Universal Pictures, once known for their iconic monster movies, has revived an old classic with a new twist. Originally planned to be directed by Alex Proyas (Knowing) and starring Sam Worthington (Avatar), Universal pulled the plug on Dracula Year Zero due to budget concerns. Now, the studio has resurrected the project and is negotiating with newcomer Gary Shore to direct. While Worthington is out of the picture, producer Mike De Luca is still around. Why does that matter? Because Dracula Year Zero is a passion project of his, one he spoke about at length with Steve two years ago. Not just another vampire flick, Dracula Year Zero was described by De Luca as “on the scale of Braveheart with Dracula, so it’s a lot of…it’s armies. It’s an invading Turkish army. It’s a lot of supernatural action.” If that information is still relevant, Dracula Year Zero will definitely turn out to be a fresh take on an old tale. Hit the jump for more.
Columbia Pictures has optioned the rights to Neil Strauss’ non-fiction book Emergency! This Book Will Save Your Life as a possible starring vehicle for Robert Downey Jr. Downey will produce along with his wife and producing partner Susan Downey as well as Michael De Luca. Screenwriter Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) is handling the script. Strauss’ book has the author learning various survival skills that he will most likely never need to use in his day-to-day life.
Producer Columbia Pictures President Matt Tolmach said of the project in a press release, “Neil Strauss is a tremendous talent and we think Emergency! is his best work yet. It’s a hugely entertaining read that couldn’t be more timely or topical. We think there is a fantastic film in this book and Robert and Susan, and of course, Mike are the perfect producers to take on the themes of this project.”
Hit the jump for a refresher on Downey’s other projects along with the full press release.
Earlier today, Encore reported that Alex Proyas’ Dracula: Year Zero would be shooting early next year in Australia and that Worthington was attached to star. This was interesting news for two reasons. First, last we heard about Worthington and this project, his name was “under consideration” for the title role. Secondly, it didn’t seem likely that the project would shoot early next year since Worthington is scheduled to do Clash of the Titans 2 during that time.
We’ve now done some digging and discovered that Worthington is attached to play real-life historical figure Prince Vlad of Transylvania (pictured above, who may have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and that the plan is to shoot in June 2011. As a fan of Alex Proyas (Dark City, I Robot) I’m very excited to see his take on this supernatural thriller, especially with the movie most likely getting a large budget to work with.
Back in January, Steve spoke to producer Mike De Luca about the project and he revealed a lot of info. Hit the jump for what he said along with a list of Worthington’s other projects.
While on the set of Drive Angry 3D in early May, I got to participate in a small roundtable interview with Nicolas Cage. While studios usually wait till closer to release to let us post on set interviews, I’m giving Summit a lot of credit for letting us get a jump on Comic-Con and lifting the embargo today.
For those not familiar with Drive Angry, you should start by reading my set report. But the quick synopsis is the film “centers on a man (Cage) driven by rage who is chasing the people who killed his daughter and kidnapped her baby. The vendetta/rescue spins out of control as the chase gets bloodier by the mile, leaving bodies strewn along the highway.”
What’s great about the movie is that it’s being filmed in 3D, it’s a super hard R, and it’s from the filmmakers behind My Bloody Valentine. Meaning…expect plenty of blood and guts! I’m super excited. Anyway, while on set Cage told us why he wanted to get involved, what it was like to work on his first 3D movie, and a lot more. Read or listen to what he had to say after the jump:
Nicolas Cage is crawling on the ground. There are three RED 3D cameras covering the scene and he’s crawling towards the one in the middle while Billy Burke – who is dressed like a rock star with black nail polish – is screaming at him. I’m standing with the crew and a few other online reporters and we’re watching take after take of Cage crawling while director Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D) is trying to get the shot. Finally, Lussier is happy and the crew moves the camera for another set up of the same scene.
But let me back up as second.
Back in early May, I got to visit the set of Drive Angry 3D while the production was filming in Shreveport, Louisiana. While the movie doesn’t get released until February 11, 2011, Summit is going to be promoting the film this week at Comic-Con and they’ve decided to let us post all our on set interviews and our set report now. So hit the jump for why you should be excited for Drive Angry and you can also check out some concept art from the film.
Over the past few years, Amber Heard has made a name for herself in such films as Pineapple Express (Seth Rogen’s High School girlfriend), The Informers, The Joneses, Zombieland (she played the hot neighbor next door), The Stepfather, and Never Back Down. While she’s proven she can play the girlfriend and the hot neighbor, in director Patrick Lussier’s Drive Angry 3D, Heard is going to show another side: ass-kicking vigilante.
In the film, Heard teams up with Nicolas Cage after he steps in to help her out of a situation at a restaurant she works at and soon after they form a close friendship. Heard says of their relationship, “they become fast friends and form a bond and partake on this kind of supernatural evil-fighting journey together and they kind of become teammates.”
Much more after the jump:
Twilight fans aren’t going to know what hit them. That’s because while Billy Burke has made an impression as Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) mild mannered father in the Twilight movies, in director Patrick Lussier’s Drive Angry 3D, Burke plays an over-the-top villainous cult leader that dresses like a rock star.
But let me back up a second. Back in early May, I got to visit the set of Drive Angry while the film was being shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. While studios usually wait till closer to release to let us post on set interviews, I’m giving Summit a lot of credit for letting us get a jump on Comic-Con and lifting the embargo today. Much more after the jump:
William Fichtner is one of those actors you’ve seen in a million movies and TV shows. That’s because over the past fifteen years, Fichtner has had memorable characters in The Dark Knight, Go, Prison Break, Contact, Armageddon, Heat, Invasion, Entourage, and that’s just scratching the surface. But no matter the role, Fichtner always brings a real authenticity to whatever character he’s portraying, and that’s why he continues to land so many parts.
Anyway, in director Patrick Lussier’s Drive Angry 3D, Fichtner is playing an all new character as he’s an agent from hell trying to bring back Nicolas Cage. Needless to say, Fichtner told us he jumped at the chance to play this part. Hit the jump for a lot more:
While it’s always great to talk to actors on movie sets, if you really want to find out how a movie got put together, you’ve got to talk to the screenwriter. So when I was on the set of Drive Angry 3D in early May with a small group of online reporters, when we got to speak to screenwriter Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine), we all had very specific questions about the project. Thankfully, Farmer was more than happy to talk and he discussed writing for 3D, how the movie got put together, the violence, the hard R rating, the cars, the music, and so much more. It was this interview with Farmer that really got me excited as everything he was saying sounded great. Hit the jump to check it out:
Columbia must be high on Crank. The studio is in early negotiations with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the men behind the 2006 Jason Statham actioner and 2009 sequel Crank: High Voltage, to helm the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The pair scripted both Crank films as well as the this week’s Jonah Hex, and may end up doing a rewrite of David Goyer’s Ghost Rider script as well.
The 2007 original starred Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze — the demonic Marvel Comics character with a flaming skull — and totaled $228 million worldwide. Columbia are in similarly early talks with Cage to reprise his role, but rumor has it that they be forced to move forward without him. More after the jump:
Nicolas Cage wanted to be in a superhero movie so badly that he decided to do Ghost Rider, a character who works better as a biker tattoo than a protagonist. But Columbia Pictures wants a sequel and Vulture reports that if Cage can’t make it this year, they’ll go ahead without him. Why leave the actor behind? Because the if the studio can’t get a film in production by November 14th, the rights automatically revert to Marvel and its new owner, Disney.
The issue is that Cage may opt to do National Treasure 3, which could shoot as early as the fall and possibly net the actor a larger paycheck. But Vulture notes that Columbia wants a blockbuster for 2011 and their Spider-Man reboot isn’t slated to hit theaters until summer 2012. The studio needs a star like Cage to sell the movie worldwide due to the character’s lack of name-recognition. But they also need to get the film rolling and soon. Hit the jump for more details about the project from when Steve spoke to producer Mike De Luca back in January.
