Filming is underway on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s black comedy Birdman. Fox Searchlight and New Regency announced today that principal photography has begun in New York City on Birdman, which centers on an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory. Michael Keaton stars as the struggling actor, and he’s surrounded by a fantastic ensemble cast that includes Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough.
Iñárritu co-wrote the original script alongside Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, and is also producing the film with John Lesher. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Gore Verbinski has been directing blockbuster films for almost a decade, but he may be returning to smaller material. According to Deadline, Verbinski has teamed with New Regency to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel Pyongyang by Guy Deslisle. The memoir follows the French-Canadian cartoonist’s travels through North Korea after obtaining a work visa (a rarity for a Westerner) for his job on a children’s cartoon show (I don’t know the name of the show but I assume it was Kim Jong-Il’s Super Fun Time Worship Your Beloved Supreme Leader Happy Hour; that’s a rough translation since my Korean is a little rusty). Deslisle’s trip becomes more complicated when he’s accused of espionage because of course he is.
This sounds like a fun project for Verbinski, and also a return to his smaller-scale films like The Weather Man and Mouse Hunt. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the graphic novel. Verbinski’s next film, The Lone Ranger, opens July 3rd.
With just a few short weeks to go until the Revolutionary War-centric third title in the Assassin’s Creed video game series is released, the feature film adaptation is moving closer to reality. We learned this past July that Michael Fassbender had signed on to star in and co-produce the project with Ubisoft, and now the film has found a financier and distributor in New Regency. Hit the jump for more.
Allen Hughes (The Book of Eli) has signed on to direct a remake of the Korean crime drama A Bittersweet Life. The 2005 original revolves around a hotel manager, Sunwoo, who doubles as the right hand man for a mob boss, Kang. Kang turns on his former confidante after he botches a job involving a mistress, and Sunwoo must fight for his life alone against the goons sent out to kill him. Deadline reports that Fox and New Regency are fast tracking the project, and they hired Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes) to write a new draft of the script.
Albert Hughes is one half of the Hughes brothers who directed the likes of The Book of Eli, From Hell, and Menace II Society. Hughes recently directed his first feature without his brother, Broken City, due in theaters on January 18, 2013. Hit the jump for a trailer and full synopsis for the original Bittersweet Life.
New Regency has picked up Gunslingers, a pitch from Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace, as a starring vehicle for Vince Vaughn, who is attached to produce. According to Deadline, details are being kept under wraps, but the plot has heroic and iconic characters from the past collide in a modern day L.A.-set urban reality. The movie “explores what real heroism is in a fun an unexpected way.” Presumably, Vaughn will play a fast-talking know-it-all because he never gets cast as anything else.
Vaughn has a string of upcoming comedies where he apparently plays a fast-talking know-it-all. He’ll next be seen in the R-rated sci-fi comedy The Watch (July 27), then he has a minor role in the atrocious Lay the Favorite, and he’s reteaming with Owen Wilson in Shawn Levy‘s The Internship. As for Wallace, we reported back in February that he had re-teamed with Mel Gibson to co-write a new draft of the Viking movie Berserker.
Though we pretty much already knew he was onboard, Paramount and New Regency announced today that Russell Crowe is officially set to play Noah in Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic Noah. The film is “a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark, in which the titular Noah is given a divine mission of building an ark to save creation from the impending flood. Aronofsky wrote the screenplay alongside Ari Handel, and John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo) performed revisions. Interestingly, the press release notes that production will begin this July in New York and Iceland. Hit the jump for more.
While Joel Edgerton is poised to break out in a big way following his turns in Animal Kingdom and Warrior, the actor is also apparently a burgeoning screenwriter. THR reports that Edgerton has sold a spec script called One Night Stand to New Regency. The film is described as a drama with comedic elements and provides “an honest look at a man and a woman in the aftermath of a one night stand.” Edgerton will executive produce the pic but has no plans to star.
Edgerton turned heads with his work in last year’s MMA drama Warrior, landing offers for a number of high-profile roles. While he turned down the lead in the 300 sequel 300: Battle of Artemisia, he’s currently filming his role as Tom Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and he’s set to star in Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled drama that tells the story of the Navy SEALs who hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden.
Get ready to dance your cares away. With nostalgia running high as The Muppets are set to return to the big screen next month in The Muppets, a feature film version of that other puppet show is on its way as well. New Regency has acquired the rights to turn the HBO series Fraggle Rock into a feature film. The series, also created by Jim Henson, centered on the adventures of a group of creatures called “Fraggles” who live in a network of caves (Fraggle Rock). Fraggle Rock, or “The Muppets on acid”, ran from 1983 to 1987 on HBO. I always found the show to be creepy, yet weirdly engaging. It’d be cool if they made a slightly twisted film version in the vein of The Nightmare Before Christmas, though chances of that happening are slim to none. Hit the jump for more.
Things are finally on the move for Darren Aronofsky’s passion project Noah. New Regency and Paramount have agreed to partner on the biblical epic, ending a bidding battle over who would finance the film. Deadline reports that screenwriter John Logan has come on board to rewrite Aronofsky and Ari Handel’s script, and the project is being fast tracked to hopefully go into production by next spring. The film marks the director’s follow-up to Black Swan, after he was briefly attached to The Wolverine before dropping out for personal reasons. Noah has been a passion project for Aronofsky for quite some time, and he previously described it as his “big event film.” Hit the jump for more, including the possibility of Christian Bale taking on the lead and some artwork from Aronofsky’s graphic novel version of the film.
One of the reasons Darren Aronofsky reportedly signed on to do The Wolverine is because he wanted a blockbuster hit that he could leverage to make personal projects that required a larger budget than his past work. Then he dropped off that film for personal reasons, but perhaps Black Swan grossing $315 million worldwide off a $13 million budget also had something to do with it. Now that he has that success (along with a Best Director Oscar nomination) to his credit, Aronofsky has more clout and it looks like he’s using it to try and get Noah off the ground.
In February, we reported that Aronofsky was going to tell the story of the Bible’s Noah by creating a graphic novel with artist Nico Henrichon. Now John Logan is re-writing the film’s script and various studios are getting interested in co-financing the ambitious project. Hit the jump for more details.
Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) is attached to direct a contemporary version of the legend surrounding Cyrano de Bergerac. Bergerac was a French dramatist in the 17th century best remembered for the works of fiction loosely based on his life, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand. In Rostand’s play, Bergerac is a romantic whose large nose prevents him from expressing his love to Roxane, the woman of his dreams. Instead, he secretly helps a more handsome suitor woo the Roxane. According to THR, Ross’ take on the material is set in the present day reimagines the story using “today’s vast and complex social media tools.” I suppose that’s as good as any modern entry point into the classic tale. The fictional Bergerac would have been a great tweeter.
John Whittington will write the script. The project is set up at New Regency with Nina Jacobson (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and Ross’ producing partner Alison Thomas (The Tale of Desperaux) producing. Prior to this project, Ross and Jacobson will work together on the adaptation of The Hunger Games, scheduled for release March 23, 2012. Read a full synopsis for Cyrano de Bergerac after the break.
Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is now attached to helm New Regency’s sci-fi thriller Archangel. Variety reports that Adam Cozad (The Gray Man) has signed on to write the screenplay, which tells the story of “a secret unit of the military that tracks and hunts down aliens among us.” Cozad also recently wrote the script for the Jack Ryan reboot starring Chris Pine. Scott Free will produce Archangel.
Kosinski is expected to next direct Horizons (also known as Oblivion), a sci-fi actioner set up at Universal with Tom Cruise attached to star. That film was originally at Disney, but the Mouse House didn’t feel the PG-13 story fit with their library, so they let Kosinski shop the project around. An October start date is being eyed for Horizons.
New Regency has a draft or two in the vault for a feature comedy based on the 1950s radio/television series Father Knows Best. 24 Frames reports the studio will bring on writer/director Michael McCullers (Baby Mama) to update the screenplay and direct the remake. Intitial reports described the approach as “a multi-generational story about a father of a suburban family with a modern parenting approach who’s thrown for a loop when his own father, with a different attitude, comes to live with them.” McCullers is a logical choice after demonstrating a penchant for parenting dynamics and Odd Couple comedy with Baby Mama. McCullers is also credited on the Austin Powers sequels — maybe he wrote the scenes between Dr. Evil and Scott?
Father Knows Best started as a radio show about a wholesome Midwestern family that ran from 1949-1954. The sitcom followed and produced 203 episodes from 1954-1960. Watch the full episode “Typical Father” after the break.
As TRON: Legacy shapes up to be one of the biggest movies of the year, director Joseph Kosinski’s list of potential projects continues to grow. Heat Vision reports that New Regency is developing Andrew Will’s sci-fi action spec script Archangels for Kosinski to direct. Kosinski is also producing the film alongside Ridley and Tony Scott via their Scott Free production company. According to HV:
The script is set in the near future and is described as a Bourne-style thriller crossed with alien elements. The protagonist is part of an elite force that is tasked with tracking aliens who get past Earth’s defense system.
Hit the jump to learn more about the other films Kosinski has in development and the presence TRON: Legacy is planning to have at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Writer-Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca) is in negotiations with new Regency to pick up his new script I’m Mortal. According to Heat Vision, the film, which Niccol will also direct, “is set in the not-too-distant future where the aging gene has been switched off. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency and the way people pay for luxuries and necessities. The rich can live forever, while the rest try to negotiate for their immortality. The protagonist is a poor young man who comes into a fortune of time, though too late to help his mother from dying. He ends up on the run from a corrupt police force known as “time keepers.” Because time is the commodity, parents in the film can end up looking as young as their children.
Hit the jump for my thoughts on the premise as well a refresher on Niccol’s other projects.