In Development

Joe Dante

It should be a cause for celebration any time horror legend Joe Dante gets a chance to bring his unique blend of chills and chuckles to a new project. Over the course of his lengthy and awesome career this guy has brought us gems like The Howling, Gremlins, The ‘burbs, and Eerie, Indiana, and though he still stays busy keeping the horror love alive over at Trailers From Hell, it’s a shame that we haven’t been able to see more feature work from him over the last decade or so. Heck, his latest film, The Hole, sat on the shelf for three years before most of us even got the chance to watch it. That’s just not enough Joe Dante. The world cries out for more. Good news! Ask and you shall receive. New Films Cinema has announced [via ComingSoon] that filming is scheduled to start soon on a new project they’ve put together for Dante called Air Disturbance. Taking place on a transcontinental flight between Los Angeles and Toronto, Air Disturbance tells the tale of a recently widowed man who must protect his children and the other passengers on a plane once the aircraft starts becoming affected by strange atmospheric phenomena.

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Wolfenstein

Producer Samuel Hadida announced at the American Film Market that he and Panorama Media have put a plan together to finally bring us a movie version of all those classic Wolfenstein video games. A few years ago Pulp Fiction writer Roger Avary was attached to this project, which was then titled Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but some personal issues derailed the film before it could get off the ground. Well, fret not, because Avary has been brought back to write and direct, and the film, now just titled Castle Wolfenstein, is once again ready to go.

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Latino Review has been a pretty reliable source of breaking comic book movie news in the past, so when one of their tried and true informants reports something with a scoop, it shouldn’t be scoffed at as impossible hearsay. But, on the other hand, Guillermo Del Toro is a director who’s built up a pretty strong reputation for becoming interested in and attaching himself to tons of projects that never come to fruition – so this story should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Now, with disclaimers out of the way, here’s a big story that would be completely awesome if it ever turns into a completed film. LR’s shadowy sources are reporting that Warner Bros. is so pleased with the work that Del Toro has done on his monster movie epic, Pacific Rim, that they’ve basically given him carte blanche to choose whatever he wants to do for his next project, and what he’s chosen is a massive team up of all of DC Comics’ mystical characters in a movie that would be called Heaven Sent.

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VHS Horror Movie

Recent horror release V/H/S was kind of a mixed bag, but that’s to be expected from anthology films that combine shorts from different filmmakers into a loosely connected whole. Regardless of which segments were your favorites, or which you thought didn’t work, it’s still pretty cool that V/H/S took little known filmmakers like the guys from Radio Silence and let them present their work alongside much-loved directors like Ti West and Joe Swanberg. So, good news for horror fans and horror creators alike, V/H/S/2 is already in the works, and it’s already signed up some top notch directors.

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The past few years have seen Adam Scott go from bit actor to actor in demand. It turns out the Parks and Recreation regular isn’t content to just be one of the most successful comic actors on the planet, however, he’s also got some filmmaking skills he wants to introduce to the world – so he and his writer wife, Naomi Scott, have started Gettin’ Rad Productions, a company whose main goal is to facilitate them in making cool stuff. Before you ask, yes, Scott knows how ridiculous that sounds. He calls GRP a name that’s “both stupid and aspirational.” What kind of stuff are the duo going to be working on? Well, it turns out you might have already seen their first project, that Adult Swim special that turned out to be a shot-for-shot remake of the Simon & Simon opening credits starring Adam and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm:

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Making a movie about the life of Harry Houdini has been a recent priority of Lionsgate’s Summit for a few good reasons. For one, the famed magician just lived a really interesting life, which would probably make for the rare, non-boring biopic. For another, Houdini is a name that lots of people already recognize, but that hasn’t been the subject of a movie in a while, and studios are always looking for something that has name recognition they can get their hands on. Add that to the fact that there’s a biography out there, by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, called “The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero” that’s very cinematic and pretty much ready-made to be adapted into a film (screenwriter Noah Oppenheim has already done a draft), and putting together a Houdini project seems like something of a no-brainer. But, for some reason (Gary Ross looking at it and eventually passing is probably a contributing factor), Summit has been sitting on this project for a while now without it gaining any real momentum. The good news is, that may soon change, because another notable and talented director is said to be circling the screenplay. According to sources that have spoken to the L.A. Times, Hanna helmer Joe Wright has taken a liking to the script and is currently in negotiations to become attached as director.

