After the first teaser trailer for writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s upcoming animated film The LEGO Movie was met with a wildly positive response last week, Warner Bros. is already looking to move forward with another LEGO toy adaptation: Ninjago. Heat Vision reports that the studio is developing a feature film adaptation of the Eastern-infused, ninja themed LEGO toy line Ninjago. Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman, who received a “story by” credit on The Lego Movie and also wrote Hotel Transylvania, will pen the screenplay for Ninjago. The two have already written a Ninjago TV series for Cartoon Network called Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, so they have experience in the Ninjago world.
This is in keeping with Warner Bros.’ new strategy of releasing one “high-end” animated film per year, as they have been developing a number of propertieis with talented filmmakers like Lord/Miller and Nicholas Stoller. Lord and Miller will act as producers on Ninjago alongside Dan Lin and Roy Lee, and the project is reportedly close to landing a director.
If a Choose Your Own Adventure feature film is in the works, why not make an Encyclopedia Brown movie too? Heat Vision reports that Warner Bros. is in talks to acquire the feature film rights to the children’s book series Encyclopedia Brown, which centers on kid detectives. Author Donald J. Sobol wrote nearly 30 Encyclopedia Brown books throughout his career, beginning with the first novel in 1963. The mystery series centers on the son of a local police chief named Leroy Brown who runs his own detective agency out of his family’s garage. Roy Lee and Howard David Deutsch will produce the film iteration, but it’s unknown if the book series’ petty crimes will be upgraded to more serious fare in order to raise the stakes of the feature film. In the books, Brown generally solved appropriately minor crimes, many of which were perpetrated by the bully Bugs Meany.
This isn’t the first time Encyclopedia Brown has been adapted for the screen. HBO produced a handful of 30-minute episodes for a TV series iteration in 1989, which was also produced by Deutsch. Feature film adaptations have also been attempted in the past, but to no avail.
Warner Bros. is developing a feature film based on long-running Archie comics. The series has been around since 1941, but has never been adapted into a feature film. It’s a bit of a tough sell since the comics are inoffensive and fairly static but perhaps—oh wait. They’re adding zombies. Never mind. According to Deadline, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee) will adapt his comic Afterlife with Archie, “which ponders a zombie apocalypse in suburban New York and isn’t replacing the usual Archie Comics, just supplementing them.” The idea is to put Archie, Jughead, and the rest of the Riverdale gang into horror situations like The Stand or Evil Dead. Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) is set to direct with Roy Lee and Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) producing.
Hit the jump for more. [Update: Variety has refuted Deadline's report, noting that the Archie movie will not involve zombies, and will instead be a coming-of-age comedy in which Archie faces a "teenage midlife crisis" and must find his purpose in life before graduation. Our original story follows after the jump.]
Gareth Edwards‘ reboot of Godzilla just got a monster screenwriting boost, but there could be a rampage behind the scenes. First, the good news: Deadline reports that Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) has come on board to do a final rewrite on the script, which was previously written by Max Borenstein (Seventh Son). That’s not intended to slight Borenstein’s script (which I haven’t read), but I have faith in Darabont even though he seemed to struggle with The Walking Dead in its first season. Nevertheless, the guy has a great track record with Shawshank, The Green Mile, and The Mist. I assume that his involvement in Godzilla means the entire movie will be about the importance of hope or else monsters will obliterate everything you know and love.
While Darabont is working on bringing drama to the screen, drama is already brewing behind the scenes between Legendary Pictures and producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Hit the jump for more. Godzilla opens in 3D on May 16, 2014.
CBS Films has picked up the screen rights to the popular video game franchise Deus Ex. The series was first introduced in 2000 with Deus Ex, the second game was 2003′s Deus Ex: Invisible War, and then the series went on a eight year hiatus before returning with the highly successful Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While CBS films has the entire series at their disposable, the film will focus primarily on adapting Human Revolution, which centers on an ex-SWAT security specialist who must mechanically augment his body to fight a global conspiracy. Roy Lee (Abduction) and Adrian Askarieh (Hitman) are attached to produce.
Hit the jump for the full press release. I haven’t played Human Revolution yet but I have a GameStop gift card burning a hole in my pocked, so maybe I should check it out.
Director Hideo Nakata, best known for helming the Japanese horror film Ringu as well as the American sequel The Ring Two, is now looking to tackle an adaptation of the graphic novel The Suicide Forest. From author El Torres and artist Gabriel Hernandez, The Suicide Forest centers on a vast forest outside Tokyo known as the most famous suicide spot in the world. Legend tells that the spirits of past suicides roam among the trees, and an American must enlist the help of a forest ranger to help free him from the spirit of his ex-girlfriend who has resorted to haunting him on a vengeful mission (as all dead ex-girlfriends are wont to do)
There are currently four issues of The Suicide Forest, but it appears Book 1 is the one that’s being adapted here. Deadline reports that Nakata is attached to direct the live-action adaptation for producers Roy Lee and Taka Ichise. Lee produce the American remakes of The Ring and The Grudge, as well as The Departed. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for The Suicide Forest.
The 40th anniversary of the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist is right around the corner, so it only seems appropriate that William Peter Blatty‘s story will be revamped for a new audience. No the film isn’t being remade or getting a new big screen adaptation, but instead, it will be heading to TV. After making a splash with the indie hit Martha Marcy May Marlene, a film that deserved much more Oscar love earlier this year, writer and director Sean Durkin is turning his attention to turning The Exorcist into a ten-episode TV series with Roy Lee, the executive producer of The Ring, as producer.
Hit the jump for more.
While many fans directed their love/hate mail to J.J. Abrams during Lost’s six-season run, the truth is that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were the actual brains behind the day-to-day running of the series. The two were the showrunners for the duration of the show’s life while Abrams simply served as an executive producer (though he was crucial to developing the pilot and the overall idea for the groundbreaking series). Lindelof took a fairly prolific route following the series finale with writing gigs on Cowboys & Aliens, Star Trek 2, and Prometheus, but many fans have been waiting to see what Cuse would tackle post-Lost. It appears we have our answer, as Cuse has just joined the A&E series The Bates Motel as an executive producer. Hit the jump for more.
Recent UCLA film school graduate Tim Schechmeister has spent the last few months on the festival circuit with Viral, the horror short film he wrote with his brother Matt. Schechmeister met Stephen Susco (writer of The Grudge and its sequel) at a screenwriting event in the summer, and handed him a business card with a link to the short. Susco was impressed, and showed it to his Grudge producer Roy Lee. Lee brought fellow producer Lawrence Grey in to pitch it to Screen Gems, who has now picked up the rights to adapt the short into a feature-length movie. The system works! The Schechmeister brothers will write the film, with Tim set to direct again. Susco, Lee, and Grey will produce alongside John Middleton.
Viral is an 11-minute tale about a cyberbully that incorporates supernatural elements. Hit the jump more info on the short, plus a trailer.
While on the set of Takashi Shimizu’s upcoming 7500, I got to sit down with a few other journalists and producer Roy Lee, who almost single-handedly spearheaded the J-Horror craze of the early 00’s, producing remakes of over a dozen foreign language horror films including, The Ring and The Grudge, as well as Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning, The Departed.
We’ll have full coverage of the new, original, aviation-based horror film closer to the release date, but today we have a slew of updates on Lee’s very busy development slate. During the interview, Lee talked about rebooting The Ring and The Grudge, a new ending for Spike Lee‘s English-language Oldboy remake that he promises will be darker than the original, directors he wants to work with, spoofs of his own films, getting beaten to the punch by The Hunger Games, his excitement for remaking Poltergeist, the current state of Japanese horror and more.
An English-language remake of the 2009 Italian thriller The Double Hour is on its way, Joshua Marston will be the man to bring it to fruition. Risky Business reports that the Maria Full of Grace director will write and direct the Americanized remake. The original film, directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, centered on a hotel maid and an ex-cop who fall in love after meeting at a speed-dating event, but when they retreat to the ex-cop’s employer’s house for a romantic evening, armed intruders arrive and “throw light on secrets from their past.” The 2009 film starred Ksenia Rappoport and Filippo Timi. I’ve yet to catch the film myself, but it sounds like an intriguing premise, and Marston isn’t necessarily a one-note/commercial director, so the remake should be interesting. The film will be produced by Roy Lee and Nicola Giuliano. Hit the jump to watch the trailer for the Italian original.
Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to the new comic-book series Nonplayer with David Heyman (Harry Potter) and Roy Lee (The Roommate) set to produce. Per Variety, “Nonplayer is a sci-fi/fantasy story about Dana Stevens, a brilliant young woman who retreats from the dismal workaday world of the future into the digital fantasy realm of Jarvath, where she’s a fearless warrior.” The first of six issues came out in April and you can click here to read the first few pages. Author Nate Simpson’s artwork is stunning (he previously worked as a videogame concept artist) but I’m a little confused as to why the preview would only show what takes place in Jarvath when the hook is that the heroine lives in the real world.
Hit the jump for the comic’s official synopsis. Heyman is also adapting the Vertigo comic The Northlanders.
Stephen King first published the sprawling post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel The Stand in 1978. Since then it’s been turned into a television miniseries and a Marvel comic book, but not a feature film despite various attempts in the 80s. (The sheer length of the novel apparently conquered George A. Romero.) CBS has owned the film rights for many years without a workable idea of how to approach an adaptation. Universal threw down the gauntlet with the announcement they would turn King’s seven-book series The Dark Tower into a trilogy of films and a TV show.
CBS Films has risen to the challenge and partnered with Warner Bros. to tackle a feature adaptation. As the studios begin to meet with writers and directors, they will decide whether to write as one film or a series. More, including the book synopsis, after the break:
Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) has signed on to helm an adaptation of the Japanese manga Death Note for Warner Bros. Deadline reports that Black, who was once one of Hollywood’s highest-paid screenwriters (and rightly so), will oversee a script written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry. Bagarozzi and Mondry are also writing the script for Black’s adaptation of Doc Savage for Sony. Black says he’s uncertain about which project he’ll do next.
Hit the jump for what he had to say about Death Note along with a brief synopsis of the project.
Commercial director Ash Bolland will direct killer bees as they invade Texas in his debut feature film, The Swarm, the latest B-movie remake on the cards after the surprisingly well received Piranha 3D. According to The Wrap, Vertigo Entertainment and Room 101 are behind the development, with Roy Lee (The Ring) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity) producing. The original 1978 movie saw Michael Caine as an entomologist fending off the stinging nuisances as they swarmed across Texas from South America. It was based on Arthur Herzog’s novel of the same name.
Hit the jump for more buzz about The Swarm.