Filmmakers Andy and Lana Wachowski (or “The Wachowski Starship” as they affectionately called themselves at Fantastic Fest) are currently enjoying an overwhelmingly passionate response to recent festival screenings of their adaptation of Cloud Atlas, and now it looks like the Matrix helmers are looking to bring some of their magic to the television world. Variety reports that the Wachowskis are currently shopping a TV series called Sense8 to multiple outlets.
Details are unsurprisingly under wraps, but the duo have been developing the idea for some time with writer/Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski so it’s safe to assume that it will likely have some sort of genre element. The Wachowskis are expected to direct at least a few episodes of the show, and they’re currently looking for a multi-episode order for the hourlong series. Though details are basically non-existent, the idea of the Wachowski Starship tackling the world of television is incredibly exciting, so hopefully Sense8 finds a home soon. In addition to preparing for the theatrical release of Cloud Atlas on October 26th, the Wachowskis are also prepping their next directorial feature, Jupiter Ascending with Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to sit down with creator J. Michael Straczynski, widely known as JMS, to talk about his past, present, and future. JMS has had long tenures as the creator and head writer for Babylon 5, a long and well-received run on Thor and Spider-Man, time spent as a journalist, script writer, and much more. Straczynski was a willing participant as he fielded all manner of questions about him being a control freak, how he tried to hide from the crossover events that he clashed with in The Amazing Spider-Man by taking over Thor, and how he plans to utilize the Joe’s Comics imprint at Image Comics. Hit the jump for a full transcript of my interview.
Legendary Pictures has spent the last decade taking over the Hollywood scene, co-financing films as varied as The Dark Knight and The Hangover while quickly establishing itself as one of the premiere locations for elevated genre content. Not satisfied to simply make comic books into movies, the studio has branched out into making comic books. But like, as comic books.
On Friday afternoon at Comic-Con 2012, the newly minted Legendary Comics – which previously released Frank Miller’s controversial Holy Terror! – took to the stage in Ballroom 6A to discuss their new line of graphic novels including The Tower Chronicles from Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley with cover art by Jim Lee and Alex Ross, Shadow Walk from Max Brooks, Mark Waid and Shane Davis, and The Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski. Hit the jump for the details.
Is it possible (and/or right) to continue Watchmen without Alan Moore? The question is so oft posed and the resulting criticisms so well documented, it almost feels tiresome to repeat. Art vs. commerce and yadda, yadda, yadda… I have nothing new to add to the ol’ Moore vs. DC debate. I love Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen. On general reflex, I considered a prequel without their involvement at best foolhardy. But also understand that from a market standpoint, Watchmen prequels are good business and an inevitability with or without the creators. And so here we are with Before Watchmen – a prequel nobody really asked for, but one everyone still wants to read regardless (myself included).
This past week, I was invited to DC headquarters to sample the initial issues from the seven runs of Before Watchmen (each run focusing on an individual character or group: e.g. The Comedian, Rorschach, Nite Owl, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Minutemen). I’ve been sworn to secrecy on plot points and narrative spoilers, but allowed to share general thoughts (I think) on whether or not you should pre-hate this comic you’re probably still going to buy anyways. For more thoughts (some of which surprised myself), hit the jump.
20th Century Fox has set Casino Royale director Martin Campbell to helm the diving story The Dive. The film was previously set up as a directing vehicle for James Cameron (that guy really loves water), but he’s a bit busy with two sequels to Avatar and an actual diving project of his own. The film tells the tragic true story of freediver Francisco “Pipin” Ferraras and his wife Audrey Mestre. Freediving is the insane sport of diving without any artificial oxygen whatsoever; you take a deep breath and start swimming. Mestre died during an attempt to better her world record of 557.7 feet.
Deadline reports that Campbell is attached to direct with J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling) tapped to write the script. While Green Lantern was a pretty substantial misfire, I’m still a big fan of Campbell’s work and I think he’s a good fit for The Dive. He recently directed the ABC pilot The Last Resort and is poised to helm the conspiracy drama Umbra from screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash).
In situations likes these it’s best to sigh and then shrug. DC Comics has officially announced that they’ll be launching Before Watchmen, prequel comics based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. While there have been murmurings of Watchmen prequel and sequel comics for years, the prequels will really happen now with writers and everything. DC Comics asked Alan Moore for his blessing, but he (unsurprisingly) refused. He then returned to the woods to forage for nuts and berries. However, Gibbons released a statement saying,
“The original series of Watchmen is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,”
Hit the jump for more, including a first look at the covers for the prequels.
Voices from the Dead has an exciting premise. The script is based on the real-life friendship between escape artist Harry Houdini and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and it sets the early 20th century icons as detectives who team up with a psychic to solve mysteries in 1920s New York. That sounds like it could be an entertaining movie. Unfortunately, that script is by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Straczynski’s other glowing credits include the Clint Eastwood dud Changeling and a cringe-worthy Spider-Man comic-book arc where we discovered that Norman Osborne had schtupped Gwen Stacy and made fast-aging babies with her. The dude is not my favorite writer.
Heat Vision reports that DreamWorks has picked up the script. Maybe Straczynski has finally written an engaging piece of work instead of writing himself into a corner. I hope that’s the case because Houdini and Doyle running around and solving mysteries sounds like a fun flick.
Underworld 4 has found its director(s). Heat Vision reports that the Swedish team-up of Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein will take on directorial duties for the film. Underworld 4 will mark the second English-language feature for the pair who also co-directed the 2009 UK thriller Shelter starring Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Showtime’s The Tudors). Marlind and Stein will helm the project for Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment from a script by John Hlavin. Multi-platform scribe J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling & one of my personal favorite comics, Rising Stars) performed rewrite duties for the film.
With the news of Marlind and Stein’s hiring in the bag, the fourth installment of the Underworld franchise continues to take shape. Almost two months ago, we confirmed that Kate Beckinsale would return to her rightful place as the unequivocally bad-ass vampire warrior, Selene. At that time we also reported that the film would begin production in Vancouver during March 2011, with a January 20th, 2012 release in mind.
We have a few important updates regarding the next installment in the Underworld franchise. All that we’ve known so far about the upcoming fourth film in the series is that John Hlavin (The Shield) was writing the film, that it would be released on January 20, 2012, and that Kate Beckinsale wasn’t sure if she would return to reprise her role in the series.
Now, we’ve just gotten a press release that confirms that Beckinsale will indeed be returning to the franchise that made her an action star. The press release also tells us that screenwriter J. Michael Straczynsk (The Changeling) has come on board to do some revisions to Hlavin’s script and they’re looking to cast someone as Beckinsale’s daughter. There is still no director attached to the project but Len Wiseman, who directed the first two Underworld films, will be producing the film. Hit the jump for what we were sent:
Paramount Pictures has re-upped on their option to adapt Max Brooks’ post-apocalyptic zombie novel World War Z. I have friends who are fans of the books and they’re wondering about when the film adaptation is coming along. Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) is unfortunately still attached to helm the flick. However, the flick has made an improvement in the screenwriter department by replacing J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling) with Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play).
Brooks’ book is about a researcher for the U.N. Postwar Commission who interviews survivors from all over the world in order to put together a post-mortem on a war that destroyed every country around the globe. [Variety]
At this weekend’s press junket for Ninja Assassin, I participated in a roundtable interview with screenwriters J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Sand. While some screenwriters are lucky to have one project in developement, these two have tons. In fact, the list of projects they’re working on or have been on is rather impressive. Here’s some of them: Brothers in Arms, Red Star, Forbidden Planet, Lensmen, Silver Surfer, WWZ, and Shattered Union.
While we didn’t get to spend a lot of time on any one project, what we did get was updates on all of them. So if you’re curious what’s up with any of these movies, hit the jump to read what they had to say.
As most of you know, I am a huge Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix, Bound, Speed Racer) fan. Whenever I do an interview with anyone who knows the brothers, I always try to find out what they’re up to as they don’t do any press. If you follow the brothers, you know they produced Ninja Assassin and the film arrives next week. But beyond Assassin, they have nothing scheduled to be released and there are no rumors about what they might be working on.
But at today’s press junket for Ninja Assassin, I finally got someone to tell me the brothers are at least working! While I didn’t find out what the projects are (believe me I tried), this is the first time anyone has said anything regarding their future projects. Believe me, I look for news on the Brothers constantly.
According to screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski, “they have a number of things in development. Some of them are large projects and some of them are smaller projects. I can’t imagine Larry and Andy never working ever again. The brothers are always developing something.” While I know this is almost a non-story, if you’re a fan of the Wachowskis, I figured the news was worth sharing. If anyone knows what they are working on, please email me!
Opening on November 25th is director James McTeigue’s Ninja Assassin. The film stars Asian superstar Rain in the title role and as you can easily put together from the title, it’s about Ninja’s. And assassin’s. Also, the film is loaded with action and blood so if you’re into either of those things, this is pretty much a must see movie. Finally, it’s produced by the Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver (The Matrix Trilogy, V for Vendetta), and they’ve done a few things you might have liked….
Anyway, if you’d like a taste of the movie, after the jump you can watch six clips. In the coming weeks check back for interviews with the cast and filmmakers. Until then….
It’s been a few months since we’ve broken a Jerry Bruckheimer producing story. No need to worry, he’s back and this time he’s setting his sites on a civil war epic. Bruckheimer has acquired the rights to “Shattered Union,” a video game published by 2K Games, a division of Take-Two Interactive, which is also try to get “Bioshock” made at Universal. In the game, Washington D.C. is destroyed by a nuclear blast and, predictably, things get a little “Mad Max.” What, you were expecting “Gettysburg 3?” Hit the jump for more details.
Everything is 100% more awesome when you do it with Lego. So if you’re like me and believe that statement, you’re going to need to see the video after the jump. That’s because Keshen8 on YouTube has posted his version of the “Ninja Assassin” trailer…except his version is made with Lego! It’s kind of great so take a look: