Monday, March 31, 2008

Mind Over Muscle

Summit Entertainment purchased a spec script by Miles Chapman called "The Tomb" as reported in Variety.

Jeff Wadlow (pictured) will be calling the shots from the big chair. His previous efforts include the recently released Never Back Down and 2005's Cry_Wolf

The Tomb centers on the world's foremost authority on structural security, who's forced to escape from the master prison that he designed while unraveling the mystery of who put him there and why.

Jason Keller is doing a script rewrite.

The studio plans to use 'Tomb' the launching pad to start franchise starter, with an action hero who uses brains, not brawn, to get out of trouble's way.

Hmm...Brains not brawn...Sounds a lot like the Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) character in the National Treasure flicks.

Following Dad's Lead....

Casting for Wes Craven's upcomming thriller, 25/8, is well on its way, according to The Hollywood Reporter.



Henry Lee Hopper (son of actor Dennis Hopper), Denzel Whitaker (named after actor Denzel Washington), Shareeka Epps and Emily Meade have all signed on to do the flick.

Hopper Jr (pictured at right) will play the lead role of Bug, one of seven teens haunted by a serial killer who supposedly died when they were born 15 years earlier.

The film takes place over the course of 24 hours as the mystery of who (or what) is stalking the small-town as the mystery plays out. The initially naive, innocent Bug is changed by these strange events.

You may have noticed that Craven is casting relative unknowns in the film...this is to avoid tipping off the audience as to who will live and will die as the film unfolds.

Family Reunion

The comedy "One Big Happy" will reunite Steve Martin and Diane Keaton (pictured with Kimberly Williams) on the big screen reports Variety.



The duo behind the popular TV drama of 90's "Party of Five, Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman are going to oversee the flick whose concept is being kept under wraps. It's being described though as a comedy about a couple and a family reconnecting amid various obstacles.

Martin and Keaton previously played a married couple in the Charles Shyer-directed "Father of the Bride" and its 1995 sequel. And in doing so--exhibited great chemistry together--and will serve "Happy" quite well in the same manner.

In The Groove

Rapper/actor Mos Def(pictured) has landed the role his career as he's set to play legendary rock n' roller Chuck Berry in "Cadillac Records" reports the trades. Variety

Written and directed by Darnell Martin (who also did the telepic Their Eyes Were Watching God), the film is set in 1950s Chicago and tells the story of the lives of Leonard Chess who co-founded Chess Records with his younger brother, Phil, by traveling the south selling records out of the trunk of their Cadillac.

Def was great in Richard Donner's 16 Blocks and is a fine actor. I suspect that he will be able to pull off the Berry persona with little problem.

Adrien Brody Jeffrey Wright Gabrielle Union and Beyoncé are also along for the ride...

Shooting is currently underway in the great state of New Jersey.

A Touch Of Kryptonite

Just when you thought the sequel Superman: Man of Steel was back on track and flying high... Are problems on the horizon?


Diane Garrett of Variety

The franchise future of comic book's most iconic hero looks to be in doubt after a landmark decision having come down last week in a seemingly endless legal battle over copyright of the character of Superman.

Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel sold the rights to the character to DC Comics for $130 back in 1937. Siegel planned to address the fact he had gotten so little from his creation - He passed away in 1996.

In 1999 his heirs terminated the earlier copyright agreement under a 1976 law, and now a federal judge ruled last week that they were entitled to claim a share of the U.S. copyright to the character.

For the moment, the ruling means nothing, as the studio responsible for MOS is expected to appeal the decision. If the suits lose though, the studio may owe the Siegels a large share of any profits from any domestic revenue generated by the Superman brand from 1999 onwards - such as the $200 million in U.S. box-office generated by 2006's "Superman Returns", the TV show Smallville, and DVD sales-just to name a few. It also means that rights to the character could revert to the Siegels in 2013.

OK-so this really doesn't mean MOS is in trouble per se but may cause the studio to rethink their plans...Let's face it though--Siegel's family wants the character out there just as much as the studio does. It's just a question of who will get a bigger piece of the pie...

Counting Cards And Cashing In

The fact based drama 21 sends the pachyderm animated Horton Hears A Who packing after 2 weeks atop the box office...





Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Sony’s gambling drama “21” beat the house at the weekend box office, winning a respectable $23.7 million from 2,648 runs and coming in No. 1. The per location average was $8,950.

Pic, with a cast including Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth, marks director Robert Luketic’s biggest opening, and his first drama. He previously directed laffers including “Legally Blond” and “Monster-in-Law.”

