[With A Good Day to Die Hard set to open this Thursday, we'll be taking a look back at the first four Die Hard movies. These reviews will contain spoilers since the movies have been out for years. Click on the respective links for my look back at Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Die Hard with a Vengeance.]
The longest gap between Die Hard movies was the 12 years between Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) and Live Free or Die Hard (2007). In the interim, the world had drastically changed most notably because of 9/11 and developments in communications technology. No longer could terrorism be casually mentioned as a guise for a heist, and John McClane (Bruce Willis) wouldn’t be running around looking for the nearest pay phone. As Live Free villain Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) says to McClane, “You’re a Timex watch in a digital age.” It’s a crappy metaphor since Timex has been making digital watches for decades, but the sentiment is noteworthy: Is John McClane a relic? The question doesn’t really matter since Live Free or Die Hard barely qualifies as a Die Hard film, especially with Willis’ bored performance and the PG-13 rating. Instead, Live Free is best explored as the way a Die Hard movie would approach terrorism if a Die Hard film was directed by a hand-tied fan who didn’t understand the essence of the franchise.
After stepping away from NBC’s Saturday Night Live, many wondered what Andy Samberg had in store for his future career. It looks like one of his upcoming projects will be a return to television in a pilot for an untitled Fox comedy series written by Parks and Recreation co-creators, Mike Schur and Dan Goor. The comedy centers on a motley group of detectives stationed near the outskirts of New York City. Samberg would play the lead detective in a role that show creators say is a perfect match. Hit the jump to hear what else Schur and Goor had to say, in addition to news on Brendan Fraser toplining the TNT pilot, Legends.
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel got a new director a few weeks ago, and now the project is getting a new writer. Mark Bomback (The Wolverine, Total Recall remake) has been brought in to work on the script for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It’s a bit of a confusing move, as when Matt Reeves (Let Me In) replaced Rise director Rupert Wyatt, all reports noted that the follow-up had an existing script by Rise scribes Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa that everybody loved. Hit the jump for more.
We’ve got a trio of screenwriter stories to bring to you today. First up, Burn Notice co-executive producer Craig O’Neill is making his first foray into feature films. Deadline reports that O’Neill has been set to rewrite Warner Bros.’ remake of The Count of Monte Cristo. Based on the classic revenge novel by Alexandre Dumas, the film is titled Cristo and is “a futuristic re-imagining” of the tale. The project was first set up based on a spec script by Ian Shorr, and now it looks like WB is looking to have O’Neill take a pass at the screenplay.
Dumas’ story is fantastic, but it’s quite dense and tough to fit into one feature film. I’m interested in hearing what this “futuristic re-imagining” entails and how far it veers from the source material. With an adaptation like this, I’m hoping the script just maintains the basic plot, then spins it off into something original and unexpected (laser fights!). Hit the jump for news regarding an adaptation of the bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain starring Patrick Dempsey and a coming-of-age original screenplay from scribe Leah Rachel.
A feature film adaptation of the Fox series 24 has been promised for quite some time now. Originally the plan was to head into the movie directly after the show’s final season, but it’s been a bit of a tough road to production with numerous stops and starts. Deadline now reports that things have picked back up once again and the goal is to start filming after star Kiefer Sutherland’s availability opens up next April. Fox passed on the original script by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass), but the latest draft by Mark Bomback (The Wolverine) is set to be turned in by the end of the year, after which the search will begin for a director.
Tony Scott was previously attached to direct, but he’s no longer involved. Producer Brian Grazer and the studio have “about five directors in mind” to take over the job, though Deadline doesn’t specify who they’re looking at. The original take had Jack Bauer heading to Europe, but we don’t know if Bomback’s take maintains that general plotline or takes the film in another direction. Whether or not this spring start date will stick is anyone’s guess, but as of now everyone’s favorite torturer seems poised to grace the silver screen sooner rather than later.
Screenwriter Mark Bomback (Jack the Giant Killer, the upcoming remake of Total Recall) is set to re-write Christopher McQuarrie’s script for James Mangold’s The Wolverine. According to Variety, the story still revolves around Wolvie heading to Japan where he falls in love and fights the country’s criminal underworld with nothing but a healing factor, super strength, an adamantium skeleton, and razor-sharp retractable claws (Am I the only one who thinks Wolverine is overpowered?). The entire cast will be comprised of Japanese and Japanese-American actors except for the new character “Viper” who’s the white secretary for Japan’s Minister of Justice. I guess the Japanese government is cool hiring people who sound like they should be in a biker gang. As we previously reported, filming will take place in Vancouver but Variety reports the film will also shoot in Tokyo. Filming will begin next year after Hugh Jackman wraps on Les Miserables.
Bomback’s previous credits include Live Free or Die Hard, Unstoppable, Godsend, Deception, and the remake of Race to Witch Mountain. I try not to hang bad movies on the screenwriter since blockbuster films have so many uncredited scribes, but that filmography does not inspire confidence.
Dodgeball writer/director Rawson Thurber (most recently, co-writer Tower Heist) has been hired by Universal to rewrite their script for the adaptation of the Dark Horse comic The Umbrella Academy. Created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy follows a group of seven superhero children who are adopted by millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves to, as he puts it, “save the world.” I was introduced to the series’ first trade paperback, Volume One: The Apocalypse Suite, as a gift a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Both it and the subsequent volume, Dallas, have a ton of action, wit, and fantastic art. Of course, this says nothing about how the eventual film may or may not turn out…
For more on the project, hit the jump.
Nicholas Hoult is set to star in Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer. The story is a darker spin on the fairy tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk”. In this re-telling, Jack is on a mission to rescue a princess from the kingdom of the giants. Earlier this week, we reported that casting was ramping up and that Stanley Tucci would play the film’s villain Roderick while Bill Nighy would play one of the two heads of two-headed leader of the giants (the other is played by John Kassir). Deadline reports that Hoult got on Singer’s radar after being cast as Beast in X-Men: First Class, which Singer is producing.
Hit the jump for more on Hoult.
Fox 2000 has hired Mark Bomback (Unstoppable) to adapt Robert Kurson’s Shadow Divers, the account of two divers who tested their physical limits to solve the mystery of how a German U boat came to be within just sixty miles of the coast of New Jersey. Marriages dissolved and friends died in the process, but the once bitter rivals developed “an almost mystical sense of brotherhood.”
Shadow Divers is housed at Tony and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Hit the jump for the synopsis of Kurson’s book.
Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer has been green lit by New Line Cinema, and Singer is currently looking at actors to take the lead. Deadline reports that Aaron Johnson, with fantastic recent performances in Kick-Ass and Nowhere Boy, is a favorite, but other actors are still being looked at.
Written by Darren Lemke and Mark Bomback, Jack the Giant Killer is a dark version of the classic fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. Singer has been courting this project for some time, and is now seeing some major progress in its pre-production. Hit the jump for more information on Singer’s other projects, including X-Men: First Class.
Bryan Singer’s much anticipated Jack the Giant Killer and the Planet of the Apes prequel Caesar both start filming in July. According to Production Weekly’s Twitter, Jack the Giant Killer is set to start filming in London and Iceland, and have set up production offices in Robertson plaza. Production Weekly also says Caesar will start filming in Burnaby, BC. More after the jump:
Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, The Express) has signed on to helm Protection. Produced by John Davis (the upcoming Gulliver’s Travels and Marmaduke), the thriller, “centers on a college professor who investigates the disappearance of his wife and daughter and who must confront authorities at the Witness Protection Program to find them.” Oh, those rascally folks at the Witness Protection Program. Always up to no good, protecting witnesses, and what not.
Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) will rewrite the spec script from Allan Loeb (21). [Variety]