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Warners Hires Writer To Adapt Vertigo Comics’ FEDERAL BUREAU OF PHYSICS

Posted on 09 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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Justin Marks has been hired by Warner Brothers to script a big screen adaptation of the Vertigo Comics series Federal Bureau Of Physics. Marks will be working from a treatment written by Simon Oliver, the writer who created the comic book series for the DC Comics imprint. No director is attached to the project yet, but David Goyer is producing the project.

The series debuted last year and is set in a world very similar to our own but where the laws of physics are starting to sporadically break down. The heroes are members of the underfunded government agency tasked with studying and combating these incidents while dealing with evolving conspiracies and the threat of their department being shut down and the work they do farmed out to a private organization.

FBP2This is not the first time that Marks and Goyer have teamed to work on a comics project. A few years back Marks wrote a screenplay, Supermax, that would have brought the DC Comics hero Green Arrow to the big screen in a story that saw the Emerald Archer accused of murder and thrown into a high security prison with many of the villains he had sent there through his career.

On his own, Marks has recently completed work on a live action version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book for Disney and director Jon Favreau which the studio has scheduled for an October 9, 2015 release. He also just completed an untitled military action thriller for Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney and another classic literary adaptation, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, also for Disney. He has also turned in a screenplay for an adaptation of the DC Comics series Suicide Squad to Warner Brothers and producer Dan Lin.

Outside of his role as producer, Goyer has worked on the screenplays for Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy as well as Zack Snyder’s Superman film Man Of Steel, it’s upcoming sequel which will see Superman square off against Batman and Warners planned Justice League film.

Although not yet a year old, I find myself really liking Federal Bureau Of Physics. It started off life as Collider, but a complaint from a small indie publisher who had released a book with that title years previously lead vertigo to change the name of the series. The book’s combination of esoteric quantum theories and working stiffs in the mode of Ghostbusters played straight with a dash of mystery and political intrigue makes for some entertaining reading and artist’s Robbi Rodriguez’s depictions of the breakdown of the laws of physics should make for some interesting big screen visuals, if they can find the right director.

Via Deadline.

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New GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Clip Shows Us…Nothing New

Posted on 08 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

GuardiansoftheGalaxyLogoI have to admit, I have serious reservations about Guardians of the Galaxy, and the latest exclusive footage released to MTV doesn’t quell these fears.

As part of MTV Movie Awards Takeover: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we were privy to a new GotG extended trailer(which is embedded below). What we got was essentially the trailer you already saw, but with the opening sequence of it expanded a little bit.

While MTV is trying to play the new footage up as being like Raiders of the Lost Ark (which others have parroted), outside of both protagonists stealing something off a pedestal, there isn’t much similarity between the two. The added footage gives us a look at Star-Lord’s boot rockets and mask (which were already on display during last year’s San Diego Comic Con), put on display during the character’s goofy escape from Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Then there is some footage of Star-Lord leaping across an alien landscape, then the rest of the trailer hits.

This is all well and good, but we still have no idea what the film is about. The GotG trailer ran before Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Joining it was the trailer for Lucy, the new Scarlett Johannson film which will arrive in theaters a week after GotG. That trailer told you enough about what was going on (ScarJo play an unwilling drug mule who gets superpowers when the experimental drug leaks into her system) that you can make a judgement about the film. The GotG trailer is basically exposition about the team members, a few random action scenes and explosions, and tells you nothing about the story. Is there a reason why Marvel is keeping it a secret?

Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy opens up on August 1, 2014.

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Mary Anderson, 96

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Rich Drees

MaryAndersonMary Anderson, one of the few still living cast members from the 1939 classic Gone With The Wind, died this past Sunday, April 6, under hospice care in Burbank. She was 96.

Although she, like thousands of actresses in one of the greatest casting searches in film history, auditioned for the lead role of Scarlett O’Hara, the red-headed Anderson was given the supporting role of Maybelle Merriwether in the film about the pre-and-post-Civil War South.

With Anderson’s passing, the remaining cast member’s from Gone With The Wind number just Olivia de Havilland, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Melanie Wilkes, and Mickey Kuhn, the former child actor who portrayed Melanie and Ashley’s son Beau Wilkes.

Anderson, a Birmingham, Alabama native, was discovered by director George Cuckor while searching for an actress to take on the coveted role of Scarlett O’Hara in the screen adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel. Cuckor was eventually fired from the project by producer David O. Selznick who would go on to choose Vivian Leigh for the part though he would award Anderson with the smaller role of Maybelle.

Despite being a capable and dependable actress, Anderson’s roles rarely rose above the level of supporting in such films as The Sea Hawk, All This, And Heaven Too (both 1940) and The Song Of Bernadette (1943). She was one of the ensemble in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1944 thriller Lifeboat. Although her film career wound down in the early 1950s, she did some occasional work television work up until the mid-1960s.

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Bond Franchise Producers Sue Over Universal’s Planned British Secret Service Film

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Rich Drees

JamesBondBarrelLogoBond franchise producers Danjaq and distributors MGM have taken offense to a project that Universal is developing that chronicles the early years of the British intelligence unit known as MI6 and have filed a copyright infringement suit against the studio to stop the film from being made.

Fans of the Bond franchise will of course note that is the very real agency that the fictional superspy is employed by, so that on the surface it doesn’t sound like Sony would have much of a leg to stand on. However, the studio is claiming that the screenplay, by Aaron Berg and which landed in second place on last year’s Black List, utilizes some of the fictional elements that Bond’s literary creator Ian Fleming developed when he was first writing the espionage novels on which the film franchise is based.

According to the suit (via Variety) -

This lawsuit concerns a motion picture project, in active development, featuring a daring, tuxedo-clad British secret agent, employed by ‘His Majesty’s Secret Service,’ with a ‘license to kill,’ and a 00 (double-O) secret agent number on a mission to save England from the diabolical plot of a megalomanical villain… Most moviegoers would assume from that description alone that this lawsuit concerns the next James Bond picture. It does not. This lawsuit is instead about a James Bond knockoff that defendant Universal is readying for production, based on a screenplay that defendant Berg wrote.

The suit goes on to allege that Berg’s screenplay “misappropriates from the James Bond works far beyond the signature aspects of James Bond,” by copying “in detail nearly every aspect of the characters, plots dialogue, themes. setting, mood and other key elements of the copyrighted James Bond literary works and motion pictures.”

That’s definitely a heady accusation to make and it should be interesting to see how this plays out in court. If anything, there could very well be a succession of Ian Fleming/James Bond and British military and intelligence scholars taking the stand, which sounds like something I would watch on Court TV if they chose to air it.

However, there is some doubt that Sony’s characterization of Section 6. The studio charges in its suit that Universal has refused to share the most recent draft of the screenplay for the film which has led them to believe “Universal is continuing to develop a screenplay that constitutes an unauthorized derivative work based upon plaintiffs’ copyrighted James Bond works.”

MGM and Danjaq are seeking an injunction to prevent Universal from proceeding with the project. For its part, Universal has already hired Attack The Block director Joe Cornish and Unbroken star Jack O’Connell.

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Drew Goddard To Direct AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Spinoff SINISTER SIX

Posted on 08 April 2014 by Rich Drees

DrewGoddardDrew Goddard will not only be writing Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man franchise spinoff The Sinister Six, but will now be directing the feature as well. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that the writer/director of Cabin In The Woods is the process of closing a deal to direct the spin-off which would see the teaming-up of several of Spidey’s biggest enemies for an unspecified reason.

Goddard was hired to write the film last December. At the same time, Sony also hired Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Ed Solomon to write a solo film for the Spider-Man villain Venom, with Kurtzman being eyed to direct.

Last month Sony executive Amy Pascal stated that much of the groundwork for the Sinister Six film will be laid in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which hits theaters May 2. In that film we will get three villains in Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Also lurking around in the Amazing Spider-Man universe is the first film’s villain the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), so there are four useable villains right there before we even get to the fact that the film’s trailer flashed a hint of two more – The Vulture and Doctor Octopus.

There is no official date set by Sony for the Sinister Six film. Right now, Goddard is gearing up to shoot Netflix’s Daredevil miniseries which will be part of the streaming service’s five-series deal with Marvel Studios that should start rolling out in 2015. If he got to work on Siniser Six soon afterwards, the could conceivably be ready by 2017. That would slot nicely in between between The Amazing Spider-Man 3‘s planned release in 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 hitting theaters in 2018, as well as fitting in with the studio’s plan to have a new Spider-Man film in theaters every year.

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Universal Relaunching Attempt To Bring BATTLESTAR GALACTICA To The Big Screen

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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Universal Studios is starting another attempt to bring their science-fiction television franchise Battlestar Galactica to the big screen. They are kicking off this try by hiring Transcendence screenwriter Jack Paglen to tackle the script duties, while original series creator Glen Larson is signed on to produce.

This is the second recent big franchise hire for Pagen just two weeks ago he was hired to pen Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel/Prometheus sequel Prometheus 2.

Galactica was initially launched in 1978 as a television series on ABC. Although it earned respectable ratings, the show’s expensive budget led the network to pull the plug after just one season. But the show’s fandom lived on and in 2003, the Sci Fi Channel aired a miniseries reimagining of the tale of a lone group of survivors of a genocidal attack fleeing from the tyranny of a cybernetic race known as Cylons. The mini-series, from writer/producer Ron Moore, proved popular enough to propel a new series for four seasons, which received critical raves.

