Directors

Star Wars

You know the story. At this point it’s basically the new shot heard ‘round the world: Disney has bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion, George Lucas is retiring from the Star Wars game, and three more Star Wars films are planned for production starting in 2015. Lucas and the new Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, have stated that they have archives of story treatments for more books, TV shows, and films… but with Lucas stepping back from the property, who are they going to get to direct these next three episodes in the ongoing Star Wars adventure? Let’s take a look at some candidates, whether they be likely, unlikely, or long shots.

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Bryan Singer

Recently the world was rocked with the low down, rotten, no good news that Matthew Vaughn was dropping out as the director of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and that Fox was going to have to scramble to find a replacement. The possible silver lining in this cloud was that Bryan Singer, the guy who directed the first two X-Men movies, who almost directed X-Men: First Class, and who’s been working as a very involved producer in getting X-Men: Days of Future Past together, could possibly be the guy to step in and direct the film, thus making for an easy transition. Basically the situation was, either Singer directs, or the possibilities for the film start to look very scary.

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The best news to hit the X-Men franchise in many years was that X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn had signed on to make the sequel, and that said sequel would take its inspiration from a classic X-Men story called “Days of Future Past.” For weeks we’ve been living in a bright and sunny paradise where the future of Fox’s X-Men movies looks very bright, indeed. But suddenly, thanks to news from the party-poopers over at Deadline Hollywood, things aren’t smelling quite so rosy. They were the first to report the news that Vaughn has now decided to drop out of the project to instead focus on another comic book adaptation for Fox based off of Mark Millar’s ‘Secret Service.’ This leaves the future of X-Men: Days of Future Past somewhat up in the air. And, if you’ll remember, the last time a successful X-Men director dropped out of the franchise he was helming, the results were Brett Ratner being brought in for the abysmal X-Men: The Last Stand. There isn’t a chance that something like that could happen again, is there?

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Matt Reeves Directing

When it was first announced that 20th Century Fox was making a prequel to Planet of the Apes that would star James Franco and a CG ape, not too many people welcomed the news with a whole lot of optimism. But once Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters, it ended up blowing most everyone who saw it away. Director Rupert Wyatt took a less than appealing idea for a movie and ended up telling the sort of affecting, personal story that tentpole blockbusters rarely end up pulling off. So it was kind of heartbreaking to learn that Wyatt wasn’t going to be returning for the sequel and Fox was looking at a shortlist of directors to replace him. It turns out things might not be as bad as they originally looked though, because ComingSoon is reporting that the studio has found their Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, and at first glance he appears to be a perfect replacement. The guy is Matt Reeves.

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Though he’s primarily known for the recent acting work he’s done in movies like Warrior and Animal Kingdom, Joel Edgerton is a man who’s been on the scene for a while, and not just as an actor, but as a writer too. As a matter of fact, the next project he has on his plate is a film called Felony, that he both wrote the screenplay for and is set to star in. Not much is yet known about the film, except that it’s about a decorated police officer who runs a cyclist off the road while driving intoxicated and then lies about it, and it’s going to be directed by fellow Australian Matthew Saville. Given Edgerton’s ability to work both as a performer and as a creator, one has to wonder if he’s ever considered taking that extra step and trying to direct a film as well as write and star in it. Well, it turns out he has. While he was doing some press for his current job, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Cinema Blend asked the actor if he ever wanted to try his hand at sitting in the director’s chair, and he had this to say, “Yeah, absolutely! I’ve got plans to do that. There’s something that I want to make, if I can, next year.”

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Gus Van Sant

The other day the venerable Cole Abaius reported on a rumor that Matt Damon was no longer going to be making his directorial debut on an upcoming project about a sales executive who has his life changed when he travels to a small town. The reason Damon was backing off the project was said to be “script issues,” but this sounded absurd because Damon is a co-writer on the film and he still intends on starring in it. So how could he possibly have issues with the script that would preclude him from directing?

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It was just reported yesterday that director Wayne Kramer was exiting Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming starring vehicle Headshot, and already there is word of who might step in to take his place. As far as his falling out with the film’s original director Wayne Kramer, Stallone says, “Initially, Mr. Kramer was hired to direct a dark comedy. However, his vision was much darker and exceptionally more violent than how the project was originally conceived. It was decided that it would be better for everyone to move on and consequently Mr. Kramer was dismissed by producers earlier this week. There were no volatile clashes, it was simply a professional parting of the ways.” So, who does Stallone think has what it takes to fulfill his more comedic vision for the project? One of the top names being considered, and the one Stallone seems to want, is veteran director Walter Hill. Stallone says, “I completely respect Walter’s incredible body of work and hopefully this legendary director will become attached to the project.” I can’t fault that sort of logic. If you want to make a funny film, what better way than going out and getting the guy who made Brewster’s Millions? I have to say that I am a little disappointed to hear the reason for Kramer’s dismissal, however. While Hill has made one of the most beloved action comedies of all time with 48. Hours, I think Stallone is forgetting what his own track record with the comedy genre is. Has Stallone […]

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Headshot was going to be the first movie that Sylvester Stallone starred in without directing himself in quite some time. When the project was announced a couple months ago it was said to be stemming from a script written by Alessandro Camon, that it would star Stallone, but someone else would direct. That someone else turned out to be Wayne Kramer, director of The Cooler and Running Scared. But that’s now off after Kramer and Stallone have reportedly clashed over the direction of the film, and Kramer has decided to leave the project to make something he wrote himself instead. There have been stories about Stallone being hard to work with going around Hollywood ever since there has been a Sylvester Stallone in Hollywood. I remember once hearing his brother Frank Stallone tell an anecdote about how Sylvester hates Renny Harlin because when they worked together on Cliffhanger, Harlin did whatever Stallone wanted and ostensibly directed the film as his puppet, but when Stallone hired him to make Driven, he went off on his own in the editing room and made his own choices. The nerve of the man! Most of the commentary on Kramer leaving Headshot presupposes that Stallone may just bite the bullet and end up directing himself, but I imagine it’s just as likely that he’ll find someone younger and less headstrong than Kramer, and then simply direct the movie through them. When the chips were down and his career needed a serious resurgence, Stallone sat in […]

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Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the 25 Greatest Working Directors, and as usual the selections include a few head scratchers. Part of the problem may be that the guidelines are fairly non-existent. How many great films does a director need to make? What percentage of their films have to be considered great? Why are 22 of the 25 “greatest” directors white males? EW’s only explanation/definition of the category is as follows: “As the Oscars approach to honor excellence from the past year, we’re counting down the most talented, in-demand filmmakers behind the camera today.” So basically… they have to be living directors. But here’s a quick sampling of the living directors who didn’t make the list… David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, Steven Soderbergh, Ridley Scott, Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Kim Ji-woon, Ang Lee, Michael Mann, Mel Gibson, Sion Sono, Kiyoshi Kurasawa, Takashi Miike, Jacques Audiard, Jason Reitman, Ed Zwick. Read on to see who beat out all these losers…

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Spielberg Tops EW

What’s better than a good list? A bad list, obviously. And Entertainment Weekly is once again happy to oblige with their ranking of the “50 Greatest Active Film Directors.”

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Check out some awe-inspiring photographs featuring some of the best and brightest in the business. Actors pair up with their directors to show exactly what (this year’s) Oscars are made of.

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