Aline Brosh McKenna

Maleficent must be something truly special, because Disney has decided that the “classic Disney villain gets a live-action update” approach deserves multiple films. And the next antagonist to be given a starring role is none other than the puppy-stealing, fur-coat-obsessing Cruella de Vil. The Hollywood Reporter (who broke the news) have Aline Brosh McKenna on screenplay duties for Cruella. McKenna is fitting choice, as she already has some live-action Disney experience, having recently penned the script for Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Cinderella adaptation. There’s no word on what the story will entail, but if it’s anything like Maleficent, we’ll be getting all kinds of prequel-ish backstory on Cruella de Vil, and how she’s not so bad despite having an uncontrollable urge to kill baby puppies and wear their skin. Perhaps she didn’t start out that way. Maybe the film will follow a younger, more energetic Cruella who loves animals, and is mistakenly cursed with an unending hunger for sweet, innocent puppy-skin.

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Aline Brosh McKenna

While it’s hard to imagine that there is a sizable interest in seeing the cinematic telling of a yet-to-be-published graphic novel based on Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” that not only moves the action to modern times but also appears to focus on Jane’s paramour/boss Edward Rochester, Fox 2000 seems to think so, as the studio has just paid “a deal worth low seven figures” for the rights to just such a novel. Alrighty then. THR reports that the studio has nabbed the rights to “Rochester,” a new graphic novel coming from Archaia Publishing about that very subject, and already set Aline Brosh McKenna to pen the adaptation. Details on the project are slim, but we’re certainly interested in seeing a nineteenth century-set novel about governesses and sprawling estates and orphans and loons in the attic translated to the modern age. We are, however, less interested in seeing the book’s plot translated through the eyes of Edward Rochester, especially because Bronte’s book includes far, far more than just the Jane/Rochester love affair (seriously, it’s really only about a third of the book). McKenna, though first known for her rom-com-ish work on films like The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, Morning Glory, and I Don’t Know How She Does It, has steadily moved away from her fluffy roots as of late. She most recently penned We Bought a Zoo for Cameron Crowe, wrote the new live-action Cinderella with Chris Weitz, and even has the main writing credit for the new Annie. She’s certainly mixing things up, and the modern retelling of a classic tale […]

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Annie

At this point, Sony Pictures’ remake of the musical classic Annie is turning into the latest Mad Libs production to come out of Hollywood, with studio executives just randomly yelling out names of people who should be working on getting the long-in-development feature off the ground. The project certainly made sense at first as, back in January of 2011, it was announced that Will Smith would be producing the project as a potential vehicle for his daughter, Willow Smith (thank the success of The Karate Kid for that). A few weeks after that, we got wind that Jay-Z would also be producing alongside Smith, which continued sound like a solid way to make a fresh, new Annie, and then Emma Thompson came on board to write the script and any concept we might have had of the new film went right out the window. Thompson’s screenwriting work in the kiddie realm primarily consists of the Nanny McPhee films, which certainly are not the type of updated, contemporary work that this new Annie seemed to dictate. But that’s not all! Last summer, rom-com screenwriting queen Aline Brosh McKenna was brought on to rewrite Thompson’s work, making the film’s vision even more unclear. What was the writer of such films as Three to Tango, Laws of Attraction, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, and Morning Glory going to bring to the table of a beloved family classic? Well, who knows, but now we can all keep up our head-scratching because Deadline Hollywood reports that […]

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Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna‘s resume is bizarre. Start at the bottom – Three to Tango, Laws of Attraction, some TV movie, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, Morning Glory – you see the pattern, right? But after penning generally mainstream romantic comedies since 1999, McKenna veered wildly off course in 2011. Her credits for that year? I Don’t Know How She Does It (horrible, offensive tripe) and We Bought a Zoo (charming, inoffensive family stuff directed by no less than Cameron Crowe). Now McKenna is reportedly set to go even further away from her bread and butter, as the scribe is apparently set to rewrite the script for the Will Smith and Jay-Z-produced remake of Annie. Perhaps even McKenna bristled at last year’s New York Times profile that sold her as the go-to writer of “Cinderella stories for the Blackberry set of professional women.” (Oof.) McKenna will reportedly “draw on both the hit Broadway musical and the comic strips that first introduced the plucky orphan for the adaptation.” She’s certainly an accomplished adapter, as a number of her projects spawned from popular books, though McKenna has never penned a musical.

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The new trend in Hollywood seems to be live action adaptations of tales starring Disney princesses. First Disney hit it big themselves with their Tim Burton directed 3D version of Alice in Wonderland. Then, a couple of other studios got the jump on them for the next round by announcing several different Snow White projects. Eventually Disney threw their hat into that ring with their own take on the tale, The Order of the Seven, and not one to be outdone for long, they’ve become to first one out of the gate for the next wave of princess movies as well. If one of those other studios wants to put a Cinderella project in the works, well they’re just going to have to get in line behind the mouse. Work on a live action Cinderella started last year when Disney paid The Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna big money for her treatment on the material. That pitch seems to have come together nicely, because word from Deadline Fantasyland is that Disney is courting director Mark Romanek to helm the project. Romanek has directed films like One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go before, and his work has always gotten a fair amount of critical acclaim, but it should be remembered that the last time he was attached to a big studio property it resulted in him walking out on Universal’s The Wolfman not long before shooting was scheduled to start. Seeing as nothing has been officially signed, […]

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The inner workings of the media have not been depicted onscreen with the incisiveness of Morning Glory in years. Twenty-three of them to be exact, since James L. Brooks released his seminal Broadcast News, the ensemble comedy that convincingly revealed the behind-the-scenes machinations and romantic triangles at an evening news program. Roger Michell’s film is the 2010 morning show set answer to Brooks’ work. Above all, it trades in two fundamental truths: the media has gotten dumber and even more filled with personalities slavishly devoted to a fast-paced, go-getter, plugged-in workaholic lifestyle. Fundamentally ensconced in the longstanding tradition of screwball boardroom comedies, Morning Glory is nonetheless attuned to the way we get our information and to the pressures of a society placing an increasingly sharp emphasis on networking and fraternization — superficiality over substance.

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It may have something to do with the fact that I’ve recently watched both Knocked Up and a marathon of How I Met Your Mother, but everything feels like it revolves around struggling broadcast journalists and/or producers these days. Local television morning show producer is the new executive assistant.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been anxiously awaiting the days when princesses, enchantment and fantastical adventures overtake the dark, brooding, vamping trends in teen-targeted entertainment.

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