Director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Alamo) has long been circling the director’s chair on the drama Highwaymen, and now it looks like the project is finally coming together. Hancock has signed on to helm the pic, which centers on the manhunt for infamous bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde during the Great Depression. The protagonist of the story is Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, a lawman with quite the reputation (he survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people) who was coaxed into putting together a team of Rangers to finally take down Bonnie & Clyde following an embarrassing Texas prison break headed up by Clyde Barrow.
Hit the jump for more on the project, including which actors Hancock is eyeing to lead the film.
Nothing’s going to come close to the news of J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars: Episode VII today, but a sequel of a different sort is also moving closer to production. Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company is planning on a May production start date on the sequel to Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The follow-up is based on author Wang Du Lu’s Silver Vase, Iron Knight, which is the fourth book in the Crane-Iron Pentalogy. The pic has a script by John Fusco (Hidalgo, Young Guns) and Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason, Bride of Chucky) is in talks to direct.
The story again centers on the character of Yu Shu Lien, played by Michelle Yeoh in the first film. Casting will begin once the director is officially signed, but some actors are expected to reprise their roles and Fusco imagines choreographer Wo Ping Yuen to come back.
Starz has journeyed back to Rome and Camelot with a couple of their original series, and now the cable network is heading into the past again for Marco Polo, a new epic series about the legendary 13th century explorer from Hidalgo writer John Fusco and executive producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Ben Silverman. Described as a martial arts epic, the series will follow Polo’s adventures throughout his early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the ruler of the Mongol Empire. Acting as the ruler’s spy, ambassador and explorer, Marco treks across the Far East and returns with tales of his journeys. In a court filled with political betrayal and forbidden relationships, Marco must use his martial arts training to survive, but it is his ability to enchant Khan with imaginative tales of his kingdom that is often his best tool to stay alive.
It definitely sounds like a side of Marco Polo that hasn’t been explored on the big or small screen, but it seems strange to think of Polo as a martial arts expert. Sounds a little bit like 13th century Jason Bourne without the identity crisis. Starz has had great success with Spartacus, but I haven’t found myself being drawn to their original content as much as networks like HBO or Showtime. However, they show no signs of slowing down in their efforts to complete with the Emmy nominated giants. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Remaking Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is an exercise in futility* but so is railing against remakes. They’re going to happen, and they’re probably not going to be as good as the original, but you’ll always have that original. The Weinstein Company is remaking Seven Samurai but that doesn’t mean Harvey Weinstein is coming to my house and confiscating my Criterion Collection Blu-ray. Variety reports that the studio has hired Scott Mann to helm the remake (written by Young Guns screenwriter John Fusco). The new Seven Samurai will have a $60 million budget, reset the action from feudal Japan to modern-day Thailand, and replace the samurai with paramilitary contractors. It’s a smart update because as we all know, the age of the paramilitary contractor is coming to an end and those mercenaries who work for companies like Blackwater are truly noble and tragic figures.
Mann’s been receiving some attention for his recent film The Tournament, but The Playlist says the flick is “pretty turgid overall.” For those who’ve never seen Seven Samurai, I’ve included a synopsis for the film after the jump, but I want you to promise me you’ll see the movie ASAP. Deal?
GiantKiller Pictures has hired John Fusco (Hidalgo) to adapt Cliff Graham’s Day of War, the first book in the Lion of War series that debuts in the spring. The books center on the early life of David prior to his tenure as king of Israel. Director David L. Cunningham (The Seeker: The Dark is Rising) remarked,
“[Graham] has written a dynamic series that is highly cinematic. He has found a fresh, inspired take on the ancient story of King David and his lethal outcasts, the Mighty Men, that has stood the test of time for thousands of years. The gritty characters, their complicated lives and the supernatural themes make for an exciting combination.” [Risky Business]
With five books on the way, there should be plenty of material for an historical action franchise. In 3D of course. At this stage, I’m definitely intrigued by the project, but I’d be 17% more likely to see it if they called it David & the Mighty Men. Hit the jump for the official book synopsis.
Paramount Pictures and former Walden Media co-founder Cary Granat will attempt to literally bring audiences closer to God by creating In the Beginning, a 3D adaptation of the Book of Genesis. Deadline reports that John Fusco (Hidalgo) has written a script to be directed by David Cunningham about the Judeo-Christian creation story. The $30 million film hopes to attract the faith-n-family crowd that made The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe such a success.
In the Beginning will most likely eclipse Beowulf‘s record for “Most Time Spent in a 3D Movie Trying to Cover up a Protagonist’s junk.
Four stories that didn’t necessarily merit their own headlines popped up on the trades tonight, including the latest developments on the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” feature. Hit the jump to find out more on that bit of news as well as what’s next for Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron and the director of “Lesbian Vampire Killers”…