David Yates

Tarzan

Pre-production has officially begun on the Alexander Skarsgård-led Tarzan movie from Warner Bros., set to be filmed in 3D, and coming with a swath of big names attached. Due to arrive July 1, 2016, Harry Potter vet David Yates will direct the live-action film, with a screenplay based on the writings of Tarzan creator and author Egar Rice Burroughs, whom also created the much beloved John Carter. Yates’ film will be joining Zack Snyder’s 2016 untitled Man of Steel sequel as yet another big, summer tentpole for Warner Bros. What a difference a new year makes, as April of 2013, the project was considered mothballed due to budgetary and casting issues, the most noteworthy of which was a rumored difficulty in getting Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx onboard. It appears now that Foxx may be out of the equation all the same, as the current cast includes The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie as Jane, Django Unchained actor Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson (who is not Laurence Fishburne). Jessica Chastain was also a name attached to the project last year, but like Foxx, also appears to have moved on.

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PORTRAITS  BEST OF

Some stories are so simple and so timeless that they’ll forever be a part of cinema. Boy meets girl. A stranger comes to town. A man is raised by apes, yet upon closer inspection, is not actually an ape himself. Samuel L. Jackson is clearly a fan of that third idea, as the actor is now in talks for a co-starring role in the live-action Tarzan film that director David Yates has been trying to get off the ground for some time now. Back in April, budgetary concerns threatened to de-vine Tarzan for good, but the addition of Jackson, the confirmation of Christoph Waltz (who entered talks for the film in September), and the already-on-board star Alexander Skarsgard mean things are looking a little brighter. The film still hasn’t been greenlit yet, however – and only after doing so will it begin casting its Jane. Right now, Margot Robbie is said to be the frontrunner there. So now Tarzan‘s got its grade-A, top choice cast. It’s got a budget (or had a budget, at one time) that was enough to make Warner Bros quake with fear and slam the panic button. How exactly will the film balance its blockbuster leanings with the somewhat ridiculous image of an actor cavorting around in nothing but a small piece of brown fabric? I don’t mean to harp on Tarzan, or his fashion choices. And obviously, there’s a level of audience appeal in a mostly nude well-built actor doing a little cavorting. But over the […]

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The “comic books into movies” trend marches ever onward, but if a comic adaptation has no superheroes, magic hammers, or grown men dressing up like winged mammals, does it still count as part of the trend? The world may never know. But what we do know is that “Who is Jake Ellis?” the graphic novel from Nathan Edmonson and Tonci Zonjic, is the latest comic to see a big screen adaptation. We also know (thanks to The Hollywood Reporter) that Who is Jake Ellis? will be directed by English filmmaker David Yates. Yates is best known for the last four Harry Potter films, but his work on the TV miniseries State of Play (which eventually got remade into the Russell Crowe film of the same name) makes him seem much more fitting for the twisty-turny spy thriller that is Who is Jake Ellis?

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villain

Christoph Waltz is a super charismatic performer who can easily come off as being very likable, as we saw last year when he won everyone’s hearts as the second lead in Django Unchained. But the fact of the matter is, he debuted in mainstream minds so powerfully and so memorably playing an evil and disturbing Nazi in Inglorious Basterds that many seem to be typecasting him as a bad dude. Already since Basterds got everyone’s attention he’s played a ridiculous villain in The Green Hornet, a ridiculous villain in The Three Musketeers, and now there are reports that he’s being looked at to play what’s sure to be a ridiculous villain in David Yates’ upcoming Tarzan film. The story comes from Variety, who report that Waltz is currently in talks to join the film opposite Alexander Skarsgard’s title character. Seeing as there are so many dozens of “Tarzan” novels alone, not to mention all of the other versions of the character from other mediums, it’s hard to say what sort of storyline Yates and company are looking to adapt for this new Tarzan film, but early reports indicate that the character Waltz is up for would be that of a military man. Likely a smug military man, with a jerk plan of some sort.

