Fred Savage has come a long way since The Wonder Years. The actor first started directing in TV in the early 2000s and has been steadily helming episodes of shows like Modern Family, Happy Endings, and 2 Broke Girls for years. He directed the straight-to-DVD spinoff film Daddy Day Camp in 2007, but now he’s been tapped to helm a high profile feature film with an Oscar winner in the leading role. Savage is reportedly in talks to direct the comedy Ladies Night, with Charlize Theron attached to star.
The film is described as “Bridesmaids-esque” and centers on a woman who, “when confronted with her longtime boyfriend’s inability to commit, decides to have one last night on the town with her girlfriends before uprooting her life and moving to New York.” Hit the jump for more.
Fresh off the smashing success of last year’s Brad Bird-helmed Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, it appears that Paramount and Tom Cruise are eager to get things moving on the fifth entry in the franchise. The template of the series has always been that a new director steps in each time and puts a new spin on the espionage-centered conceit, and it looks as though the director of the next entry will indeed be someone new to the franchise: Christopher McQuarrie. Hit the jump for more.
Paramount almost didn’t make a PG-13 blockbuster adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie novel World War Z, and that would have probably been for the best. The project, which was envisioned as the first part of a potential trilogy, would have been dead if the movie didn’t get a co-financier, but the studio eventually found partners in producer Graham King‘s GK Films and David Ellison‘s Skydance Productions. Now they’re all paying the price as the production has spun wildly out of control, soared to more than a $170 million budget, requires five weeks of complex reshoots (others have put the number at 7-8 weeks), and brought in Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof to do re-writes on a picture that won’t be able to get back in front of cameras until September.
So how did production on World War Z go so horribly wrong? Hit the jump for more.
After starring in what might be his last Mission: Impossible movie, Tom Cruise is already moving on to a new action franchise. Cruise has penned a deal with Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions to star as Jack Reacher, a retired military policeman turned crime-fighting drifter, in One Shot. Based on the novel series by Lee Child, Reacher is a reoccurring character known for his stoic nature, brutality in dealing with villains and his imposing size. The plot of One Shot revolves around Reacher investigating an accused sniper who gunned down five seemingly innocent victims. Though it is set in a Midwestern town, the movie is expected to film in Pittsburgh. Christopher McQuarrie (The Way of the Gun) is attached as the writer/director. For more on One Shot and Cruise’s upcoming projects, hit the jump.
When we last left Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z, Paramount was balking at the $125 million price tag and was looking to other investors—namely David Ellison and his Skydance Productions—to help share the film’s cost. With Brad Pitt attached to star, the plan is turn Brooks’ novel of mankind’s war with zombies into a PG-13 tentpole. Deadline is now reporting “that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two other financiers to share the load on a movie that is gearing up for production as soon as June.” I haven’t heard much enthusiasm from fans of the novel, which is presented as a UN report that interviews survivors of the conflict.
I can understand why the thought of turning it into a PG-13 action movie held up by a movie star and directed by a guy who thoroughly failed at his previous action flick (Quantum of Solace) would leave fans cold. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
Skydance Productions is in the process of acquiring the rights to the 1970s anime Star Blazers (aka Space Battleship Yamato). According to Deadline, Skydance head David Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie) to pen the script. For those unfamiliar with Star Blazers, the story centers on an old spaceship in the year 2199 that must go to another planet and pick up a device that can save the Earth, which has been under seige from hostile aliens using radioactive warfare. The anime was adapted in Japan and released last year, but obviously this new version would be in English. David Ellison, who is the brother of Paul Thomas Anderson savior Megan Ellison, struck up a relationship with McQuarrie over Top Gun 2.
Ellison and Skydance Productions are setting up to be a major player at Paramount. Not only has their backing of True Grit led to a box office smash, they’re also co-financing Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the Jack Ryan reboot, Top Gun 2, My Mother’s Curse, License to Steal (a Shane Salerno script about high-end repo agents), and an untitled Charlize Theron comedy. He’s also developing the comic The Strange Case of Hyde, but that currently doesn’t have a studio.
Huge Top Gun 2 stories have flown onto our radar the past couple weeks, with reports that scribe Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) had been tapped for screenwriting duties and Tony Scott’s confirmation that he’ll be returning to the director’s chair both breaking. The initial belief was that McQuarrie had incorporated Tom Cruise’s Maverick character in a minor appearance and in hopes of avoiding the cameo from being deemed overtly “obvious”. Now McQuarrie has sent a polite revision of this rumor over to Vulture. His statement: “There is no Top Gun 2 in which Maverick is not the starring role.” Assuming his screenplay is left unscathed and welcomed by all parties involved, it sounds like Tom Cruise is to be expected back in his on-screen pilot’s seat after all. Now we just need to get Iceman on board as his wingman.
Hit the jump for more on Top Gun 2.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde continues to be a hot property even though it’s 124-years-old. Heat Vision reports that Skydance Productions, Dark Horse Entertainment, and producer Mark Gordon are working to adapt Cole Haddon’s comic The Strange Case of Hyde. Hyde “seeks to give it a fresh take by making the split personality the center of a Victorian-era action-adventure that sees him go head-to-head against a historical villain.” Alan Moore and his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen could not be reached for comment.
Hit the jump for more on this project as well other Jekyll-Hyde projects in development.
According to Deadline, Taylor Lautner and Tom Cruise will be co-starring in a film called Northern Lights, with filming set to start on April 1st. David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is behind the film, and John Moore of Max Payne fame will be directing. This film makes Lautner now the highest paid teenage star with his salary for the role rumored at $7.5 million, though that salary does not include countless tween-girl screams. And no, Lautner won’t be playing a shirtless werewolf. Sorry to get your hopes up, but you’ll have to wait until Eclipse for more of that.
The plot of Northern Lights sounds an awful lot like Top Gun, but if you ask me that’s not a problem since it’s easily the best airplane-based homoerotic American action movie other than Con-Air. The film is about “a gifted, young aerobatics pilot who faces off with his controlling, billionaire father and falls in love with a gifted female pilot” according to the logline. There is as of yet no word as to whether there will be a gifted rival pilot ala Val Kilmer or any shirtless volleyball playing, but we can all hope for both. Lautner’s career is definitely growing quickly following his turn in Twilight, with this new film as well as Max Steel, Paramount’s latest announced Lautner star vehicle. Lautner’s career is growing fast, with his recent SNL hosting gig showing off his comedic timing and his crazy martial arts skills, and the Twilight films making massive bank, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does carrying a film alongside a huge (and controversial) star like Tom Cruise. [UPDATE: We've received word that Tom Cruise is not in the film and there is no "billionaire father" in the story]