With Thanksgiving coming tomorrow, this week effectively ends on a Wednesday in Hollywood, and so you get the Ketchup two days early. Included in the mix is news for the reboots of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Lone Ranger, the Linda Lovelace and Roberto Duran biopics and new movies for Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg.
In May, 2009, the news broke that the other producers (Fran and Kaz Kazui) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were hoping to reboot the concept without Joss Whedon. This week, that concept got closer to happening with the news that Warner Bros and Atlas Entertainment (Get Smart, Scooby Doo) have put the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot into development at the studio, optioning the rights from the Kazuis. Newcomer screenwriter Whit Anderson will be writing the script, based on an idea that she approached the producers with. Although most of the details of the reboot aren’t yet known, an insider was quoted as saying, “this is not your high school Buffy.” One way to interpret that is that the new Buffy will not be a high school student, or the comment could just be targeted at people who were in high school at the time. As for Joss Whedon, the man behind the popular TV series responded with a statement that ends with a joke that he will be rebooting Warner Bros’ Batman franchise with a project called The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto.
After reports of his possible involvement two months ago, Disney has confirmed that Gore Verbinski will be directing the studio’s reboot of The Lone Ranger. Although Verbanksi has also directed other movies like The Ring and The Mexican, the director is best known for his work on the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies for Disney. Verbanski’s next movie will be the 2011 CGI animated comedy Rango, starring Johnny Depp as the voice of a chamelon lizard in an adventure inspired by classic westerns (not unlike… The Lone Ranger). Although the lead role has not yet been cast yet, Johnny Depp is still attached (and has been for a while) to costar as Tonto, the Ranger’s Native American sidekick. The Lone Ranger will be the fifth movie that Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski have done together, though that is still less than Depp has done with Tim Burton (seven to date, Dark Shadows will be #8). The Lone Ranger is, of course, the classic masked cowboy who first appeared in a radio series debuting in 1933 and has also appeared on television and in movies. Screenwriter Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, The Clearing) adapted the screenplay.
Warner Bros and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company are teaming up to adapt the non-fiction JFK assassination book Legacy of Secrecy in time for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK in November, 2013. Warner Bros was also the studio behind Oliver Stone’s JFK, the director’s 1991 movie about the assassination conspiracy theories. DiCaprio’s father, George DiCaprio, who brought the book to Leonardo’s attention, will also be one of the producers. Legacy of Secrecy was written by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, who is most famous for his day job as a progressive talk radio host. Leonardo DiCaprio will star as FBI informant Jack Van Laningham, who reportedly obtained the confession of Louisiana mafia boss Carlos Marcello for having ordered JFK’s assassination.
Mark Wahlberg has confirmed to MTV that he will be starring in the video game adaptation of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. This will be Wahlberg’s second video game movie after Max Payne, and his fourth film with director David O. Russell, after Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter. The Uncharted movie is probably still a while from happening, as Russell is still working on the script, but Wahlberg is already talking about his possible costars. If talks go through Robert de Niro would be playing Nathan Drake’s father, and Joe Pesci would play his uncle. A movie that Mark Wahlberg won’t be starring in (despite recent Internet rumors) is the reboot of The Crow. Wahlberg had reportedly been talking to a director that he’s a “fan” of (which is probably Stephen Norrington, director of Blade), but with that director no longer involved with The Crow, that also ends Wahlberg’s possible involvement.
Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (Amores Perros, The Motorcycle Diaries) is attached to star in Hands of Stone, a biopic about Panamanian lightweight boxer Roberto Duran. Al Pacino is also considering the role of Duran’s trainer Ray Arcel. In addition to being a Roberto Duran biopic, Hands of Stone will in particular focus on the rivalry between Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard and the famous November, 1980 rematch in which Duran quit the fight, reportedly saying “No Mas” (no more). Hands of Stone will be produced, written and directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz (2005’s Secuestro Express).
Inferno, the biopic about porn star Linda Lovelace (Deep Throat) was first announced as the “comeback” movie for Lindsay Lohan, after her recent legal and alcoholism problems. Instead, Lohan has been dropped from the project and replaced by Watchmen costar Malin Akerman. Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story is an independent production that will be directed by Matthew Wilder (2008’s Your Name Here). Production is scheduled to start in Los Angeles in February, 2011.
The iPad version of the latest issue of Wired magazine includes a mysterious new 1-minute video from director Neil Blomkamp (District 9), which seems to be a teaser for a new movie from the director. In the video, two young guys pull over on the side of a road and find what looks like the corpse of a small monstrous alien. It’s unknown what project this video is teasing, but possibilities include a science fiction script called Elysium (although that was supposed to take place on another planet) and the expected sequel District 10 (although Blomkamp has said District 10 won’t be his next movie).
One of the most memorable segments of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is the animated sequence in which Hermione tells the story of the three Peverell brothers and the Deathly Hallows. That portion of the movie was directed by Swiss director Ben Hibon, and now Hibon is benefitting from the exposure with two new movie projects. First up, there is Pan, a dark reimagining of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, in which “Captain Hook as a haunted former police detective in pursuit of a childlike kidnapper.” At one point, the script by Ben Magid (his feature film debut) was seen as a possible directing project for Guillermo del Toro. Ben Hibon will start filming Pan as a European production in the fall of 2011. Hibon has also optioned the rights to the Richard Harland steampunk novel Worldshaker, which tells a story set on a massive flying juggernaut reminiscent of the Eloi and Morlocks from H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.
Since the release last year of Zombieland, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have been a hot collective property in Hollywood. Their new deals have included writing the Deadpool movie, working on a sequel to Zombieland and movies called Earth Vs. Moon and Cowboy Ninja Viking. But what they really want to do, apparently, is direct. Reese and Wernick will be making their directorial debuts with the comedy Doc and Howie, written by Two and a Half Men co-producer Steve Leff. Doc and Howie is reportedly in the style of the Harold and Kumar movies and is about two guys who accidentally kill an elderly lady when they don’t help her take her groceries up the stairs, but her death leads to the two meeting her “hot” granddaughters, and the question of whether they admit how their grandmother died. Doc and Howie is expected to start filming by early summer, 2011.
Daniel Hansford, one of the producers of the 2009 film Bronson, is developing a zombie comedy project called Abercrombie & Zombie: The Life and Death and Death of America’s First Zombie Supermodel. The British comedy will tell the story of a zombie who died during a Survivor audition who reinvents himself as a supermodel called Vincent Vango. Abercrombie & Zombie will be the feature film debut of Scott Weintrob, who has previously directed several episodes of the UK TV series Top Gear.
This week’s Most Rotten Idea is also the top story, the Buffy reboot.