Alex Proyas

Hathaway and Hemsworth

If you’re looking for a movie about cyborgs that has a creative team with a good amount of solid, robot-related sci-fi experience under their belt, then Amped might be the project for you. THR has word that this is going to be the next film for director Alex Proyas, who first captured film fans’ attentions with things like The Crow and Dark City, and later went on to make his robot bones with 2004’s I, Robot. Proyas isn’t the only robot-friendly name with a hand in the creation of this project, either. Amped comes from a Daniel H. Wilson novel of the same name; and if you don’t know who Wilson is, he’s a contributor to “Popular Mechanics” as their “resident roboticist,” and he wrote the novels “How to Survive a Robot Uprising,” “How to Build a Robot Army,” and “Robopocalypse,” which is serving as the source material for Steven Spielberg’s next film. The guy knows his robots. But what, exactly, is the story that Proyas’ eye for sci-fi visuals will be bringing to the big screen? Let’s let the original novel’s Amazon description fill us in:

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After years of bad breaks getting productions to the screen, director Alex Proyas‘s luck just might be turning around – in the form of yet another cinematic adaptation. Deadline Culver City reports that the director is set to finally helm the big screen version of Robert Heinlein‘s novella “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag” that he’s been talking about since 2008. Even better? The production will be fully financed by Red Granite Pictures, who will also co-produce the film, along with Mythology Entertainment, Phoenix Pictures, and Mystery Clock Cinema. Over the past couple of years, Proyas has lost two big projects due to budgetary issues – his ambitious Paradise Lost was killed off in February and his take on Dracula: Year Zero died off back in 2010, though it’s now back on at Universal with a new script and a new director – so the announcement that he has a new project and it’s fully financed must be music to his ears. And for fans of the Dark City helmer, this project will likely sound pretty damn good, too.

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Alex Proyas might want to look into getting some budgeting software or something, because this “over budget” thing is becoming bizarrely familiar. Let’s rehash! Just this week, Proyas’ Paradise Lost adaptation was shut down by Legendary due to a wicked combo of too much funds and too little technology, and now another project that Proyas lost out on because of a bloated budget is back in the news – but for a very different reason. Universal Pictures is apparently bringing Dracula: Year Zero back from the dead, complete with a new director and likely a new cast. Don’t remember this one? Neither did I, so let’s dig back into the FSR Crypt! Back in 2008, Proyas was set to direct the flick, a supposed “medieval epic” that would serve as origin story for the toothy one. The project languished until 2010, when Sam Worthington of all people was set to star as Dracula himself (Vlad the Impaler, should we be sticking to history). And then the blood ran dry and the budget was too high, and as Deadline Kendal so amusingly puts it, Universal “close[d] the coffin.” But that coffin is now open again, and in a big (wide?) way.

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Never let it be said that director Alex Proyas didn’t have a tremendous vision for his big screen adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem of the same name, but that same ambition appears to be what has sunk Paradise Lost for good. Reports are now coming in from various outlets that the project, with a huge budget that already exceeded $120m and a vision that included technology that, as Variety’s Jeff Sneider puts it, “wasn’t there,” has been killed by Legendary Pictures. Proyas was hired for the gig back in September of 2010 and, since then, had gathered an impressive and up-and-coming cast for the epic tale of angelic battles, including Bradley Cooper, Benjamin Walker, Casey Affleck, Djimon Hounsou, Diego González Boneta, and Camilla Belle. The film’s shooting schedule was already moved from January to early this summer, but that’s all moot now that the film has been scrapped entirely.

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Commentary Commentary: Dark City

Remember that movie that came out around the same time as The Matrix and it was like The Matrix only not really, because The Matrix had cool guns and shit? Yeah. That movie was Dark City. Now you remember it. Granted, there are a lot of us who love Dark City, its story and ideas and the brilliant execution in how the city looks and feels. But, even those of us who love this movie didn’t see it the way director Alex Proyas intended it. That’s why, for this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re looking at the track Proyas laid down over his director’s cut of Dark City. Chances are there will be more talk about why the film was changed before it was released to theaters than anecdotes about shooting and the underlying subtext. This DVD includes two other commentary tracks, one from writers Lem Dobbs and David Goyer and one from film critic Roger Ebert. Yes, that one has always intrigued, and it will surely be featured in this column somewhere down the line. However, this week we’re listening to the director and all he had to say about this director’s cut of his film, Dark City. There are no machine guns, no Oracle, but it’s still damn cool.

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The big screen adapation of John Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost” appears to be rounding out its cast in a big (and fast) way. Alex Proyas‘s film already has Bradley Cooper and Ben Walker (soon to be seen as Honest Abe in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) set to square off as the archangels Lucifer and Michael, with Djimon Hounsou on board as Abdiel (the angel of death, for those of you unfamiliar with your angels). Now Variety reports that the film may have also locked in its Gabriel, Adam, and Eve. The outlet reports that Casey Affleck is in negotiations for the role of Gabriel. The archangel is traditionally the one who communicates with humans and is sent from God to do so. He’s also the one who blows the trumpet that kicks off the end of time and the Last Judgment. He’s a fun dude! Jeff Sneider and Justin Kroll of Variety have also revealed that Diego González Boneta (a relative unknown who will next star in Rock of Ages) and Camilla Belle may join the cast as Adam and Eve. The first report says that Belle has been officially offered her role and that Boneta is the “front-runner” for his possible job.

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When it was first announced that Dark City director Alex Proyas was doing an adaptation of the epic John Milton poem “Paradise Lost”, it was rumored that he would be turning the work into an action movie. That seemed a little ridiculous, as “Paradise Lost” is mostly known as a dry, academic tome that students dread slogging through, and while he’s made movies with strong action elements before like The Crow, Proyas usually sticks to headier conceits than big battle sequences. Surely it can’t be true that Proyas is involving himself with something being described as 300 meets Lord of the Rings, is he? After talking to Deadline Hebron, the director has made the nature of this project a bit more clear. “It’s not just armies battling in an epic war,” says Proyas. “This is an adventure about the origins of good and evil after Lucifer‘s rebellion gets him cast out of Heaven and leads to a struggle with his brother archangel over the soul of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve. That is the scope of the narrative here, and we’ve tried to say as faithful as possible to Milton’s text, particularly its focus on Lucifer’s evolution and the birth of evil.” He goes on to say that, “It’s a family saga, about a group of brothers, two in particular, who are on divergent paths, and Lucifer’s feelings of betrayal by his father and family that forge his descent into evil.” If that’s the case, then it seems that […]

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Somewhere out there, other science fiction writers are tilting their heads, raising their eyebrows, and attempting to figure out how Daniel H. Wilson keeps getting his books optioned for films. Of course, it’s not like those options actually mean much considering that Paramount never did anything with “How To Survive a Robot Uprising.” On the other hand, with “Robopocalypse” going to Spielberg for a 2012 shooting date, and now his “AMP” picked up by Summit for director Alex Proyas (a great, great pick) to take the lead on,  it seems as though Wilson might be entering the film world in earnest soon enough. AMP will focus on a short time in the future where robotics are used to help the disabled but end up essentially giving them super powers over the puny able-bodied masses. Deadline Tulsa describes the book as being like District 9 with its political and scientific implications. If you’re a struggling sci-fi writer out there and want to be even more frustrated, neither of those optioned books even exist yet as books. So, actually, maybe there’s still hope for you too.

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“Paradise Lost,” the most well-claimed-to-have-been-read-but-wasn’t-actually-read epic poem of all time (amongst high schoolers), has had more than a few shots at a feature film adaptation. For some reason – perhaps because it’s a gigantic naked tome of human moral psychology with a whisper-thin plot that it dangles by – it hasn’t made it to your local cinerama-plex-a-dome. Now, it might. Dark City and The Crow director Alex Proyas has been hired to helm an adaptation that focuses on the war between Team Lucifer and Team God and promises some graphic Angel on Angel violence. The phrase “action film” have been tossed around, but the brand of action that Proyas delivers is usually fulfilling both on a visceral and mental level. Oddly enough, he may be the perfect person to take a challenging project like this. Now, who to cast as Satan? Is Dave Grohl available? CGI Young Al Pacino? [The New Cinematical]

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Movies We Love

Abashed the devil stood / And felt how awful goodness is. It’s Devil’s Night in Detroit and the urban sprawl is in flames. Year after year the night before Halloween is known for the destruction brought upon by the gangster Top Dollar and his hired hands. Nothing goes down in the Motor City without Top Dollar’s say so and when the tenants of a particular apartment building refuse an edict to vacate, he sends a crew down to deliver a message.

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Universal really wants this vampire fad to go out with a bang and a fizzle.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Knowing, I Love You, Man and Duplicity.

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knowing-review-1

Alex Proyas’ first feature since 2004 is an entertaining work of science fiction that occasionally lunges towards greatness.

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knowing-cage

At his ‘Knowing’ press conference we learned that, when it comes to the movie and the issues it raises, Nicolas Cage cares most of all about what you think.

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screening-knowing

Columbus Rejects! Get a chance to see Knowing four days before it opens… for free!

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knowing-subwayheader

Here to blow your brain apart and leave you scratching the broken crevice where it used to be is the first extended clip from Nicolas Cage’s upcoming film Knowing (Be warned: his hair looks relatively normal).

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the-crow-1

Variety is reporting that Norrington has signed on to write and direct a remake of The Crow, a film best known for the death of star Brandon Lee.

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As the fine SciFi loving folks over at io9 pointed out this afternoon, it would appear that every apocalypse needs a good scary globe poster.

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The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag

If Foster’s is Australian for “beer,” then Proyas has gotta be Australian for “geek,” mate.

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While sitting with Alex Proyas, director of Summit Entertainment’s upcoming film Knowing, we received a nice little tidbit. When asked about what he is working on next, he said it would be a film titled Dracula: Year Zero.

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