UPDATE: Ron Howard's ambitions are expanding to include two more possible projects. The first is Spy Vs. Spy, an action-comedy derivative of the Antonio Prohias comic strip under development by David Koepp and writer John Kamps. The second project is a Frankenstein adaptation from the perspective of Igor, being written by Max Landis for Fox. These two films may join Howard's heavy workload which includes Rush and The Dark Tower. Tower might be in danger of termination, although Howard assures the public that he intends to complete the film.
EARLIER: The days of thunder have returned—with class. A biopic called Rush, about the rivalry between Formula One racing drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, is now in the works. And to transform what could have been Fast and Furi-Six (that’s what they’ll call it) into a legitimate examination of human relationships in high-stakes competition, the project's creators enlisted director Ron Howard.
When I put it that way, it sounds boring. But Howard is capable of gold. Look at A Beautiful Mind—he made us care about a guy whose entire life was basically just math. Cocoon—he turned hyperactive geriatrics into a classic sci-fi. EdTV—okay, bad example. But if anyone can take a topic like auto racing—a theme more connoted with base animal mindlessness than any other—and explore the intricacies of humanity that probably exist behind it, it’s Howard.
Paul Greengrass, who gave us two thirds of the Bourne series, was originally attached to direct and the script comes from Howard’s Frost/Nixon collaborator, Peter Morgan.
Howard will also be working on The Dark Tower—an apocalyptic western starring the horrifyingly good actor Javier Bardem. So, after immortalizing the auto industry with this groundbreaking study of interrelationships, Howard is sending Anton Chigurh on an amble—or a mosey—through the desert to save his dying world. Awesome just got awesomer.
Premium Rush, the upcoming movie from David Koepp (the director of the underrated Secret Window, and the screenwriter behind Jurassic Park and Spider-Man… but also, sadly, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), has picked up Dania Ramirez (Heroes) to star opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the action-thriller. Variety reports that Premium Rush will follow a New York bike messenger (Gordon-Levitt) who is pursued all over the city by a dirty cop after he retrieves a package from Columbia University. (I assume there is more to the plot than just this synopsis, but that's all we have for you for now.)
Ramirez is probably best known for her work in sci-fi roles like Callisto in X-Men: The Last Stand and Maya in Heroes (as well as small parts in Buffy and 2005's Quarantine), but she's also no stranger to New York City-based film-making, with a starring role in the just-wrapped Brooklyn to Manhattan, which also involves plenty of running around New York City (this time in Brooklyn's subway tunnels). So I'll assume that she's in good enough shape to keep pace with messenger-boy Gordon-Levitt and his bicycle.
Production on Premium Rush is slated to begin this summer on location in New York City. Columbia Pictures will release the film, co-written by John Kamps, some time next year.
Don’t get me wrong--Gervais’ acerbic socially reclusive dentist Bertram Pincus isn’t really the catch of the century. On the contrary. He’d rather drink battery acid then have to speak to anyone directly including his attractive new neighbor Gwen (Tea Leoni). But Bertram gets a severe attitude adjustment when he accidentally dies--for seven minutes--during a routine colonoscopy. When he comes back from the dead so to speak he can suddenly SEE the dead--ghosts with unfinished business who follow Bertram around and try to get him to help them. This includes Frank (Greg Kinnear) who wants Bertram to break up the impending marriage of his widow the very same lovely Gwen. At first Bertram tries to very hard to ignore the request--until he gets a good look at Gwen and decides it might be worth it after all. Now Bertram just has to convince her he isn’t really the total twit he seems to be. Good luck with that. When Gervais won the Golden Globe in 2001for his achingly funny BBC series The Office most of us Yanks were like “Who is that?” Then he came up and gave one of the more hilarious acceptance speeches--and well a star was born. He certainly hasn’t disappointed since turning in another hit comedy show Extras for HBO--and now movies. Whether he’d admit it or not Gervais has leading man qualities in that very offbeat British way master of the miscommunication and half-finished sentences. And playing off veteran comic actors such as Kinnear and Leoni in Ghost Town only make Gervais look even better. Leoni is especially fetching in her breezy role as Gwen an Egyptologist who could be a total nerd if not for her charm and sense of humor. The chemistry with Gervais is odd at best but they make it work AND seem believable. There are a few scenes she does with Gervais where you just know it took a lot of takes because she couldn’t quit laughing. I know I certainly wouldn’t have been able to. Ghost Town’s head honcho David Koepp is definitely known more for his writing than directing having penned such scripts as Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull War of the Worlds and Spider-Man thus the reason Ghost Town shines as it does. The premise isn’t anything groundbreaking but the dialogue is spot-on. Co-writing with John Kamps Koepp manages to mix both screwball comedy with poignancy without it seeming too silly or too syrupy while the plot moves along at a nice pace. And Ghost Town has one of those feel-good endings (a rom-com must have) you don’t really expect to feel as good about as you do. Koepp’s other directorial efforts included Secret Window and Stir of Echoes but it seems romantic comedies are now and should always be his forte.