Log Entries: 01/30/2012

MONTY PYTHON members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Michael Palin will star in a sci-fi comedy written by Python alum Terry Jones, which follows a group of aliens who choose an earthling, give him the power to do absolutely anything, and then observe what he does with it.  The live action Absolutely Anything (sounding like a cross between Bruce Almighty and the classic Twilight Zone episode, The Monsters are due on Maple Street,) will also co-star Robin Williams in some capacity.  Python alum Eric Idle is said to be the only Python still in negotiations to join the production… THE RUMORS ARE TRUE: executives at 20th Century Fox have confirmed that Matthew Vaughn has been signed to direct the follow-up to X-Men: First Class, and that the script is currently being written by Simon (Sherlock Holmes) Kinberg.  Bryan Singer will again produce … SILVER PICTURES have hired Albert Torres to pen their big budget remake/reimagining/reboot thingy of BEN 10.  Torres previous credits include Henry Pool is Here, and the now defunct AKIRA remake … DUE TO a ballooning budget crisis, Warner Bros. has permanently delayed Arthur & Lancelot, and pushed the release of Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer, into the film’s former release window.  This means that although TV Spots for Jack the Giant Killer had already began airing indicating a release this summer, the film in fact will now be arriving in theaters, March of 2013 … A NEW DIGITAL LOONEY TUNES SHORT will screen before Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. “Daffy’s Rhapsody” will be screened in both 2D and 3D/IMAX where available:

EVEN THOUGH THE HUNGER GAMES movie hasn’t been released as of yet, production has already begun on the sequel, Catching Fire, with the same creative team … SPEAKING OF THE HUNGER GAMES, actor Liam Hemsworth has been cast in director Phillip Noyce’s next, Timeless.  It’s a story about a grieving widower who constructs a time machine in defiance of reality, just so he can be with his wife, again …GEORGE LUCAS has officially announced his retirement from big budget filmmaking.  This is said to have come about as a result of a certain lack of interest on the part of the major studios in Hollywood, when invited to screen his latest effort as producer: Red Tails.  Said Lucas: “I’m retiring; I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.”  Lucas did concede that Indiana Jones 5 is coming, but is adamant that it will be the very last blockbuster that he is involved in.  In further Indy news, Lucas has denied the claim by Steven Spielberg that “nuking the fridge” was Spielberg’s own idea.  That much hated scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, involving Indy escaping certain death at ground zero, by hiding in a lead-lined refrigerator.  “It’s not true,” he said. “He’s trying to protect me.”  According to Lucas, Spielberg “didn’t believe” the scene. So Lucas submitted to his friend a six-inch thick file on the subject, which indicated that if the fridge were lead lined, and if Indy didn’t break his neck from the concussion created by the explosion, or the impact of the refrigerator upon the ground, and if he were able to get the door back open, survival was higher than would be expected. “The odds of surviving that refrigerator — from a lot of scientists — are about 50-50,” Lucas said.  In reference to further Star Wars films, Lucas commented: “Why would I make any more, when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” … WALT DISNEY are planning an as of yet untitled Space Adventure film. Said to be some sort of a “Journey,” the film is being penned by screenwriter Max (Chronicle) Landis.  Landis is the son of director John (An American Werewolf in London) Landis and costume designer Deborah (Raiders of the Lost Ark) Nadoolman … DOCTOR STRANGE finally has a script from the writers of Sahara.  Marvel are now searching for a director & cast to “package” together.  They hope to begin shooting this year for a 2013 release … IN OTHER MARVEL NEWS, Chronicle director Josh Trank has shot down reports that he is being considered to helm the reboot of The Fantastic Four.  Said Trank: “I know as much as you guys know. I’m totally serious. I know as much as you.” And he added, “I saw that leak online and I was like, ‘Um, okay, I’m trying to finish Chronicle right now.’ This is weird. There’s nothing to say, ‘Chronicle’ is exactly the kind of superhero movie that I wanted to make and, going forward, I want to have some original ideas and different things I’m working on.”  Yep.  Sounds like a rumor … AND IN STILL OTHER MARVEL NEWS, Iron Man 3 is now scheduled to kick off shooting in Wilmington, North Carolina, just a few weeks from now, and under the direction of Shane (Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang) Black.  