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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This week

Updates will be sparse. I'm on the home stretch with my current script. On a deadline too, so I'll be around, but only as a phantom.

Till then...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Iron Man 2 Completes Filming

Source: Marvel.

The cameras started rolling on April 6 and filming ended today, July 18. After 71 days of shooting, “Iron Man 2” wrapped principal photography—right on schedule!

So how did it go? Was it tougher getting “Iron Man 2” shot than it was “Iron Man?” To find out, we went directly to one of the key players in the Marvel movie world, Kevin Feige, Producer of "Iron Man 2" and President of Marvel Studios!

"Shooting 'Iron Man 2' was a fantastic experience and we couldn't be happier. Although there were many challenges in making this film, having Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow and almost the entire crew from the first film back on board, allowed us to hit the ground running as everyone was instantly familiar with each other from day one,” Feige told “This dynamic allowed us to get done what we needed on a day to day basis and was a big factor in why we finished slightly ahead of schedule.”

"That's right, baby, I'm so fucking money right now."

Of course, we all know by now there’s also a bunch of new A-List actors interacting with the crew from the first film to make “Iron Man 2,” but according to Feige, it never became a concern.

“Scarlett Johansson, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell and especially Don Cheadle all stepped right in and meshed well with our returning cast,” he said.

Additionally, the first time around on “Iron Man” afforded them keen knowledge when it came to producing key aspects of “Iron Man 2.”

”From our experience on the first film, we learned what works and doesn't work in terms of shooting practical versus CGI especially with the Iron Man suit,” Feige explained. “This enabled us to be much more efficient in many departments, making it a much smoother experience.”

But if you think making a film of this magnitude isn’t without its own particular obstacles, guess again.

"What’s more difficult in shooting a sequel is that expectations are much higher for this film and we really want to top what we did on the first film,” he said. “Every day involved working extremely hard in order to improve upon what we did on the first film."

So now with “Iron Man 2” in the can, what happens before we all get to see “Iron Man 2” on May 7, 2010?

"The next step for us is beginning the post production process which is extensive and filled with its own set of challenges,” Feige said. “It is also a very exciting time because you get to see all the hard work from the hundreds of cast and crew members begin to come to life."

Morgan Freeman Joins Warren Ellis' Comic Book Movie 'Red'

Source: First Showing

He's back again for another comic book movie. Morgan Freeman is in talks to star alongside Bruce Willis in Summit Entertainment's espionage thriller Red, based on the WildStorm/DC Comic written by Warren Ellis. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing along with DC Comics' Gregory Noveck overseeing.

"Get busy living, or get busy dying... Hang on, wrong 'Red'."

The screenplay was written by brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber, who also adapted Whiteout. No director has been hired (or announced yet), although I expect we'll be hearing about one fairly soon. We first wrote about this movie a year ago, so it's good to hear that it's finally moving along smoothly.

"Ellis may look like the bastard son of Ivan the Terrible, but he's arguably the best writer in comics today."

The three-issue comic series, first published in 2003, tells the story of a former black-ops CIA agent now living a quiet life in retirement until the day a high-tech assassin shows up to kill him. With his secret identity compromised and his love interest in danger, the man must reassemble his old team to figure out who is out to get them.

"Another comic book adaptation? Show me the money."

The Hoebers' take involves the idea of an older operative set in his ways having to contend with younger agents as well as modern technology. We're not sure what character Freeman will play, but after Wanted, I just hope he's playing another villain, because I loved seeing him kick ass in that.

Voltron comes together again

Source: RiskyBiz

Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven, Richard Suckle and Steve Alexander are ready to form "Voltron."

The producers behind "Get Smart" and "The International" (and Roven of course also produced "The Dark Knight) have acquired the rights to make a live-action feature based on the robot-lion property, pushing the project forward after several years in development with the Mark Gordon Company.

Roven and his partners acquired rights to the Japanese title from World Events Prods., a St. Louis-based company that has held those rights for more than two decades. “Wanted” producer Jason Netter of Kickstart Entertainment and World Events’ Ted Koplar are joining the Atlas trio in producing.

"Have Michael Bay's people call my people."

"Voltron," a television hit in the 1980’s that has retained a loyal fan following, features a “Transformers"-like conceit, in which a band of five robot-lions combine to form one super lion. A group of five pilots control the lions, which are charged with defending the planet Arus from villain King Zarkon, who dispatches evil creatures called Robobeats to fight the Voltron robots.

Based on Japanese anime properties Beast King GoLion and Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV, "Voltron” aired only for two years on U.S. television, in 1984 and 1985, when Japanese pop-culture had not yet penetrated the American mainstream.

But the title caught the same wave of interest that carried “Transformers," "Gobots" and other mythic stories about shape-shifting robots, and also prompted a popular line of toys.

In the nearly 25 years since it went off the air, the property has remained a favorite in diverse communities, from the fanboy to the hip-hop worlds. “It’s undeniably impressive that Voltron has sustained itself globally for a quarter of a century,” Roven said.

The family-owned television outfit World Events became involved with Voltron when it acquired rights to distribute the 80's program to U.S. television stations. The company has never made a feature from the title but did reboot an animated series in the 1990’s. New editions of the comic were also
published several years ago by the indie label Devil’s Due.

Mark Gordon, the producer of action-drama hits such as “The Patriot” and “Saving Private Ryan,” had been developing the project with indie producers James Young, Mark Costa and Ford Oelman. The group had made a number of inroads in the past few years, hiring writer wunderkind Justin Marks to pen a script (his draft centered on an alien invasion in an apocalyptic North America) and ensuring that a chain of title was clear. The group had also set up the project at New Regency.

"Tell Optimus he can grease my rod."

Last year, the Fox-based banner put “Voltron” into turnaround, and Relativity Media came on to finance the film as part of its single-picture business. But with the option from World Events set to expire, Atlas had the opportunity to step in and acquire rights.

Atlas' “Voltron” has not yet been set up at a studio. The company has an overall deal with Warners, which has been seeking an action tentpole to rival Paramount’s “Transformers” mega-franchise. Warners is already moving forward on “Robotech,” another robot-and-alien tale based on a 1980’s television series.

The success of “Transformers” has revived interest around Hollywood in similar projects (it’s likely that “Voltron” would blend in CG robots with live action in the manner of the Michael Bay hits).

In describing the property, Koplar compared it favorably to “Transformers, saying that “unlike other robotic action movies, 'Voltron’ is the personification of the human spirit, a quality that will set this movie apart."

DiCaprio Hires a Screenwriter for His Twilight Zone Movie

Source: Variety

Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way are moving ahead on a "Twilight Zone" movie, hiring Rand Ravich to pen a script based on the iconic TV series, which melded fantasy, science-fiction and horror elements. Studio first set up the project with the Warner-based shingle a year ago.

Ravich's feature credits include directing "The Astronaut's Wife" and exec producing "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." He also created NBC's detective series "Life."

"Hey, wanna see something really scary?"

The original "Twilight Zone" series ran for five seasons starting in 1959 on CBS, with Rod Serling creating the skein and writing more than half of the 156 episodes.

Warners released the previous bigscreen incarnation of the property, 1983's "Twilight Zone: The Movie," with Steven Spielberg and John Landis producing and directing segments.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

More DC Comics Movies on the Horizon: Flash, Bizarro, Aquaman

Source: First Showing + Hollywood Reporter.

In the comics universe, where characters are endlessly reborn and reoutfitted, a motto from the 1980s -- "DC Comics is on the move" -- could just as well apply to the current, hyperactive state of the publisher as it relates to Hollywood.

A year after "The Dark Knight" became a worldwide phenomenon, there are more DC Comics adaptations in the works than at any other point since the company was acquired by Warner Bros. in 1969.

Among the projects on front burners:

"The Losers," an action-adventure drama starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans, begins principal photography this week in Puerto Rico.

"Jonah Hex," a supernatural Western starring Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich, recently wrapped production in Louisiana.