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Scarface Yates

According to Deadline Hollywood, Universal is close to securing David Yates to direct their new David Ayer-scripted version of Scarface, and there are two ways to look at it (the same two ways that cropped up back in 2011 when the studio first announced its development): Lament a falling sky while quoting Tony Montana endlessly; or Recognize that a remake of Scarface is really a retelling of a foreigner’s story in a new place as he navigates the underworld. Boiled down, it’s a pretty simple plot that’s been tackled far more than Howard Hawks’ and Briand De Palma’s official versions. Plus, Yates is an excellent filmmaker with a keen sense for raw storytelling and action, so it might be fun to watch him let loose with more blood than he got with Harry Potter. Better yet, he could recruit Daniel Radcliffe to say, “This town’s like a great big pussy just waiting to get fucked.” Better than better yet, this affords Michael Bolton a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just please don’t have the main character be a bath salts dealer. Anything but that.

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra 2: Axing for Trouble

What is Casting Couch? It’s a news roundup that’s jam-packed with updates about big star doing big things. Look at this list of names! There’s barely a second-stringer on there. When you shoot as many people in the head and blow as many things up onscreen as Sylvester Stallone, every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from all of the insanity and do a quiet little indie drama. So, according to Variety, that’s exactly what he’s doing with his next film, Reach Me. Written and directed by Stallone’s Cobra co-star John Herzfeld, Reach Me is an ensemble piece about a group of characters who were all touched by a self-help book that was written by a reclusive football coach. There isn’t yet any word on what role Stallone will be playing, but, for the sake of his old knees, let’s hope it doesn’t involve any running. Those hobbling away from the explosion scenes in the Expendables movies are starting to look pretty painful.

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Tarzan Bo Derek

It’s been over a decade since Tarzan graced the big screen in Disney’s animated adaptation and over three since the jungle hero was sexed up by Bo Derek in Tarzan the Ape Man. Between those two we’ve seen Christopher Lambert go ape in Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan…and that’s about it. But Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ high-flying hero looks set to be a hot property in the next couple of years. First up will be a motion-captured adventure starring Twilight‘s Kellan Lutz, but it’s probably safe to call that one a bomb right now. The much safer bet is the big budget reboot coming from WB. David Yates has been rumored to take on the directing gig for a few months now, but the veteran Harry Potter-helmer seemed to be in no rush to jump into another possible franchise. Per Vulture though, it looks like Yates has finally signed on the dotted line. The question now becomes who will be cast in the high profile but somewhat risky role of Tarzan?

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In a roundabout spiral of movie news from Cinema Blend via The Playlist via Deadline Barsoom, we are seeing another explosion of development frenzy. This time, instead of competing movies about Snow White or The Wizard of Oz, there are now multiple Tarzan movies getting put through the development wringer. According to the story, screenwriter Adam Cozad (Untitled Jack Ryan Reboot/Remake/Redo/Rehash) talks about his script for Tarzan generating interest from some major directors, including David “Four Harry Potters” Yates and Gary “Only One Hunger Games” Ross. Suzanne White, who is most known for her work on television but recently directed Nanny McPhee Returns, has also expressed interest. This film would be the second one in development, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous novels about a boy stranded in the African jungle, raised by great apes. Craig Brewer (Footloose and Hustle & Flow) is already developing his own version of the story based on his own script and starring Twilight beefcake Kellan Lutz. No word yet whether Lutz as the title character will rap or sparkle in this film, but it is hard out here for a pimp ape man.

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In what can only be a (giggle) magical turn of events (or a director and star wanting to work together again, whichever), Harry Potter‘s own Hermione Granger is joining back up with director David Yates for her next project. Granger – er, sorry – Emma Watson will star in Your Voice in My Head, based on Emma Forrest‘s memoir of the same name, which she is penning for the screen. Published just last May, Forrest’s book is based on some a very personal story, one that serves as a memoir of a specific time in her life after a tragic, and somewhat bizarre, death. In her early twenties, Forrest was living in New York City and was caught up in what appeared to be a satisfying life, complete with a great job and a meaningful romance. But however charmed Forrest’s life might have looked from the outside, she was suffering on the inside, to the point that she ultimately sought out a therapist to help her and her bi-polar disorder. She found a beloved psychiatrist who helped her immeasurably – until the day she called his office to set a new appointment and was told that he had passed away. Your Voice in My Head charts her recovery from that tragedy. Deadline Henderson also reports that Tom Hanks and George Clooney are “in the mix” for the role of the psychiatrist.

