Warners

Twilight Zone

According to Variety, Matt Reeves‘s Twilight Zone has captured another writer who is no doubt currently wondering why he’s back in Abraham Lincoln’s time and unable to convince anyone of the assassination. Jason Rothenberg wrote the original draft, which was tackled by Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes), and now Joby Harold (All You Need is Kill, Awake) will take an ink-filled stab at it. The most fascinating thing about the Warner Bros. project is the idea that Rod Serling‘s show will essentially be stretched into a feature film. Previous movies based on the iconic television show were serials, and the show itself got paper thin when it tried to fill an hour-long time slot, so two full hours of being in the Zone could be a bigger challenge than most expect. After all, how much clever brow-beating can we handle? The answer to that question lies in watching every episode. Tread carefully, but there’s still hope for this project. Despite Hayden Christensen’s strange take on playing a motionless guy, Awake was a clever little flick (that Harold also directed). With any luck, his talent will be the final polish it needs to get shoved in front of cameras.

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Legolas Orlando Bloom

What’s striking about the newest production blog for The Hobbit is how many people it features – and even then, it’s probably 1% of the full crew. For anyone wondering what making a movie is really like, this is a nice primer (even if it’s staged). People living in a trailer village, shuffling paper from one office to the next, coordinating with the extensive costuming department. These are the tricks behind the magic. The dwarf noses are fake, but the fire is real. The video features Peter Jackson, many of the actors, and the badass taking over as Legolas while Orlando Bloom films the blog footage. It’s a cool tour through Stone Street Studios and the behind-the-scenes world of Gloin and Friends. Check it out for yourself:

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Nic Mathieu Cadillac Turbulence

Paramount and J.J. Abrams are planning a super secret sci-fi project, but they’re not the only ones in the game. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warners is staying in the science fiction business with The Wind – a script from David Koepp (Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds). It takes place in a space colony, and that’s all that’s known, which means we know more about it than the Abrams gig. It will be the feature directing debut for commercial talent Nic Mathieu. In checking out his work, The Wind will most likely involve a healthy amount of fantastic CGI concepts (see link and above). As for the hiring, conventional wisdom says that studios like commercial directors because they’re more easily controllable, but Warners is remarkably hands-off with projects like this. Although, that also depends on the budget. The studio hasn’t been exploding with sci-fi in the recent past, but their future looks spacey. Gravity, Pacific Rim and Cloud Atlas are on the horizon, with this and hopefully more to come. The science fiction Renaissance continues.

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UPDATE: After speaking with the head of WETA’s marketing, we can confirm that the sizzle reel mentioned below was not WETAs. Again, this IMDB posting should be taken at arm’s length, and there’s also the possibility that Rothbart got the effects company wrong, but if these scenes are real, they are not the work of WETA. Original posting follows: There was never much doubt that Man of Steel would have a comic book feel. It was only slightly less guaranteed than it looking like a Zack Snyder movie. The Warners mulligan on Clark Kent is set for theaters in June of 2013, but apparently WETA just showed two scenes as part of a sizzle reel that played at a fancy gathering with smoked salmon and a bunch of visual effects artists. Allegedly, one of those effects wizards, Jonathan Rothbart (Avatar, Priest, Iron Man), posted a description of the scenes on the film’s IMDB message board. He was pretty excited. Here’s what he (spoilerifically) had to say:

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The flames are hot here in development hell, and there’s way too much cocaine. Way, way too much. So why wouldn’t we come back? When we first examined 8 Promised Movies That Still Haven’t Been Made, it was an exploration of the complex world of filmmaking where the smallest issue can derail an entire project potentially worth millions. Nervous executives, scheduling conflicts, hangnails. Getting a movie made is a miracle, and even those that get hailed in the press as moving forward are sometimes abandoned. Considering our national grand obsession with hypotheticals, here are 8 more movies we were told would happen that haven’t (including some that won’t).

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Warners is hoping to start a beautiful friendship with movie fans by offering digital copies of classic scripts – complete with background information and scenes embedded amidst the dialogue and description. Their digital distribution arm has announced the “Inside The Script” program which makes available these beefed-up versions of the original screenplays for classics for iBookstore, Kindle and NOOK. In addition to the script, a veritable book of production history, production notes, storyboard, pictures, posters and behind-the-scenes pictures are all included in the ten-dollar download (or $9.99 if you’re a stickler for exactitude). Right now, the program includes work from Casablanca, North By Northwest, An American in Paris and Ben-Hur with plans to add more shortly. This seems like a treasure trove of movie geek goodness, but it’ll be interesting to see if fans will shell out ten bucks for the privilege. What’s most interesting here is that this is the kind of material normally relegated to coffee table books and historic tomes that could double as anchors. It’s a sign that the studio is interested in engaging on a digital level. Now to see if that intuition will translate to film distribution itself. Either way, this program is a spectacular idea that could give a lot of fans the chance to delve deeper into a part of the movies they love. I’ll take 3 Casablancas please. For more information, check out Inside The Script’s Facebook Page.  

