James McAvoy is currently doing press for his upcoming British crime-thriller Welcome to the Punch, and he was asked about a few franchise films. The biggest question, naturally, was about X-Men: Days of Future Past. McAvoy said he hadn’t read the script yet (he signed on for multiple movies, so it doesn’t matter if he’s read the screenplay yet or not) because he’s busy doing Macbeth on London’s West End. However, he says he “honestly can’t wait to read it and find out what I’m doing, but I’ve just got no time right now.” Spoiler alert: He’s going to put his index finger and his middle finger to his forehead when using telepathy. But when he finds out that Professor X has joined a murderball league, that’s when things are going to get interesting.
Hit the jump for what McAvoy had to say about his involvement in The Crow reboot and the status on Wanted 2.
The new NBC drama series Chicago Fire, from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (the Law & Order franchise) and creators/writing partners Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, follows the lives of everyday heroes committed to one of America’s noblest professions. The job is both exhilarating and highly stressful for the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51, who save lives by running headfirst into danger when everyone else is running the other way. The series stars Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg, Charlie Barnett, Monica Raymund and Lauren German.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas talked about how they got involved with Dick Wolf and came to be working in television, how spending time with real firefighters influenced what they wanted the show to be, what they like about getting to tell an open-ended story in the long-term, what a luxury it is to see what they’ve written make it to the screen so quickly, how it was to see the ensemble cast come together and bring their characters to life, and how they will be able to balance their work on the show with feature films. They also talked about how they’re currently working on the second draft of the Wanted sequel, how Overdrive (starring Karl Urban) came about, what led them to adapt Billionaire’s Vinegar for the screen, and why their partnership works so well. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
Opening this weekend is director Timur Bekmambetov‘s (Wanted) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Based on the book of the same name from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author Seth Grahame-Smith and produced by Tim Burton, the film imagines that Lincoln’s mother and grandfather were killed by a vampire and that the president’s resolve to end slavery was due in part to the “fact” that vampires were involved with the slave trade. Playing Lincoln is newcomer Benjamin Walker and he stars alongside Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverageand three clips with twenty minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
A few days ago I got to speak with Timur Bekmambetov and Seth Grahame-Smith in New York City. We talked about making Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, what historical events from Lincoln’s life they felt needed to be included, what was cut due to budgetary reasons, their favorite movies, and Bekmambetov gave a Wanted 2 update. Hit the jump to watch.
For anyone who was clamoring for Wanted 2, it’s been a disappointing past four years. After listening to Mark Millar talk out of his ass about how far the sequel is coming along, Angelina Jolie dropped out, but then there was a glimmer of progress when original writers Derek Haas and Michael Brandt signed on last fall. Since then, word has been quiet, but director Timur Bekmambetov provided an update on the project this past weekend at the press junket for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Hit the jump for more.
I thought I could rest easy knowing an unncessary sequel to 2008′s Wanted was pretty much dead. Turns out I’m in for some sleepless nights. The Wrap has confirmed a tweet from screenwriter Derek Haas than he and his writing partner Michael Brandt will return to pen the script for Wanted 2. Wanted co-writer Chris Morgan (Fast Five) wasn’t mentioned so presumably he’s currently out on this one although it’s possible he could be brought in down the road. Additionally, it’s unknown whether Timur Bekmambetov will return to direct.
The new movie is “going to take off after the events of what just happened,” says Haas. “Pick up Wesley a few years later and go back in for another round.” Putting aside the fact that taking off after the events of what just happened is the standard definition of a sequel, it’s noteworthy that Haas says they intend to bring back Wesley (James McAvoy) but makes no mention of Fox (Angelina Jolie). You may recall that getting Jolie back was a major sticking point in getting the sequel off the ground but she dropped out to do Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (which she also dropped out of). No word if they plan to recast the role or simply bring in a new love-interest. My guess would be the latter since it’s a difficult plot move to bring back the character in the first place.
Director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) is a busy man and now he’s about to become even busier. Bekmambetov has announced that in addition to co-producing (with Tim Burton) an adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he will also direct the movie. Here’s what Bekmambetov said he was going for with the book (which you can see a trailer for by clicking here):
It is not a comedy at all – it is a very entertaining, epic history lesson for millions and millions of teenagers. If you remember Night Watch, it is maybe in the vein of that kind of movie. We are keeping the traditional look of Lincoln – the big hat and the beard. He has to be historically correct, but with a few special weapons. There is only one book, but there will be many opportunities to develop and explore this world if we get to do sequels. I hope we will start this winter. We are shooting in America.”
Hit the jump for updates on Bekmambetov’s other projects including Wanted 2, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Moby Dick, and more.
Kristen Stewart may need to learn how to curving bullets. E! Online reports that the actress is being considered as a replacement for Angelina Jolie in Wanted 2. Jolie dropped off the project in February and has since been linked to other projects, including the There Will Be Blood-sounding drama Serena with Darren Aronofsky and playing the lead in Tim Burton’s live action adaptation of Maleficent, based on the evil queen from Sleeping Beauty.
