In Development

Manimal

If there’s anything that modern police procedurals are missing, it’s a star on the force who can go above and beyond the call of duty by quite literally bending the laws of human physiology. It’s really not that much to ask for, is it? That dashing hero of law enforcement was found for a brief while in the short-lived 1980s series Manimal, which introduced us to Dr. Jonathan Chase, a cultured and wealthy individual who used his upbringing in Africa to unlock the many secrets that divide the human and animal worlds. Those secrets apparently uncover what allows humans and animals to seamlessly transition between species, because Dr. Chase takes advantage of his newfound knowledge by doing just that. As Manimal, he fights crimes by morphing into different animals. If that seems like a farfetched premise with not much reason behind his need to morph — he could probably catch a bank robber just as easily as a human man as he could as a bottle nosed dolphin, right? Then, it comes as no shock that the series was canceled after just eight episodes on air.

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The Best Man

Malcolm D. Lee‘s crowd-pleasing and big money-earning The Best Man franchise is bound for trilogy designation, as Universal has just announced that the third film in the series will arrive in 2016. Deadline reports that The Best Man Wedding – wait, is it the wedding of the best man? who is his best man? maybe they should have thought about these titles a bit more — will arrive on April 15, 2016, reuniting the sprawling cast to participate in (what else!) a big time wedding. Lee is back on board to write and direct the feature, and the franchise’s many cast members — including Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau and Melissa De Sousa — are all expected to come back for more. Monica Calhoun will probably, um, not be back. Now that the blockbuster series is moving into pretty firm franchise territory, is it time for you to get on board? Well, yes. 

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

If you were ever a grade schooler in desperate need of clever rhymes and you had finally graduated to the point where you were just a hair too mature for the wacky words of a one Dr. Seuss, your grubby little hands likely reached for a heavy Shel Silverstein tome like “Where the Sidewalk Ends” or “A Light in the Attic.” His sprawling books of colorful poetry and beautiful accompanying illustrations (all his own) chronicled all the issues that mattered the most to children. For instance, flipping open a Silverstein book could point you to the plight of a modern day King Midas, who turns everything he touches to raspberry jello. A perfect hell! Or maybe you’d settle on the story of Melinda Mae, the girl who tried to eat an entire whale, an actually does so in the span of 80 years. That’s just silly. Now, the man who brought so much joy to our childhoods is getting the chance to have his own story told. “A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein,” a biography by Lisa Rogak, is getting adapted into a biopic from writing partners Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair (1:30 Train), under production with McG‘s Wonderland Sound and Vision.

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Richard Nixon

Director Tate Taylor has made a name for himself with the struggles of 1960s-era African-Americans. First came The Help, in which a black Southern maid persevered against all odds to net Taylor a bajillion awards nominations. Now comes Get On Up, in which a black Southern James Brown will persevere against similar odds, with Taylor standing just out of sight with arms outstretched (in anticipation of a new armful of statuettes). The director’s newest project, which has just been announced through The Hollywood Reporter, is more of the same. Only, swap out “black people” for “astronauts,” and “persevere” for “die horribly.” The film is called In the Event of a Moon Disaster and is based on a Black List screenplay by Mike Jones, about a completely factual 1969 speech written for then-president Richard Nixon. The speech was Nixon’s fallback if the Apollo 11 mission (you know, the one where man first walked on the moon) was to horribly backfire- in the event of a moon disaster (hence the title), Nixon had a memorial speech to read on live TV. The film will follow all these same events, with one slight difference. In Moon Disaster, the mission will fail, and Nixon will need to memorialize our fallen space heroes with his fun historical footnote of a speech.

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Looking for Alaska

If you’ve managed to heave yourself back into your safety canoe after floating away adrift in a sea of your own wracking sobs for the past three weeks, no thanks to The Fault In Our Stars, maybe you’re finally emotionally stable enough to hear word about John Green’s next tearjerker — Looking For Alaska. The news comes from the author himself; Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz, Away From Her) has signed on to adapt Green’s other novel, taking on both writing and directing duties with the coming-of-age dramedy. You can stop holding your breath right now, because this one is devoid of any and all cancers; don’t get too relaxed, though, because it’s still going to be a nightmare of emotions and feelings and worries about your misspent youth. Were you ever really that carefree and beautiful? Or knew that many literary references offhandedly? Kids these days.

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Father of the Bride

In the 1995 sequel to the charming 1991 comedy, Father of the Bride, a crazed George Banks (Steve Martin) is thrown into a dizzy (his default state, at least going on his behavior in the previous film) when he discovers that both his wife (Diane Keaton) and his daughter (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) are pregnant at the exact same time. George, never one to roll with the punches, freaks the heck out and is only cowed when Keaton’s ever-lovely Nina kicks him out and he gets a glimpse of what his life would look like without her (and, because he’s behaved so badly, probably also without their kids, their grandkids, and their sweet son-in-law). Nina is the brains of the Banks operation, a steadying force that somehow manages to weather every storm with grace and style. George, well, isn’t like that at all. The formula for the second Father of the Bride film wasn’t entirely original — again, it was still all about George not being able to handle big life changes — but the feature wasn’t afraid to go with a slightly offbeat and surprisingly progressive plotline. George and Nina were about to become grandparents just as they were becoming actual parents again, and although George couldn’t handle most of the action, the film didn’t smack of ageism or anything of the sort — it seemed like the Banks clan was creating a new, modern family, even though it was one that happened sort of accidentally. If Father of the Bride is going to continue on, why […]

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Lupita Nyong

America’s newest sweetheart (and the Oscars’ latest Supporting Actress winner) Lupita Nyong’o has been very careful about her job choices (read: she hasn’t eagerly snapped up anything and everything that has come her way) since capturing our hearts with last year’s wrenching turn in 12 Years a Slave, but that seems to be steadily changing (and with so far very good results). Just yesterday, Nyong’o’s highly anticipated involvement with a project you may have heard of – Star Wars? anyone? anyone? Bueller? — was announced to general enjoyment from fans of both the actress and the beloved franchise, but that’s not the only big endeavor that the actress has taken on lately, and it’s certainly not the only one you should be excited about. Nyong’o’s apparent interest in picking and choosing the next big roles that will help shape the rest of her career also has a literary bent, as she recently snapped up the film rights for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s best-selling novel “Americanah,” a move that may signal her intention to also star in the feature.

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Gerald

Few films can boast that they came from WWE Studios, and also boast that they’re not roundly terrible in every way imaginable (although I remain cautiously optimistic about Untitled Flintstones WWE Movie and Jingle All the Way 2). Oculus is one of those films. And a heaping portion of credit for Oculus and its status as WWE Studios’ first film to not deserve a thorough suplexing goes to director Mike Flanagan. But the question remains: what is Flanagan to do now? He’s already legitimized (maybe) the filmmaking branch of a company that promotes the pretend body slamming of underdressed meat slabs. What exciting filmmaking venture will Flanagan take on next? Flangan’s sticking with the horror genre for round two – Deadline reports he’ll direct an adaptation of Stephen King‘s 1992 novel, “Gerald’s Game.” According to their reporting, Flanagan’s already written the script with his writing partner, Jeff Howard. He’ll also be working with King, naturally. Casting is underway and everyone’s prepping for a fall shoot.

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Lars von Trier Antichrist promo

Listen, forget the news you heard last week about Lars von Trier delving into a new genre to explore for his next project — that’s old news. This is new news, kid.  We received word (via director Kristian Levering) that the Danish filmmaker will, yes, be tackling the world of horror next because his mind is a complex layer of fantastical nightmares that probably works not unlike that murder turducken on Hannibal where the lady was sewn in a horse and crows were sewn in the lady. But yes, von Trier is supposedly writing a spooky scary movie set in Detroit for Levering to direct, and if you though Antichrist was terrifying…well, buddy, apparently the world is just a horrible place that we’re all going to have to slog through together, hand in hand. True to von Trier’s word after the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to never speak to the press again about his plans or ideas (after he said he sympathized with Hitler, that old chestnut), a middle man in the form of producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen announced to Screen Daily that the filmmaker had another project lined up, in another unexplored genre: Action. Or rather, “he is talking about making a Trier version of an action movie.” 

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John Krasinski

Frankly, we’re a bit miffed that John Krasinski‘s next directorial effort, The Hollars, is not about an Appalachian family with issues they need to work out or a fake type of currency, but that might just be our own prejudices and personal interests shining through. Instead, the James C. Sprouse-penned screenplay centers on the fictional Hollar family. ZZzzz. Let’s maybe change that. The Hollars will see Krasinski approaching, oddly enough, both Steel Magnolias and Garden State territory. No, really, as Screen Daily reports that producer Tom Rice describes the film as “blending the emotion of Steel Magnolias with the youth-oriented relevance of Garden State,” which is either absolute brilliance or the end of Krasinski’s short-lived directorial career (we’re leaning to the former on this one, though). See? Steel Magnolias and Garden State. It’s right there. Krasinski will also star in the film as John Hollar, a New York artist (we bet he’s hip) who has to return to his Middle American hometown when his mother requires brain surgery. But that’s not all! Hollar will be toting along his lady friend and be forced to face down “his helpless brother, anxiety-prone father and over-eager high school girlfriend” and probably also a bunch of weird, unsettling memories and maybe even a sequence involving juice and/or bad wallpaper.

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Elvis Presley biopic

There’s a whole lotta (head) shakin’ going on and, no, said shakin’ is not come care of that terrible Elvis pun, because the shakin’ predates the pun. So there. The Wrap is reporting that the King himself, Elvis Presley, might be getting a shiny new biopic, care of two people who have so far proven themselves ill-equipped to translate historical events to the big screen in a clear, concise and inspired manner. The outlet shares the news that Saving Mr. Banks scribe (and also 50 Shades of Grey adapter, please her heart) Kelly Marcel is penning a new biopic about the king’s life for the big screen. As of now, it’s “unclear which periods of Presley’s life would be depicted in the film,” but the script is described as an original take on his life. (Curiously, the outlet calls the currently-untitled film a biopic before stating that it’s “believed to be a biopic” later in their same piece. Shrug.) And although the king of rock n’ roll doesn’t have a bitter-faced British author to drive his narrative, he does have something that could be compelling the film’s possible director – a metric ton of sparkles.

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Justice League movie

It’s news we all saw coming, but the fact that it’s finally happening, after so many years of hemming and hawing, it just doesn’t seem like it can be true. A Justice League movie is actually going to happen, and it’s not just Warner Bros. messing with us. We’ve been burned before by DC Comics and it stung, but this time it seems like the wounds are finally going to heal. After the one-two punch of Man of Steel and 2016′s upcoming and much anticipated Batman vs. Superman (or whatever it is that they’re going to call it), Zack Snyder will once again be back in the director’s chair in 2017 to helm Justice League. With confirmation that Batman vs. Superman will indeed be a direct lead-in to the Justice League movie, we’ll of course see Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot back in their roles as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively. With the studio recently casting theatre actor Ray Fisher as Cyborg for Batman vs. Superman, the man who suffers a brutal laboratory accident that leaves him with a mostly metallic, cyborg body, they’ve got another hero checked off their list already. Warner Bros. is keeping a tight lid on exactly who’s making the cut to join their ultra exclusive version of the Justice League, but the usual suspects (the original lineup) also include Aquaman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern.

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Cabin Fever remake

Back in 2002, Eli Roth was just still just getting asked if he was related to Tim Roth, mixing up buckets of fake blood and didn’t have a whole slew of vomitous horror credits and one truly satisfying assassination of Adolf Hitler on his resume. But all that changed with the release of Cabin Fever, the sometimes funny, always disgusting gorefest that took Shawn from Boy Meets World (real name Rider Strong) and made him meet a whole lot of other things. Like eye puss. The horror film was atypical in its typicality. It followed a group of recent college grads who head to the woods for a stay at a remote cabin for some summer fun (of course they do), where they resolved to party and screw their woes away. Naturally, they meet and ignore the bevy of creeps, drifters and blaring red flags they see on their way, and their fun becomes derailed when some contaminated drinking water leads to massive, gruesome infection. It’s hard to hook up when your skin is peeling off in chunks, isn’t it? Roth’s film was a great entry into the genre because it paid homage to so many films that came before it — Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre — while putting its own bloodier, nastier spin on things (you don’t necessarily think about Blair Witch when rotting flesh and boils are showing up on screen; you think about what Roth’s created) and paved the way for films […]

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Wreck-It Ralph Sequel

With Frozen becoming the highest grossing animated flick of all time, Disney’s definitely in the place to keep developing their other beloved franchises. Wreck-It Ralph, the 2012 film that told us that video game villains can be people too, is in the process of getting its sequel, according to the film’s composer Henry Jackman. Jackman spoke to Collider recently in a sprawling interview about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, of which he composed the score (he’s also the man behind the music of Captain Phillips, X-Men: First Class, G.I. Joe Retaliation and This is the End) , and confirmed that the studio is currently writing up the script for a second dose of Wreck-It Ralph. At this point, the details are hazy on what that sequel entails, but Jackman was confident that it is indeed happening. “I can’t tell you more, not because I’m being coy, but I believe that it is officially on the cards,” he said. “I don’t know any more other than a story is indeed being written. I’d be very surprised not to. I’m not blowing my own trumpet. Forget about the music. Just the movie itself I thought was a fantastically imaginative and creative piece of work.”

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Prometheus 2

Prometheus, are you reading this? No really, are you reading this? According to The Wrap, the “Untitled Ridley Scott Project” slated for 2016 that has been such a mystery for so long now is Prometheus 2. After 20th Century Fox announced a whole slate of movies through 2018, with a blip in the schedule for 2016 for Scott’s mysterious film of the unknown, speculations were ablaze at what the director could be cooking up as his next move. Another Blade Runner movie to follow up the reboot he’s currently working on? That would’ve been cool, wouldn’t it? A completely new film unconnected to a franchise without any expectations? Real rad. Instead, we’re getting the sequel to the unofficial prequel to the Alien franchise. It’s not as if this news wasn’t coming sooner or later; In 2012, Prometheus was a box office hit, raking in $400m worldwide. But what it wasn’t was a critical darling. The film was a bit of an all-around mess — let’s not kid ourselves. Spoilers ahead.

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Fox

The above image is what might happen if an actor forgets his lines on the set of The Jungle Book. According to THR, Andy Serkis is making the jump from playing apes of all sizes and second unit directing for The Hobbit to making his first feature. Just to be clear, this is the Warners Bros. live-action version and not the Disney live-action version being directed by Jon Favreau. If a third studio decides they want to have a say in Rudyard Kipling’s classic, it’ll get confusing. Warners has a steady history of taking interesting risks, and this is a perfect example of something that’s yawn-worthy being transformed by a left-field hire. The sound you just heard is attention being piqued. Or created altogether. Before Serkis, the prospect of another version of the little boy lost story was more what-happened-to-creativity nonsense, but that doesn’t mean that the project gets a stamp of approval all the sudden. Still, Serkis is an inspired choice. The rare actor making the jump to directing who has not only trained with a great talent, but who has worked alongside one in Peter Jackson.

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The Incredibles

Get ready to lose your mind and run around your living room a hundred times in a minute. According to Variety, Disney used its annual shareholders meeting to confirm that they were planning The Incredibles 2. They’re also planning a third Cars movie, the announcement of which coming alongside the return of the Parr family is a lesson in polar opposites. On the one side, there’s another license to print money whose fandom remains squarely under the height requirement to participate in the cooler rides at the amusement park. On the other side, there’s the most popular answer to every Reddit post asking, “What awesome movie deserves a sequel but hasn’t gotten one yet?” All anyone knows right now is that they want to make The Incredibles 2 and that Brad Bird is writing the script. An excellent start. Will Bird be back as director? Maybe. Will Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson or the rest of the cast return? Unclear. Obviously, all of those people showing up to the drawing board would be encouraging for fans. Bird is currently filming Tomorrowland, and he’s also got 1906 in the mix, but there’s definitely room on the table to take a new spandex adventure across the finish line, too.

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Van and Mike Key and Peele

Comedy Central has a ratings goldmine in comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of the sketch comedy show Key & Peele, and they’re looking to further capitalize on this with development of an animated series based on two of the team’s popular characters. In October, it was announced that Season 4 of the highly popular show was ordered to the tune of 22 episodes, the largest since the first season in 2012, and that’s expected to hit the airwaves at some point during the third or fourth quarter of this year. The comedians and Comedy Central will apparently be spending their time before then developing their animated offering with the help of executive producer Rodney Barnes (The Boondocks, Everybody Hates Chris), Key & Peele collaborator Joel Zadak, Allen Fischer (Wonderland), and Brian Dobbins.

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patricia arquette medium promo

The CSI franchise is spawning yet another series, this time set in the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division in Quantico, Virginia. While there’s no official name yet for the new CBS show, there is a lead, as Medium and True Romance star Patricia Arquette is set to be front and center of a team tasked with solving crimes that “start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world.” Arquette’s Medium, a supernatural procedural drama, aired on NBC from January 2005 to January 2011 and coincidentally ran directly against CBS’s CSI: Miami and, in later seasons, CSI: NY. Arquette won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her fictionalized portrayal of real-life medium Allison DuBois in its first season on air.

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david mazouz and camren bicondova

Young Master Wayne and Selina Kyle, AKA Catwoman, have been chosen for Fox’s Batman prequel, Gotham. David Mazouz will play the tragedy-stricken Bruce, shortly after the murder of his parents and now under the care of Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee). Mazouz is best known for his role in Fox’s short-lived, ASCAP Award-winning sci-fi series Touch alongside Keifer Sutherland and Danny Glover. That show managed two seasons before being cancelled. Portraying pre-Catwoman Selina will be Camren Bicondova, a relative newcomer to Hollywood, whose major claim to fame is being a runner-up on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with her group, 8 Flavahs. She has also appeared in small roles in the horror flick Girlhouse and Cinedigm’s dance drama Battlefield America. Bicondova’s role as Selina will be as another orphaned teenager, well on her way to master thief as an expert pickpocket living on the streets of Gotham.

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