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Like all Harry Potter alumnae, audiences have questioned what David Yates will make his first film coming out of Hogwart’s. His name has been attached (no matter how loosely) to The Stand, to the Al Capone biopic Cicero, to an adaptation of the Vertigo comic Fables, to a movie about Alan Turing, to a war picture called St. Nazaire, and to the divisive new Doctor Who movie from BBC. Now, according to Variety, there’s a new project to add to the list. Yates is reportedly on board to direct Your Voice in My Head- an adaptation of the Emma Forrest memoir of the same name which chronicles her experience with bipolar disorder and the death of the psychiatrist who was helping her cope. Here’s the money quote from the Guardian review of the book:

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There has been a lot of speculation as to what director David Yates would work on now that he’s done capping off the Harry Potter franchise with four hugely successful films. He’s got a lot of offers on the table, a lot of irons in the fire, and up until this point it has mostly seemed like he would be able to choose whatever he wants to do. But that may no longer be the case. News coming out of Variety suggests that Yates isn’t going to be able to do whatever he wants to do…but whenever he wants to do. That’s right, Yates is teaming up with the BBC to create a big budget, big screen, Big McLarge Huge version of everyone’s favorite Time Lord, Doctor Who. If you don’t know what Doctor Who is, then man you must really hate things that are British. When you talk about long-running TV shows, you’re talking about Doctor Who. Running all the way from 1963-1989 and then spawning a revival in 2005, Doctor Who is a science fiction show that concerns itself largely with rubber aliens, time-traveling police boxes, scarves, and David Tennant’s floppy hair. So far 11 different men have portrayed the Sonic Screwdriver wielding Doctor, and if Yates gets his way, this new film will introduce a 12th.

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Well, huh. Warner Bros. has reportedly “chosen” (appropriate wording)Ben Affleck to adapt from the source material and direct The Stand, their crack at making a feature (or two…or three…) out of Stephen King‘s massive novel about a post-apocalyptic America, decimated by a government-designed super-flu. The book was previously turned into a somewhat lackluster television miniseries back in 1994 (and I do say “somewhat,” because there are things I liked about it, namely the casting of Jamey Sheridan as King’s constant character, the wicked Randall Flagg). I’m not generally a huge fan of King’s work, but I love The Stand because, it’s late on a Friday so I can work a little blue here, I fucking love post-apocalyptic fiction, and The Stand is a big, sweeping, totally awesome specimen of the genre. The studio reportedly picked Affleck for the job because they “love” him and because he’s “become a cornerstone director” for them. Of course, this film is a huge undertaking for any director, as the book is sprawling and layered and deep and really wonderful, but it’s also, again sprawling and layered and deep. Even King himself has doubted that the book could be made into a feature film. Affleck is turning into a great director, and he’s proven himself able to adapt material (all three of his features, including the currently-shooting Argo come from previously written material, including books and articles), but this is something else. The Stand is, again, a massive undertaking, and I cannot wait to see how this pans out, […]

