The period adventure pic Here There Be Monsters is one of those incredibly cool-sounding projects that has been lingering in development hell for years. Robert Zemeckis was first eyeing the film as a return to live-action, then Brad Bird (The Incredibles) flirted with the pic once Zemeckis passed. Now it appears that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have decided to go with a lesser known director to take the helm: Jaume Collet-Serra. The director was previously behind the horror feature Orphan and the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown, but he’s become quite popular as of late. In addition to being attached to the live-action adaptation of Akira, Collet-Serra is also prepping a re-imaging of the Dracula story, Harker, with Russell Crowe.
Hit the jump for more on Here There Be Monsters, including the possible casting of Bradley Cooper.
Russell Crowe is reportedly in early talks to star in Jaume Collet-Serra’s Dracula re-imagining, Harker. As we reported last year, Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy‘s script changes Jonathan Harker from a lawyer to a Scotland Yard detective who’s trying to find who’s behind a series of grisly murders (Hint: It’s Dracula). The project began to gain momentum, but then Warner Bros. moved Collet-Serra to the adaptation of Akira after Albert and Allen Hughes dropped off the project. But Vulture reports that since Akira has run into budget issues (along with even less of a reason to exist after Chronicle), the studio may try to make Harker first and then move the director back to Akira.
Hit the jump for what could keep Crowe from hunting down Dracula.
Studios have been trying to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to their blockbusters. The Lone Ranger had to wrangle for a lower budget, and Paradise Lost, and The Dark Tower have been put into limbo as studios try to figure out how to bring down costs. THR reports that Warner Bros. has put their adaptation of the manga/anime Akira on hold as they try to figure out how to re-work the script to lower the budget. Producers Jennifer Kiloran Davisson and Andrew Lazar, and director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) are trying to make the necessary changes, and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) may be brought back to do another re-write after already having done one a year ago.
Hit the jump for more including a few updates.
With two of the three major roles cast for Jaume Collet-Serra’s adaptation of Akira, Warner Bros. is set to shore up the role of Tetsuo before Thanksgiving. The Unknown director already has Garret Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) and Kristen Stewart playing Kaneda and Kei respectively, but will hold screentests this Sunday and Monday for Tetsuo, the young man who channels the powerful Akira. Set to test are D.J. Cotrona (Detroit 1-8-7), Logan Marshall-Green (Devil), Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), and Rami Malek (Larry Crowne). Retesting for the role will be Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) and Alden Ehrenreich (Twixt). Hit the jump for more on Akira.
A few weeks ago, we reported that Warner Bros. may be trying to turn Jaume Collett-Serra‘s Akira remake into a cure for insomnia by making TRON: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund the frontrunner for the lead role. Now it looks like he’ll have it because according to Variety [and first reported by Twitch] Hedlund is in talks with WB to play Kaneda. Warner Bros. couldn’t make an offer to Hedlund until the budget was in place and I’m assuming the offer was, “You starred in TRON: Legacy and you’re getting a second chance at a major sci-fi blockbuster. You’re welcome.” If you think I’m being overly harsh on Hedlund, please direct me to the movie where he gave a magnetic and captivating performance.
But maybe he hasn’t been given the chance. Maybe films like Georgia Rule and Country Strong haven’t provided Hedlund with the chance to shine. However, he’s playing Dean Moriarty in the adaptation of On the Road, and that’s a damn fine character so we’ll see how he does. If you’re unfamiliar with Akira, hit the jump for a synopsis of the original manga.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the development of the Akira remake over the past couple years, you know it has been a long and bumpy road up to this point. Warner Bros. has always remained committed to the property, though. According to Variety, the studio has finally made it official with a greenlight for a $90 million budget and an eye toward a late February/early March start date. The report confirms that Jaume Collett-Serra (Unknown) will direct, and provides this synopsis for the Steve Kloves script:
Set in New Manhattan, the cyberpunk sci-fi epic follows the leader of a biker gang who must save his friend, discovered with potentially destructive psychokinetic abilities, from government medical experiments.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing for Appian Way alongside Andrew Lazar, representing Mad Chance. Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the Akira manga and the writer/director of the 1988 anime adaptation, will executive produce the remake. More after the jump. [Update: ...including a comment on the news that Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund's is the frontrunner for one of the lead roles.]
Despite being a bad movie, Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown raked in $130 million worldwide off a $30 million budget. Collet-Serra’s been linked to a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a remake of Le Cercle Rouge, and possibly the 300 prequel Battle of Artemisia. Now Variety reports that he’s in talks to direct Warner Bros’ adaptation of the anime/manga Akira. You may recall that director Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) left the project in late May and that Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves handled the latest draft of the script. Warner Bros. is now envisioning the film as a $90 million tentpole. However, we previously reported that WB was planning on splitting the six-volume manga into two films so I’m not sure if the $90 million is supposed to cover both movies or just the first one.
However, even if Collet-Serra does come on board, Warner Bros. still faces the issue of casting the two lead roles of Tetsuo and Kaneda. The futuristic story has been reset from Neo-Tokyo to Neo-Manhattan and the broad overview of the story is that Tetsuo is the leader of a biker gang who has to stop his mutated friend Kaneda from destroying the city.
