Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Escape" Plans Foiled?

On the heels of losing its latest director, the Escape from New York remake has lost its star as well...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Before they shot a frame of film, Gerard Butler escaped "Escape From New York," the remake of the John Carpenter film.

Right after his turn as the Spartan in "300," Butler made a deal to play Snake Plissken in a film bought at auction by New Line. He left for creative differences. New Line is persevering: studio has brought Jonathan Mostow in to rewrite, with an option to direct.

Butler just began production on Lakeshore's "Game," which Lionsgate will distribute. He'll next be seen starring in the Richard LaGravenese-directed "P.S., I Love You," the Guy Ritchie-directed "RocknRolla," and Fox-Walden's "Nim's Island."

Maybe Butler's exit is a sign that yet another remake of a Carpenter classic is a bad idea and should be scraped...Wishful thinking I know...Stay Tuned...

--Happy Halloween 2007!!!

Zero Hour....?

Hollywood prepares for "Doomsday"....

Writers strike reality sets in

While the networks have been repeating the mantra that "screens will not go black," it won't take long for TV viewers to see the impact of a Writers Guild of America strike.

Studios prep back-up plan

Despite strike, many films ready to go

WGA may delay strike

Guild leaders could hold off until next week

Indies see edge in possible strike

Actors, films could flourish outside lockout

News may fill network schedules

Strike could amp up production of shows

Post houses brace for strike

Production units prepare for hit

--The third headline offers a small glimmer of hope--I suppose--but is it just delaying the inevitable? Going on strike could force both parties to come to some sort of agreement... It's time to see what everyone is made of....Stay Tuned...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Instinctive Force Biding Its Time

In early September, I went to the theater to see Rob Zombie's 2007 version of Halloween, and despite my reservations over the very notion of a remake of the 1978 classic--Not to mention a few controversies along the way--I wanted to give the film a fair shake...

Put simply--the update is a mess and really makes you appreciate the genius of John Carpenter and Debra Hill back in '78.

As a 10 year old child, Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) brutally kills his sister Judith (Hanna Hall) and his stepfather (William Forsythe). Shortly thereafter, young Michael is put in an asylum and placed under the care of Dr. Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell).

Years later, the boy, now an emotionless catatonic man has escaped back to his hometown of Haddonfield to complete the murderous rampage. that began all of those years ago. Now, the adult Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) is back, and his hometown is about to find out that there is no escape from pure evil.

One of the strengths of the Carpenter version of Halloween is its ability to scare viewers using suspense and shock-without having to depend on gore--to tell its story. While I realize Zombie wanted to make the 2007 flick as different as possible, having no desire to make a shot for shot retread, his film uses blood and gore to make up for the fact that his film is just NOT scary.

Even though Zombie keeps the framework of the story in tact, he wastes golden chances to scare us--with the new stuff. As I feared, knowing too much of Myers' backstory just weighs everything down like an anchor. I wouldn't have minded spending 40 minutes learning how screwed up little Mikey's home life is....but frankly, as presented it's quite uninteresting.

The series already tried explaining the Shape's origin in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers with mixed results (see Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers, the Producers' Cut for more details). I agree with the Carpenter/Hill approach that "less is more"-allowing the audience to guess at the killers whys--rather than leading us there--keeping him a mythological figure or evil force--more or less...

Once the film moves into more familiar terrain though, most of that material is either dropped all together or truncated to get to its new conclusion

I actually feel bad for the cast of the movie. Everyone gives it their best shot, but thanks to bad writing by Zombie--most of the characters are given stiff and silly dialogue to utter--with the F-Word thrown in for good measure--a lot.

Many of the movie's great supporting players are wasted here. Dee Wallace, playing Mrs. Strode is introduced quickly and has only one really meaty scene after that... Danielle Harris (who is well known to the franchise faithful having played Jaime Lloyd in both Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5) plays Annie, fares a bit better with screen time but deserves better material.

When I first heard that Malcolm McDowell would be playing Dr Sam Loomis, as a fan of most of his work, I actually was pretty jazzed. It's a shame that his performance only serves to further exalt the way the late Donald Pleasence played the doc through 5 films. Sure, there was a touch of camp the way Pleasence did things, but it never got in the way of you totally buying into it full on. McDowell is not very subtle when chewing the scenery and serves as a major distraction.

Scout Taylor-Compton playing the pivitol role of Laurie Strode isn't given enough time for the part to make her the star that it made Jamie Lee Curtis almost 30 years ago.

Zombie turns the simple killer stalks babysitter premise into a bloody version of a daytime talk show or violent "After School Special"

Thank goodness, Halloween 2007 has no chance of ever becoming the true classic, that is the original.

Snake Loses A Rat

It appears that the Escape from New York remake has lost its 2nd director

According to a reader over at Ain’t It Cool News Brett Ratner isn’t involved with the update after all.

The director was asked by the source about the picture at a recent achievement award presentation and Ratner said the remake is happening… just not with him calling the shots.

Wow! Given that news I guess Ratner will be able to move on to either this film project...or maybe this biopic

It's on to finding a replacement director--How about asking I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence in a pinch?

The Writing's On The Wall

With roughly 36 hours to go before the strike deadline is reached...

--The Teamsters support WGA picket lines

The Teamsters union -- representing more than 4,000 Hollywood drivers, location managers and scouts, casting directors and animal wranglers -- is giving the WGA's strike plans a major boost with a show of solidarity that could seriously disrupt local production....

--The Studios oppose WGA strike rules

Universal, New Line take issue with regulations...

Coming down to the wire--Needless to say--Hollywood is bracing for what could be one scary Halloween....

Stay Tuned....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Going Green

The latest on the strike, with 2 days to go from the deadline, has the Directors Guild of America all upset with the Writers Guild of talks resume tomorrow...

Meanwhile--Another popular comic book hero is getting set to light up the big screen...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Warner Bros. has set Greg Berlanti to direct "Green Lantern," a live-action take on the DC Comics superhero.

Berlanti will write the script with Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green. Donald De Line will produce; Andrew Haas is exec producer.

Berlanti hopes to make the jump to big-budget fantasy fare after serving as writer and exec producer on character-driven TV series "Dirty Sexy Money" "Brothers & Sisters," "Everwood," "Jack & Bobby" and "Dawson's Creek." He previously directed 2000 feature "The Broken Hearts Club."

"Green Lantern" was hatched in 1940. Hal Jordan, a second-generation test pilot, is an ordinary man who has been charged with defending a sector of the universe.

Warner Bros. and DC Comics assigned the project to De Line, who is currently in Morocco shooting "Body of Lies," the Ridley Scott-directed WB drama that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe.

Guggenheim, who works with Berlanti as a writer-producer on "Brothers & Sisters," wrote the Marvel comic books "Amazing Spider-Man," "Wolverine" and "Blade." , the "Heroes" co-exec producer who worked with Berlanti on "Everwood" and "Jack & Bobby," wrote the Marvel Comics title "Superman/Batman and was a writer-producer on "Smallville."

I have always been a GL fan and especially enjoyed reading his monthly adventures in the 80's.

I was also a regular viewer of the short-lived TV series Jack And Bobby; Berlanti knows how to write good character drama---Guggenheim is a good guy to have around for help with all of the daring do stuff...

Let the casting rumors begin...

Left In The (Saw) Dust

Saw IV sliced its way to the top spot over the weekend.....

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

Another Halloween weekend and another big 'Saw' opening. The horror sequel raked in an estimated $32.1 million...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures’ “Saw IV” easily slaughtered the competition at the weekend domestic box office, becoming the highest opener of the troubled fall and upsetting conventional wisdom that hardcore horror no longer works.

“Saw IV” grossed an estimated $32.1 million from 3,183 locations, just shy of the $33.6 million domestic opening of “Saw III” but ahead of the $31.7 million opening of “Saw II,” according to Rentrak. It gives Lionsgate its third film of the fall to come in No. 1 after “3:10 to Yuma” and Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?”

The second headline of the weekend was Disney’s offbeat dramedy “Dan in Real Life,” toplining Steve Carell and directed by Peter Hedges. Film, produced by Jonathan Shestack, proved a welcome antidote to the flood of serious fall dramas, opening at an estimated $12 million from 1,921 theaters and coming in at No. 2. Pierce Gardner and Hedges penned the script, while Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook also star...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

As expected, the horror flick brought in a great debut number ($32.1 mil) -- but not enough to boost overall box office...

Look for the Saw/Halloween connection to continue....(forever?)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

When The Shape Stalks You...Sing

Goldentusk is back with another movie music video. This time the cinema crooner has put lyrics to John Carpenter's Main Title for the original Halloween...

