Billy Ray

Jonah Hill and Leo DiCaprio in WOWS

We’ve known since February that the fabled Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill bromance first seen in The Wolf of Wall Street would continue into a second film. We’ve also known who that film would be about: Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved the ’96 Olympics from a bomb threat and was wrongfully crucified for it. And now thanks to Deadline, we know who’s interested in directing it (“circling” the project, as they say): Paul Greengrass. Makes sense, given that the script is being handled by Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray. Right now, some outlets are referring to the pic as American Nightmare, but it’s not totally clear if that’s the official title or just something taken from the Vanity Fair expose this is all based off of, “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.”

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The marketing was wrong. While the buzz has been on Gary Ross’s cinematic adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular book series, The Hunger Games, since the first film was announced, all of the stills, trailers, and posters that have trickled out over the months have not captured the stunning final product. Ross’s film is an engaging, energetic, and emotional journey that should please the series’ dedicated fans while also luring in new ones. Cinephiles who are drawn to science fiction and dystopian stories will likely find a new favorite franchise, a YA adaptation elevated by a talented cast, skilled direction, and a tone and story that feel vibrant and applicable beyond just this single film. The film is set in a future version of the United States in which the country has been fractured and then tenuously reunited after an uprising nearly seventy-five years prior. The rebels were eventually quelled, and the resulting country consists of a rich and powerful central Capitol and twelve individual “Districts.” Each District is responsible for one type of provision or industry and, as the Capitol restricts communication and interaction between the Districts, they are at the mercy of their government to get supplies that are necessary for even basic survival. And though that should be enough to keep the Capitol satisfied in their power, it’s not, and they use the annual “Hunger Games” to remind their citizens just how in control they are. The Games are a televised fight to the death, with its […]

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A lot of movie-goers liked J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise because it introduced a modern aesthetic to the property, injecting it with exciting action sequences, while also making it feel less like a bunch of people standing around spewing jargon in a space ship (something for nerds only), and more like a big budget adventure that everyone could enjoy. I just liked it because it was Abrams finally paired up with some material that he couldn’t treat like a great big mystery. It was Star Trek, we know what Star Trek is, so sorry, Mr. Abrams, no super secret viral ad campaign there. Of course, once he got a chance to start marketing the “what’s in the train” aspect of his next film, Super 8, he was back up to his old tricks. And now Deadline New Suffolk reports that Abrams has yet another top secret project in the pipeline, which has just been picked up by Paramount. This one pairs him with red hot screenwriter Billy Ray, a guy who not only is scripting a Peter Pan movie called Pan for Joe Roth, but also a Tom Hanks-starring vehicle directed by Paul Greengrass called A Captain’s Duty, the long-awaited 24 movie for Fox, and a remake of The Secret in Their Eyes, which he will also direct. Busy guy. The film that Abrams and Ray are working on is said to come from an idea that they brainstormed together, and it’s going to be a mystery adventure of […]

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Argentinean director Juan José Campanella’s 2009 release The Secret in Their Eyes was a well-liked movie. It even won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Despite all of its accomplishments though, it had two fatal flaws at its center: it wasn’t in English and it didn’t have any big Hollywood stars. What were they thinking? Luckily those wrongs are now set to be righted, as Breach director Billy Ray is putting together an English-language remake for all of us to properly enjoy. That’s one of the big flaws taken care of, but what about the other? Twitch is reporting that Ray will be taking care of that problem as well, as the production has sent an offer to Denzel Washington to star. If he accepts, he will be taking over the role of a former legal counselor who sets out to write a book about a brutal murder/death/kill rape that happened earlier in his career and never got resolved. After that some hard-boiled detective stuff takes place. There are girls, mysterious guys in photos, and the matter of drunken partners to deal with. No word yet on who is going to play the girls or the drunken partner in this remake, but if Denzel accepts his offer I would imagine a mad dash to get cast alongside him will start taking place. Finally, The Secret in Their Eyes will get its chance at being a perfect film.

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For fans of the extremely popular book series written by Suzanne Collins, March 23, 2012 may seem like a decade away, but Lionsgate has officially announced that the world will get to see The Hunger Games in a little over a year. The movie sees young scrapper Katniss Everdeen (whose name makes her sound like a family friend of the Royal Tenenbaums) striving to outwit, outplay and out-not die during a reality television show inspired by Battle Royale. The game is. Not the movie. The movie might not be anything like Battle Royale (even though that would be awesome). Incredibly talented writer/director Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit) will be helming the project from a script from State of Play writer Billy Ray, but no lead has signed on yet. Get director. Questionable writer. Movie that sees children battling each other. Sold. See you in March. [EW]

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And with this news, Jeff Hall has just died a little inside… The Secret In Their Eyes is an Argentinian thriller featuring a retired prosecutor writing a novel about a difficult case from two decades ago. It’s a smart, romantic, and exciting film anchored with a stellar performance by Ricardo Darin, a killer ending, and one hell of a tracking shot. It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film last year beating out higher profile movies like The White Ribbon and A Prophet… and now it’s getting the inevitable Hollywood remake. Per Deadline North Pole, Billy Ray has been tapped by Warner Bros. to both write and direct a remake of the film. Ray is much in demand as a writer and can be credited with past winners like Color Of Night, Volcano, and Suspect Zero. His upcoming slate includes the Westworld remake, a feature version of Fox’s 24, and an adaptation of the young adult series, The Hunger Games for director Gary Ross. He’s only had two previous directing gigs, Shattered Glass and Breach, and while neither film was great or terrible one of them did suffer greatly from its leading man. Aside from the fact that Hollywood should stop remaking great foreign films and start making their own great movies, what do you think of Billy Ray’s involvement here? Does it bode well or is it doomed to star Hayden Christensen and Bruce Willis’ penis…

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Gears of War Movie

According to the LA times, New Line’s Gears of War adaptation has stalled and is set to be re-jiggered with a lower budget and new director.

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A cultural icon is about to bring his terrorist asskicking to a theater near you.

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Len Wiseman and Kate Beckinsale

The folks at Variety are reporting today that Live Free or Die Hard and Underworld director Len Wiseman is currently in talks with Dreamworks to direct Motorcade.

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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
C-


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