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything regarding Warner Bros.’ 300 spinoff, then titled Xerxes. With 300 director Zack Snyder hard at work on Man of Steel, we learned back in February that Guy Ritchie passed on the pic and since then “mum” has been the word. All of that changes now as we finally have a couple of news bits to report from the project: 1) Warner Bros. has retitled the film 300: Battle of Artemisia and 2) Noam Murro (Smart People) and Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) are considered the top candidates to helm the film. Hit the jump for details.
It’s hard to catch the heat of a “out of nowhere” hit film, but Taken was massively successful, and so Liam Neeson has become an action movie star. But if taken worked because of its simplicity, few films he’s done since have captured that magic. Unknown stars Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who’s in Germany with his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) when he forgets something back at the airport, and ends up in a car crash with his driver Gina (Diane Kruger). When he wakes up, there’s another Martin Harris (Adian Quinn), and even his wife doesn’t seem to know him. From there the plot thickens. My review of Unknown on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Jaume Collet-Serra is heating up as a director even though his latest film, Unknown, is a flaccid, unimaginative thriller (his previous film, Orphan, isn’t renown as a great piece of cinema either). Last week we reported that he was attached to helm Harker, a re-imagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Now Deadline is reporting that he’s making a deal to direct Red Circle, a remake of the classic 1970 Jean-Pierre Melville heist flick Le Cercle Rouge. This remake is made worse by the fact that Eastern Promises screenwriter Steven Knight is handling the script (Eastern Promises works because of Cronenberg and Mortensen and in spite of the weak screenplay).
Deadline reports that Collet-Serra’s popularity comes from delivering Unknown for $30 million and with international box office potential. Red Circle will be set in Hong Kong, but Collet-Serra hasn’t settled yet on what his next project will be. For those unfamiliar with Le Cercle Rouge, hit the jump for a synopsis.
Taken, for all of its faults (and there were many), at least stumbled upon the fact that Liam Neeson can be a badass action star. Unknown, clearly influenced by Taken and other Euro-trash thrillers, says “Fantastic! Let’s put his ass-kicking persona all the way at the end of the movie and then just have him stumble around for the majority of the runtime!” Rather than offer up a complex mystery built around an unreliable protagonist, Unknown clears up any major misunderstanding by the end of the first act, and then we’re bored stupid by Neeson wandering around as he’s hunted by non-descript bad guys as the clumsy narrative lurches towards an inevitable twist and his transformation to Taken Guy. The film wastes its premise, its mystery, its lead actor, and only at the end does it have the courtesy to become laughably terrible.
Opening this weekend is director Jaume Collet-Serra’s (Orphan) Unknown and it stars Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Bruno Ganz, Aidan Quinn and Frank Langella. The film is about a man who awakens from a coma (Neeson) to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one believes him. With the help of a young woman (Kruger), he sets out to prove who he is. You can watch some clips here.
While I only got to cover the press conference for Unknown, our partners at Omelete landed TV interviews with the cast, so hit the jump to watch their interview with Diane Kruger. She talks about her character, working for Jaume Collet-Serra, Berlin (where the movie takes place), the Superman rumors, and her next movie Farwell, My Queen (she’s going to play Marie Antoinette).
It appears Badass Digest‘s heads-up that director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) is attached to a reinterpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was right on the money. That reinterpretation, as it were, is titled Harker and has been picked up by Warner Bros. who will develop the project alongside both Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way label and Mad Hatter Entertainment. Harker is penned by the writing team of Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy (New Regency’s upcoming King Arthur film Pendragon) and will purportedly follow Scotland Yard detective Jonathan Harker in his pursuit of Dracula.
In addition to Harker, Collet-Serra also directed the upcoming Liam Neeson-thriller Unknown which Warner Bros. is distributing. Although Shipman and McGreevy’s idea of approaching Stoker’s classic primarily from Harker’s perspective sounds promising, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of either Orphan or Collet-Serra’s House of Wax remake. As such, while intrigued by the premise, I’m tempering my expectations for Harker with the hopes of being pleasantly surprised.
With director Jaume Collet-Serra’s (Orphan) Unknown opening Febrauary 18, Warner Bros. has sent over 5 clips from the film which stars Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Bruno Ganz, Aidan Quinn and Frank Langella. Here’s the synopsis:
Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) awakens after a car accident in Berlin to discover that his wife (Jones) suddenly doesn’t recognize him and another man (Quinn) has assumed his identity. Ignored by disbelieving authorities and hunted by mysterious assassins, he finds himself alone, tired, and on the run. Aided by an unlikely ally (Kruger), Martin plunges headlong into a deadly mystery that will force him to question his sanity, his identity, and just how far he’s willing to go to uncover the truth.
Hit the jump to check out the clips:
The “Liam Neeson Beats People Up” film movement continues with Unknown, the trailer to which has just been released by Warner Bros. After taking on slave traders in Taken and scenery in The A-, Team, Neeson now turns his fists towards identity thieves. January Jones (Mad Men), Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) and Aidan Quinn (In Dreams) also star in the thriller, helmed by Jaume Collet-Serra ( Orphan). Check out the trailer after the jump.