Coming off of last year’s impressive Jack Reacher—his first directorial effort since 2000’s The Way of the Gun—Christopher McQuarrie is becoming quite the in-demand filmmaker. He’s expected to direct Mission: Impossible 5, he’s working on a sequel to Jack Reacher at Paramount, and now’s he’s adding an adaptation of the British miniseries Unforgiven to his docket. The 2009 miniseries told the story of a woman attempting to rejoin society after serving a 15-year prison sentence for murdering two cops after they came to evict her family from their farmhouse. She plans to live quietly with her troubled younger sister, but she’s soon targeted by two sons of one of her victims on a quest for revenge. Deadline reports that McQuarrie will write, direct, and produce the feature film adaptation alongside Graham King’s GK Films.
McQuarrie was actually first involved with Unforgiven in 2010, when he signed on to write it as a star vehicle for Angelina Jolie. Scott Frank was subsequently tapped to write and direct the film, but he eventually fell off the project. McQuarrie is still expected to direct M:I 5 as his next project, but he’s adding Unforgiven to his to-do list.
The upcoming Tomb Raider reboot is one step closer to being a reality. Producer Graham King’s (Hugo) GK Films recently teamed up with MGM on the project, and now former Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer/producer Marti Noxon has been tapped to write the screenplay for the Tomb Raider redo. This is good news for a couple of reasons. Firstly: Noxon’s resume is as varied as it is impressive, as she has previously penned episodes of Mad Men, Glee, and Angel. Additionally, it’s very refreshing to see that a woman will be crafting the script and story for a female-led adventure franchise. Hit the jump for more.
Warner Bros. is second-guessing its musical adaptation of Jersey Boys. The Jon Favreau-helmed project had been on track at the studio for a January production start date and Christmas 2013 release, but Variety now reports that WB has put the project into turnaround. The film is based on the smash hit musical and tells the story of The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” It’s a whole lot of fun, and having seen the show I’d liken it to a musical version of a lighter Goodfellas.
Hit the jump for more, including why Warner Bros. dropped the project and who Favreau is eyeing for the leads.
News concerning two highly anticipated movie musicals has landed online. First up, Jon Favreau was reported as being the frontrunner to take the helm on producer Graham King’s feature film adaptation of the smash hit stage musical Jersey Boys early last month. Now Deadline reports that Favreau has officially entered negotiations to bring the show to the big screen, and he actually seems like an inspired choice. For those unaware, the documentary-style musical tells the story of The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” It’s a ridiculously crowd-pleasing show but it’s also realistic and candid as far as the portrayal of the group’s ups and downs go.
John Logan (Hugo) wrote the latest draft of Jersey Boys and the film is a high prirority for GK Films. Favreau is also developing Magic Kingdom and Disney, but I’d imagine Jersey Boys will likely be his next feature. Hit the jump for news concerning the feature film iteration of Wicked.
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.
A feature film adaptation of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys has been in development for the past two years, but now it appears that producer Graham King (The Town) is getting serious about actually making the film. The documentary-style musical tells the story of The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” Back in January, Hugo and Rango scribe John Logan was tapped to write the screenplay, and now it appears that Jon Favreau is the frontrunner to direct the pic. Hit the jump for more.
A biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has been in the works for quite some time. In an inspired bit of casting, Sacha Baron Cohen is attached to star as the famed rock musician, and now the project is close to landing a director. Variety reports that Stephen Frears (The Queen) is the frontrunner to land the directing job, though negotiations have yet to begin. Apparently other filmmakers are still in the mix, but Frears “has the inside track.” In addition to more serious fare like The Queen and Dangerous Liasons, Frears also directed the excellent 2000 music-centered dramedy High Fidelity. Hit the jump for more.
GK Films has pre-emptively acquired the feature rights to The 5th Wave, a sci-fi trilogy that young adult novelist Rick Yancey is planning. Variety provides the logline: “Series follows a teenage girl who survives an alien invasion only to then search for her brother, who may or may not have been abducted by human-looking extra-terrestrials.” Naturally, romance is involved, as a cute* boy helps our heroine in her search. But there’s a twist: he may be an alien in disguise.
Yancey is best known in the YA world for the Alfred Kropp fantasy series—Warner Bros. picked up those rights in 2005, but it’s unclear what the status is on the movie now. In the last two years, Yancey published another trilogy that starts with The Monstrologist, the rights to which are also being shopped around. The 5th Wave is housed at Tobey Maguire‘s Material Pictures. Maguire and Material’s Matthew Plouffe will produce alongside GK heads Graham King and Tim Headington (Hugo). GK and Material are also partners in the development of Outback, a sci-fi actioner led by Carey Mulligan that Gary Ross will direct.
In October 2010, we reported that producer Graham King (The Town) had picked up the feature film rights to adapt the smash Broadway musical Jersey Boys: The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Today, THR reports that screenwriter John Logan will handle the script for the movie. For those unfamiliar with the Four Seasons, they’re the 60s pop group who brought us songs like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man.” Jersey Boys was a ridiculously massive hit on Broadway, and the musical has grossed over $1 billion since premiered in 2005.