Twentieth Century Fox holdover “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” continued to draw an enviable hand in its third frame, coming in a strong No. 2. Toon declined 29% to an estimated $17.4 million from 3,826 runs for a cume of $117.2 million, marking the first film of 2008 to jump the $100 million mark at the domestic B.O.

After “21,” other new offerings weren’t so fortunate in their betting. MGM and Dimension Films’ spoof “Superhero Movie” came in well below expectations with an estimated gross of $9.5 million from 2,960 runs, placing No. 3 for the frame, according to Rentrak.

Paramount’s “Stop-Loss” became the latest Iraqi war film to be largely rejected by auds, managing to only place No. 8 in its bow, grossing an estimated $4.5 million from 1,291 runs. Film was directed by Kimberly Pierce in her first directing effort since “Boys Don’t Cry.”

On the specialized side, the Weinstein Co. and Fox Searchlight’s America Ferrera starrer “Under the Same Name” declined 19% from the pervious weekend as it added 124 screens in markets where the Spanish-language film was already playing. Film grossed an estimated $3.2 million from 390 runs for a per screen average of $5,771--the second best per location average after “21” among the top 20 films.

Overall, the frame was down more than 17% from the same frame last year, when Paramount/DreamWorks’ Will Ferrell laffer “Blades of Glory” led with a $33 million opening. The B.O. downturn is slowly eroding the film industry’s year-to-date revenue gains. As of Sunday, revenues were running 0.64% ahead of the same period in 2007.

Weekend saw varying results among holdovers.

Lionsgate’s “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” placing No. 4, declined 61% in its second sesh to an estimated $7.8 million from 2,016 runs for a cume of $32.8 million in its first 10 days.

Par’s Owen Wilson laffer “Drillbit Taylor” declined 44% in its second sesh to place No. 5 for the frame, grossing an estimated $5.8 million from 3,061 locations for a cume of $20.6 million.

Placing No. 6 was Fox and New Regency’s “Shutter,” which declined 49% in its second weekend to an estimated $5.3 million from 2,756 runs for a cume of $19.1 million.

Warner Bros.’ “10,000 BC” declined 45% in its fourth weekend to place No. 7 for the weekend, grossing an estimated $4.9 million from 3,055 runs for a cume of $84.9 million.

Disney’s “College Road Trip’ came in No. 9 in its fourth frame, declining 25% to an estimated $3.5 million from 2,270 locations for a cume of $38.4 million.

Lionsgate’s smart thriller “The Bank Job” continued to please, declining 33% to an estimated
$2.8 million from 1,605 runs for a cume of $24.1 million in its fourth frame. Film came in No. 10.

Joshua Rich of Entertaiment Weekly:

The sexy blackjack saga unseated ''Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!'' with a $23.7 mil weekend win...

Read more here

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fans And The Flap

Delay after delay has caused frustration for those of us waiting to see Fanboys The last release date for the flick was supposed to be in the the middle of January...Still nothing...

The film's distributor The Weinstein Company has been battling the filmmakers over creative issues

Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons:

...Finishing production two years ago, the filmmakers and Harvey Weinstein have been in a fierce struggle over competing versions of the film. The fight came down to intent - the original point of the break-in is because one of the characters is facing cancer and would not live to see 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' in theatres.

The filmmakers wanted that 'comedy with heart', whereas Weinstein wanted more of a teen comedy. So, Harvey hired Producer Shauna Robertson to oversee a $2 million reshoot of four scenes by director Steven Brill ("Drillbit Taylor") which, combined with re-editing, created a version that excised the cancer subplot.Test screenings yielded a minuscule win for the non cancer version, but the producers and real life fanboys were only emboldened by that response. Since then an estimated 300,000 e-mails have pured into the Weinstein Company's offices.

Now the Weinstein's have partially conceded, the company telling
The Hollywood Reporter that it will release the two versions on DVD and is "exploring two theatrical versions". The film still has no release date, only a promise that both versions will be available on disc.

Producer
Kevin Mann puts the back down due to "avoiding picket lines at 'Superhero ' [Movie] than it was about making a decision about the release of our movie. "Star Wars" fanboy groups remain similarly sceptical and unmoved."

As longtime readers of this blog know, I have been following the release date angle of the film forever but had no idea about the cancer subplot until now...I would say that since there was only a slight preference for the non-cancer version. It's a wash as to having the re-shoots and delays. If Weinstien thought Fanboys should be your typical teen romp then why buy the script in the first place...?

I'm glad the issue been settled for the most part and both versions will be made available...