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Seeing as he appeared in commercials, had his own television series, and starred in nine feature films, you would think that the character of Ernest P. Worrell was one of the most hilarious and beloved in comedy history. But that’s not exactly the case. As a matter of fact, you would probably be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to admit to ever liking an Ernest movie these days (full disclosure: I still consider Goes to Camp, Saves Christmas, and Scares Stupid to be guilty pleasures). We must have all just been experiencing some mass hallucination throughout the 80s and early 90s, and there’s no way anybody could make any money by trying to market another Ernest product in this day and age, right? Well, don’t tell that to RuckusFILM, as they’re trying to bring the character back in a new feature called Son of Ernest. As announced in a press release (which was originally given exclusively to Variety) today, Ernest creator John Cherry, along with Ruckus’ Clarke Gallivan and Coke Sams, and screenwriter Dan Ewen, hope that there’s still enough affection for the denim-vested friend of Vern to transition the character from the late Jim Varney to a new actor, who will essentially be doing the same schtick under the guise of being Ernest’s son. You know what this means, don’t you? Ernest got laid!

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Michelle Williams

The story behind the publishing of Irène Némirovsky’s “Suite Française” is an interesting one. When World War II first started, Némirovsky was a successful writer living in Paris, but by the time 1942 rolled around, she was a prisoner being held in Auschwitz, the prison camp where she eventually died. Somewhere during this period she managed to write the entirety of “Suite Française,” however, in microscopic handwriting, in a single notebook. Believing it to be a personal journal, Némirovsky’s daughter kept it until the late ’90s without ever reading it. Then, after thumbing through the pages and realizing that she had one of the first literary works about World War II ever written, she decided to have her mother’s book published, and it wasn’t long before it became a bestseller. The book’s Amazon description describes its plot by saying, “Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. ‘Suite Française’ tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy—in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.”

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Enormous

Director André Øvredal’s Norwegian found footage horror movie, Trollhunter, was a lot more fun that most found footage horror movies, because it didn’t spend any time trying to convince you that what you were watching was real, it instead put all of its efforts toward making a dumb, fun troll movie with the best looking trolls that their modest budget could afford. So, on that level, it was a huge success, because Trollhunter is a big, dumb movie that’s a lot of fun to watch and all of the big, dumb trolls in it look pretty great. Which makes Øvredal a prime candidate to helm a live action adaptation of Tim Daniel and Mehdi Cheggour’s comic book “Enormous.” Originally published by Image Comics, “Enormous” is set in a world where humanity is being overrun by gigantic beasts who are wrecking our cities and eating our children. It’s kind of like Godzilla if Godzilla brought friends. According to THR, producer Adrian Askarieh is looking to take a Cloverfield-like approach to adapting the material, wherein the people being stepped on will get more of the focus than the monsters doing the stepping. That’s not the whole story when it comes to what he has planned, however.

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Peanuts

At 65 years of age, you would think that lovable loser Charlie Brown and his not-so-loyal pup Snoopy would be looking a bit long in the tooth, but the truth is that these two kids couldn’t possibly look any more spry, so what better way to celebrate their 65th birthday than by having them star in their own big screen feature? It was announced in a press release today [via ComingSoon] that Blue Sky Studios (the studio behind Ice Age and Rio) is going to be making another Peanuts movie. This will be Charlie’s fifth chance to get put down by Lucy on the big screen, as creator Charles Schulz’s characters have previously appeared in films called A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Come Home, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!). Seeing as how Charles Schulz passed in 2000, you might be wondering who would be willing to step into his legendary shoes and make a new Peanuts feature. As it turns out, Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz, his grandson, Bryan Schulz, and a writer named Cornelius Uliano have all collaborated on the script, and Ice Age: Continental Drift director Steve Martino is set to helm. Sounds like as qualified a team to carry on a legacy as any…but there still isn’t any word on who will be providing the melancholy jazz music.

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Anne Hathaway

After getting off the sinking ship that is NBC’s The Office earlier than most of her co-stars and successfully getting her starring vehicle sitcom The Mindy Project picked up for a full season at Fox, actress and writer Mindy Kaling’s career is looking to be in pretty good shape. But wise moves in the TV landscape may not be the extent of her current success, as it’s now looking like a romantic comedy script Kaling co-wrote is likely to get produced as a feature as well. The film, which Kaling co-wrote with veteran TV writer Brent Forrester, is called The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, and is reportedly about a girl, who has dated nothing but losers, suddenly getting pursued by the most attractive man in the world. The reason Lizzie Gillespie is likely to soon be put into production is that it just got a big star attached to it in Anne Hathaway. Hathaway, of course, was a big name in the business already, but after playing Catwoman in this year’s The Dark Knight Rises, she’s got to be considered one of the most powerful leading ladies around, and every time a bankable star gets attached to a script, it’s generally only a matter of time before a director signs on and distribution deals come a callin’.

