About a week ago, we heard that writer/director Wes Anderson was eyeing a top-notch ensemble cast for his next untitled feature, with stars like Johnny Depp, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe and Angela Lansbury apparently being eyed for roles. Though the exact status of each actor’s involvement was unclear at the time (it’s safe to assume Murray and Wilson will definitely be onboard), we now have confirmation that at least one of those actors is officially involved: Johnny Depp. Hit the jump for more.
Zach Galifianakis and director James Bobin (The Muppets) are a match made in heaven, to the degree that I had to check IMDB to see if Galifianakis ever hopped over from his HBO show Bored to Death for a guest spot on Bobin’s HBO show, Flight of the Conchords. Nope. But the pair may make up for the lost opportunity on Paramount’s feature adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces. Vulture hears Galifianakis is attached to star as Ignatius Reilly and Bobin is in talks to direct. Scott Rudin (Moneyball) will produce, and Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids) is reportedly working on the screenplay.
That’s quite a lineup, but Confederacy of Dunces has a long history of trying and repeatedly failing to become a movie. Harold Ramis set up the first attempt in 1982, but was derailed when his Ignatius, John Belushi, died. The role subsequently passed from John Candy to Chris Farley to John Goodman over the years, but never stuck. The most recent iteration was led by Will Ferrell and director David Gordon Green, but fell by the wayside at Paramount. When asked what happened to it, Ferrell could only respond, “It’s a mystery. For some reason that’s a very scary project for people to take on.” Hit the jump for a synopsis of John Kennedy Toole‘s seemingly unadaptable novel.
Writer/director Greg Mottola has been tapped to adapt Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugendies’ novel The Marriage Plot. Mottola is probably best known for helming Superbad, but he also wrote and directed the excellent coming-of-age dramedy Adventureland and helmed Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 2011’s Paul. Variety reports that Mottola is in early talks to write the script for the project, and they speculate that Mottola could also direct given that his schedule is clear in the near future. The story focuses on a love triangle involved three graduates of Brown in the 1980s. Producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network) acquired the feature rights last November, and it appears he’s eager to get things going.
Mottola most recently directed the pilot and created the visual language for Aaron Sorkin’s highly anticipated new HBO series The Newsroom, also produced by Rudin. I’m a huge, huge fan of Adventureland, and the kind of “coming-of-age” story that The Marriage Plot involves sounds like it’s right up Mottola’s alley. Hit the jump for a synopsis of The Marriage Plot.
The world was Jared Hess‘ oyster after Napoleon Dynamite became a surprise hit and minor pop culture phenomenon in 2004. Unfortunately he used his points to make Nacho Libre and followed that up with the lackluster Gentleman Broncos, before circling back to a Napoleon Dynamite animated series on Fox. The shine has surely worn off, but the oyster shell has not snapped shut just yet. Producer Scott Rudin (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) hired Hess to direct The Pet, a family comedy that Disney has been developing since 2007. Based on an original idea from Matt Lieberman—who recently signed on to the Short Circuit reboot—The Pet follows “a man who’s abducted by aliens, taken to their planet and turned into a family pet.”
The latest draft is by Tim Dowling (This Means War), but Variety makes it sound like Hess will take over the script from here on out. If so, Hess will likely turn to wife and longtime collaborator Jerusha Hess for help on the script. To my knowledge, this will be Hess’ first time directing material from an outside source. I don’t know that this fact will freshen up his idiosyncratic style, but it can’t hurt to try.
Ben Stiller and HBO clearly want to work together. Word of a David O. Selznick biopic Stiller wants to produce (and possibly star in) surfaced in October. That may still be in the early stages, but THR reported on a separate project that Stiller is more directly, more officially involved in. Stiller has signed on to executive produce, direct, and star in the comedy pilot All Talk, scripted by Jonathan Safran Foer, the writer behind the novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The potential series is described as a “politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually, and sexually irreverent” look at a Jewish family in Washington DC. Alan Alda is in talks to co-star in what would be his first regular series role since M*A*S*H. My best guess says Alda and Stiller will play father and son—sounds fantastic on paper. The pair previously worked together on Tower Heist and Flirting with Disaster. Since Stiller is 46, there is room for at least one more generation in this family comedy. Given the pieces so far, I am really curious to see how they fill out the cast.