Zone Of Influence

The production company behind Never Back Down is planning to turn the classic 1963 "Twilight Zone" episode "Death Ship into a full length sci-fi feature film called "Countdown"according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The segment was written by genre great Richard Matheson which centers on a group of astronauts who land on a planet where they find a crashed spaceship and corpses that eerily resemble their own. The crew must determine where they are and whether or not they might already be dead.

The episode is one of the series best from the fourth season-The hour long segments were harder to enjoy but that was not the case with Death Ship. Jack Klugman, Ross Martin and Fred Beir give great performances..

Writer Michael Brandt will be making his directorial debut on the project and will co-write the adapted screenplay with Derek Haas.

With a good script by great scribes and solid casting this could work out pretty well...

Brandt and Haas have worked together previously on the fabulous remake of "3:10 to Yuma" "2 Fast 2 Furious," and this summer's cool looking "Wanted."

Production could begin as early as late in the summer with a budget in the $30 million range.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What On Earth?

Keanu Reeves chatted with the folks at MTV News recently about the big budget remake of the sci-fi classic from 1951 "The Day the Earth Stood Still ."

While the original film was a cautionary tale dealing with the danger of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation, it seems the that the updated version will use the Global warming issue as its message

Reeves:

"The version I was just working on, instead of being man against man, it's more about man against nature. My Klaatu says that if the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the earth survives. I'm a friend to the earth. ...what we are doing and who we are as a species. We're trying to reach beyond the idea of [just] environmentalism."

Ugh! I just hope the "message" doesn't overtake the new flick. So much so that it bogs down the entertainment value of the film. As far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on just how big the global warming threat actually is...

He also confirms that they "have another version of the robot", the iconic Gort who's familiar look has become a part of cinema history.

Another reason to go ugh!?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Indy Overload

Lots of stuff has been going on with Indiana Jones lately... (BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS)

The official site for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" had updated its cast section this week to include some cool info that all at once seemed to disappear for reasons unknown...

Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons said that while it was up, the site seemed to confirm the long standing rumor which Dark Horizons first broke back in June - that John Hurt would be playing the long thought-dead Abner Ravenwood (father of Karen Allen's character Marion).

As recently as last month, producerFrank Marshall denied the talk of Abner's appearance in the film.

Meanwhile the site also lists "Star Wars" actor Ian McDiarmid [Palpatine] as playing the role of Professor Levi in the new film. This is surprising as McDiarmid played the role of Professor Levi, a friend of Indy's father living in Paris, in a 1993 episode of ""The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" in which Indy has a torrid affair with Mata Hari.

As the action of this film is set in 1957, forty-one years after the events of that episode, McDiarmid would have to play the character as in his late eighties (that is unless a flashback element is a part of the action)...

Having McDiarmid reprise Levi would be a neat thing and he can certainly deal with the process of older make up. Just look at what he had to go through to play Palpatine in Wars...

The folks at Empire posted an exclusive Indy pic




The May issue of the UK magazine Total Film features an article on the upcoming Indiana Jones sequel including two brand new photos....

Winstone and Harrison Ford
Shia LaBeouf as Mutt

The magazine also has a small interview with co-star Ray Winstone and a world-exclusive chat with Executive Producer George Lucas...

There's also a new shot of Cate Blanchett's character Russian agent Irina Spalko



Catch Indy in action on the big screen on May 22.

I Was Right...

Watching Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz play off of one another in the latest trailer for the upcoming rom-com What Happens In Vegas actually made me laugh out loud...



I know the flick seems to be very predictable...And how many times must we see Kutcher get it in the groin...Still, I couldn't help myself. There's no denying that Diaz and Kutcher have some great on screen chemistry (You can see it in the trailer)-as I hoped there would be--a year ago when the casting was announced.

Look for the flick in theaters May 9th 2008.

To "Hell" With It

Character actors Lorna Raver and David Paymer (pictured) are joining Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" says The Hollywood Reporter.

The story centers on Stephanie (Alison Lohman), the unwitting recipient of a supernatural curse.

Raverwill play Mrs. Ganush, a proud Eastern European woman, who, when defied and humiliated, creates the curse.

Paymer will play Mr. Jacks, Stephanie's boss.

The casting process on "Hell" has been fun to chronicle...Bring on the next phase...

Principal photography begins this Monday, March 31st, in LA.

Nothing But Nett

Funny guy Will Arnett (pictured) has signed to join the romantic comedy When in Rome says The Hollywood Reporter...



Arnett will play an Italian artist, one suitor among a group of men who falls for Kristen Bell...

