James Vanderbilt

Clue 6

The not very imaginatively-titled Murder Mystery has been announced as the second film slated under the equally blah-ly renamed TWC-Dimension. Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s company has teamed up with Endgame for the film directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses), which is being described as an “action whodunit comedy” written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Amazing Spider-Man, White House Down). You’ve piqued my interest. Murder Mystery is the tale of a married couple (so far uncasted) who takes the honeymoon they never had in the hopes of reigniting their struggling relationship. But when one of the passengers on their cruise ship winds up dead, they find themselves embroiled in a…murder mystery…that takes them in a caper all across Europe. Why it’s up to this this normal couple to solve the whodunit all by themselves is not known, but I guarantee that it brings them closer together as life partners, and as partners in solving crime. Did I just write the tagline?

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WHD

No, Roland Emmerich doesn’t blow up the White House (again) in his latest patriotic pulse-pounder, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t put a really hurting on America’s presidential palace. After all, the director’s newest film is called White House Down, and it centers on something that seems to have captured Emmerich’s attention back since his opus, Independence Day – namely, what it means to wreak havoc on historical real estate in the middle of national crisis. Instead of focusing on a worldwide catastrophe for his latest actioner, Emmerich has scaled back (well, as much as Emmerich can scale back) and focused his film on a set of coordinated attacks that target the heart of America’s government by infiltrating the White House and going after the president himself. Jamie Foxx leads the cast as President James Sawyer, the leader of the free world (and not exactly President Barack Obama, but clearly a man influenced by him) and a guy who has just decreed that all American troops are to be pulled out of the Middle East immediately and finally. Clearly, Sawyer’s decision has pissed off a lot of people – including his sulky head of the Secret Service (James Woods), the military-industrial complex, and pretty much every Republican in existence. Sawyer may be popular with the people, but he’s not so popular in DC. Meanwhile (there’s nothing Emmerich loves more than a great “meanwhile!”), Channing Tatum’s John Cale is toughing it out in his own way. A police officer who […]

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Gary Oldman Fifth Element

If you think about it, the Robocop remake actually has a lot going for it. Other than the baggage of being a remake. Director Jose Padilha has a successful action franchise in Elite Squad under his belt; co-writer James Vanderbilt wrote The Rundown, Zodiac and The Losers. co-writer Nick Schenk wrote Gran Torino; star Joel Kinnaman was fantastic in Snabba Cash/Easy Money and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s got some great names involved. Rising talent. But, you know, who needs a remake of Robocop? According to The Hollywood Reporter, an actor just made it even more interesting. Gary Oldman is joining the movie as the scientist who wrestles with his own sense of ethics when he finds himself in the middle of a big corporation’s needs and a former human’s humanity. There’s no denying the gravitas and intensity that Oldman brings to the project. It was already interesting, but it just got interesting.

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After taking a break to get back into romance (The Vow, Dear John) and comedy (21 Jump Street), Channing Tatum looks to be jumping back into some meat and potatoes work. No, no, the former dancer isn’t hitting up another Step Up film (and, oh, that he were), he’s currently in “advanced talks” (sorry, intermediate or beginner talks) for the lead role in White House Down. The Roland Emmerich-directed film has long been described as “Die Hard in the White House,” and– no, no, wait, just stop there. That’s all we need to know: Roland Emmerich might direct Channing Tatum in a Die Hard in the White House. I am not entirely sure what you people need for some headache-inducing popcorn cinema, but this fits the bill for me with a goddamn bullet. Variety reports that the actor will likely join the James Vanderbilt-scripted actioner, which would see him starring as a secret service agent who gets tasked with saving the President of the United States after the White House is struck down by an attack. Sony will reportedly next look to cast the President and the head of the Secret Service. Sony, I beg of you, go to Bill Pullman for the Prez gig. Please. We will next see Tatum in Magic Mike, G.I. Joe: More Retaliated Than Ever, The Bitter Pill, and Foxcatcher.

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More than a few opinions were changed about the upcoming Total Recall when that trailer hit last month. The big summer sci-fi blockbuster’s preview sold an epic scope, the chance to explore a new world, and a fresh take on Philip K. Dick‘s story. Gone was Mars, the mutants, and a body builder acting like a killing machine. What director Len Wiseman is bringing to the table is more in line with the tone of Dick’s short story: serious, heady sci-fi. Wiseman has unquestionably made a film that will contain its fair share of explosions and one-liners, but the mystery of Douglas Quaid is what piqued the Live Free or Die Hard filmmaker’s interest the most. “Who am I?” is a quintessential life question, so imagine the stakes of having to answer that while being chased down and shot at. Speaking with Wiseman, the busy director discussed his reliance on practical effects, building an entire world without too many talking heads, and the identity crisis Douglas Quaid faces.

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Sony doesn’t need time to take a breath. They’re already planning on shooting the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man sometime in early 2013. That’s not set in stone of course (because, you know, the movie has to earn a sequel first), but the studio has already hired the superstar pairing of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to re-write the script from James Vanderbilt. According to Deadline Five Burroughs, the pair are “excited to be part of [the] legendary franchise,” which is better than being ho-hum about writing for Peter Parker. It’s a fairly obvious choice considering their work on giant budget fare like Tranformers and Star Trek, and they’re talented. No doubt about that. But they’re specifically talented at use broad brushstrokes and pouring on the melted butter. That’s a rare talent to be sure, but while it’s easy to see that brand of largeness brought to the action of Spider-Man, it’s the more intimate moments that might suffer. Of course, the pair have also had their work pushed through the vision of Michael Bay, J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau so it’s not exactly easy to pick out where they shine individually. At any rate, they’re veterans of the tentpole game, and Sony could do worse than to rely on them to bring a second story to life.

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After 16 years of bad blood between Roland Emmerich and the building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the man and the large inanimate object might be reconciling their differences. Emmerich famously blew the White House up in Independence Day, but he’s looking to protect it at all costs for White House Down. According to Deadline, the action drama which was sold as Die Hard-like to Sony was written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Losers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall). The story focuses on a paramilitary take down of the Presidential residence and workspace, which seems exactly as high concept as Emmerich can stand. Although since it seems like the action would be confined to a singular space, wouldn’t The Raid‘s Gareth Evans be a much cooler choice here? The big question here is where this fits in his directing timeline. Granted, he hasn’t signed on yet, but there are theoretically two Independence Day  sequels in the works as well as the Asteroids adaptation. It seems likely that with the $3m Sony paid for this spec, and with the money that Emmerich can command, it seems clear that the studio is making a big move here so have some popcorn ready.

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What is Movie News After Dark? First of all, POP POP! And now a few words about this column: it’s about movie news, but sometimes it serves as its author’s treasure trove of addictions. Such as his addiction to hanging on the words of Dan Harmon, or his need to regale you with his ability to find the best content on other websites. It’s a unique talent, he’s told. And now, something completely different… This week saw the season finale of Community. I will miss it until it comes back. For now, I would urge you to read this fantastic interview with creator Dan Harmon published by Vulture. There’s a reason the show is so delightfully nerdy, and it might just be the man in charge.

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James Vanderbilt, the man who wrote the script for Sony’s upcoming franchise relaunch The Amazing Spider-Man, has already been put to work writing the script for the sequel. And I don’t mean that he’s just getting some ideas together. Heat Vision reports that he has already met with studio execs, got the thumbs up for his proposal, and has been sent off to put pen to paper. Is this good news? Is this bad news? How do we react to something like this? Not only has the first film yet to be released, it hasn’t even finished shooting. What we might have stumbled upon here with this bite of news is the ultimate example of modern information overload. But, despite all that, I’m kind of happy to hear that a sequel is already in the works. If you would have told me when I was walking out of Spider-Man 3 that I would be looking forward to a reboot of the franchise I would have thought you were crazy. If you told me I would be ready for it only a couple years after Raimi’s trilogy ended I would have had you committed. But here I am kind of looking forward to seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. I think it mostly has to do with the actors. Andrew Garfield really charmed me last year in The Social Network, and Emma Stone is just a doll. I would be looking forward to any project that paired these two promising young names up. […]

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Everyday, the internet will be bringing you another name on a list of possible names that might or might not play Peter Parker. But does that really even matter?

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