Ewan McGregor Joins Gilliam's Don Quixote


Actor Ewan McGregor
Actor Ewan McGregor

Empire Online have been talking to director Terry Gilliam (TWELFTH MONKEYS, BRAZIL) at the Cannes film festival and it appears Ewan McGregor (STAR WARS, THE ISLAND) has been cast in his latest film, THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE.

DON QUIXOTE is a fantasy/sci-fi film about an advertising executive who, after finding himself unstuck in time, unwittingly travels between modern day London and 17th century La Mancha where he participates in the adventures of Don Quixote. This is Gilliam’s second attempt at making the film; the earlier version started production in 2000 but was halted by the constant noise of overhead fighter jets, the lead actor attaining a torn spine and even a flash flood. The production was a notorious failure for the director and even spawned a documentary on the subject, LOST IN LA MANCHA.
After finishing work on his last film THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS,  however, Gilliam decided to revisit DON QUIXOTE and resumed production on the film in 2009. Robert Duvall (THX, THE ROAD) has replaced Jean Rochefort as the titular QUIXOTE and now Ewan McGregor has been cast as the advertising executive, replacing Johnny Depp (who is probably too busy with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4). Gilliam had this to say of his new cast:

“Robert Duvall is one of the greats, no question – and he can ride a horse! And Ewan has gotten better over the years. He was wonderful in The Ghost. There’s a lot of colours to Ewan that he’s not been showing recently and it’s time for him to show them again. He’s got a great sense of humour and he’s a wonderful actor. He’s wonderfully boyish and can be charming – when he flashes a smile, everybody melts. He wields it like a nuclear bomb!”

Gilliam also stated that the budget of the movie will be around $20 million, a lot less than the $35 million he had to play with way back in 2000. Gilliam has been through so much with this film, and the idea sounds so good, that we should all be praying to the movie gods it finally gets made this time around.

Romero to Remake Argento’s Deep Red


Director George A Romero
Director George A Romero

It seems as though George A Romero (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, MARTIN) is letting the dead rest in pieces, at least for a short while. Variety are reporting that he’s set to remake Dario Argento’s (SUSPIRIA, TENEBRAE) 1975 Italian horror film, DEEP RED. The film is also, drum roll please, set to be shot in 3D.

The original DEEP RED is a  classic in the giallo horror sub-genre, about a pianist (of all people) who is investigating a serial killer, only to find that the maniac is seemingly one step ahead of his every move. This will of course not be the first time Argento and Romero have been connected: Argento helped produce Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), and each of htem wrote and directed one episode of the two-part horror anthology TWO EVIL EYES. Argento’s brother, Claudio, is currently writing the script.
Romero’s decision to temporarily ditch his walking dead friends is no surprise as he usually takes a few years out of each ‘OF THE DEAD’ entry to focus on other projects. Hopefully the change of tact will reinvigorate the director as his last two films, DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD were woefully bad, and he’ll do justice to the original film.
Romero is said to be deep into negotiations to direct the remake, with a plan to start shooting in Canada later this year.

Two Remakes of 20,000 Leagues Underway?


Poster for Disney's 1954 version of 20, 000 Leagues
Poster for Disney's 1954 version of 20, 000 Leagues

According to The Hollywood Reporter Sci-fi classic 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is set for not one, but two remakes. Both Disney and 20th Century Fox  are trying to get a remake in the works, with the former lining up David Fincher (FIGHT CLUB, ALIEN 3) and, the latter Timur Bekmambetov (NIGHT WATCH, WANTED), to direct.

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is a classic science fiction novel by Jules Verne and was published in 1869. LEAGUES tells the story of Captain Nemo and his underwater adventures in his submarine, Nautilus, and has been subject to numerous television and movie adaptations over the years. As the story is now in the public domain it’s relatively easy for anyone to make an adaptation, without the needs to purchase rights from the copyright owners. As such, two studios are plunging into the depths once more.
Disney originally had McG (TERMINATOR: SALVATION, CHARLIE’S ANGELS) working on a version of the film but ultimately thought it ‘too dark’. The studio is now in negotiations with David Fincher to direct and Scott Z. Burns (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, CONTAGION) to write the remake. As surprising as it sounds (this is the man that brought us ZODIAC after all), Fincher apparently approached Disney’s new production head Sean Bailey himself stating his wish to tackle a major blockbuster film for the studio. Nothing is set in stone as of yet but Fincher and Burns have entered talks for deals.
Meanwhile 20th Century are also hard at work on their own version, which is said to be set in the future. Scott Free Productions (Ridley and Tony Scotts’ production company) are helming the film for the studio which is being written by Travis Beacham (CLASH OF THE TITANS)/ Again, no director is officially attached but Fox are apparently hoping to get Bekmambetov on board. Fox’s project quietly kicked-off shortly after the writers strike when Beacham is said to have approached the Scotts with his take on the story, which the studio then bought.
So it’s battle stations go as the two studios go head-to-head, each presumably hoping to get their version of the film out first. Hollywood is no stranger to this sort of affair, we currently have two versions of THE THREE MUSKETEERS coming up and there were the two films focusing on Truman Capote which were released a few years back. All things considered, which version are you more excited about?

Rise Of The Apes Gets Release Date


Still from the original Planet of the Apes
Still from the original Planet of the Apes

According to Variety the PLANT OF THE APES prequel, RISE OF THE APES, is still happening and Twentieth Century Fox have settled on a June 24th, 2011 release date. The studio have also secured a director, Rupert Wyatt (THE ESCAPIST, BIRDSONG), and plan to work with WETA Digital to create for the first time CGI, instead of make-up assisted, apes.

RISE OF THE APES is apparently an origins story, aimed at rebooting the franchise for audiences unfamiliar with the older films and is set in present-day San Francisco. The film is a, “reality-based cautionary tale, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy”. Wyatt will be directing the film from a script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa (THE RELIC, EYE FOR AN EYE), who also are producing with Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark.
Not much about this new entry in the series sounds promising. Using CGI to create the apes sounds like a terrible idea as computer generated apes will never look as real or convincing as actors dressed up in make-up. Wyatt’s directorial début, THE ESCAPIST, was a great film but will the script from the people that brought us THE RELIC be up to scratch? It’s unlikely to say the least. Few of the sequels to the original PLANET OF THE APES were any good and Burton’s remake made plenty of money but was a terrible film nonetheless.
You make your own mind up when RISE OF THE APES is released on the 24th of June next year.

Laurie Holden To Take on The Walking Dead


Actress Laurie Holden
Actress Laurie Holden

Another week, more cast member for AMC’s zombie series, THE WALKING DEAD, are confirmed. This time it’s Laurie Holden’s (SILENT HILL, THE MIST) and newcomer Steven Yeun’s
turn as they’ve both just been cast in Frank Darabont’s (THE GREEN MILE, THE MIST) comic book adaptation.

THE WALKING DEAD television series is set to follow the plot of Robert Kirkman’s comic in telling the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse. It follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home. Holden will be playing Andrea, a sharp shooter who falls for a man twice her age and Yuen has been cast as Glenn, a young man who saves Rick when he travels to Atlanta.
Both will be joining a cast which includes Andrew Lincoln (ENDURING LOVE, LOVE ACTUALLY) and Jeffrey DeMunn (THE MIST, THE X FILES). Holden (who must have impressed Darabont when she worked with him on THE MIST), in particular, is a brilliant choice to play Andrea as she’s proven herself an actress capable of playing strong, independent women and was impressive in both THE MIST and SILENT HILL.
THE WALKING DEAD starts shooting soon and is due to hit TV screens this October.

Abrams’ Super 8 Teaser and Info

J.J. Abrams (STAR TREK, CLOVERFIELD) and Steven Spielberg (E.T., JURASSIC PARK) have been working together on a rather hush-hush project called SUPER 8 over the last year, and the first teaser trailer has begun showing before screenings of IRON MAN 2. You can watch the teaser on the left, and we also have new information regarding the film, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, below.
So what is SUPER 8 all about? Contrary to earlier rumours it’s not connected with CLOVERFIELD in the slightest. It will, however, share a tonal similarity with the sci-fi monster hit as it revolves around ordinary people encountering something most extraordinary. Abrams has written the script and will directing the film himself while Steven Spielberg will serve as producer. The film, which is rumoured to be about a group of teenagers stumbling upon alien lifeforms whilst shooting an amateur film on super 8,  will not be shot using ‘shakey-cam’ and is being given a budget of between $45-50 million.
If you don’t want anything spoilt for yourself, read no further and instead visit the official site here as it’ll soon be hosting the teaser in much better quality than the bootleg available on YouTube. Said trailer is simply brilliant as it continues Abrams’ gift for creating a mystique around his films and in turn, generating hype. We don’t see much, but what he do see is more than enough to have me thoroughly excited for the film.
Abrams and Spielberg are currently working hard on SUPER 8 in time to release it next year.

UPDATED: Hugo Weaving Playing Captain America's Nemesis, Gets Sidekick


Actor Hugo Weaving
Actor Hugo Weaving

It’s been rumoured for a while now but Marvel have sent out an official press release stating that Hugo Weaving (THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE MATRIX) has been cast as Red Skull, the main antagonist in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is the latest Marvel superhero to get the Hollywood adaptation treatment and focuses on Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America), a sickly young man who was enhanced to the peak of human perfection by an experimental serum in order to aid the United States war effort. In the comics Red Skull had various different incarnations, but the film he’ll be a Nazi officer personally groomed by the one and only Adolph Hitler to spread terror and intimidation. After wreaking chaos throughout Europe, he’s eventually clashes with Captain America.
Hugo Weaving, as we all know, can play a great villain and that he’s officially on for the film is good news. Weaving will be joining a cast that already includes Chris Evans (FANTASTIC FOUR, SUNSHINE) and Hayley Atwell (MANSFIELD PARK, THE DUCHESS). Joe Johnston (THE WOLFMAN, THE ROCKETEER) is directing CAPTAIN AMERICA which starts shooting in the UK next month, ready for a July 2011 release date.
UPDATE: Toby Jones (THE MIST, HARRY POTTER) has signed on to play Arnim Zola, a mad scientist and another of Captain America’s antagonists. In the comics Zola is an expert biochemist and geneticist working for the Nazis creating clones and monstrous beings.

Bryan Bertino To Find This Man


Director Bryan Bertino
Director Bryan Bertino

According to Deadline New York Bryan Bertino (THE STRANGERS) has been hired by Sam Raimi’s production company, Ghost House Pictures, to direct their latest horror-come-thriller, THIS MAN. The film was inspired by an Italian sociologist’s website (yes, you read that correctly) for which the company picked up the rights to adapt and have asked Bertino to direct.

THIS MAN centres on ordinary man who discovers that people he has never met have somehow seen him in their nightmares and the aforementioned real-life website helps those who claim to have seen him for real connect with one another. Raimi calls it, “a hair raising story that will be sure to delight horror fans.” THE STRANGERS was a decent film (even if it wasn’t quite as good as the trailers suggested) and the premise for THIS MAN is very original so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.
THIS MAN is too far off for a release date but THE STRANGERS 2 (which Bertino wrote) is due out sometime next year.

Matthew Vaughn To Direct X-Men: First Class


Director Matthew Vaughn
Director Matthew Vaughn

According to The Hollywood Reporter Matthew Vaughn (KICK-ASS, STARDUST) has finally, after lots of back-and-forth, signed on to direct superhero origins tale, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Vaughn has been rumoured to be circling the project for the last couple of weeks but has now sealed the deal with the studio, who are hoping to get the film out by June 3, 2011.

The date is shockingly close for a film of this scale, a blockbuster film loaded with special effects, but the studio are feeling confident since reading a rewrite of the script by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (THOR, TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES) and securing Vaughn as director. According to Fox FIRST CLASS will,

“Chart the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.”

Almost everything about this project sounds dodgy. First off, do we really need another X-MEN film? LAST STAND and WOLVERINE were both pretty poor and I’d rather see them leave the franchise alone. Secondly, the plot sounds a lot like the terrible cartoon series, X-MEN: EVOLUTION, and seems like another excuse for Hollywood to carry on the teen-centric trend which is currently plaguing our screens. Thirdly, a year to cast, shoot and edit the thing? Really Fox? That’s just pushing it.
Fourthly, (yes, fourthly) while Vaughn isn’t a bad director, he’s certainly not remarkable and I’d much rather Bryan Singer (who directed the first two X-MEN films, conceived the story for FIRST CLASS and was originally going to direct the film before leaving it for JACK THE GIANT KILLER) come back to the franchise if it’s to carry on at all. Also, how is Vaughn going to fit in the newly announced KICK-ASS: BALLS TO THE WALL, which is meant to hit cinemas in 2012?
Whatever your view on the film, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is due to hit cinemas on the 3rd of June, 2011.

Krueger Sequel Already in the Works


Still from the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street
Still from the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street

Talk about speedy work as The Wrap have the scoop that a sequel to the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET remake is being planned a mere five days since its release. The news of a sequel doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, since the film has done so well at the box office, and neither does the news it’s possibly, that’s right, to be shot in 3D.

Distribution president at Warner Bros, Dan Fellman, tells The Wrap,

“We don’t have a story yet, but this is the largest horror opening in the April-May corridor, and it just proves there’s a lot left in the franchise”.

Meanwhile producer Andrew Form told Dread Central,

“Platinum Dunes is very open to the possibility of a NIGHTMARE sequel. It would be amazing to work with Jackie and the cast again. Unfortunately, as far as we know right now, Sam wouldn’t be back to direct the follow-up, but we’d love to come back to Elm Street because Freddy always has a story to tell. We definitely left ourselves open for a sequel so it would be a great privilege to get to do another NIGHTMARE film.”

Fellow producer, Brad Fuller, added,

I think that making the NIGHTMARE sequel in 3D is a bigger discussion than for right here. We think that 3D movies have to be designed and written as such. If Eric Heisserer and Wesley Strick came to us with a NIGHTMARE script that is for a 3D movie, we’d be fools not to make it.”

It’s seems  you can count on Hollywood for two things these days. First, it’s that they’ll milk a cash cow for all it’s worth if they think there’s mileage left in it. By all accounts the NOES remake is pretty terrible but since it’s made a lot of money they’re obviously going to drag the franchise out as long as they can. Secondly, any film that’s being made right now is at least being considered for 3D and hey, probably even one’s that have already been made (here’s looking at you, CLASH OF THE TITANS).

I think that making the Nightmare sequel in 3D is a bigger discussion than for right here in this room. We think that 3D movies have to be designed and written as such. If Eric (Heisserer) and Wesley (Strick) came to us with a Nightmare sequel script that is for a 3D movie, we’d be fools not to make it.”