Relativity Media’s long-in-the-works action thriller Hunter Killer may soon have a new director. Variety reports that McG has entered negotiations to take over the director’s chair on the project from Antoine Fuqua, who himself replaced Phillip Noyce on the film. The pic is based on the novel Firing Point by Don Keith and George Wallace and “follows an untested submarine captain who must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia’s president, who’s taken prisoner during a military coup. The two sides team to stop a rogue Russian general from igniting World War III.” Gerard Butler was initially slated to star, but he and Fuqua went and made Olympus Has Fallen instead so McG will be looking for a new lead. The script was written by Jamie Moss, John Kolvenbach, and Arne Schmidt.
McG most recently helmed the thriller Three Days to Kill starring Kevin Costner, also for Relativity. Clearly the studio is happy with the results and wants to continue its relationship with the Charlie’s Angels and Terminator Salvation director.
Check out the latest casting news below:
- Christian Slater (Broken Arrow) and Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard) join the indie drama Undiscovered Gyrl, an adaptation of Allison Burnett’s novel which Burnett himself will direct.
- Connie Nielsen (Gladiator) has joined the latest McG project, previously reported as Three Days to Kill. The pic is a darkly comic action thriller that involves a Secret Service agent who comes out of retirement for one last mission in exchange for a drug that could save his life.
- Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly) is in talks to join Mississippi Grind, a road trip pic of sorts with a plot focused on gambling addiction. The indie also stars Jake Gyllenhaal who will produce.
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
Director McG has found his leading lady for the upcoming action thriller Three Days to Kill. Variety reports that Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) is set to star opposite Kevin Costner in the pic for Relativity Media. The script was written by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak and centers on a dying Secret Service agent (Costner) who decides to retire in order to spend time with his estranged family. Heard has been set in the lead female role of “a woman who offers him access to an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment, which Costner must complete while coping with the drug’s hallucinatory side effects.” One imagines McG will try to bring the very visual premise to life with some innovative camera work, so here’s hoping for the best.
Heard most recently wrapped roles in Robert Rodriguez’s sequel Machete Kills and the corporate thriller Paranoia opposite Liam Hemsworth.
Director McG is currently looking for his follow-up to This Means War, and it looks like he’ll be going with Three Days to Kill, a thriller centering on a secret service agent played by Kevin Costner. But the Terminator Salvation director is still lining up future projects. He’s also on board to direct a feature based on the Magic Castle, a Hollywood nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts, and today Variety reports that his production company is developing an adaptation of the book School of Fear as a possible directing vehicle. Based on the first novel in a trilogy, the series “follows four children, all suffering from phobias, who are sent to the exclusive yet secretive school where they conquer their fears and survive a perilous final test.” Please, please, please let the headmaster of the school be played by Joe Rogan.
Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book. McG is currently in pre-production on Three Days to Kill.
McG (Terminator Salvation) is reportedly attached to direct a feature based on Hollywood’s Magic Castle, a nightclub for magicians and magic enthusiasts. Set up at 20th Century Fox, the Radar Pictures’ film is being scripted by Andrew Barrer (Haunt) and Gabe Ferrari (Sabrina the Teenage Witch). No plot details are available as of yet, but the “most unusual private club in the world” is surely at the center of it all. The “invite only” clubhouse also plays host to the Academy of Magical Arts, led by Neil Patrick Harris. Heat Vision reports that McG will focus on the Magic Castle picture after wrapping on Three Days to Kill with Kevin Costner in February. The Magic Castle is also exploring reality show and video game options with Radar.
Back in August, we learned that McG and Kevin Costner were looking to possibly team up on an untitled action thriller (previously titled Three Days to Kill)produced by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Taken). It appears that things have officially come together, as Variety reports that Costner has closed a deal to star in the film while McG is set to direct. Besson co-wrote the film with Adi Hasak (From Paris with Love), which centers on a dying secret service agent who retires in order to reconnect with his family. The Secret Service offers him the chance to use an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment, and Costner finds himself “trying to juggle his family, his mission, and the drug’s hallucinatory side-effects.”
It’s a twist on the familiar “one last job” premise, and while I think Costner’s a fine choice to lead the project, I’m less convinced of McG’s skills as a filmmaker. The set-up provides for some exciting possibilities, so hopefully we’ll be pleasantly surprised.
by Brad McKay Posted: August 23rd, 2012 at 7:01 am
What happens when two top-notch CIA operatives set their sights on the same woman? Nothing terribly unexpected, so it seems. This Means War, a playful rom-com by Director McG, takes on the task of trying to appease action and romance audiences, and fails to do strike a chord with either. Hit the jump for our review of the Blu-ray.
Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) is being courted for substantial roles in a pair of upcoming films. While Costner’s recent work was on the small screen in the History channel’s Hatfields & McCoys, he’ll next be seen on the big screen as Pa Kent in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Now, reports have Costner being courted for Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan film reboot which stars Chris Pine, as well as a Luc Besson production, Three Days to Kill. Hopefully this is a kickstart to seeing more of Costner in features again. More on both of these projects after the jump.
Fox liked what they saw in Wes Ball’s animated short, Ruin—enough to pre-emptively buy the movie rights before Ball could meet with other studios. According to Heat Vision, the studio even sees “franchise potential” with Ruin. The plan is for Ball to direct a live-action adaptation based on a script he will co-write with T.S. Nowlin, working under the supervision of producers McG and Lucasfilm’s Steve Tzirlin. This will be Ball’s feature directorial debut after a career in graphic work on Blu-ray and DVD featurettes, including Star Trek.
Ball and Nowlin have plenty of freedom to develop a story, since the short is dialogue-free and the plot revolves entirely around a big chase scene. Said chase scene is thrilling, and the design of the ruined world is inviting, so the short is worth a watch after the jump.
When we spoke with This Means War director/producer McG last month, he mentioned Dead Spy Running, a spy project he developed with Stephen Gaghan (Syriana). McG hoped Gaghan could direct, but suggested there could be a scheduling issue. If Gaghan can’t find the time, Twitch hears McG found a promising replacement in Jonathan Levine, now in negotiations to direct. Levine’s resume—50/50, The Wackness, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane—does not necessarily prepare him for a spy thriller. But Levine crafted one of the finest films of 2011 in 50/50, and his next project is the high-concept zombie genre piece Warm Bodies. Now is a great time to get into business with an up-and-coming director who has demonstrated his competency with a variety of material.
McG described Dead Spy Running as a spy story for this generation, “the Social Network age.” Hit the jump for his full pitch.
Opening this weekend is the action-comedy This Means War. Directed by McG, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy portray the world’s deadliest CIA operatives who are also inseparable partners and best friends…until they fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Rather than giving up and allowing one of the two to continue seeing Witherspoon, Hardy and Pine put their CIA gadgetry and know-how to work in order to derail each another’s relationship with the girl. For more on the film, here’s six clips and Matt’s review.
During the recent Los Angeles press junket, I was able to land an exclusive video interview with McG. We talked about making This Means War, the battle with the MPAA over rating and what they had to cut to get a PG-13, test screenings, deleted scenes, and what will be on the Blu-ray (it’ll have a Bond-style title sequence). In addition, with McG attached to so many other projects, I got updates on his TV pilot Guilty (about a lawyer that’s been disbarred), Spring Awakening, Dead Spy Running (a spy movie that Stephen Gaghan is writing and possibly directing), Face It (a romantic comedy), Monster Squad (he’s not involved anymore), Medieval (the status is up in the air at Regency), Tink (will star Elizabeth Banks as Tinkerbell), I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President (they haven’t cracked the script yet), Puzzle Palace (a thriller like Die Hard about a boy who has to break in to 1 Police Plaza in New York), Ouija (he’s not involved anymore), The Girl Who Conned the Ivy League (will star Amanda Seyfried as a girl who steals someone’s identity to attend an Ivy League school), and we also talked about the 30 to 40 minutes of deleted scenes from Terminator Salvation and an alternate ending where Skynet wins. Hit the jump to watch.
In This Means War, which opens on Valentine’s Day, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy portray the world’s deadliest CIA operatives who are also inseparable partners and best friends…until they fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now employing their incomparable skills and an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis ever – each other.
We sat down at a recent press conference with Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Handler and director McG to talk about what happens when a longstanding personal and professional bond is put to the test. Reese and Tom revealed why their paint ball scene turned into a real ice breaker. Tom talked about working opposite Chris Pine and what happens when two actors with very different fighting styles face off on screen. McG revealed that the DVD will be a Chelsea feast because her raciest jokes had to be dropped to get a PG 13 rating. He also discussed directing a film that’s part comedy, romance, action and thriller and how he had three alternative endings in mind, including one with a homoerotic finish.
This Means War is like plummeting to your death but pushing that thought out of your head and trying to enjoy the free fall. You know it’s going to end badly, you shouldn’t be enjoying this, but there’s a silver lining in the exhilaration. You have to embrace the charming lead performances in McG‘s action-rom-com in order to take your mind off their completely loathsome characters and the story’s gaping plot holes. It is a master class is why movie stars are movie stars, and how the best of them can let you have breezy fun until you splatter on the sidewalk.
We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share with you today. First up, Glee star Lea Michele may finally get her wish of reprising a Broadway role in the feature film adaptation. Michele was previously up for the role of Eponine in Tom Hooper’s movie musical Les Miserables (she starred as Young Cosette on Broadway and as Eponine at the Hollywood Bowl), but stage star Samantha Barks ultimately won the part. Now the actress is apparently in talks for the movie version of Spring Awakening. Michele originated the female lead in the smash hit Broadway musical, and director McG recently told E! Online that he’s in talks with the actress to reprise the role for his feature adaptation.
The This Means War director stressed that they have to see if Michele’s Glee schedule interferes with his shooting schedule, but he’s hopefuly things will work out. Steve sat down with McG recently and the director gave updates on all of his upcoming projects, including Spring Awakening. He said that he’s planning on putting a Baz Luhrmann-esque spin on the movie. No word on how soon filming will begin, but I sincerely hope Jonathan Groff reprises his Broadway lead in the film as well. Hit the jump for casting news regarding Clint Eastwood’s baseball drama Trouble with the Curve.
Director McG has had quite the versatile career. He began by working in music videos before making his big screen debut with 2000’s Charlie’s Angels. The pic was a big success, and led McG down a career path that’s included dramas (We Are Marshall), television (pilots for Chuck and Fastlane), and a stab at the Terminator franchise with Terminator: Salvation. McG is now trying his hand at the romantic comedy genre with an action bent in this month’s This Means War starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy. Steve recently got the chance to speak with the director about the film, but McG also gave updates on pretty much every single upcoming project listed on his IMDb page.
The director talked about his adaptation of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening (his passion project), Dead Spy Running with Stephen Gaghan, the Tinkerbell update Tink, his Die Hard-esque project Puzzle Palace, The Girl Who Conned the Ivy League starring Amanda Seyfried, and more. He also informed Steve that his feature version of Ouija doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.. Hit the jump to see what he had to say about his upcoming slate.