Summit Entertainment only just began production on the YA adaptation Divergent, but the studio has now released the first image of Shailene Woodley as the film’s protagonist, Tris. Based on the book by author Veronica Roth, the story takes place in a futuristic society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, and Woodley’s Tris is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces termination due to her status as a “Divergent.” While many will draw similarities to The Hunger Games (this debut image doesn’t exactly set the two apart), I’ve heard good things about Divergent and The Descendants star Woodley is proving to be one of the more exciting young talents working today. She turns in a stellar performance in the upcoming The Spectacular Now.
Hit the jump to check out the debut image from director Neil Burger’s (Limitless) adaptation. The film also stars Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen and Amy Newbold. Divergent opens on March 21, 2014.
Jim Carrey is set to breathe new life into Summit’s long-developing comedy Ricky Stanicky. The film was initially written by Jeff Bushell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) and begins when three teens pull a prank by burning down a house in their neighborhood. The kids create a fake person to take the blame—“Ricky Stanicky”—and 20 years later are still using the alibi to get out of every uncomfortable situation. When their wives finally force them to set up a meeting with Stanicky, they hire an actor to inhabit the personality. Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) recently came onboard to re-write and direct the film, and the ensemble comedy is said to be in the same R-rated vein as The Hangover.
Hit the jump for more on the project, including details regarding Carrey’s casting.
Shailene Woodley is having a very good couple of weeks. The Descendants star recently entered negotiations to nab the coveted role of Mary Jane Watson in the Amazing Spider-Man sequel, and now she’s looking to lead a franchise of her own: director Neil Burger‘s (Limitless) adaptation of the Hunger Games-esque YA novel Divergent. The story revolves around a 16-year-old girl living in a world where society is divided into five factions that represent a particular virtue. There’s Honesty, Selflessness, Bravery, Peacefulness, and Intelligence. On a certain day, all 16-year-olds must choose which virtue they want to devote the rest of their life to, after which they undergo a rigorous initiation process for said virtue.
The novel, from author Veronica Roth, is the first in a planned trilogy and it’s garnered some very positive reviews, so this may not be the cheap Hunger Games ripoff that some are expecting. Heat Vision reports that Woodley initially some scheduling issues with Spider-Man, but apparently the Mary Jane role is realtively small in that sequel, setting up a major role in the third film. As such, she’s able to take the lead in Divergent and also play Mary Jane. Hit the jump to read the full synopsis for the book.
Hot on the heels of the first trailer for the significantly delayed genre pic Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a witch hunting film of a different sort may have found its lead. The Wrap reports that Vin Diesel is in talks to star in The Crazies director Breck Eisner’s The Last Witch Hunter. Diesel would play one of the last remaining witch hunters who is tasked with “discouraging a group of witches and warlocks from reproducing.” Vin Diesel: Cock Blocker was previously set up as a directing vehicle for Wanted’s Timur Bekmambetov, but he’s now only onboard in a producer role. The script for the Lionsgate/Summit film was written by Cory Goodman (Priest).
Diesel is currently in London filming the Justin Lin-helmed sequel Fast & Furious 6, and he recently wrapped the third installment in his Chronicles of Riddick series, Riddick. The actor is also attached to star in the Iron Giant-esque possible franchise-starter The Machine, in which he’ll play a government-created machine that must protect the family who’s harboring him.
Though director Scott Derrickson’s (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) horror film Sinister doesn’t open for a couple more weeks, fans have the chance to bring a preview screening of the film to their hometown early. For those unaware, the pic stars Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist who moves his family into a house where the horrific murder of an entire family took place in an effort to discover his next big story. When he finds a box of home videos in which other families are also brutally murdered, he realizes he may have made a huge mistake by moving into the house. Derrickson’s Emily Rose was pretty great, and early word on Sinister has been promising.
The fantastic service Tugg.com, which allows film fans to bring theatrical screenings of movies new and old to their hometown theater, is sponsoring the preview screenings. Hit the jump to find out how to bring a Sinister screening to your city in advance of the film’s October 5th release.
Though Summit/Lionsgate already has the young adult market cornered with the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, Summit (which is now owned by Lionsgate) is looking to turn yet another popular YA book series into a feature film franchise. Variety reports that The Illusionist and Limitless helmer Neil Burger has entered early talks to direct an adaptation of Divergent.
Written by Veronica Roth at the ripe old age of 22, the book has drawn comparisons to the Hunger Games series for its similar futuristic setting in which teen-on-teen violence takes place. Though blatant ripoffs are easy to spot, I’ve actually heard good things about Divergent and the novel—which is the first in a trilogy—is quite popular. Hit the jump for more.
Lionsgate has landed the rights to Time and Again, a sci-fi romance novel from late author Jack Finney which has been sought after for some time. The illustrated novel from the author of “The Body Snatcher” centers on Simon Morley, an illustrator living in Manhattan who volunteers for a military experiment that sends him back in time to 1882. When he falls for a woman in the 19th century, Si (as he’s often referred to) must choose between two lovers in two very different time periods. Lionsgate has tapped Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) to direct; Liman will also producer with Hypnotic partner, Dave Bartis. Hit the jump for more from Time and Again.
Summit Entertainment has tapped Ric Roman Waugh to direct a feature film based on the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster that occurred in April of 2010. Per Deadline, the film is titled Deepwater Horizon and is based on The New York Times article Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul. Scripted by Matthew Sand (Ninja Assassin), the film will focus on the oil rig workers that were on site during the explosion that killed 11 people and injured 16 others. We’ll apparently see the minutes leading up to the explosion and the survivors’ attempt to stay alive.
Waugh has a long career as a stuntman on his resume, and previously directed 2008’s Felon. He’s currently filming his follow-up feature, Snitch, with Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon. No word on how soon Summit is hoping to get Deepwater Horizon into production, but Waugh will presumably be busy for quite some time with Snitch.
The gestating adaptation of John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus finally has a director and potential star. Summit Entertainment set Leap Year scribes Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan to write the script in January of last year, and now Deadline reports that top commercials director Bryan Buckley will take the helm with Reese Witherspoon attached to star. Buckley has earned the nickname “King of the Superbowl” by helming over 40 spots for the national sporting event, and he also directed those creepy Siri commercials and the baseball rivalry campaign between Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski.
Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first we’ve heard of Witherspoon’s involvement with the film. The Best Actress winner (she won an Oscar, remember?) most recently starred in This Means War and is lined up to join Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz in Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy’s musical One Hit Wonders. Witherspoon also recently signed on to produce and star in the children’s book adaptation Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp. Hit the jump to sample Buckley’s work and read a synopsis for the book. Production on Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is set to get underway in January.
After developing an ambitious, VFX-oriented adaptation of Paradise Lost for nearly a year only to have Legendary Pictures scrap the film due to budget issues, director Alex Proyas (The Crow) is on the hunt for new projects. He recently became attached to direct an adaptation of the dark novella The Unpleasant Profession of Jonah Hoag, but Variety reports that he’s eyeing a more large-scale project as well. Proyas is currently in negotiations to helm Summit’s Gods of Egypt, an adventure film “set against the legendary world of great pyramids and sphinxes” that follows a thief and a god on a magical quest.
Proyas’ deal includes him writing the script alongside Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, so he’ll have a fairly intricate hand in the development of the project. Gods of Egypt sounds like a fun idea if done right, and maybe Proyas can put to use some of the crazy VFX work he had planned for Paradise Lost. No word on how soon the project would come to fruition, but given that Proyas wants to write the script I’d assume it’s a ways off.
It came as quite a shock when Gary Ross, who directed and shepherded the adaptation of The Hunger Games into a massively successful film that pleased both fans and critics, declined to direct the follow-up, Catching Fire. Ross wasn’t keen on the idea of rushing pre-production in order to meet an August production start-date, so he politely bowed out of the series. Ross takes his sweet time when choosing directorial projects (his only films as director are Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, and Pleasantville), but he’s likely been inundated with offers following the smashing success of the dystopian sci-fi adaptation.
Now it appears that Ross has settled on one of his post-Hunger Games projects, and it happens to be an adventure film about the secret life of Harry Houdini. Hit the jump for more.
The feature film adaptation of Ender’s Game is undergoing a slight release date shift. Previously scheduled for March 15th, 2013, Summit has opted for a more holiday-friendly release of November 1st, 2013. Currently the only other film schedule to open on that date is Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi pic Singularity, with DreamWorks Animation’s Me and My Shadow opening a week later (followed by Thor 2 and The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire). It’s unknown why the release date change was made, but it should be interesting to see if Fox moves Singularity off that date to prevent a sci-fi showdown with a beloved literary adaptation. Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of Orson Scott Card’s novel.
It’s official. Lionsgate has acquired Summit Entertainment for a combination of cash and stock valued at $412.5 million. This acquisition effectively turns Lionsgate into a teen super studio, as they now hold the rights to the insanely successful Twilight franchise as well as The Hunger Games. While The Hunger Games has yet to be released in theaters, the book series’ rabid fanbase all but ensures that the futuristic adventure pic will be a hit (a screenwriter is already hard at work on the sequel adaptation). Still, Lionsgate is crossing its fingers that the franchise takes off like a rocket. Summit will remain a standalone label for now, but there’s no word on what the future holds. Hit the jump to read the press release.
Summit has released images and synopses for their 2012 line-up. We already showed you the first image from Warm Bodies, and now we have the first images from Gone starring Amanda Seyfried, Sinister starring Ethan Hawke, The Perks of Being a Wallflower starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, and Step Up 4 starring people you probably don’t know. The studio has released synopses for all of their 2012 movies. We don’t have images for every one of their films and some of the synopses are really just log-lines, but you’ll know more about these films than you did before.
Hit the jump to check out the images, read the synopses, and learn things.
While it seemed as though Steven Soderbergh would have a pretty big hole in his schedule after dropping out of directing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. over casting disputes with Warner Bros., the director quickly moved on to a brand new project called The Bitter Pill. Soderbergh has slotted the film as his next project, and now it looks as though he’s found a studio. Deadline reports that Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations to make a green light commitment to the film. Described as a “psychopharmacology thriller” in the vein of Basic Instinct or Jagged Edge, the film centers on “a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison.”
Frequent Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Contagion) wrote the script, and he described it as dealing with people and their moods, saying “It’s about how we as a society can’t tolerate sadness and what that makes us vulnerable to.” The Soderbergh-Burns collaborations thus far as proven fruitful, and I’m onboard for pretty much anything the versatile filmmaker decides to tackle. After Pill he’ll move on to his final film before retirement/sabbatical, the Liberace biopic The Man Behind the Candelabra.