Thor 2 is scheduled to begin shooting sometime this year as well, and Captain America 2 should begin filming in either December of this year, or January of next … AND IN A BRIEF BIT OF DC NEWS, director David (X-Files, Supernatural) Nutter will helm Arrow, the CW Network’s pilot for that proposed new series that focuses on Green Arrow … BEN AFFLECK has hired a screenwriter for his redux of Stephen King’s epic The Stand, which will be released theatrically this time and by Warner Bros. … KRISTEN WIIG has joined Ben Stiller for his remake of The Secret Life of Walter MittyACTOR/DIRECTOR PETER BERG, Director/Producer Michael Mann, and screenwriter Akiva Goldman, have been talking to Will Smith about a sequel to Hancock.  Says Berg: “… Will Smith actually had the idea — so I think it will happen, it’s just a question of timing.” … PRODUCER MARK (Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai) CANTON has teamed with comic book company Platinum Studios, to bring Atlantis Rising to the big screen.  The story: seismic disturbances in the world’s oceans spur an investigation, which leads to the eventual discovery of a civilization that has developed simultaneous to our own, but underwater.  Platinum previously developed the project several years ago with first, Gale Ann Hurd’s company Pacific Western, and then later with Dreamworks.  Development hell was the result the first two times at bat; hopefully they’ll hit a home run this time … UNIVERSAL has gotten a smidgen closer to setting an exact date for the upcoming blu-ray release of E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial: “March” …  Speaking of Blu-ray, Joe Dante first mentioned it and now Warner Bros. have confirmed that Gremlins 2: The New Batch will arrive on blu-ray May 8th — and here’s an advanced look at the artwork for the soon to be released and remastered in Hi-Def, Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One package:      According to CBS Home Entertainment’s executive VP Ken Ross, the release date for Season One is “late summer or early fall.”  Ross went on to state that Paramount have 20 people working on this restoration project in full time shifts around the clock 24 hrs. a day, and that 2 Seasons of the show will be released per year until the final season arrives in 2015 … RELATIVITY MEDIA have pushed back the release of The Raven, starring John Cusack, to April 27th — and they have also pushed back the release of Mirror, Mirror to March 30th.  That film, a revisionist take on Snow White, will now open opposite Wrath of the Titans, both a week after The Hunger GamesMirror, Mirror will nonetheless still be released several weeks ahead of Snow White and the Huntsman; which arrives on June 1st … A DOCUMENTARY about comic book legend Stan Lee, titled With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, will air later this year on the pay TV cable channel, EPIX.  Soon after, it will be made available on their web-site, EPIXHD.com … NOW FOR THE SAD NEWS: Veteran actor Ian Abercrombie died Thursday in Hollywood, CA.  Abercrombie is particularly memorable as both the old Wizard in Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness, and as John Hammond’s Butler in Lost World: Jurassic Park.  In addition he had a very long career, which included roles in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek: Voyager.  He also voiced the character of Palpatine/The Emperor in Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  He was 77 years old …VETERAN TELEVISION DIRECTOR John Rich passed away yesterday.  Among his almost fifty year career in directing comedy for television, he helmed two notable episodes of the original Twilight Zone: “A Kind so Stopwatch,” and “A Most Unusual Camera.”  Rich was 86 years old … DIMITRA ARLISS, the actress who played the “hit lady” who was tasked with killing Robert Redford’s character in The Sting, passed away this week after suffering a stroke at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.  She made several television and film appearances, including a part in Xanadu, and another as a Russian scientist in Clint Eastwood’s film, Firefox.  She was 79 … ACTOR JAMES FARENTINO died on Tuesday, January the 24’th of heart failure.  Among his many notable appearances: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, and the ill-fated Blue Thunder TV Series.  In 1980 he turned in a memorable performance in the cult science fiction film, The Final Countdown.  Acting alongside Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen, Farentino played a naval officer aboard an aircraft carrier transported back in time to Pearl Harbor, on December 7th, 1941.  The 73 year old thespian will be missed …  AND VERY SADLY, the voice actor who provided the very memorable voice for the Robot in Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space TV series, also died that day.  Dick Tufeld was, of course, known for: “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger !”  In addition to voicing the robot on the original TV series and in the 1998 movie, Tufeld also did routine voice work for producer Allen on both Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Time Tunnel.  And Tufeld’s voice can clearly be recognized as the opening narrator of two of the most beloved cartoon series of the 1980’s: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, and Thundarr: The Barbarian.  Tufeld was 85 years old, and according to actor Bill Mumy, died peacefully in Los Angeles.  He will be remembered by an entire generation that grew up watching TV in the 1960’s, and almost as many who watched Lost in Space in syndication …

