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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Glee, American 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 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 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.
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.
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.
The Fast and the Furious series is one of the major gaps in my male cinematic knowledge. I am too effeminate, too pretentious. However, I have much respect for the continued success of the franchise after the 2009 surge to a series-best $353 million worldwide box office with Fast & Furious. Fast Five opens this Friday, and the smart money is on “Major Hit.” The producers wisely tapped into the core appeal of the films and secured virtually every major player in the series — including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang — and upped the ante by casting potential action god Dwayne Johnson.
Pretend you’re a studio executive for a second. At this point, you wouldn’t reinvent the market’s premier car movie brand to cater to someone like this silly writer, right? And yet, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson is discussing just such a shift.
Chris Morgan — screenwriter on Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast Five — was previously hired to start work on a sixth film. Deadline reports the sequel is set up to revolve around a robbery: “Universal’s intent is to transform this street racing franchise into a series of heist films.” More after the jump.
For the first time, the official synopsis for Fast Five is available for our viewing pleasure. While you may be thinking to yourself, “What’s there to know? Buff dudes drive amazingly sweet cars in cool locations,” the truth is that this synopsis is important for a couple of reasons:
- It features what is (to the best of my knowledge) the first “official” full confirmed cast list for the film.
- It seems to sure up any debate as to where Fast Five would fall in the time-line with regards to its predecessors. It clearly tells us it takes place after the last film.
Officially, Fast Five stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. To check out the synopsis, hit the jump. Fast Five is currently aiming for a June 10th, 2011 release.
Video game film adaptations have a knack for spinning their wheels. Even sprawling and successful adventures like Bioshock and Halo, which seem ripe for a cinematic retelling, get bogged down in production hell despite having enormous talent attached. The latest large-scale video game adaptation to stall is New Line’s Gears of War, which, according to the LA Times, may be in search for a new director and writer, while also dropping off a hefty budget and its lofty scale.
Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard, Underworld franchise), who is still attached to direct the project, has been attached to another film called Nocturne, which is set up at Fox. That film, penned by Red Dawn writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore, is described as an apocalyptic thriller and will be garnering Wiseman’s attention, leaving his role in Gears up in the air. Additionally, New Line is looking for a new writer as they are scaling back the epic nature of the film that screenwriter Chris Morgan (Wanted) had provided, with character touches by Billy Ray (State of Play).
For what all of this news means, and what the future holds for Gears of War, hit the jump.
The world offered by the Fast and the Furious movies is so rich and layered that it demands sequels to allow audiences to further explore the complexities of testosterone-laden relationships and expensive, tricked-out cars they’ll never own. Oh, and the latest entry, Fast & Furious, was Universal’s highest grossing film of last year, so that may also be why they’re making a sequel. Variety reports that lead actors Vin Diesel and Paul Walker will re-team for the fifth installment in the series, entitled Fast Five. I have no idea if that has an alternate meaning or if they decided they just couldn’t get away with a title like F & F.
Chris Morgan and Justin Lin will return to write and direct, respectively. This time around, Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) are fugitives being pursued by “legendary lawmen.” So does that mean the ghost of Elliot Ness is going to team up with Lefors from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and they’ll ride modified Nissan Altimas to hunt down the fugitive duo? Or will it be attractive people in fast cars chasing other attractive people in fast cars? I’m gonna choose to think positive and say it’s the former.
Filming is scheduled to begin later this year for a 2011 release.