Forced Development

Things are getting back to normal down here in Development Hell. While most of the imps and devils (and even a few demons) called in sick last week, most of them now seem to be back at work torturing would-be movie makers. And it's a good thing too, because, he-who's-name-must-not-be-spoken found out that most of them had skipped out to see the latest Star Wars feature. I think he was going to do something wonderful to them (devils have a rather skewed viewpoint,) but decided to let it go. It's rather obvious that Star Wars was a favorite, judging by the number of them that are having mock lightsaber battles with their pitchforks. Apparently, many of them also managed to catch a viewing of the oh-so-popularSpider-Man, if the imps climbing the walls are any indication. So here's what they're doing in-between their entertainments:

We've got big news for one of Dev-Hell's long time residents, Ender’s Game! Orson Scott Card’s Fresco Pictures has confirmed that Wolfgang Peterson will direct the novel adaption for Warner Brothers using Card’s script (which combines elements of the novels Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow.) With an A-list director and a major studio attached, it looks like this long anticipated project could go into production relatively soon. We’ll miss it down here, but look forward to seeing it on the silver screen!

Shrek producer John H. Williams (not the composer) will produce the Live Action/CGI man-turned-toad story Toad Trip for Dreamworks, according to The Hollywood Spec scribes Paul Tamasay and Eric Johnson can hop all the way to the bank with their $750,000 against seven figures deal. Ribbit!

Video director Tarsem may take on Nautica for Escape Artists. The project is described as a throwback to thrillers like Body Heat andDead Calm. The story involves a murder on a yacht in the Caribbean as it is retold through the eyes of three people. Ewan McGregor is still in talks, although Heath Ledger has moved on to other projects. Sounds like fun – we can always use a good thrill down here!

Columbia pictures and producer Laura Ziskin (Spider-Man) are pushing for an adaption of video game Deus Ex for a feature franchise. The story is set in 2052 in a world of terrorism, disease and economic collapse. The protagonist is a nano-tech enhanced counter terrorist. It actually was a pretty fun game but, as is the problem with most games, it’s short on story and long on action. Then again, what’s wrong with that?

Columbia has also picked up film rights to Robert Littell’s spy thrillerThe Company: A Novel of the CIA. The book is a fictional treatment of the U.S. intelligence community from the start of the Cold War through the fall of the Soviet Union. Real life characters such as Kim Philby and JFK are worked into the story. We’ll sharpen a few pitchforks while we wait for more news...

Here’s some truly frightening news: Michael Jackson will play a werewolf in a project entitled Wolfed, which is being produced by Jackson’s Neverland Pictures. Of course, Jackson has played a werewolf before – in his music video Thriller. Sounds like this project needs a long stint down here!

Comic Adaption Hell:

The comic adaptions are crawling out of the woodworks. Apparently The Sunday Post has indicated that Brad Pitt would like to star in Captain America (No, please no!) It also appears that James Marsden has been chosen to play the title role in the adaption of the DC Comics seriesPreacher.

Ashely Judd is looking forward to her role as Catwoman, although she has some concerns about the skin-tight leather outfit. According to Cinescape, reporting on an Australian magazine article, she’s concerned with how well her posterior will compare with former Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer’s, er, assets. Judd also mentioned that the story involves a female nemesis that she hopes is cast with ‘a tiny ninja person like Winona Ryder.’ Looks like we’ll get to enjoy a few, um, Cat-fights... Good times, good times.

Remake Hell:

Word has it that Paramount and Frank Oz are going to inflict upon us a remake of the 70’s movie The Stepford Wivesas a black comedy. Seriously! I wouldn’t kid about a thing like this...

Lucy Liu is looking to revive the old Charlie Chan movies with herself playing the lead role of Charlie Chan’s granddaughter. While she’s a lot cuter than former Charlie Chan star Warner Oland, she’ll need to get a very strong script to hold up against the originals. I guess she’s just got a thing about the name Charlie...

Sequel Hell:

Yet another Crow sequel is on the way, according to Dark Horizons. Lance Mungia is rumored to be writing an adaption of the novel The Crow: Winged Prayer for Dimension Films. Maybe they can get it right with the third sequel...

FilmForce has picked up a rumor that the writer for Indiana Jones IV will be none other than Frank Darabont. Great news if it’s true. You might remember that Darabont was one of the writers for the short-lived Young Indiana Jones television series. Another rumor has it that Jones will have a son in this installment. Take this with a grain of salt, however. There has been a rather popular fan-written Indy IV script running around with one of the central characters being Jones’ son. Of course, anything to do with whips goes over really well with the devils!

In other Indiana Jones IV news, there was a report posted at Dark Horizons about someone scouting locations for Indiana Jones IV in Sedona and other parts of Arizona. Meanwhile, Coming Soon has a report that indicates the Prop department is gearing up whips for Indy IV. If these reports are correct, then the movie may be moving along faster than was thought. Awesome!

Casting has started on Alex Proyas next feature: Isaac Asimov’sI, Robot. Hopefully it fares better than Bicentennial Man – another Asimov robot story that was mutilated by the Hollywood machine.

Various reports are running around about directory Ronny Yu being attached to the much-anticipated Freddy Vs. Jason film. Keep up on the film at the aptly named site, Creature Corner.

TV and TV Adaption Hell:

Variety reports that CBS has ordered up a TV movie based on the campy 1960’s Batman TV series. Could be wonderful fun or a horrible disaster – what’s your call? Pow! Whammo! Smack!

Holy Bat Gonno! ~Lee