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.
MGM has acquired Neil Strauss’ novel The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and the studio has hired Solitary Man writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien to rewrite and direct the adaptation. Strauss’ book is part memoir, part how-to guide to learning how to woo the woman of your dreams (or just any woman, really). The adaptation has been around Hollywood for a while, with Chris Weitz previously attached to direct. Now THR reports that Chris and his brother Paul are set to produce. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the book.
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.