Seth Gordon directed one of my favorite documentaries with 2007′s The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Perhaps the fine folks over at MGM are fans of that pic as well because the studio has him handed the keys to another gaming-centric project: its WarGames reboot. According to Deadline, Gordon will develop the film with the intent to direct. For those unaware, 1983′s WarGames starred Matthew Broderick as a computer prodigy who takes pleasure in manipulating a military computer program only to find that the “game” could indeed launch real nuclear missiles, effectively beginning World War III. Directed by John Badham (Short Circuit), the film garnered three Oscar nods for “Best Sound,” “Best Cinematography,” and “Best Writing” respectively. In short, Green’s updated take has a lot to live up to.
WarGames becomes the third franchise to receive the “reboot treatment” from MGM which also has plans to resurrect RoboCop with director Jose Padilha and Carrie with playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. As for Gordon, he most recently directed Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Colin Farrel in the upcoming comedy Horrible Bosses. That pic hits theaters on July 8th.
More than two decades removed from its last animated feature (the ever-nostalgic All Dogs Go to Heaven), MGM is reentering the animated game with director David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie and co-director Monsters, Inc.). According to Variety, the studio and Silverman will go to bat with an adaptation of the Jarrett Krosoczka children’s book Punk Farm. Per the report, the pic was originally penned by Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown) with Silverman waiting to direct a rewrite by David Stern (Open Season 2 & 3). Krosoczka’s book follows a quintet of barnyard animals with a fondness for underground punk rock (I’m thinking Sex Pistols meets Selena Gomez). There is no word on the project’s production timeline although it’s worthy of mentioning that the film is only the second major project taken on by the studio since its financial woes came to a head last December. The other project is the Vin Diesel producer/star vehicle, The Machine.
Vin Diesel provided the voice for eponymous character in 1999′s The Iron Giant and he’s about go back to robotics. Heat Vision reports that Diesel will produce and star in the action comedy The Machine for MGM. Diesel will play “a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon as the world’s first true ultimate weapon. Twenty years after the project was buried and decommissioned for reasons unknown, The Machine is discovered by a kid who befriends him. When the government learns it has been reactivated, the Machine must protect the family harboring him.” So it’s kind of like The Iron Giant except without the charming animation.
Hit the jump for more details on the film and why I don’t think we’re getting anything close to the level of quality seen in The Iron Giant.
Ryan Gosling is now set to star in and make his directorial debut on a remake of the 1980 musical drama The Idolmaker. Deadline reports that the actor will helm the project for MGM, but no other details are known at this time. The original film, directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Ray Sharkey, is based on the life of concert promoter and manager Bob Marcucci and tells the story of a similar songwriter/manager searching for “the next big thing.”
This is definitely not what many expected from Gosling’s first outing as director, but the actor’s no stranger to the music scene. His band, Dead Man’s Bones, released their first album in 2009. Gosling currently has a slate of fantastic projects lined up: Drive with Carey Mulligan is playing in-competition at Cannes, the comedy Crazy Stupid Love is slated for release this summer, and he’s currently filming George Clooney’s political drama The Ides of March.
Brett Ratner is in talks to direct Hercules: The Thracian Wars for MGM. As you may recall, last summer Ratner was rumored to be circling the director’s chair for another Hercules movie for producer Avi Lerner (The Expendables). However, Ratner never signed on that project and The Thracian Wars is a different script. Vulture reports that the script for this new Hercules project is based off Radical Publishing’s comic book by Steve Moore. Ryan Condal, who recently penned the script for Alex Proyas’ adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, will handle the screenplay for Hercules. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the comic.
Ratner’s latest film, Tower Heist, stars Ben Stiller as a building manager who attempts to exact financial revenge on a Bernie Madoff-like tenant (Alan Alda). The film also stars Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, and Michael Peña. Tower Heist opens November 4th.