There aren’t any more details on Stewart possibly joining Wanted 2 (she’d presumably play a different character than Jolie’s) other than the report that she met with director Timur Bekmanbetov. In the meantime, Stewart is set to begin filming on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn this fall, although no official production date has been announced.
Money, money, money. That seems to be the best explanation for why Universal might still proceed with Wanted 2, the sequel to the graphic novel by Mark Millar that turned into a smash hit at the box office, Wanted, despite earlier reports that Angelina Jolie had dropped out and Universal might bury the movie. Fans of the film (the graphic novel was only loosely adapted) will know that Jolie played the smoking-hot Fox, and that she had a significant role. Today, STV released an interview with Millar, and he suggests that money will be too much of an influence for Universal not to proceed with the sequel, though they will have to rewrite portions of the script, obviously.
For how much Wanted actually made, more details on the film, and the entire video interview, hit the jump.
THR reports that director Darren Aronofsky and Angelina Jolie may adapt Ron Rash’s novel, Serena. After reading the Reporter’s description of the book, it’s not difficult to see why Aronofsky or Jolie finds the material appealing:
Set in the rugged mountains of 1929 North Carolina, “Serena” follows a man named George Pemberton and his new bride, Serena, as they create a timber empire. Serena not only takes to the woods, but she also pushes her husband to commit more and more ruthless acts. When she learns she cannot bear a child, Serena sets out to murder the son her husband fathered illegitimately.
So it looks like you have the tone of There Will Be Blood except with Jolie in the power-mad Daniel Plainview role. As we reported last week, Jolie had dropped out of Wanted 2 and it looked like she had replaced it with Gravity, a space thriller from Alfonso Cuarón, the director’s first film since 2006′s brilliant Children of Men. EW then reported that Jolie passed on doing Gravity, so perhaps Selena is what she has her eye on (which would be an acceptable reason for passing up the chance to work with Cuarón). However, THR says Jolie could also to choose to star in a movie based on author Patricia Cornwall’s crime-solving medical examiner Kay Scarpetta (which would be an unacceptable reason). Universal says Wanted 2 isn’t dead without Jolie, but I’m more interested in discovering which project she’ll bring to life.
Wanted was way more fun than it had any right to be. So while I was looking forward to the sequel, there was always the lingering question of whether the madcap frenzy that made Wanted such a blast could be repeated–and if it could, would that be the makings of a good popcorn movie or just lukewarm leftovers? It so happens that we’ll never find out, because Angelina Jolie has dropped out of Wanted 2 according to Vulture, which in turn inspired Universal to bury the project.
But don’t fret too much: when the movie gods close a door, they open a window. Jolie has reportedly set her sights on Gravity, a space thriller from Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón. Details on the project after the break.
The adaptation of Wanted should have failed for a variety of reasons: it was based off Mark Millar’s god-awful comic, James McAvoy had never been tested as a lead in an action movie, and it was director Timur Bekmambetov’s first stateside gig. But it all managed to come together in a silly, stupid, but fun ride with curved bullets and one of the best line deliveries in Morgan Freeman’s career.
The sequel has been moving slowly ever since the film was a hit at the box office, but even though Angelina Jolie, Bekmambetov, and Universal are all up for a second go-round, Millar says that they’re not quite there yet. In an interview with IGN, Millar says they almost have a good script and he believes they’ll begin shooting soon. As for the plot, all he would reveal is that they would be going back to the book to pull out the idea of other fraternities of assassins around the world. The sequel will pick up immediately after the first film with Wesley [McAvoy] now on the run from the other five fraternities’ assassins after he destroyed the U.S. frat along with its magic quilt.
Hit the jump to check out the full interview with Millar.
Just to let you know, from this point forward if I ever have to name Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck in a headline again, he’s going to be FHvD. Make a note.
With that out of the way, I’m happy to report that von Donnersmarck will be making “The Tourist” his follow up to his Oscar-winning film, “The Lives of Others”. While the director hasn’t formally entered into negotiations, he is considered the top choice to helm the spy thriller which is expected to be Angelina Jolie’s next project. With the combo of Jolie, Sam Worthington as the male lead, and now von Donnersmarck as the director, “The Tourist” could begin filming this February for a 2011 release. Hit the jump for more details.
Because “Wanted” was more successful (along with being more fun and batshit insane) than anyone expected, director Timur Bekmambetov is apparently now starting pre-production on the inevitible sequel which we are currently calling “Wanted 2″ but that’s not official (I’m currently hoping for “Still Wanted: Electric Boogaloo”).
According to Rian.ru [via Russia-IC], they’re going to find a way to bring Angelina Jolie back for the sequel and all questions of “Didn’t she die in the first movie?” should be answered with, “Yes, because the first movie was so grounded in reality, they couldn’t possibly bring her back.” They’re also trying to find a way to resurrect “The Exterminator” (the dude who loved rats), played by Kostya Khabenskiy.
Shooting is planned in America, Russia, and India and, being a good sequel, will probably eclipse the $150 million budget of the first film, which was the largest Hollywood production ever helmed by a Russian using a Russian crew. Man, that Cold War sure was silly, wasn’t it?