Exclusive: Director Shawn Levy on the Status of THE HARDY BOYS and NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3

     September 25, 2011

Director Shawn Levy Real Steel interview slice

At this weekend’s press junket for Real Steel, I was able to sit down with director Shawn Levy for an extended interview.  Since the conversation covered so many subjects, I decided to break it up into smaller parts.  I’ve already posted what Levy said about Fantastic Voyage and Frankenstein, as well as what happened to his Flash movie at WB.  And now I’ve got updates on The Hardy Men and Night at the Museum 3.

For those that don’t know, The Hardy Men is a project that’s been in development for awhile and the idea is to have Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller play the grown up Hardy Boys.  When we last reported on the project in early 2010, Levy said, “Developing a movie for two movie stars is a very, very challenging enterprise. The bull’s eye is small and the tone has to be exactly right. So we are still working on it.”  Cut to yesterday.  When I asked Levy the current status, he told me:

“We never cracked the script.  In spite of some noble efforts with myself and Tom [Cruise] and Ben [Stiller] and a few different writers, we never cracked it.”

More after the jump.

The-Hardy-Men Ben Stiller Tom CruiseWhen you line up major movie stars like Stiller and Cruise, you’d think some writer would be able to stick the landing and get the project greenlit.  But according to Levy:

“We’ve tried versions that are more straight ahead action-comedies.  We’ve tried versions that are more action.  We’ve tried versions that are more subversively self-referential, self-aware comedy.  We just haven’t gotten it quite right.  It remains the biggest idea I’ve ever had, but haven’t yet pulled off.”

While we’ve seen many studios set a release date and hope the filmmakers make it work on set, I give credit to everyone involved for not moving forward without a great script.  Saying that, I’d love to see Still and Cruise together as The Hardy Men, so I hope it eventually gets solved.

Regarding Night at the Museum 3, with Levy attached to so many projects, you’d think he might be willing to just produce a third Night at the Museum.  However, Levy says

“That won’t get made if I’m not directing it.  Ben and I, that’s our thing… The script is being written now.  It’s a new version.  We’ve tried a few versions.  We won’t make it, ever, if we don’t get a script that feels really legit and credibly terrific.  But, that being said, we’re both interested.”

With the first two Night at the Museums making almost a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, I think a third one is just a matter of time.

Here’s the part of the interview where Levy talks about both projects.  The transcript of what he says is below.  Look for more with Levy very soon.

Shawn Levy on the set of REAL STEEL_2Collider: Whatever happened with The Hardy Men?

Shawn Levy:  The Hardy Men is the greatest movie I haven’t yet made.  And it is the thing I get asked about most.  We never cracked the script.  In spite of some noble efforts with myself and Tom [Cruise] and Ben [Stiller] and a few different writers, we never cracked it.  We still haven’t cracked it.  We can’t make it until we crack it…

Is it a third act thing or is it a whole act thing?

Levy:  It’s kind of a tone thing.  It’s kind of like, how do people want that Ben Stiller/Tom Cruise collaboration?  Because we’ve tried versions that are more straight ahead action-comedies.  We’ve tried versions that are more action.  We’ve tried versions that are more subversively self-referential, self-aware comedy.  We just haven’t gotten it quite right.  It remains the biggest idea I’ve ever had, but haven’t yet pulled off.

What’s the story with the third Night at the Museum?  Will you produce?

Levy:  That won’t get made if I’m not directing it.  Ben and I, that’s our thing… The script is being written now.  It’s a new version.  We’ve tried a few versions.  We won’t make it, ever, if we don’t get a script that feels really legit and credibly terrific.  But, that being said, we’re both interested because the good will that we encounter every day all over that world from that franchise, you don’t turn your nose up at that.  You’re lucky if you get one in your career, and Night at the Museum certainly was a special one.  So it’s a maybe, and I would direct.

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