Arnett is hilarious. I loved him on the series Arrested Development and now with his casting here (along with that of Jon Heder's)--I just may have to see this chick targeted flick.

Up And On The Down Lo

Despite appearing in one of 2007's worst films and a troubled private life that's no so private--actress Lindsay Lohan (pictured) is trying very hard to get things back on track.

Entertainment Tonight is reporting that she's just signed on to the biopic The Manson Girls .

The film will see her play Nancy Pitman an upper-middle class girl from Malibu who became obsessed with famed murdering kook Charles Manson.

Though not part of the group involved in the notorious mass murder plot that included the killing of Sharon Tate, Pitman was sent to jail for being an accessory to murder and for her involvement with the prison gang Aryan Brotherhood...

Lohan is very talented when she wants to be and with solid material from which to work. This is her first really serious project ---I wish her luck as she tries to rebound.

Wrapped And Warping Ahead

Cool news from the Final Frontier...



Anthony Pascale of TrekMovie.com:

141 days after he declared ‘action’ for the first time, J.J. Abrams [pictured] has wrapped principal photography for his Star Trek movie. This comes in pretty much on the original schedule (although a couple of weeks earlier than the revised schedule). The 20-week shoot is long, but actually comes in 2nd place for the franchise behind the 24 week shoot of the last ‘epic’ scale Trek film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

In his recent interview with TrekMovie.com, producer
Damon Lindelof stated that shooting would go until mid April. TrekMovie.com asked co-writer and executive producer [Roberto Orci} how it is already finished and he replied

Well we always add a few weeks for the studio, just in case. This is a lesson we learned from Scotty…this way we can appear like miracle workers.

At closing of shooting
[yesterday] on the Paramount lot JJ Abrams gave out gifts to the cast and crew and made speech thanking everyone.

Although ‘wrapped’ there is still some shooting going on. There are some 2nd unit shots (scenes without Abrams and principal cast) to go. Next week JJ Abrams is off to Tokyo for the Japanese premiere of
Cloverfield and when he comes back there will be some ‘pick-up shots’ with some of the actors (stuff they missed, different angles, etc).

On to post production

Of course due to the move of the release date to May 2009, Star Trek’s 407 days will be the longest post-production period for any Trek film. The next big step for the film is in the hands of the two editors
Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey [Industrial Light and Magic is] already at work on the visual effects, but they will now be increasing their efforts. Even though the film’s release was moved back 4 1/2 months, plans are for the film to stick with the original schedule for the most part, with some ‘padding.’ This means the film could be completed months before the release…so Paramount better lock up that vault tight.

That's great! There's only one thing left to say--Show me the (next) trailer!!

Super-Duper?

4 new flicks will try and knock off Horton off of his $100 million dollar throne

Tween TV star/singer Drake Bell and Sara Paxton spoof comic book flicks in Superhero Movie (reviews); Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth learn how to beat the system in Vegas from Kevin Spacey in the true story inspired 21 (reviews); The Iraq-War drama Stop Loss (reviews) tries to bring in the younger demo with stars like Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum; And former "Friends" star David Schwimmer directs his first feature-a comedy with Simon Pegg doing double duty as co-writer and star- called Run, Fat Boy, Run (reviews)...



Dave McNary of Variety:

Without any real breakout hits, Hollywood's seeing solid rather than spectacular box office so far this year as the first quarter ends.

As of Wednesday, 2008 receipts hit $1.98 billion, or 3% above the same point last year, according to Rentrak. And a significant amount of this year's take has come from 2007 holdovers "I Am Legend," "Alvin and the Chipmunks," "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and "Juno."

The year's about to see its first $100 million grosser as Fox's "Horton Hears a Who" -- the only pic to post back-to-back weekend wins this year -- crosses the century mark today.

But 2008 has yet to see the equivalent of "300," which launched a year ago with a stunning $70.8 million opening weekend on its way to a $210 million domestic gross. The best action performers so far in 2008 have been "Cloverfield," "10,000 BC," "Jumper" and "Vantage Point" -- none of which have topped the $80 million mark, though "10,000 BC" should do so this weekend.

And were it not for the standout $64 million perf of tween concert fave "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds," 2008 would trail last year's total.

The final weekend of the first quarter will see more of the same decent, rather than blockbuster, returns. Sony's gambling thriller "21" looks like the best bet at the weekend box office as it unspools in 2,648 theaters, winning out over the Weinstein Co. launch of "Superhero Movie" in 2,960 and the third frame of "Horton."

