MGM has picked up the rights to Ben Karlin‘s humorous anthology, Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me. The book is collection of essays from celebrated comedians including Stephen Colbert, Patton Oswalt, Larry David, Will Forte, and Andy Richter as well as best-selling authors/columnists Dan Savage, A.J. Jacobs, and many more. It’s a very funny and surprisingly touching book where the authors’ talent for self-deprecation and insight shines through. According to Deadline, Kyle Pennenkamp & Scott Turpel (the upcoming Get a Job) will write the script, which will cull the book “for the ingredients to a male-oriented comedy.” That phrase has me a bit worried since the essays aren’t misogynistic and can appeal to both genders.
Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book. Karlin co-wrote and produced the upcoming comedy A.C.O.D. (click here for my review from Sundance), and is currently a co-executive producer on Modern Family. He previously worked as an executive producer on both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
MGM has solidified its replacement for director Joe Carnahan (The Grey) on its remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson film Death Wish. Carnahan had been developing the project for over a year before he dropped out last month when he and MGM didn’t see eye-to-eye on who should play the film’s protagonist, a liberal architect who sets out for vengeance after his wife and daughter are attacked. The studio wanted Bruce Willis for the role, but Carnahan was keen on going a different way.
Now Variety reports that director Gerardo Naranjo, who most recently helmed the Spanish-language thriller Miss Bala, is in talks to step in. Carnahan wrote the script for Death Wish alongside John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris, and the report notes that Brad Pitt and Will Smith were previously approached to star in addition to Willis. Naranjo is also attached to direct the romantic drama The Mountain Between Us at Fox, which is hoping to land a big star as its lead as well.
Fifty years later, the Bond franchise is astoundingly stronger than ever, as Skyfall joined the $1 billion worldwide club in December. MGM understandably wants to jump back into the series sooner than later. On a conference call with investors, MGM CEO Gary Barber promised:
“We are currently developing the screenplay and working with our partners. We look forward to developing the script soon and signing a director. We are hoping within the next 3 years it will be released.” [Reuters]
Skyfall director Sam Mendes will not return, but Barber says they “look forward to announcing a director soon.” Mendes hatched a story idea with John Logan before he left, and Logan will stay on to write Bond 24. Daniel Craig is signed for at least two more films, so the immediate future of the Bond series is bright.
MGM’s remake of the 1976 horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown is moving forward, and some major players have boarded the project behind the scenes. We first learned that the remake was in development this past November, but now Heat Vision reports that Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy is teaming up with producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity franchise, Insidious) on the project. The original slasher film was based on five unsolved, grisly murders in 1946 Texarkana and became a cult hit.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in talks to direct the horror remake, which has a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Carrie remake, Glee). Gomez-Rejon has previously helmed a number of episodes of Glee and American Horror Story: Asylum, and is also a prolific second-unit director who most recently worked on Argo. This new Sundown is said to keep the original film’s cinema verite style with an added procedural element akin to Zodiac. Murphy also revealed that they’re doing a “weird meta thing with it,” whatever that means. Production is gearing up to begin this spring. Hit the jump to watch the trailer for the original film.
Thanks to the smashing box office success of Skyfall ($1.03 billion) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($886 million and counting), MGM has a built up quite the purse, and now they’re looking to commit some of that profit to a fairly high profile remake. Per Deadline, MGM is buying a spec script for a new version of Ben-Hur, based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ. Wallace’s novel was famously immortalized onscreen by director William Wyler in 1959 with the classic epic Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, and the novel was also previously adapted in the 1925 silent film Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ. This new adaptation was scripted by Keith Clarke and will be produced by Sean Daniel and Joni Levin. The reboot is more faithful to the book and diverges heavily from the Heston film, as it will also tell the parallel tale of Jesus Christ in addition to the Ben-Hur story. Hit the jump for more details.
MGM is planning to remake the 1976 flick The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The slasher flick was based on five unsolved, grisly murders in 1946 Texarkana. “The Phantom Killer” has a memorable look as his mask is nothing more than a sack-cloth with an eyehole. I saw the film earlier this year, and it reminded me of Wes Craven‘s Last House on the Left as it had truly horrific scenes but then awkwardly moved to comic scenes featuring inept lawmen.
The challenge in remaking The Town That Dreaded Sundown is figuring out how to make it more than a generic slasher film. Halloween hadn’t come out yet in 1976, so the slasher subgenre was relatively lean when Sundown came out. Now that audiences know how slasher movies work, I’m curious to see how the new filmmakers will try to get scares out of the plot. It might be best to return to the original’s “true crime” vibe since the narration is the film’s most effective aspect. According to Variety, MGM is “asking agents for possible takes from writers to reboot the Charles B. Pierce film.” Hit the jump to check out the trailer.
Though production has yet to beging, things aren’t exactly looking up for MGM’s RoboCop remake. Earlier this month, HitFix’s Drew McWheeny got his hands on a copy of the script and gave it a rather scathing review, and just last week we learned that talks with Hugh Laurie to play the film’s villain broke down. Now word comes that director Jose Padilha isn’t exactly having an easy time getting his vision across. He’s apparently having to fight for every idea he has, and most of what he wants is being turned down by the studio. Hit the jump for more.
Though it seemed for a minute there that Tom Cruise wasn’t going to come back from Oprahgate (aka Couchgate, aka The Day Tom Went Crazy), the actor is doing a damn fine job of lining up some high profile pictures as of late. He plays a rock star in this summer’s musical Rock of Ages, he recently wrapped the Jack Reacher adaptation One Shot, he’s currently filming Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi epic Oblivion, he’s set to follow that up with Doug Liman’s sci-fi actioner All You Need Is Kill and may be teaming with Robert Downey Jr. for El Presidente.
