It’s Friday morning, and it’s time once again for the News Bites, your weekly dose of movie and entertainment news. You’ll pardon me, I hope, if I rush through the introduction (as if most of you don’t just skip it anyway). There’s a moderate amount of news this week, and it’s been a bit busy for me, so I haven’t had much time to compile things ahead of time. So if things seem a little rushed, that’s why. Now click “Continue Reading” to do just that.
James Cameron is presently at work on his Avatar sequels, but he already knows what he wants to do next. He has declared his intent to begin development on Battle Angel, an adaptation of the Japanese comic book Battle Angel Alita, in 2017. Cameron describes it as something that will “one-up” Avatar by focusing on character development instead of advancing film technology. Well, at least he’s aware of the criticisms of Avatar even if he apparently is waiting until his next project to address them…
Some things just seem like natural matches. Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, about a WWII soldier who becomes “unstuck in time”, is being adapted for the big screen by Charlie Kaufman — screenwriter of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation.. A director is also already in place for the film: Guillermo del Toro.
Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame is currently in talks to star in Chappie, Neill Blomkamp’s next film.
Apparently Disney’s current “thing” is making live-action versions of their animated classics. Next up? The Jungle Book. Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) is writing the screenplay. Of course, there’s competition on this front, as Kipling’s work is in the public domain, and Warner Brothers has their own in development. The WB version is being written by Steve Kloves, who adapted all but one of the Harry Potter movies, as well as The Amazing Spider-Man. So, question time for Mowgli fans. Who would you rather have write the character: The guy behind adapting J.K. Rowling’s work, or the guy behind The Legend of Chun-Li? (It’s OK, you don’t need to answer.)
Steve Martin’s Shopgirl didn’t make many waves, but another of his novels is on its way to the big screen. Object of Beauty, about the rise and relationships of an art dealer, is in development at Maven Pictures. Amy Adams is attached to star in the lead role.
Brett Goldstein and Catherine Tate are set to star in Superbob, a British comedy about a postman granted superhuman abilities by a radioactive meteor. Natalia Tena and Laura Haddock are also acting in the film.
David Hayter, writer on the X-Men and Watchmen films, is adapting The Sword for Lakeshore Entertainment. Based on a comic by the Luna Brothers, The Sword tells the story of a paraplegic woman whose family is murdered by supernatural beings; when she discovers a sword belonging to her father, it grants her the ability to walk as well as powers of her own.
Some interesting corporate news. After working with Warner Brothers for many years, including on the recent Man of Steel, Legendary Pictures has shifted allegiance. The company has signed onto a five-year partnership with Universal.
Despite the massive box office failure of The Lone Ranger, Johnny Depp is still being sought as a leading man. He is currently in talks to star in Mortdecai, a film adaptation of The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, to be directed by David Koepp. Depp will play the lead role, Charles Mortdecai, a roguish art dealer who — in the studio’s words — “must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.” So I guess we now have to prepare ourselves to see Depp playing Jack Sparrow imitating Indiana Jones.
Oh, and some good news for James Bond fans: the director for James Bond #24 has been signed. It’s Sam Mendes. He decided he wanted to do it after all. Daniel Craig will be back as well.
Ryan Reynolds has a few words about the on-again, off-again Deadpool film. He doesn’t seem to know himself whether it’ll get made in the long run, but it’s currently “on” again, and he says in this iteration of the script, Deadpool is aware of his status as a fictional character (as he is in the Marvel comics), and at one point fiddles perplexedly with an action figure of himself from X-Men: Origins: Wolverine.
Apparently a lot of people have been asking Russell Crowe if he’d reprise his role as Jor-El for a Krypton prequel to Man of Steel. Crowe tweeted in response that if it’s something fans feel strongly about, they should contact Legendary (though given news above, they should probably talk to WB instead), and that if it happened, he’d be on board. Personally I doubt it would happen, but it’s an interesting concept; it would, to my knowledge, be the first movie that was exclusively about a superhero’s supporting cast and not the superhero themselves.
Citing unrevealed “solid sources”, Den of Geek claims to know some of the roles that recently cast Guardians of the Galaxy actors are playing. According to the Den, Benicio Del Toro is playing the Collector, Lee Pace is Ronan the Accuser, and Karen Gillan is Nebula — granddaughter of Thanos. While I won’t call anything confirmed without an official source, it’s all plausible enough — truthfully, in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, the known truths are wild enough it’s hard to rule anything out. Reportedly official casting will be announced at Comic-Con, so we’ll know soon.
How soon is too soon to start predicting box office results? Apparently two full years isn’t too soon, as analysts are already predicting Star Wars: Episode VII will make $1.2 billion worldwide. As noted in the linked article, Revenge of the Sith came in at $850 million, while The Avengers made $1.5 billion, so the estimate may be reasonable. Still seems early though.