Movie Picture

Back in the Pentagram, again!

The July 4th holiday sluggishness has faded from Development Hell’s overworked demonic crowd and they’ve been working double time to catch up. Hollywood just keeps churning out new residents down here, especially in the overcrowded Remake, Sequel and Comic sections. Not to mention the fact that this whole Alamo fiasco has caused major confusion! You have to realize that even the demons need a little lead-time to set up all the fire-pits, flame-rooms and the various torture implements that are required to get a major production off the ground! But with Opie’s Epic (you heard it here first, folks!) on hold, many of the imps and devils have been temporarily reassigned. Here’s some of what they’re doing:

Dark Horizons clues us in on UK soccer star David Beckham’s part in Red Light Runners. He’ll play a ‘bad ass’ assassin in the heist flick, which also stars Harvey Keitel and Dennis Hopper. Beckham’s character will have a bad eye, almost to the point of sightlessness, in addition to a power to ‘bend’ bullets. Whatever that means. Beckham joins the long list of soccer players turned movie stars that includes, um, er, nope not him, uh, oh yeah, Vinnie Jones!

Benicio Del Toro is expected to star in 21 Grams. Nope, it’s not another drug movie; the title refers to the amount of weight a body loses at death. The speculation is that this is the weight of the ‘soul.’ I’m not sure how this was determined, but I can’t imagine that a whole bunch of people have expired while sitting on a scale...

Columbia Pictures is adapting the video game Return To Castle Wolfenstein, which was a sequel to the venerable 2D Castle Wolfenstein game. The story involves an Army Ranger who, as a member of the Office of Secret Actions, infiltrates a bizarre Nazi stronghold run by Heinrich Himmler. Not that we need yet another game adaption, but Nazi’s are really popular with the Development Hell staff...

Robert Towne has been confirmed as the director for the adaption of Glen David Gold’s novel, Carter Beats the Devil. Set in the 1920’s America, the novel follows the adventures of Charles Carter, a stage magician known for outrageous stunts. Problems occur when he puts on his most outrageous stunt using then-President Harding. We’re not sure what the Devil has to do with this, but I’m sure they’ll let us know.

Sean Connery has added Endgame to his slate. He’ll play a CIA Agent in this thriller that will shoot in familiar territory for Connery – the stages that Bond built at Pinewood Studios. It would be great to hear from someone involved in this one! Then we could have an English spy on an American spy movie, staring a former Scottish spy actor filming at an English spy studio! Or something like that...

Hit and miss screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will produce Tonight, He Comes for Artisan. The script by Vincent Ngo involves the bond between a fallen superhero and a troubled 12-year-old boy. In the article at Sci-Fi Channel, Richard Saperstein of Artisan Pictures describes the story as ‘atmospheric and edgy and seemed to reflect the next generation of superhero movies.’ So fallen superheros are the next big thing?

Comic Adaption Hell:

Sam Raimi appears set to take on comic adaption 30 Days of Night. The story was inspired by the yearly month-long darkness of Barrow, Alaska and involves a flock of vampires that descending upon the town for a bloody feeding. You know, if I hear about one more vampire, zombie or werewolf movie, I’m going to scream!

Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling are set to voice characters in the upcoming animated feature film Over the Hedge. OK, it’s not really a comic, but a comic strip. Carrey will voice the raccoon and Shandling will speak for the turtle. Seems appropriate to me...

Nicholas Brendon, of Buffy fame, looks to be the frontrunner to star in the film adaption of The Green Lantern. Of course, this project has been in Dev-Hell so long that it’s become kind of the official mascot of the Comic Adaption section.

Todd McFarlane and creator Greg Capullo are preparing to pitch a film adaption of comic The Creech to Hollywood. The Creech (short for creature) tells a Frankenstein-ish story about a huge, pacifistic creature that is forced to turn to violence. What kind of idiot forces a huge, pacifistic creature to turn to violence? Really! If the thing could pulverize you, but didn’t want to, would you keep messing with it until it did?

Remake Hell:

Aaaarrrrrrgggghhhh! Well, I said I’d do it! Producer Michael Viner is trying to strike a deal with the estate of American International Pictures’ Jim Nicholson to remake the old cult favorite, I Was a Teenage Werewolf. The original starred Michael Landon as a troubled teenager that an evil doctor uses for regression experiments that transform him into a rampaging werewolf.

