This week’s Ketchup includes casting rumors for Batman 3 and the Spider-Man and Tomb Raider reboots, casting news for the Arthur and Fright Night remakes and news about new sequels in the Jason Bourne and Green Lantern franchises (yes, already). This is also a big week for mentioning Van Wilder star Ryan Reynolds, whose name shows up in three of the ten stories.
This week, a relatively unknown site called BleedingCool.com reported that Sony had settled upon British actor Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, King Kong) to star in their July 3, 2012 reboot of Spider-Man. Jamie Bell is also starring in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s motion capture CGI adaptation(s) of TinTin. It was just two weeks ago that Jamie Bell was included among five young actors that Sony was reportedly considering for the role. However, since that news broke, there has been no confirmation about Jamie Bell. And indeed, in breaking news today that just barely made its way into this column, two more actors are reportedly now also on Sony’s short list: Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov in Star Trek). Whichever young stars Sony is considering, the next step will be screen tests. However, Peter Parker is not the only character that is reportedly starting to be cast. Michael Fassbender, one of the costars of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, is said to be considered to either play the villain in Spider-Man or to play the young Magneto in Fox’s X-Men: First Class. The curious thing here about this “either or” scenario is that Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class are at different studios (Sony and Fox), and are not being produced by Marvel Studios. But the movies are likely to film around the same time, and also unlikely to want the same actor to be in both competing movies anyway (though X-Men: First Class will be released a year before the Spider-Man reboot). Finally, another X-Men: First Class rumor circling around this week is the possibility that blonde British actress Rosamund Pike (Surrogates) might be in talks with director Matthew Vaughn for the role of telepathic mutant Emma Frost (AKA The White Queen). Emma Frost is indeed British and blonde. As for whether this rumor is as true (or false) as any of the others this week… who knows?
Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, The Mask of Zorro) is still in Louisiana filming Green Lantern, the DC Comics superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds, which is scheduled for a June 17, 2011 release. However, Warner Bros is apparently very optimistic about the potential of the movie being popular enough to become a new franchise. This week, the studio hired three of the Green Lantern screenwriters to start work on a sequel script. At the same time, Warner Bros has also hired the writers to work on adapting another long-running DC Comics superhero, super-speedster The Flash, for the big screen as well. The writers involved are Greg Berlanti (creator of Everwood and cocreator of Eli Stone), Michael Green (writer/co-producer of Heroes and Smallville) and Marc Guggenheim (cocreator of Eli Stone; writer of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine videogame). The deal is for the three writers to pen treatments for both movies, and then to proceed with a screenplay for either Green Lantern 2 or The Flash, although which would move forward first has not yet been decided. In other Warner Bros/DC Comics news, a story broke this week that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, (500) Days of Summer) may be in the running to play the Riddler in Batman 3. If the story is true, reportedly it began as an on-set joke between Gordon-Levitt and director Christopher Nolan on the set of Inception. The Riddler is of course a long-running Batman villain, but he is just one of several possible members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery who might appear in Batman 3, which one would have to guess might also include Catwoman, The Penguin or Poison Ivy. Warner Bros has scheduled the third Christopher Nolan Batman movie for July 20, 2012.
Universal Pictures has made the next big step in continuing the Jason Bourne franchise by hiring the one screenwriter involved with all three previous films. Tony Gilroy had cowriter credits on The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Ultimatum and had sole credit on The Bourne Supremacy. Gilroy also wrote and directed Duplicity and Michael Clayton. The title of this fourth Jason Bourne project is The Bourne Legacy. That is also the title of one of the Bourne novels not written by Robert Ludlum, but since the other three movies didn’t really bear any resemblance to the novels they got their titles from, that novel might not really shed any light on the premise of this movie either. Tony Gilroy is also writing what Universal is calling the “Bourne Bible,” which suggests that he is laying down the groundwork for additional movies after The Bourne Legacy, sort of the way TV shows have production “Bibles” that lay out the story for upcoming seasons. A big question mark right now is the potential involvement of Matt Damon, who has said he won’t return without director Paul Greengrass (who has also said he’s not returning at all). Of course, James Bond kept going after Sean Connery left too. Would you want to see future Jason Bourne movies without Matt Damon?
This week, Tom Cruise appeared on the MTV Movie Awards, dancing with Jennifer Lopez as his Les Grossman movie producer character from Tropic Thunder. The result was a bit like an episode of Dancing with the (A-List) Stars. Afterwards, Tom Cruise was quoted in interviews, reminding fans that a Les Grossman movie had been mentioned as being in development in 2008. And then, a few days later, Paramount Pictures confirmed via a press release that they are indeed moving ahead with a Les Grossman movie. The tongue-in-cheek announcement is written as if Les Grossman is a real life character, and one of the producers of this year’s MTV Movie Awards. Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller are producing the movie, and this is what Stiller had to say, “Les Grossman’s life story is an inspiring tale of the classic human struggle to achieve greatness against all odds. He has assured me he plans to quote, ‘F**king kill the sh*t out of this movie and make Citizen f**king Kane look like a piece of crap home movie by the time we are done.’ I am honored to be working with him.” At this point, I was unsure of whether to label Les Grossman as a Fresh Development or a Rotten Idea, but the screenwriter that Paramount has hired is Michael Bacall. Bacall has mostly to date written/cowritten indie movies like Bookies and Manic, but he has also cowritten this summer’s Scott Pilgrim Vs the World (and is also working on Jonah Hill’s 21 Jump Street movie). Since Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is probably one of this summer’s most promising movies, if any of that credit goes to Bacall, then that’s just enough to squeak Les Grossman into the Fresh category (for now).
This September sees the release of The Ward, the first theatrical release from veteran horror director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) since 2001’s Ghosts of Mars. His last movie before that was John Carpenter’s Vampires in 1998. And now, he has signed on to direct another vampire-themed movie called Fangland. Based upon a 2008 novel by John Marks (a former 60 Minutes producer), Fangland is the story of a TV producer for a network news magazine show who is sent on assignment to Transylvania, which leads to her New York office being flooded with creepy deliveries and messages. Hilary Swank has been attached to star as the reporter since late 2007. The Fangland script was adapted by screenwriter Mark Wheaton, who wrote 2007’s The Messengers and also cowrote the Friday the 13th remake. There’s no word yet on when John Carpenter and Hilary Swank might start filming Fangland, which is an independent production.
The casting of DreamWorks’ remake of the 1985 horror comedy Fright Night continued this week with the news that two of the movie’s most memorable characters will be played by actors already known for famous characters. David Tennant has not really worked in the United States much yet, but his run as the 10th Doctor in Doctor Who was the longest (2005-2010) since the franchise’s 2005 relaunch. Tennant will be reprising the role played in the original by another British genre favorite, Roddy McDowell, who played Peter Vincent, the host of a local late night horror movie show. Tennant’s casting informs us that Peter Vincent is being reimagined in the remake as a Las Vegas magician who incorporates horror movie imagery into his act. This change is probably being made because in the 25 years since the original, horror movie hosts have become a lot less common on local TV than they once were (sadly). Possibly the most iconic character in Fright Night was the twisted nerd Evil Ed, who was played by future gay porn star (yes, really) Stephen Geoffreys. The new Evil Ed will be played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who many fans know as McLovin’ from Superbad, and who also costarred this spring in Kick-Ass as The Red Mist. Tennant and Mintz-Plasse join the already cast Anton Yelchin (Charley Brewster), Colin Farrell (Jerry Dandridge) and Toni Collette (Charley’s Mom). That leaves only the role of Charley’s girlfriend Amy left to be cast. Amanda Bearse (Marcy D’Arcy from Married… with Children) played Amy in the original film. Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Mr. Woodcock) is directing the Fright Night remake, which Walt Disney Pictures will be releasing in 2011 as a codistribution deal with DreamWorks.
Get Him to the Greek, starring Russell Brand, was the top new movie at the box office last weekend with a $17.6 million opening. That take was almost excactly the same as the opening weekend ($17.7 million) of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the movie that introduced Brand’s Aldous Snow rock star character. If Get Him to the Greek had outright flopped, that might have been bad news for the Arthur remake, but it didn’t, and so casting continued this week. Jennifer Garner and Nick Nolte are in talks to join the remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy about a drunken heir who is told that he must marry the wealthy girl his family has chosen or risk losing his inheritance. Garner would play the wealthy (and gorgeous) potential Mrs. Arthur and Nick Nolte would play her religious father. If they sign, Garner and Nolte will join Brand and the already cast Helen Mirren, who is playing a British nanny, replacing the butler played in the original films by Sir John Gielgud. Greta Gerwig (Greenberg, Baghead) has also been cast as the working class girl that Arthur falls in love with (played by Liza Minnelli in the original). The Arthur remake will be the feature film debut of director Jason Winer, who has most recently directed several episodes of ABC’s Modern Family.
2009 was an incredible year for Sandra Bullock, with The Blind Side earning her an Oscar, and The Proposal being her first #1 film in 10 years, and a $160+ million blockbuster hit domestically. Universal Pictures has picked up the rights to a comedy project called Most Wanted that is as close to a creative reunion for the people behind The Proposal as is probably possible without a movie being a sequel or a remake. In addition to stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, the package for Most Wanted includes the same director, the same screenwriter and the same producers. All they’re missing really is Betty White. With a premise being compared to Midnight Run, Most Wanted is the story of a criminal suspect (Bullock) who is being escorted to court by an FBI agent (Reynolds) when they are ambushed and forced to go on the run. In addition to The Proposal, Anne Fletcher has also directed Step Up and 27 Dresses. Screenwriter Pete Chiarelli made his feature film debut with The Proposal, but he has been consistently lining up work since then. The producers originally approached Disney (the studio that released The Proposal) with the Most Wanted package, but the studio is “de-emphasizing” Touchstone, the Disney label that traditionally releases non-kids, non-tentpole releases. There’s no word yet on when Most Wanted will start filming, which was accentuated a few days after the Most Wanted news broke. Sandra Bullock’s representatives issued a statement that although the actress is “attached” to Most Wanted, it will not be the first movie Bullock will work on after winning her Academy Award. This quote pretty much says it all, “The next project that will follow her Oscar will be chosen carefully and with a great deal of thought.”
A year ago, Ryan Reynolds had not yet been cast in the currently filming Green Lantern, much less any of the other news that has broke since then. The viability of Green Lantern as Warner Bros’ next big DC Comics superhero movie is not a guaranteed thing until the movie comes out, but it was especially a big question mark a year ago. And then, an amazing fan trailer that featured Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan hit YouTube and became a sensation. That trailer was created by Texas media director Jaron Pitts as a labor of love, and it was so well executed that Pitts was approached by Hollywood producers to create a similar trailer for a movie they were working on called Technotise, this time using clips of Milla Jovovich. Technotise is an English-language live-action remake of the 2009 Serbian animated sci-fi film Technotise: Edit & I, which has now been picked up by Warner Bros-based Legendary Pictures (300, The Dark Knight, Clash of the Titans). Technotise is the story of an art student in the year 2074 who gets a chip implant to improve her studies, but finds that she gets more than she expected. There’s no word yet on who might direct Technotise, but if Pitts lands the job, it would be huge news for all those fans out there who make fan trailers by the thousands every week (though most are nowhere near as good as Pitts’). The Technotise screenplay is now being adapted by Laeta Kalogridis (Pathfinder, Shutter Island).
In 1976, Bruce Jenner was the face of Wheaties, having won an Olympic Gold Medal and setting a Decathlon world record. The late Robert Kardashian was a lawyer, a friend of O.J. Simpson’s, and involved with his 1995 legal defense. And somewhere in there, they both were married to the same woman (not at the same time, of course). Somehow, that all led to E! airing a popular reality show called Keeping Up with the Kardashians, starring Bruce Jenner, Mrs. Jenner and their three celebrity daughters. And one of them is Kim Kardashian. I think Kim Kardashian might have been famous for something else before being on that show, but I honestly am not sure of the timeline of her life. It’s possible she was just famous for being famous. What Kim Kardashian is not famous for (I am pretty sure) is for being an actress, although she was in Disaster Movie, an episode of CSI: NY and four episodes of a surfing teen drama called Beyond the Break. And now, there is a report that Kim Kardashian is in talks with Warner Bros to star in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, based upon the long-running and popular videogame series. An unnamed “source” reportedly said this, “This will be something very different to Angelina’s Lara. Kim is wanted to play a far more comic-strip version of Lara which would be shot in 3-D and aimed at a teen audience.” Now, there is a very good chance that there is absolutely nothing to this story, and that Kim Kardashian is not really in talks for Tomb Raider at all. However, stranger things have happened in Hollywood. When Angelina Jolie first appeared in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001, she had appeared in over a dozen movies, including Girl, Interrupted, for which she won an Academy Award. So, the question is whether we can take it as a credible story that Warner Bros might really be considering replacing Angelina Jolie with Kim Kardashian. This is this week’s Rotten Idea not just for this news alone, but because it’s even possible that this story might actually be true. I mean, seriously… Kim Kardashian as a British archaelogist?