ZELDA HITS THE BIG SCREEN
There have been quite a few weak film adaptations of video games (Street Fighter, Super Mario Brothers, all of Uwe Boll’s work), but it looks like The Legend of Zelda may buck that trend. The folks at IGN have just put up a trailer, and I have to say it looks amazing. Surprisingly, it seems to be a cast of unknowns; J.R. Killigrew plays Link, Camille C. Brown plays Zelda, and Gregory Lee Kenyon will be playing Ganondorf. I wonder about the wisdom of making a movie that looks to be so epic in scope (ala Lord of the Rings), and yet rolling the dice on a cast no one’s ever seen before. Although come to think of it, that did work for Star Wars. This project has been kept pretty secret, so there’s no word on the plot yet. The trailer shows a lot of elements from Ocarina of Time, so that’s probably the story being used, but the beginning if the trailer looks a lot like Twilight Princess.
ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKE JACK A VERY DULL BOY
Continuing their remaking spree that includes plans for horror classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Birds, Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company is reportedly finalizing acquisition to the rights to remake Stanley Kubrick’s chilling masterwork, The Shining (itself based on a novel by Stephen King, although with notable changes). This time around, the focus will not be on a struggling writer, but a young “extreme sports” enthusiast who is lured to handle the winter maintenance of the foreboding Overlook Hotel with the bait of being able to have all of the surrounding slopes for his own, exclusive snowboarding, skiing, etc. enjoyment. Platinum Dunes reportedly has their sights on “The Mac Guy” (and costar of Live Free or Die Hard), Justin Long, with Mila Kunis (That 70s Show) a possibility to play his girlfriend Wendy. The character of Danny who was the couple’s son in the original movie, will now be aged a bit to become Wendy’s quirky teen brother, with Platinum Dunes still scanning shows on the Disney Channel for possible casting choices. The next two bits of casting news reveal that the movie is also not entirely a remake, but a sequel of sorts, as Christian Slater is being eyed to play the ghost of Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson’s character from the 1980 classic, and Bernie Mac might sign on to play the Overlook’s current chef, the son of Scatman Crothers’ character. In addition to the other obnoxious changes you would expect Platinum Dunes to plaster one of their remakes with, “look forward” to the film’s big action-packed finale, which will involve Long chasing his family on a skateboard through a maze of bushes growing on a nearby mountainside, while himself being chased by giant topiary trees (an element actually, sort of, found in the original novel). The movie is expected to have a soundtrack of mostly late ’70s disco tracks, to remind us of when the original movie was made, and also as background music for the scenes involving the Jack Torrance ghost.
WHAT IS J.J. ABRAMS SMOKING?
Although it hasn’t been officially announced in the trades, I’ve received a scoop that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company is currently filming the sequel to their big monster movie, Cloverfield 2: Smoke in a location very different than that movie’s New York… Hawaii! Apparently, the story this time around concerns a movie crew filming on a remote island that finds themselves besieged by a mysterious giant monster seemingly made out of black smoke. Like Cloverfield, the movie will be the found footage after the fact, filmed by the cast and crew during the carnage. My source wasn’t able to get directly on set, but recognized some of the actors for sure (raven-haired action star Kate Beckinsale, chubby Latino funny man Horatio Sans, Harold and Kumar star John Cho and Devon Aoki from Sin City), and was able to identify and remember most of the other cast based on other things they’ve done. That John Cho is also playing Sulu in Abrams’ Star Trek makes this scoop a little more credible for me (though my source could know that is just trying to psych me out). From that, it seems likely that the rest of the ensemble cast includes Billy Boyd (Pippin from the Lord of the Rings movies), Scott Wolf (Party of Five), Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up), Eamonn Walker (Oz), Victor Garber (Alias), Laura Innes (E.R.), Tobin Bell (Saw) and Joseph D. Kucan (the Command and Conquer computer games). It sounds like the success of Cloverfield gave Abrams enough clout and a budget to go with a bigger cast this time around, though I can’t quite wrap my mind around this smoke monster thing. Expect Cloverfield 2: Smoke to premiere sometime in February, 2009, I suspect.
THY KINGDOM COME?
