Just Good Intentions!

Far below the surface, nestled close to the fiery molten core of the earth, lie the dungeons and pits we so fondly know as Development Hell.  Thousands of film industry employees and movie stars toil here everyday in search of the elusive greenlight, with the hope of some day leaving our brimstone atmosphere for the fresh air of production trailers.  These are their torturous stories.

Dark Horizons brings us the interesting tidbit that Latin heartthrob Antonio Banderas will play Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa in a new film.  No word on the films title, or if would be a remake one of the previous Pancho Villa films.  Speaking of Banderas, get thee to Coming Soon for an exclusive preview of the character poster for Bandares and Lucy Liu in Ecks vs. Sever.  With a name that bad, this movie has just got to be great!

Dennis Quaid is in talks to star in the apocalyptic SF film, The Day After Tomorrow.  Roland Emmerich is set to helm the Fox feature, with plans to begin production in November and shoot for a summer 2003 release.  Quaid would play the lead role in a story, which deals with the disastrous effects of global warming.  A little time in Dev-Hell should get them used to higher temperatures!

John Woo wants Nicolas Cage and Chow Yun-Fat to star in his next film, which would center on Chinese and Irish railway workers in the US during the 1800’s.  Woo plans to move from this project to a romantic comedy, then a Western, then another action movie with singing and dancing.  He’s here!  He’s there!  He’s everywhere!

Universal Pictures is adding a number of genre projects to the their schedule, according to Cinescape.  They’ve acquired the rights to the soon to be published children’s book, The Saint Of Dragons, for a cool million.  Jason Hightman’s novel is a Harry Potterish story about a fourteen-year-old boy who goes to hunt dragons that are disguised as humans.  Uni also picked up the rights to The Moth Diaries; a story about a sixteen-year-old who begins to think one of his classmates at a boarding school is a vampire.  Uni has also replaced Disney in a group planning to do a live-action version of Peter Pan, with ILM already set to do a CGI Tinker Bell.  And, of course, Bobby already told us about Uni working with Peter Jackson for a remake of King Kong.   So, let see.  That’s two Harry Potter knockoffs and two remakes of revered classics.  Looks like the whole Universal gang is taking up residence down here!

Coming Soon tells us that Big Daddy writer Steve Franks has sold a pitch entitled Skiptracer to Columbia.  The story involves a high-society repo man who specializes in yachts, helicopters and sports cars.  Am I the only one thinking Vin Diesel vehicle here?  Or has he already done this one?

Comic Adaption Hell:

It looks like Fox and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment are working to adapt Top Cow comic Fathom for the silver screen. Variety reports that Linda Woolverton is signed to pen the screenplay.  This could be a stretch for Woolverton, who usually works on Disney products, having written The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Homeward Bound.  Formerly pegged as an animated feature, the project is now planned as live-action.  The story centers around a girl who is found and brought to land on a boat thought to have sunk years ago.  Although the girl doesn’t remember her past, her obvious affinity for water gets her involved in research at an underwater lab.  There she discovers a mysterious underwater race and her own water-based powers.  You’d think that Cameron would be getting a little waterlogged by now...

Remake Hell:

Yet another tidbit about The Alamo has surfaced.  Stephen Gaghan is expected to pen the script with production being handled by Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.  Although no deals are closed yet, negotiations continue with Grazer, Opie and Russell Crowe.  Filming is still planned for Texas, but has been moved out to December, presumably to accommodate Crowe’s schedule.  The story is expected to deal with many of the historical complexities, such as the Mexican point of view, Travis’ infidelities, Bowie’s slave trade and Davy Crockett’s political incorrectness.  Then they could digitally insert John Wayne hanging himself.  (Actually, I’m looking forward to this one – it’s sure to be all over the Academy ballots.)

Sequel Hell:

Bobby already broke the news about writers Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio leaving Shrek 2 over creative differences, but I’ve just got to comment here!  Elliot and Rossio are the writers that penned Aladdin, The Mask Of Zorro and Shrek, not to mention unaccredited work on Men In Black and Antz.  I highly recommend their website, Wordplay, where you can check out 40 columns of how-to’s on screenwriting, as well as a number of their scripts.  Try reading the Sandman script or the unused Godzilla script.  Then note that there have been two other projects these guys have pulled out of for various reasons.  Godzilla and The Puppet Masters.  If these guys pulled out over creative differences, then I’m very worried about Shrek 2.  They are, however, remaining on as consultants, so maybe they can keep it out of the discount bins.