Jersey Boys will re-team Logan and King as the two previously worked together on Hugo, which is likely to earn some Oscar nominations including one for Logan for Best Adapted Screenplay. Although I had some problems with Hugo, Logan had an undeniably great 2011 career-wise. He picked up screenwriting credits for Rango and Coriolanus, and he’s got the new James Bond flick, Skyfall, on deck for 2012. Jersey Boys won’t be his first time adapting a musical; he previously adapted Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Last week, director Martin Scorsese released his first 3D film, Hugo. Based on Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and written by John Logan, the film stars Asa Butterfield as a young boy secretly living in a train station in 1931 Paris. As he attempts to piece together a puzzle that he’d been working on with his father, the results transform not only Hugo, but everyone he comes in contact with. The impressive cast also includes Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Emily Mortimer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. You can watch a trailer here.
Anyway, last week I got to sit down with producer Graham King for an extended interview. During our wide ranging conversation, we talked about how Hugo came together, how he determines the budget for each production, and how much 3D added to the cost. In addition, with King involved in so many other projects, I got updates on the Freddie Mercury biopic that he has in development with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Mercury, the Tomb Raider reboot, the Jersey Boys movie adaptation, The Battle of Britain, and The Vault which he’s developing with Johnny Depp‘s production company Infinitum Nihil. Hit the jump for more.
With director Marin Scorsese‘s Hugo getting released tomorrow, Steve got the chance to sit down with producer Graham King over the weekend. That interview produced a Sunday article with updates on the Tomb Raider reboot. King has several promising projects in the works, though, so today we wanted to pass along what he had to say on two other films set up at his production company GK Films.
The first is the Queen movie, in which Sacha Baron Cohen will play Freddie Mercury. King suggests Cohen may even sing the classic Queen songs. Currently, there is no director attached and the script is still in development because King knows with a subject so iconic, “You’ve got to get it right.” King also talked about his adaptation of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys. That script is also in development, and while there will be some changes in the translation from stage to screen, the “DNA of the movie is going to be the same.” Hit the jump for the full interview.
While a reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise has been in the works for quite some time, we hadn’t really heard much about the film until early this year when a 2013 release was targeted. Iron Man scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby came aboard the project in May. They stated at the time that their intention was to craft an origin story and solidify Lara Croft as a strong female character in the vein of Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor.
Steve is currently in New York covering press for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and he sat down with producer Graham King who gave an update on the Tomb Raider reboot. King said that they just got the script in and they hope to start production next year. The producer also spoke about the direction and tone of the story they’ve come up with, and even mused on the prospect of bringing Angelina Jolie back in some capacity. Hit the jump for the full interview.
Graham King’s GK Films is planning to make a film about the largest air battle in history. Deadline reports that the studio has tapped Robert Towne (Chinatown) to pen the script for The Battle of Britain. The air fight took place in 1940 over London, when the Royal Air Force took on the German Luftwaffe for control of the British airspace which ultimately prevented the Nazi invasion of Britain. It’s a personal story for King, as his father lived in London at the time and watched the dog fight over the city. Towne is no stranger to action oriented character-centric fare, as he’s also responsible for the scripts for Mission: Impossible and Days of Thunder. The scribe most recently wrote the HBO miniseries Pompeii for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free productions. He’s also writing a pilot for Scott Free/Fox called Compadora and Next of Kin for producers David Fincher, Sam Raimi, and Josh Donen.
Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil label will co-produce an adaptation of the Image comic mini-series The Vault alongside GK Films. The latter acquired film rights to the three-issue property, written by Sam Sarkar and illustrated by Carrie Gastonny, which just debuted last week. While Sarkar and Gastonny’s book may very well be worth the adaptation (I’ve yet to check it out, so I really can’t comment), Heat Vision points out that its acquisition may have been expedited by Sarkar’s place as an executive at Depp’s Infinitum.
In terms of plot, The Vault follows a small team of treasure hunters who, when excavating a legendary treasure pit, unleash an “ancient evil.” Co-producing the film alongside Depp and GK’s Graham King is Infinitum president Christi Dembrowski and Tim Headington of GK. Most recently, GK Films teamed up with Depp on Rango and will release Martin Scorsese’s Hugo on November 23rd via Paramount. The second issue of The Vault is currently slated to hit comic shelves on September 28th.
Rebel uprising leader Spartacus is heading back to the silver screen courtesy of Graham King and Tim Headington’s GK Films banner. The label has acquired a pitch from 300 co-writer Michael B. Gordon that will introduce the legendary military leader to a new generation of moviegoers more than fifty years after Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier. Those suffering from remake fatigue needn’t worry as Variety reports that the film will make a point to avoid replicating the aforementioned Kubrick pic as well as the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Instead, the project will focus on depicting Spartacus in a more historically accurate light via centering on his leading gladiators and slaves in a revolt against the Roman Empire.
In addition to 300 and this most recent work, Gordon also received a story credit on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. As for GK Films, the label is only in its fourth year of existence and already has a number of high-profile pics to its name including The Town, Rango, Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Hugo, and the forthcoming reboots of Tomb Raider and Dark Shadows.