Universal Assembles “Writer’s Room” for Cinematic Monster Universe; WOLFMAN, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, and More Reboots Planned

by     Posted 38 days ago

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I’ve written before about how this new “interconnected universe” approach to franchise filmmaking is a bad idea.  Approaching the film medium like a television series scales back the individualized nature of each film in favor of a serialized, streamlined approach, but Marvel movies make a ton of money so this trend continues to catch on, and Universal is going one further by assembling a literal writer’s room for its Monster Movie Universe.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman (Transformers) and Chris Morgan (Fast & Furious franchise) are spearheading Universal’s reboot of its classic monsters, with The Mummy on tap to be the first film out of the gate in 2015 with Kurtzman directing.  But now the duo is getting some help in shaping the Monster Movie Universe, as they’ve assembled a brain trust of screenwriters that includes Prisoners scribe Aaron Guzikowski and Men in Black writer Ed Solomon to develop subsequent features.  Hit the jump for more, including which Universal monsters are getting the reboot treatment.

UNTITLED UNIVERSAL MONSTER FRANCHISE FILM Dated For 2017, Will Be Second Shared Universe Pic After THE MUMMY

by     Posted 46 days ago

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By this point it’s common knowledge that Universal has their own cinematic shared universe to build using the IP of their classic monsters (which means we can technically also refer to this as an MCU too).  While I haven’t seen their recent film Dracula Untold, it’s my understanding that it’s only tangentially connected to the main series of films being developed by producers/writers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan.  Kurtzman will actually be directing The Mummy from a script credited to John Spaihts and Billy Ray, which will hit theaters on June 24, 2016.  So this new project, currently going by Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film, will obviously focus on one of the other monsters in at their disposal (with an appearance by The Mummy I would guess if they’re planning on hitting the ground running with the shared universe concept).

But which monster?  I’m not sure!  What’s interesting (and maybe a little alarming) is how intent they are into making these into action movies.  Hit the jump for more on the Untitled Universal Monster Franchise Film, which is currently dated for Friday, April 27th, 2017.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan to Create Crossover Universe for UNIVERSAL MONSTERS Starting with THE MUMMY

by     Posted 157 days ago

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Last year, we reported that Universal had hired Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman to create a crossover universe employing the studios famous monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, The Mummy, et al.  But a few months ago, Orci and Kurtzman dissolved their long partnership, and have gone their separate ways.  However, Universal still wants their Avengers-style crossover world featuring the studio’s treasured creatures, and has now brought on Chris Morgan to team up with Kurtzman on the project.  Morgan is a favorite at the studio having written the scripts for every Fast & Furious movie since Tokyo Drift, which is good because when I go to a Fast & Furious movie, it’s because of the screenwriting.

Hit the jump for more on what Kurtzman, Morgan, and Universal have planned for the classic monsters.

Creator Chris Morgan and Director Allen Hughes Talk GANG RELATED, Developing the Idea, Making a Cinematic Show, FAST & FURIOUS 7, and More

by     Posted 204 days ago

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In the Fox action-drama Gang Related, Detective Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez) is struggling with his loyalty to the powerful Latino gang Los Angelicos, who raised him as if he were one of their own, and his cop family that makes up Los Angeles’ elite Gang Task Force.  In the war between law enforcement and gangs, Ryan’s increasing sense of loyalty to his profession will help him finally determine which side of the law he is really on.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, show creator/writer/executive producer Chris Morgan and pilot director Allen Hughes talked about how the idea for this show came about, wanting to push the envelope and make a cinematic show, establishing the look and tone, and the challenges in pulling of a show like this on a weekly basis.  Allen Hughes also talked about his desire to find a home, as a director, on television, and Chris Morgan talked about the tragic death of Paul Walker and trying to live up to his legacy in the rewriting of Fast & Furious 7.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Universal Will “Retire” Paul Walker’s Character in FAST & FURIOUS 7

by     Posted 351 days ago

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The seventh installment of the Fast & Furious franchise has been surrounded by an air of uncertainty for the past few weeks following the unfortunate passing of star Paul Walker.  Speculation has run rampant with regards to how Universal would move forward with Fast & Furious 7 after Walker’s death, given that the film was in the middle of production when the actor passed.  The studio officially pushed the James Wan-directed pic’s release date from this coming July to April 2015, and now it appears that all parties involved have settled on how to move forward with the pic: Walker’s character will be “retired” in Fast & Furious 7.  Hit the jump for more.

FAST & FURIOUS 7 Writer Might Try to Work in Scenes Shot Before Paul Walker’s Death; January Restart Date a Possibility

by     Posted 1 year, 9 days ago

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Universal continues to inch forward on how to proceed on Fast & Furious 7 following the death of Paul Walker.  As we previously reported, Walker was only halfway finished with filming, and had yet to shoot some of his biggest scenes.  According to THR, screenwriter Chris Morgan is revising the script, and he might work in scenes Walker had already shot.  It’s an encouraging sign that the studio and director James Wan want to find some way to a satisfying good-bye for Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, rather than cut him out of the film entirely.  If Morgan is about to weave in the material Walker shot before his death, then the delayed production might be able to resume by January.

Hit the jump for more.

Timur Bekmambetov to Direct HEATSEEKERS; Michael Bay Will Produce

by     Posted 1 year, 339 days ago

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Quite the action team-up is taking place for the upcoming film Heatseekers.  A couple of years ago, we reported that Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes studio had acquired a spec script called Heatseekers for Paramount Pictures.  The story centered on aerial “pirates” and was likened to Fast & Furious and Point Break.  Now word comes that that Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter helmer Timur Bekmambetov has come aboard the action project to direct, with Bay maintaining his producer role.  Hit the jump for more details.

LEGEND OF CONAN Producer Chris Morgan Talks About Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Return as the Warrior King

by     Posted 2 years, 16 days ago

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We owe our thanks to screenwriter/producer Chris Morgan (Wanted), whose passion for bringing Conan the Barbarian back to the big screen also managed to convince Arnold Schwarzenegger to reprise the role. In the end, it was Morgan’s description of The Legend of Conan, as more of a “cultural catch-up” than a reboot, that got the 65-year-old Schwarzenegger interested in the project. The veteran action star has already appeared in both The Expendables films after leaving office and will next star in Kim Jee-woon’s actioner The Last Stand, followed by David Ayer’s drug enforcement flick, Ten; but The Legend of Conan offers something more than just a return to his former action-hero glory. Hit the jump to see what Morgan has in store for The Legend of Conan.

Arnold Schwarzenegger to Reprise Barbarian Role in THE LEGEND OF CONAN Reboot

by     Posted 2 years, 55 days ago

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Just minutes after we reported on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new look in David Ayer’s Ten, we get word that the former Governor will return to his roots in The Legend of Conan.  The reboot comes from Universal, which has worldwide rights on the film.  The studio launched the original film in 1982 with Schwarzenegger as Robert E. Howard’s mythic barbarian.  The property hit a bit of a snag with the 2011 reboot Conan the Barbarian with Jason Momoa at Millenium Films, but Universal has high hopes for the new project.  Hit the jump for more including the expected storyline of The Legend of Conan.

GEARS OF WAR Feature Adaptation Grinds Forward

by     Posted 2 years, 71 days ago

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The last time we reported on the possible Gears of War adaptation, the picture was a mess, citing a search for a new writer and director, as well as toning down the lofty scale of the treatment and its resulting budget. New Line, which has had the project under its roof since 2007, recently put it into turnaround to focus on The Hobbit films. But with the video game franchise generating over $1 billion in sales and a fourth installment due out next year, Creative Artists Agency is reportedly enthusiastic about meeting with producers to find a new home for the feature adaptation.

Exclusive to the Microsoft 360 console, Gears of War is a military sci-fi third person shooter which centers on the soldiers of Delta Squad in their last-ditch efforts to save the human inhabitants of the planet Sera from unstoppable subterranean creatures known as the Locust Horde.  Hit the jump for more on the fate of the Gears of War movie adaptation.

Ryan Murphy Sells Two New Series; CBS Gives Script Orders on New Faith-Based Drama

by     Posted 2 years, 79 days ago

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If you’re not a fan of Ryan Murphy, avoiding him just got a little bit harder.  The ubiquitous show creator, whose current projects include GleeAmerican Horror Story and The New Normal has recently sold two new series, to Fox (a thriller) and NBC (a comedy).  Murphy will executive produce both projects, working with Dante Di Loreto who also serves as a producer on his three current series.  He will also be teaming up again with Brian Miller (Apollo 18), with whom he is working on a sci-fi feature for Sony.  Hit the jump for more details on the series in development, including the new potential CBS drama The Centurion.

Universal in Talks to Acquire Mark Millar’s WAR HEROES

by     Posted 3 years, 60 days ago

Universal is in negotiations to acquire War Heroes, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Tony Harris. The book tells the story of a group of super soldiers who are created as part of an experimental program designed by the U.S. military to boost recruitment numbers and fight the war on terrorism. A group of the super soldiers goes rogue and forms a criminal enterprise, and one hero must rise to the occasion to prevent destruction. Heat Vision reports that Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, who are writing Marvel’s Doctor Strange, are in talks to handle script duties. Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti (The Social Network) and Fast Five scribe Chris Morgan are producing. The project was originally set up at Columbia in 2008, but Universal has picked it up out of turnaround. Millar and Harris are onboard as executive producers.

Universal Acquires CRIME OF THE CENTURY for PORTAL Short Film Director Dan Trachtenberg

by     Posted 3 years, 68 days ago

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Universal has acquired a pitch entitled Crime of the Century for Fast Five scribe Chris Morgan to produce. Per Deadline, the original film “revolves around a high-octane heist with a science fiction twist.” Dan Trachtenberg, who directed the short film based on the Portal video game that had the web abuzz a few months ago. Trachtenberg will write the script alongside Daniel Kunka. Morgan is currently scripting the sixth film in the Fast and Furious franchise, with Justin Lin back at the helm after the surprisingly successful Fast Five. I thought Trachtenberg’s short film was really well made, and after seeing it figured he’d make a pretty cool sci-fi film if given the chance. It looks like he’s got his chance, and with Universal behind the pic he’s likely to have a hefty effects budget at his disposal. Hit the jump to watch his short film, in case you missed it.

Keanu Reeves Talks 47 RONIN; First Synopsis Revealed

by     Posted 3 years, 210 days ago

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Can director Carl Erik Rinsch balance a fantastic epic featuring giants and witches with one of Japan’s legendary tale of loyalty and sacrifice?  That’s the question circling 47 Ronin but star Keanu Reeves explains how the film plans to honor the Japanese people who have grown up hearing this tale while still creating a widely-accessible tentpole flick.  Says Reeves,

“Japanese kids grow up with this story told to them. They hear it from family and they learn it in school, it’s part of the culture.  It’s been made into movies many times and on television. It’s like our westerns, the story keeps being told.  It’s been reworked in some ways [for this new film] but with great care and respect.”

Hit the jump for more details on the project including a synopsis.  The film also features Japanese stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, Kô Shibasaki, and Rinko Kikuchi.  47 Ronin is set to open in 3D on November 11, 2012.

The Onion News Network Interviews 5-Year-Old FAST FIVE Screenwriter

by     Posted 3 years, 238 days ago

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If it seems like the script for Fast Five was written by someone who didn’t have an education level higher than kindergarten, there’s a reason for that.  As the Onion News Network shows on their morning news show, Today Now!, the screenwriter behind the series is 5-year-old Chris Morgan.  After the jump watch the adorable Chris talk about his process in crafting the rich and detailed story behind a Fast and Furious movie.  And the youngster is already at work on a sixth film which may ditch the racing and focus more on heists.  Adorable!

Fast Five stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and cars going boom.  It opens this Friday.

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