Another winner! Like the film that inspired it, the video gets the job done, with very limited resources--yet still manages to be very clever and fun.

--After last week's BIG VICTORY, the Bears hope to start a winniing streak, against the Detroit Lions in their 2nd match-up of the season. USA Today has a preview...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Captain, Oh Captain!

Before I get into the latest news and rumors from The Final Frontier...There's news on the strike:

Feds step in on WGA labor dispute

With a writers strike looming, the federal government's stepping in to mediate negotiations between the WGA and the companies after three months of unproductive bargaining.

Great now both sides are really screwed!...

...The site Screen Rant claims to have gotten wind of some fresh plot spoilers for the new Star Trek from an unnamed source.

As is the case with stuff like this, until someone decides to go on the record you should take the following with a grain of space dust...

According to the site, "the new Star Trek film will focus much more on Spock than on the crew of the Enterprise". ...

The story continues..."the adventure takes place on a USS Enterprise commanded by Captain Christopher Pike (the latest actor in the running to play Pike in the flick is Josh Lucas).

Pike and crew are helped out by Kirk at some point late in the story. It's unclear on what ship Kirk would be serving on, but he is not yet a captain at that time. "There are battles with the Klingons, and we will get to see the maiden voyage of the original Enterprise: NCC-1701. Finally, none of the film takes place at all at Starfleet Academy."

Is Lucas Up For A Space Tour?

I find it hard to believe that Kirk wouldn't be at the center of things for a lot of the film. Other than true Trekkers, the general public doesn't know who Pike is, but everyone knows Kirk. As for Lucas playing Pike--I think he makes for a ship-shape fit...

Further, a trusted source tells the folks over at Trek Movie Report that Kirk does end the film as a Captain.

The original posts can be found both here and here...

Meanwhile, David Germain of the AP filed this late on Friday:

The original Capt. Kirk is disheartened he won't get to boldly go anywhere with his old pal Spock in the new "Star Trek" movie. While Leonard Nimoy is reprising his role as the pointy-eared Vulcan in next year's science-fiction flick, William Shatner is not on board as Kirk.

"I couldn't believe it. I'm not in the movie at all. Leonard, God bless his heart, is in, but not me," Shatner, 76, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I thought, what a decision to make, since it obviously is a decision not to make use of the popularity I have to ensure the movie has good box office. It didn't seem to be a wise business decision." ...

[Director JJ Abrams initially] said Shatner probably would have a part in the film, which is due in theaters in December 2008. But while Shatner said he had a couple of meetings with Abrams, nothing came of it.

"I've got a lot to do," said Shatner, whose current work includes the TV show "Boston Legal", narration for the Christmas spoof "Stalking Santa" due on DVD on Nov. 6, and the prequel "Star Trek: Academy--Collision Course", a novel chronicling Kirk and Spock's first meeting.

Shatner says of "Star Trek": "Having been in on the creation of it, I was hoping to be in on the re-creation."

This, of course is an old refrain of the Shat by now--it's funny the more I hear him bemoan the fact he's not in the movie, the less I'm actually inclined to believe all of the denials... This could just be a ploy to keep his appearance a secret...Time will tell.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Counting Down And Up

Dave McNary of Variety has the latest on the strike threat--with less than a week to go before time runs out...

With time running out to prevent a strike, studio and networks have jumpstarted stalled contract talks with a streamlined proposal that flatly nixes a hike on residuals for DVDs, one of the WGA's key demand

The companies presented the Writers Guild of America with the detailed package at Thursday's negotiating session with the goal of brushing aside issues that may be somewhat peripheral and begin the give-and-take of bargaining on nitty-gritty contract points.

But the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers also told the WGA to forget about demands for boosts in residuals...

Looks like this is gonna come down to wire--if a strike is to be avoided at all.


Travolta boards 'Pelham' remake

John Travolta is boarding "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three," negotiating to join Denzel Washington in the Tony Scott-directed remake at Columbia...

Travolta and Washington will make a solid combo as long as JT can keep the over the top acting he sometimes does--see Swordfish and 2004's The Punisher as examples. Granted, those roles were written that way but still, for Pelham to be taken seriously, he'll need to keep that "skill" to a minimum.

