Earlier this month, we reported that Breck Eisner (The Crazies) was in talks to direct the live-action adaptation of the disposable toy Stretch Armstrong. Today, Relativity Media has sent out a press release confirming that Eisner has the gig. According to the press release, “This original story will be a gritty actioner introducing the character of Lucas Armstrong and the life-or-death consequences he will face after undergoing a transformation granting him superhuman abilities.” That’s right: someone is going to make a “gritty actioner” based on a toy that’s filled with gelled corn syrup.
Hit the jump to read the press release. Stretch Armstrong opens April 11, 2014.
Recently I got to sit down with Hasbros Studios president Stephen Davis at Comic-Con to discuss the future of Hasbro’s various television and film projects. Though many are quick to deride the current trend of turning action figures, board games and other non-narrative cultural detritus into blockbuster cinema, I don’t see why it’s inherently bad. A talented filmmaker could absolutely make a cool Oujia movie or anthology series, Candyland could be a phenomenal bit of sugarcoated existentialism, and some of Hasbro’s previous and current film and television endeavors, including Beast Wars and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, are actually very good.
With this in mind, I sat down to talk with Stephen Davis, head of Hasbro Studios. During our one-on-one interview, we discussed the Brony movement, the various incarnations of Transformers, Stretch Armstrong, making programming for older audiences, the future of Battleship, the importance of a great theme song and more. Hit the jump for the full interview.
The feature film version of Stretch Armstrong now has a director. The gestating adaptation of the classic Hasbro toy has been in development for a few years, with Taylor Lautner previously attached to star as the titular, flexible hero. Relativity picked up the rights to the project from Universal back in January and set Greg Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) to write the script, and now Heat Vision reports that Breck Eisner has entered negotiations to take the helm. Moreover, it appears that Dean Gregoraris (The Manchurian Candidate, Tristan + Isolde) is now handling the script.
Eisner—the son of former Disney CEO Michael—previously directed the horror film The Crazies and 2005’s Sahara. He landed on a shortlist of directors to helm Die Hard 5 before John Moore landed the gig, but Eisner recently signed on to helm the action-thriller Manhunt. Whether his Stretch Armstrong will finally come to fruition remains to be seen, but Relativity seems keen on getting the film into production.
We have some updates for you today regarding writers of some upcoming feature films. Here they are at a glance:
- Relativity and Hasbro have landed Dean Georgaris (The Manchurian Candidate) to pen a treatment of Stretch Armstrong, which opens April 11th, 2014.
- The writing team of David Weiss and David Stem (The Smurfs) will pen The Ringling Brothers for Paramount.
Hit the jump for much more on each of these stories.
That Stretch Armstrong movie no one wanted is now set for April 11, 2014. The film was previously set up at Universal, but the studio has been dumping its Hasbro properties as fast as possible, and the adaptation Stretch Armstrong was left looking for a new home. The film has now landed at Relativity, the studio behind Haywire and the upcoming Mirror, Mirror and The Raven. Taylor Lautner was previously attached to star with Rob Letterman (Gulliver’s Travels) set to direct, but they’re both no longer attached.
Hit the jump for the press release, which is more about Relativity being happy to team with Hasbro rather than any explanation about why anyone should make a movie about Stretch Armstrong.
On a conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner gave updates on a number of movies. While much of what he said we’ve previously written about, this was the first time anyone had given an update on the status of Transformers 4 and when it might be officially announced. Here’s the highlights of his conversation:
- Goldner hopes to be able to announce Transformers 4 next quarter as they are talking with Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay and Paramount.
- The Ouija script is “in good shape and is being polished now, meaning that the film could be back with a studio shortly.” via THR. We previously posted how Universal dropped the project but maybe with a lower budget the film could move ahead.
- A Micronauts movie script is being written with J.J. Abrams producing and it’s set up at Paramount. We’ve know this for awhile.
- Goldner doesn’t see Hasbro producing their own films like Marvel.
- Hasbro is still developing movie scripts for Monopoly, Risk, Clue, Stretch Armstrong and Candyland.
