It appears that Clint Eastwood has caught the musical bug. Though the filmmaker has been trying to get his remake of A Star Is Born off the ground for the past couple of years, he’s run into quite a few stumbling blocks along the way. First production was pushed back when star Beyonce became pregnant, then the multi-talented artist dropped out of the project altogether. Esperanza Spalding is the latest choice for the female lead, but Eastwood keeps striking out when it comes to filling the male role. Tom Cruise was courted to star last year, and the project has already seen Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn pass on the gig.
Now it appears that Eastwood has set his sights on another musical film to direct as his next project instead of A Star Is Born, opting to push that long-in-development project back in lieu of the prospect of taking over for Jon Favreau on the Broadway adaptation Jersey Boys. Hit the jump for more.
News concerning two highly anticipated movie musicals has landed online. First up, Jon Favreau was reported as being the frontrunner to take the helm on producer Graham King’s feature film adaptation of the smash hit stage musical Jersey Boys early last month. Now Deadline reports that Favreau has officially entered negotiations to bring the show to the big screen, and he actually seems like an inspired choice. For those unaware, the documentary-style musical tells the story of The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” It’s a ridiculously crowd-pleasing show but it’s also realistic and candid as far as the portrayal of the group’s ups and downs go.
John Logan (Hugo) wrote the latest draft of Jersey Boys and the film is a high prirority for GK Films. Favreau is also developing Magic Kingdom and Disney, but I’d imagine Jersey Boys will likely be his next feature. Hit the jump for news concerning the feature film iteration of Wicked.
Paramount almost didn’t make a PG-13 blockbuster adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie novel World War Z, and that would have probably been for the best. The project, which was envisioned as the first part of a potential trilogy, would have been dead if the movie didn’t get a co-financier, but the studio eventually found partners in producer Graham King‘s GK Films and David Ellison‘s Skydance Productions. Now they’re all paying the price as the production has spun wildly out of control, soared to more than a $170 million budget, requires five weeks of complex reshoots (others have put the number at 7-8 weeks), and brought in Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof to do re-writes on a picture that won’t be able to get back in front of cameras until September.
So how did production on World War Z go so horribly wrong? Hit the jump for more.
GK Films has pre-emptively acquired the feature rights to The 5th Wave, a sci-fi trilogy that young adult novelist Rick Yancey is planning. Variety provides the logline: “Series follows a teenage girl who survives an alien invasion only to then search for her brother, who may or may not have been abducted by human-looking extra-terrestrials.” Naturally, romance is involved, as a cute* boy helps our heroine in her search. But there’s a twist: he may be an alien in disguise.
Yancey is best known in the YA world for the Alfred Kropp fantasy series—Warner Bros. picked up those rights in 2005, but it’s unclear what the status is on the movie now. In the last two years, Yancey published another trilogy that starts with The Monstrologist, the rights to which are also being shopped around. The 5th Wave is housed at Tobey Maguire‘s Material Pictures. Maguire and Material’s Matthew Plouffe will produce alongside GK heads Graham King and Tim Headington (Hugo). GK and Material are also partners in the development of Outback, a sci-fi actioner led by Carey Mulligan that Gary Ross will direct.
In October 2010, we reported that producer Graham King (The Town) had picked up the feature film rights to adapt the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Today, THR reports that screenwriter John Logan will handle the script for the movie. For those unfamiliar with the Four Seasons, they’re the 60s pop group who brought us songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” Jersey Boys was a ridiculously massive hit on Broadway, and the musical has grossed over $1 billion since premiered in 2005.
Jersey Boys will re-team Logan and King as the two previously worked together on Hugo, which is likely to earn some Oscar nominations including one for Logan for Best Adapted Screenplay. Although I had some problems with Hugo, Logan had an undeniably great 2011 career-wise. He picked up screenwriting credits for Rango and Coriolanus, and he’s got the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, on deck for 2012. Jersey Boys won’t be his first time adapting a musical; he previously adapted Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Scott Frank (Minority Report) has been tapped to rewrite and helm the feature film adaptation of the British miniseries Unforgiven. Last year, Christopher McQuarrie was set to pen the adaptation, with Angelina Jolie eying the starring role, but now GK Films has brought Frank onto the project. The 2009 miniseries told the story of a woman attempting to rejoin society after serving a 15-year prison sentence for murdering two cops after they came to evict her family from their farmhouse. She plans to live quietly with her troubled younger sister, but she’s soon targeted by two sons of one of her victims on a quest for revenge. Hit the jump for more, including a clip from the miniseries Unforgiven.
Graham King’s GK Films is planning to make a film about the largest air battle in history. Deadline reports that the studio has tapped Robert Towne (Chinatown) to pen the script for The Battle of Britain. The air fight took place in 1940 over London, when the Royal Air Force took on the German Luftwaffe for control of the British airspace which ultimately prevented the Nazi invasion of Britain. It’s a personal story for King, as his father lived in London at the time and watched the dog fight over the city. Towne is no stranger to action oriented character-centric fare, as he’s also responsible for the scripts for Mission: Impossible and Days of Thunder. The scribe most recently wrote the HBO miniseries Pompeii for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free productions. He’s also writing a pilot for Scott Free/Fox called Compadora and Next of Kin for producers David Fincher, Sam Raimi, and Josh Donen.
Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil label will co-produce an adaptation of the Image comic mini-series The Vault alongside GK Films. The latter acquired film rights to the three-issue property, written by Sam Sarkar and illustrated by Carrie Gastonny, which just debuted last week. While Sarkar and Gastonny’s book may very well be worth the adaptation (I’ve yet to check it out, so I really can’t comment), Heat Vision points out that its acquisition may have been expedited by Sarkar’s place as an executive at Depp’s Infinitum.
In terms of plot, The Vault follows a small team of treasure hunters who, when excavating a legendary treasure pit, unleash an “ancient evil.” Co-producing the film alongside Depp and GK’s Graham King is Infinitum president Christi Dembrowski and Tim Headington of GK. Most recently, GK Films teamed up with Depp on Rango and will release Martin Scorsese’s Hugo on November 23rd via Paramount. The second issue of The Vault is currently slated to hit comic shelves on September 28th.
Rebel uprising leader Spartacus is heading back to the silver screen courtesy of Graham King and Tim Headington’s GK Films banner. The label has acquired a pitch from 300 co-writer Michael B. Gordon that will introduce the legendary military leader to a new generation of moviegoers more than fifty years after Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier. Those suffering from remake fatigue needn’t worry as Variety reports that the film will make a point to avoid replicating the aforementioned Kubrick pic as well as the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Instead, the project will focus on depicting Spartacus in a more historically accurate light via centering on his leading gladiators and slaves in a revolt against the Roman Empire.
In addition to 300 and this most recent work, Gordon also received a story credit on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. As for GK Films, the label is only in its fourth year of existence and already has a number of high-profile pics to its name including The Town, Rango, Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Hugo, and the forthcoming reboots of Tomb Raider and Dark Shadows.
Apparently The Hangover Part II star Bradley Cooper is a burgeoning screenwriter in addition to being one of the most in-demand actors at the moment. Cooper appeared on Charlie Rose (via SlashFilm) earlier this week, and during their interview the actor revealed that he’s written an adaptation of Dan Simmons’ sci-fi epic Hyperion on spec with a friend. Cooper said that they have submitted the script to GK Films and are currently in negotiations to script the film adaptation. He adds, “Ideally I’d like to direct it, but there’s no way.”
The project has been in development for quite some time, with Scott Derrickson attached to direct in 2009. Cooper’s deal isn’t official by any means, but he’s definitely interested in tackling the material. Hit the jump for a synopsis of Simmons’ novel.
I’m not in favor of a Tomb Raider reboot. I’ve never been particularly enamored of the Lara Croft character simply because I think she’s not an icon of ass-kicking female empowerment as much as she’s eye-candy for lonely male gamers. I’ve said before that simply giving a woman a weapon and having her murder stuff doesn’t automatically equal a strong character. Hopefully newly-hired screenwriters Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby can pull the character away from the awful video games (the original 1996 game is still the best one) and terrible movies and give her a worthwhile story.
Hit the jump for what Fergus and Ostby had to say about their plans for the character.
GK Films has announced the acquisition of the feature film rights to the video game Tomb Raider. Producers Graham King and Tim Headington have plans to reboot the franchise by Angelina Jolie in 2001′s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; the sequel The Cradle of Life followed in 2003. The first GK Films Tomb Raider movie is scheduled for a 2013 release. Heat Vision suggests the new film will be an origin story, so presumably Jolie is not involved with Tomb Raider 2.0.
The original game was published in 1996 and centers on the adventures of British archaeologist Lara Croft. There are now nine titles (with a tenth on the way), plus a slew of novels, comic books, theme park rides, and of course, the films. Hit the jump for more background on the Tomb Raider story.
It’s been over a year now since Michael Jackson passed away, but Jackson’s popularity is showing no signs of slowing down. Today, we have news that GK Films is developing a feature film based off of Jackson’s iconic music video, Thriller. The film will be written by Jeremy Garelick (The Hangover) and will focus on “the song’s folklore, involving Vincent Price and the town he grew up in”. Kenny Ortega, who directed Jackson’s posthumous concert film This is It, has signed on to helm the film. Hit the jump for a reminder of Thriller’s awesomeness along with some news on what other Jackson projects are in the works.
Chuck Hogan is a busy man these days. His bestselling novel Prince of Thieves was recently adapted into the Charlestown crime drama The Town. Hogan is set to revisit Boston with a crime drama that centers on the Winter Hill Gang and enforcer John Martorano. Graham King and Tim Headington (The Town) will produce. King is best known for his work with Martin Scorsese, particularly the crime drama that won them a Best Picture Oscar: The Departed. Hit the jump for more details on the film and what Hogan and Guillermo del Toro are working on.
Producer Graham King’s GK Films (The Town) has picked up the feature film rights to the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys. The musical tells the true story of 1960s rock-n-roll sensation The Four Seasons. Deadline reports that the deal was “groundbreaking” and “in the substantial seven-figures”. Book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice will write the script while King and GK Films partner Tim Headington will produce. The film will use the music and lyrics of the group’s hits songs which include “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Rag Doll”, “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.
Jersey Boys picked up four Tony awards (including Best Musical) and has sold over a $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide. Although the musical debuted in 2005, the screen rights were only made available six weeks ago. Jersey Boys now joins other high-profile movie musicals in production like Green Day’s American Idiot over at Playtone, and Universal is developing adaptations of Wicked and In the Heights.