Jack Bender is rightly regarded as one of television’s premier directors, best known as the go-to guy for all of the key episodes of Lost. Bender is in the process of parlaying that reputation into a career in features, having recently signed on to helm Moscow, the next installment of the Jack Ryan franchise. Now he’s developing a thriller with Lost producer J.J. Abrams entitled 7 Minutes to Heaven. Like all the projects housed under Abrams’ Bad Robot banner, the plot details of 7 Minutes are under wraps. However, according to Heat Vision, “it is known to focus on two teens who go into a closet as part of the titular game and find all their friends dead when they come back out.” Whoa — I just got chills.
The original idea comes from Bender, and the pair is currently looking for a capable writer to flesh it out. It is expected that Paramount will ultimately distribute 7 Minutes, if only because of Abrams’ past ties to the studio.
Dr. Julian Bashir logged some serious travel as the chief medical officer of space station Deep Space Nine and the USS Defiant. The man who played the good doctor for seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Alexander Siddig, has collected a huge stash of frequent flier miles on his own, lately.
Collider caught up with Siddig during his worldwide tour to promote Cairo Time which opened this past weekend in limited release to the highest per theater average ($62,250 at five frequently sold-out locations for a $12,450 per screen) of any film in release over the frame. Hit the jump for the audio and transcript of the interview and for all things Deep Space Nine, his controversial new film Miral with Freida Pinto and director Julian Schnabel and whether he’s been approached about taking part in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel.
The rumor mill suggests that J.J. Abrams is planning a collaboration with Korean director Bong Joon-ho, the creative mind behind the 2007 creature feature The Host and the recent drama Mother. /Film hears that Abrams met extensively with Bong during a trip to South Korea last year, where the pair discussed a project that has so far been kept under wraps. According to the source, Abrams will produce, Bong will direct, and Hollywood will serve as production headquarters. It is not specified whether or not this would be Bong’s first English-language film, though it would be the first he made in the U.S. More after the jump:
J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot are putting together a robot tale set in the Victorian Era. Heat Vision reports that Abrams will be producing an adaptation of the graphic novel-picture book Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. Created by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, Boilerplate “purports to tell the story of the world’s first robot, who, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fought alongside Terry Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia, journeyed to the South Pole and was involved in the silent movie business before disappearing on the battlefields of World War I. The book tells Boilerplate’s story by inserting the character into pictures drawn in the style of the age.” Based on that description alone, I added the book to my Amazon Wish List. It sounds like it would make a fantastic movie.
According to HV, Guinan originally pitched the concept and character via a website 11 years ago when trying to drum up interest in a graphic novel. The site eventually took on a life of its own when some people started believing the robot and its history to be true. And now I want to read the book even more.
Earlier today I got to sit down with Karl Urban after the Red press conference for an exclusive interview. Since I spoke to him on the set of Red for a very long time and got answers on why he wanted to get involved in Red and what it was like on set, at the beginning of the interview we covered some of the new developments on the project but then we jumped into something I really wanted to know: is he going to be the new Judge Dredd (we reported the rumor yesterday) and what’s up with the sequel to J.J. Abrams Star Trek.
The good news is Urban was down to talk about anything and he gave me some awesome updates on both projects. The big news on Star Trek is he’s heard they start filming next summer. He specifically said May or June. And regarding Judge Dredd…he said he’s definitely been offered the role and they are right now working out the deal. He also said the plan is to shoot in South Africa in late October or early November and for fans of the source material, he said the film it will be very faithful and he will NOT be taking off the mask in the film! So much more after the jump!
At San Diego Comic Con 2009, the best thing that happened in Hall H was two men just talking on stage. Those two men just happened to be film legends Peter Jackson and James Cameron. This year, a similar panel was held. The Entertainment Weekly Visionaries panel featured geek gods J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon. With a collected resume that includes Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible, Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe, Mission: Impossible, Cloverfield and Star Trek, it certainly lived up to the expectations set last year.
So much was talked about in this panel, it was ridiculous. Like, 9 pages of notes ridiculous. Read all about it after the jump including tidbits on The Avengers and Super 8.
Simon Pegg is in negotiations to reprise his role as IMF Laboratory Technician Benji Dunn in Mission: Impossible IV. THR notes that while the film, which stars Tom Cruise as super spy Ethan Hunt, doesn’t have an official greenlight from Paramount, director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) has been reading actors this week. Were Pegg to return, he would be the only actor in the franchise to return for a sequel other than Ving Rhames (no word yet if Rhames will return for the fourth installment). J.J. Abrams, who directed Mission: Impossible III, will serve as a producer this time around. He also worked on the story with screenwriters Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum.
If Pegg signs on, this will be his third film with Abrams after M:I-III and Star Trek. Pegg will be at Comic-Con this week promoting his upcoming sci-fi comedy Paul, which co-stars Nick Frost (who also wrote the script with Pegg) and centers on two geeks on a road trip who attempt to help an alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) return to his mothership.
The creative minds of the wildly successful Broadway show Wicked — producer Marc Platt, playwright Winnie Holzman, and songwriter Stephen Schwartz — have been meeting with some of Hollywood’s premier musical directors… and J.J. Abrams. The play, itself an adaptation of the book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from L. Frank Baum’s classic Wizard of Oz and casts the emerald-skinned enchantress in a far more heroic light than the original story.
While Abrams’ composition of the 17-second opening theme to LOST may not qualify him as a musical director, the other candidates (James Mangold, Ryan Murphy, and Rob Marshall) have much stronger resumes. Mangold provided deft directing to Walk the Line, Murphy created Glee (but also Nip/Tuck), and Marshall was behind the camera for Chicago, the film often cited (along with Moulin Rouge!) for bringing musicals back into Hollywood’s good graces. For more, hit the jump.
As a regular for both J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) and Pixar (Ratatouille, Up), Michael Giacchino has proven to be one of the medium’s most reliable composers in recent years; after this year’s win for Up, he’s got an Oscar to prove it. According to an announcement on Giacchino’s website, the composer will re-team with Cloverfield director Matt Reeves for the vampire thriller Let Me In. Meanwhile Abrams, the man who introduced the two as producer of Cloverfield, has procured Giacchino’s services for at least the pilot (and hopefully more) of the NBC spy drama Undercovers. And with that, both promising projects added another 1/4c of promise.
Hit the jump for details on Jon Brion’s score for the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg cop comedy, The Other Guys.
Last night was an awesome event at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Billed as “Edgar Wright Saves the World,” the event featured writer/director J.J. Abrams and Edgar Wright on stage together and it was two hours of Abrams asking Wright questions about his career. You could have called the event “Edgar Wright: This is Your Life” and it would have worked. Either way, it was very cool to watch two directors that I love talk in front of a packed house. What made the night even better was Wright world premiered 9 minutes from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and a very cool viral clip for the movie. While I hate using the words like awesome or cool when describing something…the clip looked awesome and very, very cool!
Of course the two hour discussion was not just about Scott Pilgrim, as Abrams had Wright talking about how he got into making movies, how did he first hook up with Simon Pegg, how tough was it to get Shaun of the Dead made, and so much more. For a complete recap, hit the jump!
While most would say the the Los Angeles Film Festival playing host to the World Premiere for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the coolest thing at the festival, for my money, it’s J.J. Abrams interviewing Edgar Wright.
That awesome combo, in addition to A Conversation With Christopher Nolan, were both just announced as part of the festival’s Conversations program. Another cool edition is filmmakers Richard Kelly, Eli Roth and Adam Shankman talking about “The Power of the Tweet.”
Hit the jump for dates, ticket prices and more awesome programs from the festival running June 17-27.
As we learned yesterday, Guillermo Del Toro will no longer direct Peter Jackson’s production of The Hobbit due to uncertainty with MGM. Del Toro leaves the director’s chair vacant after two years of pre-production. The start date for the film is still up in the air and Jackson even said recently the film has never been greenlit. While this all sounds eerily familiar to Jackson’s failed attempts at a Halo movie a few years back, MGM has a lot riding on the success of this movie and it would be hard to imagine a scenario in which this film didn’t come together in the end.
With the director’s chair now empty on one of the biggest projects in recent memory, we’ve put together a list of who we’d like to see behind the camera. Hit the jump for our suggestions and make sure to leave your comments on who you’d like to see directing.
Millions of moviegoers got their first real glimpse of Rachel Weisz in the 1999 archaeological action epic The Mummy. This weekend, the Oscar winner is after more ancient issues in Agora. This time, however, the film poses real ideological problems and they don’t get solved within the allotted runtime.
Collider recently got into Agora’s philosophical questions with Weisz and it turns out she wants in on another big-scale film with a brain, J.J. Abrams’ untitled Star Trek sequel. Hit the jump for the interview’s full audio and transcript, along with updates on her Jackie O film; the Hedy Lamarr biopic Face Value; The Invisible X for Karyn Kusama (Girlfight & Jennifer’s Body) and the news that should make Trekkies from here to Comic-Con thrilled they logged on before taking off for Memorial Day.
We received an e-mail today from Paramount announcing an open casting call for 13-14 year old boys and girls for the lead roles in a new feature film from the studio. We believe that film is J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. “No previous acting experience is necessary, but must have great energy and a wonderful sense of humor and thoughtfulness.” When you read the descriptions of the characters as well, you’ll see the fingerprints of Steven Spielberg—who’s a producer on the film—all over it. Young actors with “great sense of humor”? Check. Protagonist from a broken home? Check. We also know that Abrams’ script is “a tip of the hat to [Spielberg's] movies of the 70’s and early 80’s” like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T.”
Hit the jump for the press release and more on why we think this is casting call is for Super 8.
NBC is launching the spy drama Undercovers from J.J. Abrams this fall, but we’re not too far removed from the era that the combination of “Abrams” and “spy drama” pertained rather to the producer/director’s action series Alias. The series aired from 2001-2005 on ABC and helped launch the careers of such notables as Jennifer Garner and Bradley Cooper. Plus, it established Abrams as a presence in the action/sci-fi genre when prior to the series he had best been known as the creator of teen drama Felicity.
E! Online reports that ABC has recently been batting around the idea of rebooting the series, Current discussions are very preliminary, and the project is not yet in development, though a reboot of the series would reportedly dial down the mythological elements of the original (that means no Rambaldi prophecy, for fans of the series). More after the jump: