Phil Hay

The power of casting Kevin Hart is now so overwhelming that the actor/comedian can rescue even the most plagued of projects. Hart, recently cast in such varied fare as the About Last Night remake, an uninspired Kevin James comedy, and a buddy cop comedy with Seth Rogen, has now signed on to star alongside Ice Cube in Ride Along for Universal. The comedy will be directed by Tim Story, and it reunites the director with his Think Like a Man star (Hart) and producer (Will Packer). Ice Cube will also produce the project, alongside Matt Alvarez and Larry Brezner. The film was first announced back in 2009 (via a report from Variety), but has languished at New Line until now, with Universal Pictures picking it up out of turnaround. Deadline Venice reports that this was “partly over trying to figure out the leads, but Universal was ready to move quickly in reteaming Story, Hart and Packer after Think Like A Man, a sleeper hit that has grossed $91 million domestic for Screen Gems.” However, the comedic script has apparently gone through a number of drafts, including the original one from Greg Coolidge, a pass from Steve Faber and Bob Fisher, a “quick rewrite” from Cube himself, and at least one more version from The Dictator star Jason Mantzoukas. Casting issues aside, a script that’s been touched by at least five different writers (especially a comedy that sounds relatively straightforward) is also cause for both a bit of pause and some concern. […]

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It looks like Jennifer’s Body director Karyn Kusama isn’t quite done journeying into human darkness with an “insidious” edge, as Deadline Brooklyn reports that the filmmaker is set to start shooting her next film this summer – one that appears to come with a possibly inhuman and definitely weird bite to it. The film is tantalizingly titled The Invitation, and will star Luke Wilson as a man who is “invited to his estranged ex-wife’s dinner party. Over the course of the evening, he’s gripped by mounting evidence that something insidious has taken hold of his ex, and that she and her new friends have a mysterious and horrifying agenda.” The script has been penned by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who previously wrote Kusama’s take on Aeon Flux, and who have also penned such varied projects as R.I.P.D., Clash of the Titans, and Crazy/Beautiful to their names. The film’s ensemble will also include Zachary Quinto, Topher Grace, and Johnny Galecki, most of whom we can assume are part of that creepy group of new pals that unhinge Wilson.

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There are plenty of foreign films that might deserve a US remake – both to shift their stories into a more direct cultural context and to draw attention to the original; Big Man Japan is the last on that list. The movie focuses on a man who inherited the job of defending the country against giant monsters from his father, but who can’t get his own life together. When called upon, he uses electricity to grow to unbelievable size, awkwardly fight whatever sick menace is knocking over buildings, and then return to his crummy life. It’s dry, sardonic, insane during the fight scenes, and more than a little boring when fists aren’t flying with slapstick precision. The subject matter is so directly linked to a cultural convention of Japan (and Japanese filmmaking) that it makes zero sense to remake it here. It’s more tone deaf than any other foreign remake that’s come out in the last ten years. Still, Variety is reporting that Clash of the Titans writers Phil Hay and Matt Mandredi will be writing a US version for Columbia and Original Pictures. There’s the off chance that something as crazy as this could yield epic genre results, but it seems a lot like writing a satire on consumer culture for a remote tribe in South America. Sure, a giant guy fighting giant monsters is wackysillymadcap, but will there be anything else to it?

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In this exclusive interview, Cole takes Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi back to their middle school required reading list and gets the skinny on Clash.

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The “buddy comedy in a world of sci-fi and action” might be closer to pre-production than we previously thought.

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You can breath that huge sigh of relief now. Your favorite mechanical owl will be on screen. For now.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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