As the director of the film with the second highest grossing opening weekend of all time, Iron Man 3 co-writer and helmer Shane Black has likely been inundated with a number of offers over the past few days. However, it appears that the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director will be making his next project a property that he’s already been developing for some time. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that Black will co-write and direct Doc Savage as his next film. The pic is a feature film adaptation of a popular character from the 1930s and 40s. Doc Savage has been described as “a mix of Sherlock Holmes’ deductive abilities, Tarzan’s outstanding physical abilities, Craig Kennedy’s scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln’s goodness,” and so it provides a nice adventure avenue for which Black to imbue with his distinctive sensibilities.
Black recently told Steve that he was still planning on making Doc Savage and seemed to hint that it could be his next film, and this press announcement from Sony confirms that the director is eyeing Savage as his follow-up to Iron Man 3. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Fresh off their Oscar wins for producing Argo, it appears that producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov are zeroing in on yet another project from the same source writer. Joshuah Bearman wrote the 2007 Wired article that was adapted into the screenplay for Argo, and now The Wrap reports that Clooney and Heslov are planning to produce an adaptation of Bearman’s upcoming article “Coronado High.” As the article has yet to be published, further details are fairly thin. The story is said to involve “a group of teenagers who are used to smuggle drugs in Coronado, California,” which is a wealthy resort city near San Diego.
Sony Pictures is in talks to acquire the project, and it is being planned as a potential directing vehicle for Clooney. The multitalented Clooney is currently directing the WWII film Monuments Men, which he co-wrote with Heslov and also stars in. That film is set for release this December.
It appears that director Ruben Fleischer is ready to try his hand at sci-fi. The Wrap reports that Fleischer is returning to Sony Pictures—where he made Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less—to helm an untitled sci-fi/fantasy pic. Fleischer pitched the idea for the film himself, and Eric Pearson has been tapped to pen the screenplay. The plot is being kept under wraps, but it’s decidedly different territory for the filmmaker who is coming off his period drama/actioner Gangster Squad. While Fleischer found great success with Zombieland, the postponement of Gangster Squad‘s release didn’t seem to work in that star-studded film’s favor, as it tallied up a worldwide gross of just over $100 million against a $60 million budget.
Fleischer is also developing an adaptation of the video game Spy Hunter at Warner Bros. to direct, but it’s unknown what he’ll tackle as his next project. Gangster Squad had some tone issues, but I’m definitely interested to see what Fleischer will do within the sci-fi genre.
One of the most pleasant surprises of 2012 was Sony’s 21 Jump Street adaptation. While remakes and reboots are usually developed with an eye towards appealing to the widest possible audience, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller crafted a wonderfully peculiar and hilarious comedy that benefitted from some excellent chemistry between stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. As the R-rated film grossed over $200 million worldwide, both fans and Sony were keen on moving forward with a sequel. Screenwriter Michael Bacall has been working on the script for the follow-up alongside Hill, and Sony recently announced that they’re planning the film for a 2014 release.
Steve recently sat down for a lengthy interview with producer Neal Moritz, and during their wide-ranging conversation Moritz talked quite a bit about 21 Jump Street 2. He confirmed that the story finds Tatum and Hill infiltrating a college campus, Ice Cube is set to return as Captain Dickson, and he also noted that Lord and Miller are attached to direct with an eye towards a summer 2014 release date. Hit the jump to read on.
Just two days after signing on to topline Focus, Will Smith seems intent on keeping himself busy, with two films possibly lined up after the grifter pic. The action star is reportedly considering two projects he’s had on his radar for quite a while, the first of which is the drama American Can, where he’d be taking the role of a “reluctant hero” during the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina for director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai). On top of that, there is the possibility that Smith would also star in the thriller The Accountant. Hit the jump for more.
Sony Pictures has found a director for its feature film adaptation of the popular R.L. Stine books Goosebumps, as Deadline reports that Rob Letterman is in talks to take the helm of the film. For those unfamiliar, Stine has penned over 50 books under the Goosebumps moniker, all of which put a “spooky” spin on countless stories aimed at kids. Jack the Giant Killer and Shrek Forever After scribe Darren Lemke came on to pen the script over a year ago, but with Letterman now aboard as director we have a better idea of the direction Sony will be taking with the film.
Letterman’s past directorial credits include the family friendly pics Monsters vs. Aliens, Gullivers Travels, and Shark Tale, so we can reasonably assume that Goosebumps will take a similar approach to the story; I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony was using its successful animated pic Hotel Transylvania as a guidepost. There’s no word on whether the film will take on a specific Goosebumps story, but I was always partial to The Haunted Mask and Say Cheese and Die!
Sony Pictures has given Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell’s next film a prime awards season release date later this year. The untitled project (formerly known as American Bullshit) will hit theaters in limited release on December 13th before going wide on Christmas Day. The pic is based on a real-life undercover sting operation called Abscam, which was set up in the 1980s by a con artist working for the FBI who rooted out corruption in Congress.
The cast reads like a “Best Of” from Russell’s filmography, as Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale are set in the leads with Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jeremy Renner, and Alessandro Nivola (Face/Off) rounding out the ensemble. Hit the jump for more.
Good Times is headed to the big screen. Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, No Country for Old Men) are developing a feature film adaptation of the popular 1970s CBS sitcom Good Times, and Deadline reports that Phil Johnston (Wreck-It Ralph) has been tapped to pen the script. Created by Eric Monte and Mike Evans, Good Times took place in Chicago and centered on a working classic couple played by Esther Rolle and John Amos struggling to raise their three children in a poor inner-city neighborhood. The series was hailed for tackling serious social issues at the time while also mixing light-hearted comedy.
The feature film iteration of Good Times will take place in the 1960s, which should make for some interesting story dynamics. Hit the jump to watch the intro for the show.
Writer/director Nancy Meyers is going across the pond for her next film. The director behind Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, and It’s Complicated has closed a deal with Sony Pictures to direct an untitled comedy that takes place in the UK. The story centers on an American woman whose life “gets turned upside down when she begins dating a very unlikely man.” Per Deadline, the pic will feature an entirely British cast save for the female lead, and was originally written by (500) Days of Summer scribes Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter. Meyers rewrote the screenplay and will also produce alongside Matt Tolmach.
Though the premise seems simple enough, Meyers has a knack for turning out interesting character dynamics. Meyers is also attached to direct two other projects for Paramount—The Intern with Tina Fey and The Chelsea with Felicity Jones—but we haven’t heard much about those films since last spring. Though no further details are known with regards to this new untitled project, one assumes the film will have a ridiculously nice kitchen.
Sony Pictures is going the whole nine yards with its next project. The studio has acquired Jesse Holley, a movie based on the life of the titular wide receiver, who earned an invitation to the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp after winning the reality show 4th and Long. The film will be written by Randy Brown, the scribe behind Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve, with Undefeated’s Oscar-winning duo Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin attached to direct. Hit the jump for more on Holley and the film’s potential directors.
It appears as though the feature film adaptation of The Equalizer may have found a director. The adaptation of the 1980s crime series has seen a number of filmmakers flirt with the idea of taking the helm, with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn most recently attached to direct before dropping out last month. With an eye towards starting production in June and Denzel Washington set to star, Sony is ready to get this thing moving, and now it looks like Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt might be the man for the job as he’s entered early negotiations to take the helm. Hit the jump for more.
If The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had been the smashing success Sony hoped for, we would probably be getting the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, by the end of this year. Surprisingly, audiences didn’t want to watch “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas”, and while the film managed to gross $232 million worldwide, it was still a disappointment when you consider the $90 million budget. Sony wants to continue The Millennium Series, but the studio is carefully considering how to proceed.
Hit the jump for what the future may hold for Lisbeth Salander.
Development on Sony’s musical remake of Annie continues, and the project has both gained and lost a player. The project was first announced in early 2011 with Will Smith and Jay-Z producing the redo as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter Willow Smith. Willow is now 12 years old and has since outgrown the lead role, so she is no longer attached to star. However, movement on the project continues as Easy A and Friends with Benefits helmer Will Gluck is now in negotiations to direct. Hit the jump for more.
The long-gestating biopic Cleopatra may have finally found a director, and it’s a good ‘un. The project has been in development for a number of years with Angelina Jolie attached to star as the Egyptian queen. Both James Cameron and Paul Greengrass flirted with the idea of directing before ultimately moving on, and most recently David Fincher was attached to the project before dropping off last summer. The pic has a script by Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), based on Stacy Schiff’s book Cleopatra: A Life, and now another top-tier filmmaker is eyeing the gig: Ang Lee. Hit the jump for more details.
In December, we reported the exciting news that Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was in talks to direct Denzel Washington in an adaptation of the 1980s crime series, The Equalizer. The show centered on Robert McCall (originally played by Edward Woodward), a former covert operations officer who dedicated his life to helping people in trouble. Washington will play McCall in the adaptation, although the movie will only share the conceit of the show. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that while Sony was close to closing a deal with Refn, the deal fell apart at the last minute due to unknown reasons.
We’ve also learned that Sony remains hot on adapting The Equalizer, and is continuing to search for a new director to start shooting in May with Washington still attached to star. If you want to get a better sense of the TV series, hit the jump to see the intro for The Equalizer. Refn’s new film, Only God Forgives, opens on May 23rd. The director is still attached to the remake of Logan’s Run and an adaptation of the graphic novel, Button Man.