Sylvester Stallone is single-handedly trying to resurrect good old fashioned kick-ass action movies. He literally pushed himself to the breaking point on The Expendables and reprised his most famous roles in the films Rocky Balboa and Rambo. Now, Stallone is venturing into new territory with the graphic novel adaptation, Bullet to the Head, and it looks like he’ll be overseeing the final cut of the film. It was recently reported that Warner Bros. had erased the film from its April 13th release date without providing any information as to why or updating it with a new release. Sources now point to a November release date for the film due to Stallone needing the additional time to approve a final cut. Bullet to the Head follows a New Orleans hitman (Stallone) who teams up with a New York cop (Sung Kang of Fast Five) to track down the killers of their respective partners. Hit the jump for more on Bullet to the Head.
CBS has put in orders for three wildly different dramas. Check out the details below:
- From Ilene Chaiken (The L Word) comes Quean, which follows a Lisbeth Salander-style hacker chick who assists an Oakland police detective in crime solving. Chaiken and Joel Silver will executive produce.
- Applebaum is based on Mommy-Track Mysteries, a book series by author Ayelet Waldman. The story follows an ex-public defender turned stay-at-home mom who becomes a private investigator to stave off boredom. Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) will direct the pilot and is among the executive producers.
- An untitled period piece from screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (American Gangster) and Without a Trace executive producer Greg Walker will follow a 1960s rodeo cowboy turned Las Vegas sheriff. James Mangold (Walk the Line) will direct the pilot for the series based on the true story of Ralph Lamb.
Also from the network, Homeland’s executive producer and pilot-director Michael Cuesta recently signed a seven-figure deal that was good from the time the ink dried until June 1st of next year. His next test will be directing the pilot titled Elementary for the network’s contemporary Sherlock Holmes series. Hit the jump for more.
Steve Carell is certainly keeping himself busy after leaving NBC’s The Office. Deadline reports that the actor is now attached to produce and star in the heist film Conviction. The script, which landed on the Black List, was written by Jonathan Herman and centers on an imprisoned master bank robber who is forced by the FBI to entrap his protégé who is planning a multimillion dollar job. Warner Bros. picked up the project two years ago and was developing it as a drama in the vein of Heat, but it stalled. The film will now be reworked as an action comedy more along the lines of 48 Hours and Ocean’s Eleven. Carell is producing alongside Joel Silver.
The Office actor is involved in a number of developing projects at the moment. He’ll next shoot the magician comedy Burt Wonderstone with Jim Carrey, he’s in talks to star in Charlie Kaufman’s next pic Frank or Francis alongside Nicolas Cage and Jack Black, and he’s also set for a darkly dramatic turn in Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, based on the true story of paranoid schizophrenic John du Pont.
Warner Bros. and Joel Silver have picked up the rights to Ross Macdonald‘s series of Lew Archer mystery novels. The studio hopes to turn the series into a franchise beginning with an adaptation of the eighth Lew Archer book, 1959′s The Galton Case. Per Deadline, “Archer is a private eye who cracked dangerous cases in Southern California in the 1950s and 60s. In The Galton Case, Archer is hired to track down the lost heir to the Galton fortune. His path leads him through a trail of murder, deception and a tangle of secrets.” The character was previously by Paul Newman in 1966′s Harper and 1975′s The Drowning Pool.
Warner Bros. is in the process of hiring a writer and hopes to turn Macdonalds books into “an elevated noir franchise.” Regular readers of the site know I love me some good noir so hopefully this franchise works out. Of course, what actor can fill the shoes of Paul Newman? Hit the jump for the synopsis for The Galton Case.
Joel Silver knows a little bit about producing action-thrillers. With The Matrix and Die Hard in his repertoire and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows coming this December, Silver needs something new to work on. Enter The Envoy, a spec script picked up by Warner Bros. from writer Robert Lynn. Per Heat Vision, the plot revolves around a diplomatic courier who finds himself in possession of highly sensitive information. When he discovers those documents are stolen plans for attacks on American targets, he must seek sanctuary at the American embassy in Vienna. Of course, all manner of baddies are out to stop him along the way.
This is the first major sale for Lynn, who was a writer on HBO and Bravo’s Project Greenlight. He’s also written a number of low-budget thrillers, including Adrenaline, Prisoner and Deadbox. Sarah Meyer brought the script to Warner Bros. and will be a producer on the project. Along with Meyer and Silver, Andrew Rona, who teamed with Silver on Unknown, will also produce.
Ben Affleck is currently at work directing and starring in the Iranian hostage drama Argo but he’s already eyeing his next feature. According to THR, Affleck is in talks to direct the action flick Line of Sight for Warner Bros. and producers Joel Silver (The Matrix) and Andrew Rona (Unknown). The plot “centers on an elite commando squad transporting cargo while dealing with a global threat.” Sounds a little generic, but Affleck has brought his own edge to noir and heist flicks, so this could be interesting. Oh, wait. There’s more: “One of the conceits of the movie is that it tells the tale from a point-of-view akin to a first-person shooter game.” Hooray. As we previously reported, Halo: Reach writer Peter O’Brien came on board to work on the script and now it looks like we know why. Perhaps Affleck could bring something to the film that makes the FPS conceit more than a gimmick. Or the movie could simply be Call of Duty but you’re not allowed to play and when a character dies there’s not a trite quotation about war.
Argo starts shooting next month in Los Angeles. In addition to Affleck, the film also stars Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin (if you needed more reasons to be excited about it).
Ever since he wandered away from Akira, Warner Bros has apparently been anxious to sign Menace II Society director Albert Hughes onto one of their upcoming movies. Today it looks as though a project has been found that will keep Hughes at the good ol’ WB and that project is Motor City. The film is a pretty simple revenge picture about a small town crook who is wrongfully sent to jail and comes out determined to punish those responsible. It’s generic stuff, but the twist is that the much beloved script apparently contains only a single line of dialogue. This has the makings of a pretty out there blockbuster action movie and apparently Captain America himself Chris Evans is in talks to play the lead role (how could he possibly memorize all of the dialogue?). Could be interesting. Could get made. Hit the jump for more details.
Following on the heels of the international success of Unknown, Dark Castle Entertainment has acquired the airplane thriller spec Non-Stop. Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down and Cry Wolf) is attached to direct the pic which is co-written by first-timers John Richardson and Chris Roach. Per Heat Vision, Non-Stop is being developed as a gritty actioner that follows an air marshall who encounters some sort of unexpected turbulence while on a domestic flight. Joel Silver will co-produce the film alongside Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Silver and Wadlow previously worked together on the CBS pilots Hail Mary and The Odds.
Guy Ritchie may be re-teaming with Sherlock Holmes producer Joel Silver for Silver’s long-in-development adaptation of the DC Comics series Sgt. Rock. A few years back, Ritchie was attached to the project, but he left and Water for Elephants helmer Francis Lawrence came on board. When we last heard about the project in February 2010, Chad St. John had provided the script which had Rock moving from his original World War II setting to the distant future. Since then, word on Sgt. Rock has been quiet and it looks like Lawrence is no longer directing. Twitch now reports that Ritchie is back on board and that Warner Bros. and Silver are hoping Sgt. Rock will be Ritchie’s follow-up to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Ritchie is reportedly overseeing the latest draft of the screenplay which restores the original setting and pits Sgt. Frank Rock and his infantry unit Easy Company against Nazis.
Hit the jump for details on Ritchie’s other potential projects.
Apparently impressed by his experience writing for elite soldiers fighting on an intergalactic scale, Warner Bros. has tapped Halo: Reach scribe Peter O’Brien to write its action project Line of Sight. The blockbuster video game not only helped O’Brien move up the studio’s radar, but it should also be great preparation for Line of Sight which Heat Vision describes as centering on “an elite commando squad transporting cargo while dealing with a global threat.” Per the report, the actioner is being co-produced by Joel Silver and Andrew Rona and is part of Warner Bros.’ increased emphasis on projects that “go boom” in an attempt to imitate the success Universal had with its smash-hit Fast Five.
As for O’Brien, in addition to penning Reach and now landing Line of Sight, the scribe also has his 2008 Black List script Unlocked set up at Warner Bros. and has found work on director Marc Forster’s (Quantum of Solace) The Chancellor Manuscript and Fox 2000′s adaptation of the British mini-series The Jury.
Ben 10 has grown into a massive franchise under my nose. Since 2005, Cartoon Network has produced a hundred-some episodes of three separate animated series, not to mention one animated and two live-action telepics. Variety reports Ben is ready to make the leap to his next medium, a live-action theatrical feature. Joel Silver was tipped off to the property by his young boys, and reportedly sees Ben 10 as a “potential franchise starter.” Steve Richards and Andrew Rona of Dark Castle will co-produce with Silver — Warner Bros. is in talks for distribution rights. Richards indicated the new feature will recast from any previous live-action iterations.
Read quotes from the filmmakers and background on the Ben 10 story after the break.
In a story that will make you want to check your calendar to make sure it isn’t somehow the mid-80s again, it appears that aging action titans Sylvester Stallone, super producer Joel Silver, and perpetually underrated director Walter Hill will be joining forces for a new movie. Much like on The Expendables, good ol’ Sly has pulled together a testosterone-laden dream team of genre superstars, but this time the talents come from behind the camera, which will hopefully lead to a better movie. The film is based on a graphic novel appropriately titled Bullet To The Head and will be splattering mangled corpses all over the big screen pretty damn soon given that shooting starts at the end of the month. It will be produced through a partnership of IM Global and After Dark Films, and released through Warner Brothers. Hit the jump for more info on Stallone’s latest ode to elderly ass-kickery.
Sean Penn is now looking at joining Christian Bale in the drama The Last Photograph. The film, said to be in the vein of The Searchers and Taken, is based off an original idea by Zack Snyder about a war correspondent in Afghanistan who is the sole survivor of an attack on Americans. Deadline reports that Bale is set to play the journalist, while Penn is circling the role of an ex-special ops soldier who enlists Bale’s help to find a missing family member who has been kidnapped. In exchange, Bale’s character gets the story.
Snyder’s 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad penned the script, and Niels Arden Oplev (the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is set to direct. The film was set up at Warner Bros. but apparently negotiations are ongoing to move the film to Dark Castle, where Joel Silver and Andrew Rona would come aboard as producers. The report states that Penn is very interested in joining the project, having just turned down roles in the Superman flick Man of Steel (the villain, perhaps?) and Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad. Plans are to shoot The Last Photograph in 2012 after Bale wraps The Dark Knight Rises.
Over the last few years, I’ve been able to interview producer Joel Silver a number of times. As the producer of almost 100 movies including The Matrix, Predator, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Sherlock Holmes, Speed Racer (one of my favorite films of 2008), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, V for Vendetta, and so many other awesome films, it’s always great to talk with him.
The reason I got to sit down with him this time was for his new movie Unknown. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan), the film stars Liam Neeson, January Jones, Diane Kruger, Bruno Ganz, Aidan Quinn and Frank Langella and it’s about a man who awakens from a coma (Neeson) only 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.
During our extended interview, we talked about why he always shoots in Berlin, how was making Unknown compared to other projects, and the casting of Liam Neeson. In addition, we talked about how he makes movies and the state of the industry. Some of the subjects he covered was how much time he spends on set, how many scripts he reads, are home video sales really as bad as everyone says, his thoughts on VOD, is foreign box office an even bigger part of getting a film made nowadays, his thoughts on 3D, and how hard is it to get a big tent pole movie made nowadays. Finally, for fans of Logan’s Run, I got an update on that. Hit the jump to either read or listen to the interview:
Jim Caviezel and James Frain have joined Elisabeth Rohm, Harold Perrineau, and Diora Baird in the cast of the Antonio Negret thriller Transit. THR provides a brief outline for Michael Gilvary’s script: “Thieves on the run from a bank robbery come across a suburban family on its way to a camping trip. When the criminals stash their stolen money in the family’s SUV at a rest stop, the road trippers, with Caviezel as the protective father, unwittingly draw the murderous band of outlaws on their trail.” Courtney Solomon and Joel Silver are producers on the project, housed at After Dark Films.
The most recent work of both Caviezel and Frain has been relegated to the small screen: Caviezel headlined AMC’s 2009 miniseries remake of The Prisoner, while Frain has been chewing the scenery on the current third season of the HBO vampire soap True Blood.