Extremely Loud producer Scott Rudin and Eli Bush will executive produce alongside Stiller and Foer. The pilot is tentatively scheduled to shoot this fall. Stiller will next be seen on the big screen in the July 27 release Neighborhood Watch.
A feature film adaptation of Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has been in the works for nearly a decade now. The book was published in 2000 and centers on two Jewish cousins who collaborate during World War II to work on a new American novelty: the comic book. The novel spans multiple continents and and culminates in the dawn of the Golden Age of comic books. Soon after its publication, producer Scott Rudin began work on a feature film adaptation. After years of troubles adapting the expansive book into a succinct feature script, director Stephen Daldry (The Reader) signed on to take the helm. Numerous actors were rumored to be involved (Natalie Portman, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire), but the project found itself lodged in development hell.
Steve recently got the chance to speak with Daldry about his upcoming drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (also produced by Rudin), and the director revealed that he’d now like to adapt the novel into an 8-part miniseries for HBO. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
Just a few days ago a pretty significant controversy erupted over The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It began when The New Yorker’s film critic David Denby announced that he would be breaking the review embargo imposed on the film by publishing his review this week (yesterday, to be exact). He was able to see the film when Sony agreed to a last-minute screening of the pic after the New York Film Critics Circle moved up their voting deadline in order to be the first out the gate in the awards race. Uber-producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, No Country for Old Men) was naturally upset, and you can read his email exchange with Denby (along with Matt’s thoughts on the matter) here.
That about brings us up to speed, and now director David Fincher has weighed in on the matter. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
For those who don’t know the inner workings regarding the relationship between studios and film critics, it’s an illuminating story. For those that do, it asks interesting questions about what that relationship means. To begin, the New York Film Critics Circle moved up their voting deadline so they could be first out the gate in trying to steer the awards race (a meaningless endeavor since last year showed that near-universal critical love for The Social Network wasn’t enough to beat out the Academy-friendly The King’s Speech). To accommodate this new deadline, Sony agreed to provide a last-minute screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, this screening was for voting purposes only. Reviews were embargoed until December 13th.
The New Yorker’s film critic David Denby broke this embargo and his review went online today. Unsurprisingly, Dragon Tattoo producer Scott Rudin wasn’t too pleased with this development and after the jump you’ll find the e-mail correspondence between the two.
In Great American novel-adaptation news today, producer Scott Rudin (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has purchased feature rights to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot. The coming-of-age story focuses on a love triangle involving three graduates of Brown in the 1980s. Eugenides previously penned “The Virgin Suicides” and won the Pulitzer for “Middlesex.”
Adapting the best-selling Curtis Sittenfeld novel, American Wife, will be Ron Nyswaner, best known for scripting Philadelphia and The Painted Veil. The novel tracks the First Lady as she struggles with a scandal that threatens to derail her husband’s presidency and their marriage. When it was published in 2009, American Wife drew speculation that its central characters resembled President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Hit the jump for more on both projects.
HBO is starting to feel pretty homey for feature producer Scott Rudin (Moneyball). Rudin is one of the producers on Aaron Sorkin’s cable news comedy that HBO just ordered to series, and recently set up an adaptation of The Corrections at the network. As of tonight, Rudin has at least one more iron in the HBO fire. THR reports Rudin is attached to executive produce a half-hour comedy based on the Karen Russell book Swamplandia. The story follows Ava Bigtree, “a 13-year-old alligator wrestler who embarks on an improbable journey through the mangrove wilderness of southwest Florida as she searches for her lost sister.” Well that sounds cool. You had me at “13-year-old alligator wrestler.”
Russell is on board in a consulting role. HBO and Rudin are currently in search of a writer to shepherd the process through development. Read the full book synopsis after the jump.
Being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is just one of many good ways to get your writing noticed. Luckily for Jonathan Franzen, his National Book Award-winning novel The Corrections has been picked up by the capable folks at HBO. Now, screenwriter Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) and producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network) have some equally capable actors to work with. Dianne Wiest (In Treatment) has landed the female lead of Enid Lambert and may star opposite Chris Cooper (Adaptation) who is in negotiations to play her husband, Albert.
The Corrections is a sprawling satire of a conservative Midwestern couple suffering from “empty nest syndrome,” among other things. The novel wanders through time, highlighting each of the family members’ successes and mistakes until finally converging at a point where they all begin to correct the individual courses of their lives. Hit the jump for more on The Corrections.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are two very talented individuals. Not only are they extremely funny, but they have the ability to churn out content that few others could think up or pull off as well as they do on a consistent basis. The South Park duo turned a few heads when they set their sights on Broadway for their next venture, but the joke was on the naysayers when they walked away with nine Tony Awards for The Book of Mormon including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score. Given their filmography, the inevitable question arose as to whether Parker and Stone had plans to turn the successful musical into a movie.
While we reported in April that the issue had been discussed between Parker, Stone, and Book of Mormon producer Scott Rudin, we now have word straight from the horse’s mouth that a feature film version is definitely in the cards. Hit the jump to see what Parker and Stone had to say.
After dishing out a new film every year for the past year, 2011 will be Coen-less. But that doesn’t mean the Oscar-winning brothers aren’t at work on their next project. As we reported over the summer, Joel and Ethan Coen are working on a “music-intensive” project and that the film would be “loosely based one of the 1960s Greenwich Valley folk scene’s most revered names: Dave Van Ronk.” Variety now reports that the film will be entitled Inside Llewyn Davis and “centers around Llewyn Davis’ struggles as a folk musician during the genre’s 1960s heyday in New York City.” That pretty much follows what we had heard thus far and it sounds pretty great. The Coens have heavily used bluegrass (O Brother, Where Are Thou?) and gospel (The Ladykillers) in the past and I can’t wait to see what they do with folk music.
On a related note, the Coen Brothers will reteam with producer Scott Rudin while Studio Canal will co-finance and handle international sales for the flick. Rudin previously worked with the Coens on No Country for Old Men and True Grit and that worked out pretty well. Now that there’s financing, hopefully this film will speed into production and we can get our next Coen film by 2012.
Writer/director Oren Moverman (The Messenger) has reached a deal to adapt the New York Magazine piece “The Terrorist Search Engine” for Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network). Back in May, we reported that Rudin had optioned the piece as a starring vehicle for Jesse Eisenberg. With Eisenberg’s attachment still in place, Moverman’s signing looks to be the next logical step in the development process. As Deadline reports, though, his deal is only to write the adaptation, not direct it. That said, the report claims that Moverman has not closed the door on helming the pic and will pen the script with an eye toward directing. His next writer/directorial effort, the crime drama Rampart, stars Woody Harrelson, Steve Buscemi, and Ben Foster. That film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.
For more details on the project, hit the jump for a look at the New York Magazine‘s original piece.
Last week, we reported that Paul Greengrass was considering three projects as his next film: the Somali pirate drama Maersk Alabama, the racing biopic Rush, and an unknown third project. Now it looks like Maersk Alabama is the frontrunner as Deadline reports that Sony has offered the film to Greengrass and talks are about to begin between the two parties. Deadline adds that the film won’t be an impediment to Greengrass’ delayed MLK assassination drama Memphis and that Maersk will likely be the director’s next film.
The story is based Captain Richard Phillips’ memoir A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea which recounts his three days as a Somali pirate hostage and the dramatic rescue from a team of Navy SEALs. Tom Hanks is attached to play Phillips; Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, and Kevin Spacey are producing, and Billy Ray (State of Play) wrote the script. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the memoir.