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Let the hyperventilation begin. As if manna from Heaven being tossed down upon a weary people who didn’t want to see Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard build The Dark Tower, Hitfix is reporting that screenwriter Steve Kloves and director David Yates are close to making a multi-film deal happen for The Stand over at Warners. As that sinks in, think of the success Kloves had writing the Harry Potter series, and the level of craftsmanship that David Yates brought to the table. It’s no doubt that Potter was a unique sort of lightning – given most of its energy from an unthinkable popularity around the world – but the movies had to deliver, and they most certainly did. Now, this pair has a chance to take (perhaps) Stephen King‘s most iconic work and deliver it the way it deserves – on the big screen. Mick Garris did as fine a job possible with a television mini-series format (and the smoldering tones of Gary Sinise), but it’s time to shift this story about a spiritually-prophesied viral outbreak that kills just about everyone into R-rated territory and make Randall Flagg a truly devastating villain.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column and link collector that is tired of explaining itself to you, quite frankly. Drew McWeeney at HitFix got the scoop this evening on a big story, in which Harry Potter director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves will be re-teaming to do a multi-film version of Stephen King’s epic The Stand. The hope here is that Yates can give it that Deathly Hallows scope, something the work of Stephen King has long deserved, but never really received. With The Dark Tower on the ropes, this could become a new fixation for King fans.

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Culture Warrior

That the final Harry Potter film became the biggest opening weekend of all time seemed only natural and inevitable. Something so monumentally culturally pervasive could have only gone out with a loud bang. After all, it is – as I’ve been repeatedly reminded – the most successful movie franchise of all time, adapted from a series of books whose sales history rivals that of The Holy Bible. Yet unlike some head scratch-inducing huge opening weekends of the more uninspired entries of blockbusting franchises who rival Harry Potter in their monetary intake but not their longevity (Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and the former reigning champ whose buzz was accompanied by fascination with the untimely death of a star (The Dark Knight), the mass participation in the cultural event that was the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t likely be rivaled anytime soon. The Harry Potter films simultaneously represent the inevitable logical extent of franchise filmmaking as much as it is exceptional and anomalous in this same regard.

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Fresh off ending his run as the defacto director of the once hot potato Harry Potter series, David Yates has suddenly gone from being a little known TV director to becoming a giant name in the industry. What he does next will probably be the subject of a lot of attention, and Vulture is reporting that he already has three potential franchises on his plate. Feeling a little bit jealous of Universal’s prospective Stephen King mega-franchise The Dark Tower, Warner Bros. is looking to get into the King business themselves. To that end they are looking to do a new version of one of King’s most famous novels, The Stand, which is likely to be stretched out into three films. Being the guy who made them a bajillion dollars with these last four Harry Potter movies, Yates would get first dibs on the new trilogy if he wants it. It’s a big commitment to make, and reportedly he has the next two weeks to decide.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dances with joy because it’s the only time you can dress up in flowing robes and head to the cineplex to see a movie based on an alleged children’s book and not get arrested. After cinching his wizarding cloak around his waist with his Gryffindor scarf, he sails off to check out Winnie the Pooh. Then, from the dysfunctional head cases in the Hundred Acre Wood, Kevin sneaks into the screening room next door to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II only to discover he doesn’t have his 3D glasses. Curses!

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If you’re not excited about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, I would direct you to the review written by our own Cole Abaius. If you can’t be bothered to read such things in advance of the final Potter episode, you could watch this new featurette released by Warner Bros. today. “The Story of Snape” includes some spoilers from two movies ago, so tread lightly if you feel the need. If you’re up on your Hogwarts tales, this one seems like a necessary primer for what is to come where the final chapter hits theaters this week.

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There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story. Talk to the right writer, and he or she will most likely tell you that typing the last bit of punctuation can be the hardest ink to stamp into the page because even though that’s the goal, it also means saying goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with. Characters you’ve fought for and alongside of. Characters that have reflected the best parts of you, shown you your weaknesses and made you all the better for it. We may use stories as escapism, but we have to return to the real world eventually. There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story because a final chapter has to encapsulate everything that’s played out in the much larger space that’s come before it. It has to confront the audience and its characters with choices they’ve been avoiding, trials that have been kept at arm’s length, and the lessons of all of the smaller tasks has to be used sufficiently against the most dire of consequences in order to be satisfying. It’s been a long journey, but in all of those undertakings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 succeeds with incredible resolve.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is going to have to be a lot of things to a lot of people. It will need to be explosive but thoughtful, dramatic but lighthearted, focused and fearless. The movie has its work cut out for it, but as for the trailer, it does every single thing right. Check it out for yourself:

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