As Hollywood got ready to head to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, movie news slowed to a near trickle this week, with very few stories involving popular franchises or many big movie stars. What news did make this Week’s Ketchup includes the comic book adaptations Bone and Atlantis Rising, and new movie projects for Kristen Wiig and Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans and Tommy Lee Jones.
This Week’s Top Story
SLOW NEWS WEEK LANDS BONE THE TOP STORY SLOT
The idea of a movie (or a series of movies) based upon Jeff Smith’s 1991-2004 fantasy comic book series Bone has been around for well over 10 years now. Bone was first developed by Nickelodeon Movies back in the 1990s, and then in 2008, the rights were picked up by Warner Bros. Now, almost four years later, the studio is finally moving forward with Bone. Patrick Sean Smith, the creator of the ABC Family show Greek, has been hired to adapt the script for Australian director P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and the 2003 version of Peter Pan). Bone told the adventures of three very cartoonish looking cousins who are exiled from their hometown of Boneville, forcing them into a series of adventures in a fantasy setting. Although the format hasn’t yet been confirmed, P.J. Hogan will be directing Bone in Australia at Animal Logic, the CGI production company behind Happy Feet 2 and Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, so that is reasonably close to a confirmation that Bone will probably be CGI as well.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 CORMAC MCCARTHY SELLS HIS FIRST SPEC SCRIPT, THE COUNSELOR
Cormac McCarthy is a 78 year old author whose books have been adapted to film as All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men and that paean to relentless optimism, The Road. Despite that impressive filmography, something that Cormac McCarthy hadn’t yet done, however, is sell a big Hollywood producer a spec script, until this week. Titled The Counselor, McCarthy’s new script bears some resemblance to No Country for Old Men as it is about a respected lawyer who is tempted into becoming involved with the drug business, and of course, that decision doesn’t really work out that well. The producers that bought Cormac McCarthy’s first script are the same producers that brought the world The Road.
#2 TOMMY LEE JONES TO SUCK THE CORNCOB PIPE OF DOUGLAS MACARTHUR IN EMPEROR
Within a year of costarring in Captain America: The First Avenger as a colonel, Tommy Lee Jones has received a promotion. Jones will costar as General Douglas MacArthur in the post-WWII historical epic Emperor, about the U.S. occupation of Japan immediately following that nation’s surrender. Matthew Fox had already been cast as the film’s lead as General Bonner Fellers, a member of MacArthur’s staff and expert on Japan who has to decide what to do with Emperor Hirohito. There’s also a romantic subplot involving Fellers’ search for a Japanese exchange student he knew years before the war. Emperor is an independent production which starts filming this month in Tokyo and New Zealand, with Peter Webber (Girl with the Pearl Earring, Hannibal Rising) directing.
#3 TINTIN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, AND THE WHITE WITCH BOARD THE SNOW PIERCER
Bong Joo-Ho is the South Korean director of such recent films (all Fresh on RT) as The Host, Memories of Murder and Mother (Madeo). For his next film, Snow Piercer, Bong Joo-Ho is bringing together an international cast in the story of a train full of passengers struggling to survive in a world covered with snow and ice. Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Fantastic Four) was the first actor to be mentioned this week. Evans was soon followed by Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tintin, Billy Elliot) and recent Bowie lookalike Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia). Negotiations with all three actors are still ongoing, and as the film is an ensemble drama, there are likely to be more names yet forthcoming.
#4 THE SECRET LIFE OF BEING MARRIED TO KRISTEN WIIG
Long before Hollywood’s current fascination with remakes and reimaginings, there was the idea of remaking the 1947 Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. In fact, the remake project’s story goes back as far as 1994, and the last 18 years have included time spent at New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks, until it eventually ended up at 20th Century Fox in 2007. This story of a bored man who lives another life in his daydreams looks like it will finally get made in 2012, with Ben Stiller both starring in the remake, as well as directing. Stiller has been attached to the remake for a while now, but the news this week that tells us the movie is getting closer to being made is that Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) is now in talks to play the coworker that Walter has fantasies about. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will be Ben Stiller’s fifth film as director, following Reality Bites, The Cable Guy (the only one not RT Fresh), Zoolander and Tropic Thunder. Filming of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is scheduled to start in April, 2012 in New York and Iceland.
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#5 HIT GIRL AND THE COMEDIAN ARE STUCK IN THE RUT
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) and Chloe Moretz (Hugo, Kick Ass) are now both signed to play father and daughter, respectively, in the independent drama The Rut. Described as being a mix between Winter’s Bone and Into the Wild, the story revolves around a girl who goes deer hunting by herself in an effort to win approval from her father. Kevin Caruso, who cowrote the 2007 Bone Thugs N Harmony movie I Tried, wrote the script which will be directed by Karyn Kusama. Kusama’s career got started as a Sundance success story (Girlfight), but that movie was followed by Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body. And so, that’s why The Rut is one of the week’s (borderline) Rotten Ideas, as good as the idea of casting Morgan and Moretz together otherwise seems.
#4 TOM CRUISE’S NEXT SCI-FI PROJECT FINDS ITS FEMALE LEADS
Back in 2005, way before going on to make his directorial debut with TRON: Legacy (Rotten on RT with 50%), Joseph Kosinski wrote a comic book called Oblivion. In 2012, filming of Kosinski’s adaptation of his own comic is scheduled to start, although the title is now, depending on who you ask, either Horizons or just generally not yet titled. Tom Cruise has been attached to star in the Universal Pictures production for a while, but this week, the film’s two female leads were also cast. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) will play a mysterious woman who is discovered by maintenance workers cleaning up an irradiated Earth, with Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough (Never Let Me Go, W.E.) playing the two environmental “maintenance drones.”
#3 PLATINUM STUDIOS CONTINUES ITS PARADE OF OBSCURE COMIC ADAPTATIONS WITH ATLANTIS RISING
Platinum Studios is a comic book publisher and movie production company that specializes in something slightly unusual. Instead of adapting popular comic books into potential blockbuster movies, Platinum Studios instead adapts its own comic books, which aren’t popular. The most famous Platinum Studios project was last summer’s Cowboys & Aliens, and the other project that has thus far actually been produced was Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Now re-joining the many other projects that Platinum Studios has in development at various studios is Atlantis Rising, about an underwater kingdom that is unknown to the rest of the world (which was previously in development a few years back at DreamWorks). The premise of Atlantis Rising would of course be familiar to comic book fans even if they’ve never heard of the comic, as both DC and Marvel have characters dating back to the 1940s that are also the rulers of Atlantis: Aquaman and Prince Namor, AKA The Submariner. The new deal for Atlantis Rising is with producer Mark Canton (Immortals, Red Planet, Piranha).
#2 CYCLOPS, THE PUNISHER, AND… BILLY BOB THORNTON FACE THE RED MACHINE
Red Machine is the title of an independent action thriller about two estranged brothers who, along with their girlfriends, find themselves attacked and stalked by a ferocious grizzly bear. The two brothers will be played by Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights, The Punisher) and James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men), with Billy Bob Thornton playing a bear expert. Red Machine will be directed by David Hackl, whose only movie to date is Saw V, which received a Rotten RT Tomatometer score of just 13%.
#1 HACK/SLASH COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION TO BE DIRECTED BY REMAKE SPECIALIST MARCUS NISPEL
Hack/Slash is the name of an ongoing series of mostly one shot comic books published by Image Comics about a female horror “victim” who turns the tails and starts attacking various monsters and creeps. Relativity is now turning Hack/Slash into a movie, and for their director, the company has chosen Marcus Nispel, whose four films to date have all been rated “Rotten” on the RT Tomatometer. Although Marcus Nispel did also direct Pathfinder, he is best known for remakes, of which he has thus far done three: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th and Conan the Barbarian.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.