This week’s Ketchup includes new movies for the directors of Moon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as well as casting news for Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and two of the stars of The Hangover.
The comic book site Mania.com is reporting that director Sam Raimi is currently casting for Spider-Man 4, and this early information gives us new insight into a possible new character. Although they use the word “villain,” I’m not sure I’d rush too quickly into using that word; the character that Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers, next month’s Sherlock Holmes) is reportedly reading for (and she is probably just one of the actresses who’s tried out) is… Felicia Hardy, AKA Black Cat. Black Cat might be initially presented as a villain, since she is indeed a burglar type (AKA Catwoman), but over time, Black Cat became more of a morally grey type, and one of Spider-Man’s romantic interests (and really, the only significant one to ever wear a mask). Another detail worth noting about the Black Cat is that she for a long time she had a sort of super power that changed “probability” so that someone fighting her would experience bad luck. The other interesting tidbit from this story is that they are also casting a male villain role. That’s a bit surprising, because it was expected by many that past confirmation that Dylan Baker is returning as Dr. Curt Connors would mean that this we would finally see Connors become the Lizard. One of the main complaints about Spider-Man 3 was that three villains felt like too many, so if there’s another villain besides the Black Cat, either the Lizard makes it three, or there’s no Lizard this time around at all. Also, I have to wonder what the mainstream audience will think of Black Cat, considering how closely she resembles another female feline-themed burglar who wears mostly black and seduces a superhero, over at Marvel’s Distinguished Competition?
Two different high-profile projects got shelved this week. First up is the movie based upon Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, which had been one of the projects being developed by producers J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) and Damon Lindelof (LOST). Both producers went public about giving up on the project recently; first Lindelof talked to USA Today and then J.J. Abrams talked to MTV.com. Many people have seen parallels between The Dark Tower and LOST, and so King’s books seemed like a natural next step for the writers/producers. But as Lindelof said, “I’m such a massive Stephen King fan that I’m terrified of screwing it up.” Which is why this is a “fresh” development, and not a “rotten idea”, because I figure the fans agree with him. And now, another shelving that is fresh just because the concept was bad all around: DreamWorks has pulled the plug on their idea of remaking the Korean thriller Oldboy, starring Will Smith and with Steven Spielberg directing. The original is one of those movies of the last ten years that has found a very vocal and adoring fan base, and so the idea of an English-language remake just sounded rotten (sort of like Let Me In, the upcoming English-language remake of Let the Right One In from the director of Cloverfield).
Duncan Jones, wunderkind director of this year’s indie sci-fi twist-o-rama hit Moon (and also David Bowie’s son, AKA Zowie Bowie), has lined up another movie to direct before tackling his next orginal project (called Mute). This new project, called Source Code, is the story of a U.S. soldier who wakes up in the body of a civillian commuter on a train, and is forced to relive the bombing of the train until he can find out who’s behind the attack. Jake Gyllenhaal is signed on to play the soldier. Unlike Moon and Mute, Source Code was not written by Jones, but was instead written by Ben Ripley (writer of the direct-to-video Species III and Species: The Awakening) with a rewrite by Billy Ray (cowriter of Volcano, Flightplan). Filming of Source Code is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010 and Summit Entertainment is set up as the film’s distributor.
Director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club) is currently preparing to start filming his next movie, the Facebook biopic The Social Network, but he’s already lining up another project. Columbia Pictures is developing a remake of The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, a relatively obscure 1975 movie that was produced by Bing Crosby, based on a novel by Max Ehrlich and directed by J. Lee Thompson (Battle for the Planet of the Apes, King Solomon’s Mines). The Reincarnation of Peter Proud is a supernatural thriller about a college professor who begins having dreams and nightmares that he realizes are images of a past life, and when he investigates them, he discovers a woman and her now adult daughter who are key to understanding what he’s going through. The remake will be written by Andrew Kevin Walker, and produced by Michael DeLuca, which makes this a Seven reunion project; Walker wrote and DeLuca produced Seven, which is the movie which pretty much got Fincher’s career as a director started (let’s all just forget Alien 3). I’m generally fairly negative about the current wave of remakes, but this one sounds like exactly the sort of movie that I’m okay with being remade, because with someone like David Fincher on board, there’s a very good chance that this could improve upon the original (and yes, I feel confident with writing that without having even seen it).
Jon Turteltaub, director of both of the National Treasure movies (along with Cool Runnings and Phenomenon), has signed to direct a movie about the founding of the Greenpeace environmental organization. Set primarily in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the story will focus on founding members Bob Hunter and Rex Weyler, who led “an eccentric group of pacifists, ecologists, musicans, teachers, sailors and scientists” in their attempts to disrupt American and French nuclear bomb tests, Japanese and Russian whaling ships and Norwegian infant seal hunters. The movie will be based on two books: Weyler’s Greenpeace: How a Group of Ecologists, Journalists and Visionaries Changed the World and Hunter’s Warriors of the Rainbow: A Chronicle of the Greenpeace Movement. There’s no writer for the project yet, but the producers are in early talks with Aaron Sorkin, creator of the TV shows The West Wing, Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In the meantime, Turteltaub is currently in postproduction of Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage, which is coming out next summer.
Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis, stars of The Hangover, have signed to reunite in a movie other than The Hangover 2 (which is also expected to start filming sometime in the next year). The new movie is an independent romantic comedy called You Are Here, and will also costar Jennifer Aniston. Actual details of the premise aren’t yet known. You Are Here will be the feature film debut of writer/director Matthew Weiner, creator of the Emmy-winning AMC series Mad Men. Filming was supposed to have happened next year, but You Are Here has been delayed until filming in 2011 due to conflicts with filming of the fourth season of Mad Men. By that time, it’s quite possible that Cooper and Galifianakis will have already reunited again for The Hangover 2, which is expected to start filming by next fall, 2010.
Martin Lawrence and Jamie Foxx will reprise their 1990s cross-dressing characters of Sheneneh Jenkins and Wanda Wayne (respectively) in Sheneneh and Wanda, a crime comedy for Screen Gems. Foxx will write the script, and both stars will produce through their FoxxKing and Runteldat production companies. The project got started earlier this year as a fake trailer called Skank Robbers for the BET Awards, in which the two comedians’ characters team up as bank robbers. Lawrence’s Sheneneh Jenkins was a recurring character on his Martin TV series, and Foxx’s Wanda Wayne was a regular sketch character during his time on In Living Color. Cross dressing comedy has long been a Hollywood tradition, but the subgenre appears to be making a comeback this year, with both White Chicks 2 and Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill also expected to start filming soon. There’s no filming start date for Sheneneh and Wanda yet, but Screen Gems has put the project on the fast track.
Competition from Paranormal Activity “sawed” the box office of Saw VI ($14 million opening) in half compared to last year’s Saw V ($30 million opening), but that isn’t stopping Lionsgate from greenlighting Saw VII for another annual release on October 22, 2010. This time, the Saw franchise will be coming at you… in 3D. “As long as we make money on it, we’ll keep doing this,” Michael Burns of Lionsgate said of the franchise on Thursday. Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the Project Greenlight 3 winners who also wrote Saw IV, Saw V and Saw VI are also working on Saw VII, and it will be directed by David Hackl, director of Saw V. Costas Mandylor will be back in the role of Hoffman, and Tobin Bell will probably return for flashback scenes as Jigsaw. This story gets a Rotten Idea tag because movie franchises just weren’t meant to ever get so long that you could start referring to them as a trilogy of trilogies.
Story details have emerged in the last week or so for the “board game movies” Battleship and Monopoly. First up is Battleship, which will be about an “international” five ship fleet engaged in an intense battle with… aliens. And those aliens will apparently shoot giant red or white plastic pegs, I guess. Filming of Battleship starts next spring, and the movie is expected in the summer of 2011. As for Monopoly, the premise as detailed by producer Frank Beddor is quite lengthy, but the gist is that it’s about a “comedic, loveable loser” who tries to break the world record for the longest game of Monopoly, and instead ends up in the world of Monopoly City, where Monopoly money is real and the world is ruled by the evil Parker Brothers, with whom the comedic, loveable loser engages in a series of “sight gags” to defeat them. Maybe it would be impossible to come up with plots for movies based on board games that wouldn’t sound rotten, but that’s sort of why until recently, people didn’t make movies based upon board games.
The guys at DC Comics need some serious quality control on their movie properties at corporate cousin Warner Bros. Akiva Goldsman, whose career as a screenwriter included Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, has moved on to producing, and what he wants to produce next is apparently a really awful movie starring one of the most classic fictional World War II characters. Sgt. Rock made his debut in 1959, and for nearly 30 years, he was the star of one of DC Comics’ most popular World War II comic book series (DC published a lot more than just super hero comics). The idea of a Sgt. Rock movie has been in development off and on since the 1980s, including a period in which Sgt. Rock was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pet projects (which also would have been a Rotten Idea). And now, instead of staying true to the character, Goldsman wants to relocate this World War II icon to… the future. Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend) is attached to direct, and the script will be worked on a guy named Chad St. John, who hasn’t had an actual movie produced yet, but he did sell a spec script called The Days Before. The reasoning behind the move is a claim that audiences no longer are interested in “acts of American derring-do,” despite the success of Inglourious Basterds and the fact that Marvel Studios’ next big superhero movie after Thor will be The First Avenger: Captain America, apparently. And really, why bother calling it Sgt. Rock at all if you’re going to change the setting from World War II to, of all things, the future? That would be like making James Bond a space spy in the year 3007 and then still calling him James Bond. If you want to make a futuristic soldier movie, fine, call it Corporal Concrete or Major Marble, and leave one of DC Comics’ gems out of it. Sgt. Rock is 100% a World War II hero, and for not seeing that, Warner Bros’ attempt to make him some sort of future… war guy is a big red Rotten Idea.