Starting out with the most recent one coming, this month, but somehow I missed it on the last go-around is CJ7, a new Stephen Chow film, debuting March 6, 2008:
Stephen Chow new film CJ7 trailer
And if that isn’t enough, here are the cute aliens:
“Visit the official site at http://www.CJ7-movie.com
A fantasy tale featuring state of the art visual effects, CJ7 is a comedy about a poor laborer father played by STEPHEN CHOW and his young son. When a fascinating and strange new pet enters their lives, they learn a poignant lesson about the true nature of family and the things money can’t buy. CJ7 is the fifth feature directed by Stephen Chow.”
Watch the trailer for CJ7
First found on Sci Fi Wire, but reported in USA Today:
First look: Thriller ‘The Box’ contains plenty of challenges
By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY, 2/26/08
HAMPTON, Va. — Filmmaker Richard Kelly prides himself on thinking so far outside the box that major chunks of the Internet are devoted to deconstructing his intentionally murky movies.
His desire to bewilder has earned him a certified cult classic (2001′s Donnie Darko) and an unmitigated flop (2007′s Southland Tales), but no direct hit.
PHOTOS: Get an exclusive look at what’s inside ‘The Box’ [requires Adobe FlashPlayer]
For his third big-screen feat, the 32-year-old USC film-school grad is not only thinking inside the box. He is actually making The Box, complete with his first major studio (Warner Bros.) and an A-list star (Cameron Diaz) on board.
“God bless Cameron Diaz. The second she signed on, our lives changed in a great way,” Kelly says on location at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Wrapping up the film’s final week, he spent a long day shooting inside a cavernous wind tunnel and atop a gantry, a 240-foot-high erector-set-style structure once used to train Apollo astronauts.
Unlike his previous efforts, the sci-fi-tinged thriller is a breeze to summarize. Its plot hook is inspired by a 1986 Twilight Zone episode that haunted Kelly as a kid: A couple (Diaz and James Marsden) open their door to find a box containing a button. If they push it, they will receive $1 million. The catch? Someone they don’t know will die.
Kelly settles back to reflect on what he calls his “first grown-up film,” whose opening date is yet to be determined.
“We made Donnie Darko when we were 25, so obviously that has an innocence about it,” he says of his unnerving high-school fable made with producer pal Sean McKittrick. The political satire Southland Tales, on DVD March 18, “is punk rock and rebellious. We love that about it.” Still, the film was barely in theaters, grossing only $273,420 on a nearly $18 million budget. “There is no place for small movies to catch fire,” he says. “We got with Warner Bros. as a means of survival.”
He is ready to go commercial. “With The Box, I hope to make a more mainstream popcorn film.”
Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple in a Richard Kelly film. Richard Matheson’s [I am Legend, among others] original 1970 short story, Button, Button, is just a jumping-off point for the $30 million morality tale. Embellishments include ’70s kitsch, teleporting and the 1976 Viking mission to Mars.
“We don’t feel like we are watering ourselves down,” Kelly assures.
The man who delivers the title container? Masterfully creepy Frank Langella. “Richard is in a league of his own,” the veteran actor says. “He has sort of an extraterrestrial creature running around in his head. That is what Steven Spielberg was like as a young boy.”
Namely, someone who knows how to push an audience’s buttons.
And while we wait for the next one, you can get a cat:
Director Nicolas Winding Refn that indicates his Viking pic, called Valhalla Rising” and starring Mads Mikkelsen is a little farther off than hoped. Though Valhalla Rising is still on track to go later this year.
An Interview from Reverse Shot.com:
RS: “Can you tell us a little bit about your next project, Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen?”
NWR: “Valhalla Rising came out of me working on a horror film that I just couldn’t solve. I just got so fed up, that I went back to an old idea I had about the discovery of America by the Vikings and that was suddenly a very easy story for me to develop, and I’ve learned that if it’s easy, go with it, and so I focused completely on that one. It’s going to be about a mute man who doesn’t know where he’s from, and about the Vikings discovering America. But, I’m not a big fan of Vikings, and I’m definitely not a big fan of costume films. So it occurred to me while making Pusher III, and thought, what if I took this way of making a movie and made a film set in the year 800? Once I got the technical concept, and then I got the story down, then I needed the overall view of the story. It’s the discovery of America, so what? It’s science fiction. For the Vikings, it must have been science fiction…it’s Valhalla. And of course I’ve always wanted to do an action film.” http://www.reverseshot.com/article/refn_interview (fall 2006)
And a little more from Sterling’s in-flight magazine:
“I’m doing a Viking movie called Valhalla Rising with Nicholas Winding Refn,” he says proudly. “I play a Viking slave who’s like a gladiator. Once a month he fights those sent to kill him as entertainment for the Vikings, but all the time he’s chained to a pole. The film will be a mixture of Pusher and Sergio Leone, but set in the 10th century. Of course, I escape and we all end up in America, which is historically correct. There was always an idea that the Vikings settled in America 500 years before Columbus and now there’s proof. Scandinavians have always been great travellers.” http://sterling-magazine.com/2006/11/01/mads-mikkelsen/
And from Norway: The Official Site in the UK (News and Events):
Edinburgh, 07/03/2007 :
Scotland will again be taken over by Vikings in Nicolas Winding Refn’s new historical feature film “Valhalla Rising”.
The movie will promote the theory that an expedition of Vikings from Scotland reached North America centuries before Christopher Columbus. Most historians now accept that Vikings beat Columbus to the New World. Voyages are described in Norse sagas and evidence has been found to prove their presence on the continent. “Valhalla Rising” will though be shot as a fictional movie, in Nicolas Winding Refn’s documentary style.
The Danish director Refn is the man behind the “Pusher”-trilogy and just as violent and almost as successful “Bleeder”. His films are quite violent, and Karen Smyth, the Scottish co-producer, said to The Scotsman: “The way Nicolas will shoot is in a gritty, realist documentary style. It’s not Gladiator – there will be no big set pieces. It’s a great project, which will play big with the 16 to 25-year-olds. It’s quite a violent film in that it reflects the time in which these guys lived.”
Main actor will be Mads Mikkelsen, who played the villain in the latest James Bond movie “Casino Royale”. The Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen has written the script for the ambitious historical feature film, which has a budget of £4 million. “Valhalla Rising” will involve some of the most elaborate scenes ever filmed in Scotland, The Scotsman reports. The producers intend to commission a full-scale, 80ft replica of a Viking longship, and take over a small west coast harbour, possibly Stranraer.
Filming is scheduled to begin in August, with six weeks in Scotland and nine in the U.S. The Scottish parts of the movie will be shot in the Glasgow area, according to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. The parts that are situated on U.S soil will be shot in Louisiana.” [spelling corrections made]http://www.norway.org.uk/edinburgh/events/valhallarising.htm
And for a synopsis, from Twitchfilm.net:
Detailed Synopsis For Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Vahalla Rising’
Posted by Todd Brown at 8:34pm.
Stalled about a year while the production team was assembled Pusher director Nicolas Winding Refn’s viking epic is finally ready to go before cameras in early 2008 and a detailed synopsis has been added to the website of the Danish Film Institute. Originally slated to shoot in both Denmark and Canada – though I suspect that may have changed since the secondary funding is coming from the UK and Scotland rather than Canada – the film stars Mads Mikkelsen as a mute viking warrior on a voyage to the New World. Here’s the synopsis:
For years, One-Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the chieftain Barde. Aided by a boy, Are, he kills his captor and together they escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight from bounty hunters, One-Eye and Are board a Viking vessel for Norway, but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that first disintegrates as they sight an unknown land. As the new land reveals its secrets and the Vikings meet a ghastly fate, One-Eye discovers his true self.
And here’s a film, from Harry’s Ain’t it Cool Website, that’s a pet favorite – my daughter and I read the books, and loved them!:
CITY OF EMBER
Harry’s look at Gil Kenan’s CITY OF EMBER at Skywalker Ranch!
Hey folks, Harry here… I just got back from Skywalker Ranch… yeah, Skywalker Ranch. I’m writing up an entirely separate article that is about that journey and experience, but what I wanted to write up first, was the main purpose of that trip. To chat with Gil Kenan and get a first look at a movie that doesn’t have a lot of buzz going quite yet, but that I’ve been following called CITY OF EMBER.
Last Fall, Yoko and I were going to fly over to Belfast and explore a bit of Ireland and drop in on the set of CITY OF EMBER… ever since Gil Kenan and I chatted about MONSTER HOUSE when he brought the film to Austin early… we’ve exchanged emails – and well… frankly – he’s a geek. A very talented one.
When we first sat down to lunch, he brought up CITY OF EMBER to me. It was the project he was working on in advance of MONSTER HOUSE – a live-action… possibly Post-Apocalyptic story involving children.
Around the end of Summer 2007 – I had a surprise package on my doorstep, the script to CITY OF EMBER as written by the amazing Caroline Thompson – based upon Jeanne Duprau’s novel. I have to admit, that as much as I loved MONSTER HOUSE – I was more eager to read a new Caroline Thompson script. With her skills upon EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, HOMEWARD BOUND, THE SECRET GARDEN, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, BLACK BEAUTY and CORPSE BRIDE… Well… Hot Damn – turn the pages.
The script, like most of her work, is not traditional Hollywood fare – it’s a story that builds… slowly, consistently to a fever-paced conclusion. There is no BIG beginning, instead it really plays out, less like a Post-Apocalyptic film – and more like a Post-Apocalyptic Fairy Tale… That said… I didn’t devote much thought to the world of Ember. At the time, I was going to end up visiting it… in the building where the TITANIC was created (the real ship, not the movie) and I was anxious to just see the entire town that was going to be housed in that giant space.
Not long before the trip, my father had a stroke – and plans like Ireland and a cool movie set – well – there’s a scale to life – and in this case… Ireland and the film evaporated from my reality.
In fact – until last week I really hadn’t thought of CITY OF EMBER. I knew it was shooting… well, had been shot – but I really didn’t know where in the process the film was. It opens around the 10th of October… that’s pretty far off – and these days I’m more concerned about the upcoming Summer crop of films than the Fall and Holiday slates… but a little over a week ago – I was awoken by a phone call by Gil Kenan asking me if I’d like to go to Skywalker Ranch at his invitation to see some of CITY OF EMBER and watch them mix some of the film in the William Wyler mixing room.
Well, I quickly answered to the affirmative. There’s all sorts of reasons – I could finally break my Skywalker Ranch cherry… and it’d give all of you the first real set of eyes on a film that wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. Besides… who knew what else was going on out there… right?
So Wednesday morning at 5am, I headed to the airport to begin my journey. Approximately 6 hours later – I was sitting on a sofa in the Wyler room watching Gil and his sound crew mixing the temp music track for a test screening later today – somewhere on planet Earth.
They were working on a scene in reel 1 of CITY OF EMBER where Saoirse Ronan (Lina) and Harry Treadaway (Doon) exchange their positions in life. I took Father Geek along and told him nothing about the story – he only knew it was the second film from the director of MONSTER HOUSE. In this early minute to two minutes of film we were watching – it was a designed universe. There was a hint of German Expressionism to the buildings. And at first thought – you’d think the “sky” was to be added later – but you see… in Ember… large lights in the sky that you would think were placed by the crew – but as those that have read this wonderful book know… they’re there because this world is very strange indeed.
After about an hour of mixing on reel one – we went to see around 45 minutes of CITY OF EMBER – and it was there where I finally was able to put this movie together in my mind. Essentially – what Gil has made is a film that is LOGAN’S RUN, CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, GOONIES and METROPOLIS blended all together in one wonderfully unique vision.
The opening credits are startling – a group of rushed men carrying a box with 3 LED windows on the front. They say, “Set it for 200 years” – and then hand it off to a person and it becomes part of the secret tradition of the mayors of Ember… You see the box handed from aged hands to younger hands that age – to then hand the box to the next set of hands… quickly… fluidly – showing us in human generational terms – the passage of the years and as we see the countdown reach 47… a mayor dies prematurely… having not passed the box on. And we find the box… stuck in a closet, forgotten and counting down till it finally ceases to countdown – and it opens, only nobody is there to see it.
Now how long was it open till we see the start of the film? Nobody can tell – but as we start our story – it’s with Lina, and a graduation ceremony… technically called ASSIGNMENT DAY – where this selection of who you are to be… for the rest of your life in Ember, is chosen… at random… from a paper bag.
The kids all have their hopes, their dreams – but no matter how well they might want to be in a different position – if they can’t convince another person on Assignment Day to switch jobs… they’re stuck.
The man with the bag? Well, he’s the Mayor of Ember, played by Bill Murray… a dash of whimsy – and an ever so nice taste of warmth… Bill offers hope and encouragement to the children’s choices… helping them to feel good about it. All except Lina, she got PIPEWORKS – apparently – that’s not a good job.
Then – as we move forward we begin to find out more… you see every person in the film is needed for the City of Ember to exist. To them – they are the last light in the world. The generator is the pulsating heart of their existence. The electricity is their life and at night – they shut it down and the lights go out and until that generator kicks back on, their world is darkness.
The atmosphere is palpable. The society living in this city of Ember… had taken on an amazingly different vision of the future. No doubt they’re living underground… or in something. And the people in there are many generations removed by the incident that put them in this city. The city itself has begun to run down. Supplies are recycled. And it is starkly designed – based in part upon Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS – but not a direct lift – it has echoes of that world – this film doesn’t deal with the class warfare – here – the people serve the city because the city is all there is to serve. Nobody wonders about the outside world – instead – they do their job and everyone worries about the day the lights go out.
In fact that’s the plot line of the film. You see – everyone knows that the generator could be failing and that they have a finite amount of power. When Lina and Doon stumble upon the pieces of the past from the box… they try to unlock the mystery of their town that had been lost to the ravages of time.
This is a particular cast in the adult realm… folks like Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Martin Landau, Toby Jones, Liz Smith and Mackenzie Crook. Moreso – the townsfolk of Ember continue that sort of character to their faces. Odd and unique.
I saw a sequence towards the end of the film that takes place in the great Generator room… a room with amazing gigantic Mechanical Age pistons and water wheels… the closest thing to its look is that great sequence inside the Engine room in TITANIC. The effects were far from done, but it really has a potential to be jaw-dropping when finished.
As for the performances – the cast speaks for itself – and young Saoirse Ronan is fantastic, we will see a lot more from this young lady. And young Harry Treadaway – who you may have seen in the amazing film, BROTHERS OF THE HEAD as half of the Siamese Twins in that film – is great as the curious boy that believes he’s destined to help solve the problem with the Generator. There’s almost a panic to his desire to make it all work.
This is a remarkable project – and I can not wait to hear responses from the screening later on today. CITY OF EMBER is a film to take notice on… it has elements of some of the best in science fiction and fantasy film – without being strictly derivative of any of those films. Instead it echoes that which came before while becoming something new on its own.” http://www.aintitcool.com/node/35808
“A trailer for a new film called Dark Matter has appeared online. According to it’s official synopsis, Dark Matter follows a Chinese science student in the United States in the early 1990s. Driven by ambition, yet unable to navigate academic politics, then, drama un-folds.”
Dark Matter Trailer
Note: This may or may not be the trailer referred to below.
This Dark Matter Trailer is Scientifically Inaccurate
By Phil Owen, 02/28/08
I’m assuming, based on the trailer, that Dark Matter is one of those films that, like, say, Primer or Proof, wants to be extremely dense through the use to sciencespeak. As the title indicates, the film revolves around the study of dark matter, which is something with which most people are not too familiar. Focusing so heavily on something like dark matter allows the filmmakers to use it as a MacGuffin, because most people won’t have a clue about what the characters are discussing.
That said, at the beginning of the trailer, which can be seen exclusively at ComingSoon, Liu Ye (Curse of the Golden Flower) has this line: “I’m looking at the dark matter. 99% of the universe. Dark matter.” A quick glance at NASA’s website reveals this statement to be untrue. The film is set in the early ‘90s, I thought the filmmakers might be using what was known about dark matter from that time. Nope. The film’s writer (Billy Shebar) says on the film’s website that it is currently believed that dark matter makes up over 90% of the universe. As movie folks are often wont to do, I’m guessing they’ve combined dark matter (25% of the universe) and dark energy (70% of the universe) into one concept.
The rest of the trailer is pretty intriguing. It shows Liu Ye’s character, Liu Xing (that means “shooting star!”), as a Chinese student studying at a university in the US. He’s working to unravel the mysteries of dark matter, but he is foiled by departmental politics and begins to become despondent. It’s all very atmospheric.
Thankfully, the trailer doesn’t even hint at the film’s ultimate destination. Dark Matter is based very loosely on Gang Lu’s time at the University of Iowa studying physics, which ended with him shooting some folks before offing himself. Perhaps there will be a scene in the film where we see Liu Xing training on Duke Nukem.
Scientific issues aside, Dark Matter looks pretty solid from that trailer. I’m a big fan of this type of character study, one that attempts to deconstruct a mental breakdown. And it’s much better that they took that approach rather than the “important school shooting movie” approach.
Dark Matter, which won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at Sundance 2007, is helmed by Chinese stage director Chen Shi-Zheng. The film stars, along with Liu Ye, Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn. If you live in New York or LA, you can check it out April 11.
ComingSoon.net’s article, and the trailer:
Exclusive: The Dark Matter Trailer
Source: First Independent Pictures, February 28, 2008
ComingSoon.net is exclusively debuting the trailer for director Chen Shi-Zheng and screenwriter Billy Shebar’s Dark Matter today. The drama, starring Liu Ye, Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn, opens in theaters on April 11.
Dark Matter delves into the world of Liu Xing (Chinese for “Shooting Star”), a Chinese science student pursuing a Ph.D. in the United States in the early 1990s. Driven by ambition, yet unable to navigate academic politics, Liu Xing is inexorably pushed to the margins of American life, until he loses his way.
You can watch the trailer using the player below. For more info on the film, click here. [go to the site below to view the actual trailer discussed.]
David Fincher To Make Completely Awesome Comic Book Movie
By Devin Faraci, published 02/20/2008,
I am so filled with excitement that I can almost not type these words. Variety is reporting that David Fincher has signed on to direct the adaptation of Charles Burns’ incredible graphic novel Black Hole, which currently has a screenplay by Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary*. Alex Aja had been attached, and while his take on the grotesque characters of the book (more on that in a moment) would have been fascinating, I am so psyched that Fincher is on board that I cannot explain.
Black Hole is set in the suburbs of Seattle in the mid 70s, and it’s about a group of teens who contract an STD that turns them into subtle mutants and hideous monsters. What’s most interesting about Black Hole is the way the story itself mutates, which is partially because of the fact that it was a serialized tale in 12 parts told over ten years, but it never quite works out the way that you think it will, and in the end coalesces into a truly moving and beautiful story about becoming an adult. It’s a seminal work of graphic fiction or comics or whatever you want to call it – the important thing is that the next time you see someone trying to convince a non-believer that comics can be art with some f’ing superhero book, smash that person over the head with the hardcover edition of Black Hole.
Black Hole is a story that is highly detailed and intricately visual story; I would never have pegged Fincher for the adaptation, but after Zodiac he just makes so much sense. This news has me so happy that I’m going to pull Black Hole off the shelf and read it again. Charles Burns is going to be signing copies of the book at Skylight Books in Los Angeles on the 29th – you should go by and say hi to him.
You know what? I needed news like this. We write about too many comic book stories lately, and I find myself more and more depressed about the form I used to love. My new roommate is a big comic reader and I’ve been catching up with DC Comics through him, and most of these books are beyond terrible – awful stories, ridiculous art, banal characters, a general sense of malevolence towards the tragic figures shelling out for them by the month. Black Hole is what comics can be, and it’s nice to be reminded that not every comic book movie has to be about male adolescent repressed homosexuality packaged for bloodthirsty, misogynistic, obsessive compulsive 30-40 year olds who can’t move past their childhoods.
This one has some serious question marks all over it, but here’s the scoop, because if it turns out to be true, we Browncoats can rejoice!:
Rumor: Serenity Sequel on the Horizon Realistically?! It Can’t Be!
October 4, 2007, Source: Moviehole.net, by Alex Billington
I know this is beating a dead horse, but another rumor has been kicked up out of the dust and this time it may be a bit more reliable, and I just can’t resist. The guys over at Moviehole.net have a quote from Alan Tudyk (who plays Wash) where he claims that the recent buzz regarding the re-release of the Serenity DVD is causing Universal to consider making another one. There are so many questions: How recent is this interview? Is Alan just poking fun for the heck of it? Will it be direct-to-DVD or not?
I trust what Alan has to say, it’s that I’m not sure this can be counted as fully legitimate. Maybe he was just saying this for the heck of it and his quote got taken out of context. Or maybe this was not too recent and can’t be counted as something real, just a far-fetched “rumbling” at Universal. Anyway, here’s Alan’s ever-so-important quote.
“They had to put [the new DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of the other one and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s do another one’. And now… there’s now a chance there’s going to be another movie.”
“Everybody in the Firefly crew – and that includes the ones who died in the movie – are excited about the prospect of doing another.”
Update: Clint, the writer who conducted the interview over at Moviehole, has informed us in the comments below that this is all up-to-date and completely real. It’s all just in Universal’s hands now, as Alan makes it sound like they’re very interested.