But the outlook seems grim for Paramount's Iraq war drama "Stop-Loss," opening at 1,291 amid expectations that moviegoers are not yet in the mood for bigscreen explorations of the painful issues raised by the five-year conflict. The outlook's also downbeat for Picturehouse's Brit romantic comedy "Run Fatboy Run" at 1,133.

Rival execs believe Sony has a winning hand with "21" and should be able to hit at least that number in millions of dollars -- probably around the mid 20s, although Sony's forecasting a take in the high teens...


Joshua Rich of EW asks:

Can the spoof flick unseat two-time champ ''Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!'' from the top spot at the box office?

Read More Here...

Of the clips of Superhero that I have seen-as is the case with most spoofs-it seems the best it has to offer is already out there...

Next Week: You can either vacation on Nims Island with Abigail Breslin or get in the game with George Clooney and the Leatherheads...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mr. Roboto

Michael Dougherty (pictured) who co-wrote Superman Returns, X2, and directed the forthcoming horror flick Trick 'r Treat, already has another reason to keep the big chair warm--according to Variety:



He is set to call the shots on the motion capture enhanced flick-Calling All Robots.

Dougherty– will also write the script with Breehn Burns and Simeon Wilkins, which they conceived together.

Robert Zemeckis Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke will produce the film.

Plot details are sketchy but Dougherty tells the trade

"I grew up watching Godzilla movies. This film is very much rooted in those movies".

The same techniques used in Beowulf will fuel "All Robots"

Afterwords

Even as we await official word on whether or not Tobey Maguire (pictured) will reprise his role of Peter Parker in Spider-Man 4-news has come that he's signed on to another comic book adaptation.

The Hollywood Reporter says that he will star in the film version of Red 5 Comics Afterburn series by Paul Ens and TheForce.Net founder Scott Chitwood

Set on Earth after a cataclysmic solar flare, has left half the planet scorched and anything living there mutated by radiation. The story focuses on a group of mercenaries make a living from mining pricey artifacts, for a hefty price. In so doing, the group faces off against pirates, fellow hunters and radiated creatures.

Sounds exciting enough...It's also very cool that folks with ties to the Star Wars saga, branching out on their own, making good...

Parental Guidance

Fresh off of that casting news for Oliver Stone's W. Variety says the parents of the President have now been found...

James Cromwell (pictured) and Ellen Burstyn to play George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush.

The Variety story reports that the film is "a drama about the formative years of their son", which on surface seems to suggest this film will be an account of Bush Jr. life prior to attaining the Presidency, rather than his time in office.

Still, that said, I'm pretty sure that Stone will include some elements of his administration in the biopic just the same...If he does not do it now...He or someelse surely will down the road.

Banking On Bush

Director Oliver Stone has found his first lady for the Presidential biopic W.

Elizabeth Banks is in final negotiations to portray First Lady Laura Bush when the film about President George W. Bush starts shooting next month according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She will play opposite Josh Brolin who has signed on as GWB,

Stone is writing a script with Stanley Weiser, who co-wrote Wall Street with him 20 some years ago.

Banks is a fine choice for this I like her work a lot--But I still wonder about the timing and tone of this flick, That said--Stone was surprisingly sympathetic in his treatment of Nixon...Still this is Stone we are talking about...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Cutting Edge

Casting continues on the horror sequel Saw V...

And Variety says the franchise has gained quite a talented actress to play in the latest installment. Julie Benz (pictured) will appear, although her specific role is not yet known what capacity is uncertain.

Benz can play evil well enough that she could easily be the next incarnation of the killer, as a devotee or copycat of Jigsaw.

Or she could also just as easily be a victim of the killer’s deadly games.

As a fan of Benz--I kinda hope she avoids death in the movie--I like the notion of her playing bad here and hopfully making Saw VI.

Sense And Sensibilities

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that plans are already in place to ensure that Anthony Minghella's last film will be finished.

Before his untimely death last week, Minghella was working on segment for the upcoming anthology New York, I Love You...

It was announced today that Shekhar Kapur (pictured) will take over directing reins on Minghella's final script. Kapur says that he'd had a conversation with Minghella before he went into surgery and was asked to take over.

"He told me his film was about the value of life and how people sometimes just throw away their lives, unable to look beyond into the real beauty of it".

"I will direct the film now -- with Anthony in my heart and in presence of his soul".

New York, I Love You is a collection of short films, highlighting a different part of the city.

Given the sweeping scale of Kapur's work on films like Elizabeth: The Golden Age and even the under-appreciated The Four Feathers, he seems the ideal replacement for Minghella, since both share a similar visual styles.

Tapped Out

The art of the telephonic communication took on a whole new meaning at the Anthony Pellicano trial yesterday...

Marc Graser of Variety:

After weeks of hearing about the types of calls Anthony Pellicano illegally recorded, jurors finally got to listen to several Monday -- and some in Hollywood may have wished they had never picked up the phone at all.

In one instance, Pellicano blasts attorney Peter Knecht with profanities saying Knecht's client, businessman Bilal Baroody, owes Universal topper
Ron Meyer about $300,000.

In the call, Pellicano alleges to be working for Meyer to collect on the loan, which was made to Meyer's Malibu neighbor Baroody, in 1997. Baroody, who had appeared to have been "down and out," wound up leaving the country, and Meyer is said to have hired Pellicano in 1999 to reclaim the funds.

In the recording Pellicano threatens that Baroody's "life is about to change exponentially unless he pays this money back" and that "this guy is f***ing with the wrong person," meaning the private eye.

In the midst of the call, Pellicano actually takes a call from former LAPD officer
Mark Arneson, a co-defendant in the trial for having used police databases to access DMV records and criminal information on individuals for Pellicano.

In another recording, Pellicano tells his client, director
John McTiernan, that he was in the middle of wiretapping producer Charles Roven (pictured) phone calls and requests more money for having to sit through hours of "boring" phone calls.

"This guy takes up to 10 minutes deciding if he's miffed or not," Pellicano says.


"I'm about to scream listening to this dialogue."

In fact, Pellicano's so frustrated with the content of the calls that he requests the helmer to listen in to decide what's important. But McTiernan suggests having his girlfriend hear the calls instead, which Pellicano quickly passes on.

McTiernan says he wants to know if Roven "says one thing to the studio."

But McTiernan ends up passing on an insistent Pellicano's plan to wiretap Roven at his home, and when pressed for more money again to continue the recordings, McTiernan says it's time to stop the wiretapping entirely.

McTiernan has already
pleaded guilty to perjury in the government's case against Pellicano.

The call with McTiernan was played after Roven took the witness stand. In his testimony Roven described his relationship with McTiernan as "cordial" during the production of the MGM and Warner Bros. actioner "
Rollerball ," although he said they had "creative differences."

Roven couldn't have been more removed from the proceedings, hard to hear and seemingly unwilling to make eye contact with anyone in the courtroom.

He looked uncomfortable while listening to the recording, as well as when he was shown lists of phone calls with MGM and Warner Bros. brass that he was having in 2000.

Pellicano also appeared uncomfortable, especially during playback of a recording in which he bragged to McTiernan, "I saved
Michael G. Nathanson's ass. He was into prostitutes and coke."

Nathanson was
[president] and chief operating officer of MGM when "Rollerball" was produced.

Altogether, the recordings were played as audible proof that Pellicano had indeed wiretapped personal phone calls of individuals the private eye was investigating, as well as of his close ties to Arneson.

Even before the jury members took their seats in the downtown courtroom, sparks started to fly, as prosecutors announced that
Bert Fields the Hollywood attorney whose name has come up on numerous occasions during the trial for his employment of Pellicano over the years, wouldn't testify and would take the Fifth Amendment....

After listening to the recordings in court, I wonder how many folks on the jury made up their mind even though they are not supposed to yet...I don't know how you would be able to just dismiss the tapes...

Stay Tuned...

Where's The Beef

Imagine that! The Platinum Dunes, the production company that's built a name for itself, remaking almost every classic horror film ever made--is actually doing an original flick (well sort of)!!

ShockTillYouDrop says PD is prepping a new movie called The Butcherhouse Chronicles.

According to the site': "Four teenagers explore a supposedly haunted house and uncover their small town's horrible secret"

The premise is based on a play by Michael Hidalgo, who will adapt the screenplay for the movie version.



Actually, it sounds like "Butcherhouse" would be a really fun stage show, as opposed to a feature film.

Battlefront

Director Bryan Singer's back to work on his WWII thriller "Valkyrie"

He's about to start two full weeks of additional filming reports Hollywood Elsewhere.

According to an MGM representative. the crew is filming "the big battle scene that was always intended to be shot that didn't occur in Berlin. These scenes took place in North Africa so they could not be shot in Berlin obviously. So they are not reshooting, but rather [shooting] additional photography"

Dennis Rise, the head of publicity, for the studio adds:

"This is not new news. We have always planned to shoot a couple scenes in the first quarter of this year. These are scenes which were always part of the original screenplay and shooting script. Because of the nature of the scenes, they were never intended to be shot in Berlin."

Tom Cruise stars in the thriller that follows a conspiracy by German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler.



Valkyrie is slated to hit theaters on October 3, 2008.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Going Nowhere Fast

The Virgin Comics Company is going to see its popular series "Nowhere Man" turned into a motion picture.

Variety says that Hugh Jackman will star and co-produce the adaptation with Eli Stone co-mastermind Marc Guggenheim

The tale is set in the future when mankind has traded privacy for safety..Jackman will play the lead of course. The comic book film genre helped launch his carreer with X-Men film series, It's nice to see that an actor can both see what's worked for him in the past and present while thinking outside the box.

I just hope Nowhere turns out better than that other non-X comic book flick of Jackman's Van Helsing. Talk about a wet dog Woof!

Anti-Up

Two favorites of the independent film circuit are coming together ...

The Hollywood Insider is reporting that Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are negotiating to star in the 'anti-romantic comedy' "500 Days of Summer".

Gordon-Levitt plays a young man who meets a young woman (Deschanel) who doesn't believe in love, and so he goes about trying to convince her that it can be found.

Music video maverick Marc Webb will direct the film from a script by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber.

This very talented duo should produce on screen magic...

Filming begins this Spring.

Hell Never Looked So Good

First she faced death at hands of the mosnter in Cloverfield, now director Sam Raimi is sending Jessica Lucas (pictured) to "Hell"

ShockTillYouDrop.com says Lucas has landed a supporting role in Drag Me to Hell.

The lovely and talented Ms. Lucas certainly knows her way around a horror flick.

Written by Raimi and his brother, Ivan, the film starts shooting on March 31.

Blue Velvet

Hollywood's past is catching up with itself...

Recession, post-strike blues grip town

The wave of euphoria that swept over Hollywood following the end of the Writers Guild strike has been replaced by a whole new set of emotions: anxiety, depression, fear, nervousness -- and anger.

While 2 more industry orgs. try to avert another disaster

SAG, AFTRA working on proposal

Focus is on new feature-prime time contract...

Stay Tuned...

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Voyage Home

Before Ronald D. Moore brought Battlestar Galactica into the 21st century, he wrote for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", helping both "Star Trek" TV spin-offs hit their stride in the 90s.

In a recent interview with Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Moore talked about how he “wrangled a set visit” on the new Star Trek flick. He also drew a parallel between the J.J. Abrams team and when Harve Bennett (pictured with William Shatner) and Nicholas Meyer took over the film franchise in '82 for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.



I saw the sets and thought the production design was just great. I just really liked the visual of it. And the vibe on the set was incredibly positive and very up. People were feeling good and confident and happy. It was really great for me. It was great to be back at Paramount and to walk into a stage where there was a Federation starship.

Moore on if the studio suits did the right thing hiring Abrams:

Absolutely. I think that was a very smart decision. God love all of us that did all the series and the movies during those years, but that’s a long time. There were a lot of tired people. A lot of tired blood. And it’s time to bring in fresh eyes to it all.

I think it’s akin to when they brought in Harve Bennett to write ‘The Wrath of Khan.’ [Creator Gene Roddenberry] had lived and breathed ‘Trek’ for a long time. He did [‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture] ’ and ‘The Motion Picture’ is what it is – I certainly went to see it and loved it at the moment, but it was bloated and [had] overruns and there a sense of it not really finding its feet yet.

Then they brought in Harve Bennett, who had no connection to the show, and [director] Meyer, who had never seen the show, and they reinvented it. They started over. They went at the costumes differently, the storytelling, the vibe of it, the style of story that they were going to do. They rescued the whole franchise. ‘Wrath of Khan’ makes all the subsequent ‘Star Trek’ projects possible.

And I think that’s where they are with the franchise now. They’ve brought in someone new, someone with no connection to the what’s come before, who cares about it and says, ‘Wipe the slate, let’s make this version...


If the Trek reboot ends up being as good as TWOK is expect Abrams to hang around for a while doing a few more missions.

Moore has a pretty good sense of what works--If the vibe he's getting is positive then that's a good omen...

Slim Shady

Director Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio must have had a great time working together on the forthcoming drama Body of Lies-because the talented duo are already planning to work together in the near future.

The 2 are eying to turn Brad Ingelsby's spec script-a thriller called "The Low Dweller" into a flick according to The Hollywood Reporter

Set in Indiana during the mid-1980s, the movie focuses on a ex-con called Slim (DiCaprio) as he tries to assimilate back into society after serving his time

His plans on marrying his girlfriend, are interrupted when he discovers that his loser brother has been murdered after getting involved a gambling ring.

He decides to put his new life on hold to avenge his brother's murder. Scott and DiCaprio will co-produce the film, with DiCaprio attached to star and Scott hoping to direct.

The project will not happen immediately though-DiCaprio's currently working on another period thriller "Shutter Island" while Scott is prepping the dramatic romance "Nottingham"

Trevi's Bevy

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that the cast for the forthcoming romantic comedy When in Rome has grown by four.

Shepard


Dax Shepard, Josh Duhamel (pictured right), Jon Heder, and Anjelica Huston are joining Kristen Bell for the Mark Steven Johnson directed flick.

As the lead Bell plays a New Yorker who finds herself inundated with romantic attention after stealing wishing coins from the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Duhamel has the romantic lead, Shepard will play an aspiring model, Huston plays Bell's boss and Heder will be a street magician.

I particularly love the idea of Heder playing a street magic guy...

The set should prove interesting considering that Bell was, at one time (?) rumored to be dating her co-star Shepard...

Lake Effect

Jared Padalecki of TV's Supernatural is close to landing a lead role in the upcoming Friday the 13th remake as told in The Hollywood Reporter.



The update will see the hockey mask wearing Jason will be the killer-unlike the 1980 original.

Padalecki would play someone who investigates the goings on up at Crystal Lake.

Marcus Nispel (the '03 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is calling action from a script by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift (the pair behind Freddy vs. Jason).

2 things come to mind with this news: With Padalecki in the lead, the possibility for his character to fare better than the one he played in another horror remake House of Wax from '05. And his TV gig allows him to often investigate strange occurrences.

The film is currently scheduled for a release on Friday February 13th 2009.

Man Of The People

New Jersey's own James Gandolfini has joined the cast of The Taking of Pelham 123 remake for director Tony Scott, according to Variety.

The former The Sopranos star plays the NYC Mayor under pressure to bring an end to a tense hostage situation

John Travolta leads the bad guys who are holding a packed subway car for ransom. Denzel Washington. plays the cop trying to stop them.

Gandolfini makes a fine choice for this role and has the talent to work opposite Travolta and Washington. Washington previously worked with the G-man in Scott's '95 potboiler Crimson Tide.

Another Trunk Full Of Cash

Audiences decided to stick with Horton Hears A Who over the holiday weekend--giving Jim Carrey his first gigantic hit in a good long time...


Ben Fritz of Variety

“Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who” heard No. 1 for the second frame in a row, as Fox’s CGI toon beat out another solid bow for Tyler Perry and a weak opening for Owen Wilson.

Fox Searchlight and the Weinstein Co. may have had the most to brag about for the frame, however, as their “Under the Same Moon” broke the record for the biggest opening of a Spanish language film in the U.S., grossing 2.6 million from 266 locations. Studios noted that it did well in heavily Latino markets and at art house theaters. Per play average was $9,774 and the cume since Wednesday is $3.3 million.

Falloff for “Horton” was 45%, giving it a gross of $25.1 million. After a very strong Good Friday, when it took in $10.3 million, pic had a tougher Saturday and Sunday, apparently due to the Easter holiday. Cume after 10 days is $86.5 million.

“Meet the Browns” was another solid bow for a Tyler Perry film from Lionsgate, opening to exactly $20 million. That makes it No. 4 of his five films, though it’s less than $2 million off from “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Average was a very healthy $9,977 at 2,006 theaters.

Paramount’s “Drillbit Taylor” didn’t strike much B.O. gold, as it opened to only $10.2 million. It’s the second lowest opening for a Judd Apatow-produced pic in wide release, behind Christmas flop “Walk Hard.” Comedy averaged just $3,338 per play at 3,056 locations. Par is hoping it will hold up well over spring break since auds skewed young.

New Regency’s “Shutter,” distribbed by Fox, had a similarly soft bow of $10.7 million, in line with expectations. Remake of the Thai horror film had a per theater average of $3,887 at 2,753 locations.

Lionsgate’s heist pic “The Bank Job” had a phenomenal hold, dropping just 19% on its third weekend, coming off a 15% decline last week. Jason Statham starrer grossed $4.1 million and has upped its cume to $19.4 million.

Summit’s fighting pic “Never Back Down” fell 43% on its second weekend to $4.9 million. Cume is $16.8 million


Joshua Rich of EW:

''Horton Hears a Who!'' fended off ''Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns'' to win the box office Easter egg hunt..

Read More Here...