Time constraints are forcing a short post today — and are also dictating that my movie preview will be delayed to (relatively) early tomorrow. Nevertheless, I will point out that Mike Fleming of Deadline|Hollywood is really on fire today with several noteworthy items.
I however, only have time for one. It’s that the self-described Terminator fanboy has seen a treatment for some new Terminator scripts by screenwriter William Wisher, whose been involved in the franchise since it’s inception. Fleming is quite high on it. What’s interesting here is that it’s not a reboot but seems to continue the ongoing saga and even has roles for such original “Terminator” actors as Linda Hamilton and a certain annoying governor of a very large state where I live. (How Wisher plans to explain how a robot can look several decades older should be interesting to see.)
I’m pro-Terminator but not a huge fanboy for the franchise, myself. I liked the first two films quite a bit but never got around to seeing the last two. I also have limited patience with time travel stories that never seem completely logical to me. (I expected Eddie Furlong to disappear after the climax of “T-2.” Don’t ask me why now!) Still, you gotta admire the ambition, and I’d love to hear what any really big T-fans have to say about this.
…And not a whole lot of time to talk about it.
* Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” tested as the most memorable film commercial during last night’s hugely rated Superbowl and understandably so, it’s genuinely beautiful stuff. Past versions of the classic, however, have been somewhat hampered by the episodic — you might even say pre-Pythonesque — structure of Lewis Carrol/Charles Dodgson’s freewheeling children’s literary classic. (The first work of art to ever really blow my mind, I think.) The idea this time is to get around that problem by turning the film into something like a sequel to the original as concocted by writer Linda Woolverton. Storylines, or the lack thereof, have been Burton’s Achilles heel in the past, so this should be interesting.
* The late Michael Jackson’s doctor has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
* We’ve had movies based on toys and board games, so why not a new movie based on this blog?
* In the seventies and eighties, horror films were often named after holidays. Now it’s ensemble romantic comedies, apparently.
* “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” meet “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.” (I guess “Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Episode 1” didn’t do well in focus groups.)
* I’ve always loved Robert Wise’s great film of “The Andromeda Strain” and there are few movies I’ve detested more than Wolfgang Peterson’s “Outbreak.” (A virus is threatening all of humanity and I’m supposed to be distracted by an adorable monkey on loan from an overrated sitcom and helicopter chases???) I’m sure Steve Soderbergh’s “Contagion” will at least try to be closer to the Wise approach. Soderbergh may be uneven because he’s so unafraid to take huge chances, but when he pulls a movie together, few are better.
* Yet another item from Deadline|Hollywood’s ace, non-venomous reporter, reporter, Mike Fleming. Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of Michael Mann, is directing her first big feature (but not her first feature). It’s an intriguing sounding fact-inspired thriller about a series of unsolved Texas murders tied with the drug trade.
Yes, we ‘ve got movie news…
* Nikki Finke’s new best friend, Mike Fleming (or someone, it’s written in the third person), writes tonight that director Marc Webb of the very popular indie relationship comedy, “(500) Days of Summer” is right now the most likely director for the just announced “Spiderman” reboot. Fleming, or whomever, writes that Webb has “no superhero experience,” which is not really the issue. The issue is that, while he’s quite capable of making an okay indie comedy (I’m not the movie’s biggest fan), he has no action experience and Sam Raimi had obviously quite a bit before attempting “Spiderman.” Still, the choice of Webb wouldn’t be half so strange as another one mentioned by Fleming (or whomever) apparently in all seriousness: Wes Anderson.
I wish we lived in a universe where studio executives would be so weirdly brave. And, hey, if Anderson’s not available, they could try David Lynch. I don’t know about the masses, but I’d definitely pay to see either movie.
Fleming (or whomever), however, is absolutely correct that, if he were just a bit younger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be the guy to play the new Peter Parker. Oh, well.
* Fleming also has it that Daniel Craig is “in talks” to replace a vacating Robert Downey, Jr. on the comic book adaptation, “Cowboys and Aliens.” Interesting transition. Downey seems more alien than cowboy; Craig is definitely more cowboy than alien.
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My highly esteemed colleague Will Harris has been right on top of the huge small screen stories that seem to be breaking right and left at the TCA conference this week. Still, it’s not like there hasn’t been any news in movieland. It’s almost hard to know where to start.
* The Hollywood Reporter as well as Nikki Finke and new stablemate Mike Fleming (more on that below) are carrying the news that, in the wake of ongoing script problems, the kibosh has been put on Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman IV” with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and a 2012 reboot, written by James Vanderbilt (“Zodiac“) announced. The new film will feature a once-again teenage Peter Parker, so Taylor Lautner is no doubt already in touch with his agent.
THR says the script problems had something to do with a disagreement over supervillains between Raimi and Sony and/or Marvel Studios. Finke also notes that the fourth installment would probably not have been in 3-D and it seems reasonable that that might have been a factor, given the current mania for the process.
* In another apparent scoop for new Deadline team member Mike Fleming, Tom Hanks is returning as a writer-director for the second time since making his 1996 charmer, “That Thing You Do!” A comedy, “Larry Crowne” will reteam him with his “Charlie Wilson’s War” co-star, Julia Roberts. Like “Up in the Air,” according to Fleming it’s somewhat topical in that’s it’s about a middle-aged guy forced to reinvent his career at a time when past generations where just starting to settle down.
While he’s at it, Fleming also has the word on Shia LaBeouf not going agentless after all and signing with CAA. Agents around the world can all breathe easier now.
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