Log Entries: 01/16/2012

HBO have announced that the 2nd Season premiere of Game of Thrones will air on April 1st … PRE-PRODUCTION ON AKIRA has been shut down by Warner Bros. citing budget issues.  The price tag is currently $90 Million, and studio executives would like to get it down to between $60 and $70 Million … THOMAS NEWMAN, not David Arnold, will score the next Bond film, SkyfallRICHARD (Lost World: Jurassic Park) SCHIFF has been cast as Doctor Emil Hamilton of S.T.A.R. Labs, in Superman: Man of Steel.  He joins Larry Fishburne, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon … AND IN ANOTHER TIDBIT FOR DC FANS: a Green Arrow TV series is in development at the CW.  The pilot is currently being written by the writer’s of Warner Bros. Green Lantern movie … STEVEN SPIELBERG has officially committed to making Robopocalypse his next film, after completing work on Lincoln.  Based upon the best-selling novel by Daniel H. Wilson, Robopocalypse is being written by Drew (Lost) Goddard.  Said Spielberg, “It’s a movie about global war between man and machines.”  The director added, “[I]t’s a future that is coming true faster than any of us thought it would. ‘Robopocalypse’ takes place in 15 or 20 years, so it’ll be another future we can relate to. It’s about the consequences of creating technologies which make our lives easier, and what happens when that technology becomes smarter than we are. It’s not the newest theme, it’s been done throughout science fiction, but it’s a theme that becomes more relevant every year.” … Spielberg also stated that he is producing, not directing Jurassic Park IV, but he probably will be directing a third Tin Tin movie. Said Spielberg, “I’d love to do the third one because I had so much fun on the first one.” … WARNER BROS. will produce a feature based upon Deborah Harkness fantasy novel, A Discovery of Witches.  The story centers on a female historian who discovers a manuscript proving that she is descended of a long line of witches.  Now, in addition to her unwanted lineage, she’s got demons and vampires hunting her … THE WACHOWSKI’S (The Matrix) next production — following the now shooting Cloud Atlas — will reportedly be Jupiter Ascending.  A sci-fi epic starring Natalie Portman … IN MARVEL MOVIE NEWS, 20th Century Fox are watching director Josh Trank’s upcoming feature Chronicle closely.  If it does well, word is he will be hired to helm the studio’s reboot of The Fantastic Four; Robert Rodat is re-writing the script for Thor 2; Writer/Director Joss Whedon has revealed that The Avengers will be told from the point of view of Captain America; and Michael (Magneto) Fassbender has confirmed that a sequel to X-Men: First Class will probably happen. “I have no choice.” Said Fassbender, “They contracted me for two options. I gotta get down with it. We’re at the ground level, but yea I think there’s going to be another one.” … DISNEY have a new animated short screening before the now playing 3D re-release of Beauty and the BeastTangled Ever After picks up right where Tangled left off — for approximately 6 minutes. (by the way, Beauty and the Beast in 3D has been available on blu-ray since October) … AND IN OTHER DISNEY NEWS, the studio is still developing a film based upon a young adult science-fiction book series penned by author Matthew Reilly.  Hover Car Racer will be a speed-racer-like tale that follows a young racing student who is training to participate in the most dangerous racing circuit in the world.  X2 screenwriter Dan Harris is now working on the latest draft of the script, and the film will be produced by Smallville veterans Alfred Gogh and Miles Millar … AND IN STILL OTHER DISNEY NEWS, the studio has hired Production Designer Robert (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland) Stromberg to direct the Tim Burton developed Maleficent.  Based on the evil character in the classic animated Disney film Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent will star Angelina Jolie … AND SPEAKING OF TIM BURTON — the director has hinted that he will consider helming the proposed Beetlejuice sequel.  Said Burton, “I love that character, and Michael is so great in it. I always think about how great and fun that character was, so I just said to Seth [Grahame-Smith], ‘If you have some idea about it, go for it, and then I’ll look at it freshly… In the past, I tried some things, but that was way back when. He seemed really excited about it.”  And, if all goes according to plan, the director will also make his own version of Pinocchio soon, and he wants Robert Downey Jr. to play Gepetto the woodcarver.  