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) is in talks to play the lead role in Craig Gillespie’s remake of the cult 1985 horror-comedy Fright Night. Heat Vision reports that Yelchin would play the lead character Charley Brewster, a teenager who is convinced his new neighbor is a vampire but no one will believe him. The role was originally played by William Ragsdale. The new film was written by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, Mad Men).
Yelchin is one of the best young actors out there so even those vehemently against a remake of Fright Night should acknowledge that maybe they’re going to do a good job, even if that job is–as it is with most remakes–unnecessary. Yelchin will next be seen in Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac with Emma Roberts and in Jodie Foster’s The Beaver alongside Mel Gibson. As we reported yesterday, he’ll also be one of the voices in the upcoming Smurfs movie.
Hit the jump for what producer Mike De Luca had to say about the project.
[UPDATE: We can confirm that Sam Worthington is one of the actors "under consideration" to play Dracula]
With Terminator Salvation and Avatar, 2009 was a year where we saw that Sam Worthington was the real deal and deserved to be an A-list action star. Latino Review reports that Worthington may be taking that action to Transylvania in Alex Proyas’ Dracula: Year Zero. Speaking with Steve a couple weeks ago, producer Mike De Luca said this about the project:
No, these writers came up with the ingenious-what I think is ingenious-approach combining historical Dracula with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So it chronicles the efforts of a young prince, Vlad of Transylvania trying to keep the Ottoman empire and the Turk’s of the time from using his small country as a stepping stone to invade Europe….so in a moment of desperation he looks at this mountain top in Transylvania that all the gypsies in his country say is haunted and full of bad black magic. And he’s never believed in any of that supernatural kind of what he thinks is hogwash. But in a moment of desperation he ascends that mountain to see if there’s any truth to any kind of power that he could use to keep the invading army out. And he finds something that gets him to where we have come to know him as Dracula and uses that power source to kind of fight the Turks after he’s changed.
I’m not sure if I see Worthington as Dracula, but with his massive success, I guess I should get used to seeing him as everything, including Dracula. Hit the jump for De Luca’s full comments regarding Dracula: Year Zero.
If you’ve been reading Collider the past few days, you’ve seen what I’m calling “7 Days with Producer Mike De Luca”. The reason for the name is, I was able to speak with De Luca for an extended amount of time and rather than post everything at once, I’ve broken our conversation up into smaller parts. I’ve already posted what he said about the Metal Gear Solid movie, Ghost Rider 2, Drive Angry and Dracula Year Zero. Today it’s all about Priest and what’s up with the remake of Fright Night.
On Priest, De Luca says Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper flipped over the concept and thinks the movie could be the start of a franchise. Of course it’s all about box office numbers, so if the film does well, expect a sequel for sure. De Luca also confirms Priest will have a presence at this year’s Comic-Con.
And for fans of the original Fright Night, you’ll be relieved that De Luca says:
“I get it that remakes are a drag to hear about. I’m on the Internet all the time. I know what they say. Like there’s no original ideas in Hollywood. I understand the responsibility on the remake front of things because there are fans…you have responsibility I think to the fans of the original and you also have the responsibility to not suck even more than something original because you have so many people expecting you to suck because of the predisposed bias against remakes and stuff.”
He goes on to explain the idea of the remake, that Fright Night could be filming this year at DreamWorks, they’re expecting the first draft of the script in a few weeks, and compares the scope and size of the film to Disturbia. Much more after the jump:
With video game movies finally taking off in Hollywood, you’d think a Metal Gear Solid movie would be a no-brainer. In fact, almost two years ago, I spoke to producer Mike De Luca about the MGS movie and at that time he was developing the project at Sony and things sounded like they were moving forward at a “solid” pace.
Cut to today.
A few days ago I spoke to De Luca for almost an hour about a variety of subjects, one of which was Metal Gear Solid. According to De Luca, the Metal Gear Solid movie is no longer happening. He explains why after the jump: