The new Terminator film has taken another step forward closer to production. Last month we learned that Megan Ellison’s brother, David Ellison, had come aboard the project to co-produce the next installment of the franchise through his Skydance Pictures banner alongside Megan’s Annapurna Pictures, and now the producers have tapped a couple of writers to start work on the script. Deadline reports that Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier will write the script for the new Terminator film, though further details are understandably being kept under wraps.
Kalogridis previously penned the scripts for Shutter Island and Alexander, as well as the pilot for the TV series Bionic Woman. Lussier, meanwhile, was responsible for writing 2011’s Drive Angry and received a “story by” credit on Dracula 2000, which he also directed. As I mentioned, we know next to nothing about where this new Terminator stands in relation to the previous films, but Megan Ellison has confirmed that it will indeed be rated R. With screenwriters now firmly onboard, expect to hear more news regarding the next Terminator sooner rather than later.
Producer Megan Ellison has been plenty busy financing films like The Master, Killing Them Softly, and Zero Dark Thirty through her Annapurna Pictures banner, so you’d be forgiven for forgetting that she’s also the person behind the new Terminator film. Ellison bought the rights to the franchise over a year ago with plans to move forward on a new movie, but after a few starts and stops, not much has come to fruition. Per Deadline, she has now brought on her brother, David Ellison (True Grit, Star Trek Into Darkness), to be her financial and creative partner on the project as the rights deal for the franchise has now officially come to a close.
The film still has no script or studio attached, but David Ellison’s close relationship with Tom Cruise (he produced Ghost Protocol and Jack Reacher and is also producing M:I 5) has many wondering if Cruise might eventually be a part of the new Terminator film. It’s frankly too early to start that kind of speculation, but I wouldn’t completely rule the notion out. The Ellison siblings are now starting from scratch on the new Terminator as they set out to find a screenwriter to put on the project.
Paramount almost didn’t make a PG-13 blockbuster adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie novel World War Z, and that would have probably been for the best. The project, which was envisioned as the first part of a potential trilogy, would have been dead if the movie didn’t get a co-financier, but the studio eventually found partners in producer Graham King‘s GK Films and David Ellison‘s Skydance Productions. Now they’re all paying the price as the production has spun wildly out of control, soared to more than a $170 million budget, requires five weeks of complex reshoots (others have put the number at 7-8 weeks), and brought in Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof to do re-writes on a picture that won’t be able to get back in front of cameras until September.
So how did production on World War Z go so horribly wrong? Hit the jump for more.
When we last left Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z, Paramount was balking at the $125 million price tag and was looking to other investors—namely David Ellison and his Skydance Productions—to help share the film’s cost. With Brad Pitt attached to star, the plan is turn Brooks’ novel of mankind’s war with zombies into a PG-13 tentpole. Deadline is now reporting “that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two other financiers to share the load on a movie that is gearing up for production as soon as June.” I haven’t heard much enthusiasm from fans of the novel, which is presented as a UN report that interviews survivors of the conflict.
I can understand why the thought of turning it into a PG-13 action movie held up by a movie star and directed by a guy who thoroughly failed at his previous action flick (Quantum of Solace) would leave fans cold. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
Paramount’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie novel World War Z may be getting a bullet to the head if the studio can’t find a co-financing partner. The film currently has Brad Pitt attached to star and produce with Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) on board to direct a script from Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play). However, Vulture reports that the $125 million price tag for what Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman describes as “a big, kick-ass giant movie” is too high for the studio to shoulder alone and that the studio is making an “eleventh-hour effort to court frequent Paramount co-financier David Ellison (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol)” and an unnamed investor.
Vulture also reports that the adaptation will be PG-13, which is sure to arouse the ire of the novel’s fans. Personally, I’m more concerned that Paramount wants to make an action movie even though Forster has yet to show he can competently direct action. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
Skydance Productions is in the process of acquiring the rights to the 1970s anime Star Blazers (aka Space Battleship Yamato). According to Deadline, Skydance head David Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie) to pen the script. For those unfamiliar with Star Blazers, the story centers on an old spaceship in the year 2199 that must go to another planet and pick up a device that can save the Earth, which has been under seige from hostile aliens using radioactive warfare. The anime was adapted in Japan and released last year, but obviously this new version would be in English. David Ellison, who is the brother of Paul Thomas Anderson savior Megan Ellison, struck up a relationship with McQuarrie over Top Gun 2.
Ellison and Skydance Productions are setting up to be a major player at Paramount. Not only has their backing of True Grit led to a box office smash, they’re also co-financing Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the Jack Ryan reboot, Top Gun 2, My Mother’s Curse, License to Steal (a Shane Salerno script about high-end repo agents), and an untitled Charlize Theron comedy. He’s also developing the comic The Strange Case of Hyde, but that currently doesn’t have a studio.
Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand have signed on to star in Paramount’s road-trip comedy My Mother’s Curse. Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) will direct the Dan Fogelman (Cars) script which pairs Rogen and the two-time Oscar-winner as mother and son. Per THR, Fogelman’s script tells the story of an inventor (Rogen) who “invites his mother on a cross-country road trip as he tries to sell his new product.” As the story goes, in the process, Streisand’s character is also reunited with a lost love.
In addition to starring and writing respectively, Rogen, Streisand, and Fogelman will act as executive producers on My Mother’s Curse alongside fellow exec. producer David Ellison. Lorne Michaels and Evan Goldberg will also act as producers on the film which is scheduled to begin shooting this spring.
According to Deadline, Taylor Lautner and Tom Cruise will be co-starring in a film called Northern Lights, with filming set to start on April 1st. David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is behind the film, and John Moore of Max Payne fame will be directing. This film makes Lautner now the highest paid teenage star with his salary for the role rumored at $7.5 million, though that salary does not include countless tween-girl screams. And no, Lautner won’t be playing a shirtless werewolf. Sorry to get your hopes up, but you’ll have to wait until Eclipse for more of that.
The plot of Northern Lights sounds an awful lot like Top Gun, but if you ask me that’s not a problem since it’s easily the best airplane-based homoerotic American action movie other than Con-Air. The film is about “a gifted, young aerobatics pilot who faces off with his controlling, billionaire father and falls in love with a gifted female pilot” according to the logline. There is as of yet no word as to whether there will be a gifted rival pilot ala Val Kilmer or any shirtless volleyball playing, but we can all hope for both. Lautner’s career is definitely growing quickly following his turn in Twilight, with this new film as well as Max Steel, Paramount’s latest announced Lautner star vehicle. Lautner’s career is growing fast, with his recent SNL hosting gig showing off his comedic timing and his crazy martial arts skills, and the Twilight films making massive bank, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does carrying a film alongside a huge (and controversial) star like Tom Cruise. [UPDATE: We've received word that Tom Cruise is not in the film and there is no "billionaire father" in the story]