In Development

wolf

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street was one of those movies that really divided people. It was super-long, it was full of super-disgusting things, and it never fully showed its hand in regards to how you were supposed to be feeling about all of the repetitive debauchery it put up on the screen. Some people think that it’s a sharp takedown of the behavior of Wall Street executives, while others think that it’s a piece of exploitation trash, meant to do little other than glorify greed, drug abuse, and philandering. That’s a pretty wide divide to exist between opinions regarding the same movie. What pretty much everyone can absolutely agree upon in regards to The Wolf of Wall Street, however, is that two of its lead actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, put a powerful mix of chemistry on display as they played a pair of best friends/garbage human beings—with that infamous scene where they both take too many quaaludes and wind up experiencing a drug-induced freakout making an exceptionally strong case for the theory that these guys need to team up more often so that they can keep making weird movie magic together. And it looks like our wish has been granted. Deadline has news that Fox also sees potential in the DiCaprio and Hill pairing, so they’ve bought the rights to a story that will get them back together on set as soon as possible.

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David O Russell and Jennifer Lawrence

Scorsese and De Niro. McQueen and Fassbender. Tarantino and L. Jackson. Sometimes the forces of filmmaking are so profound that director and actor are willed into a state of artistic BFFship; a bond that cannot be broken unless some homewrecker named Leonardo DiCaprio saunters into Gangs of New York with the intention of stealing away another man’s bestie. Now, the latest pair of cinematic buds seems to be David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence. They’ve spent Russell’s last two films together (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), and today Deadline reports their intent for a three-in-a-row teaming. It seems Russell is in talks to direct a biopic of Joy Mangano, the world’s leading pioneer of self-wringing squishy mop-thing technology, and he’s looking at Lawrence to star.

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Insert Fish Here

Listen, I know we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for that The Incredible Mr. Limpet remake to finally get out the door and into theaters. Details have been scarce ever since the project was first announced in the late 90s- first, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist mastermind Steve Oedekerk was ready to direct, with Jim Carrey as the astounding man-fish. Oedekerk stepped down, but the troops were rallied and Brad Bird was offered the gig. Then, Bird caught a glimpse of Mr. Limpet’s new look: a CGI fish with Carrey’s human face transplanted on via mo-cap. He described it thusly: “If you saw this in the water, you would get out of the water and run screaming and tell everyone the world was ending.” Plans for the film fell apart shortly afterward. Then, they fell back together when Enchanted director Kevin Lima boarded the project. Zach Galifianakis was in talks to play a presumably less horrifying Mr. Limpet, and then Richard Linklater later found himself in talks to replace Lima. Yet neither man was officially sworn in; the best we got was a single source from the LA Times claiming that “Warner Bros. is set to make it official and hire Linklater.” Save for that one bit of potential confirmation, every other Limpet-related headline on Earth still ended with a pesky question mark.

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On some days, social media provides a terrific set of tools for our modern world. And on other days, social media provides us with six minutes of Vin Diesel awkwardly shuffle-dancing around his living room to a series of pop songs.  Today, of course, brings the latter. The video (posted to the actor’s Facebook page), begins without warning or explanation. Diesel simply starts up Katy Perry‘s “Dark Horse” and begins to gyrate around, seemingly unburdened by rhythm, stopping only to thrust his face uncomfortably close to his webcam and mouth the lyrics. What could possibly inspire such a fervent display of dance-thusiasm? Had Mr. Diesel accidentally come into contact with the hallucinogenic Colorado River Toad immediately beforehand? Once “Dark Horse” dies down, the answer becomes clear: the cause for celebration is Diesel’s 2013 release, Riddick, which had just been crowned number one on the DVD sales charts. This rousing success prompted a call from Universal, who shared not only the good news, but also pledged their support for a fourth Riddick film: “They want to develop the next one,” says Diesel. From here, the actor discusses the Grammys before clicking over to Beyonce‘s “Drunk in Love” and releasing his inner dance demons once more.

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King Arthur

Long ago, in a time called 2011, development began at Warner Bros. on a film called Arthur & Lancelot. Set to star Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington and Robocop‘s Joel Kinnaman in the leads alongside Colin Farrell and directed by David Dobkin, it was to be a retelling of the King Arthur tale, but the project ultimately fell through due to budgetary problems; $130m was a bit much for the sword in the stone. Even prior to that, Warner Bros. gave the go ahead on a 2010 remake of the 1981 film Excalibur, with Bryan Singer at the helm — which also failed to get off the ground. Now Guy Ritchie, who had once attempted to make his own film with a script by Trainspotting writer John Hodge (it fell through when Dobkin’s movie looked like it was going to get made), is teaming with the studio to get back in the sword business with a King Arthur story on a much more massive scale. Massive, as in a six film franchise which will apparently spare no detail in the legendary tale of the war king, the wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table.

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If you’ve kept up with Kevin Smith recently, you’ve probably noticed that he was never really clued in on the news of his retirement that he announced. While it was once reported that Clerks III would be the writer and director’s final film, he’s since started crafting a whole new slate of films With Tusk, the story of a podcaster who goes missing and winds up in the clutches of a lonely seafarer just looking for someone to fill his human-sized walrus suit for awhile (bummer), Smith has his thriller quota almost completed. After production wraps, he’ll be moving on to the long-awaited Clerks III on April 7. And eventually, we’ll also be getting the apocalypse flick Helena Handbag — that one where mankind and Hell team up to defeat a vengeful, murderous Jesus. It might be awhile before we see that one. Just in case you thought he might be slacking on the production front while playing shuffleboard, Smith has another project in the works that came about based on a conversation on the Edumacation podcast; that makes this the third screenplay to come out of podcasting, with Tusk and Helena Handbag being the other two (maybe we should all get one?). Smith and comedy writer Andy McElfresh have teamed up to make Christmas a little bleaker by finally bringing the tale of The Krampus to the big screen.

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Gal Gadot

Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot is already nailing down the boldness she’ll be expected to impart in her role as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, as she’s straight up dropping big info on her role as the iconic Amazonian; at least so far as cash and contracts are concerned. Via Batman-News, in a story reported on Good Evening With Gai Pines, a show in Gadot’s native Israel, we learn that Warner Bros will be ponying up $300,000 for her first appearance alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman. What’s more, we get a solid starting date for filming, with Gadot saying the Man of Steel sequel gets rolling in May of this year. As noted previously by Variety, the film’s release date has been pushed to May 6, 2016.

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jean-claude-van-damme-jcvd12

Jean-Claude Van Damme has had a quirky and fun career resurgence. Yeah, he’s found himself in a position to return to somewhat mainstream relevance since 2008′s JCVD (which is all sorts of fun, and you should watch), and while he’s done so most notably in his role as Jean Vilain in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2, and a solid voice acting gig in Kung Fu Panda 2, Van Damme’s heart belongs to indies and direct to DVD actioners. With two new Universal Soldier flicks amongst that list of films, I’d say we should be pretty stoked about the state of his career. Next on the docket is Pound of Flesh, where JCVD will portray a man who rescues a woman in distress, and wakes the next morning in a blood-filled hotel bathroom, sans kidney for his troubles.

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Magic

Listen up, nerds! Everyone’s favorite fantasy card game-slash-reason that you and your three other AP-lovin’ friends never left your rec room junior year of high school is finally getting the movie adaptation treatment it justly deserves. Magic: The Gathering will make the leap from playing cards to the big screen, as Fox has acquired the rights from Hasbro to transform the multiverse of the planeswalkers into something on as large of a scale as the Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings franchises. This is great news coming from the studios that brought us Battleship as their last game-based film offering, although casting hasn’t been set yet, so there’s always still time for Rihanna to be announced as a beautiful wizard. A sprawling Magic franchise at the same level of complexity and quality as LOTR or Harry Potter seems like a hefty order to fill, but Fox has some ammunition on their side that could make this schoolyard card game a reality: Simon Kinberg.

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Allan Loeb

Once upon a time, in a land called 2004, Disney set out to create a musical comedy simply titled Bob the Musical. The film would follow Bob, an average Joe who suffered a blow to the head and started hearing constant music and singing everywhere he went. As that would sound like utter hell to you or me, so it would too for our poor, dear Bob, who is now forced to hear the “inner songs of everyone’s heart” at all times; Bob’s life is now a musical. The ambitious project became a work of passion for the studio, with multiple writers, composers and directors all hoping on to the film and detaching themselves from Bob at some point or another over the last 10 years when development never seemed to push further that pre-production — including Adam Shankman and the 21 Jump Street duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord. But despite this decade-long struggle to see one man’s reluctant relationship with the music playing in his mind  – and his apparently very serious cranial injury — Disney is still adamant about moving forward with the film. They’re bringing in the big guns to revamp the project and get it to the finish line. Allan Loeb, the writer behind Rock of Ages, has been tapped to work on the latest version of the script. If you were one of the many probably cringing after reading the name of that musical, fear not —  Bob‘s music and lyrics will be taken care of […]

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Starship Troopers

It was all the way back in 2011 when producer Neal Moritz announced that he, for some reason that probably made sense to him at the time, would be remaking the 1997 cult classic Starship Troopers for us citizens of the future. The Paul Verhoeven film is still beloved for being a satirical take on the Robert A. Heinlein novel of the same name; and by satirical, it’s a goofy, caulculated mess of a good time where Denise Richards is a lieutenant, Jake Busey is allowed to exist, and giant bugs are the enemy. Naturally, this means that the remake is going the straight, serious route, instead of recreating the fun of the first film. In 2012, producer Toby Jaffe said that this version would be much more faithful to Heinlein’s source material — meaning a more patriotic than satirical film was apparently in the works. That premise is still being echoed by writer Zack Stentz (Thor, X-Men: First Class) who is currently working on the script with his collaborator Ashley Miller (Fringe, X-Men: First Class). Over the holidays, Stentz took to Twitter and answered questions about the remake from film blogger Scott Weinberg. According to Stentz, what we can expect from the redo is “less a satire & more an actual adaptation of the Heinlein novel. An Officer & a Gentleman in power armor.”

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There’s a lot riding on the shoulders of Big Hero 6. Disney’s had three gigantic hits in a row with Tangled, Wreck-it-Ralph and Frozen (which recently broke the half-billion mark at the box office, and is attracting ‘snowballing’ and ‘avalanche’ puns at roughly the speed of sound). On top of that, the delay of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur until 2015 means that Big Hero 6 is the only major animated feature the House of Mouse will put out next year. And on top of that, Big Hero 6 is the first time Disney has borrowed from its recently-acquired Marvel Comics library for something other than theme parks or merchandise – the property was originally a Marvel comic that Disney pilfered for its own devices. So as long as Big Hero 6 can satisfy Marvel fans, dejected Pixar fans and the teeming hordes still humming “Let it Go” from Frozen, it’ll be a success. And with all those expectations in mind, Disney has just attached a co-director to the film: Chris Williams. Williams’ most recent (and only) co-directing gig was on another Disney picture, Bolt, for which he also wrote the screenplay; his resume also holds story credits for The Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan and Brother Bear. And that’s basically it. At first glance, Williams and Big Hero 6 don’t exactly match up. The latest Disney pic follows a team of eclectic superheroes: a woman with an inter-dimensional handbag, a sushi chef with super-knives and a fanboy who can, when necessary, balloon up into […]

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Bryan Singer

Director Bryan Singer has never been one to shy away from Twitter, gleefully sharing photos and production details from his latest X-Men ventures. For anyone who cares even a little bit about the X-Men universe, it’s a fun way to get a  glimpse into behind-the-scenes information and tidbits like Vines and set images. It looks like the oversharing will continue well into X-Men: Apocalypse, with the director tweeting yesterday a telling photo of his newly-formed writer’s room: Late night #XMen #Apocalypse story session. #SimonKinberg @DanimalHarris @Mike_Dougherty It’s snowing in Egypt! pic.twitter.com/GtJs3VgZ3M — Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) December 19, 2013

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Listen, I know we all love Twitter (don’t we?). The short-yet-still-sweet posts. The bird-shaped logo. The ability to follow your favorite celebrities and find out the intimate details of their eating and sleeping habits. Yet it’s not enough to simply Tweet your Tweetings on Twitter. Nor is it enough to watch Tweets cycle through the lower third of every TV show in existence or see entire TV series aired on Twitter. No, what we truly need is TV show about Twitter – and Lionsgate Television has graciously stepped in to fill that niche. The studio is crafting a show out of Nick Bilton‘s best-selling book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal,” which documents the rise of the 140 character social media craze. You see, Twitter was the product of four men – Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Christopher Stone, and Noah Glass. And then, Williams had Glass fired from the group and expunged from the history books (at least, the rare history books that would mention the founding of Twitter). Despite being one of the original creators, Glass was left behind to watch the social media platform rocketed up to the multi-billion-dollar mark, where it currently sits as the eleventh most popular website on the planet.

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Single

Fresh from the annals of that place where quirky relationships sprout organically between a B-list and A-list celebrity and Jessica Biel is steadily employed comes the newest relationship ensemble comedy to teach us a thing or two about relationships. How to Be Single, from the production team of Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen and director Christian Ditter, is here to do business. The film is based on a novel of the same name by former Sex and the City story editor Liz Tuccillo, centering on a 38-year-old woman living in — where else — New York City as she searches for that true love that she just can’t find. The novel concept of How to Be Single is that it isn’t relationships that should tell us about ourselves, but the time in between partners when we’re single and/or mingling. That means all the time spent setting up OK Cupid accounts, perusing the local bars for a casual fling and the entire mantra of “you do you, girlfriend” when you’ve decided to hell with it all is just as important as those two years you thought you found the one with that dude you met in college. Love!

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Guys and Dolls

Because Hollywood can’t resist a little bit of that razzmatazz, Guys and Dolls is getting another run at the silver screen courtesy of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay scribe Danny Strong. After two and a half years of negotiations, the musical is finally moving forward with the blessings (and relinquished rights) of Jo Loesser, the widow of songwriter Frank Loesser. The original 1955 film looked back on the gangsters and gamblers of the 1920′s and 1930′s in New York City. As Nathan Detroit, Frank Sinatra attempts to open a floating craps game but struggles to find the funding. He sees the perfect opportunity to make some surefire cash when he runs into an old pal, a serial gambler named Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando). Detroit bets Masterson that he can’t get the wholesome Sarah Brown to go to dinner with him down in Havana — a challenge Masterson can’t resist. Both men are embroiled in their own shady dealings when they find themselves also falling in love with their respective lady loves; Masterson with Sarah Brown and Detroit with his long-suffering fianceé Adelaide.

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The Naked Gun

Twenty-five years later, another funnyman with not-as-beautiful white hair is stepping into Leslie Nielsen‘s shoes to reboot the Naked Gun franchise. Ed Helms will become the next Detective Frank Drebin in a new script conjured up from the minds of Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant. If you ignore this summer’s atrocious Hell Baby, they’re the highly talented writing duo behind Reno 911! and Night at the Museum. Garant and Lennon have been tapped to tackle the franchise with a new spin on the detective, which is probably good news considering the enormity of what they have to live up to with this project. Nielsen was Drebin, and to make this a straight redo would be a large misstep; no matter what Helms does with the role, people are going to see the cracks in the character and remember what they loved about the original. The Naked Gun franchise was a peculiar, particular brand of spoof comedy that many writers have attempted since, but have not succeeded in replicating. The creative trio of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker made something unique — a blend of deadpan delivery, cheap laughs and clever lines that melded together into an absurd, perfect mess. Garant and Lennon are gifted writers, but they have to replicate, or at least pay homage to, a certain type of comedy that is not easy to create.

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Jesus was a pretty controversial dude, having appeared on numerous slices of burnt toast, tortillas, and misshapen Cheetos worldwide. He may also have done other things I’m forgetting (although somehow I doubt it). Either way, it comes as no surprise that someone’s stepped up to translate Jesus’s story for the big screen- it’s happened many times before, and now it’s happening again. The newest, Christ-iest film now comes from Lionsgate, who just snapped up the rights to Reza Aslan‘s book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.” “Zealot” differs from the usual Jesus-lit in one key area: it portrays Jesus as just one of many Jewish zealots preaching in ancient times- a political revolutionary, but by no means the most popular zealot around (and considerably less popular at the time than his contemporary, John the Baptist). In a statement, Aslan spoke of himself and Lionsgate as two peas in pod, both excited to “illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.” What that translates into, essentially, is a Jesus movie that’s not so much about Christianity or any specific faith, and more about a guy just trying to preach at people in ancient times.

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Anne Frank

When you think of family-friendly entertainment, your mind doesn’t necessarily go to the Holocaust first. But Waltz With Bashir and The Congress director Ari Folman has a particular vision in mind, signing up to direct and write an animated film based on the life and diary of Anne Frank. The untitled project is not necessarily another incarnation of The Diary of Anne Frank, which has had its share of adaptations (including the 1959 Oscar-winning version), but a work inspired by the journal and the archives of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel. Folman and his crew are the first filmmakers to obtain complete access to those archives, founded in 1963 by Frank’s father, so while the premise of an animated Anne Frank story seems slightly odd at this moment, there must be something promising at hand.

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bayona

Zombie fans were ready to attack World War Z with their criticisms well before it even hit theaters. Not only was there every indication going in that the film had very little to do with its source material, a book by Max Brooks that was wildly popular with horror fans, but there were also constant reports of troubles with the script and the budgeting of the movie, problems that eventually resulted in its entire ending being re-conceptualized and re-shot. Those aren’t exactly the kind of indicators that instill confidence in potential customers. Really, by the time World War Z came and went from theaters, all of the talk that went down in the build up to its release proved to be a moot point though. Not only did the film prove to be a financial success despite all the doom and gloom from film pundits that proceeded its release, but it also proved to be just about as much of a failure with critics as it was a success at the box office—and for reasons that had nothing to do with how far it diverged away from its source material.

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