Downey Jr. has been quoted as saying that he is very interested in working with Burton on this project.  Both films would be released by Warner Bros. …TIMUR (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter) BEHMUMBETON will develop Stephen Tunny’s young adult science-fiction novel One Hundred Percent Boy, into a feature.  The story, set two thousand years from now, focuses on a 16 year old, perpetually goggled kid living on an altered moon with a red sky.  The kid suffers from a condition allowing him to see a 4th primary color, and thus see the future.  This, coupled with the fact that no one can look into his eyes without going mad, makes him a target … SYFY (formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel) has increased the season 3 episode count for the hit show Wherehouse 13, to 20! … SONY have agreed to finance and distribute Seth Rogan’s directorial debut, The Apocalypse.  A sci-fi comedy about a bunch of guys holed up in an apartment during, you guessed it, an apocalypse … THREE MORE ACTORS have joined the production of J.J. Abrams Star Trek Sequel.  Noel (Dr. Who) Clarke, Nazeen (24) Contractor, and Benedict (BBC’s Sherlock Holmes) Cumberbatch.  Cumberbatch is also doing motion capture work as the dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films.  While Clarke’s role has not been disclosed, it has been revealed that Contractor will play his wife.  Cumberbatch will reportedly play a villain … TWO ACTORS have joined the cast of Riddick.  Katee (BSG) Sackhoff been cast as the female lead.  She will reportedly play “Dahl,” a Nordic mercenary hunting Riddick.  And Jordi (Columbiana) Molla will play “Santana.”  A mercenary who heads up an elite eight person crew tasked with finding and killing Vin Diesel’s title character.  This third film in David Twohy’s Pitch Black series focuses on Riddick marooned and left for dead on a very dangerous alien planet.  Soon bounty hunters from all over the Galaxy arrive to hunt him down … FOR ITS 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, Universal Pictures will release special restorations of 13 films on blu-ray.  Among these will be included Dracula, Frankenstein, and Bride of Frankenstein, and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  As previously reported, E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial and JAWS will also be released in conjunction with the studio’s Centennial … JAMES CAMERON has teamed with Paramount Pictures and director Andrew (The Chronicles of Narnia) Adamson, to make Cirque du Soleil World’s Away.  A 3D feature film to be released sometime this year.  And in other Cameron news, it has been confirmed that Avatar 2 has been pushed back from its 2014 release date, to 2016 !PRODUCER RICK MCCALLUM has commented on George Lucas’ temporarily shelved live action Star Wars TV series.  Says McCallum: “It’s underneath what’s going on.  (It’s) the criminals and the gangs.  The guys who are running Wall Street, basically.  The guys who are running the United States.”  McCallum also added that, “They take place between Episode III and IV.  That 20 year period when Luke is growing up.  It’s not about Luke, but it’s about that period when the Empire is trying to take things.” … PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND MGM have pushed back the release of Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters from March 2nd — to January 11, 2013 !  This is said to have been done to capitalize off the popularity of star Jeremy Renner following Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the soon to be released, The AvengersHansel and Gretel Witch Hunters picks up 15 years after Hansel and Gretel found the Gingerbread house.  Presently, they are bounty hunters … PRODUCER DENISE DiNOVI has revealed that rapper Kanye West (??) recently met with the production team of the on-again/off-again live action version of The Jetsons(this is a project that has been in development since the early 1980’s.)  Her meeting with Kanye West was in regard to involvement on the part of West’s new design company, DONDA, and possibly West himself as a “creative director.”  Said Batman Returns producer, DiNovi: “He was interested in creatively brainstorming what we were doing with the movie and what ideas he might have.  It was a friendly, preliminary conversation.  He was going to think about it more and see if he got inspired, visually.” … SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON co-founder Richard Alf, sadly died on January 4th of advanced pancreatic cancer.  The 59 year old Alf fronted his buddy Mike Towry the cash to get the first convention up and going in a downtown San Diego hotel, in 1970.  This from a brief statement on the official Comic-Con web-site: “His achievement is even more remarkable when we consider that he was only 17 years old when he and a small group of friends undertook the great adventure that would become Comic-Con.”

Log Entries: 01/02/2012

THERE IS RUMOR circling Hollywood that Warner Bros. have renewed their on again/off again interest in making Gremlins 3.  Original Gremlins director Joe Dante has stated that he will definitely not be involved … A PROPOSED THIRD! INCARNATION of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is however dead in the water.  After a very negative response from fans of the original (mainly due to a lack of involvement on the part of Joss Whedon,) and a rejected script, the project has been abandoned … ANDREW KOSOVE, one of the producers of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner follow up, has commented that the project is a “high priority” for director Scott, and added, “Sometime in the first 2 months of the new year we’ll announce who the screenwriter will be and whether or not it’s a prequel or a sequel.”  This information is in direct contrast to Scott’s own previous statements wherein he confirmed that a writer was already at work on the project and that the film would definitely be a sequelTELEVISION DIRECTOR ALAN TAYLOR, of Game of Thrones fame, has been hired to replace Patty Jenkins on Thor 2ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER’S next genre film will reportedly be Black Sands.  Described as a cross between Commando and Constantine, the film will feature Arnold waging war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer, with a twist. “I’m kind of an angel,” says Arnold … HERE’S ONE THAT CAME OUT OF NOWHERE: Kristen Dunst stars in yet another remake of Romeo & Juliet, this one being a science fiction take on the Shakespeare play titled, Upside Down.  The film is due to be released sometime in 2012, you’ll find the trailer already on YouTube under that title … THE LOVELY ERICA DURANCE (Lois Lane on Smallville) will make an appearance on the NBC show Harry’s Law on January 11th, wearing the Wonder Woman costume from Producer David E. Kelley’s rejected W.W. pilot … FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE STUDIO’S HISTORY, Paramount had a float in a Rose Parade.  The 55-foot long ‘Paramount Pictures – 100 Years of Movie Magic‘ float, featured a motif of the studios more popular assets, including a USS Enterprise representing the Star Trek franchise, and a replica of Bumblebee from Michael Bay’s Transformers films. … HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II has been chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the 10 best films of the year.  And Roger Ebert listed the film as #16 on his list of the 20 best films of 2011 … WITH MOST OF ITS CASTING COMPLETED, Ender’s Game has been fast tracked into production and will begin shooting next month.  The film stars Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, and Hailee Steinfeld … J.J. ABRAMS has revealed that his next Star Trek film will be shot in the Panavision film format, with a possibility for one or two IMAX sequences.  The film will not be shot in 3D, but could possibly be post-converted … UNIVERSAL has officially retired the JAWS ride at their Universal Orlando theme park.  And in tandem, the Studio says that after much harassment by fans, the classic Steven Spielberg blockbuster will finally bow on blu-ray on August 14th.  No official dates have been set as of yet for the remainder of Spielberg’s canon, however it has been confirmed that both the Indiana Jones films and E.T. – the Extra-Terrestrial, will also arrive sometime in 2012 … BOB ANDERSON, an Olympic fencer and career stunt choreographer and master swordsman in Hollywood, died early New Years day in a hospital in England.  He worked on such films as From Russia With Love, The Guns of Navarone, Barry Lyndon, Superman II, The Princess Bride, Highlander, the original Star Wars films, The Phantom, The Mark of Zorro, and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, along with the forthcoming Hobbit films.  In a 1983 interview with Starlog Magazine, Mark Hammill commented: “Bob Anderson was the man who actually did Vader’s fighting.”  He was 89 years old …