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Ruben Fleischer is two for two. Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less both exhibited an energetic brand of comedy that showed off the chops of a new talent. Now it’s time for that talent to change genres and show some range. The Gangster Squad was a black list script from Will Beall that made its way to Warners. The first trailer boasts a stellar cast of Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn and a ton of familiar face. Plus, Gosling comes off as a total pansy here, no matter what size gun he’s got. That’s an interesting reversal after the stoic badass in Drive. It looks like a standard gangland story, but the visuals are dynamic and everything points to it being a solid flick. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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I’m pretty that question is from an old Zen Koan or Buddhist saying or something. Of course, it might be from Eastbound and Down. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that show’s creator, Jody Hill,  is attached to an untitled Warners action movie that might morph into a reboot of Dukes of Hazzard. Hill also directed Observe and Report and hails from North Carolina with a special connection to southern filmmaking. Yes, the eternal name of Peckinpah was evoked in the piece, but the underlying truth here is that the studio won’t know whether they’re rebooting The Dukes of Hazzard or not until Hill finishes the script. Let that sink in. There’s a magic, confusing moment right now where Hill is either going to write a movie that will be an original piece of southern action, or Hill will write a movie that will be an original piece of southern action that has a 70s sitcom title slapped on it. This is where we’re at creatively. The fear of anything original is palpable, but at Warners? Then again, Danny McBride does have a Tom Wopat feel to him.

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After fighting kidnapping pimps involved in the sex trade, after fighting wolves, after fighting Nazis in black and white, Liam Neeson is in talks to fight terrorists on a plane. According to Variety, Warners wants him for Non-Stop, and it’s easy to see why. The story is focused on an Air Marshall (who Neeson would play) that gets hip to a terrorism plot on an international flight (one that apparently doesn’t have any transfers or scheduled refueling sessions). He then, most likely, kicks a bunch of ass and tells people to get off his plane. The script was written by John Richardson and Chris Roach – both of whom are newcomers to the writing game – and will be directed by Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf). The poster is going to be great. Neeson looking stony with a cut or two on his face, a plane looming in the background, the tag “The Flight is Non-Stop. So Is He.” Goosebumps.

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It’s a mystery why Tim Burton gets stuck in the black and white world from time to time because he’s one of the few filmmakers who can make primary colors creepy. Apparently the marketing department for Dark Shadows is pretty good at it too. With Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and more popping boldly into the foreground, these posters are a reminder of the idiosyncrasy inherent in some of Burton’s filmmaking: vibrant grays and disturbing, bright colors. Check them out for yourself:

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? On the face of it, the gimmick here seems like it could be real stale or real stilted. Fortunately, the production team behind the first edition of Staged (which used lyrics from the band Gym Class Heroes) pull it off with poise and a sense of purpose. It’s a savvy concept, to build your script from someone else’s poetry. What writers Josh Covitt and Steven Szlaga craft is a trip into a 1963 USSR bar with a dangerous love triangle (which features an eye patched version of Creed from The Office). It’s funny, sleek and brimming with charisma. What will it cost? Only 6 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.

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Chronicle director Josh Trank is already looking to bring the drooling dark visage of Venom to the big screen, but Deadline Lamar is announcing that he’s officially on board to bring another comic book to life as a movie. He’s been hired by Warners to direct The Red Star – an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name from creator Christian Gossett. It’s a solid fit for the man who got famous with teenage super powers. “The Red Star” is a sprawling story that involves as much wizardry as it does alternate history, telling the story of a mythical Russia (The Lands of the Red Star) who is engaged in a brutal war with its enemy Al’lstaan. It’s an epic told from many different angles with a ton of cool elements (like human energy cannons). It’s an awesome, excellent book and bringing it to life will most likely involve a lot of effects work and a huge filmmaking sensibility. Plus, it would bring us one step closer to Superman: Red Son becoming a possibility. In Soviet Russia, everyone wins.

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There’s something incredible about knowing that a movie exists. Especially now. After years – years! – of speculation, glimmers of set photos and vague comments mined for meaning, there is actually something we can all call The Dark Knight Rises. It’s no longer an idea. It’s a reality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan showed his first cut of the movie to Warners, which means that it’s a reality that will undoubtedly go through some more edits and some honing, but it’s a real thing nonetheless. What was just a thought turned into words on a page, and now those words have evolved into something physical and dynamic. It’s nothing short of magic.  

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The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Michael Bacall, co-screenwriter for Project X, has been hired to create a treatment for a possible sequel. Both producer Todd Phillips and Warners will get to decide whether they want to move forward with it, but only a money allergy (or some sort of artistic integrity) would keep them from doing so. With films like this, we’re all entering a new era where studios have gotten wise to the pitfalls of shelling out $400m for a budget and advertising on one movie. It’s no surprise then that movies made for $10m-$20m that provide steady returns are looking a bit shinier, and Project X2 would certainly fit that bill while piggybacking on sequel success. This is all about as unsurprising as Rush Limbaugh saying something offensive about women on air, but the real question is whether or not a movie like Project X will inevitably succumb to the don’t-wash-don’t-rinse-but-repeat story problems of The Hangover 2. With Phillips’s name attached, it’s an easy comparison, but it’s also easy because with movies that are exercises in one-upmanship, it seems natural that the sequel can do little but repeat and continue that challenge. Is there enough meat to the movie to transfer its characters over into a second helping? It doesn’t seem likely, but maybe Bacall has a trick up his sleeve. Or maybe it’ll just be another outrageous party…this time in college!

