The Deadline crew has really been working overtime these last few days, so there’s much to talk about as a new week begins.
* I’m not kidding about the pace of news from Deadline today. Just as I was starting to finish writing this, Mike Fleming broke the news that we have a “Superman” director who’ll be working with producer Christopher Nolan, and he is one Zack Snyder of “300,” “Watchmen,’ the “Dawn of the Dead” remake and that owl movie that’s out right now. Expect a fightin’ Supes. Should you expect a good Supes movie? Dunno. I never understood the grief that “Superman Returns” got. It was a nice, fun movie in the best senses of the words “nice” and “fun.” Will this one be all grimness and unnecessary darkness? I hope not.
* Fox landed the film adaptation rights for apparently the hottest book of the moment, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is being produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmanbetov (“Night Watch,” “Wanted“), who purchased the rights with their own money. And it’s not like they were afraid to show they really wanted it:
When Tim and Timur and their entourage of reps came to the Fox…they were met with a huge banner at the gate. It had the title treatment of the script and was emblazoned, “Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov present Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”. At their parking spot were signs saying “Parking For Vampire Hunters Only: park at your own risk,” and so forth. There were bloody footprints lining the walkway and stairs leading from their cars to the meeting in Building 88 with images from the book and lines from the script. As if that were not enough, there also were bloody axes strewn about, and a bugle player in a Confederate uniform playing “Taps” as the filmmakers walked to the meeting..
Yes, like Camelot, Hollywood is a silly place, and I sort of like it that way. I just wished I enjoyed Bekmambetov’s movies, because I didn’t.
* Re: silliness. Check out this promotion for “Jackass 3D”
* I seriously dislike writing about stories that say that so-and-so is “about to be” “offered” a part. There are simply too many items like that and too many “ifs” (maybe the studio will change their minds; maybe the star will say “no,” etc.) and I prefer to wait until the story is further down the road. Nevertheless, Mike Fleming has reported that Emma Stone is about to be offered the part of Mary Jane Watson in the Marc Webb-directed 3D “Spiderman” reboot opposite Andrew Garfield.
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Wake up. It’s been a busy day in movie world.
* Plenty of festival happenings up are in the offing up in Toronto, the most high profile of which is the famously award-savvy Weinstein Company’s pick, for a reported $1-2 million, of “A Single Man.” This is a sort of film that would be strictly art-house fare, and low profile art-house fare at that, if it weren’t also potential Oscar fare. From fashion designer-turned director Tom Ford, it’s a drama about a college professor (Colin Firth) dealing with the death of his lover over the course of a single day in 1960s Los Angeles. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt in “Watchmen“) and is based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, the openly gay mid-century English-born writer whose stories about Wiemar-era Berlin eventually became “I Am a Camera” by playwright John van Druten, which eventually became the movie and stage musicals, “Cabaret.” Variety has the details along with more about the activity surrounding a number of other new movies.
The most interesting of these to me is “Harry Brown,” which stars Michael Caine in a film that’s going to be plugged, probably inaccurately, as the Brit “Gran Torino.” I’ve always liked Caine’s movie work, but he became something of a personal hero of mine while I was researching a Bullz-Eye look back at his career not so long ago. If you’ve never seen the original version of “Get Carter,” it’s important to know Caine is capable of being at least twice as tough as Mr. Eastwood or just about anyone else this side of Lee Marvin. That’s largely because he’s an extremely disciplined film actor and also probably partly because his pre-stardom life was, really and truly, no picnic. The man’s known grinding poverty, serious action in the Korean War, and the down and dirty truth of crime in his native London. His acting only gets better as such relatively recent films as “The Quiet American” and “Children of Men” proves. This one really has my attention.
* The new head of DC Entertainment, Diane Nelson, made her rep partly as the manager of the Harry Potter “brand” for Warner Brothers. No word on whether and/or how much she was involved, but Warners is annoucing a deal with the Universal Orlando Resort for a Harry Potter theme park. Nikki Finke has the press release and videos showing the basic layout (it’s essentially Hogsmeade, the town adjacent to Hogwarts from the books and movies), as well as plugs from Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson.
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* A couple of addenda of yesterday’s DC demi-bombshell. First, Heidi MacDonald allows us to “Meet Diane Nelson.” The woman who’ll sooon be running DC spoke to Sharon Waxman at The Wrap and did joint interviews with soon to be former DC Comics president Paul Levitz for Comic Book Resources and Newsarama. Apparently part of the function is to reassure fans that the new DC will be “talent friendly” and that the highly regarded Levitz wasn’t too unhappy to be nudged aside after seven year’s in the prexy-seat.
So, what does “Kremlinologist” MacDonald make of the interviews:
…the emphasis on creators and their importance is heartening. Surely the person who negotiated the interests of J.K. Rowling understands the importance of the sole creator and inspiration, without which big corporations just turn out things like Loonatics. At the same time, the lack of mentions of the phrase “comic books” in most of the answers is troubling.
Of course, Nelson admits readily to not being “by nature” a comic book fan, and she will not be the publisher. Look for the selection of the person to fill that role to be receiving some serious geek attention in coming weeks.
* A fun piece of fall-out from Disney/Marvel merger is the talk of Pixar taking on the planned Ant Man movie, an even more fun thought given that the project when last heard of was resting in the capable and fanboy-approved hands of writer-director Edgar Wright of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Well, CHUD’s Devin Faraci managed to get a missive from Wright who confirmed his ongoing involvement, but not so much Pixar’s.
The news that Pixar is involved is not wholly accurate and a little premature to comment on. I love Pixar’s work more than anyone and indeed would love to collaborate with them.
I’m not sure though that they would want to do a ‘shrinking’ film as a Pixar animation – since Toy Story and A Bug’s Life already cover this territory to some extent…My spin on Ant Man is very different than a straight superhero origin – and very much live action.
Sounds fun, regardless.