Film News Roundup – July 2009 – Week 4
News Roundups will be taking a week off, but not for vacation! I will be at San Diego Comic-Con for the week and, let’s face it, that’s where all the news is going to be anyway. I’ll be live-tweeting sporadically from the con and, with any luck, may fall into some stories of my own. Stay tuned! – ScottFromLA
Emily Blunt boards ‘Bureau’
Actress joins Matt Damon in sci fi thriller
Emily Blunt has landed the female lead in “Adjustment Bureau,” joining Matt Damon in the George Nolfi-directed science-fiction thriller adapted from Philip K. Dick’s short story. Damon will play a smooth-talking congressman whose political future is thrown in doubt by uncontrollable events and the arrival in his life of a mysterious ballerina, played by Blunt.
Third ‘Bridget Jones’ in works
Cate Blanchett to star in ‘Indian Summer’
The untitled third “Bridget Jones” pic, which is still in its early stages and probably won’t go into production until the end of next year, will see Zellweger reprise her role as a British publishing exec struggling to find love. It will likely be based on the weekly columns author Helen Fielding wrote in 2005 for British newspaper the Independent in which Bridget, now in her 40s, attempts to have a baby before it’s too late.
Russell Brand set to ‘Hop’
‘Alvin’ director readies for hybrid holiday tale
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have firmed up a March 4, 2011, release date for “I Hop,” a live-action/CGI family comedy. Russell Brand has been set to provide the voice of the Easter Bunny. Tale revolves around an out-of-work slacker who runs over the Easter Bunny while driving home late. Since the bunny can’t hop with a broken leg, the slacker is pressed into duty to save Easter. The film becomes a two-hander between the iconic holiday critter and the slacker, each of whom is running from adulthood.
David Frankel to direct ‘Septimus’
Rosenfelt set to produce animated fantasy project
David Frankel (“Marley & Me”) will direct animated fantasy project “Septimus Heap: Magyk” in a development deal, with Rob Lieber adapting for Warner Bros. Warner acquired bigscreen rights to “Septimus,” Angie Sage’s seven-book series, two years ago. “Septimus Heap: Magyk” revolves around two babies switched at birth, a boy who’s the seventh son of a seventh son and a girl destined to be a princess.
Hugh Jackman to star in ‘Avon’
20th Century Fox acquires comedy pitch
In a high-six-figure deal, 20th Century Fox has acquired “Avon Man,” a comedy pitch from “Hitch” writer Kevin Bisch, as a star vehicle for Hugh Jackman, with Bisch to script. Story follows men laid off from an auto dealership. One is reluctantly recruited into becoming an Avon salesman, and while the experience is initially emasculating, he uses his charm and good looks to become a top seller. The comedy takes on a “Full Monty” vibe when the car salesman sets out to save his financially strapped family and town by conscripting his buddies into the makeup business to win a regional contest.
Willem Dafoe orbits ‘Mars’
Actor to star in Disney fantasy pic
Willem Dafoe will star alongside Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins in “John Carter of Mars”. Dafoe will play the role of Tars Tarkas, a fierce green Martian warrior, who’s unusual among his savage race for his ability to love. Tars develops an alliance with John Carter in the first film, which is based on “A Princess of Mars.” He fights battles alongside Carter through the entire series of Edgar Rice Burroughs books, so he will be hanging around for sequels.
Thesps leashed for new ‘Straw Dogs’
Bosworth, Skarsgard join Marsden in film
Screen Gems has set Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard to star alongside James Marsden in “Straw Dogs,” a reimagining of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah film. Marsden plays a Hollywood screenwriter who relocates with his wife to her hometown in Mississippi. Bosworth plays the wife, who left the South for LA. to become an actress and returns home so her husband can finish his script in quiet. Skarsgard plays her high school boyfriend, an ex-football hero who sees the return of his former girlfriend as a way to reclaim glory.
Independent takes aim
Hirst to adapt Cornwell’s bestseller ‘Agincourt’
Luc Roeg’s London-based Independent Film Co. has tapped “The Tudors” creator Michael Hirst to adapt Bernard Cornwell’s bestseller “Agincourt.” Pic will focus on Nicholas Hook, the humble archer who fought the French alongside Henry V in 1415 in one of the bloodiest battles in European history. Independent optioned the feature rights to “Agincourt” earlier this year and plans to mount a E25 million ($35 million) European co-production. Pre-production is slated for late 2010, followed by a spring 2011 shoot.
Wadlow out of ‘Tomb,’ into ‘Arena’
Director jumps from one Summit project to another
Jeff Wadlow has come on to direct “Arena,” a sci-fi action film that he began developing with Summit a few months ago. The director had been working on the prison-escape action project “The Tomb” for Summit. When that project stalled, Summit exercised an option on the helmer’s services and moved him to “Arena.” “Arena” revolves around a group of modern-day soldiers transported to a shifting landscape, where they are forced to face off against the best warriors from different eras in gladitorial battle. Frosh scribes Toby Wagstaff and Darren Howell wrote the screenplay, which Summit optioned in April 2008.
‘Violent’ turn for slasher veterans
Andy Gould, Malek Akkad, Jeffrey Allard team for pic
Andy Gould and Malek Akkad, who produced Dimension’s 2007 “Halloween” revival, and Jeffrey Allard, who exec produced New Line’s two “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” reboots, are teaming up with Michael Ferris Gibson for “The Violent Kind.” The principals summarize the film as centering on a “party (that) quickly turns wild with a typical biker mix of booze, drugs and strippers but shifts into something the likes of nothing they have ever known,” including “mysterious figures glimpsed amongst the woods, ominous sounds heard and friends found injured.”
Hobbit film could be jeopardised by Tolkien heirs’ lawsuit
“Should the case go all the way to trial, we are confident that New Line will lose its rights to The Hobbit,” said Bonnie Eskenazi, the lawyer working for the author’s son, Christopher, and the family’s charity, the Tolkien Trust. The case â€œ officially billed as Christopher Reuel Tolkien v New Line Cinema Corp â€œ is due to be heard at Los Angeles superior court in October.
‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ Begins Lensing in September
Sony Screen Gems’ Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth pic in the game-to-film franchise, is slated to go behind cameras for an 8 week shoot September 28th at Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto, writes Production Weekly. The studio has plopped the film on their release calendars for September 17, 2010. No word on who will be returning just yet, but the plot is said to take us to Tokyo for more Umbrella Corporation zombie mayhem.
50 Cent Confirms He’s Hyde
“Yeah, I’m supposed to play Hyde. It’s gonna be intense,” he said excitedly. And although his appearance will be transformed with makeup and hair so he can play a deadlier version of Forest Whitaker’s mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll, 50 Cent said that they’re just now getting around to discussing his look with accomplished filmmaker Abel Ferrara. “He’s an excellent director, so his creative ideas will definitely be an injective into what it’s actually gonna turn out to be.”
WB, DiCaprio in ‘Twilight Zone’ with Ravich
Duo hire writer to adapt classic TV series
Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way are moving ahead on a “Twilight Zone” movie, hiring Rand Ravich to pen a script based on the iconic TV series, which melded fantasy, science-fiction and horror elements. Ravich’s feature credits include directing “The Astronaut’s Wife” and exec producing “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” He also created NBC’s detective series “Life.”
Yakusho joins ‘Thirteen Assassins’
Film is remake of 1963 hit samurai actioner
Koji Yakusho (“Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Shall We Dance?”) has joined the cast of Takashi Miike’s “Thirteen Assassins,” a remake of a 1963 hit samurai actioner helmed by Eiichi Kudo. The story, based on a true incident, features Yakusho as the leader of the band of 13 samurai charged with assassinating a lord who is a known rapist and murderer before he can assume a high political post.
The Fine Print
This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive roundup of the entire weeks’ news. All stories are chosen by me for no other reason than that they got my attention and might capture yours. If something you think is more important chime in on the feedback; we’d love to hear comments and have a conversation about it.
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