Disney and Lucasfilm have now confirmed what we already knew: J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII. The press release was sent out this evening, announcing that Abrams will not only helm the new sequel, but he’ll also produce through Bad Robot with Bryan Burk. The announcement includes quotes from both producer and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and Mr. George Lucas himself, and here’s what Lucas had to say about the decision:
“I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
Also of note, the press release adds that screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes) will be consulting on the project. We previously learned that the two would have a hand in the scripts for further sequels/spinoffs, but it appears they’re also collaborating on Episode VII. Michael Arndt is writing the screenplay. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Disney and Lucasfilm have just confirmed reports that screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) will write the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII. We previously reported that Arndt was said to have already prepared a 40-50 page draft of at least the first new Star Wars installment and perhaps the entire sequel trilogy. This was well in advance of the announcement of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars for more than $4 billion. To see what Disney/Lucasfilm had to say, hit the jump.
Word has it that Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) will be among the writers on Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode VII. Arndt reportedly has a 40-50 page treatment already prepared and is likely to be one of the writers on board before the picture starts shooting some time in 2014. It sounds like his preparation includes all three films in the trilogy, which was alluded to in a recent press conference by Disney CEO Bob Iger. Rumors have run rampant since the news that Disney would be purchasing Lucasfilm to the tune of $4 billion and would be releasing a Star Wars sequel trilogy starting in 2015. It’s been speculated that Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) may be lined up to direct the film, but Arndt’s treatment is expected to cross the desks of Brad Bird, J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. Hit the jump for much more.
The first official synopsis for TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski’s sci-fi pic Oblivion has landed online. The film is described as “an original and groundbreaking cinematic event,” and Tom Cruise stars as one of the last remaining drone repairman stationed on a future Earth. He works as part of a mission to extract vital resources from the ground following a decades-long war with a threat known as the Scavs, which lead to humans moving civilization to the skies thousands of feet above. When Cruise’s character rescues a beautiful stranger (Andrea Riseborough) from a downed spacecraft, events are set in motion that force him to “question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.”
It’s an ambitious follow-up to the (visually) spectacular TRON: Legacy, and having Cruise onboard as the lead is a major plus. The synopsis release also notes that Kosinski is shooting Oblivion in digital 4K resolution in the U.S. and Iceland. The supporting cast includes Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Olga Kurylenko, Melissa Leo, and Morgan Freeman. Oblivion hits theaters on April 26th, 2013. Hit the jump to read the full synopsis.
Michael Arndt is Catching Fire. The Oscar-winning writer behind emotional roller coasters Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine is now in talks to do a re-write on Simon Beaufoy’s (Slumdog Millionaire) treatment of Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games series. Lionsgate has yet to land the writer, but if they do, he’ll have to work fast. Catching Fire is scheduled to shoot sometime this fall so that star Jennifer Lawrence can fulfill her commitments to Fox’s sequel to X-Men: First Class. Director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) is now officially on board, taking over the franchise from Gary Ross, who steered the first movie to a box office north of $600 million.
Catching Fire stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, and Woody Harrelson and begins filming this fall before opening November 22, 2013. Hit the jump for more.
Earlier today, I had the chance to talk with The Muppets producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. The full interview will be up the week of release (November 18), but I wanted to pass along what the producing team had to say about a few of their upcoming projects like the sequel to The Fighter, director Jonathan Levine’s (50/50) Warm Bodies, and Phineas and Ferb, which they are adapting as their first live-action/animated feature film. Lieberman confirmed last week’s news that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt worked on the draft from series creators Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire, which bodes well for the project.
For those that want to see a Fighter sequel, which would explore the Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti fights, Hoberman and Lieberman tell me that “Wahlberg’s in training mode again,” but no one has been hired to write a script. Which means it’s still on the far off horizon. They also talked about the tricky tonal balance in Warm Bodies. Hit the jump for what they had to say on all three projects.
