It’s Friday morning, time for the weekly dose of news bites. Now, normally I’d just list the few tidbits straight in the post without using a jump cut, but this week the press releases have been coming out in abundance. So for those of you seeing this on the front page instead of a direct link, hit the “Continue Reading” link to see what’s new this week. What’s on the docket? Some big time movie plans, and a whole lot of upcoming TV series.
Here we go:
Steven Soderbergh has announced his retirement from directing films.
What are Marvel’s movie plans for the Hulk? Rumors say that after The Avengers 2, the plans for the surly green giant are to have a film based on the “Planet Hulk” storyline, in which Hulk is sent away from Earth and crash-lands on a world where all the denizens are just as tough as he is.
And more Marvel: Chris Pratt has reportedly signed on for the lead role as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. The film is due out August 1, 2014.
Stand-alone Star Wars films — ones that aren’t part of the upcoming trilogy — are officially in the works, with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg in charge of writing. Rumors are flying quickly and furiously on who will be the focus of those films, with Entertainment Weekly saying the films will be a Han Solo prequel to the original trilogy, and a Boba Fett side story set sometime concurrent with the original trilogy. Solid confirmation of either has not yet surfaced.
There’s a lot of news about upcoming TV shows floating about this week. First up, ABC has ordered a pilot for a sitcom starring John Leguizamo, based on his life as a father worried his kids may lack his sense of grounding from their privileged life.
Leguizamo’s not the only comedian coming to the small screen. CBS has picked up the pilot for Crazy Ones, starring Robin Williams as an advertising executive working with his daughter. CBS has also picked up two drama pilots: Intelligence, about a secret agent with a microchip in his brain that lets him pick up radio waves, and Anatomy of Violence, about a criminal psychologist teamed up with a young detective.
NBC is remaking Ironside, with Blair Underwood starring as the character made famous by Raymond Burr.
Brett Ratner is working to produce an animated TV series… based on FarmVille, the Sim-like Facebook application. Ratner says “FarmVille is one of the most exciting brands out there today”, which is quite possibly a sentence that has never been uttered before by anybody else. The article also mentions off-handedly that Ratner is directing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the film Hercules, due for release in August 2014. At least it’s not a FarmVille movie starring Johnson — the guy needs to stick with the action films.
Rumors suggest that the Justice League movie script written by Will Beall — writer of Gangster Squad — has been scrapped. Warner Brothers is reportedly looking into a new script, but the author is as yet unknown.
Ellen Page, star of Juno and co-star of Inception, is making her directorial debut with Miss Stevens, about a teacher who gets her life in order while chaperoning her students to a state drama competition. Anna Faris is set to star.
Are you ready for another go at the Grinch? Peter Candeland, an animator whose work includes All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and the series of Aladdin, is set to have his directorial debut with a 3D animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, similar to the earlier Dr. Seuss-inspired films Horton Hears a Who and The Lorax. The film is coming out through Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment. Odds of this being better received than Jim Carrey’s live-action rendition? I’d say about 75%. Odds of it being better received than the Boris Karloff-voiced TV special? About 0.5%.
Amazon Studios — as in Amazon.com — and Sony TV are partnering up to create a TV series based on the film Zombieland. Tyler Ross will be playing Columbus, and Izabela Vidovic will play Little Rock. It’s unlikely any of the movie stars will be in the series.
“How can you put out a meaningful drama when every fifteen minutes proceedings are interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits with toilet paper?”
— Rod Serling