"The Green Lantern," Warners' next big superhero tentpole, is set to star Ryan Reynolds after a long search.

-- Fox has picked up the TV series "Human Target," starring Mark Valley, for the fall.

-- And, in a rare example of a film project that has ventured off the Warners reservation, DC has set up "Red," a spy thriller to star Bruce Willis, at Summit.

"One of the things that has differentiated us for most of the last 20 years is the depth of our library and the depth of the creative material that we've put out and the opportunities that creates for other media," DC Comics president Paul Levitz said.Still, when "Dark Knight" invaded theaters last summer, critics of DC and Warners complained there didn't appear to be a grand strategy in place to exploit DC properties.

In contrast, DC arch-rival Marvel moved quickly in the wake of its successful "Iron Man" to stake out a series of release dates for a slew of movies, branding them as part of one big Marvel universe leading to "The Avengers," which arrives in 2012.

But DC and Warners have taken a different approach, arguing that DC has a wider breadth of books than other comics companies. They insist their situation isn't comparable to Marvel, which already has licensed out to other studios a number of its biggest titles: Spider-Man is housed at Sony, and X-Men and Fantastic Four are at Fox.

"What do you recommend for thigh chafing?"

With fewer marquee superheroes, Marvel works like an animation studio: It only develops select projects and makes most of what it develops, while DC is managing a much larger portfolio.

Still, in the wake of "Dark Knight," DC and Warners have made strategic moves in the superhero realm, including centralizing the way DC's titles and characters are developed. In the past, Warners optioned a property, paying DC a fee comparable to what a property could command on the open market. But while the projects ostensibly were being developed under one roof, many were spread out over a host of producers, each with different visions for how to approach each adaptation.

To bring competing approaches into sync, Levitz and DC's Los Angeles-based film exec Gregory Noveck have overseen a reorganization of the development slate. While Warners execs still drive the creative side, DC now has more input, making it an actual participant in the shaping of material.

"The creative process is by and large a true partnership," Noveck said. "They'll ask us a ton of questions, and we'll give a ton of answers. We will talk back and forth. We'll discuss writers and talent, but ultimately it's their decision."

This past fall, Warners quietly hired three of DC's biggest writers -- Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Marv Wolfman -- to act as consultants and writers for its superhero line of movies. The move involved taking back the reins on projects being handled by such producers as Charles Roven ("The Flash") and Akiva Goldsman ("Teen Titans").

Some agents and scribes grumbled about being forced to work with the consultants, never mind that Johns started his career as a assistant to "Superman" director Richard Donner or that Wolfman has worked in animation since the 1980s

The moves have begun to pay off. Johns worked up a new treatment for a "Flash" script, being written by Dan Mazeau; Johns will act in a producer capacity on the project, which has not attached a director.

The projects Morrison and Wolfman are working on are in the early stages at Warners, whose execs declined to comment.

The process involves one writer taking point, though the trio do collaborate on projects, reading one another's materials while hashing out a story that will be at once accessible to nonfans yet still adhere to each character's long history. The writers also work in tandem with producers, writers and the Warners execs overseeing the projects, showing them treatments and providing notes on scripts.

Meanwhile, other superhero projects are moving forward at Warners.

The studio is taking pitches on sci-fi hero Adam Strange and the underwater-breathing hero "Aquaman," to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way shingle.

Also in the pipeline: "Bizarro Superman" being written by "Galaxy Quest" scribes David Howard and Robert Gordon; a sequel to "Constantine," with Goldsman and Erwin Stoff producing; two concurrent Green Arrow projects, an origin story and a prison-set one titled "Super Max"; and "Shazam," which was set up at New Line but has moved to Warners, with Pete Segal attached to direct.

Unsung in the lineup is Warners' line of straight-to-DVD animated movies released via Warner Premiere. "Green Lantern: First Flight," the latest entry, will premiere at this week's Comic-Con and has a July 28 street date.

These movies, produced on budgets in the $3.5 million range, apparently overperformed their targets. "First Flight" is the fifth straight-to-DVD title, with "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" in production for a Sept. 29 release.