Universal is so pleased with The Borne Identity that they are not only planning sequels (there are two more novels in the series,) they are planning an adaption of another Robert Ludlum novel, The Sigma Protocol Changing Lanes screenwriter Chap Taylor will adapt the novel, with Antoine Fuqua set to direct.  And so begins the looting of Ludlum properties...

Big Daddy Director Dennis Dugan has signed on to develop the sequel to Jumanji.  It’s not known which, if any, of the formerly abandoned scripts will be the basis for the project.  It’s also known if Robin Williams or Kirsten Dunst will reprise their roles.  It’s also not known how badly it’s going to bite...

AICN’s latest Indiana Jones IV rumor has Colin Hanks, son of Tom, set for an unspecified role in the movie.  It’s also claimed that Jonathan Rhys Davies will be reprising his role of Sallah and that some of Indy’s old girlfriends will appear in the film.  Keep watch as IJ4 shoots for the elusive goal of most rumors generated before actual production.

What the Hell ever happened to...Die Hard 4?

Inquisitive reader ‘Andrew’ dropped us a line asking about the status of Die Hard 4.  Well, Andrew, here’s a brief synopsis of what is currently known.  Rumors of the movie have been floating around since early 1995.  The original idea had the movie set in the jungle and was based on a script called Tears of the Sun, described as Deliverance in the Amazon.  Over the next several years, various directors were rumored, including Martin Campbell, Jan De Bont and Michael Bay.  (Basically, anybody who likes to blow things up.)

Various other DH4 scripts were considered, including one entitled Blood of Eden, with the setting changed to an underwater habitat.  Various other stars also came and went, including Ben Afflick, Michelle Yeoh and Eliza Dushku.  Apparently, Bruce Willis’ schedule continued to be an obstacle to the development of the movie.

Late in 2000 another concept surfaced.  This one involved a Caribbean setting, with Danny Glover and Woopi Goldberg rumored as brother and sister, Glover as a Caribbean cop and Goldberg as his crime lord sister!  Hey, I’m just reporting the rumors, OK?  The last real rumors showed up late in 2000, with Willis apparently promising a less brutal and more humane DH4.  (Who would want that?)  Since then, all DH4 rumors have dried up.

Will DH4 ever make it out of (or even back into) Development Hell?  After the events of 9/11, the Die Hard formula of pseudo-terrorists blowing up buildings and crashing airliners might be too sensitive to touch.  On the other hand, audiences are responding well to any movie that has terrorists getting their butts kicked. However, Willis has since stated that he would no longer make action films.

But can Willis stick to his guns?  Let’s look at Willis’ major films over the last three years:  Hart's War, Bandits, Unbreakable, The Kid, The Whole Nine Yards, The Story of Us, The Sixth Sense and Breakfast of Champions.  Of these, only The Sixth Sense could be considered a real hit.  Most of these movies were terrible flops, losing millions for the studios.  If Willis wants to stay in the $20 million-club (not that he needs the money,) he badly needs a hit.  A return to the role that put him in the club might be just the ticket.

Personally, I’d love to see the movie made, but the devils and imps seem to have it in for the project.  You can read all the details of the sordid history of Die Hard 4 at the very well documented site, Coming Attractions.

TV and TV Adaption Hell:

Sci-Fi Channel’s oddball SF adventure/comedy, LEXX, might be coming to the big screen, according the Xenia Seeberg (she plays Xev Bellringer on the show) on a German TV show.  At least, that’s what the producers plan.  I just don’t see this one coming together, but stranger things have happened.  Like...

Steve Franks has recently done a rewrite on a feature adaption of I Dream of Jeannie, according to Coming Soon.  And...

Fox will shortly announce a huge broadcast even in February 2003.  The event will mark the 30th anniversary of the birth of ‘Rocky.’  Nope, not the Stallone character, the creature from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The event will feature a remake of the movie with an all-new celebrity cast and will be directed by Stephen Elliot, who is known for such things as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Welcome to Woop-Woop, at least known to somebody.  Whew!  I’ve got a bit of a mind flip!  I might be into a time slip!  And nothing can ever be the same.  I spaced out on sensation. Like I’m under sedation!  Let’s do the time warp again!

Riff-Raff: “Say good-bye to all of this. And say hello... to oblivion.” ~Lee

Brian B.