In further furry transformation news, Disney is making a re-remake of The Shaggy Dog. The original appeared in 1959 and was followed by several sequels and 1994 saw a made-for-TV version. Just in case you’ve been lost in the mountains for forty years, the comedy involves the story of a man transformed into a talking dog by a magical spell. Just what we need, more talking dogs...

Artisan Pictures has jumped back on the remake bandwagon with a plan to remake the 80’s B genre thriller Scanners. The apparent motivation is to take on a project that’s more sophisticated than a typical slasher film, but can still be made for a reasonable budget. In other words, they’re remaking a B-movie as a B-movie. So what’s wrong with that?

RKO has chosen Eric Wald to write a remake of the 1948 comedy feature Mister Blandings Builds His Dream House. My guess is the pitch involved the statement ‘It’s Mr. Deeds meets The Money Pit.’ The The Hollywood reminds us that the original garnered a WGA nomination for original screenwriters Melvin Frank and Norman Panama in 1949. That shouldn’t be a concern this time around.

AICN clued us in that John Peters, of Wild Wild West, er, fame, has obtained the rights to re-remake The Blob. What they couldn’t tell us was why anyone would do this? Then again, how could anyone explain Wild Wild West? For that matter, what happened to the word ‘The’ from the original show? Did ‘The’ get mad and insist its name be pulled from the credits?

Sequel Hell:

Martin Cambell has completed Beyond Borders and Dark Horizons tells us that he is working with writer Dan Gilroy on pre-production of The Mask of Zorro 2, with an eye for starting production in September. No word on what’s up with original writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio. Could this be another Shrek 2 fiasco starting up?

TV and TV Adaption Hell:

Oh, yuck! VH1 has collectively lost their minds! They’re planning on an Osbournes-like show about Liza Minelli and new (fourth) husband David Gest. And MTV plans a similar concept for P. Diddy, or whatever he calls himself these days. I’m going home and blocking both channels on my TV, just to avoid accidental exposure...

Long ago and not so far away, I mentioned rumors of an Enron movie. Variety now reports that Penelope Spheeris will direct the TV movie version of the famous corporate collapse, based on the book Anatomy of Greed by Brian Cruver. Can a Worldcom feature be far away? Can they base it on the rumored Women of Worldcom issue of Playboy? At least somebody would watch that!

Ancient spooky soap opera Dark Shadows is being developed for the big-screen. Creator Dan Curtis claims he’s been talking with screenwriter Steven de Souza, but it’s far from a done deal, yet. He also referred to rumors that Johnny Depp has always wanted to play the lead character of Barnabas Collins. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, think Anne Rice. On Quaaludes...

Producer Michael Mann says casting has yet to begin on the Miami: Vice adaption, but that neither Don Johnson nor Philip Michael Thomas will appear. Not even as cameos. And he sounded darned serious. Anyway, the setting will inexplicably be the Caribbean. Asked if the movie will set fashion trends like the TV series, Mann responded with a laughing ‘I hope not.’ Most of us share the same hopes, Michael. Let’s see, not the same fashion trends, not using the original stars and not set in Miami. What the heck were we adapting again?

Anglophiles rejoice! Yet another mini-series is being planned based on the really, really fresh idea of...the King Arthur legends. The series will blend the legend of the king, the Knights and historical events from England’s past. Expect a slick, high-dollar production in the vein of Band of Brothers, because this one’s coming from Spielberg and Hanks as well. I guess we just need a few King Arthur features every year. I wonder if they have any other good stories in England?

Jonathan Frakes has signed on to direct the live-action version of the old ‘supermarionation’ based Thunderbirds. You remember. Puppets in Space? Not Muppets! Before Ms. Piggy and Kermit! Think Howdy Doody meets Buck Rodgers. Anyway, can anyone remember the last time Frakes made a good decision? I’m serious. Anyone?

You can also catch Frakes as the host to SCIFI’s Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction? What is it with Star Trek First Officers that dooms them to B-level supernatural mystery show hosts?

Yep, there’s no intelligent life. Energize! ~Lee