In the home entertainmentarena, DC has overshadowed Marvel, with 2007's "Superman-Doomsday" generating $9.4 million in revenue and last year's "Batman: Gotham Knight," taking advantage of the tidal wave of support for the Christopher Nolan movie, generating $8 million, according to tracking site "Wonder Woman," released in March, already has chalked up $4.4 million. Marvel's top seller, "Ultimate Avengers 2," has pulled in $7.7 million.

Not that all the stars in the DC firmament are aligned yet.

Warners and DC still haven't figured out how to translate "Wonder Woman" to the big screen. In part, that failure reflects the difficulties DC has had turning out a popular Wonder Women comic. Morrison, during a recent Q&A with Clive Barker at Los Angeles' Meltdown Comics, admitted he didn't have a complete handle on the character when he was writing the comic "Final Crisis."

Also, ever since Bryan Singer's 2006's "Superman Returns," a new Superman has been in limbo.

"Our hope is to develop a Superman property and to try again," Warner Bros. Entertainment president Alan Horn said in April. "What hurt us is that the reviews and so on for the Superman movie did not get the kind of critical acclaim that Batman got, and we have other issues with Superman that concern us."

"Ever had sex with a blue-ringed Octopus?"

On the Batman front, a sequel to "Dark Knight" also is quite a way off. Nolan is open to doing a third installment, but his next movie is "Inception," an original script he penned and is shooting for Warners.

All that has put a damper on any movie about the Justice League, whose roster includes the above-mentioned heroes as well as myriad others including Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. DC would like to present some of the main heroes in their own movies before they are brought together for one big outing, so "League" currently is inactive.

On top of that, there could be another change in how Warners approaches the DC characters, with studio chiefs debating whether to put the operation under one super-exec.

To bring the next generation of superheroes to the screen, DC and Warners might yet have to unleash their own super powers.

Today's Awesome One-Sheets!

Behold, Tarsonites, I give you...

Producer Joel Silver talks Shane Black, Wachowski Brothers, SGT. ROCK, DIRTY DOZEN, THE LOSERS and GREYSKULL

Source: Collider.

Anytime you sit down with producer Joel Silver you’re going to learn about a lot of upcoming films. That’s because as the producer of over 90 movies, the guys is always making them and he has his hand in many projects fandom cares about. So when I got the chance to speak with him at yesterday’s “Orphan” junket, towards the end of the interview I asked about many of his upcoming projects.

"If I were a Billionaire, I wouldn't care what I wore either."

After the jump you can either read or watch Joel talk about what’s up with Shane Black, The Wachowski Brothers, “Sgt. Rock”, “The Dirty Dozen” and “Greyskull”.

Since many of you like watching video interviews and others like reading transcripts, I’m offering what Joel said both ways. Up first is the video of Joel talking future projects and further down is the transcript.

"I wrote Lethal Weapon. The fuck you ever do?"

The big news for Wachowski fans is he says “Plastic Man” is just a rumor. He goes on to say he doesn’t know what they’re doing next. He also explains what happened to “Dirty Dozen”, “Sgt. Rock” and what’s up with Shane Black. Finally, look for what Joel and Susan Downey said about “Orphan” in the coming days.

"Peter Berg's no loser, but he should direct The Losers."

Interview Snippets:

Collider: Shane Black-what’s going on? Is there another project on the horizon?

Joel Silver: He’s working for us on a project called “The Nice Guys” which is kind of the next version of what “Kiss Kiss [Bang Bang]” was; a more advanced version. We love Shane very much and “Kiss Kiss” didn’t really do what we wanted it to do but it did help in that it’s the movie that Jon Favreau told was the movie that convinced him that Robert could in fact do “Iron Man” so it had a great effect on all our lives. But I love Shane and I promise it will happen soon.

One of my favorite films of last year was “Speed Racer”.

Joel Silver: I feel sorry for you. [laughs] I’m kidding.

I love that film and I have to ask you because I can never talk to Larry and Andy [Wachowski], is “Plastic Man” really happening? Is that a rumor?

