Paramount and Warner Bros. may be working together on Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, but the studios are each developing their own bicycle doping scandal pic. Paramount and Bad Robot acquired the rights for book proposal Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong by author Juliet Macur; Warner Bros. will instead tell the story of Armstrong’s teammate, Tyler Hamilton. The studio has acquired Hamilton’s life rights and will tell the story of the former professional bike racer who was in Armstrong’s inner circle on the US Postal Service Team. WB has set Scott Burns (Side Effects) to script the picture with Jay Roach (Recount, Game Change) set to direct. Hit the jump for more.
We’ll dedicate more time to this topic after the jump, but in just a few sentences I want to share a quick thought I had while watching Netflix’s House of Cards last weekend. It’s not just that I think the show is great. When you involve talents like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where quality work is in short supply. It’s that this level of material was birthed by and is only consumed via the Internet. I’ve been in debates where the question was whether or not the web would foster an age of amateurs. A future in which the training and dedication required to further perfect one’s craft would fall by the wayside leaving audiences with less than stellar work produced by those made lazy by the eased production and distribution technologies afforded by the Internet. While the fact that I’m writing to a considerable audience today via this site is evidence to that very argument, the overall quality of HOC is a strong rebuttal against those concerned about the quality of entertainment work in a digital age.
All thinking out loud aside, this week’s Top 5 features an editorial response to Disney’s announcement that Star Wars spinoff films are in the works, Side Effects interviews with Steven Soderbergh and more, a word about Hulk’s movie future, Matt’s editorial on Netflix and the affect time shifting has on viewing habits, and the latest news out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 camp. As you’re probably expecting, a brief recap and link to each waits after the jump.
For better or for ill, we’re living through chemistry. It is not a new phenomenon, but it is one that has drastically accelerated, and one with dangerous consequences we can’t escape. Arguably the most dangerous is the field of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs. These drugs have value, but their effectiveness, and more importantly, their prescription, is always uncertain. We’re flawed individuals who are asking for psychological help from other flawed people. Steven Soderbergh‘s Side Effects spends its first-half exploring this fascinating and complicated issue, but in its second-half, the film ceases to explore the mind, and becomes a mind-numbingly idiotic thriller.
Opening this weekend is director Steven Soderbergh’s psychological thriller Side Effects. Written by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!), the film is about “a successful New York couple (Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum) whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law)—intended to treat anxiety—has unexpected side effects.” The film also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones.
At the recent Los Angeles press junket, I landed an exclusive interview with Burns. We talked about his feelings regarding Soderbergh’s retirement, how he originally wanted to direct Side Effects himself, changes to the script during development, his writing process, and much more. In addition, I got updates on rumors he might be writing the new Blade Runner, what happened to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and what it was about, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, David Fincher’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and more. Hit the jump to either read or watch the interview.
Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns has been working on quite a few interesting projects over the past couple of years. Director David Fincher enlisted the scribe to work on his big-budget remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Burns was also tapped to pen a draft of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Steve recently sat down with the screenwriter to talk about his upcoming thriller Side Effects, and during the course of the conversation Burns talked about the status of both 20,000 Leagues and Apes, discussing why Rupert Wyatt dropped out of the director’s chair for the Apes sequel. Hit the jump to read on.
When it was first announced that Ridley Scott was heading back into the world of sci-fi with the pseudo-Alien prequel Prometheus, fans were doubly excited about the prospect of Scott dabbling in sci-fi again and the fact that he was returning to one of this classics. The finished film was a bit of a mixed bag, but Scott didn’t seem to mind all that much and is eager to get moving on a sequel. Alien isn’t the only past film that the legendary director is revisiting, though, as he’s also been working on a new Blade Runner movie for the past couple of years.
At one point, it was reported that screenwriter Scott Z. Burns was being eyed to pen Scott’s new Blade Runner film. This news was quickly debunked, but Steve recently sat down with Burns to discuss his upcoming film Side Effects directed by Steven Soderbergh, and the scribe clarified his relationship with Blade Runner, saying that he and Scott did indeed have discussions about it. Hit the jump for more.
As we move closer towards the release of Side Effects, which could very well be the final theatrically released film from director Steven Soderbergh, many are looking back at the multitude of great features that the filmmaker has made over the past two decades. One of the more fascinating projects that Soderbergh was attached that didn’t come to fruition was a feature film adaptation of the 1960s spy TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. The filmmaker was developing the project only just a couple of years ago, before ultimately bowing out in late 2011 over creative differences with Warner Bros.
Steve recently sat down with screenwriter Scott Z. Burns in anticipation of Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller Side Effects, and during the course of their conversation Burns talked about working with Soderbergh on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. In addition to talking about possible casting for the film, Burns went into quite a bit of detail with regards to the proposed plot of their take. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved to be a sizable sleeper hit for Fox last summer. In an interview at CinemaCon, Fox CEO Tom Rothman told Steve that the studio was “pushing forward aggressively” on a sequel, in anticipation of a possible summer 2014 release date. Director Rupert Wyatt and star (no offense to James Franco) Andy Serkis were both already set to return; today comes news that Contagion and The Bourne Ultimatum scribe Scott. Z. Burns will write the script.
The first film saw a scientist (James Franco) experimenting on apes in search of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The result was super-intelligent chimp Caesar (Serkis), who, disgusted by the mistreatment he and his kind endure at the hands of man, leads an uprising. The sequel will, predictably, see Caesar and co. making use of their hard-won freedom to gain dominion over the planet (making it a sort of, “Planet of the Monkeys,” if you will). Hit the jump for more.
In Novemeber, we reported that Steven Soderbergh had left the adaptation of the 1960s spy TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and turned his attention to The Bitter Pill with Scott Z. Burns (The Informant) writing the screenplay. The Playlist now reports that the film—now titled The Side Effects—has locked down financing and cast Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Channing Tatum in the lead roles. Lively will play, “Emily Hawkins, a woman who turns to prescription meds to cope with the anxiety of the upcoming release from prison of her husband.” Tatum will play the husband and Jude Law will play Hawkins’ new psychiatrist. This will be Lively’s first film with Soderbergh, but it will be Tatum’s third collaboration with the director (Haywire and Magic Mike) and Law’s second (Contagion).
Hit the jump for more.
Less than two weeks ago we reported that Steven Soderbergh had left the adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and now (as expected) he’s already picked up a new project. Heat Vision reports that Soderbergh has signed on to direct The Bitter Pill, and is pitching the project to multiple studios. U.N.C.L.E. screenwriter Scott Z. Burns penned the script, but not much is known about the story other than it’s “a thriller set in the world of psychopharmacology.” That may sound bizarre, but keep in mind that Soderbergh turned the story about a price-fixing investigation into a comedy with The Informant! [Update: Burns tells The Playlist that the movie "deals with people and their moods. It’s about how we as a society can’t tolerate sadness and what that makes us vulnerable to." I thought "psychopharmacology thriller" was good, but Burns makes the movie sound even better.]
Presumably, Soderbergh will want to shoot Bitter Pill in the spring since he’s shooting his Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, in the summer and that will be his last movie before retiring/going on sabbatical. Soderbergh’s next film, Haywire, is due out January 20th, and his male-stripper movie, Magic Mike, will likely be released in summer 2012.
Scott Z. Burns has become my favorite new screenwriter, coming off a pair of killer scripts in The Informant! and Contagion. The success has set him on the path of the blockbuster remake— currently, Burns is reuniting with Steven Soderbergh for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and working on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea script for David Fincher. A new report suggests Burns will soon be summoned by another high profile director to write for yet another big property: Twitch hears Burns is the top choice of director Ridley Scott—as well as studio backers Alcon and Warner Bros—to write the new Blade Runner movie.
Not much is known about the story or the exact nature of the new Blade Runner. A recent Alcon press release calls it a “follow up,” but admits, “The filmmakers have not yet revealed whether the theatrical project will be a prequel or sequel to the renowned original.” I’ll wait until we know more before I get too excited. But if Burns gets involved, I am more interested than I was yesterday. Read the synopsis for the original 1982 Blade Runner after the jump.
Update: Steve here. While I’d like this story to be true, I’m hearing it’s not. I don’t have 100% confirmation, but I’m pretty sure. More as we hear it.
If there’s one thing Steven Soderbergh can never be accused of, it’s passivity. Soderbergh just wrapped production on his first foray into the action realm, Knockout. He’s currently filming the star-stuffed thriller Contagion. He’s set to film a Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon next summer. And now, just to add to the workload, Soderbergh is in early talks to direct The Man from U.N.C.L.E., an adaptation of the 1960s spy series.
Hit the jump for a closer look at the project, as well as some of my thoughts.
Yesterday we reported director David Fincher was in talks with Disney to direct an adaptation of Jules Verne’s 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea after the studio had passed on McG’s take on the classic adventure story back in November. Now, Heat Vision is reporting that Fox is developing their own futuristic adaptation of the novel to be directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) from a script by Travis Beacham (Clash of the Titans), which will be produced by filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott.
Since 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is in public domain anybody can adapt it, it’s just a weird coincidence that two major studios are doing it at the same time. It will be interesting to see if Disney backs down now since Fox’s take on the project seems like it’s almost ready to go while Disney still has to still finalize a deal with Fincher and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), who will then start to write the film. It also seems unlikely that this will be Fincher’s next film since he’s currently attached to direct The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo next.
Needless to say, everyone at Collider is itching to see Fincher’s take on the material. But if Fox gets out of the gate first, it’s hard to see Disney moving forward with the same movie. I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot about both films over the next few weeks.
Disney sunk the McG (Terminator: Salvation) adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea back in November, though not out of lack of interest in the property: Heat Vision reports that David Fincher is now in talks with the Mouse House to direct the at-sea adventure. Fincher, known for darker R-rated fare like Fight Club and Se7en, approached Disney with the intent to make a “four-quadrant tentpole”; 20,000 Leagues certainly fits the bill, and could be a major box office player in the right hands (apparently not McG’s). Among the hands Disney is recruiting are those of Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), who is currently drafting an adaptation of the Jules Verne story.
Fincher followed up his Oscar nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with the Facebook tale The Social Network—now in post-production—which will likely be succeeded by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Burns finishes the 20,000 Leagues script. More after the jump:
Steven Soderbergh’s latest film, Contagion, has quickly garnered quite a cast and now has a buyer in Warner Bros. to help bring the quickly-spreading film to life, according to Deadline. The film was in a bidding war, with Summit Entertainment (Twilight) falling short, and Warner will be helped by Participant Media, who is co-financing the $60 million budget. The eclectic cast already assembled seems to continue to grow, as it was announced yesterday that Gwyneth Paltrow would join Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, and Jude Law.
If Soderbergh and that cast alone doesn’t grab your attention, join me after the break to see why the film brings screenplay writing chops to the table as well.