Good morning, it’s time for this week’s News Bites. Things don’t seem to be slowing down in Hollywood, as we have another week with around twenty solid news items — and only one bit of speculation (and even that comes from the star in question and not “unnamed sources”). There’s superhero news, remake news, YA novel adaptation news, all the usual suspects. So read on to find out what’s happening!
As happens all too often, we open with some sad news. Musician J.J. Cale, originator of the “Tulsa Sound” of blues music and writer of (among others) the songs “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”, has passed away at the age of 74.
Additionally, Eileen Brennan, who was nominated for an Oscar for her work in Private Benjamin and also played Mrs. Peacock in Clue, has passed away at the age of 80.
One of the late James Gandolfini’s final films, Enough Said, has been given a release date of September 20th in select theatres. Gandolfini plays a divorced father who falls in love with a woman played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, only to find that she’s best friends with his ex-wife.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that John Williams will be providing the scores to Star Wars episodes VII, VIII, and IX. So at least one thing will be right about the films.
Sigourney Weaver is in talks to join the cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, sequel to the upcoming City of Bones. That sequel work is already under way isn’t too surprising; they clearly have confidence in the series success. Weaver herself is a bit more surprising; might class the thing up a bit.
Harvey Weinstein is teaming up with Disney, Jane Rosenthal, and Robert De Niro to produce an adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl, about a 12-year-old criminal mastermind who gets more than he bargains for when he kidnaps a fairy. Michael Goldenberg, who wrote the screenplays for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Green Lantern will be adapting the work. Considering young adult novels are hot in Hollywood right now (see: the two or three new entries in News Bites every week), Artemis Fowl seems like a particularly strong bet. After all, not only does it already have several books out (as opposed to many which are being optioned before the first is published), but they’ve also been very successful, to the point that I had already heard of the series long before this announcement.
Speaking of those ubiquitous young-adult series film adaptations, here’s another one. CBS Films has acquired the rights to Trevor Shane’s debut novel Children of Paranoia, about a young man who is part of a centuries-old organization of assassins. Akiva Goldsman is producing.
Oh, and here’s another announcement of a young-adult series being adapted to film. In this case, it’s Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, about a 16-year-old girl who is searching for her brother after he is abducted by aliens. Tobey Maguire’s company is producing the film for Sony.
Ask not why Spike Lee’s Oldboy has been pushed back a month to November 27. Ask why it’s being released at all.
Wonder Woman just can’t catch a break. Not only has Warner Brothers been able to get their act together when it comes to a feature film (news of script writing started more than ten years ago), but she can’t seem to break back onto the small screen either. The CW was going to produce an origin-story series called Amazon, similar to their Arrow, but it’s now on hold until they “get the script right”.
Meanwhile, Barry Allen, The Flash might be speeding his way onto that selfsame network. A series is not certain yet, but he will appear in an episode of Arrow, and spin-off potential is being considered.
Fredrik Malmberg, CEO of Paradox Entertainment, was asked if The Legend of Conan (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the aging barbarian king) would be introducing a junior character for Conan to pass the torch to. Malmberg explicitly denied it, saying it is Conan’s movie, and Arnold’s movie. As mentioned before, the film will be a direct sequel to the 1982 Conan the Barbarian and will be ignoring both the sequel and remake.
Fede Alvarez, director of the Evil Dead remake, has sold to MRC rights to a film called Machina, a science-fiction action film of which little is known. Alvarez will direct.
The character and accoutrements of Sherlock Holmes may be entering public domain. It involves a protacted legal battle, but the long and the short of it is as follows. Some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories are old enough to be in the public domain, some are not. The Doyle estate has long asserted that as long as some of the stories are still copyrighted, the character itself is, and charges a licensing fee for use of the character. Leslie Klinger, author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and an advisor on the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films, has sued to have the character turned into the public domain… and the Doyle estate has not responded to the lawsuit. A motion has been filed for a summary dismissal in the plaintiff’s favor, and if the Doyle estate doesn’t show, it might just happen. This would mean that while the stories that are currently under copyright would remain under copyright, anybody would be free to write new Sherlock Holmes stories without permission from the Doyle estate.
Is Universal able to handle the curse of The Mummy? The film is currently without a director as Len Wiseman has had to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts.
Singer Wang Leehom has signed on to play The Annihilator, a Magic Storm Entertainment character created by Stan Lee. The character is a Chinese expatriate who is given a choice between remaining in prison and signing up for a U.S. government super-soldier program. Obviously he opts for the latter. The screenplay is being written by Dan Gilroy (Real Steel).
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science has added a new branch for casting directors. Casting directors hope this will eventually lead to an Oscar being given out for their work.
Universal is making another Scarface movie, this time with David Yates at the helm. While the original 1930s Scarface was about an Italian selling drugs in the U.S., and the 1980s Scarface was about a Cuban selling drugs in the U.S., this time around it’ll be a Mexican who comes to the U.S., and is involved with the Mexican drug cartels. Is every generation going to get a Scarface? Does every generation need a Scarface? Perhaps most importantly, can lightning strike three times and give them another classic Scarface film?
And if you weren’t satisfied with the news that James Cameron was making two sequels to Avatar, have no fear: he’s making three sequels, which will all be filmed simultaneously. I remember when a film was filmed by itself, then got a sequel. Then it became standard to go straight from one film to a trilogy. Now we’re going straight from one film to a tetralogy.
Rumors and Speculation:
Could there be a new Spawn movie in the works? Well, not yet, but there will be if Jamie Foxx has his way. Foxx has stated that he is “aggressively pursuing” the possibility of playing the Image Comics character. Foxx also wants to star in a film about boxer Mike Tyson.
That’s all for this week’s News Bites. Thanks for reading!