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Yes, It

Do you love all of the dick jokes in today’s raunchy, R-rated comedies, but hate it when the movies stray away from its protagonists’ penises and try to put their focus on something else, like flash mobs, food trucks, or burgeoning art careers? Then the new comedy from screenwriter Jeff Tetreault, Johnson, might be exactly what you’re looking for. The movie is about a womanizer named Rich Johnson (get it?) whose genitals feel so overworked by his sexual conquests that they take human form, leave his body, and refuse to come back until he learns how to be a better man. According to THR, Twilight star Cam Gigandet has been signed to play Johnson, while comedian Nick Thune has been tapped to play the johnson. Wondering how exactly one depicts a wang taking human form on film? You’re in luck, Tetreault has another dick joke to tell as a non-answer to this question. He explained to THR that his script is, “semi-autobiographical. Nick is only 6’4, though. Shaq would be more of an accurate physical representation.”

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Hungry Hungry Hippos

You see what happens when you buy a bunch of tickets to a movie called Transformers? Ever since Hasbro made a gabillion dollars by licensing one of their toy properties for a big screen adaptation, they’ve been trying their damnedest to get every dumb hunk of plastic you played with as a kid into the multiplexes as the latest and greatest summer blockbuster. Already we’ve gotten two Transformers sequels, an abysmal G.I. Joe movie, and a movie about a board game. The disastrous box office performance of this summer’s Battleship and the ending of some of the development deals that Hasbro had with Universal doesn’t seem to be bringing anyone to their senses when it comes to making movies about board games either. The L.A. Times has a report that Hasbro has now signed a trio of new development deals, this time with upstart production company Emmett/Furla, to make more movies based on stupid toys. First in line for development is Monopoly, a movie about that board game with the fake money you always tried to play with your brothers and sisters but never got to the end of before someone quit. Presumably this will be a story about a decrepit old man with a monocle building hotels and taking over railroads, all while bankrupting his friends and loved ones. Sounds scintillating. I hear there’s a scene where he has to go directly to jail that will have you on the edge of your seat. Also included in this dumb deal […]

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Richard Linklater and Jack Black

The first time director Richard Linklater used Jack Black as the star of one of his films, the result was the much-loved School of Rock. The second time the duo collaborated, it was on last year’s quirky Bernie, a film that didn’t have the mainstream appeal of School of Rock, but that earned Black quite a bit of critical acclaim for his showing off more range than audiences were used to seeing from him. Not ones to let a good thing end prematurely, Linklater and Black are reportedly planning on working together on a third film, a biopic about a real life professional bowler. At a recent awards season event for Bernie, Black let news of the new film slip when he told the L.A. Times that their new project would be, “about a guy who gives up everything to be a professional bowler.” While Black refused to confirm who exactly this bowler who gave everything away is, The Times has theorized that he’s probably talking about PBA Champion Pete Weber, a figure who – for the bowling world at least – is considered to be pretty controversial.

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Richard Kelly’s first feature film, Donnie Darko, was pretty off the wall, and a little bit of a mess, but generally it was well-liked by most people who saw it. His next couple of films, Southland Tales and The Box, however, saw Kelly take his ambitions even further, and resulted in films so strange and confusing that not many people could get behind them. Then you have Nicolas Cage, who’s pretty much the king of being so strange and confusing that people can’t get behind him. Seeing as he’s an ambitious artist much like Kelly, people have called Cage’s performances ill-conceived, awkward, or just plain awful, but nobody has ever accused him of being boring. And every once in a while you get that one that he knocks completely out of the park. Kelly and Cage are two combustible creative elements, so, even if the results turn out awful, it should still be great fun to see what they produce when they get together. In what may be the most terrifying actor/director combination since Cage teamed up with Werner Herzog, Variety is reporting that Cage and Kelly are all set to collaborate on a crime thriller called Amicus.

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Vinterberg and Far From the Madding Crowd

Seeing as his work was published back in the 1800’s, Thomas Hardy probably isn’t much of a household name these days. But people who were English majors in college still know him, due to the class or two where they were likely assigned works like “The Return of the Native” or “Jude the Obscure.” He’s like Wordsworth, just a little less famous. Thomas Vinterberg, similarly, isn’t much of a household name. But he’s a name that film students probably recognize, due to his being one of the co-founders of the Dogma 95 movement of minimalist filmmaking. Also, several of his works, like The Celebration or, more recently, The Hunt, have made decent waves in the insular worlds of film festivals and awards shows. Basically he’s like Lars Von Trier, just a little less famous. We’re discussing these two Thomases because their work is about to collide in an interesting way. According to a report from The Wrap, the Danish director is currently in talks to adapt one of Hardy’s classic novels, “Far From the Madding Crowd,” for the big screen. If a deal is struck, the script Vinterberg would be working with comes from a fellow named David Nicholls, who’s been something of an adaptation machine lately, as he’s already adapted another of Hardy’s works, “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” into a BBC miniseries, he wrote the new Mike Newell-directed adaptation of “Great Expectations” that just debuted at TIFF, and he’s also got a version of “Tender is the Night” currently […]

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Jorma Taccone

Whether he’s making web shorts with his fellow Lonely Island members Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg, (formerly) writing for NBC’s long-running sketch show Saturday Night Live, or directing cult favorite films like MacGruber, Jorma Taccone is always finding ways to keep busy. It almost seems like he enjoys getting paid to make funny stuff all the time, or something. While everybody clearly still enjoys his past work on SNL and the web, it seems like the really big bucks must be in the movies, because more and more it appears that the man is turning to feature film directing as a way to fill up his work calendar. Earlier this year we heard that he had been attached to direct an Image Comics property called The Great Unknown, which is a story about a deluded, self-proclaimed genius on a quest to discover how all of his first-rate ideas are being stolen on a worldwide level. And now we have word from THR that he’s been attached to direct yet another film, this one called Spy Guys.

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Here’s a story that’s likely to make you squeamish. Director Roman Polanski, who famously had to flee the United States after being caught violating a pubescent girl in the most thorough way a person can be violated, is all set to direct an “erotic black comedy” about a director who engages in sadomasochistic role play with the actresses who audition for him. Cute, right? The film in question is called Venus in Fur, and it’s an adaptation of the award-winning play of the same name, which was about a writer/director who was trying to put on an adaptation of the 1870 novella of the same name. The play was by David Ives, the original novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (which is where the term “masochism” comes from), and the film will come from an adapted screenplay by Polanski and Ives, acting as co-writers. Venus in Fur will be French-language, and actors Emmanuelle Seigner and Louis Garrel are set to star.

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Looney Tunes

Given the shoddy treatment Jim Henson’s Muppets characters got through much of the ’90s and the ’00s, last year’s refresher of their property, The Muppets, was welcomed as a huge breath of fresh air. Finally somebody with true affection for these beloved characters gave them a big screen vehicle that skillfully treated them with the respect they deserve. Things are arguably looking worse for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes franchise than they ever did for the Muppets though. The last time these characters hit the big screen was in 2003’s already-forgotten Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and the last time they felt remotely relevant was when they appeared in Space Jam in 1996. Here is a stable of characters that was beloved for decades, whose earliest animated works are still held up in knowledgeable circles as being enduring pieces of modern art, and we can’t even get them a decent Space Jam sequel? What gives? Hopefully all this is about to change, because the brothers Warner are putting together a new feature for Bugs, Daffy, and crew, and it sounds like they’re taking the The Muppets approach that resulted in that property enjoying newfound relevance. What are the similarities here? Well, according to THR [via Slashfilm], the studio is looking outside the insular animated world and giving the job of putting this film together to people who are known for doing other things, but still have a deep, abiding affection for animated weirdness.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hollywood mainstay Philip Seymour Hoffman (My Boyfriend’s Back) is one of the best loved actors working today. Not only has he established himself as a strong character actor over the course of his prolific career, but over the past decade or so he has also proven that he has what it takes to be a leading man. And his latest starring vehicle, The Master, just opened this past weekend and broke some per screen average records at the box office. It’s safe to say that his legacy has been solidified as far as being a thespian goes (barring a De Niro-esque slide into late-career self-parody). As a director though, the man’s career is fledgling. So far he’s stepped behind the camera just once, for 2010’s Jack Goes Boating, a film that didn’t exactly tear it up either critically or commercially. It looks like he’s getting another chance to prove that he’s just as vital a presence behind the scenes as he is at the center of the scenes, however, as Variety is reporting that he’s just signed on to direct a 2011 Black List script called Ezekiel Moss (written by Keith Bunin).

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