The Phineas and Ferb movie is fast becoming quite a big deal. Earlier this month we learned that Disney had set the feature film adaptation of the popular children’s show for a prime July 26th, 2013 release date. Now 24 Frames reports that Toy Story 3 scribe (and Oscar winner for Little Miss Sunshine) Michael Arndt has come aboard the project to write a draft of the script. The pic was initially scripted by show creators Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire, but it looks like it’ll be getting a punch up from Arndt. Unlike the television show, which is animated, the feature film will be a mixture of live-action and animation. Arndt was recently set by Disney to pen their period China-set Snow White film Snow and the Seven.
Phineas and Ferb is one of the more popular programs populating the Disney Channel. The show focuses on the misadventures of amateur inventors/stepbrothers Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher. Other characters who populate the series include their sister Candance, always bent on getting the boys in trouble with their mother, and their pet platypus Perry who doubles as a secret agent facing off against the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz (ah, children’s programming). The feature film has become a priority for Disney, as they’ve recently ramped up merchandising on the Phineas and Ferb brand. Hit the jump to see what all the fuss is about.
It seems that Snow White is all the rage in Hollywood. Universal has Snow White and the Huntsmen with Viggo Mortensen and Kristen Stewart mulling over roles, and Relativity Media is working on The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. Well now Disney’s thrown its hat into the ring with its long-gestating Snow White project getting a punch-up by recent Oscar nominee (and past winner) Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). The film, titled Snow and the Seven transports the fairy tale to 19th century China. Heat Vision describes the plot thusly:
A 19th century Englishwoman returns to her Hong Kong home for her father’s funeral, only to discover that her stepmother is plotting against her. She escapes to mainland China, finding solace among a rogue band of seven international warriors.
Well, that’s certainly one way to go with the story. Disney is currently waiting to see how Natalie Portman’s pregnancy will impact her decision to star in the film. No matter, if Portman decides to take some time off this will certainly be the next project that elicits casting rumors for months, with every young actress sure to be vying for the role. No word on when they’re looking to get production started, though this is one of their top priority properties at the moment so expect more info sooner rather than later.
The ever-growing list of stars that are “circling” or “in talks” to appear in director Adam Shankman’s (Hairspray) adaptation of the stage musical Rock of Ages has just added one more name. Russell Brand is apparently looking at starring in the film as Lonnie, who runs the 80’s rock club The Bourbon. Alec Baldwin is said to be looking at the role of the owner of that club, who sings a rousing rendition of “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon with Brand’s character.
The musical takes place in 1987 and tells the story of “a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s.” We recently told you that Gwyneth Paltrow was offered a role in the film. Deadline reports that Tom Cruise will close a deal to headline the film as aging rocker Stacee Jax shortly. Mary J. Blige is also in talks to join the cast. The script for the film was originally written by the musical’s book writer Chris D’Arienzo, but has since seen a revision by Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt. Production is looking towards a May start date.
As TRON: Legacy shapes up to be one of the biggest movies of the year, director Joseph Kosinski’s list of potential projects continues to grow. Heat Vision reports that New Regency is developing Andrew Will’s sci-fi action spec script Archangels for Kosinski to direct. Kosinski is also producing the film alongside Ridley and Tony Scott via their Scott Free production company. According to HV:
The script is set in the near future and is described as a Bourne-style thriller crossed with alien elements. The protagonist is part of an elite force that is tasked with tracking aliens who get past Earth’s defense system.
Hit the jump to learn more about the other films Kosinski has in development and the presence TRON: Legacy is planning to have at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
As Disney positions Tron: Legacy as the major tentpole of the holiday season, the studio wanted to make sure they utilized all available to make the film something special. Enter Ratatouille writer/director Brad Bird and Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt. Disney had scheduled Tron re-shoots for June to beef up “character, emotion, and theme.” In preparation, the studio screened a very early working cut of the film for Brad, Arndt, and fellow Pixar colleagues John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Subsequently, Disney hired Arndt and Bird to write some pages in collaboration with original writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost) for the re-shoots, which lasted six days. More after the jump:
Yahoo! Movies has premiered a new poster for Pixar’s Toy Story 3. While the posters thus far have placed a single character next to the number “3″, the new poster is bright, colorful, and the gang’s all here, the gang being the toys from Andy’s room and the toys from the day-care center where the film takes place.
Hit the jump to check out the poster and the official synopsis. Toy Story 3 hits theaters in 3D on June 18th.