Horror fans and/or Joss Whedon fans alike are probably already aware of the scribe’s very-completed albeit yet-to-be-released horror flick, Cabin in the Woods. Starring Richard Jenkins, Chris Hemsworth (yeah, the “God of Thunder”), Jesse Williams, and Bradley Whitford, the film that Whedon co-wrote alongside director Drew Goddard (who penned Cloverfield) was originally set to be released by MGM in October of 2009 prior to being pushed back by the financially-strapped studio on several occasions (detailed in the slice above). At present, the finished film is currently kicking it in the studio vault, waiting for someone to pick up its distribution.
Unable to accept such wastefulness, a few ambitious fans have launched a campaign to help reignite interest in Cabin in the Woods. One of their first marketing tactics? Rephrasing the film’s earlier teaser posters in an attempt to stir the pot. Hit the jump to check out the posters and to find out how you can lend your support.
Back in February it was reported that MGM was close to settling a deal with Sony to distribute some of their films. Well, now Sony and MGM have officially reached an agreement for Bond 23 as well as Bond 24. Sony will co-finance and theatrically market and distribute Bond 23 worldwide, and the press release announces that Sony and MGM “look forward to Sony Pictures co-financing and distributing Bond 24 on a similar basis.” All-in-all, good news for James Bond fans.
Bond 23 is set to be directed by Sam Mendes, with Daniel Craig returning as Bond. Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes have both been in talks with producers about taking on two separate roles, with Bardem being offered the villain. The press release also mentions that Sony and MGM will be partnering up on other films besides the Bond series for the next five years. Hopefully this includes the Joss Whedon-scripted Cabin in the Woods and the Red Dawn remake, both of which were filmed over a year ago. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
While MGM may be back from the grave, it’s still not off life-support. The studio has to make very careful decisions regarding its future and they’ve chosen the safest route available to them: rebooting their successful franchises. As we previously reported, MGM is moving forward with remakes/reboots of Robocop, Poltergeist, Mr. Mom, and The Idolmaker. Today, Movieweb reports that you can add another film to MGM’s reboot pile: the 1988 killer-doll horror flick Child’s Play. For those unfamiliar with the Child’s Play franchise, the movies were about a doll named Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) who was inhabited by the evil spirit of a serial killer. While I’m personally baffled by horror movies where the monster is tiny enough to drop-kick, Child’s Play went on to four sequels, most recently 2004′s Seed of Chucky.
According to Movieweb, the script by franchise screenwriter Don Mancini is already finished. There’s also an unconfirmed report that the remake will be darker and less comedic than the recent films, and that production is slated to begin later this year with Brad Dourif returning to voice Chucky. Hit the jump to check out a trailer for the original Child’s Play. [Update: I just got off the phone with MGM's head of marketing Michael Vollman and he tells me that while they love the Chucky franchise, there are currently no plans to remake Child's Play.]
The upcoming remake of the 1984 action flick Red Dawn had changed the lead communist villain from Russia to China. But MGM, the studio behind the remake, has concluded that China, commie as they may be, still offers the possibility of lucrative international box office. With this in mind, the studio is making it so that the country who invades the U.S. this time around is…North Korea. The LA Times reports:
The filmmakers now are digitally erasing Chinese flags and military symbols from “Red Dawn,” substituting dialogue and altering the film to depict much of the invading force as being from North Korea, an isolated country where American media companies have no dollars at stake.
Hit the jump for more on this silly change. The remake of Red Dawn stars Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
A little over a week ago we let you know that Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) was in talks to helm MGM’s remake of Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. Tonight, we can bring you confirmation not only that Padilha is on board, but also that the studio has hired Josh Zetumer to script the remake. Per Deadline, the studio expects Zetumer and Padilha to work together closely in developing the film which will undoubtedly be under close scrutiny from the word “go” by people such as myself who believe the 1987 original to be a sci-fi classic.
While Zetumer currently lacks a completed name project on his resume, the scribe’s spy-thriller Infiltrator is a “Black List” alum and is currently set up at Warner Bros. with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star. Moreover, he also penned a draft of the currently defunct fourth installment in The Bourne Identity franchise. Perhaps most importantly, Zetumer has experience writing remakes as he scripted a draft of Dune back when Peter Berg was attached to direct the remake of David Lynch’s 1984 film at Paramount.