Cruise also has a few sequels/remakes on the horizon as he’s attached to star in a reboot of Van Helsing, he’s being courted to return for Top Gun 2, and Clint Eastwood wants him to star in a redo of A Star Is Born. The actor is adding another remake to the pile, but this time he’s taking on a bona fide classic: The Magnificent Seven. Hit the jump for more.
Though MGM is just getting back up on its feet following some financial troubles, the studio is now moving quickly on a musical remake of 1983’s Valley Girl. MGM has been working on the project for a few years, but now they’re teaming up with Paramount and Deadline reports that they’ve settle on newcomer Clay Weiner to direct. Weiner, who’s been dabbling in commercials and helmed the Nickelodeon movie Fred: The Movie, won the studio over with a three-minute demo reel featuring choreographed dance routines set to 1980s songs.
The original Valley Girl starred Nicolas Cage as a punk kid from the wrong side of the tracks who falls in love with a Valley girl. The remake will follow the same story, but will have the actors sing 80’s songs from bands like The Go Go’s and The Cars. I think the story lends itself pretty easily to a musical, and the bevy of 80s material should make the film a lot of fun. Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married) is currently doing a rewrite on a script by Amy Talkington, but with the film on the fast track we should hear some casting news soon. Hit the jump to watch the trailer for the original. Be forewarned: it’s extremely 80s.
As Joe Carnahan’s latest directorial effort, The Grey, is poised to be the number one film at the box this weekend, the director has now landed another high-profile project. Carnahan is being hired to write and direct a remake of the 1974 action pic Death Wish. The original served as the breakout film for star Charles Bronson, and kicked off a wave of action movies. The story was loosely based on a novel of the same name and centers on a liberal architect who sets out for vengeance after his wife and daughter are attacked. It’s basically a one-man revenge tale, and Carnahan seems an absolute perfect fit for the material. Hit the jump for more. [Update: Carnahan recently commented on his vision for the project. His thoughts are included after the jump]
MGM is making moves. After lingering in financial troubles for quite a while (putting projects like Red Dawn, Cabin in the Woods, and the Bond franchise in jeopardy), the studio is now moving full-speed ahead. Earlier today we reported on the studio’s remake of Carrie, and now comes some news concerning their adaptation of the children’s book Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Oscar-winning director Juan Jose Campanella (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) was previously attached to helm the pic, but word now comes that Tony-nominated writer/director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) is in final negotiations to man the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more.
While it’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about the planned remake of Carrie, the project seems to be moving forward as MGM and Screen Gems have settled on a director. Deadline reports that Boys Don’t Cry helmer Kimberly Peirce is in talks to get behind the camera on the Stephen King adaptation. Brian De Palma famously adapted the material in 1976 with Sissy Spacek in the career-defining lead role. This new version is said to be more faithful to King’s source material, though I’m assuming a fair amount of telekinetic carnage will still ensue.
Playwright/screenwriter/comic-book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Big Love, Glee, The Stand comic) penned the screenplay, and with Peirce now onboard the project seems to be moving toward casting. The critically acclaimed Boys Don’t Cry marked Peirce’s directorial debut in 1999, and the 2008 Iraq War drama Stop-Loss acted as her follow-up feature. The director’s experience with off-kilter coming-of-age stories should bode well for her work on Carrie, and I’m intrigued to see what her take entails. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
MGM is in talks to pick up screenwriter Adam Green‘s adaptation of Greg Taylor‘s novel Killer Pizza. The story follows a teenager who gets a summer job working at the eponymous pizzeria, but then discovers it’s a front for a monster-hunting operation. Also a good front for a monster-hunting operation: Linens N’ Things. According to Deadline, Chris Columbus and his 1492 Entertainment Production Company brought the project to MGM believing it would fit with the studio’s desire to develop a movie in the vein of Gremlins and The Goonies. For those unfamiliar with Green, he previously wrote and directed Hatchet and Frozen among other popular horror movies. However, there’s no word at this point as to whether or not he’ll be getting behind the camera for Killer Pizza.
Hit the jump for a synopsis of Greg Taylor’s Killer Pizza.
MGM has picked up the feature film rights to bring the children’s book series Where’s Waldo? to the big screen. For those unfamiliar with the Where’s Waldo? books, they’re impressively drawn crowd scene where the object is to find Waldo, a lanky gentleman with glasses and a distinctive red-and-white outfit. The series eventually spawned supporting characters like Wilma, Wendy, Waldo’s dog Woof, and Waldo’s arch-nemesis, Odlaw. As an adult, I’m confused why a man whose sole purpose in life is to stand around in crowds would need an arch-nemesis. However, all these elements could make for an entertaining movie.
A Where’s Waldo? film adaptation has been in development for years. Back in 2004, Nickelodeon Movies had it on their development slate, and a couple years ago Universal and animation studio Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) were trying to get Waldo on the big screen. We’ll see if MGM has more success. Hit the jump for the press release as well as a Werner Herzog impersonator doing a hilarious “reading” of a Where’s Waldo? book.
It’s time for a status check on Southpaw. Last we heard, DreamWorks let the project go, and the filmmakers were shopping it elsewhere. I have been rooting for Southpaw to find a home because of the intriguing collection of talent: Eminem starring, Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest) directing, a script by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy). Southpaw won’t need to wander too much longer, because that project also enticed a number of studio suitors. MGM is reportedly the frontrunner to acquire the film with a bid that places Sony in charge of distribution.
Sutter’s script follows a welterweight boxing champion (Eminem) whose life is upended when tragedy strikes. Hit the jump for more on the story, including Sutter’s explanation of how it parallels Eminem’s career.