Sony has tapped Greg Berlanti to helm a fascinating robot uprising film called Epsilon. The sci-fi actioner has a script by Zombieland and G.I. Joe: Retaliation scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and takes place in the aftermath of a failed robot uprising, in which Earth operates on almost no electronics. In the world of the film, the remaining robots have taken refuge on a space station where they begin to raise their own human lab rats, which they train to act as their agents. The film’s protagonist is a man who discovers he is more human than he thought. Heat Vision reports that Berlanti has close a deal to direct the pic, with Michael De Luca onboard to produce alongside Reese and Wernick.
Berlanti is best known as the executive producer and showrunner of such TV series as Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, and No Ordinary Family. On the feature front, Berlanti scripted Green Lantern and the 2010 comedy/drama Life as We Know It, but most recently he has been serving as executive producer and showrunner on The CW’s Arrow. Epsilon certainly has a interesting take on the “robot uprising” conceit, and it marks Berlanti’s biggest directorial project to date. Here’s hoping he delivers the goods.
Based on the 2009 cult classic film, the Zombieland TV pilot is now available for viewing on Amazon Instant Video, and customer feedback, viewership numbers and other factors will decide whether it will be picked up to series. In the series, fearless foursome Tallahassee (Kirk Ward), Columbus (Tyler Ross), Wichita (Maiara Walsh) and Little Rock (Izabela Vidovic) search for a place to call home while they eliminate zombies along the way.
During this recent interview to discuss the TV version of Zombieland, co-creators and executive producers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick talked about the journey from TV series to movie and now back to TV pilot, what it’s been like to work with Amazon, what motivated the decision to have the same characters from the movie on the TV show, how they envision it as a road show, how much gore they can have, what Kirk Ward (who was originally cast as Tallahassee before being replaced by Woody Harrelson) brings to this version of the character, what led them to the 30-minute format, whether they could have any surprise cameos (Bill Murray made a very memorable one in the film), what will determine whether the pilot is successful enough to go to series, and when they might know if they’re picked up. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
It ain’t easy taking a popular cult film and adapting it into a successful TV series (emphasis on successful), but the advent of alternative digital platforms such as Netflix and Hulu are opening up more possibilities. Enter Amazon and it’s Zombieland series pilot. The series comes from Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and stars Tyler Ross (Milkshake) as Columbus, Maiara Walsh (Switched at Birth) as Wichita, Izabela Vidovic (Help for the Holidays) as Little Rock, and Kirk Ward (Fully Loaded) as Tallahassee. Reese and Wernick are hoping for a 13-episode first season, but if this pilot is any indication, then they’ll be struggling to abide by Rule #33: Keep Hope Alive. Hit the jump for my review.
Before I dive into the main topic of this week’s opening paragraph, just a quick disclaimer that the Top 5 will be taking a week off next Saturday to accommodate the first, and perhaps only, trip to Hawaii I will ever take. Here’s to hoping it’s less awkward but equally as life-changing and Kristen Bell/Mila Kunis-filled as Forgetting Sarah Marshall depicted. That said, while it fell just short of the cut this week, I still want to draw attention to the first trailer for director Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next that debuted on Thursday. As a horror fan, I’m always excited when a new entry in the genre gets lauded from both sides of the aisle (horror fans and those who aren’t as giddy about movies that make them think twice about turning out the lights). As far as I’m concerned, August 23rd can’t get here soon enough.
All Hawaii and horror fanboy talk aside, this week’s list offers up the first trailer(s) for The Wolverine, interviews with Dwayne Johnson and more for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the first trailer and posters for White House Down, a new red-band trailer for Pain & Gain, and The Host interviews with Saoirse Ronan and more. As you’re probably expecting, a brief recap and link to all of the above can be found after the jump.
Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation is now playing in theaters. The sequel’s story finds the Joes disbanded and outnumbered as they must square off against not only the Cobras, but also threats within their own government. G.I. Joe: Retaliation stars Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, D.J. Cotrona, Elodie Yung, Ray Park, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Stevenson, Walton Goggins, RZA and Adrianne Palicki. For more on the film, here’s clips, images, on set interviews, and all our previous coverage.
