Weekly Ketchup

Weekly Ketchup: Top Gun Taking 3D Flight in 2012

Plus, Highlander and Point Break remakes, and a new role for Whitney Houston.

by | September 16, 2011 | Comments

This week’s Ketchup sees Hollywood’s love affairs with all things 1980s and 1990s continue with rereleases of Ghostbusters and Top Gun and remakes of Highlander and Point Break. There’s also news for the Wachowski’s next film, comedy high jinx from the South Park guys and Seth Rogen, and new roles for Hugh Grant, Whitney Houston and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This Week’s Top Story


The current wave of 3D movies has been used to depict many things, but so far, huge mustaches have been sadly neglected. Paramount Pictures is working to correct this, however, with the news that the milk sponges sported by Anthony Edwards and Tom Skerritt in the 1986 hit Top Gun are currently being converted to 3D for a theatrical rerelease planned for early 2012. Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, and Kelly McGillis were also in Top Gun, but they sadly didn’t sport awesome 1980’s ‘staches. Oh, okay, maybe there was more to the popularity of Top Gun than the facial hair of two guys who went on to star in ER and Picket Fences. The many aerial dogfight scenes are more obviously what people would probably want to see in 3D (if they want to see any of Top Gun in 3D, that is). Top Gun is of course the tale of a group of cocky Navy pilots, a sexy female flight instructor, and how they all overcome their rivalries in the end to deal with a confrontation with Soviet MiG jets (and sing, badly, a Righteous Brothers song along the way). Top Gun was directed by Tony Scott (Ridley’s brother), who went on to direct such films as Beverly Hills Cop II, Days of Thunder, True Romance and last year’s Unstoppable. Tony Scott and Paramount are also developing a remake of Top Gun, and this 3D rerelease can most likely be seen as a test to see whether there remains an audience for the Top Gun brand name. Paramount has not yet officially announced the 3D rerelease, however, as the 3D conversion still needs to be approved by director Tony Scott. Paramount’s plans join those already announced by 20th Century Fox for 3D rereleases of Titanic (on April 6, nine days before the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic sinking) and the six movies in the two Star Wars trilogies (starting in 2012). And, of course, Walt Disney Pictures is rereleasing The Lion King in theaters this weekend in 3D as well. Meanwhile, in other rerelease news which can be interpreted as a test run to test modern interest in an aging franchise, Sony Pictures will be rereleasing Ghostbusters (but not in 3D) next month in October in a few hundred theaters. This news comes as the long planned Ghostbusters 3 appears to be getting closer and closer to actually being made. That announcement came via the Ghostbusters Facebook page, which is a rather clumsy way to break news, but you can find it posted on September 14 here.

Fresh Developments This Week


Sometimes movie development news falls into a sort of “well, duh” category, because the newly announced film project already seemed inevitable. But, if it’s big enough of a story, it’s still news even if it surprises no one. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the masterminds behind South Park and Team America: World Police, have just announced such a project. Parker and Stone have confirmed that they do indeed plan to someday adapt their recent Broadway hit musical (and multiple Tony winner) The Book of Mormon as a feature film. For those unfamiliar with the play, The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries who travel to wartorn Uganda in search of new converts, which leads to them having to deal with a violent warlord and the realities of Third World poverty, famine and disease. And along the way, there’s about twenty rousing musical numbers and plenty of jokes (and not jokes) about faith. The Book of Mormon was cocreated by Parker and Stone with Robert Lopez, one of the cowriters/co-composers of the 2003 hit musical (and similarly toned, comedically) Avenue Q. This story, does however, have a big asterisk at the end of that announcement: “Hopefully, it will have a big run and a big tour and then we can do the movie in several years,” said Trey Parker, who is likely to direct the eventual film adaptation. That’s right, “several years,” as in probably not before 2015.


It’s already been four years now since Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel produced an 86 second teaser on YouTube for a planned comedy called, at the time, Jay and Seth Versus The Apocalypse. Promoting 50/50 and Take This Waltz at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, Seth Rogen has finally confirmed that the movie should start filming in February, 2012. The title has now been shortened however, to just The Apocalypse, due to a shift in the film’s concept. Instead of just being about Jay and Seth, The Apocalypse will also costar their pals (and frequent costars) Jonah Hill and James Franco. The basic premise remains the same, but now all four actors will be playing themselves in a fictional comedic scenario in which they are stuck together in a house while some sort of apocalypse is going on outside. “They think they’ve kind of survived the worst and then they realize they all really can’t stand to be around each other as they’re stuck in this house together,” Seth Rogen elaborated. The plan is for Seth Rogen and his frequent writing collaborator Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) to make their directorial debuts with The Apocalypse.


Hugh Grant is the latest actor to join the ever expanding cast of Cloud Atlas, the ensemble quasi-sci-fi drama adaptation that is being directed as a collaboration between Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The International) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Speed Racer). Hugh Grant joins a cast that already includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and South Korean actress Bae Doona. Filming of Cloud Atlas started this week in Glasgow, Scotland, and there are already images of Halle Berry and Ben Whishaw filming together (other locations will include Germany and Spain). Cloud Atlas is based upon the novel by David Mitchell and tells a series of stories set across history as people in different eras and locations experience echoes from each other from both the past and future.