With every kid growing up playing Hasbro board games and name recognition being so important in marketing, it’s no surprise the studios are trying to make these projects work. However, many of these board games seem like long shots to ever hit the screen. The big info is Transformers 4. With Bay saying the 3rd Transformers movie would be his last, who will Hasbro get to replace him? Matt wrote about the six directors who could take over the franchise. I think a few of them would be great choices.
With the 2011 Licensing International Expo currently underway in Las Vegas, many promo posters have started hitting the net. Yesterday we posted the promo poster for The Avengers as well as the promo posters for The Amazing Spider-Man, Hotel Transylvania, and more. Continuing the barrage of advertising, we now have promo posters for The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, Battleship, The Three Stooges, The Lorax, 47 Ronin, The Croods, The Bourne Legacy, Rise of the Guardians, Stretch Armstrong, RIPD, Fast & Furious 6, and How to Train Your Dragon 2. It’s worth noting that the promo poster for Fast & Furious 6 says the film is due out in 2013, which isn’t too surprising. More intriguing is that the poster for How to Train Your Dragon 2 is simply titled “Dragons“.
Hit the jump to check out the promo posters and look out for more over the coming days.
The family adventure comedy Gulliver’s Travels, starring funnyman Jack Black, is out on DVD/Blu-ray this week with 90 minutes worth of extras and special features, including eight deleted scenes, a gag reel and various behind the scenes featurettes. For those unfamiliar with the story, this version of the classic tale brings Jack Black’s irreverent humor to the role of Gulliver, an underachieving mailroom clerk who takes a writing assignment traveling to Bermuda, only to get shipped on the fantastical island of Lilliput, which made up of tiny little people who aren’t sure what to make of the bigger-than-life figure. After the little fish in a big pond suddenly becomes the biggest fish around, he realizes that size doesn’t matter and it’s how big you are on the inside that counts.
During a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, director Rob Letterman talked about making the shift from animation to live-action, what he loved about the story of Gulliver when he was first introduced as a kid, what viewers can look forward to in the DVD/Blu-ray special features, working with such a terrific cast of actors, and that he hopes families will get the experience of enjoying this film together. He also talked about how he is currently in development on the action film Stretch Armstrong for Universal and Hasbro, with Taylor Lautner in the title role. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
If you’re a fan of the Twilight movies, today was Christmas. That’s because earlier today was the Los Angeles press junket for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and in attendance was almost the entire cast as well as the filmmakers. I caught a press screening last night and can tell you Eclipse is my favorite of the trilogy as it’s got the most action, the best special effects, and it’s actually got a few funny lines. Quite simply: it looks like Summit spent a lot of money making Eclipse and I think fans are going to love it.
Just a few moments ago I posted the press conference with Robert Pattinson, and now I’ve got the one with Taylor Lautner. During the 24 minute press conference, Lautner talked about filming the action, what kind of kisser is Bella, his future projects like Abduction and Stretch Armstrong, Breaking Dawn, working with Tom Cruise at the MTV VMA’s, has he ever been in a love triangle, has he met Bill Condon, and Lautner admits he’s never missed an episode of American Idol. Hit the jump to watch the interview:
UPDATE: I’ve also posted the full transcript, so you can either read or watch the interview!
If you’re nervous that Nicholas Stoller’s (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) second film would somehow disappoint, I’m happy to report Get Him to the Greek is extremely funny and definitely worth seeing. Since we’ve been covering the film a lot over the past few months (here’s my set report, a bunch of new images, on set interviews with Jonah Hill, Russell Brand and writer/director Nicholas Stoller) I’d like to think most of you are familiar with the film and are excited to see it. But for the three people that have no idea what it’s about, watch this awesome red band trailer. Trust me, you’ll laugh a lot.
So with the film about to come out, I recently got to talk on the phone with Nicholas Stoller for an extended interview. We talked about Get Him to the Greek and all his future projects (Muppets, Stretch Armstrong, more). He also talked about how he got started writing, what it was like to edit Greek, what it’s really like to make a movie, and so much more. Hit the jump to either read the transcript or listen to the audio:
What do you get when you cross Transformers, Play-Doh, Mr. Potato Head, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, and the Easy-Bake Oven? Well, if you’re Hasbro, you get an Avengers-style movie. Hasbro has found crazy success with Transformers, moderate success with G.I. Joe, and likely will find varying degrees of success with forthcoming films based on Battleship, Micronauts, Risk, Stretch Armstrong, Ouija, Monopoly, Candy Land, and Clue. (For more on those projects, check out this video interview with Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner)
It turns out the ubiquitous toy company is developing Hasbro Factory, a cinematic grouping all your favorite Hasbro toys. Details are still scare, and there is no word yet on which specific toys will be called on to make an appearance, but Pajiba reports the project is “out to writers”. Note that in an interview with Steve, Stretch Armstrong writer Nicholas Stoller claimed that Stretch wouldn’t be part of some expansive Hasbro universe (“It’s going to be totally its own thing”). Never say never, I suppose.
With Get Him to the Greek getting ready to come out in a few weeks, I got to talk to writer-director Nicholas Stoller on the phone yesterday. While I’ll have the entire interview online soon, I was able to get updates on all the various projects he’s working on like the upcoming Muppet Movie (tentatively titled The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made), Gulliver’s Travels, Stretch Armstrong, Five-Year Engagement and Einstein Theory. Here’s some of the highlights:
The Muppet Movie
- They had a table read a few days ago and they start filming this September
- They wrote in a ton of cameos and he said it breaks the fourth wall every five minutes
- Compared the tone to the original Muppet movies
- Filming in Los Angeles. Thinks it’s a 6 or 8 week shoot
- To accommodate Jason Segal and his work on How I Met Your Mother, he’ll shoot HIMYM 3 or 4 days a week and the other days will be on the Muppet movie. They will film on weekends.
- Calls The Muppets a “comedy gateway-drug”
- Confirmed he’s writing it for director Rob Letterman
- Says it has a light tone like Iron Man
- They’re creating their own universe for the character and other Hasbro characters aren’t making any appearances
- Confirms it’s an origin story
- He saw a rough cut without effects and said it’s awesome
- Said it’s “a great mix of comedy and action-adventure-fantasy that I think people are going to be really into.”
- Is thinking about directing this next
Hit the jump for a lot more. Look for the entire interview with audio soon:
Screenwriter Nick Stoller (Yes Man) and director Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) will re-team for Stretch Armstrong starring Taylor Lautner. According to Variety, plot details are being kept under wraps, which is surprising because I didn’t think the movie would have a plot beyond: Guy stretches limbs, kids wonder what makes him do that, open him up to discover it’s corn syrup, and never play with him again.
Stoller and Letterman previously worked together for the upcoming adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels starring Jack Black, Jason Segel, and Emily Blunt. Steve Oedekerk (Evan Almighty) wrote the original screenplay for the film, so the Stoller/Letterman hiring is definitely a step up for the feature adaptation of the Hasbro toy.
Though Twilight star Taylor Launter was signed on to star in two upcoming toy movies, Vulture has learned that the werewolf hunk has officially dropped Paramount’s Max Steel to be Universal’s Stretch Armstrong.
After generating huge buzz for his performance, and body, in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Lautner was the toast of Hollywood. He quickly signed on to play Max Steel, based on the Mattel toy, as well as Stretch Armstrong, based on the famous Hasbro toy. Turns out, though, that Lautner and his team weren’t happy with how Mattel was developing their project in contrast with Hasbro. For example, according to the Vulture article, producer Brian Grazer is working to get Stretch Armstrong made in 3D for a 2012 release. That, along with a few other things, led to this decision.
After the jump, read a little bit more on Hasbro’s plans, why Launter seems to have made the right decision and all of the young heartthrob’s upcoming projects.
Just a few hours ago I was at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood for a special screening of “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”. While it wasn’t called a premiere, it had all the spectacle of one, as thousands of people were screaming at the stars and the cast and filmmakers walked a huge red carpet.
Anyway, while there I managed to get an interview with Brian Goldner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hasbro. With so many projects in development at Universal, I got him to give me updates on “Stretch Armstrong”, “Candy Land”, “Monopoly”, “Battleship”, and a lot more. So if you’re curious how Hasbro is planning to bring their board games to movie screens, you’re going to want to watch this interview. Take a look after the jump: