan. Surprised, but thrilled that Warners is finally showing a commitment to bringing a number of their superheroes to the big screen. And I dare say that a Shazam/Captain Marvel film or a Flash/Green Lantern team-up film sound to be riskier propositions than the studio seemed prepared to roll the dice on before now.

Needless to say that all eyes will be on the San Diego Coimc Con next month when Warner Brothers holds their panel.

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Is Bryan Singer Being Removed From X-MEN: APOCALYPSE?

Posted on 09 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

BryanSingerBryan Singer has just directed the incredibly successful X-Men: Days of Future Past, a film that has returned to franchise to greatness, not only in terms of grosses but also reviews.

Bryan Singer is also the focus of a scandalous lawsuit where he is accused of coercing a male minor into have sex with him using his Hollywood connections vis a vis the victim’s desire to become an actor as leverage.

The former should lock Singer in as director of X-Films for the rest of his life if he so chooses. The latter should have him dropped as a hot potato for any future, big budget project. The question became, which direction world Fox go?

A new rumor has it that Fox is choosing option number two.

Radar Online is reporting that the studio wants Singer to step down from directing X-Men Apocalype because of his impending court case. The reason Radar gives isn’t necessarily because the studio thinks Singer is guilty or the nature of the crime he is accused of.  The reason sources gave Radar is that the court case might cause costly delays during production of the film as Singer would have to take time off to defend himself from the charges. And it is believed that Singer would do just that because there is evidence that he might have been shooting the first X-Men film at the time the alleged abuses took place.

Fox appears to want Singer to step down willingly, offering him the chance to handpick his successor and stay on as a producer, but all attempts at negotiating a graceful exit for Singer has not been well received by the director.

This is a messy situation and if these rumors are true it’s bound to get a whole lot messier.

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“Watson And Holmes” Comic Optioned

Posted on 09 June 2014 by Rich Drees


Given the dueling Sherlock and Elementary TV series, there seems to be no let up in the appetite for modern day reworkings of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes detective stories. And now there may be another variation on this theme coming to theaters.

Watson And Holmes, an indie comic published by New Paradigm Studios has been optioned by Feather Films for a live action feature film. The series features Watson as a Afghanistan veteran (in a vein similar to what the BBC’s Sherlock did) and Holmes as a PI living in Harlem who find a common purpose.

The comic started online and then moved to print following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It was their Kickstarter supporters that writer Karl Bollers and artist Rick Leonardi first told the news.

We are happy to announce that New Paradigm Studios has reached an agreement with Feather Films to develop Watson and Holmes as a live action property. We will have more news in the coming weeks, but we wanted to let you guys in first in the news.

The series is nominated for two Eisner Awards this year – Best New Series and Best Single Issue – with the awards to be handed out next week.


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