Joel Silver: I think it’s a rumor. I don’t know what they’re going to do. We had “Ninja Assassin” which we did together which is really, really strong. Really, really good. I mean it’s a complete, full-on martial arts movie which is really a hard-edged, fun picture. I don’t know what they’re going to do next. Look, “Speed Racer” kind of made us all crazy-

It’s fantastic.

Joel Silver: We thought it was going to be a big, Earth-shattering picture and it was Earth-shattering but the other way. I don’t know. It’s disturbing, actually. But, you know, I liked it too.

I love it. I know we have to wrap up but I have to ask the two of you: “Dirty Dozen”, “Sgt. Rock”-what’s the status?

Joel: We were very committed to making “Dirty Dozen” for a while. We were close…We essentially shifted gears to “The Losers” which is why-we start shooting the movie on Thursday in Pureto Rico, it’s a famous DC comic, and it’s a similar idea to “Dirty Dozen”; it’s a more contemporary story but I hope one day to do “Dirty Dozen”. I hope one day to do “Sgt. Rock”. We were getting close on that and then Quentin [Tarantino] went off and did “Inglourious Basterds” so I mean we kind of put it aside but they’re properties that we own and we hope to make them someday.

Okay, one more question-”Greyskull”-what’s going on?

Joel: We’re developing it. We have a good idea for the script and if it works, we’ll make it.

"He loved Speed Racer? Yeah, right."

Which “Big Director” Was Interested In Directing Mark Millar’s Superman?

Source: /Film.

You might remember that comic book writer Mark Millar had been talking about his pitch for an 8-hour Lord of the Rings-style epic trilogy of Superman films. He even claimed that he was working with an unnamed big director on a pitch for the studio. But a couple months ago, Millar gave up on the pursuit, at least for the moment. Mark is always one to tell big stories and make big claims, sometimes larger than reality. And I’ve always wondered if there really was a big name director working with him on the Superman pitch, and who it could have been. And now we know…

"Clooney contemplates giving up his costume fetish. Particularly the Superman one."

Millar finally reveals the name to the TimesOnline, and its a lot more obvious then you would think — Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake, Stardust and the big screen adaptation of Millar’s Kick-Ass comic book. The comic book writer tells the Times, “They spoke to me and Matthew last year and we were obviously very interested as the love is there and the potential is enormous. But we’re not involved in Superman at this stage.” The plan was “to do a Superman movie unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Matthew wanted to cast someone who looked nothing like Christopher Reeve and create a new Superman for this generation. But Superman is still in stasis at the moment because the last one lost so much money and [Warners] are scared to do anything with the character right now. I’m not holding my breath.”

Millar had originally revealed his idea to Empire Magazine, stating that his pitch is for an 8-hour saga told over the course of three films, each which he hopes would be released one year apart.

"Arnold dug the new outfit."

"It’s gonna be like Michael Corleone in the Godfather films, the entire story from beginning to end, you see where he starts, how he becomes who he becomes, and where that takes him. The Dark Knight showed you can take a comic book property and make a serious film, and I think the studios are ready to listen to bigger ideas now."

But Millar’s ideas were great in concept but unrealistic from a studio standpoint.

"I want to start on Krypton, a thousand years ago, and end with Superman alone on Planet Earth, the last being left on the planet, as the yellow sun turns red and starts to supernova, and he loses his powers."

Warner Bros cares about the character as a franchise, and a franchise can’t exist if it has a finite conclusion. In May Millar revealed that talk of the movie had slowed down, and that he had moved on to another project.

"Believe me, this is heavier than it looks."

"Warner’s talked to us and a few other writer/ director teams, but things seem to be in stasis right now. As far as I understand, nothing is happening with Superman at the moment and so the director and I are just working on another project. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, no biggie. Kick-Ass taught me that creating your own stuff can be at least as much fun and you don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s the future, baby."

That new project will re-team Millar with Vaughn on another live-action big screen adaptation — Millar’s American Jesus comic book. You can read a lot more about that project in our previous news report. Thanks to /Film reader KaMeek for the tip.