Archive | In Development

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Kevin Smith Teases Possible Crossover Been His ViewAskewniverse And True North Trilogy

Posted on 06 July 2015 by Rich Drees


Despite what Marvel Studios would have you believe, the modern day crossover cinematic universe had its origins with Kevin Smith and it is looking as he may be expanding the size of his New Jersey-based ViewAskewniverse to encompass our neighbors to the north in Canada.

Based on an idea he had while working on the screenplay for Moose Jaws, the film which will round out his True North Trilogy which also consists of last year’s Tusk and the upcoming Yoga Hosers, Smith has asked fans if they would like see his perennial stoners of his ViewAskewniverse comedies Jay and Silent Bob (played by Jason Mewes and Smith himself, respectively) pop up in the film. If you have time to read through the comments, it seems that fans are making good arguments for both keeping the two “universes” separate and for joining them up.

Personally, I think I would like to see them stay separate. We know that we will be seeing Jay and Silent Bob and other ViewAskewniverse denizens in the future with the upcoming Clerks III and the Mallrats sequel MallBrats which should be shooting later this summer.

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DuVernay Passes On BLACK PANTHER

Posted on 06 July 2015 by Rich Drees

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay has passed on directing Marvel Studios’ Black Panther.

The director of the Academy Award nominated Selma was reportedly in talks with Marvel to possibly direct either their Black Panther or Captain Marvel. In a statement to Essence over the weekend, DuVernay simultaneously confirmed that the project she had been in discussion was Black Panther and that she would not be taking it on.

I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther… I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.

The character of Black Panther will be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in spring’s Captain America: Civil War before appearing in his solo film due July 6, 2018. Chadwick Boseman will be playing T’Challa, a prince of the closed-boarder African nation of Wakanda, the world’s only source of vibranium, the indestructible metal that Captain America’s shield is made from.

DuVernay was very cordial about the opportunity but was pragmatic with her passing.

I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs. In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.

All in all, nothing too unusual. Studios meet with directors they are interested in only to find out that they might not be on the same page as to their vision for a film. Thanks to the critical praise and Oscar-nominations for Selma, DuVernay is probably taking a number of these types of meetings. I dare say that she won’t be wanting for work anytime soon.

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KONG: SKULL ISLAND Loses Keaton and Simmons

Posted on 02 July 2015 by Rich Drees


Here’s a bit of a bummer. Both Michael Keaton and JK Simmons have been forced to drop out of Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island.

According to Deadline, the Oscar-nominated Keaton and the Oscar-winning Simmons both have scheduling problems due to the time-intensive project being pushed back from its original fall production start to later in the year. Star Tom Hiddleston is still attached however.

Deadline is expected to recast the roles as soon as possible, with an eye towards not having to push back the start of production date any further. The film, which is set to be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts from a script written by John Gatins and Max Borenstein, is set for a March 10, 2017 release, so there wouldn’t be much play in the schedule without having that moved back as well.

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Del Toro No Longer Working On JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK

Posted on 29 June 2015 by Rich Drees


Earlier today we learned that Warner Brothers is moving all of their potential film projects based off of the DC Comics Vertigo imprint to their New Line Cinema shingle. One of those projects thought to be moving was director Guillermo Del Toro’s Justice League Dark, which contains a number of supernatural-based heroes whose adventures have been told under the Vertigo banner. Well, it turns out that Justice League Dark, which has also been known as Dark Universe, will be staying at Warner Brothers proper, it is just that Del Toro will be moving on.

It’s the Hollywood Reporter who clarified the situation, stating –

Dark, the adaptation, was to have been directed by Guillermo del Toro, but insiders say the filmmaker, who is working on a sequel to Pacific Rim even as he preps his gothic horror movie Crimson Peak, is no longer attached to the project.

Well, that’s not surprising. There hasn’t been much news on the project in a while and Del Toro has been vocal about Pacific Rim 2, so it seems pretty obvious that this where he was going to be concentrating his energies next. But the Hollywood Reporter’s story does imply that the project is still in consideration at the studio, even though it hasn’t had an official release date announced unlike a number of other DC Comics adaptations that Warners have announced for the other installments in what will be an interconnected cinematic universe. Will Justice League Dark fit into those plans or will it stand on its own? We’ll keep watching.

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Vertigo Comics films Move From Warners to New Line

Posted on 29 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

vertigo-comics-logoWhen Warner Brothers announced its slate of comic book films last year with no mention of the previously announced Sandman film, fans of the Neil Gaiman creation got worried the film might have been cancelled. Turns out it might be even worse than that.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Brothers is delegating any and all films based on DC Entertainment’s Vertigo line to it’s New Line Cinema arm. The reason given by Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. is that Warners has its hands tied trying to bring a shared universe together with the DC Comics films, and letting the Vertigo films become part of New Line’s 4 to 8 films a year means that there are a better chance of those films being developed and getting made.

