Yesterday we got a bit of an update on the long-promised sequels to writer/director James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, but it turns out there’s much more to the story. Cameron has been working on two follow-up films to the sci-fi pic over the last four years, with an eye towards filming both Avatar 2 and 3 at the same time and then releasing the sequels a year apart. While last we heard Cameron was holed up in New Zealand finalizing the scripts for the sequels, news broke yesterday that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman had been enlisted to pitch in on the screenplay for Avatar 2. It just so happens that this was only one third of the story, as Fox announced today that Cameron has actually enlisted the help of four screenwriters to collaborate with him on the screenplays for not only Avatar 2 and 3, but also Avatar 4, with the first sequel poised to hit theaters (finally) in December 2016. Hit the jump for much more.
The Weinstein Company has released the first incredibly captivating trailer for director Shane Salerno’s documentary Salinger. As the title suggests, the film centers on the enigmatic life of Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger, who mysteriously stopped publishing in the mid 1960s and retreated from the public eye. The documentary attempts to unravel the truth behind Salinger’s childhood, work methods, marriages, private world, and secrets, as it includes interviews with a number of colleagues and members of the author’s inner circle of friends who have never before gone on record about the figure. The trailer plays almost like a thriller, and as someone who has been fascinated by Salinger’s life ever since I can remember, I’m incredibly eager to see what insights are gleaned in the full film.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also features interviews with Edward Norton, John Cusack, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Danny DeVito, Martin Sheen, Robert Towne, and more. Salinger opens in limited release on September 6th.
A wise man once said*, “If you have them in the first fifteen minutes, you have a movie. If you have them in the last fifteen minutes, you have a hit.” By that metric, Oliver Stone‘s Savages is neither a movie nor a hit. It begins with an atrocious first act full of flat expository narration including one of the worst lines of dialogue I’ve ever heard: “I have orgasms. He has wargasms.” That’s a deep hole to dig out of, but Savages manages to do so with a strong, thoughtful, exciting middle section that explore where people derive their power. And then the movie falls apart with an ending that erases all the hard work the film had accomplished.
We heard last week Blake Lively was the frontrunner to play Ophelia in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages, though for scheduling she had to choose between Savages and Oz: The Great and Powerful. It seems Disney must look elsewhere for a Glinda the Good Witch, because Lively has signed on to Savages. Additionally, John Travolta and Uma Thurman have joined a cast that is blossoming terrifically. Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, and Benicio Del Toro have long eyed roles in the film; Deadline writes confidently tonight that all four are on board.
Shane Salerno adapted the screenplay with Savages author Don Winslow. The story centers a pair of marijuana growers (Kitsch and Johnson) who get into trouble with a Mexican drug cartel. Read the full synopsis after the jump.
We heard earlier in the week Aaron Johnson (Kick Ass) was offered the role of Ben in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) is now in talks to play Chon, who grows marijuana with Ben in Laguna Beach in the novel by Don Winslow. The story centers around the boys’ struggle with a Mexican drug cartel that tries to muscle in on Ben and Chon’s business, even kidnapping their “beautiful young playmate and accomplice” Ophelia. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) was in talks to play Ophelia, but had to drop out due to her commitment to The Hunger Games. Deadline indicates that Stone is looking at Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy) and other unspecified candidates similar to Ms. Wilde for the role. Likewise, Stone is talking to Salma Hayek to play the cartel matriarch, “an iron-fisted beauty who becomes intrigued and practically maternal over the kidnapped [Ophelia].”
Universal Pictures is reportedly the frontrunner among three studios to land the distribution deal for Savages. Filming is scheduled to begin in June. Read the book synopsis after the break.
Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) is in talks to star in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Savages. If the deal comes through, Lawrence would play the role of “O,” the double-duty girlfriend of buddy pot growers Ben and Chon. For those unaware, Winslow’s Savages focuses on the aforementioned Ben and Chon as they attempt to quietly enjoy the fruits of their weed labors in Laguna Beach. The Savages screenplay was penned by Winslow alongside Shane Salerno (CBS’ Hawaii Five-O and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) who is also acting as executive producer on the project alongside Stone and Moritz Borman.
While the roles of Ben and Chon have yet to be cast, Deadline reports that actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Johnson, Tom Hardy, Garret Hedlund, and James Franco have all met with Stone regarding the characters. With Stone expected to begin shooting Savages this June, we may be hearing more news on the casting front sooner rather than later. For more on the project, hit the jump to check out a synopsis for Winslow’s novel.
Last May, we reported that Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass was circling a 3D remake of the 1966 sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage which would be produced by James Cameron. Sadly, Greengrass passed on the project and more-sadly, they have now signed Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy to the project. For those unfamiliar with the original, the story centers on a group of scientists who shrink themselves in order to enter a colleague’s body and save him from a blood clot. The remake was penned by Shane Salerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) with a polish by Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island). According to Deadline, the film will be almost exclusively CGI once the scientists enter the body.
Hit the jump for more on Levy’s hiring and other projects he has in the pipeline.
Apparently the talk that Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass was ready to board James Cameron’s production of Fantastic Voyage was a bit premature. Greengrass was in talks to direct the remake of the 1966 film about a group of shrunken scientists who explored the human body, and is in fact the only director to have seen Shane Salerno’s script, but a deal was never finalized. Even though there were questions about how Greengrass’s shaky-cam style would suit the sci-fi tentpole, it was an interesting combination of auteur and concept, so it’s too bad things didn’t work out. It coulda been one of the good ones (whatever that means).
It appears Greengrass may have left the high profile project for greener pastures, though, as he is in talks to direct an upcoming adaptation of Treasure Island from Sherlock Holmes producer Lionel Wigram. Details after the jump:
Shane Salerno, the screenwriter of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and the upcoming remake of Fantastic Voyage, has already finished a two-hour documentary on the life of author JD Salinger. As you know, Salinger died yesterday at the age of 91. Salerno’s documentary, Salinger, was five years in the making and locked late last year. According to Deadline, “Salerno financed the film out of his pocket, interviewed 150 sources, and accumulated so much information that he collaborated on a 700-page companion book with bestselling author David Shields.” The subjects Salerno interviewed included those who had worked with him at The New Yorker, had contact with him otherwise, or were influenced by his work. That last category could include just about everyone and some names in the film include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Danny DeVito (I’m sure Salinger was a big fan of Throw Momma From the Train), John Guare, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, and Gore Vidal just to name a few.
Since he began this journey five years ago, you can’t call Salerno’s project “opportunistic,” and I’m excited to see the resulting documentary. Salinger’s life has been so overshadowed by Catcher in the Rye that his life has been mysterious not only because of his seclusion, but because Catcher latches on to an emotional experience rather and we forget the author entirely, which the mark of a legendary work of literature. I’m fine with a documentary about Salinger’s life, but let’s hope someone can keep Catcher away from Hollywood’s grubby mitts.
Yesterday, Production Weekly had an interesting news item that James Cameron would be developing a “futuristic sci-fi ‘event’ movie” working from a script by Shane Salerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem), which led to the speculation that it may be a movie called THR reported on last year called Doomsday Protocol. However, MTV Movies Blog sat down with Cameron and asked him about this mystery project and it turns out that Cameron is production (not directing) a remake of the 1966 sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage.
For those who don’t know, Voyage is about a group of scientists who are shrunken down to miniature size in order to save a nearly-assassinated diplomat by using a very, very, very tiny submarine to travel to the diplomat’s brain and stop a clot from killing him. The remake would be in 3D like Cameron’s Avatar, which hits theaters in eight days. Since it was screened today for pretty much every critic out there, opinions are already exploding all over Twitter despite an embargo so strict that I can neither confirm nor deny that the movie actually exists.
It will be interesting to see how the Monday following Avatar’s opening weekend will shape director James Cameron’s future plans, but today Production Weekly tweeted that Cameron “is developing a Shane Salerno-scripted sci-fi action script for Fox, described as an ‘event’ film set in the future.” For those who don’t know, Salerno is credited with writing the remake of Shaft and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.
/Film did some digging and found a Hollywood Reporter story from last year reporting that Fox had picked up a sci-fi script from Salerno for a movie called Doomsday Protocol which had the following description:
An epic science fiction adventure in the vein of “The Seven Samurai” involving a group of aliens and humans with various abilities who are brought together to save Earth.
Yeah, that doesn’t sound like something Cameron would be interested in. Must be a different futuristic sci-fi “event” movie. Of course, “developing” doesn’t mean he’s directing it; he could just be producing. Remember, he’s also planning to adapt Battle Angel Alita so where does that fit into the picture? It’s good that the folks doing the Avatar junket this weekend will have something to ask Cameron about other than “Are you sure you won’t return to the Pirhana franchise?”