Yesterday I was on the set of the tentatively titled Seth Rogen comedy “Observe and Report.” While I’m under a big embargo for everything I saw and heard pertaining to that movie…I can write about everything else we learned from the people we interviewed on set.
Thankfully, one of those people was producer Donald De Line and he gave us a ton of updates on all the other projects he’s involved with. And if you’re a fan of anyone from Ridley Scott to Zack Snyder…the news below is going to make your day.
Since there is so much great information it’s hard to summarize it in the intro… but he talks about House of Lies, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Green Lantern, The Brazilian Job and I Love You Man. Take a read!
Question: You’re also producing many other projects besides this and I wanted to know if you could give an update as to what else you have in the horizon?
Donald De Line: Yeah, I’ve got another movie for Warner’s that’s going to come out in October that’s called “House of Lies” that Ridley Scott directed. Leo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe are starring in it and we’re just finishing post-production on that and that’ll come out October 10th and that’s a spy thriller. A very, very different kind of movie than this. We shot it mostly in Morocco. The body of the movie is set in Jordan. And then I’ve got an animated film that we’re making there which is being made in Australia that Animalogic is doing the CGI animation for. Zack Snyder is directing who you guys know from “300” and he’s got “Watchman” coming out. And I’ve got a movie that actually will wrap next Wednesday for Dreamworks called “I Love You Man” that John Hamburg wrote and is directing, that Jason Siegel and Paul Rudd are starring in. And speaking of full-frontal male nudity—because Jason just did a few shots himself in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. Yeah, and that’s a really funny movie and we’ve had a lot of people in that from Jon Favreau to Jamie Presley to Tom Lennon to all kinds of crazy comedy people.
Q: Lou Ferrigno I saw.
Lou Ferrigno who does…he drops Jason Siegel on the Venice boardwalk with a sleep hold—choker hold and put the sleeper hold and drops him to the boardwalk. It’s really funny. I think it’s out on YouTube. We just shot it last week. And J.K. Simmons from “Juno” plays Paul Rudd’s dad and Jane Curtain, who’s one of the comedy greats, plays his mom and Andy Sandberg is in it. We got all kinds of really funny people.
Q: Your animated project you’re doing with Zach, is that moving forward even with how busy he is with “Watchman”?
Yes, because…well Zach’s an animal. I mean, he’s one of these guys. “Watchman” is in post-production and this being an animated film has a long lead time, you know. It won’t be out until 2010, so he’s been involved in all his spare time ‘quote unquote’ doing character design and working on the screenplay and laying down a scratch track and doing all kinds of stuff.
Q: What sort of aesthetic does Zach Snyder bring to an animated film?
Well, you know he brings…his aesthetic ….even though it’s a movie that will be for all ages, it’s an epic story so it’s more of…you have to think more of I’ll say “Harry Potter” as a kind of feel and a tone than “Happy Feet”. So it’s an owl kingdom and it’s 2 brothers. One is evil and one is good, who go up against each other in battle. And so it’s a big kind of epic story. There’s 14 books in the series and so it’s more of that feel to it. “Lord of the Rings” might be another analogy; you know that kind of scope.
Q: How many of the books are being adapted for this one movie?
For the first…the first 3 books will comprise what will be the first movie.
Q: Have you cast voices yet?
No, we just laid down scratch tracks with just good character actors and we are in the process of starting to cast the real characters.
Q: Am I wrong? Are you producing “Green Lantern”?
Yeah, it’s in development. We haven’t…we’re waiting for the first draft of the screenplay which Greg Berlanti is writing.
Q: Is Jack Black still attached to it? He was attached to it.
No, he’s not attached to “Green Lantern”. I think that was an idea for a certain specific comedic take on it and this take that Greg Berlanti is writing is more of a classic character origin piece.
Q: With WB being interested in kicking around this “Justice League” movie, does that affect you guys on “Green Lantern”? I mean, are you developing totally separate from that?
We’re developing totally separate from it. I’ve never read “Justice League” but we’re very well aware of it obviously and also we’re involved with DC Comics and basically our story is very much a kind of stand alone about the origin of that character and Hal Jordan becoming The Green Lantern and that’s the whole focus of our movie. I don’t think it’s that big a piece of the “Justice League”—from what I understand.
Q: With the success of all the comic book movies, do you feel like the studio is saying, “let’s get this thing going as quick as we can” you know now that Justice League fell apart. It seems like more and more comic book movies are being made. What’s your take on all that?
