1. War Horse (Touchstone, 2,376 Theaters, 146 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Steven Speilberg, like Daniel Craig, is hedging his bets this week. Like Craig, he has two films hitting theaters within days of each other.
The film is adapted from a children’s book by Michael Morpurgo, with elements from the play adapted from the same book (which is currently playing on Broadway and from what I heard is terrific in both a technical and quality perspective). The story takes place during World War I and centers on a young boy who’s favorite horse is sold to the army. He enlists in the hopes of being reunited with the animal.
2.The Darkest Hour (Summit Entertainment, 2, 324 Theaters, 89 Minutes, Rated Pg-13): This has to be counter programming at its finest. Who wants to see films about family men buying zoos or Belgian cartoon boys seeking adventure over Christmas? You want action, right? But not too dark like that one about the girl and the Swedish serial killer. You want sci-fi armageddon!
Yeah, this seems pretty darn out of place for the holiday, doesn’t it? Who knows? It might work.
The film centers on five people in Russia who fight back against an alien invasion. Why Russia? Who knows. But I’m sure the fact that Timur Bekmambetov is producing it has some role to play in the location.
The New York Times has given us our first look at Benjamin Walker as our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. Of course, this is the presidnet who also protected us from the undead as portrayed in Timur Bekmambetov’s adaption of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The film is currently in production for release next June and the Times piece does a nice job summing up the production and the zietgeist surrounding Graham-Smith’s alternate history story of vampires taking an active role in the world of the 19th century. For more details on things like the 8,000 costumes created or rented for the production, how Bekmambetov is squeezing every cent out of the film’s $70 million budget and other tidbits, pop on over and check out the story.
Timur Bekmambetov has picked his Mary Todd for his upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s comic horror novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Those familiar enough with the Lincoln presidency will probably realize that Winston looks nothing like Todd. But then again, our 16th President wasn’t known for hunting the bloodsucking undead.
Winston will be starring opposite Benjamin Walker in the role of Abraham Lincoln. Also in the cast are Dominick Cooper and Anthony Mackie.
If you couldn’t ascertain from the title, the book and film look at the secret life of Lincoln, who turns to hunting vampires during the Civil War after his mother is killed by one. The film is scheduled for a release in the summer of 2012.
It seems like only yesterday that we were telling you about two competing projects based on the public domain Jules Verne adventure novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. (In fact, it was.)
Now it looks as if there is a third studio entering in to the race to get the book on screen. Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog is reporting that producers Ridley and Tony Scott have been quietly developing their own adaptation for Twentieth Century Fox. Scripter Travis Beacham has delivered a screenplay which is transposes the novel’s action to the future yet keeps its story structure intact. Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov has been having discussions with the studio about helming the project, though no official deal has been struck yet.
As this version has been in development since the end of the writer’s strike in February 2008, it is much further along than the newest attempt over at Disney, which is still in the process of finalizing the deals of director David Fincher and writer Scott Z. Burns who then still have to actually write a script. Meanwhile, New Line’s 20,000 Leagues project is continuing through development by producer Sam Raimi with a script by Craig Titley that landed on the 2007 Black List. Titley’s take retains the original period setting of the novel and incorporates several sequences from the books that previous adaptations have not.
So which version is going to get to the screen first? Right now it looks like a race between 20th Century Fox and New Line, with Disney trailing a distant third. Of course, having a completed script isn’t a guarantee that your film will go immediately in to production. It should be interesting to see how this plays out.