Lionsgate has acquired the rights to author R.J. Palacio’s bestseller, Wonder, and is setting up screenwriter John August (Frankenweenie) to pen the adaptation. The pre-teen story, which has been on the New York Times’ bestseller list since it debuted in February, centers on a 10-year-old boy with a facial deformity who attempts to fit in at school. Told from multiple points of view, Wonder explores the themes of bullying, empathy, kindness and, ultimately, acceptance. August has yet to close the deal on adapting Wonder, which will be produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films. Hit the jump for more.
by Jason Barr Posted: October 6th, 2012 at 11:38 am
If you’ve followed the Top 5 for any amount of time you’ve probably already deduced that I like to use the opening paragraph in an anecdotal fashion. Whether I’m spinning a recap of my latest pop-culture excursions or using the latest wedding I’m attending as a gateway for complaining about the pop-culture excursions I’d rather be partaking of, I try and keep this space at least loosely based around entertainment. That said, this week is no different as I finally had the chance to sit down with writer/director David Ayer‘s End of Watch last night. I won’t do the film the disservice of reviewing it in two sentences, but I will say that I found Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña‘s chemistry to be excellent and the action to be consistently suspenseful/captivating. Is the script’s attempt to tie nearly every encounter the partner’s undertake into an interconnected climax a little bit of a stretch? I think so. Nevertheless, End of Watch is still a cop drama that pushes almost all of the right buttons.
But enough of my reviews in 100 words or less, in this week’s trek down memory lane is the first official image and trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard, Taken 2 interviews with Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and more, a recap of all our James Bond / Skyfall coverage from the past week, Frankenweenie interviews with Tim Burton, Winona Ryder and more, and finally a look at some classic video games that we feel deserve an HD remake.
Frankenweenie, from director Tim Burton and screenwriter John August, is a charming, macabre and heartwarming tale, about Victor (voiced by Charlie Tahan), a young boy who, after unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life, but quickly faces unintended and sometimes monstrous consequences for his actions. The voice cast also includes Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Winona Ryder and Atticus Shaffer.
During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, John August talked about how his collaboration with Tim Burton originally started, expanding the original Frankenweenie short into a full-length feature, how amazing Weird Girl and her cat are, and his reaction to seeing the finished product put together. He also talked about the challenge of actually getting a script made into a film, how many unproduced scripts he has sitting around collecting dust, what made Big Fish right for a Broadway musical, how he came to be collaborating with Josh Friedman (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) on a potential TV show called Chosen, that he plans to direct again after Big Fish makes it to the stage, the status of Preacher, and more. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
It’s surprising that no Tim Burton movie has been adapted for the stage yet, no? In 2002, Tim Burton signed on to helm Batman: The Musical. By 2005, though, Batman Begins assumed full control of the franchise. And obviously, a superhero musical would never, ever work on Broadway. Burton has plenty of non-Batman material to pick from — indeed, the director will oversee a stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland with Disney. But c’mon, we can do better. Enter Big Fish.
Big Fish screenwriter John August repurposed the fantastical father-son tale for the stage with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family musical). Big Fish producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are also on board for the musical; Susan Stroman, the Tony Award winner behind The Producers, will direct and choreograph with an eye toward a spring 2012 release. Hit the jump for a refresher on the synopsis.
Big Fish screenwriter John August may be coming on board to re-write an adaptation of the comic miniseries The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft for director Ron Howard. Howard first boarded the project back in 2009 with a script from the mini-series’ author Mac Carter. The story centers on a young Lovecraft (who became a legend of writing horror tales like At the Mountains of Madness and The Call of Cthulhu) who becomes stricken with an ancient curse that causes his nightmares to become reality. The comic is described as “one part biography, one part horror pulp, and one part fugitive thriller.” The rumor about August taking on the script comes from The Tracking Board (via /Film).
While August’s last screenplay to become a movie was 2007′s The Nines (which he also directed), he remains a frequent collaborator of Tim Burton. Last summer, was in talks to adapt the board game Monsterpocalypse for the director. Hit the jump for the official synopsis of The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft and my thoughts on August getting the gig.
Superman and Wolverine may not be the only comic book properties attracting the attentions of director Darren Aronofsky. Newsarama is reporting that Aronofsky is also being courted by Columbia Pictures to helm the adaptation of Preacher. For those unfamiliar with Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic, Preacher centers on the dark adventures of Jesse Custer, a preacher who accidentally kills his congregation and then awakens to discover he can speak with the word of God (meaning he can command almost anyone to do anything). I’ve always maintained that the adaptation would work better as an HBO miniseries, but perhaps screenwriter John August has successfully cracked it and made it work as a movie.