You know, I think…yeah I think that as all studios…there’s a real hunger in the marketplace and audiences are really loving the ones that are well done, and I think DC being part of the Warner’s family obviously it’s a big asset for them. And it is a very much kind of right in the wheelhouse for what Warner’s does really well—big kind of global event style movies. That’s what’s the backbone of Warner’s, so they’ve got obviously “The Dark Knight” coming out this summer and yeah, so they’re eager for it and we’re working really hard to try to deliver them a good first draft.
Q: Do you think there’s ever going to be a sequel to “The Italian Job”?
You know, we developed a script which was “The Brazilian Job” and they were all excited about the script at Paramount, and we actually budgeted it and everything and we were kind of ready to go, and then a lot of things were happening with various management changes and it got tabled. But funny you should mention it because I feel the time is right to make a call over there and say like maybe we should reconsider it now. They’ve had a good summer after all. You know, “Iron Man” and “Indy”. They should feel flush.
Q: You’re involved with “Green Lantern”. Are there any other superhero things that you grew up with that you want to tackle or that you’re thinking about getting involved with?
That’s a good question. Nothing I can really think of off the top of my head. You know, I personally am excited about “Get Smart” because I grew up loving and watching “Get Smart”. Not a superhero, but obviously an old series that was a favorite of mine, but nothing comes to mind right now.
Q: What kind of comedy is “I Love You Man”?
“I Love You Man” is an intelligent character comedy. I think if you look at Hamburg’s work as a writer and a director—you know both from “Meet the Parents” or “Meet the Focker’s” or “Along Came Polly”, it’s very much in that vein. And it explores and idea that I think is really interesting in a really kind of a real thing about how men make friendships and how men maintain friendships and it’s something that hasn’t really been explored. And it’s kind of an awkward kind of funny, interesting thing. And so he takes a very real honest look at that and then kind of heightens it in his way, but it’s very character based and smart.
Q: “The Brazilian Job” it’s going to be Rio?
A part of the film…the film actually opens in Rio and there is one heist that takes place…the setup of the movie takes place in Rio and then like the remake we made of “The Italian Job” started in Venice and then moved to the United States. “The Brazilian Job” starts in Brazil, the set up is in Rio and the picture moves to Belgium where there’s something involving diamonds.
Q: You guys made the Mini Cooper famous.
Q: What are you going to make famous this time?
We don’t have a plan for that. That’s a good question but we got lucky with the timing.
Q: The Smart car?
Yeah, we thought about that. That’s already kind of yesterday’s news but we got lucky with the timing of that because it was like that project had been gestating for a long time. It just so happened that it was about to be the reaper, so it all timed together. It was like one of those nice kismet things.
Q: You’re obviously producing a lot of projects, do you find yourself trying to focus on one movie at a time or do you constantly like have 8 things on the burner because you don’t know what the studio is going to green light?
Definitely in development always a lot of irons in the fire. And I’ve never had this situation where I’ve had 2 movies shooting simultaneously, so it’s kind of a happy accident or a good problem to have. It’s not the way I like to do it. I like to be on one set and focus entirely on that; however a lot of things got shoehorned into the same funnel because of the June 30th deadline of a potential actors strike. Everybody had to get movies that were just about to go done under that wire. So it kind of forced a strange confluence of events there.
Q: Do you think the strike will happen?
Gosh, I hope not. I don’t have a crystal ball but…I mean what do you guys hear? Anything new?
Q: I haven’t heard a lot.
Q: Negotiations are going on which is good.
Right. Exactly, which is a hopeful thing.
Q: I wanted to ask you, you’re involved with the Ridley Scott film that comes out in October.
Q: Is that…Ridley’s been known to have like the best picture. He’s been known to be the adult type of thriller. I hate like putting a best picture thing next to the film but is it that kind of a film or is it more like just…what kind of film is it I guess?
I think it is a film that is a spy thriller—a suspense thriller first and foremost, but it’s very intelligently written and it does tackle issues that are in the world today politically and socially and it’s written by Bill Monahan. You know, Russell and Leo give brilliant performances in it so I do think it could also fall into that category of being an important movie, but it doesn’t lead with that foot. Do you know what I’m saying? It doesn’t….
Q: I know what you’re saying. I wanted to ask you, Bill’s been known to write long screenplays.
Q: Is the length of the film one of those epic kind of 3 hour things?
Nope. In fact, it’s clocking in right now at just over 2 hours and yeah, so we’re pretty tight.
Q: Do you see it as a beginning of a franchise?
I sure hope so. I sure hope so.
Q: And so you’ve seen an early cut already?
Oh yeah. We’re doing a final mix right now. Scoring and all that stuff, so.