Last month, we reported that the newly-restructured MGM was planning to remake Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1987 action film Robocop. For those unfamiliar with Verhoeven’s flick, the story centered on a deceased cop (played by Peter Weller) who is rebuilt into a crime-fighting cyborg. While there was plenty of memorable action, Robocop also included some biting and clever social satire. Darren Aronofsky came on board to direct a remake in 2008, but then MGM fell into bankruptcy and Aronofsky left the project.
Deadline reports that MGM’s new run at a remake may put Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) into the director’s chair. Padilha, you may recall, was one of the directors under consideration to helm Gangster Squad at Warner Bros. In addition to Elite Squad and its sequel, Padilha has done documentary work including the award-winning Bus 174. He recently served on the World Documentary Jury at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. According to Deadline, once Padilha is aboard, MGM will hire a writer to work under his supervision.
MGM, the home studio of James Bond, has been in financial limbo for what seems like forever. After dumping rights to The Hobbit to Warner Brothers, and continuing lengthy discussions on the fate of the Bond franchise, MGM looked to be on its last legs. But according to Variety, the long-standing studio is finally ready to get moving on no less than five different projects.
In addition to long-rumored reboots of Robocop and Poltergeist, the studio is reportedly financing or co-financing remakes of 1980s classics Mr. Mom and The Idolmaker. MGM is also looking to produce “A ‘Hercules’ project.” My fingers are crossed that Kevin Sorbo will be involved. The studio also just recently joined up with Paramount to co-produce the 3D-shot Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which stars Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner and the very attractive Gemma Arterton as the witch killin’ siblings. The story takes place 15 years after the familiar fairy tale. Hit the jump for more on MGM and my thoughts on their post-resurrection projects.
The coverage of the MGM financial woes has generally focused on Bond 23 and The Hobbit due to their Major Property status. But that status meant that their eventuality was never really in doubt so much as the timing. Sure enough, Warner Bros. will partner with MGM to distribute The Hobbit, and MGM is close to formalizing a similar deal with Sony Pictures that, yes, includes Bond 23. However, I’m more interested in two different titles that are likely to be included in the Sony/MGM deal: Red Dawn and Cabin in the Woods.
Both films are in the can, but there is doubt either would ever see the light of day after prolonged delays. I dislike that hypothetical. The Red Dawn remake intrigues with the promise of cashing in on the cheese of the 1980s original with a notable young cast — Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right). But the true loss would be Cabin in the Woods, the directorial debut of writer Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) which he co-wrote with his Buffy the Vampire Slayer boss Joss Whedon. I’m not even much of a horror buff, but I need to see this one. Hit the jump for more on the potential deal.
At this stage, only franchise star Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are confirmed to return for Bond 23, with Sam Mendes (Away We Go) directing. The casting process kicked into the next gear earlier this week, though, when Javier Bardem spoke out about possibly playing the villain. In keeping the discussion among Oscar nominees, the producers are in early talks with Ralph Fiennes to play a role.
Mendes and Fiennes are old friends, ever since the actor starred in the director’s stage production of Troilus And Cressida more than two decades ago. Fiennes is intrigued by the “darkly complex role,” which is reportedly different from the one that was offered to Bardem. Details after the break:
MGM and Warner Bros. have announced that Peter Jackson’s dual films covering the J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit will get worldwide distribution by Warner Bros. MGM held international rights, but they’ve worked out a deal with WB to use their resources to handle all avenues of distribution except for international television licensing. So what does this all mean? After months of stopping and starting, The Hobbit is pushing forward. Here’s what the press release highlights:
- Production will begin in February 2011
- Both Hobbit films will be in 3D
- Hobbit Part One has target release of December 2012
- Hobbit Part Two has target release of December 2013
- WB is handling theatrical distribution around the world
To get up to date with everything we (and by association, you) know about The Hobbit, click here. To check out the full press release, hit the jump.