A few years back, Universal and director Bryan Singer were working on a new iteration of Galactica, having hired writer John Orloff who had previously written Anonymous, the Shakespeare conspiracy film, and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, to pen the screenplay. Oddly enough, this was not Singer’s first attempt at realizing a Battlestar Galactica project. Back in 2000, Singer and his producing partner Tom DeSanto were working to launch a television series that would serve as a sequel to the original show for the FOX Network. The production was to the point where set and prop construction was underway (See the visual effects test reel footage below) when the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 happened. Work on the project was delayed a month, forcing Singer to drop out as director of the two-hour pilot film due to his commitment to helm X2: X-Men United. Without Singer in the director’s chair, Fox grew less enthusiastic and passed on the project. Sci-Fi would step up to commission writer-producer Ron Moore to deliver the series that eventually aired.

It should be interesting to watch how this project develops. The Moore series, with its post-9/11 allegorical slant, was definitely a case of capturing lightening in a bottle twice and I have to wonder if it is possible to do a third iteration that will be as successful.

Via Variety.

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Lord And Miller Pass On GHOSTBUSTERS 3 Directing Gig

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller have passed on taking over the directorial reigns of Sony’s Ghostbusters 3. The pair had been rumored last month to have been approached for the job.

The news comes from The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider who tweeted out the following earlier this afternoon-

Given that Sony is keen to get the film into production quickly for a 2015 release, I assume that they are quickly moving through their shortlist of directorial candidates pretty quickly. But the question remains is there anyone out there who wants to take on the sequel to comedy classic?

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Peter Mayhew Will Reprise His Role Of Chewbacca In STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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While we’re waiting for the announcement of who has been cast as new characters in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, here’s word that another actor form the classic original Star Wars trilogy will be returning. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that their sources have told them that Peter Mayhew is set to reprise his role of Chewbacca the Wookie when the production gets underway next month.

Last September, it was rumored that the character would be returning, but there was some doubt as to whether Mayhew would be returning due to health issues.

Unfortunately for fans, Mayhew’s return signals that it appears as if the new Star Wars films will be ignoring at least some of the Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels and comics that had grown over the last twenty years. Mayhew’s character was killed off in the novel Vector Prime, set some 20 years after the chronologically last film in the series Return Of The Jedi. However, Disney studio head Alan Horn has stated that the new film will take place some 35 years after Jedi, suggesting that the events of that novel, and the multi-volume New Jedi Order novel storyline which it launched, is now no longer canon.

Unofficially, we’re expecting Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher to reprise their roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia from the classic original Star Wars trilogy. It also seems fairly certain that Anthony Daniels will be back as fussy protocol droid C-3PO. Maybe less certain is the return of Billy Dee Williams as the roguish Lando Calrissian, if only because his own statements that he would be returning were made before the film’s screenplay underwent extensive rewriting at the hands of Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.

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GOONIES Director Richard Donner States That They’re Still Working On A Sequel

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Rich Drees

There’s really not much new news here, but Richard Donner has confirmed that work is still being done on a possible sequel to his 1985 adventure film The Goonies and that he would hopefully like to get the entire original cast back for the follow up.

Donner made the statement while chatting with a TMZ photographer who was trying to get the Superman: The Movie director to goad the director into saying something hopefully controversial about the current spate of comic book film adaptations. (Perhaps the guy didn’t realize that Donner’s wife is one of the primary producers on Fox’s X-Men franchise?)

Unfortunately for Goonies fans, Donner has been talking about the possibility of a sequel as far back as 1998. It was even mooted as a possible Broadway production in 2007. (And I still would love to see what kind of production number they would have turned “The Truffle Shuffle” into.) While I would welcome an update as to what Mickey (Sean Astin) and his friends are up to in their adult lives and how their experiences chasing after One-Eyed Willie’s treasure changed them, I am not going to put much stock in seeing it actually happening until there are some official announcements from the studio.

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Disney Chief Reveals STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Already Filming, Casting Almost Complete

Posted on 07 April 2014 by Rich Drees

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We’ve been under the impression that the reason production on Star Wars: Episode VII has not started yet was because director J J Abrams had not finished casting the film yet. But according to Disney studio chief Alan Horn, the exact opposite is happening – filming has already begun but casting still has yet to be finalized for all roles.

Speaking at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles, as part of their ongoing Hollywood Masters series last week, Horn revealed that while they have many of the film’s main actors “in place” they are “just not completely done yet.” He also stated that

We should note Horn’s almost off-handed delivery of “We’re actually shooting some of it now,” suggests that this might not be main principal photography but possibly some second-unit stuff. Or Abrams could already be shooting some scenes involving actors we know are involved with the project – Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, the stars of the classic original Star Wars trilogy.

Horn also confirmed that the film would pick up the sage of a galaxy far, far away 35 years after Return Of The Jedi, fortuitous as it has been about that long since that film came out.

Via Hollywood Reporter.

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