Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: McConaghey offered Magnum, Dimension Films to Short Circuit

Plus news about Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's next project

by | April 4, 2008 | Comments

For a week that you would think would have been dominated by April Fool’s Day jokes, there was an abundance of interesting bits of news in these first few days of April. Let’s start, dear reader, with…


Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Matthew McConaughey has been offered the role of Thomas Magnum in Universal Picture’s extremely-long-in-development movie version of Magnum, P.I., with the frequent costar of Kate Hudson currently mulling over the script by Rawson Thurber, whose only contribution to the great spectacle that is filmmaking thus far has been 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. I did genuinely enjoy that little sports comedy, but I don’t quite know how that translates to adapting Magnum, P.I. to the big screen. Besides just that though, the obvious issue here is Matthew McConaughey, who I guess sort of has a similar charm to 1980s-era Tom Selleck, but I think too many people firmly equate Selleck to Magnum, that McConaughey is going to be very challenged to overcome that. Besides, Tom Selleck is still in pretty good shape, and it would be cool to see a “Magnum 20 years later” story, in my opinion. With this reportedly a prequel, however, that’s not the way Universal is going.


Variety is reporting that Dimension Films, the Weinstein Co.’s genre division led by brother Bob, has commissioned the original screenwriters of 1986’s Short Circuit to work on a remake project about the loveable military robot who gets turned into a peace-lover after getting hit by lightning. The funny thing is that it’s twenty years later, and today’s robots (which are still basically resigned to doing factory work… well, that and military missions over Afghanistan) don’t actually look that much more advanced than Number 5’s original design. With so many appalling remakes getting done these days, I can’t really say I hold much opinion either way about a Short Circuit movie, since my reaction is basically not far from the realm of “Oh yeah, I remember seeing about 20 minutes of that on cable once…”


Director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha) is returning to the Broadway adaptation trough with word this week from the Hollywood Reporter that a huge cast has either signed on, or is in advanced talks, to fill out Nine, an adaptation of the 1982 broadway musical which was itself an adaptation of Federico Fellini‘s classic film, 8 1/2. Standing in for the long late Fellini will be Javier Bardem, hot off being spooky as hell in No Country for Old Men, and the many women of the cast are likely to include (recent Oscar winner) Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Dame Judi Dench, in this story of a film director’s attempts to manage the many women who populate his life. Filming of this Weinstein Co production was originally expected to start last month, but it has been re-scheduled for September, 2008, following the death of its originally planned director, Anthony Minghella. The additional time also allows for recent rewrites by Michael Tolkin (The Player) to be synched up with the songwriting and choreography, and for Nicole Kidman to give birth to her first child this summer (her two children with Tom Cruise were adopted).


Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has renewed his relationship with Working Title Pictures, which covers two movies: Baby Driver, a car/road action movie he will direct first, and At World’s End, which will reteam him with star and cowriter Simon Pegg, in what AICN is speculating might be about a conspiracy that lizard people control the world (sort of like They Live!, starring Rowdy Roddy Piper?). At World’s End is said to be the third in the pair’s trilogy of movies paying homage to three of their favorite genres. Zombies, cop buddies and…? What isn’t stated in any of this is what effect these two projects will have on Wright’s movie version of Marvel Comics’ Ant-Man, which was expected to be a sooner-rather-than-later sort of thing. Now a “not” sort of thing?


  • Ben Stiller is getting into the wacky “graphic novel” adapation business by teaming up with DreamWorks to produce, and possibly star in, an adaptation of the graphic novel, The Return of King Doug, about a man who is forced to return to the fantasy world that he abandoned thirty years earlier.
  • The Benderspink production company picked up rights to two graphic novels this week. First up is Last Blood, about a group of vampires protecting the last human survivors of a zombie apocalypse (so, basically, it’s a lot like I Am Legend, but with more survivors, and nicer vampires?).
  • Benderspink also acquired movie rights to the graphic novel Pencilneck by Victor Carungi, which sounds like a fairly standard mob/crime thriller, but based on something from the oh-so-popular-these-days “graphic novel” arena.
  • And now a footnote. As “graphic novels” are seemingly becoming *the* most common source for adaptations, I am suspecting that some screenwriters are just writing their scripts as “graphic novels” first these days as a fast track to getting concepts sold that they would never even get noticed as regular old “spec scripts” without that distinction. Not that this necessarily applies to the three titles announced this week. Just something I might do if I was a screenwriter, honestly. It’s a very tough business.



Greg Dean Schmitz can be contacted via his MySpace page, there’s a RT Forums thread devoted to him, and his IMDb discussion thread is currently a very lonely place.

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