New Line Cinema was founded by Robert Shaye in 1967. It built itself up by releasing the films of John Waters and re-releasing films such as Reefer MadnessThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead. These films established New Line’s identity as the studio that brought you quirky indie fare (MetropolitanRambling RoseState and MainHedwig and the Angry Inch, Boogie Nights and About Schmidt), low-budget horror (Nightmare on Elm Street series, Final Destination series, Critters, and Snakes on the Plane), before diversifying into comedies (Austin Powers series, The Wedding Singer, Wedding Crashers, and Semi-Pro) and Urban market films (House Party, Rush Hour and Friday series’, Love and Basketball, and Set It Off). New Line merged with Warner Brothers in 2008.

The studio is no stranger to films based on comic books, it was home to the Blade trilogy, The Mask, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Spawn and A History of Violence.  However, most of its non-sequel films only have budgets of less than $50 million dollars, and the ones that go above that mark don’t usually make their money back (see Town & Country, Son of the Mask, and The Golden Compass).   So, if you were hoping that we’d actually see enough money spent to do Sandman right, it might not work out that way for you.

As for what the film slate will entail, in addition to Sandman, which has Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached as at least writer/director, there is the long-rumored Guillermo del Toro helmed Justice League Dark film (which features many former Vertigo characters in the cast), a Fables film that added Jane Goldman as a screenwriter in January of this year, and a 100 Bullets film that has been in development for a while.

Odds are we may be hearing more about this in a week when the San Diego Comic Con opens.

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Feige: SPIDER-MAN Reboot Will Be Like “A John Hughes Movie”

Posted on 29 June 2015 by Rich Drees


Well, now that we know who will be starring in Sony and Marvel Studio’s joint reboot of the Spider-Man franchise and who will be directing that film – that would be Tom Holland and Jon Watts respectively – it is now time to turn our attention to seeing what kind of film will the new Spider-Man feature be.

During the press tour for Ant-Man this weekend, Birth.Movies.Death spoke to Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige about their plans for the newly integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spidey films and Feige made a rather interesting reference in his answer.

It’s the soap opera in high school, and those supporting characters, that are interesting… Just as we hadn’t seen a heist movie in a long time, or a shrinking movie in a long time, we haven’t seen a John Hughes movie in a long time. Not that we can make a John Hughes movie – only John Hughes could – but we’re inspired by him, and merging that with the superhero genre in a way we haven’t done before excites us.

If you’re not familiar with the reference, run, don’t walk, and get copies of such 80s teen movie masterpieces such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink to get an idea of what Feige is intending.

So, Sinister Sixteen Candles anyone?

Feige also stated that while the stakes of most of the Marvel films have been very high, life-and-death ones, the new Spider-Man film could be a little more personal, much in the way that this summer’s PIXAR hit Inside Out is.

Stakes don’t need to be end of the world. Oftentimes, in our films, it is, and in our future films Thanos doesn’t work small. But sometimes the stakes can just be ‘Will this little girl grow up to be healthy and well put-together, or are there too many issues for her to overcome?’ That’s HUGE! That overrides a threat to reality itself. And I think Spider-Man straddles that line in a fun way in his comics. What we wanted was a movie where the stakes could be as high as ‘This bad person is going to do this bad thing, and a lot of people could die’ OR ‘You don’t get home in time and your aunt is going to figure this out, and your whole life is going to change.’

Particularly at that age, in high school, everything feels like life or death. The tests feel like life or death. Coming home from being out with your friends seemed like life or death. The stakes are high at that age, for the same reason you talk about in Inside Out.

We knew previously that the new film was going to center more on a teenage high school student Peter Parker. Feige’s comment certainly reinforces that idea while clarifying it a bit in a rather interesting and exciting way. Over the years, comics stories that explored Peter’s high school years have built up some interesting supporting characters in his school classmates. Unfortunately, they have barely been in any of the previous films. While both Sam Raimi and Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man films were set while Peter was still in high school, they never really delved into the story potential there too deeply. But their failure to explore that shouldn’t be a reason to not try again and hopefully Feige, Watts and company will be to be on target this time.

As for who Spider-Man will be facing off against in the film, Feige says that there won’t be any familiar faces returning for a rematch any time soon.

Right now we’re interested in seeing villains we haven’t seen before.

So that takes Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, Doc Octopus, Sandman, Venom, Electro, the Rhino and the Lizard off the table. So who does that leave? Raimi was looking at possibly bringing in the Vulture and the Black Cat for his aborted fourth Spider-Man film and the Vulture was again teased in Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a possible villain if his iteration of the franchise had continued. There’s plenty of other popular bad guys available including Kraven the Hunter, Chameleon, Mysterio, Man-Wolf and the Shocker.


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Marvel/Sony Announce Tom Holland Is Spider-Man, Also Jon Watts To Direct Next Solo Spidey Film

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Rich Drees

tom hollandAfter a long casting process Tom Holland has been chosen to be the new Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man by Marvel Studios and Sony.

Holland, who has previously appeared in The Impossible, Wolf Hall and the upcoming In The Heart Of The Sea, will first appear as the iconic web slinging superhero in an as yet officially announced Marvel Studios film, though smart money has it being next summer’s Captain America: Civil War which is currently in production, before swinging off to his own solo film from Sony Pictures.