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While doing press for 21 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and, more importantly, Clone High) discussed their “LEGO” movie over at Warners and name-dropped The Matrix, The Magnificent Seven, Lord of the Rings, Time Bandits and Star Wars as tonal and plotting inspirations. The point? If you’ve got a moronic task to bring pieces of plastic to life, go huge. It worked for Michael Bay, and this team brings more to the table in terms of character and story. So, this thing could be awesome (in the oldest sense of the word, Wesley). That’s definitely a thought to get used to, but something even crazier is the idea that Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker could be making appearances. When he mentions Star Wars, it might be more than a reference point. According to Collider, Miller offered up that the usual yellow pieces won’t be the only things saving the day. “I will give you one piece of tidbit which is that there are some [Intellectual Property] characters, LEGO characters, but we can’t say who they are (laughs). That’s not really a tidbit, but it’s not just all original characters, there are some from other things that you might recognize.” It seems unlikely that they’ll get the spotlight, but with the involvement of director Chris McKay from Robot Chicken, it seems like LEGO Batman be hanging out at the bar with LEGO Indiana Jones for a few pop culture references while LEGO Hermione […]

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The Motion Picture Association of America must die. It’s a monopolistic behemoth that poisons creativity and commerce while hiding behind the failed task of educating parents about film content, and the time has come to call for its dissolution. The above logo is what we, as movie fans, are most familiar with when it comes to the MPAA because we see it on trailers and home video, but that symbol is really a trick of PR. The goal of the MPAA is not to rate movies, even if that’s the product we know and loathe best. The MPAA’s founding, fundamental aim is to maintain the corporate dominance of its members – the six largest studios. It does not serve fans. It does not serve families. It does not serve filmmakers.

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According to Deadline Arish, Steven Spielberg is close to signing on to make a film where a brave man helps save a lot of Jewish people from incredible persecution. Sadly, it’s the Schindler’s List: Electric Boogalo sequel we’d all hoped for. Unsadly, it’s Spielberg making a biblical epic on a massive scale with Warners. If the deal goes through, the goal is a shooting date in early 2013. Gods and Kings has been likened by their insider to Braveheart, and it tells the story of Moses from his birth down the river on down to Revelation probably. We’d previously reported that Spielberg was interested, but this news story almost assures that he’ll be taking this project on. And why not? It’s absolutely in his wheelhouse both in subject matter and scope. The question is whether this kind of story can still be a blockbuster moneymaker and a prestige film at the same time. It’s not the 1990s anymore. The other question is whether you want to see what essentially sounds like The Ten Commandments re-done by Spielberg.    

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Remember that time when Jack the Giant Killer was scheduled to hit theaters in the summer of 2012? It was a simpler, happier time when the internet wasn’t imploding, you could go out dancing safely with your best girl, and strangers offering bizarre beans on the side of the road were foodie hipsters wanting people to try organic lentils. Not anymore. Now chaos reigns as Warners has pushed Bryan Singer’s forthcoming flick from a coveted in mid-June all the way to March 22, 2013. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rock of Ages has been shifted forward to fill the slot. In its original position, its only competition was the Adam Sandler/Andy Samberg movie Donny’s Kid. In its new slot, it faces the DreamWorks animated comedy The Croods, the Tom Hanks-starring Somali pirate movie Captain Phillips, and whatever else studios decide to toss there in the coming months. So what happened? Either confidence wasn’t high in the film in its current, crappy CGI form. Or, it’s a sideline casualty of the decision to pump the breaks on the David Dobkin project Arthur & Lancelot which was scheduled for March 15, 2013. Dobkin is also a producer on Jack. Removing it from the schedule left Warners with no movie to release in March at all. At any rate, it’s probably good that the film gets some more time to simmer because the trailer looked atrocious. Plus, if you don’t want to wait, you can always watch the original Jack the Giant Killer […]

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On January 11, 1991, the then-head of Disney studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg, circulated an incredibly important memo about the state of the movie industry and the products they were making. It was called, “The World is Changing: Some Thoughts on Our Business,” and it had a simple purpose: to locate the root of a growing problem and to take steps to avoid falling victim to it. Katzenberg began the memo by stating: “As we begin the new year, I strongly believe we are entering a period of great danger and even greater uncertainty. Events are unfolding within and without the movie industry that are extremely threatening to our studio.” As we begin a new year two decades after this memo was written, it’s critical to look back at the points Katzenberg made to see that his period of great danger is now our period of great danger, to note that the same events unfolding within and without the industry still threaten the entire studio system in 2012, and to predict our future based on the past.

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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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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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