This week’s Ketchup includes movie development news stories involving sequels for Horrible Bosses, Trainspotting and the Jurassic Park franchise, as well as new (or possible new) roles for Christian Bale and Melissa McCarthy.
This Week’s Top Story
THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN FOR THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE MAKES HISTORY
The idea of the Veronica Mars movie being the top story of any given week might have seemed incredulous (and heck, maybe it still does). The reason that this movie, based upon the 2004-2007 Kristen Bell series, earned the top spot has more to do with its history-making distinction, and more generally, what precedent this story might set, going forward. It was this week that Warner Bros. and Veronica Mars producer Rob Thomas started a Kickstarter campaign for the funding of a Veronica Mars movie that raised its $2 million goal within 11 hours. Initially, it was thought that WB Digital Distribution was going to fund the remainder of the budget, but with almost a month left to go in the campaign, the movie’s entire budget will now come from the Kickstarter donations. The people who ponied up the cash will receive a variety of escalating goodies for their contributions, the breakdown of which you can read about here. The ramifications of this story have been quick and much discussed, particularly among fans of various other TV shows who would also like to see the objects of their obsessions get Internet-funded movies. One producer who was quick to quell such speculation was Joss Whedon, who said he has no plans to turn to Kickstarter for a new Firefly/Serenity movie. One problem keeping many such shows from getting the Kickstarter treatment is that, unlike Veronica Mars, many of these cancelled shows (your Pushing Daisies, your Moonlights) require more special effects and larger budgets. Veronica Mars, on the other hand, is basically just about a young reporter who does a lot of talking. And talk, as the saying goes, is cheap. Technicolor fields of CGI flowers and reanimated corpses, not so much.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 ONE OF THE SIGNS LEADING INTO JURASSIC PARK IV READS SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Last year, one of the directors to make the Star Wars Episode VII news (the job that eventually went to J.J. Abrams) was Colin Trevorrow, who made his debut with the indie Safety Not Guaranteed. Eventually, we learned that the genre reboot that Treverrow was actually hinting at was the much lower profile Flight of the Navigator. This week, Colin Trevorrow really did sign on to direct a high profile genre entry with Roman numerals in the title: Jurassic Park IV. Universal Pictures has slated Jurassic Park IV for a release date of June 13, 2014, and Treverrow will be working from a script by Rise of the Planet of the Apes cowriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
#2 WILL THE GOOD TIMES MOVIE BE DY-NO-MITE?
There was a time in Hollywood when “TV show adaptations” were one of the hot trends, and nearly every week brought word of a new such project. Nowadays, not so much. So, it’s almost refreshing to hear that Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin have started development on a movie based upon the 1974-1979 CBS sitcom Good Times. That show is most remembered now for featuring J.J. Walker and a pre-pop-singer TV career for Janet Jackson. In its own time, Good Times was one of a few hit shows for TV producer Norman Lear, who specialized in “social commentary” shows like All in the Family and Maude. Specifically, the title of Good Times was sort of intended to be ironic, as the show was about a working class African American family in Chicago whose struggles suggested they weren’t really having such great times. Producer Scott Rudin’s other adaptations in the past have included Shaft, Sabrina, and The Manchurian Candidate.
#3 DISNEY’S FANTASY REBOOTS CONTINUE WITH THE BEAST
Following the massive box office takes for Alice in the Wonderland and most recently Oz the Great and Powerful, it’s not terribly surprising that Walt Disney Pictures continues to put fantasy reboots into development. This week’s newest entry in that growing line of projects is called The Beast, and it’s a reinvention of Beauty and the Beast. For this assignment, Disney has hired screenwriter Joe Ahearne, who recently worked with director Danny Boyle on the upcoming film Trance. The Beast is almost certainly a few years away from being produced, but it joins a burgeoning development line that includes the Sleeping Beauty reboot Maleficent, and the new Cinderella (which we also learned this week will not be featuring Emma Watson, as was recently reported).
#4 DANNY BOYLE HOPES TO REUNITE TRAINSPOTTING CAST IN 2016 FOR A SEQUEL
In Austin this week for the SXSW Film Festival (to promote Trance), director Danny Boyle revealed that he hopes to get the cast of Trainspotting (including Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, and Jonny Lee Miller) back together in 2016 for a sequel. Screenwriter John Hodge is currently working on the script, which is only loosely based upon author Irvine Welsh’s actual sequel called Porno. One reason that 2016 is the target for the sequel is that it will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Trainspotting. One has to imagine that Begbie, Spud, and Sick Boy are probably still cross at Rent Boy.
#5 HOLLYWOOD’S BIG MOSES PLANS: EXODUS VERSUS GODS AND KINGS
We’re all still waiting on the two “White House attack” movies, but Hollywood is already onto its next pair of dueling movies, as two different studios are racing against each other to produce movies about the Biblical figure of Moses. And this week, both projects got fairly major news developments. First up, there is the Warner Bros project Gods and Kings, which Steven Spielberg has now officially dropped out of considering. In Spielberg’s place might be Ang Lee, who recently joined Spielberg as a two-time Best Director Oscar winner (for Life of Pi). There’s no deal yet for Ang Lee, it’s worth noting, but in situations like this where studios are racing against each other, sometimes just the idea of a deal is enough to make the news. In this case, the competition is at 20th Century Fox, where a Moses project called Exodus might just be director Ridley Scott’s next film after The Counselor. An advantage that Exodus might have is that it already has an A list actor interested, in the form of Christian Bale. However, just like with Ang Lee, there’s no deal in place yet for Bale either.
#6 WWE WRESTLER DAVE BAUTISTA LANDS GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ROLE AS DRAX THE DESTROYER
Following a casting call that saw Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) get most of the press, WWE wrestler Dave Bautista has landed the second role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as Drax the Destroyer. Drax’s story stretches back to the 1970s and is correspondingly sort of convoluted, but for the purposes of this movie, let’s just say that he’s a human who is resurrected as a big green muscle bound warrior type (but not that *other* Marvel green-skinned muscle bound guy). Bautista joins the previously cast Chris Pratt (as Star-Lord), which now leaves just one more actor to be cast (Gamora), and two more voice roles (Groot and Rocket Raccoon), to fill out the five main members of the team.
#7 HORRIBLE BOSSES TRIO RETEAMS FOR BOTH THE SEQUEL AND ONE NIGHT ON THE HUDSON
The ramifications of the July, 2011 box office success of Horrible Bosses continued to be felt this week, a year and a half later. Most obviously, deals were made and in the process of being made for director Seth Gordon and cast members Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jamie Foxx to reunite for Horrible Bosses 2, along with director Seth Gordon. Three of them (Bateman, Day and Gordon) also are in talks with Universal Pictures to team up for a completely different project called One Night on the Hudson, about a pair of cops who are tasked with escorting a federal witness from New Jersey to Manhattan. Horrible Bosses 2, which is expected to start filming in the late summer of 2013, is expected to happen first.
#8 MELISSA MCCARTHY LANDS DRAMATIC ROLE IN WEINSTEIN COMPANY OSCAR BAIT ST. VINCENT DE VAN NUYS
Like so many before her, Melissa McCarthy appears ready to make the transition from comedic to dramatic actress in the Weinstein Company project St. Vincent De Van Nuys. McCarthy has landed what is being described as a much sought role as a struggling single mother whose 12 year old son is taken care of by a “train wreck” of a neighbor to be played by Bill Murray. St. Vincent De Van Nuys got its start as an entry on the “Black List of Unproduced Screenplays,” and it will also mark the directorial debut of its screenwriter Ted Melfi. Filming is expected to start in July while Melissa McCarthy is on hiatus from her CBS sitcom Mike & Molly.
#9 ROBERT DUVALL AND VINCENT D’ONOFRIO TO PLAY ROBERT DOWNEY JR’S FAMILY IN THE JUDGE
We’ve known for a while that Robert Downey Jr. was going to star in the Warner Bros dramedy The Judge, but this week was when we finally learned who will play the title character. Robert Duvall will play Downey’s father, a small town judge who is the main suspect in the murder case of the mother of Downey’s character, who’s a successful attorney himself. Vincent D’Onofrio (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) has also been cast as Downey’s older brother. The Judge will be directed by David Dobkin (Fred Claus, The Change Up), whose last three films have all earned “Rotten” scores on the RT Tomatometer, which is why The Judge is the lowest rated of this week’s stories. However, Downey, Duvall and D’Onofrio — in addition to sharing final initials — are all fine actors, which just barely saved The Judge from being the week’s sole Rotten Idea.