This week brought us news about movies some of Hollywood’s most interesting directors, the requisite remake and toy-based movie deals, and the continuing story of the resurrection of Mickey Rourke.
#1 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET REMAKE GETS A DIRECTOR AND A RUMORED STAR
With their Friday the 13th remake in theaters today, this week was a good time apparently for New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes (a company built almost entirely on the concept of horror remakes) to get things rolling for their remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, although apparently they’ve decided to lose the “A” since I never see it mentioned in stories about this remake. First off, the director for the remake will be veteran music video helmer Samuel Bayer, who will make his feature debut, but is responsible for some of the 1990s most memorable videos, like Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Blind Melon’s No Rain and The Cranberries’ Zombie. As for the casting of Freddy Krueger, although there had been rumors about Billy Bob Thornton a few months back, Latino Review is reporting that the current top choice is Jackie Earle Haley, AKA Rorschach in Watchmen. Filming might start as soon as later this spring.
#2 WILL YOU BELIEVE TOM CRUISE IS A RUSSIAN IN THE MATARESE CIRCLE?
After starring as a pirate-lookalike Nazi in Valkyrie, Tom Cruise is apparently on his world tour of incredible accents, as he will be playing the Russian spy counterpart to Denzel Washington’s CIA agent in The Materese Circle, an adaptation of a 1979 espionage novel by the late Robert Ludlum (the Bourne series). Produced by MGM, corporate cousin to United Artists, which Cruise currently co-runs, The Matarese Circle will be directed by David Cronenberg (The Dead Zone, Eastern Promises) from a script by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (2 Fast 2 Furious; cowriters of Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma). The story is about the two spies from opposite sides who have spent 20 years trying to kill each other, but are now forced to team up to take down the Matarese, a mysterious group at the center of a world wide conspiracy. Cruise and Washington had almost worked together last year on The 28th Amendment (in which Cruise would have played the U.S. President), but that project fell apart. Filming is expected to start later this year, aiming for a 2010 release, and MGM also has the rights to the novel’s sequel, The Matarese Countdown, so a possible franchise is in the works here.
#3 CHRISTOPHER NOLAN’S NEXT MOVIE ISN’T THE CAPED CRUSADER
And well, the next Batman movie probably won’t be called The Caped Crusader either, but calling it Batman Begins 3 or The Dark Knight 2 would have been equally silly. Just like how Christopher Nolan chose to direct The Prestige in between those two Batman movies, the director has signed with Warner Bros for a seven figure deal for a psychological science thriller called Inception, based on his own script. Nothing much is known about Inception except that it is set in “the architecture of the mind”, and that Nolan expects to start filming this summer, aiming for a release in the summer of 2010, as what Variety describes as a “big film” for Warner Bros.
#4 (NEARLY) EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE CAST MEMBER EVER TO STAR IN ADAM SANDLER’S NEW MOVIE
The 2010s are going to get started with a movie that might feel like the 1990s (when SNL-themed movies were all the rage) all over again, as Adam Sandler, three of his SNL friends and Kevin James are in talks to star in a currently untitled comedy for Columbia Pictures. Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade are the other three comedians in talks for the comedy about five best friends who reunite 30 years later for a party on the 4th of July weekend. Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison is producing from a script by Sandler (cowriter of Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore) and Fred Wolf (Black Sheep), with Dennis Dugan (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan) directing. Filming is expected to start this summer, and one would have to guess that Sony is probably aiming for a release date near July 4th, 2010.
#5 BRETT RATNER WANTS TO DIRECT A MOVIE BASED ON ONE OF THE WORST COMIC BOOKS EVER
The early 1990s might have been a great time for music, but that period produced some truly awful superhero comic books. Right on top of the crap heap has got to be Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood, one of the first titles from Image, a comics publisher formed by a bunch of young hot shot artists who had left Marvel and DC, and ended up producing comics that had some believed had little soul and, in Liefeld’s case, ridiculous artwork (check out the wrinkly faces and tiny feet). Somehow, however, I’m not surprised that Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) thinks Youngblood was awesome, and so he wants to direct a Youngblood movie. Youngblood is the story of a group of superheroes who work for the U.S. government. Although it is true that comics legend Alan Moore did technically write the title in the late 1990s at a low point in his career, Moore definitely phoned it in, and you can’t really find much of his greatness evident in those issues. Anyway, Brett Ratner rather ironically summed up the situation, referring to how many comic titles are already licensed, “Most of the great graphic novels are gone.” Yes, maybe you can’t make Watchmen, Brett, but… Youngblood? The great ones might be taken, but there are plenty of “good, not great” comics left. No one has to settle for freakin’ Youngblood!
#6 HASBRO’S CONQUEST OF HOLLYWOOD CONTINUES WITH STRETCH ARMSTRONG
Following news of movies based on Monopoly, Ouija and Candy Land, now Hasbro has set up a Stretch Armstrong movie through their deal with Universal, based upon the popular 1970s action figure of a guy with rubbery arms and legs kids could pull out to great lengths (like 4 feet!). Steve Oedekerk (Evan Almighty, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls) has been hired to write the “superhero comedy.” It’s worth noting that the idea of a Stretch Armstrong movie does indeed predate Hasbro’s recent love affair with movies, as I remember writing about Stretch Armstrong over 10 years ago, back when people like Jackie Chan and Danny DeVito were considered as possible stars.
#7 CHLOE SEVIGNY AND WILLEM DAFOE HEADLINE MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE?
We haven’t heard much from fan favorite director David Lynch lately since 2006’s Inland Empire, but apparently what he’s doing is producing. Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn) is following up Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans with his first (intentional) horror film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, which has to be right up there as the coolest use of Old English in a movie title since O Brother, Where Art Thou? The cast includes Chloe Sevigny (HBO’s Big Love), Willem Dafoe (who was quite creepy in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart), Brad Dourif (HBO’s Deadwood), Michael Peña (World Trade Center), Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (who was also in World Trade Center) veteran character actor Bill Cobbs (Night at the Museum) and Grace Zabriskie (Twin Peaks), a frequent David Lynch star. My Son… is reportedly loosely based on the true story of a San Diego man who acted out a Sophocles play in his head, murdering his mother with a sword. Filming starts on Coronado Island, California in March, 2009.
#8 JESSICA ALBA, CASEY AFFLECK AND KATE HUDSON TO STAR IN A REMAKE OF THE KILLER INSIDE ME
The independent adaptation of the 1952 Jim Thompson novel The Killer Inside Me is lining up an impressive cast on its $13 million budget. Kate Hudson, Bill Pullman, Ned Beatty and Elias Koteas are joining the previously announced Jessica Alba and Casey Affleck on the project, which will be directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People). The Killer Inside Me was previously adapted as a 1976 movie starring Stacy Keach. The novel by Jim Thompson, whose books also inspired The Grifters and The Getaway, and who collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on The Killers and Paths of Glory, is about a small town Texas sheriff who goes on killing spree to cover up his murdering of a prostitute and her client, the son of the town’s richest citizen. Filming starts in late February, 2009.
#9 JONAH HILL WRITING THE ADVENTURER’S HANDBOOK
Upcoming comic actor Jonah Hill has sold a script he cowrote, The Adventurer’s Handbook, to Universal, inspired by a book by Nick Conefrey about the lessons we can learn from the true stories of some of history’s greatest explorers. Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman will costar in the story of four friends who go on a globetrotting adventure, searching for a mysterious location mentioned in Conefrey’s book. Jonah Hill, who is also working on the script for the 21 Jump Street movie, was joined on this project by feature debut writers Matt Spicer and Max Winkler (son of The Fonz); the three will also be executive producing. Production of The Adventurer’s Handbook is expected to start later this year, directed by Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod).
#10 MICKEY ROURKE PRAYING TO ST. VINCENT
Hot off both his many awards and nominations for The Wrestler and his nabbing of a bad guy in Iron Man 2, Mickey Rourke has landed the lead role in an independent crime drama, St. Vincent, to be directed by genre veteran Walter Hill (48 Hrs, The Warriors) and who previously worked with Rourke on 1989’s Johnny Handsome. Co-produced by Occupant Films (The Wackness), St. Vincent is the story of a hitman who returns to his hometown NYC neighborhood to finish a botched killing on an informant, but when he is forced to disguise himself as a priest, he ends up hearing the confession of his intended target. Filming is expected to start later this year.
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS through his MySpace page or via a RT forum message and Greg also blogs about the TV show Lost, at TwoLosties.Blogspot.com.