After a few months of cooling down past his recent marital controversy, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back into a series of negotiations that will keep the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor very busy, post politics. Following the neo-Western Last Stand and a supporting role in The Expendables 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s third film is likely to be the independent action drama Captive. If the negotiations go through, Schwarzenegger will play a wealthy American real estate tycoon who is kidnapped while living in Brazil, and must figure out a way out of an armored truck that is buried in a Sao Paolo landfill. Captive, in other words, sounds a bit like last year’s Buried (starring Ryan Reynolds in a box), except that the addition of a second storyline involving a detective searching for Schwarzenegger expands the setting quite a bit. The Captive script was written by Benjamin van der Veen (cowriter of Che) and Kario Salem (HBO’S The Rat Pack and Don King: Only in America). First time director Nicolai Fuglsig was originally expected to direct Captive, but he has since moved on to working on a futuristic retelling of Robin Hood instead, while the producers of Captive continue to look for a director.


Movie fans with a sense of history may know (or remember!) about the time in the late 1960s when Dustin Hoffman was considered one of a group of young actors bucking the Hollywood system with roles in movies like The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy. Now 74, Hoffman hasn’t been considered a newcomer in Hollywood for a long, long, long time. But, that all changes this week, as Hoffman has started filming his directorial debut, Quartet, in the UK. Quartet is based upon a stage play by screenwriter Ronald Harwood, who also adapted this film’s screenplay. Ronald Harwood was nominated for an Oscar for The Dresser and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and won an Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist. Quartet tells the story of the residents of a retirement home for retired opera singers who collaborate each year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday to raise funds for their home. The cast of veteran British (and at least one Scottish) actors includes Dame Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Sheridan Smith.

Rotten Ideas of the Week


Ashley Greene, the 24 year old actress best known for playing Edward’s adopted sister Alice Cullen in the Twilight Saga movies, has landed the lead role in a movie called Olivia Twisted. Based upon the classic Victorian novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Olivia Twisted will be an “ultra modern” reimagination that gender swaps the lead role into being Olivia, the leader of a gang of criminal street urchins who find themselves in the midst of a gang war after a kidnapping plot goes bad. Oliver Twist has been adapted to film a few times before, including a 1948 David Lean adaptation, the musical Oliver! in 1968, Roman Polanski’s 2005 version and the 1998 Walt Disney Pictures animated kitty cat movie Oliver and Company. Olivia Twisted was adapted by newcomer screenwriter Michael Roberts, and is also described as having a “Gothic backdrop,” which, considering the setting, probably refers more to a predominance of black clothing and eye shadow than the architectural style. There’s no word yet on who will be directing Olivia Twisted.


Spanish thriller director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto, 28 Weeks Later) has been attached for a while to direct the reboot/remake of The Crow. This week, Fresnadillo added another reboot to his upcoming slate as he is now in negotiations with Summit Entertainment to direct the reboot of Highlander as well. Director Justin Lin had formerly been attached to the project, but he dropped out following the success of Fast Five, which led to Lin being attached to direct the sixth Fast and the Furious film as well. Highlander was of course the 1986 film starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery as members of an immortal race locked in a centuries old conflict centered around the motto, “There can be only one.” Multiple sequels, a long running TV series and now this remake, however, apparently prove that there can be more than one version of Highlander. The current reboot script was originally written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (cowriters of Iron Man and Punisher: War Zone), and has since been rewritten by Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter who adapted the five movies of The Twilight Saga.


Hollywood has been trying to get a remake of the 1976 musical Sparkle going ever since the 2001 death of rising star Aaliyah (the 10th anniversary of which was just this past August 25th, by the way). Back then, the Sparkle remake was set up at Warner Bros, but in the decade since, the studio put Sparkle into turnaround, and it is now a Sony Pictures property. That studio has announced that the three performers now in negotiations (or signed) to star in Sparkle are American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (Sparks, Sparkle… cute, Sony), Mike Epps (of the Friday series of comedies) and (here is the real shocker), Whitney Houston. The original 1976 film was inspired by the story of the Supremes, and told a fictional story of three sisters who rise from being church choir singers to being national pop stars, until their sudden fame causes their personal lives to unravel. Jordin Sparks will play the trio’s leader, Whitney Houston is in talks to play the sister’s controlling mother, and Mike Epps will play Satin, a stand up comedian “who marries one of the sisters and gets her hooked on drugs.” The other two sisters have not yet been cast. Mara Brock Akil, the creator of the BET series The Game adapted this remake’s script, and her husband Salim Akil (who has directed every episode of that series and also several episodes of the UPN series Girlfriends) will direct the Sparkle remake. Salim Akil also recently made his feature debut with the 2011 romantic comedy Jumping the Broom. The Sparkle remake will be Whitney Houston’s first theatrical film as an actress in 15 years since 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife, and only her fourth ever (the first two being The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale). On television, Whitney Houston has only appeared in one production since 1996, a year later as the Fairy Godmother in the TV movie Cinderella.


Just a few weeks ago, the Most Rotten Idea of the week was the news that remake fever had crept into the 1990s with news of a planned Flatliners remake. Films like The Crow and Spider-Man had already long since been announced as getting remakes, but it seemed like another sign that producers in love with remakes were starting to run out of ideas from the 1980s. More evidence of this slight change in the trend came this week with the announcement from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros of plans to remake the 1991 action thriller Point Break. Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze (whose Dirty Dancing was also recently announced as being remade) starred in the original Point Break as, respectively, a young FBI agent and the leader of a group of surfing, sky diving bank robbers (which the FBI agent infiltrated). The new Point Break is confirmed to be still set in the world of “international extreme sports,” but the coyness of that description seems to imply that the new film may tackle other activities that the first film did not. This reboot is being adapted by screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Equilibrium, Law Abiding Citizen), who also cowrote the upcoming remake of Total Recall (starring Colin Farrell in the Arnold Schwarzenegger role). As part of this remake deal, Alcon Entertainment also secured the television and video game rights to Point Break.

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.