Hit the jump for more on Aronofsky potentially helming Preacher.
by Jason Barr Posted: August 21st, 2010 at 11:12 am
Who doesn’t love seeing the fond memories of their youth brought back in movie form years after they were initially relevant? Honestly, when I think about Universal Pictures’ 2008 team-up with Hasbro to produce at least four films based on their board games (of which, Peter Berg’s upcoming Battleship is a part), I can’t help but be filled with anticipation over the prospect of seeing a 3D version of “Candy Land” on the big screen. All sarcasm aside, I would like to think that moviegoers are growing tired of the same brand integrated song and dance. However, it’s hard to maintain hope when a film that could not have had a functional script grosses over $400 million (I’m looking at you, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).
Enter a new video entitled “The Pitch.” The 2:30 minute video documents a pitch meeting between a screenwriter and a studio executive who are obviously not on the same wavelength in regards to the hot “new” film idea: Slinky! Sadly, screenwriter John August (Big Fish) seems to think the video’s creator is closer to reality than exaggerated satire. Endorsing the film on his website, August writes, “It’s not that Hollywood is out of ideas. It’s that the industry is terrified of failure, and clings to the safety of recognizable titles. In difficult times, it’s comfort food.” Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.
We were aware that Tim Burton was eying an adaptation of Monsterpocalypse, the kaiju-themed (read: “very monster-y”) collectible miniatures game, a project which could reunite him with frequent collaborator John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). But up until now, we’ve had to use a lot of modifiers when writing about the film. No longer, as producer Roy Lee (How to Train Your Dragon) confirmed that both Burton and August are officially on board.
Hit the jump for more of Lee’s insight into the development process, including plot details, why they’re doing it in 3D, and the absence of Voltron.
Tim Burton may re-team with screenwriter John August for Monsterpocalypse. The movie is based on a strategy board game involving miniatures. Heat Vision reports that DreamWorks is currently in negotiations with August to take the gig, but Burton isn’t officially on board yet either. If the two do team-up again, it will be their fourth collaboration following Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Corpse Bride. The pair are also developing Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp attached to star, as well as a 3D stop-motion animation version of Burton’s 1984 short film, Frankenweenie.
Hit the jump for why this Monsterpocalypse reunion is easier said than done.
Disney has released 6 clips from producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and you can check them out after the jump. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, and Alfred Molina in a Mike Newell film, Disney is clearly trying to mimic the success of their Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with Prince of Persia. Also, Disney is trying to break the video game to movie curse, as most would agree no video game has been successfully adapted into a great movie. But with mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer on board, this might be the one that finally gets it right.
So if you’d like to get a glimpse of Prince of Persia, hit the jump for the clips. And if you missed all the new images we posted, click here. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time gets released May 28, 2010.
Continuing my “Seven Days with Producer Neal Moritz” series, tonight I’ve got updates on Preacher, S.W.A.T. 2, the remake of Escape From New York, Man-Witch, The Boys, and Sinbad - which is now called The 8th Voyage of Sinbad. Some of the highlights are:
- They’re talking to a new director (wouldn’t say who) as Sam Mendes is going to do James Bond
- John August wrote the script
- He envisions shooting Preacher in 2011
- Talks about John August deciding to spread out the story over a few movies rather than trying for just one film
- Definitely rated R
- He told me that John August mentioned he’d be interested in directing the movie himself!
Escape From New York remake
- They have a script and they’re out to directors
- They’ve had a few meetings with different directors and a couple of actors really want to play Snake Plissken
- Gerard Butler hasn’t read the new script but after they hire a director they’ll talk to him again
- Thinks it will be rated R
Much, much more after the jump:
On February 2nd, at 5:30 a.m. PST the Academy will announce its final list of Oscar hopefuls. But how are the nominees selected? Raffle? Some kind of barbaric fire ritual? Screenwriter/blogger John August gives us the answer. The final list of ten nominees is actually pruned down from a few hundred potential films (274 this year) by preferential voting rather than by a plurality. That way, a movie needs more than 10% of the total votes to be nominated. Preferential voting essentially lessens the chance of a wasted vote by giving each voter a series of fall back choices instead of one all or nothing shot. Australia uses the same system for political elections.
Hit the jump to see a breakdown of the system.