With Justice League of America still in the works (but undoubtedly a struggling production), DC Comics and Warner Brothers are rumored to have signed a deal with acclaimed comic book painter Alex Ross to make his directorial debut (ala Frank Miller and Sin City) on a three-movie adaptation of Kingdom Come, his masterful mini-series (with writer Mark Waid) about a future in which classic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have found their prominence replaced by a younger, more violent generation of “heroes” (that term being debatable). Ross is expected to be working with the same effects people behind 300 and the upcoming Watchmen movie to replicate the painterly style of Kingdom Come, with the characters either being played 100% actors, or capture photography, based upon whether the characters are “human” or “superhuman.” Bruce Wayne, for example, would be played entirely by an actor, but someone like Superman would be mostly CGI (for that incredible body), except for his face. It’s a clever way to avoid the problem superhero movies have always had, in that it’s very difficult to replicate the way superheroes are physically built. Now, we just wait to hear what kind of HUGE cast Warner Bros is going to be able to bring together to fill out the cast, which basically represents nearly every character DC Comics has ever published. I’m hearing some early favorites are Val Kilmer as the voice of the Spectre, our ghostly guide to the story’s events, Bruce Dern as Reverend Norman McCay, who is the Spectre’s companion through it all, Tommy Lee Jones as the aging Superman, Kate Beckinsale as the immortal warrior princess, Wonder Woman, and Clint Eastwood as the tough-as-nails aging Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne/Batman. Mark Waid is expected to work on the scripts soon, which will require a lot of fleshing out from the comics, in which major battle scenes were often presented without dialogue. The first movie, which will set the stage for the state of superheroics in the future, and end with Superman’s surprising return to action, is expected to be in theaters sometime around Easter weekend, 2011.
IT’S A WORLD OF WARCRAFT, WE JUST LIVE IN IT
With the percentage of American citizens playing World of Warcraft soon expected to outnumber the number of registered voters or people with high school diplomas, it’s surely a no brainer that Blizzard Entertainment would want its planned TV and movie adaptations of its popular franchise in production, and so here comes that not-unexpected news, except that instead of directly adapting World of Warcraft, I’m getting word via someone who calls himself “Gnomestompr” from the “realm of Kel’Thuzad” that the movies will instead adapt characters from Blizzard’s pre-WoW Warcraft games, as they establish the lore that the Massively Multiplayer game is based upon. I’m hearing the logic is that Blizzard sees the players themselves as the “stars” of World of Warcraft, and no Hollywood actor could replicate the passion (and $15 a month times 9 million!) that WoW players bring to the game. Someone like teen heartthrob Zac Efron can, however, apparently die his hair blonde and sign on to play Arthas, the young prince and paladin who goes on to betray his kingdom and become a slave to the undead army called the Scourge, which by his command, lays waste to much of the fantastic world of Azeroth, adapting much of the story of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos in Warcraft: Arthas Rising. The first movie, AKA W.A.R., will also introduce the characters who are take center stage in their own centric movies in the future, such as Lady Sylvanas of the High Elves (Zooey Deschanel), Kael’thas Sunstrider (Paul Bettany), Illidan Stormrage of the Night Elves (Tyrese Gibson) and Thrall (Vin Diesel), the leader of the Horde/Orcs who leads his people to a new land. The films are expected to use capture photography (like Beowulf) and similar CGI background artwork as the settings of the WoW computer game, except with higher resolution so that they don’t seem so, you know… 2004. I’m also hearing that Blizzard is considering an interesting approach to the movies’ eventual DVD release. Instead of buying the DVD’s, you may rent them from Blizzard for a monthly fee, the logic being that the monthly fee will allow you access to regular “upgrades” and special features.
DON’T STOP BELIEVING
The story of Tony Soprano ended definitively, or so the story goes, with the last episode of The Sopranos, but that doesn’t mean there’s not stories to be told, as The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Big Score apparently will prove. Depicting Tony’s father, “Johnny Boy” Soprano during his rise to prominence in the North Jersey Dimeo crime family in the 1960s, the movie will feature an entirely new cast, combining younger versions of characters from the TV show (Paulie Walnuts, Big Pussy and Uncle Junior), characters that were never actually seen on the show (particularly the two “Eckleys”), and the recasting of Johnny Boy. I’m hearing Christopher Meloni might be making the transition to the big screen from Law & Order: SVU as the Eckley who’s the mob boss, joined by Pruitt Taylor Vince as the Eckley who’s in a psychiatric institution, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Johnny Boy himself. Those characters, of course, are probably the easy ones to cast. It should be interesting to see who they can find to play the younger versions of characters like Tony’s mother, Uncle Junior and Paulie Walnuts (Tony himself would have only been about 5 to 10 during the setting of this movie).
LEONARDO RAISES TITANIC SEQUEL
According to a report at Fandango, Leonardo DiCaprio is in negotiations to star in Titanic 2: A New Voyage. Just in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past ten years, James Cameron’s Titanic was a monster hit, and still holds the record for being the highest grossing motion picture of all time. I suppose its inevitable that Hollywood has finally decided to make a sequel. It looks like Gale Ann Hurd, who produced The Terminator, has secured Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days, K-19: The Widowmaker) to direct. There aren’t many details on the story, although presumably any version will require some inventive way of reviving Jack, maybe thawing him out? Also, I wonder if this sequel might involve the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic. Also operated by the White Star Line, the Britannic pressed into military service as a hospital ship during World War I, and was sunk after hitting a mine in the roughly the same spot on the hull where the iceberg hit the Titanic. Hopefully that’s not giving away the ending…
SHAKING THE REST OF THE KETCHUP OUT OF THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL EDITION BOTTLE
P.S. – Happy April Fools Day!