Due to their rather unique arrangement in sharing the screen rights to the comics character, both Marvel and Sony had to sign off on the casting choice. Holland beats out a number of other choices that the studio was looking at including reportedly Matt Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Asa Butterfield.

Additionally Marvel and Sony announced that Jon Watts will direct Sony’s still untitled 2017 Spider-Man movie. Watts sole directorial credit is Cop Car, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was a latecomer to the consideration process. I am not trying to find this at least a little bit worrying, but Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb only had the Sundance hit 500 Days Of Summer to his credit when he took the reins of the franchise. Hopefully Watts will have better results than Webb.

In a press release, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman stated –

The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding. I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception. I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent. For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start.

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige adding about the hiring of Watts –

As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life. We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.

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Julia Stiles Returning For BOURNE 5

Posted on 19 June 2015 by Rich Drees


Universal is getting ready to start production on the fifth film in their Bourne Identity franchise so that means its time to start hearing about casting decisions. And the first to join the already confirmed Matt Damon is Julia Stiles.

Stiles will be reprising her role of Nicky Parsons, sometime ally of Damon’s Jason Bourne, according to Deadline. She had appeared in the first three Bourne films as a former logistics technician of the rogue CIA black ops program that turned Bourne into an assassin. No word yet if Joan Allan, who also played a major supporting role through a majority of the franchise, will be returning as well. It has already been reported that Jeremy Renner’s character from 2012’s The Bourne Legacy will not be returning for this installment.

Director Paul Greengrass, who crystallized the franchise’s signature visual shakey-cam look starting with his initial work on the series’ second film The Bourne Supremacy (2004), is returning for his third turn behind the cameras. Additionally, he has collaborated with Damon and Christopher Rouse on the screenplay.

The as yet untitled Bourne film will be hitting theaters next summer on July 29, 2016.

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Rob Zombie To Tell The Story Of Groucho Marx’s Last Days

Posted on 17 June 2015 by Rich Drees


Rob Zombie has found his next project, and it is not a horror film but instead a look at the twilight years of one of the silver screen’s greatest comics.

The rocker-turned-director has acquired the film rights to Steve Stoliar’s memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House and has attached himself to direct. Oren Moverman, whose Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy is currently in theaters, is set to write the screenplay.

Since Raised Eyebrows is one of the few books on Groucho I haven’t read, I’ll let Deadline, who broke the story, describe the book for me –

The book tells the bizarre story of the last years in the life of Groucho Marx, told by a young Marx Brothers fan who spent those years as his personal secretary and archivist. In addition to getting to know his hero, the author found himself in the orbit of Groucho’s brothers Zeppo and Gummo, Mae West, George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, S.J. Perelman, Steve Allen, and scores of other luminaries of stage, screen, TV and literature. The downside of this dream-come-true was getting close to his idol as the curtain was coming down, and dealing with Erin Fleming – the mercurial woman in charge of Groucho’s personal and professional life.

Deadline quotes Zombie as saying that he has always been a big Marx Brothers fan, and if you have seen Zombie’s 2003 slasher House Of 1000 Corpses, you know that the names of several of the characters in that film are sly allusions to various characters Groucho has played in his classic comedies. Additionally Zombie stated –

[A]fter reading the book Raised Eyebrows, a totally new perspective on Groucho’s life emerged. I immediately saw this project as Groucho’s Sunset Boulevard and knew I had to bring it to the big screen. It is a sad, funny and very dark tale of a one of Hollywood’s greatest stars final years.

OK, bonus points to Zombie for referencing Sunset Boulevard, though I dare say that it was Fleming who may have been the domineering figure in this story, not Groucho.

Now I know that Zombie’s filmography does make him sound as a rather odd choice fort his film. But, after he finishes his current in production film, 31 in which five people are kidnapped on Halloween, he will begin work on Broad Street Bullies, a story which Deadline describes as being about “the Philadelphia Flyers hockey teams that brawled their way to prominence.” Does this necessarily give support to Zombie’s ability to deliver a worthwhile Raised Eyebrows? Maybe, maybe not. But I will be watching Broad Street Bullies when it comes out with much more interest now.

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Chris Pratt Will Be Back For Next JURASSIC Sequel

Posted on 15 June 2015 by Rich Drees


Even if Jurassic World had only done about half of its record-breaking box office business, it would still be extremely likely that there would be a sequel. And if there will be a sequel than Jurassic World star Chris Pratt will be a participant.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Pratt confirmed that his character of dinosaur expert Owen would be back, joking “They have me for I think 38 movies or something.”

That Pratt would be returning doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Although he was signed to Jurassic World before last summer’s Guardians Of The Galaxy came out showcasing the actor’s screen presence as a light-hearted action lead, it has become fairly standard for any contract to have a clause that covers possible sequels, which keeps the actor from having a strong negotiating position with the studio if follow-up film is warranted. I think even Daniel Day Lewis had one for Lincoln.

One person who won’t be returning to join Pratt for the sequel will be director Colin Treverrow who had previously stated that he wasn’t interested in directing a follow up. There’s been no official announcement about a sequel but you can be assured that there are talks going on right now at Universal as to where the franchise will be going into the future.

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