The period adventure pic Here There Be Monsters is one of those incredibly cool-sounding projects that has been lingering in development hell for years. Robert Zemeckis was first eyeing the film as a return to live-action, then Brad Bird (The Incredibles) flirted with the pic once Zemeckis passed. Now it appears that Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have decided to go with a lesser known director to take the helm: Jaume Collet-Serra. The director was previously behind the horror feature Orphan and the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown, but he’s become quite popular as of late. In addition to being attached to the live-action adaptation of Akira, Collet-Serra is also prepping a re-imaging of the Dracula story, Harker, with Russell Crowe.
Hit the jump for more on Here There Be Monsters, including the possible casting of Bradley Cooper.
Last July, we reported that Robert Zemeckis was circling screenwriter Brian Helgeland‘s Revolutionary War Hero/Sea Monster mash-up Here There Be Monsters. Helgeland’s script takes real-life Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones and pits him against sea monsters after he’s hired to investigate the disappearance of a number of merchant ships. Zemeckis passed on the project, but Vulture reports that the great Brad Bird is considering the project.
While I have no love for Helgeland’s scripts (L.A. Confidential was a long time ago), Bird never neglects story and I imagine he’ll have a strong influence on the screenplay if he signs on. With Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Bird proved he could direct live-action just as well as animation. I’m down for anything Bird wants to direct, but I’m curious about what his interest in Monsters says about the status of his passion project, 1906. Despite his success on Mission: Impossible, 1906 may still be too expensive to make, especially in today’s economic climate where studios are willing to axe potential blockbusters due to high budgets. But if Bird keeps knocking out hits, then maybe he’ll get to finally direct his historical earthquake film.
Now that he’s moved off his motion-capture kick, director Robert Zemeckis is headed back to live-action films. His next film will be the drama Flight starring Denzel Washington, and Zemeckis has also been in talks to direct the time-travel flicks Timeless and Replay along with a 3D adaptation of the 1966 Mattel action figure Major Matt Mason starring Tom Hanks. Now Zemeckis is circling yet another picture as The Wrap reports that the Oscar-winning director is in talks to helm Here There Be Monsters.
Brian Hegleland (Robin Hood) wrote the screenplay which imagines that real-life Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones fought sea monsters. Back in April, we reported that the plot “focuses on a former British naval officer (presumably Jones) who’s hired to investigate the disappearance of a number of merchant ships. Once there, he and his crew encounter a sea serpent (naturally) and must battle the monster in order to get out alive.” I imagine the script leaves out the parts about Jones’ early career working on slaving ships or how in 1770 he flogged one his sailors to death. That’s not heroic at all.
After Universal crushingly declined to move ahead with Paul Greengrass’ Martin Luther King Jr. flick Memphis, it looks like the director will be shelving the project for at least a year, and is now looking at other projects. The Bourne director had been working feverishly on Memphis alongside producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network), in hopes of releasing the film next February in time for MLK weekend. Universal pulled the plug for “scheduling reasons,” though many have said that the MLK estate put pressure on the studio to halt the project.
While most expected Greengrass and Rudin to look elsewhere for Memphis financing, Deadline reports that the director will put the film on hold for at least a year and is now looking at other projects. Chief among Greengrass’ prospects is an adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s novel The Deep Blue Good-By. Hit the jump for more.