Last weekend, I sat down with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for an extended interview. Over the past few days we’ve posted what they said about their Zombieland pilot, the Deadpool movie, and their take on Venom. However, that was just the tip of the iceberg because during the interview we also talked about making G.I. Joe, the nine-minute dialogue-free action sequence featuring Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes, the 3D post conversion, changes from the original G.I. Joe, landing the job, and other future projects like an HBO series, a sci-fi tent-pole for Sony, Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Vikings, and Bad Robot’s Micronauts. Hit the jump to watch.
One of the most popular and widely known characters from the Spider-Man universe is undoubtedly Venom. When Sam Raimi’s feature film adaptation of Spider-Man hit theaters in 2002 and become a massive success, fans started speculating about when/if we would see the Venom character pop up in a subsequent sequel. Despite Raimi’s reluctance to use the character, Venom eventually made an appearance in Spider-Man 3, after which Sony started working on a spinoff film for the villain. Though the pic has yet to actually come to fruition, a few scripts for a Venom movie have been written, including a couple drafts by Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Steve recently spoke with Reese and Wernick in anticipation of the release of the sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which they wrote, and the duo talked about their proposed Venom film. The two talked briefly about their take on the character and how it’s unlikely that their iteration of the script will get made, also teasing a pretty great sequence from their proposed Venom movie. Hit the jump to read on.
I want to see the Deadpool movie. Ryan Reynolds is perfect casting, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) are the perfect writers for it, and it’s just a fun character whose tendency to break the fourth-wall could be a welcome spin on the superhero genre. Reynolds is still on board, and he recently said that Deadpool would address X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which would help avoid getting bogged down in continuity, and give the character a fresh start. He also noted that it’s a hard sell to 20th Century Fox because the film would be hard-R (therefore cutting into the profits pulled from the wallets of teenage boys), and not fit the mold of other superhero movies. Reese and Wernick are also somewhat frustrated with the lack of progress, and they recently spoke with Steve about the project.
Hit the jump for what they had to say including the hurdles in getting it made, taking a chance on an unconventional superhero, and how you can find the script.
When director Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 film Zombieland turned out to be a huge hit, talk immediately turned to a prospective sequel for the comedy. Since Zombieland was originally envisioned as a weekly TV series by screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick before it was reimagined as a feature film, most figured the sequel would be on a fast track to theaters. However, like many projects in Hollywood, what sounded like a good idea never made it to the starting gate, and Fleischer recently told us that the chances of Zombieland 2 coming to fruition are very slim. However, if you’ve been waiting to see more post-apocalyptic adventures with Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, you’re not going to have to wait much longer.
As we’ve previously reported, Amazon Studios and Sony TV have teamed up to create a pilot for a Zombieland TV series that continues the story on the small screen, with new actors playing the key roles. While we knew the pilot had recently been shot, details about the show have been under wraps. So when I sat down a few hours ago with Reese and Wernick for G.I. Joe: Retaliation (which they also wrote), I got an update on the pilot. The big news is the show starts two weeks after the movie ended and it’s got the same tone (they’re not trying to make another Walking Dead). Amazon is going to put the pilot online next month and if enough people watch, it’s going to get a 13-episode first season. Hit the jump for more.
Despite not making very good movies, Marc Forster keeps getting signed for major projects. He helmed the upcoming “adaptation” World War Z (the final film will probably have little resemblance to Max Brooks’ novel) and earlier this month we reported that he had signed on to direct the adaptation of David Fisher‘s non-fiction novel The War Magician. Deadline is now reporting that Universal has signed Forster to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel Cowboy Ninja Viking for his next movie. Zombieland screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese wrote the screenplay for Disney, but the studio “deemed it too edgy” and Universal picked it up in turnaround. Naturally, Universal is intent on spawning Cowboy Ninja Viking into a franchise.
Hit the jump for details on what sounds like fanboy word salad.
As Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese originally made their name as writers/creators of the reality TV series The Joe Schmo Show, it simply made sense that their next project would be aimed at airing on the small screen. The surprise came for the creative team when their project morphed from a TV show into a screenplay for the 2009 sleeper hit, Zombieland. Although we discussed the television origins of Zombieland during filming of the movie back in 2009, it seems as if the series now has new life…or undeath. Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures Television want to get Zombieland the series on the air by 2012-13. The only sticking point for the fans is that if the TV series is greenlit, the movie sequel may not happen, and vice versa.
Hit the jump for more on the small-screen version of Zombieland.
When one line of robot toys being turned into a massively successful movie franchise isn’t enough, it’s good to have a contingency plan. Luckily for Hasbro, their Micronauts toy line will now undergo the film treatment through Paramount with J.J. Abrams producing. Penning the script for this endeavor will be Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, the team behind Zombieland. The project was listed as a priority during Hasbro’s third-quarter earnings conference, so it’s no surprise that the high-profile writing team of Wernick and Reese got the job. Hit the jump for more on Micronauts.
Now that Jon Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) has officially landed the directing gig on G.I. Joe 2, speculation now turns to the cast. Rachel Nichols, who portrayed Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, recently sent out a tweet [via /Film] confirming that only a handful of the original film’s cast will return for the sequel. And by a handful I mean Lee Byung-hun (Storm Shadow), Ray Park (Snake Eyes) and Channing Tatum (Duke). Nichols then followed the tweet up with this statement:
“… Thank you. After the GI JOE news I had Heavy Boots, but I’m smiling now!”
This seems to suggest that Paramount is sticking with the small handful of characters who actually worked in the original film – one of whom has plastic lips that don’t move – and vetoing the likes of Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid, and even Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was clearly set up as the villain Cobra Commander in a potential sequel. This also suggests that Paramount is keeping the budget relatively smaller than the Cobra’s $175 million price tag. Of course none of this has been confirmed by the studio, so file it under rumor for now. G.I. Joe 2 is being written by Zombieland scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Update: Paramount has settled on a August 10th, 2012 release date for the G.I. Joe sequel. More info here.
Last week we reported F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen) Jon Chu (Justin Bieber: Never Say Never), and Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) were the leading candidates to direct the sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Well, it looks like Paramount and Hasbro have made their selection and it’s going to be Chu. While his name might surprise you as you’d think bigger name directors might want to take on the property, Chu is apparently a big fan of Joe and with Never Say Never making great money for Paramount (already over $50 million), the studio felt he was the right man for the job. For more on the story and how the studio might be recasting some of the main roles, hit the jump:
Last August, we reported that director Stephen Sommers would return to helm the sequel to the dumb-yet-enjoyable G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Unfortunately, 24 Frames is now reporting that Sommers, who supported the arguably poor decision to not screen the film for critics, is off the project. That’s a shame, because I think G.I. Joe understood what it was and the whole experience felt like a kid playing with gigantic playsets and action figures, which is appropriate considering the film is based on a toyline. I spoke with other critics who also enjoyed the movie and while the original did a solid job at the box office, it shouldn’t have hidden itself away and subjected itself to negative speculation and rumors.
I’m curious to see what tack the sequel will take with Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick penning the script. 24 Frames reports that Paramount is currently approaching other filmmakers to direct.
Columbia Pictures has another “superstar cameo” up their sleeves for Zombieland 2, the sequel to Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious 2009 zom-com. The news is tantalisingly sparse but hints that the studios are searching for another famed movie icon to briefly feature in the new film and presumably echo the hilarity of the mind-blowing surprise cameo in Zombieland. Also, we’ve news that in their second undead-bashing misadventure together, zombies aren’t the only blight for Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg to combat, as the script requires a ‘lead villain’ who’ll inevitably cause some trouble, and Harrelson’s character finds himself in hot competition with a “hunky rival”. Is it possible that this rival may transpire to be the ‘love interest’ we heard talk of in the past?
Hit the jump for suggestions of who might cameo. Spoilers and speculative spoilers follow.
UPDATE: Screenwriter Rhett Reese has denied the Zombieland 2 cameo rumors. Hit the jump for more.