Max Brooks’ last adaptation to hit the screen – World War Z – ended up with a global box office take of over half-a-billion dollars. Now Sony is hoping lightning strikes twice for Brooks, as they’ve picked up the feature rights to his upcoming graphic novel, The Harlem Hellfighters. Based on the 369th Infantry Regiment (the first African-American regiment called upon to fight in World War I), the graphic novel follows the soldiers from basic training to the trenches of France, where they spent more time in combat than any other American unit. Hit the jump for more.
After a slow roll-out of announcements that began a few weeks ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled the full list of presenters for the upcoming 86th Academy Awards ceremony. As expected, there are plenty of previous winners poised to make appearances, including all four of last year’s acting winners (Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, and Anne Hathaway), as well as some members of “young Hollywood” to appeal to the younger viewers (Anna Kendrick, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Watson, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum). On the “legends” side of things, we can also look forward to seeing presentations from Sidney Poitier and Bill Murray.
Hit the jump to take a look at the full list of presenters, and if you missed our latest Oscar-themed episode of our podcast The Collision, click here. The Oscars will air on ABC this Sunday, March 2nd.
Will Smith’s last two starring roles were for sci-fi oriented films (After Earth and Men in Black 3), and it appears that the actor is keen on continuing that trajectory for his next project. The Wrap reports that Smith is in early talks to star in the sci-fi thriller Brilliance, which is being developed as a potential tentpole for Legendary and Universal. The pic is based on the Marcus Sakey novel of the same name and takes place in a world where once percent of people are born with heightened cognitive abilities, dubbed “brilliants.” Smith would play a federal agent whose gift is put to good use hunting terrorists, but he meets his match when he must track down another “brilliant” who is bent on igniting a civil war. David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds) penned the screenplay, and Julius Onah (God Particle) is set to direct. Onah is also developing a separate sci-fi project for Paramount and J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot.
Smith seems like a solid choice to lead this kind of high-concept thriller, and his attachment would certainly put the film on the fast track towards production. The actor will next be seen onscreen opposite Margot Robbie in the con man pic Focus, which opens next February. Read a synopsis for Sakey’s Brilliance after the jump.
Jimmy Fallon engendered a lot of good will during his time hosting Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and it looks like that will carry over to his new gig hosting The Tonight Show. It feels like a fresh start that has a good chance of luring a younger audience, or at least an audience that will likely tune in to check out clips the following morning. For example, during last night’s show, Fallon was welcomed by a string of cameos including Robert De Niro, Tina Fey, Seth Rogen, and most notably, Joan Rivers, who was banned by Johnny Carson from The Tonight Show in 1986. Fallon also had a fun bit where he and Will Smith showed off the Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing.
Hit the jump to check out the videos. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights at 11:35pm EST on NBC.
Well it looks like Roland Emmerich is going to have to use the version of the script that doesn’t include Will Smith, because the star has reportedly decided against appearing in the Independence Day sequel. The “Will He? Won’t He?” game has been played for a number of years now, and even though a new report states that Smith has decided against starring in the sequel, nothing has been officially confirmed just yet.
The sequel, however, will soldier on with or without Smith. Emmerich and writing partner Dean Devlin turned two versions of their script over to screenwriter James Vanderbilt: one centering on Smith’s hero character Steven Hiller, and one without him entirely. Apparently Smith hasn’t broken the final news to Emmerich just yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know when we hear more. (Via Deadline)
Director D.J. Caruso (I Am Number Four) is now attached to direct the supernatural thriller Selling Time. Scripted by Dan McDermott, the story follows a man who is given a chance to relive the worst day of his life in order to avert a tragedy in exchange for seven years off his life expectancy. It sounds a bit like a mash-up of In Time and Seven Pounds. That last film is a fitting comparison, since Will Smith is still circling the lead role, although there is no official commitment on his part at this time. Caruso will also oversee a new draft of the script by McDermott for 20th Century Fox. (Via Deadline)
Warner Bros.’ remake of the 1971 Bill Cosby/Sidney Poitier comedy Uptown Saturday Night is getting a rewrite. Variety reports that Forgetting Sarah Marshall director and Get Him to the Greek scribe Nicholas Stoller has been brought on to pen a rewrite of the script in an effort to fast-track the redo. The project has a promising pedigree, with Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) onboard to direct and Will Smith and Denzel Washington attached to star. The original film revolved around two friends who sneak out to visit a high-class illegal club, only to find themselves in hot water.
McKay wants Uptown Saturday Night to be his next film after completing Anchorman 2 and Smith and Washington must both approve of the script before things move forward, so Stoller is hoping to have a draft ready by next month. If the script delivers, all involved are geared up to start production next summer.
20th Century Fox has tapped Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) to direct the adventure picture The City That Sailed, now officially starring Will Smith (Independence Day). Scripted by Audrey Wells (The Game Plan), the story “centers on a father and daughter on the island of Manhattan as it breaks loose and sails across the Atlantic Ocean.” With Smith as the father, I’ll give you three guesses on who will likely play the daughter. Hit the jump for more.
Like Crazy writer/director Drake Doremus has developed a reputation for crafting intimate and engrossing relationship dramas using his signature improvisational style, and for his next project the filmmaker plans to apply his talents to the sci-fi genre. I spoke with Doremus earlier this year at Sundance where he premiered his excellent new drama Breathe In, and the director noted that he planned on venturing “into the futuristic, semi sci-fi love story land,” but utilizing his improvisational style. Now Deadline reports that Doremus is courting Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult to star in the pic, titled Equals, for an early 2014 production start date.
Plot details regarding Equals are unknown at this point, but Moon scribe Nathan Parker penned the screenplay. Doremus’ shooting style involves improvising nearly every scene, so if Hoult and Stewart sign on, they’ll have a hefty job ahead of them. Hit the jump for news concerning Will Smith starring in a supernatural thriller.
The question of whether or not Will Smith will be in Independence Day 2 continues to churn on. Four months ago, director Roland Emmerich said Smith wouldn’t be returning for the sequel. Then two months ago, Smith was apparently in talks to reprise his role as fighter pilot/alien puncher Captain Steven Hiller. Uncertainty continues to swirl around the project, and it looks like it will move forward with or without Smith. Emmerich has screenplays to do either, and he’s not afraid to use them.
Hit the jump for more.
Though producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s recent hits are mostly massive, wide-appeal tentpole fare like the Pirates of the Caribbean series and National Treasure, he made a name for himself in the 1980s and 1990s for producing more R-rated content like Bad Boys and, to great success, Beverly Hills Cop. Though CBS passed on a pilot adaptation of Beverly Hills Cop earlier this year, Paramount is now trying to get a fourth feature film off the ground and it appears that Bruckehimer—who produced the first and second BHC films—is keen on coming back to produce the fourth film. Moreover, the report adds that Bruckheimer is helping develop a script for the long-awaited Bad Boys 3 (!!!). Hit the jump for more.
Although Independence Day director Roland Emmerich previously stated that star Will Smith wouldn’t be involved in the film’s sequel, in part for fear of him overshadowing the cast, it now looks as if the two are at least entering into talks. Perhaps the lackluster performances of some of Smith’s recent efforts have spurred him into dipping into the well of previous films, especially since he’s rumored to be involved in sequels to Hancock, Bad Boys and I, Robot. What’s one more?
Whether Smith is involved in the planned Independence Day sequel or not, Emmerich isn’t sure that the film will hit Fox’s target release date of summer 2015, saying it’s likely to open in summer of 2016. For those of you who like measuring your own time on this Earth relative to movie releases, that’s 20 years since the original debuted. Hit the jump for more, including a video with Emmerich himself and a bit about progress on the Stargate franchise reboot.
While there had been renewed talk about a potential sequel to director Roland Emmerich’s 1996 over the past few years, the director started speaking pretty seriously about the prospect of a follow-up last year. Fox finally solidified the project just the other day by announcing a July 3, 2015 release date for Independence Day 2, and now we’ve got a whole new film’s worth of alien invasion to look forward to. When Emmerich first started talking more seriously about an Independence Day follow-up, he revealed that he and co-writer/producer Dean Devlin were penning not one but two sequels. A couple of months ago, the director said that both films will take place 20 years after the original and Part 1 will end with a cliffhanger that leads directly into Part 2, but it appears that the second sequel may no longer be a foregone conclusion.
Steve recently spoke with Emmerich at the press day for his upcoming actioner White House Down, and the director talked briefly about the Independence Day sequel, confirming that it is likely his next film and revealing that they’re only focusing on doing one sequel for the time being. The filmmaker also reiterated that Will Smith will not be returning. Hit the jump for more.
After leading the biggest Memorial Day box office of all time, Fast & Furious 6 remained on top for a second weekend with an estimated $34.5 million. The film’s 65% drop left plenty of room for a new release to take over top honors – provided that new release wasn’t Sony’s After Earth. The sci-fi adventure was aiming for a $35-$40 million debut. Instead, the combined star-power of Will and Jaden Smith was only good enough for third place behind Now You See Me… a genuine upset for a film from the supposedly ‘cursed’ genre of magic.
|| Fast & Furious 6
|| Now You See Me
|| After Earth
|| Star Trek Into Darkness
|| The Hangover Part III
|| Iron Man 3
|| The Great Gatsby
All of the hooplah surrounding Arrested Development Season 4′s debut on Netflix last weekend got me waxing nostalgic for another beloved series that was all too short-lived: Paul Feig‘s Freaks and Geeks. When you consider its impressive shelf life, it’s hard to believe the series only aired on NBC for one season and consists of merely 18 episodes. For the sake of comparison, ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager will air its series finale this Monday and will finish with five seasons and 121 episodes in hand. Continuing down that path, Freaks and Geeks averaged just above 6.5 million weekly viewers during its run while Secret Life‘s most watched episode to date (the Season 2 premiere) garnered a little over 4.5 million viewers. In addition to the frustration I feel for having 103 more Secret Life episodes to never watch than Freaks and Geeks episodes to cherish, this also provides an interesting example of the ratings expectations/requirements of a network series in comparison to that of a cable series.
I could go on and on doing my best Brendan Bettinger: Stats Genius impersonation but the real reason I’m here is to present this week’s Top 5. In this installment you have at your disposal our visit to the set of Man of Steel, Allison watching the Indiana Jones movies for the first time, After Earth interviews with Will and Jaden Smith, another set visit for The Wolverine, and Matt’s review of the aforementioned fourth season of Arrested Development. As you’ve grown to expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above makes its home after the jump.