Being a website that focuses purely on theatrical releases – I’ve got to hope that it will be theatrical. However the current “thought” is that it just won’t be. Serenity was a massive financial flop at the box office and I don’t think they’re smart enough to realize that if they actually marketed it correctly, it could easily be a success. More and more fans join the legion of Browncoats every day – and that alone should be enough to warrant another in-theater sequel.
For now I’ll keep dreaming and hope that Universal realizes their mistake on the first film and comes around on this second one. Need a prime example of a film that’s doing just that? How about Fox’s Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem??
Then this appears:
Sorry, The Serenity Sequel is Not Happening
October 24, 2007, Source: MySpace Blog, by Alex Billington
Sorry Browncoats, but it just ain’t so. This rumor all started a few weeks back when Alan Tudyk made some comments that were taken out of context and presumed to be talk of a sequel. Some other speculators were claiming that it was just a big, confusing rumor to begin with anyway and apparently that was the case. The update comes from the girl who plays Kaylee, named Jewel Staite in real life, who wrote a blog update (via CinemaBlend) about the whole fiasco.
Here’s Jewel’s update from her blog on MySpace:
Lets address these Serenity 2 rumors before anything else. I have no idea what you people are talking about! Seems to me someone (with a name that starts with A and ends in LAN) said something in an interview that was misconstrued as the sequel being greenlit, which is not the case at the moment. I will never say it will never happen, because that’s just blasphemy in my opinion, but it’s not happening at the moment… no matter what you read on the internet. You know better than to believe everything you read, anyway! (except this blog… cuz it’s all true.)
Unfortunately now I must say “that’s that”. I was really hoping the rumor was going to turn out to be true, being a huge fan myself, but alas I just knew it couldn’t be so. Unless Universal is keeping this secret from even one of the middle actors in the series, but that’s probably just as ridiculous as this rumor to begin with.
Now the question that remains is if there was the right emphasis from the right amount of people (say, Browncoats?), could Universal actually be smart enough to do a sequel? And if they did, would it actually succeed? If they made a sequel for 2009, that would be four years after the first movie and six years after the end of the series. Would another sequel that late and that far away from the hype actually do well? What do you think?
And then a forum response, which I think clears it up nicely:
From xardoz, Oct 26, 2007
“Can’t you people read? Jewel has merely said that a sequel has not been greenlit, not that there will be no Serenity 2. Alan got his info from Nathan, and all that was is that they (read Universal) are talking about a possible (key word) sequel, depending on the sale of the Collectors Edition of the DVD. Alan never said it was greenlit, NO ONE has said it was greenlit. The ONLY authoritative voice on this is Joss Whedon himself. He is aware of Alan’s comments and has remained silent – keep in mind he’s been quick to squash false rumors in the past. It’s been over 20 days since the Moviehole interview appeared. Alan has come out and confirmed his comments on video:
It isn’t over yet, Browncoats. It ain’t over until Joss tells us so.”
Paul Bettany Grow Wings
By Russ Fischer, published 02/13/2008
Don’t tell Precious Moments, but that terrible angel wave crested and crashed on the beach of pop culture a long time ago. Don’t tell Paul Bettany either; he’s set to play the archangel Michael in Legion, the feature directorial debut of effects guy Scott Stewart. It’s a Screen Gems project so don’t get your hopes up too high, but the premise is entertaining.
Story follows what happens when God loses faith in humanity and sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind’s only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael.
Stewart penned the script with Peter Schink; the result sounds reflective of Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman story ’24 Hours’ by way of all those right wing nutjob fictions that get made into movies with Kirk Cameron.
Bettany dons wings when the flick rolls in March.
And about the same from ComingSoon.net:
Bettany is Part of Screen Gems’ Legion
Source: Variety, February 13, 2008
Paul Bettany is set to star in Legion, a Screen Gems thriller that marks the feature directorial debut of Scott Stewart, says Variety. Stewart wrote the script with Peter Schink.
The project was hatched by Bold Films, whose David Lancaster and Michel Litvak will produce. Gary Michel Walters will be executive producer.
The story follows what happens when God loses faith in humanity and sends his legion of angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Mankind’s only hope lies in a group of misfits holed up in a diner in the desert who are aided by the archangel Michael (Bettany).
Stewart is a co-founder of visual effects house The Orphanage.
Production begins in New Mexico in March.
From First Showing.net
Sound Off: Who Should Direct The Hobbit? – Guillermo vs Raimi
December 21, 2007, by Alex Billington
Over this last week an enormous amount of news and rumors surrounding The Hobbit have arisen. On Tuesday, Peter Jackson announced that all legal issues between him and New Line had been resolved and that he would only produce the films. On Thursday, speculation began as to who could and who is in the running to direct The Hobbit, and two names appeared. Sam Raimi, of Spider-Man and Evil Dead fame, seems to be clearing up his schedule. And Guillermo del Toro, of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy fame, has expressed an interest in directing as well. Until an official announcement is made, let’s consider the options and discuss which would be a better choice.
In our article about Sam Raimi’s upcoming schedule (which doesn’t include Spider-Man 4), it was explicitly mentioned by Variety, an official news outlet, that it’s likely Sam Raimi is directing The Hobbit. While this isn’t confirmed, Raimi has previously mentioned that he’d be interested in directing it as long as Jackson had also said that he would NOT be interested in directing – as Raimi wouldn’t want to tread on Jackson’s territory.
As for Guillermo del Toro, SlashFilm ran a piece yesterday with some recent quotes from Guillermo, where it was mentioned that he had “heard some rumblings, but nothing official.” So now Guillermo is in the running, too. As this project moves on, the choice of the director will probably be the biggest decision anyone at New Line will ever make. And with two of the world’s greatest directors in the running, it’s a very tough decision to make. The problem is I don’t know who I would side with, because of all directors out there, Raimi and del Toro are probably my two personal favorite directors. This is like choosing with of my two kids I would have to kill to stay alive myself.
I’m going to kick this off by defending Sam Raimi. A number of comments on yesterday’s article were condemning Raimi primarily because of Spider-Man 3, a movie that by now most people have recognized as being pretty bad. I’m not trying to defend a movie that I also think wasn’t great, but I am going to defend Sam Raimi, who is still one of the greatest directors out there despite Spider-Man 3. First off, the person who created Spider-Man 2, no matter how much they screw up elsewhere, cannot be regarded as an all-around bad director at least because they created what is (arguably) the best superhero movie ever made.
Back when Spider-Man 3 was coming out, I attended a press conference with Sam Raimi. I listened to Raimi speak and answer questions for 20 minutes and by the end I had realized that Spider-Man 3 wasn’t his fault. It was partially Avi Arad and partially the other outside pressures that forced him to include Venom. Sure, it was Raimi who ended up making the movie, but after hearing the things he had to say, there is no way he could’ve made this bad of a movie if he would’ve done the exact story he wanted. Avi Arad and the producers came in and forced him to include Venom and forced a re-write on the script to turn it into a pile of crap.
Lastly, Raimi is the least “Hollywood-ized” director out of anyone I’ve met. He’s still so down-to-earth and still a geek himself. He would rather chat with you about movies and Spider-Man at the end of a press conference than be whisked away. He has no “spoiler” filter, he just loves talking about things like an excited geek. The more I listened to him and the more I looked back at Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, Darkman, Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 2, the more I realized Raimi is still an incredible director who was screwed over with Spider-Man 3. In my mind, he is and always will be a phenomenal director and is still the perfect choice for The Hobbit.
With Guillermo del Toro, I probably love him almost as much as Raimi. Hellboy is my absolute favorite comic book movie and Pan’s Labyrinth is a incredible film, and I just love his filmmaking style and fanboy nature as well. However, I almost feel as if he has too dark of a style for it to work with The Hobbit. But at the same time, if he took on the project, he would be as perfect of a choice as Sam Raimi. I can’t decide, so it’s up to you.
Who do you think is the best director for The Hobbit? Sam Raimi or Guillermo del Toro?
But it seems to have been answered, maybe. From ComingSoon.net:
Release Date: TBA 2010
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Not Available
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: TheHobbitBlog.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on “The Hobbit.”
But see this, from the same site:
Guillermo del Toro on The Hobbit Films
Source: Empire Online, February 14, 2008
“I wish it was definite, but it isn’t,” he said. “It’s still in talks, there are still a lot of ‘T’s to cross and ‘I’s to dot. It’s certainly not certain yet…But, as far as I’m concerned, [if it was definite] I would be packed in ten seconds.”
He’s not worried at this time about the lawsuit that was revealed earlier this week, but he did say he would love to bring back actors from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy whose characters appear in the new films.
“Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been pretty much incredibly open about the things that I love and don’t love in the past. I’ve turned down huge franchises in the past because there are parts of that world I don’t gel with. The reason I took ‘Blade II’ is because I love the characters that Stephen Norrington created and the actors he used. That times ten is the reason why I’m interested in ‘The Hobbit.’”
The movie seems plagued by problems. A suit by Tolkien’s estate tried to block further use of his works, and now New Line is going under, but The Hobbit will remain. From The Hollywood Reporter.com:
Tolkien Trust sues New Line
By Leslie Simmons, Feb. 12, 2008
Just when two new movie versions of “The Hobbit” seemed on track, another legal roadblock has been thrown in their path.
On Monday, J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate — a British charity called the Tolkien Trust — filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against New Line seeking a court order terminating any rights the studio has to any of the author’s works, including “Hobbit.”
The Tolkien Trust and the author’s original publisher, HarperCollins, claim that New Line has committed “accounting chicanery” by, among other things, inflating the cost of each film in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by more than $100 million and refusing to allow an audit of the second and third films in the “Rings” series.
The plaintiffs allege that New Line and Peter Jackson’s Katja Motion Picture Group owe them at least $150 million in gross profits from the billion-dollar “Rings” trilogy, which has grossed $6 billion worldwide, a figure that encompasses both boxoffice and DVD sales, according to the complaint.
New Line declined to comment on the allegations.
As a result, the plaintiffs claim that New Line has breached the original 1969 agreement assigning rights to make films based on Tolkien’s literary works to United Artists. Although the agreement has passed hands over the years — from United Artists to Saul Zaentz to Miramax and then New Line — it remained unchanged.
Late last year, New Line reached an agreement with MGM to co-produce and co-finance two films adapted from the “Hobbit” book, with New Line handling North American rights and MGM handling overseas distribution. Jackson, after reaching his own settlement with New Line over a profit dispute, is to executive produce the movies with his partner Fran Walsh.
The first of the two films, set for a 2010 release, is to go into production next year.
The latest flap in New Line’s on-going “Rings” saga comes as the studio, headed by Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, has come under the scrutiny of parent company Time Warner. The entertainment conglomerate is looking at ways to cut back costs at New Line, which could lead to some or all of the studio’s functions being taken over by Warner Bros.
According to the new lawsuit, New Line denies the plaintiffs have any right to terminate the rights, so they seek the court’s input on the controversy. Although New Line could go forward with “Hobbit” projects, it faces the risk of losing the rights later if the court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor.
“This case presents an extraordinary example of how enormous financial success can breed unabashed and insatiable greed,” the lawsuit states. “Despite the nearly $6 billion in gross revenues, New Line has crafted a fantasy tale of its own, making the stunning assertion that it has not received sufficient money to pay plaintiffs a dime.”
The case is the latest against New Line over “Rings” profits. Jackson first filed suit against the studio in a contentious court battle that resulted in the December settlement. The Saul Zaentz Co. filed his second suit late last year also alleging New Line’s failure to pay profits. In 2004, Zaentz had filed a previous suit over moneys he said were owed him; that was settled in 2005.
Jackson’s settlement paved the way for back-to-back films based on “Hobbit.” Although his schedule made it impossible for him to direct, Jackson agreed to exec produce the pair of films, with approval over creative elements, including the script. Guillermo del Toro is in talks to helm.
Bewkes nukes New Line
By Borys Kit and Georg Szalai, Feb. 29, 2008
UPDATED 7:43 p.m. PT Feb. 28
After a four-decade run that saw its transformation from an upstart indie company exploiting rude John Waters movies and gory horror flicks to a mini-major winning Oscars and billion-dollar worldwide grosses with the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, New Line is being absorbed into parent company Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Pictures.
As part of the cost-saving consolidation ordered by TW’s new CEO Jeff Bewkes, New Line co-chairmen and co-CEOs Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are leaving the company they founded in 1967, though Bewkes said they are in talks encompassing “a number of alternatives” and could end up producing films for New Line or Warners.
New Line will remain more than just a production label within Warners, though. It will retain its own separate development and production, marketing and distribution operations … Bewkes said New Line, in turn, must “focus on being an indie, rather than being halfway to a major.”
In recent years, as New Line’s ambitions have grown, it has taken on more risk. The three “Rings” movies, released between 2001 and 2003, resulted in a boxoffice bonanza. But New Line hasn’t maintained that momentum. Although it scored two $100 million-plus hits in 2007 with “Hairspray” and “Rush Hour 3,” most of its lineup failed to ignite, and its pricey “The Golden Compass,” though a hit abroad, fell flat in the U.S.
Hayden Christensen, New Romancer, er, Neuromancer
By Russ Fischer, published 01/8/2008
William Gibson’s proto-cyberpunk novel Neuromancer is one of those books I have no real wish to see lifted to the screen. Not to preserve my own love for the book, which has finer points, but isn’t any significant favorite. Rather, like past efforts to make Gibson’s stuff come alive onscreen, it’s that a Neuromancer film seems likely to miss the point with such blatant glee that the deficiency would be obvious to any audience. Really, outside of Philip K Dick is any body of speculative fiction more likely to come out bland and homogenous?
But the details of the current potential film version, which JoBlo has reported on a few times, are interesting. Made more or less as a $70M indie with Torque director Joseph Kahn in charge, this is a weird beast. Cursory checks show nothing like a finalized script or even credited screenwriter, so even if this is happening, it’s now a ways off.
Which makes it a bit odd that JoBlo’s source is now pegging Hayden Christensen as the star of the flick. He’s been a non-entity since Shattered Glass and may continue to be so after Jumper opens, so how is this happening? Or is that what we said when Keanu was cast in Johnny Mnemonic?
I don’t recall enough of the book to say that Christensen is specifically a good or bad fit for Case, the original hacker protagonist, but since Christensen has generally proven a bad fit for anything that involves expression, this might not be a popular choice.
Hayden a Neuromancer
Jan. 7, 2008, Source: JoBlo.com, by: Mike Sampson
You may have already heard the news about the NEUROMANCER movie. What you didn’t hear was who would be starring in this ambitious adaptation of the cyberpunk classic. JoBlo.com sources have told us that Hayden Christensen will star in NEUROMANCER as Case, the former hacker at the center of the story. I’ll be honest and admit I’ve never read NEUROMANCER and my rudimentary attempts to try and understand the plot have only confused me. But it seems very much a precursor to the Matrix with the book even referring to “the matrix.” Joseph Kahn (TORQUE) is directing the film, which is essentially set up as an indie film with a big budget. It is not set up at a studio but still carries an impressive $70 million budget. It’s unclear when filming would begin but it could be later this year. Christensen can be seen next in the Fox action flick JUMPER, which hits theaters in February.
Extra Tidbit: If you really want to learn more about NEUROMANCER, check out this detailed study guide [guide to the 1984 Gibson novel].
And from First Showing.net:
William Gibson’s Neuromancer Finally Coming to the Big Screen!
May 18, 2007, Source: Variety, by Alex Billington
Finally a great science fiction novel is getting adapted for the big screen! Well, not that there hasn’t been a great selection of other sci fi novels in the past (like anything by Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick), but I have a certain affinity for William Gibson’s books. His bestseller novel that was first published in 1984, Neuromancer, is being brought to the big screen by indie producer Peter Hoffman. The project will get a $70 million budget with Joseph Kahn currently set to direct. Kahn has only directed one full length feature so far, the motorcycle film Torque, but he may be better known for directing Britney Spear’s music video for “Toxic”. I think all the excitement I just had flew out the window.
And get this, the project is being fast-tracked to replace the next Paul Verhoeven project The Winter Queen, a tough blow for the filmmaker behind one of my own all time favorite sci fi films – Starship Troopers. However, it’s not because this is a better script, it’s because Verhoeven’s film is waiting for Fifth Element star Milla Jovovich to have her baby.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the fantastic novel Neuromancer, (from Wikipedia) it tells the story of Case, an out-of-work computer hacker hired by an unknown patron to participate in a seemingly impossible crime. The novel examines the concepts of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, multinational corporations overpowering the traditional nation-state, and cyberspace long before these ideas became fashionable in popular culture. In addition to tackling these hot topics in the film, producer Hoffman stated “there’ll be a sort of love interest as well.” Quite unnecessary, but that’s Hollywood for you these days.
Now they just need to work on bringing my own favorite Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash to the big screen, too, as I think if done right it could nearly be another fascinating and revolutionary sci fi film… if done right. In the meantime, or at least for the year or so it’ll take to film and edit, I suggest you pick up a copy of Neuromancer, or anything by William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, and become immersed in his wonderful world of science fiction.
From First Showing.net:
It’s Official – Live-Action Akira Confirmed Already for 2009!
February 20, 2008, Source: Variety, by Alex Billington
Back in October last year, we reported a rumor that the Japanese anime classic Akira would eventually be getting a live-action remake. We finally have official confirmation today that says there will not only be a new adaptation, but that it is being split into two movies! Warner Brothers has re-acquired the rights and is putting the first film into production right away, aiming to release the first movie by the summer of 2009. However, the film is primarily going to be adapted from anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel more than the original 1988 anime movie.
Warner Brothers exec Greg Silverman, who previously brought the studio 300 and Batman Begins, brought them Akira and encouraged them to obtain the rights. Although the studio let go of the rights a few years ago, they fought to gain them back in a bidding war, ending up paying in the seven-figures. The studio is describing the film as “Blade Runner meets City of God“, which is a fairly fitting description for the story. Each movie will be based on three of the six volumes from Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel that was first published in 1982.
The two films will be directed by Irish filmmaker Ruairi Robinson who is making his feature debut after directing a number of short films and commercials. You can watch his 2006 short titled The Silent City on his website here. The script for the two films is being written by first-time screenwriter Gary Whitta.
Akira is a six-volume manga that was later adapted into an anime movie in 1988. The manga takes place in a vastly larger timeframe than the film and involves a far wider array of characters and subplots. Through the breadth of the work, Otomo explicates themes of social isolation, corruption and power. The original anime and and manga was set in Tokyo, but reports are saying this version will take place in “New Manhattan”, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years ago. This isn’t fully confirmed and we’re doing our best to see if this is actually the case.
Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. On his way to save Tetsuo, Kaneda runs into a group of anti-government activists, greedy politicians, irresponsible scientists and a powerful military leader. The confrontation sparks off Tetsuo’s supernatural power leading to bloody death, a coup attempt and the final battle in Tokyo Olympiad where Akira’s secrets were buried 30 years ago.
I said it before when talking about the rumor, but this is going to make for one awesome live-action movie. Not only am I a big fan of the anime movie, but there are so many great action scenes, like the futuristic motorcycle chases, that could be amazing in the movie. I’m only concerned that they won’t give this duo of films the proper budget that they really need, especially with a first-time feature filmmaker working on them. Whatever the case is, I’ll hope for the best!
STARFIGHTER – A SEQUEL TO THE LAST STARFIGHTER?
From First Showing.net
The Last Starfighter is Getting a Sequel, Too?!
February 28, 2008, Source: Cinema Blend, by Alex Billington
Yesterday it was just a rumor, but today it’s pretty much confirmed – The Last Starfighter is getting a sequel. Like The Lost Boys before it, they’re now revisiting classic 80′s movies and ripping everything good out of them and then turning them into modernized Hollywood piles of crap. Our friends at Cinema Blend have been hard at work uncovering all of the details about this sequel, and it doesn’t sound too good, but who am I to say that this early in the game? One thing is for sure – we’ve officially entered the era of the 80′s revisited in Hollywood. With Transformers turning out to be a huge hit, they’re out finding every last nostalgic 80′s “whatever” and revisiting it again, from G.I. Joe to The Last Starfighter to Akira.
Josh Tyler over at Cinema Blend initially picked up a scoop on the sequel, supposedly titled Son of the Starfighter, from an anonymous emailer, but wasn’t sure whether it was just a big rumor. The scooper reported that a production company called George Paige and Associates was already in pre-production on the film with shooting scheduled to begin next month. He also added that “it involves original director Nick Castle, writer Jonathan Betuel and actor Lance Guest. It’s your basic Son of the Starfighter storyline and actually sounds pretty cool.” Lance Guest did appear in the first movie as the teenager Alex Rogan, so it would make sense that they’d want him back, especially if they’re considering a story involving his son.
After first hearing about the project, Josh seemed to be a bit skeptical (as were we), pointing out that George Paige and Associates isn’t exactly a big or reputable production company and that this whole project seems a little bit far fetched, even for them. However, the project does show up officially on their website and also lists Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers as the distributors, along with Relativity Media as the additional production company. Considering Relativity Media and Universal Pictures just signed a big four-year deal, this could actually be legit.
How is it, in my many years of childhood, that I happened to miss the glorious 80′s sci-fi classic The Last Starfighter? I really do not know. The movie is about an arcade video gamer who is recruited by an alien defense force in order to put his skills to use defending the galaxy from an invasion. This wonderfully brilliant cinematic classic made a whopping $28.7 million at the box office in its 1984 debut. Why this is prime choice for a sequel in 2008, I don’t know. Maybe someone who’s a big fan of this movie can help with that explanation.
Until we get some official confirmation, most of this is a rumor. However, it is confirmed that this sequel is actually in production, but that doesn’t mean any of the names previously mentioned are actually attached. Josh also mentions that this would be getting a theatrical release with a mid-range budget at least, so if he’s right, you can be certain that this won’t be a forgettable revival in the years to come.
Does The Last Starfighter really need a sequel, modernized or not?
From First Showing.net again:
Roland Emmerich (Almost) Explains What Happens in 2012
March 3, 2008, Source: Collider, by Alex Billington
Back in February, blockbuster director Roland Emmerich revealed that his next big movie would be one titled 2012, a disaster movie that takes place in the year of the title. Emmerich’s next finished movie is actually 10,000 B.C., which hits theaters this coming Friday. Our friend Steve from Collider caught up with Emmerich last weekend while he was promoting 10,000 B.C. and tried to get him to reveal what exactly happens in 2012, but still had no luck – he’s keeping a very tight lip. But if you’re interested in trying to guess what it might be or just want to know exactly what Emmerich said, read on. And considering this is the next big $200 million epic summer blockbuster, we’re sure you’ll want to know.
The script for 2012 is apparently so good, that the studios started a bidding war for distribution, with Sony ending up the winner. Now it’s heading into production for a July 10th, 2009 opening. Emmerich has said previously that “it will be very expensive, you see the whole world go to shit” and other sources reported that the “project has more going for it than the big idea that studios love,” but what exactly that means yet, no one knows. All that we do know is that 2012 is the year that the Mayan calendar (pictured to the right) ends and many others have predicted that it will be the apocalyptic end of the Earth. What Emmerich is depicting, however, is a “natural disaster” of some sorts.
Before we get into the juicy details, Emmerich explains his inspiration for the movie, and how he convinced himself, after saying he’d never do another disaster movie, to do 2012.
“…This whole movie I’m doing next was inspired by just the phenomenon of the internet when you type in Google, ’2012′, you get 240 million hits. That’s a lot. And it’s just, so many people write about it, believe it, that our world comes to an end in 2012. I said wow. I kind of said before I will never do a disaster movie again. I said, for this idea I have to do it again.”
When Collider asked Emmerich whether this would achieve a new level of “blowing things up”, Emmerich responded with “it’s not blowing up, it’s something else.” And when prodded further to explain himself, Emmerich almost gave it away: “This time there’s no blowing up. It’s a natural disaster. Well, actually yeah, like a… I’m not saying it! I’m giving things away.” Damn, too close! If only he just finished his sentence…
To be honest, Emmerich has done such a great job of teasing 2012, that I’m getting into it almost as much as Cloverfield, where it’s become all about figuring out “what it is” more than anything else. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until we see the first teaser trailer or hear reports from the set to get to that point. Emmerich goes on talking to Collider about how “undoable” this is, especially considering they’re going to, basically, destroy the entire world. Check out what he had to say!
“Yes, it will be very expensive, but I think it will be for a price because people who read the script said this is undoable. And I said, well but we’ll do it. I mean, it’s one of these things that everybody says it’s undoable because it’s like, you see the whole world go to shit… It’s kind of one of these things when I write a script, and I wrote it again with Harald [Kloser] together, we just said no, we’ll not think if it’s doable or not, we’ll just write it. We’ll just come up with it. And then we’ll figure out how we’ll do it. I think it’s worth doing it because it’s also when you have something where you have adrenaline because you are nervous about it, that’s good. That’s a little bit like… it’s good when actors have this adrenaline when they go on stage. I think they do their best work, and for us it’s the same thing…”
I love the way he thinks – don’t write it with “is it doable?” in mind, just write it, and then figure out how to do it. And even be nervous about it, challenge yourself – that’s awesome. As much as we all know that Emmerich is a filmmaker who writes/directs films that are nothing but storyless blockbusters, at least they’re entertaining. And although I’m not that excited for 10,000 B.C., I’m already very excited for 2012. I’m really wondering what the hell is going to happen, and how the entire world is going to get destroyed! This should be fun!
Any guesses as to what kind(s) of natural disaster(s) will be destroying the Earth in 2012?
3D TRON SEQUEL
12:00 AM, 03-MARCH-08
3-D Tron Sequel Due In ’11?
Disney plans to release a 3-D sequel to its classic SF movie Tron in spring 2011, Dark Horizons reported. The Digital Disney 3-D movie reportedly will be directed by Joseph Kosinski.
The studio also has Cars 2, National Treasure 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 scheduled for that year, the site reported.
Other reports suggest the fourth Pirates movie may focus on one character to downsize the budget. Other reports talk of a hyper-budget, ultra-fantastical feature, meaning anything from dinosaurs to Jules Verne-esque floating fortresses, the site reported.
From The Hollywood Reporter site:
Kosinski will program Disney’s ‘Tron’ sequel
By Borys Kit, Sept. 11, 2007
TORONTO — Commercial director Joseph Kosinski is in final negotiations to develop and direct “Tron,” described as “the next chapter” of Disney’s 1982 cult classic. Sean Bailey is producing via the Live Planet banner, as is Steven Lisberger, who co-wrote and directed the original film.
Kosinski, who last month signed on to helm the remake of “Logan’s Run” for Warner Bros. Pictures, will oversee the visual development of the project and have input on the script, which is being written by “Lost” scribes Eddie Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Story details are being kept secret.
The original, about a computer programmer thrust into a computer and forced to fight in games he helped create, is remembered for its sci-fi gladiator-style battles and groundbreaking special effects. It was the first movie to use computer-generated images instead of models and other optical effects in conjunction with live action. The arcade game based on the movie was so popular that it earned more than the movie.
When making the original, in order to convince the studio to take a chance on a first-time director, Lisberger shot a test reel, financed by the studio, involving the deadly Frisbee battle. In a case of historical synchronicity, sources said one of the things Kosinski will be doing is working on a sequence involving the movie’s Light Cycles to work out his vision for the movie. Sources also said visual effects personnel, for many of whom “Tron” was an inspiration to enter the business, already are jockeying for pole position to work on the sequence.
Brigham Taylor is overseeing for Disney.
Kosinski is a former architect whose specs caught the attention of director David Fincher, who convinced Kosinski to move to Los Angeles, where he joined the director at commercial house Anonymous Content. Kosinski then moved quickly up the ladder, eventually directing award-winning spots for Nike, Apple and Nintendo that gained notice for their use of computer technology that erased the lines between reality and CGI.
Kosinski is repped by Endeavor and Michael Sugar and Bard Dorros at Anonymous Content.
From First Showing.net (where all the good news seems to be coming from):
Sam Rockwell Tells of Sci-Fi Movie ‘Moon’
February 7, 2008, Source: MTV, by Alex Billington
A week ago we speculated that the fashionable new beard that actor Sam Rockwell was sporting at Sundance was for Gentlemen Broncos, Jared Hess’ next film. Alas, we were wrong. MTV actually had the guts to ask Rockwell what he had the beard for, and got a response that even gets me excited. You see, Sam Rockwell is one of my favorite actors working these days that still somehow remains under-the-radar. He’s great because he isn’t an A-list actor but he gives A-list performances and that’s what really counts. He explained that the beard was actually for a sci-fi movie titled Moon that he’s working on next. Want to know more?
Moon is being directing by Duncan Jones, also known as Zowie Bowie, the son of David Bowie. Jones is a former ad exec turned filmmaker with only one film under his belt, a sci-fi short from 2000 called Whistle. If this project is anything like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was director Garth Jennings’ first feature film, a sci-fi nonetheless, then I may even be more excited, if that’s possible.
Rockwell explains, “I’m doing a sci-fi movie where I’m stranded on the moon for three years. That’s why I have the beard.” That’s apparently all that’s known about the story, with the addition of some “what if” scenarios. “What if Neil Armstrong had to wait until Apollo 12 to come back home? And what if he had a freaking awesome beard?” I’ll tell you what if – we’d have an awesome movie on our hands!
Anyone who has been reading here for a longtime knows that I’m a huge sci-fi nut, so anything sci-fi I’m usually all for. Especially when it involves Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker’s Guide, another sci-fi role that Sam Rockwell nailed. And considering the concept and story, this could be both hilarious and awesome. I’m already giving Moon a thumbs up without even knowing who wrote the script or the status of the production, because with Rockwell cast, at least I know it’s in good hands! And now the mystery of the beard has been solved.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
From MTV, again, not Sci-Fi, but close, and appeals to fans of the genre usually, comes the new James Bond flick:
‘James Bond: Quantum of Solace’ Plot Revealed!
Published by Larry Carroll on Friday, February 29, 2008 at 3:27 pm.
What is “Quantum of Solace”? James Bond screenwriter Paul Haggis might not have any idea, but if MGM was kind enough to cc him on their latest press release, the Oscar-winner will gain a drool-inducing insight into the film’s plot, right alongside the rest of us.
Below is the spankin’ new, studio-approved plot summary of Bond’s 22nd flick. Does it leave you shaken, or stirred? Oh, and at the risk of sounding like a cheesy guy in an IROC is driving past us: “Spoiler alert!”
“‘Quantum of Solace’ continues the high octane adventures of James Bond (Daniel Craig) in ‘Casino Royale.’ Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal.
Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M (Judi Dench) interrogate Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. Forensic intelligence links an MI6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who has her own vendetta.
Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organization. On a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). Using his associates in the organization, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.
In a minefield of treachery, murder and deceit, Bond allies with old friends in a battle to uncover the truth. As he gets closer to finding the man responsible for the betrayal of Vesper, 007 must keep one step ahead of the CIA, the terrorists and even M, to unravel Greene’s sinister plan and stop his organization.”
2:00 AM, 04-MARCH-08
Byrne Joins Cage In Knowing
Rose Byrne has landed the lead role opposite Nicolas Cage in the SF thriller film Knowing for Summit Entertainment and Escape Artists, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Byrne (Sunshine) will play the daughter of a woman who buried a 1962 time capsule bearing the dates of the assassinations of historical figures, the hotel fire death of the wife of a professor (Cage) and an imminent world apocalypse. After the professor discovers its contents and alerts her, the initially skeptical Byrne begins remembering strange incidents from her childhood.
Alex Proyas (I, Robot) will direct the screenplay by Ryne Douglas Pearson, with script revisions by Juliet Snowden, Stiles White, Stuart Hazeldine and Proyas.
Production is set to begin March 25 in Melbourne, Australia. http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49731&type=0
And here’s a “little” more from ComingSoon.net:
Release Date: TBA
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Director: Alex Proyas
Screenwriter: Ryne Pearson, Stiles White, Juliet Snowden, Stuart Hazeldine, Alex Proyas
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: Cage will play a teacher who examines the contents of a time capsule unearthed at his son’s elementary school. Startling predictions in the time capsule that have already come true lead him to believe the world is going to end at the close of the week and that he and his son are somehow involved in the destruction.
Although not a Sci-Fi flick, it IS a medical thriller, and looks interesting, à la Robin Cook:
From First Showing.net:
Boring New Pathology Teaser Trailer Hits
February 29, 2008, by Alex Billington
I’ve been looking forward to Pathology since we were first shown the original trailer at last year’s Comic-Con. I’d say I’m much more curious than I am excited, but either way it’s definitely a movie I am very much looking forward to seeing. After Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor arrived on the scene with Crank, I’ve been anxious to see what their follow-up would be. Although Pathology isn’t directed by them, they did produce and write it, so it does have their “touch”. I don’t know what to make of this trailer, though – I’d rather see more of the actual movie than this, but oh well for now… This is all we’ve got for the moment.
Watch the trailer for Pathology:
NOTE: I don’t know if this is the trailer mentioned, but it is an official one
Some say that Pathology is a window to God. As doctors, they see the perversion and corruption of the flesh by all means unnatural…by violence…by toxin…by madness…to determine the cause of death. As a result they are the experts in all signs of foul play and the best in the field can uncover all means of killing, even those that are seemingly undetectable.
When med school student Ted Gray (Milo Ventimiglia) graduates top of his class he joins one of the nation’s most prestigious Pathology programs. With talent and determination Ted is quickly noticed by the program’s privileged and elite band of pathology interns who invite him into their crowd. Intrigued by his new friends he begins to uncover secrets he never expected and finds that he has unknowingly become a pawn in their dangerous and secret after-hours game at the morgue of who can commit the perfect undetectable murder. As Ted becomes seduced into their wild extracurricular activities the danger becomes real and he must stay one step ahead of the game before he is the next victim.
Pathology is directed by German filmmaker Marc Schoelermann and written by Crank writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The film arrives in theaters on April 18th. Make sure to check it out!
2:00 AM, 29-FEBRUARY-08
Highmore Flies To Astro Boy
Freddie Highmore has been signed for the title role in IMAGI Studios’ computer-animated Astro Boy movie, the studio announced.
Highmore (The Spiderwick Chronicles), 16, will voice the character, based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga and 1960s TV series.
Here’s how IMAGI describes the movie: Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist to replace the son he has lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving father’s expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with the man who rejected him. Astro Boy will be released worldwide in 2009.
And from First Showing.net:
Exclusive: AstroBoy Concept Art and Director Interview
November 12, 2007, by Alex Billington
The beloved Japanese manga series AstroBoy is getting a big screen adaptation courtesy of the CGI gurus at Imagi Animation, the same studio that made the CGI movie TMNT earlier this year. Although the film is quite far from completion, aiming for a 2009 release, FS.net exclusively interviewed director Colin Brady and was given the very first concept art photo which can only be seen here. Die hard AstroBoy fans and newcomers alike will definitely be excited at what ILM and Pixar animation supervisor and Toy Story 2 co-director Colin Brady has to say about helming his first feature film and what we can expect in a full featured AstroBoy CGI movie.
Back in October we ran the first look photo at the CGI version of AstroBoy but we were asked to remove it as it wasn’t a final version. Although Colin and everyone at Imagi is still working hard on the final look of a CGI Astro, we have an exclusive concept art photo of the new and improved AstroBoy which you can check out below. Our interview with director Colin Brady follows below the photo.
AstroBoy (via Wikipedia), which debuted back in 1952 originally as a cult Japanese manga and eventually as a TV anime series, tells the story of a powerful robot boy created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he lost. Our hero journeys to find acceptance in the human world and ultimately discovers true friendship as he uses his incredible powers to help others and save Metro City from destruction.
Colin Brady is an immensely talented animation supervisor who has worked previously at Pixar, Rhythm and Hues, and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Brady was also a director of the animated film Everyone’s Hero and co-directed Toy Story 2. In our interview, he talks about his past career and introduction to AstroBoy, as well as a lot of what we can expect in the film from the story to what it’s likely to be rated – PG. Read on to hear what Colin says about the project below.
FS.net: What drew you to the AstroBoy project? Why did you decide to direct this CGI film?
I first met with Paul Wang, Executive VP of Development at Imagi Animation Studios, about 18 months ago. He felt AstroBoy was a good fit for me. My experience at Pixar and ILM directing characters like Buzz Lightyear, the Hulk, and E.T. seemed to make AstroBoy a good fit because his character has some elements of each. I am very drawn to power of Anime’s sense of mythology, whereas a lot of American animation is full of fluff. AstroBoy is an icon, packed with action and full of heart.
FS.net: What will the story focus on / what adventures will AstroBoy get involved in? Will it start with his origin and go from there?
Similar to Spider-Man or the first Superman, it makes sense to start with the origin story. Although I admit that I thought it would be fun to simply start with the sequel. AstroBoy is kind of a dark Pinocchio story, but unlike Pinocchio, Astro never can become real flesh and blood. Astro’s journey of self discovery and acceptance is directly linked to the hardcore killer robot fights, and to the rejection by his creator, Dr. Tanner.
FS.net: Will this AstroBoy be aimed purely at kids or will it have a grungier, tougher aspect for older fans? (e.g. what rating are you going for?)
We’re going for as hard PG as we can. Luckily robot violence is less disturbing than humans fighting each other with guns.
FS.net: What kind of voice actors will you be considering? Will they be completely from scratch or any from the series?
We’re mostly looking at a mix of popular American and Japanese actors. But certainly they have to be right for the part.
FS.net: What are you bringing to AstroBoy that will hopefully allow this version to succeed whereas the relaunch of the series recently in the US “failed”?
We will present Astro’s story as more of an epic Sci Fi fantasy. Although Astro is a robot, there’s a deep dark human struggle that we’re exploring. In bringing Astro to CG we’re trying to create a texture and beauty similar to the original Star Wars films. We’re extremely influenced by Hokusai, Noguchi, and Miyazaki. We’re very careful to stay as true to the original design as possible but at the same time aging up his voice and the overall tone.
FS.net: Are you trying to modernize him or do anything to create a more widespread appeal beyond just the fans?
The challenge is to appeal to the non fans while not upsetting those who grew up with this character. Every step of the way we are including Tezuka Studios to ensure we’re being respectful to one of Asia’s most recognizable icons.
Thanks to Colin Brady and Imagi Animation! I think AstroBoy has a strong chance of ringing true with fans, just as TMNT did with all the fans of that franchise. The film sounds like it is in some incredibly capable hands and although it may be Brady’s first feature film, his character animation history shows that he will bring a certain needed dynamic to the character of AstroBoy. Keep watch for more updates as the project continues production.
2:00 AM, 28-FEBRUARY-08
Transformers 2 Unfazed By Strike Prospect
The prospect of an actors’ strike in late June isn’t stopping Michael Bay, who plans to begin production on Transformers 2 for a June 26, 2009, release, Variety reported. DreamWorks would like to get underway with production of Transformers 2 in early June.
But Bay told the trade paper that the labor cloud has made the process harder. “If there is a strike, we shut down, but shutting down isn’t that big a deal,” Bay said. “You make accommodations, you make a deal with vending houses on equipment and on the stages where you are shooting. You hope for the best, but you can’t be incapacitated by the possibility that there will be a strike. We’ve got to get this town back to work. I can’t imagine anyone wants another strike; we’re all tired. Hopefully clearer heads will prevail.”
Bay said that the sequel is still recovering from the writer’s strike, and that he’s playing catch-up after getting back his trio of writers, Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
“They did a detailed outline before the writers’ strike, and now they are in Michael Bay jail, holed up in a hotel and working feverishly,” Bay said. “We’re paying for a beautiful suite, and they are getting a lot of work done. Hiring three writers was unusual, but it has been a godsend in getting us to where we need to be. Somehow you find a way to get it done.”
Meanwhile, several studios are setting additional plans for summer production starts, based on the assumption that the Screen Actors Guild contract talks will be resolved without the kind of work stoppage that crippled the film industry during the 100-day writers’ strike, Variety reported.
Warner Brothers has already pushed forward on George Miller’s Justice League to begin shooting in mid-July.
Warners revealed earlier this week that it will begin shooting Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins on May 5.
Twentieth Century Fox, for instance, has scheduled August as the start date for The Tooth Fairy, a fantasy comedy that will star Dwayne Johnson.
Sony will begin shooting its Da Vinci Code sequel, Angels & Demons, in Rome on June 5.
Sony’s 2012, a $200 million Roland Emmerich-directed disaster epic, is slated for a summer 2009 release.
TERMINATOR SALVATION: THE FUTURE BEGINS
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins
Release Date: May 22, 2009
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Screenwriter: John Brancato, Michael Ferris
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins” will reinvent the cyborg saga with a storyline to be told over a three-movie span. The film is set in the future, in a full-scale war between Skynet and humankind.
More Terminator Salvation Plot Details
Source: SCI FI Wire, January 7, 2008
SCI FI Wire talked to Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins associate producer James Middleton, who revealed more details about the new trilogy.
“It’s set after the events of ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,’ where we see the nuclear exchange at the end of the movie, and we show what the world is like after this event, and we show how people try to deal in a post-apocalyptic world,” Middleton said. “And we introduce a new character, who becomes very important to the resistance and to John Connor, a new hero. It’s really about the birth of a new hero.”
He added that John Connor will certainly be a central character in the film as well. “I would look at him as a character that is introduced and that will grow in the second and third movies of the trilogy,” he said about the character, to be played by Christian Bale.
Middleton also mentioned that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not expected to make a cameo in any of the three new films as long as he is a governor.
And from First Showing.net:
Sam Worthington Cast in Terminator 4 via James Cameron’s Suggestion
February 14, 2008, Source: Variety, by Kevin Powers
With at least a year until its release, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins is slowly taking shape bit by bit, most recently with casting announcements. Last week we brought you the rumor that Josh Brolin might step in as the new Terminator, and before that, Christian Bale was announced as the new adult John Connor. The news is promising on its face, but there’s been a lot of discussion whether the director McG can really do the iconic storyline justice, what with his extreme lack of cred in this space. I mean, Charlie’s Angels… or “Fastlane”…? However, McG might just be getting the endorsement he needs with James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator movies, influencing the selection of one of the new film’s main characters: Sam Worthington as Marcus, a presently unknown character who will serve a primary role in the new trio of Terminator films.
Of course, I think we all need to accept the sad reality that nothing Terminator-related will ever live up to Cameron’s original two. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn’t half-bad, and the director, Jonathon Mostow, had a similar dearth of sci-fi experience as McG. But with the recent news, does this mean that Cameron might, in fact, be sneaking around in the background? That would be great, of course, but I’m not yet convinced Salvation will have enough of a Cameron influence to make us think this could be the next real Terminator movie.
Worthington is actually working with Cameron on his upcoming sci-fi epic Avatar. Why McG and Cameron spoke recently wherein Cameron recommended Worthington for a role in the new series is a bit unknown. Was Cameron so inspired by Worthington and interested in Salvation that he felt it necessary to give McG some recommendations? If it went down like that, will the recommendations cease or will Cameron continue to whisper in McG’s ear?
As for Worthington and his suitability for the role, that’s a bit unknown as well. The actor isn’t exactly recognizable, though he does have the stern brow and chiseled jaw to make him right home amidst a decimated Earth.
Personally, I’m more interested in Bale. McG confirmed recently that despite rumors to the contrary, Bale’s role as Connor is a “major player” in the film. I hated Nick Stahl’s incarnation of the future leader in Terminator 3. The question with this, however, is when and how Bale will exit the upcoming three-picture series; we all know he dies at some point, but it would suck to remove him too early, since he’s done such a cool job helping to reinvigorate the Batman franchise.
I guess we’ll see how Cameron’s involvement (or lack thereof) plays out over this year. I’m hesitant to say his recommendation of Worthington is a sign of great things to come. After all, McG, the captain of this project, said recently in reference to finding someone for the Terminator role: “I’m looking for credible actors. We’ve already got Christian Bale, who is one of the greatest actors of his generation. I’d love to get Daniel Day-Lewis, but I don’t know if he goes in for this kind of movie.” With that kind of misguided thinking, he could use all the help Cameron can give him.
2:00 AM, 27-FEBRUARY-08
Glover Goes Long In 9
Quirky character actor Crispin Glover told SCI FI Wire that he’s looking forward to the expansion of Shane Acker’s Oscar-nominated animated short 9 into a feature-length production. Glover voices a creature who steals souls in the feature movie, which is set in a post-apocalyptic world.
“I have finished with all of my work on it, but I don’t know what exactly is happening with that,” Glover said in an interview. “The work I did on that was very different from Beowulf, because in that one I did go on and do my voice and didn’t have a chance to interact with other actors.”
Glover voiced the monster Grendel in Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, which dropped on DVD on Feb. 26.
The animated 9 short is available online. Glover said the movie version will change things dramatically. The short “was a silent film,” he said. “There was no dialogue in the short, 10-and-a-half-minute film. So this post-apocalyptic nightmare is what the director’s vision is all about, and my job was to just get across what he wanted me to do. You’ve got to interpret the character and rebirth it his way, and when it’s edited, it may be completely different from what you put forth as an actor. I’m glad we’re working with the director who did the original short.”
Written by Monster House screenwriter Pamela Pettler, 9 features the voices of Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Elijah Wood.
9 is expected to be released later in the year. http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/index.php?category=0&id=49371
12:00 AM, 27-FEBRUARY-08
Mostow Developing Megas
Jonathan Mostow will partner with Virgin Comics to develop a feature from The Megas, an alternate-universe graphic novel just published by Virgin based on a Mostow idea, Variety reported.
The graphic novel, scripted by John Harrison and drawn by Peter Rubin, presupposes an America that has a ruling class called the Megas, for whom there is a special set of laws. A detective who believes in the monarchy rethinks his position after investigating a crime that reveals ugly truths about the elite society.
It’s unclear whether Mostow will write the script or direct the feature adaptation; he and Virgin Comics chief creative officer Gotham Chopra and chief executive officer Sharad Devarajan will begin shopping the project shortly.
And from ComingSoon.net:
Release Date: TBA
Studio: Not Available
Director: Not Available
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Not Available
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: Not Available
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: Not Available
Production Stills: Not Available
Plot Summary: Based on the Virgin Comics graphic novel, written by John Harrison and drawn by Peter Rubin, presupposes an America that has a ruling class called the Megas, for whom there is a special set of laws. A detective who believes in the monarchy rethinks his position after investigating a crime that reveals ugly truths about the elite society.
Release Date: May 8, 2009
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: J.J. Abrams
Screenwriter: Roberto Orci, Alex Kutzman
Starring: John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Winona Ryder, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy, Marlene Forte, Jimmy Bennett
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: StarTrekmovie.com | NCC-1701.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Production Stills: View here
Plot Summary: From director J.J. Abrams (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Lost” and “Alias”) and screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers,” “MI: III”) comes a new vision of the greatest space adventure of all time, “Star Trek,” featuring a young, new crew venturing boldly where no man has gone before.
Star Trek XI – Trailer #1 TRUE-HD
From io9: Strung Out on Science Fiction comes this rumor:
A new rumor has surfaced about J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movie: it doesn’t deal with time travel at all, but rather with visiting different alternate realities. (Actually, I thought it featured time travel, which created alternate realities.) In one alternate timeline, we’ll get to see a very different version of the U.S.S. Enterprise, in which it’s a warship. (And will Spock have a cool goatee again?) Some of the movie will also take place in the Next Generation era, which makes sense since Leonard Nimoy is playing Old Spock.
Meanwhile, Anton Yelchin, who plays Chekhov in the new movie, appears to have confirmed the movie will feature Klingons. Or else he was just talking metaphorically when he said he has to look at a greenscreen scanner and pretend he’s looking at Klingon warships. Rumor has it the Klingons will be somewhat redesigned. [Screenrant]
For the latest update, from First Showing.net:
James Cameron’s Updates on Avatar Status
February 21, 2008, Source: AICN, by Alex Billington
One of the few people we’re desperately in need of an update from is James Cameron, who is currently working on his sci-fi 3D movie Avatar. Thankfully Harry from AICN got in touch with him just yesterday and he talked about all the latest with Avatar, including how technically complex and time consuming it is, and also how groundbreaking it just may be. This sounds like an animated Pixar project – they’re already two years in and have a year and a half to go of actual work as they prepare for its release in December of 2009. With every new day and every new update on Avatar, I get that much more excited for what this movie will bring.
A few days ago a bland and boring new photo from Avatar was revealed, but Cameron confirms that it isn’t from him and isn’t actually related to the movie. He goes on to explain that while they’ve finished principal photography, Steve Quale is out shooting second unit footage and they still have more performance capture work to do with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang that could last until April or May. And even with Lang, who is the last on Cameron’s schedule to shoot, he explains that the scene “is so technically difficult it will take us until then to figure out how to do it.”
Things are going well on Avatar, or at least as well as can be expected on such a ridiculously complex project. We’ve wrapped principal, and most of the live action portion of the movie is already cut. It’s starting to look and sound like a movie. I’m ecstatic with the performances and the look. The cast chemistry worked out perfectly.
When working on a movie like this, that involves both extensive principal live-action photography and motion capture, as well as groundbreaking 3D and CGI work, time is the most essential aspect. Cameron has previously said that “the film will be composed of 60% computer-generated elements and 40% live action, as well as traditional miniatures” and is a hybrid movie that’s based on a full live-action shoot combined with computer-generated characters and live environments. While I wish I could better explain what exactly Cameron is doing, there really is no way to even guess at any of what we’ll see come December of ’09.
You can see how spread out the schedule is — it’s just the nature of this type of CG animation/live action hybrid. Most of my time now is spent editing, because on this type of film you edit every CG scene twice — once to edit the raw performance capture, before it goes to virtual camera, and then again when you have the virtual camera shots, you do the final edit of the scene. It’s very complex and taxing, but the result is amazing. The Weta animators are ON FIRE, and seeing the world and the creatures come to life is what keeps us going. There’s a spirit on this film, an esprit de corps amongst the virtual team, that comes from knowing we’re doing something absolutely groundbreaking. It’s why people still have good morale after working on this thing for two years or more. And we still have more than a year and a half to go. I don’t know if this will be a good film, great film, awful film, but I can say with absolute certainty that you will see stuff you’ve never imagined, and that the process of making this film will generate a lot of interest within the technical side of the biz.
Although they’ve been working for two years, Cameron explains that the actual CGI and final frames won’t be rendered until next year, where they’ll go into an all out “frenzy” to render everything by the release date. This filmmaking process and animation process has evolved quite a bit even in just the two years of time that he’s been working on it, and I can only imagine the doors it will open once the film arrives. I’ve previously heard other big name directors like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have stepped into the studios to check out the technology and have been amazed by it. That’s certainly impressive to hear, not to mention the enthusiasm Cameron has when talking about it.
Avatar is the last film listed on the 2009 Release Schedule, and it’s a relief because thankfully that gives us the time we need to get through every other anticipated movie in the way. When December 18th, 2009 rolls around, be ready to experience something truly breathtaking, groundbreaking, and possibly life-changing. I already can feel it coming and I’m already anxious for it, even 22 months out.
And for a little more, although possibly rumors, on Avatar, from Market Saw: A Blog Focused on 3D Motion Pictures:
Friday, February 29, 2008
James Cameron’s “avatar” Secrets Revealed: Warning Spoilers!
UPDATED (March 4th): Just wanted to clarify that until Cameron comes out and states otherwise, the original thought was that “Avatar” would be about 60% CGI. You can see the outdoor green screens here and here; they look ENORMOUS. However, there is a large live action component as well that Cameron must feel deserves the detailed set treatment – mainly interior shots it appears. Also it wouldn’t take much to move the Biolabs from inside to the exterior green scene to create the environment. I also wanted to say that we don’t know if they are creating life sized plants for this movie – though it would make sense to do so in some cases. Many flora shots would be CGI – my source was referring to “how others had the whole communication thing explained to them” by the powers at be. So whether it is exposed to the audience in a scientific way (sort of how in “Jurassic Park” they explained how they retrieved the DNA from dinosaurs) or whether they plan on “suspending belief” of the audience (i.e. unexplained) remains to be seen. Either way, it is an awesome premise and BEGS my curiosity. One thing is certain – science plays an interesting role in this movie; whether they keep the “theory” behind various communication techniques in a black box or expose it like in Jurassic Park is a guess at this point! My conjecture would be that Grace (Sigourney Weaver) explains it to someone and the audience (of course) listens in. If you want the details, highlight the white text below as it does contain spoilers.
Well I told ya it was coming and here it is. Exclusive Avatar news you can’t get anywhere else. Now a small caveat here: These notes are from a while back and some things may have changed during filming, but what has been noted DID EXIST at one point and these notes are authentic:
Got some VERY interesting news from one of my “Avatar” sources that was involved with getting this 3D motion picture made. AWESOME news in fact. In fact, you may not want to read this as there are definite mini-spoilers in this that may affect your viewing pleasure.
**SPOILERS BELOW** Highlight the white text below to read the contents:
My source was very clear on a number of things including some of the basis for the movie as well as how things looked inside the production buildings:
1. “Avatar” production set:
There were hundreds of workers building the sets for Avatar – MDF was being thrown around like candy to make the sets as realistic as possible – and it was very successful. The transport ships for instance achieved a “matte steel appearance” that was undetectable. Those transport ships look pretty much like the new Battlestar Gallactica transports, but much bigger – like ten times bigger. These sets filled the interior of the set buildings in Wellington – to the rafters. All very real looking and NOT scaled down – it was all life size.
ON THE MESS HALL BUILDING:
This is mainly where the security forces interior scenes were shot. It was large (30 x 30 feet) made to look like steel construction with only a few windows to view the outside world. The feeling that was conveyed with this structure was that the soldiers were trying to bring their own home with them to this alien planet Pandora, and ignore what was happening outside – kind of like what happens when soldiers are deployed overseas today and they set up coffee shops, etc to keep from feeling terribly homesick. On the wall of the mess hall was a large US flag that takes up half the space – something like 10 x 15 feet) – this could indicate political overtones for the movie.
ON OTHER BUILDINGS:
There were other buildings being made that were for science related things. My source only saw these labs from the outside and they seemed very true to their nature. I spoke to some other workers and they said that they look like typical laboratories – one larger lab (about 30 x 30 feet) and one mobile lab (which was about 6 x 15 feet). Sigourney Weaver’s character who plays Grace in “Avatar” spends a lot of time in a control room in the bigger one.
2. “Avatar” Story Basics:
ON THE ANIMALS:
Apparently the animals can communicate with the plants of Pandora, but my source was kind of hazy on that. Not only that, but the native Na’vi inhabitants take their own hair and weave it into the hair of Pandora’s animals and can communicate that way to them!
Many workers were talking about how they are using LED lights to show how plants “talk” to other plants on the planet. They use these lights to show how electrons move back and forth between plants through their root system. Again – my source didn’t know much more than that. However, if you examine the plants in the photo here – you can see the luminosity that is being spoken of that seems to be present not only in the plants but also in the Na’vi natives of Pandora.
ON THE AVATARS:
A lot of speculation was taking place on the set about how the Avatar chambers work. This is where humans link up with their native avatars to kind of take over their bodies. The chambers were really very cool and if you can picture the cryo chambers in the Alien movies, take those and put them upright with a darker appearance. I suspect that Sigourney Weaver’s Grace plays a key role in discovering the crucial communication methods and applying them to humans.
One can see a progression here of humans encountering this awesome alien communication system and then taking that idea, studying how it is done in the labs and then applying it to human to Na’vi avatar communication. At least that is my thoughts on it. Wow. This movie is going to really redefine the theater going experience! A great story, awesome effects and all in 3D. Man am I psyched. I also want to add that taking photos of the sets was impossible – so none are available (so far anyway).
Hopefully we will see some exciting new promo materials from Jim Cameron as also exclusively uncovered by my “Avatar” sources in the coming weeks…
As always, I will post new info as I receive it – unless the sensitivity is too extreme and my source asks me to hold back somewhat. This post for instance is missing some truly cool stuff but I cannot divulge it due to the fact it would closely label just who my source in this case is. Let’s put it this way: I am smiling a lot more today… :-)
First two images courtesy of HDVideoPro http://marketsaw.blogspot.com/2008/02/james-camerons-avatar-secrets-revealed.html
And as for TV and Whedon fans from io9:
First Description of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse!
6:00AMon Tue Mar 4 2008, By Charlie Jane Anders
Here’s the production notice which Fox sent out along with the casting call for Dollhouse, Joss’ new show:
The drama stars Dushku as Echo, a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. A group of people, known as “Actives” (or “Dolls”), have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas and hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies and occasional good deeds. When not imprinted, the Actives live, childlike and unremembering, in a hidden facility nicknamed “The Dollhouse”. Although the Actives are ostensibly volunteers, the operation is highly illegal, and under constant threat from a determined federal agent on one end and an insane rogue Active on the other. The story hinges around a greater and more subtle threat: Echo, a female Active, begins, in her mind-wiped state, to become self-aware.
Meet The People Who Give Eliza Dushku Her Brain Modules
10:10am on Fri Feb 29 2008, by Charlie Jane Anders
Just because Eliza Dushku will be an amnesiac with occasional false personalities in Joss Whedon’s new TV show Dollhouse, doesn’t mean she won’t have friends.
A new casting sheet for Dollhouse includes a whole raft of morally gray characters, including friends, mentors, bosses and a love interest. Click through for a list of the show’s characters.
A new Fox network show starting as soon as next fall, Dollhouse stars Eliza Dushku as Echo, a “doll” who can take on any personality — including memories and abilities — she needs to complete a mission. When she’s not on a job, Echo sits in her “dollhouse” in an amnesiac state. And here are her supporting cast. None of these parts have been cast yet (as far as we know), but here are the characters Joss has come up with:
- Adelle Dewitt, the forty-something ice queen who runs the Dollhouse where Echo and the other “dolls” stay while they’re blanked out between missions. It sounds like she’ll be creepy and unsavory.
- Paul Ballard, a thirty-something G-man who will become a sort of love interest for Echo (although will she remember him between gigs?).
- Boyd Langton, who’s Echo’s “handler” and a sort of father figure to her. Sort of the Giles to her Buffy.
- Topher Brink, the geek who programs Echo and the other “dolls,” and may enjoy his mind-[effing] work a little too much.
- Sierra, one of Echo’s fellow “dolls” and the closest thing to a friend she has
- Victor, another “doll,” who’s amazingly handsome and who has to “play” everyone from Errol Flynn to Robert DeNiro on missions.
- November, another “doll,” who’s chubbier and more goofy. (She’s compared to Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray.)
- Dr. Claire Sanders, a gorgeous older woman whom Topher is in love with.
So now I’m more confused than ever about how the world of Dollhouse will work, since apparently the “dolls” do form human relationships despite the constant “reprogramming” interspersed with amnesia. It’ll be interesting to see how Joss pulls it all together. Dushku image by Wenn. [Ausiello Scoop] http://io9.com/362179/meet-the-people-who-give-eliza-dushku-her-brain-modules
And from The Hollywood Reporter.com:
Fox, Whedon in ‘Dollhouse’
By Nellie Andreeva, Nov. 1, 2007
Eliza Dushku (Getty Images photo)
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon is returning to television with “Dollhouse,” a new sci-fi project starring “Buffy” alumna Eliza Dushku that has received a seven-episode commitment from Fox.
“Dollhouse,” from 20th Century Fox TV, is Whedon’s first TV project since his 2002 Fox drama “Firefly.”
The drama, whose license fee is said to be in the $1.5 million-$2 million-per-episode range, stars Dushku as Echo, a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. They have no memories of their previous lives, until Echo begins to try to find out who she was.
“Joss has been my favorite friend, genius, ally and confidant in the business since I was 17,” said Dushku, who also will serve as a producer on the project. “It’s incredible how much energy and excitement I have for this; I can’t wait to be this Echo character.”
“Dollhouse” came out of a lunch between Whedon and Dushku in September, shortly after the actress had signed a development deal with 20th TV and Fox. Whedon was giving her advice about writers and types of shows that might be good for her but wasn’t interested in venturing into TV himself because he was trying to get a couple of movie projects off the ground at the time.
“In the middle of the conversation, I went, ‘Oh, God. I thought of the show, and I had the title,’ ” Whedon said. Dushku came on board immediately. Within a week, the show was set up Fox and 20th TV.
Broadcast networks had been pursuing Whedon for years, but he had been focused on features.
“It was a really welcomed surprise,” Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said of getting Whedon’s pitch for “Dollhouse.”
Reilly and Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori called the decision to pick up the show “a layup.”
“Joss is not only one of the more innovative show creators out there, he is an unbelievably accomplished showrunner,” Liguori said. “It was a creatively inspired idea, and the fact that he wanted to do it with Eliza was the cherry on a sundae.”
Whedon met with Reilly and 20th TV chairman Dana Walden for several hours Tuesday afternoon talking about “Dollhouse.”
“You can imagine a really exciting, timely, emotional show that will be packed with his signature storytelling involving humor, emotions and themes that are relatable,” Walden said after the meeting.
Although an agreement on the project was reached a month ago, the deal didn’t close until this week, so writer/executive producer Whedon hasn’t started writing it. With a writers strike considered imminent, he might not be able to finish it any time soon.
“I’ll hit the ground running, and I’ll work until I’m supposed to, then I’ll stop dead in my tracks and will pick up my picket signs,” he said.
Although it interferes with his work on “Dollhouse,” Whedon is in favor of a strike.
“I think the issues are extremely serious, and I think the studios are extremely entrenched,” he said. “No one wants a strike, but it has to happen because (the studios) would not listen. I support it and will do anything to fight for the creative rights that the people deserve.”
Whedon is repped by CAA and attorney Sam Fischer. Dushku is repped by Gersh.
AFI TOP 50 SCI-FI MOVIES
And as a secondary note, the AFI has put out it’s list of the 50 top Sci-Fi movies of all time:
“The American Film Institute has come up with a list of 50 SF films that it deems among the best ever; it will pick 10 as the best SF movies of all time for a TV special that will air on CBS in June … The AFI defines “science fiction” as a genre that marries a scientific or technological premise with imaginative speculation. It has selected the following 50 movies as contenders for the best, in alphabetical order (in the case of movies that have been made more than once, we’ve designated by date which version the AFI has selected):
A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Alien, Altered States, The Andromeda Strain, Back to the Future, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Blade Runner, Children of Men, A Clockwork Orange, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon, Contact, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Destination Moon, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Escape From New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Fantastic Voyage, The Fly (1986), Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein (1931), The Incredible Shrinking Man, Independence Day, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Invisible Man (1933), It Came From Outer Space, Jurassic Park, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, The Matrix, Men in Black, Minority Report, Planet of the Apes (1968), Repo Man, RoboCop, Rollerball (1975), Silent Running, Soylent Green, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope, Starman, The Stepford Wives (1975), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Them!, The Thing From Another World, The Time Machine (1960), Total Recall, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The War of the Worlds (1953), Westworld”
SciFi.com made it’s own poll for the top ten, and here are the results:
Star Wars Tops Wire Poll
“SCI FI Wire readers have spoken, and the Force is with them: Readers picked Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope as the top SF movie of all time.
Following a close second was Ridley Scott’s 1982 dystopian SF noir movie Blade Runner.
The results were tabulated from hundreds of e-mails readers sent with their picks for the top 10 SF movies of all time, drawn from the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 best SF movies.
The original Star Wars movie drew 7.8 percent of the total votes for top pick. Blade Runner received 7.5 percent.
The rest of SCI FI Wire’s top 10 SF movies, in descending order: The Matrix, Alien, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet and the original Planet of the Apes.”
So, get out the comfy chair, and a good book, maybe Neuromancer, because it’s going to be a long wait….