Slash And Burn

A Halloween weekend tradition continues as Saw IV (reviews) arrives. This latest chapter of the horror saga finally sheds light on how Jigsaw began playing "games"; Meanwhile. Steve Carell gets semi-serious for Dan in Real Life (reviews)...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

After a sluggish fall at the domestic box office, Hollywood is looking to this weekend and next to lure moviegoers back to theaters, beginning with the bow today of Lionsgate's "Saw IV" in 3,167 locations.

Tracking even more strongly are Universal's Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe starrer "American Gangster," directed by Ridley Scott, and DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie," which both open Nov. 2.

This weekend, the other wide opener is Disney's offbeat Steve Carell romantic comedy "Dan in Real Life," which debuts in 1,921 theaters in a counterprogramming maneuver by the Mouse House.

Frame will be crammed with limited debuts, including Sidney Lumet's dark drama "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead," Alison Eastwood's "Rails & Ties," Jonathan Demme's docu "Jimmy Carter Man From Plains" and "Slipstream," written and directed by Anthony Hopkins, who also stars.

"Saw IV" shouldn't have any trouble slaying the competish and taking the weekend crown in what could be the highest opener of the fall (Disney's "The Game Plan" is the season's top opener to date with $22.5 million). The industry will be closely watching the performance of "Saw," which comes amid worries that hardcore horror has peaked as a subgenre.

Whether "Saw IV" can beat the opening grosses for "Saw III" and "Saw II," which opened to $33.6 million and $31.7 million, respectively, remains to be seen. All the "Saw" films have debuted over the Halloween frame.

In June, Lionsgate was jolted when Eli Roth's hardcore horror sequel "Hostel: Part II" underwhelmed at the box office, opening to $8.2 million, less than half of the $19.5 million nabbed by "Hostel."

Still, "Saw" is the flagship hardcore horror franchise, with the first three films grossing more than $223 million domestically. "Saw IV" is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who also helmed the second and third films. Tobin Bell returns in the role of Jigsaw.

With "Dan," Disney hopes to capitalize by offering a feel-good adult title amid a sea of pics with darker storylines and politically themed plots. Film, directed by Peter Hedges, also stars Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook. Story concerns a widowed father of three who meets a woman who also happens to be his brother's girlfriend. Jonathan Shestack scripted....

Click here for the complete preview...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

''Saw IV'': It's gonna kill, of course!

Hooray, it's the year's first no-brainer! Plus: considering Steve Carell's drawing power...

With that huge theater count--"Real Life" has absilutely no shot at the top spot-- against Saw.

Next Week:Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, and director Ridley Scott come together for the eagerly awaited American Gangster; Funny man Jerry Seinfeld co-writes and stars in the animated Bee Movie; And John Cusack brings up the Martian Child...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Turning Two!

Another reason to celebrate! The Last Reel turns 2 years old today!

I'm marking the occasion with a special post of today's top news and then some:

The film adaptation of Angels & Demons is being rushed to beat the strike threat

As Hollywood scrambles to make deals before the Oct. 31 expiration of the WGA pact, one fast-tracked project has almost flown under the radar -- though it could become one of the biggest films assembled during this frenzied period...

The Da Vinci Code wasn't all that great a flick. Frankly folks, I'm not holding my breath for A&D...

Another high powered cinematic reunion is in the works

Helmer Michael Mann has cut a deal at Paramount Pictures to develop "Frankie Machine" as a star vehicle for Robert De Niro...

The drama is an adaptation of Don Winslow novel "The Winter of Frankie Machine." De Niro will play Frank Machianno, a mob hit man who has retired to run a bait shop. He agrees to help the son of a mob boss resolve a dispute with another Mafioso but is forced to turn into Frankie Machine again when he realizes he's been set up to be killed...

If "Machine" is even say a tenth as great a film as Heat is--we are in for some kick ass cinema

Even as his latest film preps to go before the cameras in the next few months, an Oscar winner gets his next gig into place

Jamie Foxx has signed on to topline "The Zebra Murders: A Season of Killing, Racial Madness, and Civil Rights" for DreamWorks. Plan B and Foxx-King Entertainment are producing...

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is Back as Final Cut is set to show up in theaters!

Before I go, I'd like to once again take the opportunity to thank all of my loyal readers for their continued support... And to all my sources that act as my springboard every day-- Many kudos

For a bit of nostalgia, click here to read my very first post from 2 years ago...

I'm still having fun! My output has more than doubled in this last year--I look forward to chronicling even more stuff as year 3 begins...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Breaking Bones

Reports have surfaced about Ryan Gosling's abrupt exit last Friday from director Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones. Gosling was subsequently replaced on Sunday by Mark Wahlberg. Word is, all of the backstage drama may lead to legal action, down the road...

The Los Angeles Times has this:

"Jackson was said to be quite surprised that Gosling had showed up to start work on The Lovely Bones looking like he'd donned a fat suit. According to sources, the 26-year-old Gosling had apparently told the director he was going to gain weight to age himself up to play the part of a grieving father, but Jackson was still expecting some movie star allure -- not paunch and a beard."


"By Friday, Gosling had left the high-profile production over those pesky 'creative differences,' and, by Sunday, he'd been replaced by 36-year-old Mark Wahlberg, who actually could be old enough to father a teenager..."

Further, Kim Masters of claims that "the break with Gosling may lead to litigation" against the actor.

Carolyn Kaste of The Associated Press asks Did Jackson Fire Gosling?

This could get ugly folks! Stay Tuned for all of the fun...

Dealing With Death

A week away from a possible industry strike--There's reason for much needed optimism...

Despite its rhetoric to the contrary, the WGA is quietly pulling the plug on the notion of getting reality shows under its jurisdiction...

Of course, given the nature of the beast, that could change on dime...

Yet, another reason to post a picture of Jessica Biel...

Dave McNary of Variety:

..Biel will topline UAs's crime thriller "Die a Little," which the studio has set up with Richard Gladstein through his FilmColony banner and Biel's Iron Ocean Films.

Based on Megan Abbott's novel, "Die a Little" explores how the lives of a schoolteacher and her LAPD detective brother are turned upside down by a mysterious woman.

The novel's set in 1954 in the Los Angeles area, but the pic will be set in the present day. Marcia and Geoffrey Blake are writing the script and originally pitched the book-based project.

Gladstein will produce along with Biel and her producing partner Michelle Purple for Iron Ocean, which optioned the book, found the writers and took the project to FilmColony. Neil Parris of FilmColony brought the project in and will exec produce.

Biel, seen most recently in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," is currently in production on "Powder Blue", alongside Forest Whitaker, Patrick Swayze and Ray Liotta.

Gladstein's credits include "Finding Neverland," "The Nanny Diaries" and the upcoming "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" and "Killshot."

Is this project the reason Biel opted out of Justice League?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dead Or Alive

A few movie news items of note

-Director Joe Carnahan hasn't had an easy time of it lately.

George Clooney has backed out of his starring role for the crime drama, "White Jazz", as first reported in Entertainment Weekly.

The indie project, based on James Ellroy's novel of the same name, was supposed to begin production in early 2008. With 2 exits in the last week, on the film---I wonder what this will do to that schedule?

"It just simply came down to scheduling. George continues to believe in the project and in Joe" says Clooney's producing partner, Grant Heslov.

And if the casting issues weren't gets worse.

Originally set for roll out by Warner Independent Pictures, a spokesperson now says, the film had dropped off its slate.

-Ugh! Yet another horror remake is on the way...

Producer David Kirschner told this past weekend that he is working on a remake of a popular movie of his - the 1988 horror flick "Child's Play" which introduced the world to the killer doll Chucky which beget four increasingly bad sequels.

"We're discussing it with Don Mancini, who has written all of them with us from the beginning. The next one we're going to do is we're going back and remaking the first one and even pushing it further and making a very terrifying version of the first one, which is pretty scary as it is"

Will they use the same script?

"I think it would be pretty close to it, that's for sure, but there's some other things that we're exploring also, and some twists that we don't want the audience to expect."

A director has not yet been considered, but he does confirm that it'll be an animatronic doll, not a computer generated or motion capture effect.

I thought the original was saved from being a total loss--thanks to the performance of Catherine Hicks (pictured)...

-Writer-director Diablo Cody and "Transformers" cutie, actress Megan Fox are teaming for FoxAtomic's upcoming comedic supernatural thriller "Jennifer's Body", according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The story follows a cheerleader with a perfect life who becomes the girl from hell when she gets possessed and begins killing boys in a small town. Her best friend must then find a way to stop her.

Atomic is hoping to make the project happen before the possible writers strike and Fox is currently in negotiations to star.

Her body of work makes Fox (pictured) the perfect choice for the flick--Whoo-hoo!

Will there be more Bourne after all?

--Matt Damon, director Paul Greengrass and, even the studio has said at one time said that "The Bourne Ultimatum" would be the last film of the series... For his part, Damon seems to have changed his mind while out doing interviews for Ocean's Thirteen release in Japan.

"Personally, the character means a lot to me because the character has done so much for my career. You know, it put me in the position where I have a lot more choices of kind of movies I want to make" [not to mention all that $$$] he told Reuters.

"If Paul Greengrass were, maybe years down the road, was interested in doing another one, then I would do it, too. I don't think either of us completely put the character to bed yet."

Hmm...What a difference a few months makes eh, Matt?

Down Memory "Lehane"

DiCaprio and Scorsese are fast tracking their next film--but it's not the one I reported on some time ago...

Michael Fleming of Variety:

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will reteam early next year on "Shutter Island," a Laeta Kalogridis-scripted adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel.

Pic is coming together quickly as a co-production between Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures, with production starting in March. Paramount will supervise production and distribute domestically while Columbia is looking to distribute internationally.

The project will be a co-production between Phoenix Pictures, Scorsese's Sikelia and DiCaprio's Appian Way banners. Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Brad Fischer and Scorsese will produce. Lehane, Kalogridis and Louis Phillips will be exec producers.

Drama is set in 1954, with DiCaprio in final talks to play U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island.

Scouting will begin shortly on the film, which most likely will shoot in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Nova Scotia.

Lehane's novel "Mystic River" was turned into a film by Clint Eastwood, and his "Gone Baby Gone" is the basis for the Ben Affleck-directed drama that opened this past weekend.

"Shutter Island" was originally optioned in 2003 by Columbia. The option lapsed and Lehane's Gersh reps resold it to Phoenix Pictures. The producer enlisted Kalogridis, the "Alexander" scribe who also wrote "Battle Angel" and "The Dive" for James Cameron. Phoenix and Kalogridis developed "Shutter Island" for about a year.

Scorsese and DiCaprio, who've now worked together on three films, were looking at several projects to do early next year, including an adaption of "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The "Shutter Island" script quickly drew both director and star, and a deal is expected to fall into place quickly.

When compared to "Wolf", "Island" seems like the better of the two, in terms of challenging both actor and director...

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Replacement

Mark Wahlberg steps in as Ryan Gosling makes a quick exit on a high profile film...

Michael Fleming and Tatiana Siegel of Variety:

One day before shooting began, Mark Wahlberg stepped in to replace Ryan Gosling in "The Lovely Bones," the Peter Jackson-directed adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel for DreamWorks.

Wahlberg has taken the role of Jack Salmon, the grieving father of a young girl. That role was vacated Friday by "Lars and the Real Girl" star Ryan Gosling, who stepped out after gaining 20 pounds and growing a beard for the job. Sources attributed the exit to creative differences.

After reading the script, Wahlberg quickly committed Sunday. He joins Rachel Weisz as a couple whose world is shattered after their daughter is murdered. The girl watches over her family and her killer from heaven. Jackson wrote the script with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

The film begins shooting today in Pennsylvania, where Wahlberg most recently wrapped the lead in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed "The Happening" for Fox. It is Wahlberg's first time working with Jackson, though the filmmaker did an on-screen stint last season on "Entourage," the HBO comedy series Wahlberg exec produces...

Talk about perfect timing eh. I would love to know what made Gosling go bye bye so close to the start of production..."Creative Differences" is code in the industry when folks don't want to get too specific about an exit.


Superman: Man of Steel has lost its writers!!

Singer Needs New Writers For MOS

Marc Graser of Variety:

Superman needs some ideas for what his next adventure might be.

"Superman Returns" scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris have opted not to come back and pen a sequel to the 2006 summer pic that would have reunited them with helmer Bryan Singer. The three also worked together on "X2: X-Men United."

As a result, WB is now taking pitches for Supe's next outing from other scribes -- just as the studio is trying to figure out which actor will don the character's tights in "Justice League."

Industry chatter claimed the studio would start fresh with a new take on the Man of Steel, as if the previous pic never happened.

Reasons mentioned were the introduction of Superman's son with Lois Lane, as well as the film's less-than-expected domestic haul of $200 million and another $191 million overseas...

But WB denies such plans and said next pic would be a sequel with Brandon Routh likely to wear the "S" on his chest again. Legendary Pictures is co-developing and co-financing the project.

New pic also will up the action quotient, however -- something Singer promised fanboys at last year's Comic-Con in San Diego

Dougherty and Harris are pursuing more directing gigs, with Dougherty having recently completed "Trick 'r Treat" at WB as his first pic. He's also looking to pen a graphic novel and children's book.

Harris, who had previously helmed "Imaginary Heroes," is writing and directing "I, Lucifer," based on the book with Daniel Craig attached to star.

I'm not as surprised that the Superman Returns scribes decided to move on--given what's on both of their respective solo plates...

But to hear that the studio might be considering a do over is quite something....

The superhero with a child plot line was a problem for me in a way--but it could be rectified quite easily without hitting "Restart".

It will be interesting to see who Singer snags to write the screenplay for MOS and whether or not any of H&D's original ideas will remain intact.

Small Bites

Taking the lead at the cineplex during a crowded weekend 30 Days Of Night...

Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo:

A record number of movies reached wide release and only one, 30 Days of Night, posted a decent gross with its estimated $16 million…..

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Sony's vampire horror pic “30 Days of Night" won the weekend at the domestic box office with an estimated gross of $16 million from 2,855 locations, while Ben Affleck’s feature directorial debut “Gone Baby Gone” opened the strongest among the crowded pack of new adult dramas.

Overall, however, films had trouble sucking much blood out of the box office, where business remained down...

Joshua Rich of Entertainment Weekly:

''30 Days of Night'' opens at No. 1, but high-profile new movies starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Halle Berry bomb big-time...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Headlines, Rumors And Legends

--Even as strike talks are set to resume tomorrow....The WGA backs strike authorization by a pretty big margin....

-Variety and the other industry trades report:

David Benioff will pen the untitled Kurt Cobain (pictured) biopic project that's being developed.

Details of the project about the Nirvana front man are still are in the early stages of being worked out. it is What the narrative would be and how Nirvana music will fit into it is still to be determined.

That said, the Cobain biography "Heavier Than Heaven by Charles R. Cross will most likely serve as a key blueprint.

Cobain helped bring about the age of grunge rock, and like so many before him the resulting fame led to struggles with drug addiction and eventual suicide in 1994.

Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, is serving as an executive producer on the flick.

-I have a question for you...

Is director Bryan Singer planning to bring back General Zod (Terence Stamp pictured) for Superman: Man of Steel...?

--Now that the bridge crew has been cast for JJ Abrams, fans waiting for filming to begin on the new Star Trek movie, are wondering what the interior of the Enterprise will look like...

--Two industry legends are gone:

Film actress Deborah Kerr who died this past week on October 16th 2007 Read the New York Times obituary...

And the last of the Rat Packers Philadelphia's own Joey Bishop died at age 89...

Both of these greats leave behind quite the legacy...

--After a heart-breaking last minute loss in week 6...

Later today: It's a family divided as I'm rooting for the Bears while the rest of the clan cheers on the Philadelphia Eagles ....Windy City Gridiron has a preview of the afternoon action...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pecking Order

The Birds remake is moving ahead....

Tatiana Siegel and Marc Graser of Variety

Naomi Watts will star and Martin Campbell is in negotiations to direct Universal Pictures's new version of "The Birds."

U is planning a reimagining of Daphne du Maurier's short story, which inspired the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock classic.

Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller will produce through their Platinum Dunes [production company], while Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman are producing for Mandalay Pictures.

U is not looking to rush the pic into production prior to a possible strike.

Stiles White and Juliet Snowden wrote a version of the script that is still being developed. New scribes may be brought aboard.

For the moment, Campbell's and Watts' dance cards are already filled with other projects.

Campbell is attached to Fox's runaway train actioner "Unstoppable" and crime thriller "36" at Paramount. He most recently helmed the latest James Bond installment "Casino Royale."

Watts, who will next be seen in Warner Independent's "Funny Games," is filming "The International" ...

Mandalay's David Zelon and Jonathan Krauss will oversee for Mandalay. Scott Bernstein is overseeing the pic for U.

Ho-hum-I still can't believe this is gonna even happen...Watts and Campbell are talented and all but it's a hard sell when you are comparing them to likes of Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock...