I finally got the chance to check out Thor: The Dark World earlier this week and while I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did its 2011 predecessor, I had a good time with the movie and want to take a few lines here to share my impressions. First and foremost, it’s funny. As you might expect, Kat Dennings is great as Darcy. That said, it’s odd to label her as the comic relief given all of the levity provided by other characters throughout the film when she is nowhere to be found. Also, as you’re probably even more inclined to expect, Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as Loki and chews up virtually every second of screen time that he’s allotted. On the other hand, what the film had in humor it lacked in drama, conflict, tension, and/or just answers in general. Who are the Dark Elves and why do they insist on everyone living in darkness? What is the Aether and why is it a death sentence for some and a source of all-encompassing power for others? It’s like I walked into the movie 15 minutes late although I’m sure I was seated in time and watched the entire thing. In other words, see Thor: The Dark World for the 112 minute escape that it is and you should be fine. Expect to come out of it with some idea of how and why everything happened outside of just pure coincidence and you’re setting yourself up for frustration.
My one paragraph review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailers for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah, our visit to the set of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a series of Super Mario Bros. short films that you may love or that may leave you scratching your head, the first teaser trailer for Disney’s Maleficent, and the uplifting story of BatKid fighting crime in San Francisco. As is routine, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
Today in unnecessary gritty reboot news, the classic Nintendo video game series Super Mario Bros. gets the Christopher Nolan treatment. Snow White and the Huntsman scribe Evan Daugherty thought it would be a good idea to take a gritty look at the world of Super Mario Bros. in a series of four short films he wrote and directed called The Four Players, and here we are. The first short, titled The Fixer, focuses on Mario and the whole thing plays like a College Humor parody. The film opens on dripping pipes and shows “gritty Mario” putting a mushroom into a blender to make a smoothie. If that wasn’t enough, the second short titled The Addict pits Luigi (or “Lou” as he’s called here) as a recovering addict because what Super Mario Bros. was missing was a hardened druggie angle. I’d point to these short films as a prime example of how not everything needs a gritty reboot.
Two other shorts focusing on Princess Peach and Toad will be released tomorrow, but for now you can marvel at the ridiculousness of the Mario and Luigi films after the jump.
It’s been almost twenty years since Disney brought Victor Hugo’s novel to the big screen in animated form with The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Now, the same tale will be told with a different spin on the small screen in ABC’s limited event series, Esmeralda. The network is developing the period drama will views the classic story through the eyes of the gypsy, Esmeralda. Though the news comes via Deadline, there are no details as to the take on the story, except to say that it will be scripted by Evan Daugherty, who turned in the revisionist take on Snow White and the Huntsman and is attached to pen drafts to such high-profile features as Divergent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe 3. Now this is complete speculation on my part, but Once Upon a Time fans might want to keep an eye out for potential cross-over between the fantasy series and the limited Esmeralda series. Stranger things have happened.
It was only about a month ago that director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) said they were “narrowing down the writer” for G.I. Joe 3. It seems that search is over as Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) has been tapped to pen the script. Daugherty has landed some potentially massive properties lately (aside from Killing Season), writing for the upcoming Divergent adaptation and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.
Paramount’s Joe films have both made north of $300 million worldwide, even if their critical receptions weren’t quite so welcoming. Chu will return to the director’s chair for the third installment and stars Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson are expected to return. No release date has been set for the film just yet.
Though Summit/Lionsgate already has the young adult market cornered with the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, Summit (which is now owned by Lionsgate) is looking to turn yet another popular YA book series into a feature film franchise. Variety reports that The Illusionist and Limitless helmer Neil Burger has entered early talks to direct an adaptation of Divergent.
Written by Veronica Roth at the ripe old age of 22, the book has drawn comparisons to the Hunger Games series for its similar futuristic setting in which teen-on-teen violence takes place. Though blatant ripoffs are easy to spot, I’ve actually heard good things about Divergent and the novel—which is the first in a trilogy—is quite popular. Hit the jump for more.
I’m going to bypass my usual opening paragraph musings this week and simply wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day weekend. Given that I don’t have any immediate family or friends who serve, I won’t claim to know the first thing about the sacrifices that each serviceman/woman and their respective families and friends are continually asked to make. I reap all of the benefits of their service without any of the concessions. As a result, I owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of them.
In this week’s “Top 5″ installment you can find the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, a cornucopia of interviews for Immortals and Cars 2, new set images from the set of The Expendables 2 featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a look at the road that led Billy Crystal and Brian Grazer to the top of the 2012 Oscars. Hit the jump for a brief recap and link to each.
Yesterday, the first teaser trailer for Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and The Huntsman arrived online, and—based on the feedback I’ve been privy to—the response has been cautiously optimistic. The film features Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Kristen Stewart (the Twilight franchise), and Charlize Theron (the upcoming Young Adult), and from what we saw in the trailer, Sanders has put together the most action-packed take on the Snow White story ever to grace the silver screen. But besides Hemsworth tossing around a big-ass hatchet, what can we expect from this somewhat-bizarre new take on the Snow White story? I sat down with the film’s writer, Evan Daugherty, to get answers. You can find out what he had to say for himself after the jump, folks.
Robert De Niro and John Travolta are set to team up for the action pic Killing Season. Daredevil director Mark Steven Johnson is set to helm the Appalachian Mountains-set film. The story centers on an American military veteran (De Niro) living in a remote cabin in the woods who is visited by a European tourist (Travolta). The two strike up an unlikely friendship and all goes well until the veteran realizes that the tourist is in fact a Serbian soldier bent on revenge. The film will see the two go toe-to-toe across the grueling Appalachian mountain landscape. The plot reminds me a bit of the 1997 pic The Edge, which had Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin facing off in the woods.
The script comes from Evan Daugherty, who also wrote Snow White and the Huntsman. De Niro recently signed on to star in The Comedian alongside Kristen Wiig for director Sean Penn. Production on Killing Season begins January 16th. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Confident that moviegoers can’t get enough young adult novel adaptations, Summit Entertainment has tapped Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) to pen an adaptation of Veronica Roth’s young adult trilogy Divergent. Per THR, Roth’s novel is set in a dystopian future in which society is divided into five factions: honesty, bravery, intelligence, selflessness, and perfection. The story focuses on a 16-year-old girl who leaves her family to join a rival faction which inevitably creates life-altering decisions for her down the road. In addition to Snow White and the Huntsman, Daugherty is also having his action/thriller script Shrapnel helmed by genre favorite John McTiernan (Die Hard). There is no word on whether Daugherty will be spreading the Divergent trilogy over several films or cramming all of those aforementioned life-altering decisions into one script. Nevertheless, my gut tells me to expect a brand new young adult novel adaptation franchise to be heading your way.
If you’re interested in learning more about the project, hit the jump to check out a synopsis of Roth’s Divergent trilogy.
Viggo Mortensen was one of two leading contenders to assume the starring role in Universal’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, but it appears that contract has been offered to his competitor, Javier Bardem. But that won’t keep Mortensen from his return to big-budget fantasy follwing the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings series.
Mortensen is in talks to play the huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron continues negotiations to play the evil queen, while Universal is on the lookout for a fresh face to star as Snow White. Hit the jump for more on the studio’s approach to this update on the classic fairy tale.
[Update: A new report suggests Kristen Stewart might assume the role of Snow White. Details below.]
Most people imagine Charlize Theron in the role of Snow White rather than her villainous stepmother, despite her Oscar-winning portrayal of a serial killer in Monster. But Universal still sees her capable of channeling evil. After pursuing the more obvious choice of Angelina Jolie for the role of the evil queen Ravenna, the studio is now rumored to be courting Theron for a new adaptation of the fairy tale according to Just Jared. Penned by Evan Daugherty, Snow White and the Huntsman is set to start filming in 2011, a perfect date, it seems, for both Theron and Tom Hardy (Inception), who is rumored to be close to signing a deal to play Eric the Huntsman.
Both were set to start working on George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, but because of a significant delay, the two stars ended up with a gap in their schedules and are perhaps ready to take on Snow White. Hit the jump to find out more.
Screenwriter Evan Daugherty, director Rupert Sanders, and producer Joe Roth have been shopping Snow White and the Huntsman around Hollywood. According to Heat Vision, this new take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has been making the rounds at all the studios except for Disney, which has its own Snow White re-imagining with Snow and the Seven. This new take gives the Huntsman an expanded role where he becomes chained to Snow White for part of the story and acts as a mentor figure, teaching the teen girl how to fight and survive. Huntsman becomes the third Snow White project floating around after Disney’s film and an “edgy” re-imagining of the character being produced by Brett Ratner.
Daugherty’s past work includes a pass at the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe script and the spec Shrapnel, the latter of which is being directed by John McTiernan. Sanders’ has built a successful portfoilo of commercials including work on the video games Halo and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. [Artwork above by J. Scott Campbell]
Veteran director John McTiernan (Die Hard) has inked a deal to direct the action/thriller Shrapnel. Penned by Evan Daugherty, the film focuses on two war veterans who find themselves hunting one another. The script was on the 2008 Black List which names the top unproduced screenplays of the year. While McTiernan’s track record of directing action seemingly makes him a great fit for the project (you may remember 1987′s Predator), the filmmaker hasn’t had a film in theaters since 2003′s Basic and even his involvement in Shrapnel is dependent upon the resolution of some legal troubles.
Per Variety, McTiernan is still on the hook for “making false statements to law enforcement officials” and faces sentencing on October 4th. If all goes well on that front, the film should begin casting fairly soon according to co-producer Anthony Rhulen. Shrapnel is being produced by the Belgian production company Corsan and Los Angeles’ FilmEngine. The film is currently being shopped to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.
I don’t know what screenwriters aspire to. Clearly, it depends on the screenwriter, but I wonder how many lay awake at night and think to him or herself, “I wish I had the chance to re-adapt the cartoon ‘Masters of the Universe’ into a live-action film because I could really capitalize on some goofy nostalgia.” Whether Evan Daugherty had that dream or not is unknown but he will be coming on board to rewrite Justin Marks’* script for “Grayskull” because you don’t want your movie about He-man to sound un-cool with a title like “Masters of the Universe”.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (who act like Daugherty committed the artistic crime of the century by getting this job; he’s not adapting Faulkner, here), Warners sees the big-screen version as a gritty fantasy and re-imagines Prince Adam (He-Man when he calls on the power of Grayskull) as a soldier who sets off to find his destiny, happening upon the magical world of Eternia. There, Skeletor has raised a technological army and is bent on eradicating magic.
I’m sorry. You lost me at “gritty fantasy”. It’s Masters of the Fucking Universe. You can’t just have fun with it? He-Man had a Prince-Valiant haircut and wore furry underwear. Who wants a “gritty fantasy” from that? Who is so emotionally retarded that they need their silly property about a man who cries out “I have the power!” to be deadly serious?
C’mon, Daugherty. Prove the haters (read: me and people who agree with me) wrong and make this film entertaining and not just an attempt to cater to he-men-children.
*Who, as the go-to guy for adapting “Street Fighter”, “Voltron”, and “Shadow of the Colossus”, probably did have that dream