January 26, 2012 6:22am EST
Russell Brand's film work to date hasn't exactly appealed to the family crowd or horror enthusiasts (though Hop was easily one of the scariest films of 2011 in all the wrong ways), but nonetheless he'll star in a film that will bring the two audiences together. Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes - the production company headed by Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller - have set the Get Him to the Greek comedian to topline a supernatural children's tale titled Hauntrepreneur, which comes from a spec script from Scott Rosenberg (Kangaroo Jack, Con Air).
The story is said to revolve around a family that has trouble adjusting to life in a new town and then hires a peculiar man who calls himself "the Hauntrepreneur" to help. To unite them, the eccentric figure creates a haunted house filled with a horde of odd creatures and, one would assume, pits them against the family. No other casting decisions have been made, but now that the titular role has been filled, the search for a director has begun.
Based on that brief description, I'm getting the feeling that Hauntrepreneur will boast shades of Beetlejuice, Poltergeist and The Haunted Mansion along with state-of-the-art special effects to bring an army of monsters to life. With Michael Bay and company involved you know you're in for an adrenaline pumping adventure, and Brand has the whole over-the-top thing down pat, so I'm excited to see what kind of gusto he'll bring to an out-of-this-world character like this. The only red flag I see at this stage is the fore mentioned parties producing a "family film." Even in his more toned-down big-screen appearances, Brand is raunchier than a late-night White Castle feast. And family friendly isn't in Bay's vocabulary. Together, they are a recipe for cinematic vulgarity unlike the world has ever seen. I think it's going to take a filmmaker on the other side of the scale to balance this production out - might I suggest an Andy Fickman or Thor Freudenthal?
September 07, 2011 1:15pm EST
Midler, who recently dropped out of a biopic about disgraced music mogul Phil Spector due to a back injury, has signed on to play Crystal's estranged spouse in the new comedy, which will be directed by You Again's Andy Fickman.
In the film, Midler and the When Harry Met Sally star find themselves living together again and trying to parent their three grandchildren - one of whom will be break-out child star Bailee Madison of Brothers and Just Go With It fame.
Production is set to begin later this month (Sep11) in Atlanta, Georgia, according to Variety.com.
Midler is still battling back problems after being diagnosed with a herniated disc and placed on bed rest; just last week (30Aug11) she wrote in a post on her Twitter.com account, "Still semi-immobile and stuck on the couch. Ironically, movies about paralyzed people on (U.S. TV network) Lifetime all week!"
September 02, 2011 2:53pm EST
Bailee Madison and Bette Midler have joined the cast of the generation-gap comedy Us & Them, Variety reports. They join star star Billy Crystal, who plays a grandfather tasked with babysitting his three grandchildren alongside his estranged wife, to be played by Midler. The film is directed by Andy Fickman, whose last effort was the Disney comedy You Again, one of 2010's worst-reviewed releases. Surely the formidable comedic one-two punch of Crystal and Midler, two of the funniest people of the 1980s, will deliver better results.
October 07, 2010 11:41am EST
Accept it; the days when MTV truly stood for Music Television are over. They aren’t coming back, so stop your whining. While the music video programming continues to dwindle, the cable channel is taking a tiny step back towards its roots with a new half-hour comedy pilot that features a strong musical component.
Patito Feo (Ugly Duckling in English) is based off of the Argentinean teen sensation of the same name. In Argentina, the show was wildly popular, running for 300 episodes and enjoying a hit soundtrack and sold-out concert tour.
The show’s main character is a young Mexican girl who moves to America where she finds herself in conflict with the lifestyle of the American teenager and the mean-girl hierarchy at school. It sounds a little like the teeny bopper hybrid of Ugly Betty meshed with Glee. Like Ugly Betty, the original Argentine version has enjoyed adaptations in more than 32 countries. In fact, this isn’t the first time an adaptation will reach American viewers – Univision happily aired 262 episodes of Mexico’s take on Patito Feo, called Dare to Dream.
Teen RomCom scribe Bert V. Royal (Easy A) worked to adapt the series for MTV, and after seeing what he did with Easy A, I’m hoping he lends some of the snark and wit he worked into Emma Stone’s character to Patito Feo’s little leading lady. While they nabbed a relative newcomer with Royal, MTV is also in talks with Andy Fickman (She’s the Man, You Again) and the young teen scene is kind of his jam. Together, I think they’ve got the power to get American teenage girls to tune in.
September 16, 2010 11:38am EST
All those who sat in front of the MTV VMA's last Sunday were delighted with some great performances, but not much else. The only thing that made watching the same musicians accept a Moon Man at the podium and then go back to their seats -- only to get called back up there again -- was the sight of Cher in her Travoltally dancetastic suit. spattered tar-looking jumpsuit. It was a sight.
The good news isn't that that costume went right back into the floorboard under which it was hiding. No no! In fact, dozens just like it are probably being sewn by nimble-fingered stars in a far off galaxy at this very moment! You Again director Andy Fickman has announced his plans to make an announcement about a Cher musical. "She's a fairly phenomenal character, Cher -- as a human being I think she's one of the great icons of all time, a force to be reckoned with. The way she looked onstage with Lady Gaga, well, it's one for the books."
IT'S ONE FOR THE KINDLES! A Cher musical would be the most best shining blood donation of jewels, high C's and thigh-highs we've ever seen, even under this dictatorship of a flank steak-wearing Gaga. It would be an even bigger celebration of life than Mamma Mia! and Rent and Cats, combined! Are you kidding moi? Cher's whole life has been a musical, so not only should it have already been made into a musical, but it should have already been made into a musical so that Mary Poppins could have just remained a secret family popcorn recipe.
September 15, 2010 7:13am EST
Zombies seem to have sunk their rotting teeth into the brains of Hollywood executives because they’re the only thing on their mind these days. Two new projects have been announced that revolve around the undead.
First up is a new film Boy Scouts vs. Zombies with Andy Flickman attached to direct. Flickman’s You Again is being released September 24th and was also recently announced to direct TMI, an Anna Faris comedy. Besides the title and the director, not much else is known about the project. If there isn’t a joke about getting a badge in Zombie killing then I want the money I spent on The Guide To Easy Movie Jokes 101 back.
Second is a new scripted series from MTV, Death Valley. Pitched as a horror-comedy-documentary following the ‘Undead Task Force,’ the series will follow UTF as they battle zombies, vampires, and werewolves in LA. The cast is a promising mix of up comers including Lost’s Alex Rousseau, Tania Raymonde and FunnyorDie’s epic The Big Dog Charlie Sanders. MTV also picked up another series, That Girl, revolving around a teenager who everyone believes tried to kill herself after an accident. It seems MTV is really into death lately. Maybe they should talk to someone about it. I’m sure there’s a hotline.
Back to the zombies! We might be reaching the Zombie Saturation Point soon (need to copyright that) but at least these projects seem to have some thought behind them. Boy Scouts vs. Zombies was an original script penned by College Road Trip’s Carrie Evans and Emi Mochizuki. With the craze of pre-branded material stalling at the box-office this past summer (we're looking at you Jonah Hex), a fresh ideas like this is refreshing. Death Valley could easily become Reno 911 with monsters. I wouldn’t complain about that one. And with The Walking Dead on AMC, Death Valley won’t be the only zombie shuffling crawling around.
Both of these projects are being classified as horror-comedy, a notoriously difficult genre to nail. Too scary and the comedy feels out of place. Not scary enough and it feels cheap. The humor has to be good enough to compete with traditional comedies and going toe to toe with Community and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (among many others) is not easy. But it can be done. Slither and Zombieland are on my list of favorite comedies. And Shaun of the Dead? Classic. They just have to make sure they do it well. Glad I’m here to deliver that profound message.
Sources: Deadline, ComingSoon
September 10, 2010 12:57pm EST
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." You've probably heard those words a thousand times before, and you know what? It's true. Director Andy Fickman has had great success with romantic comedies; in fact, he excels at making lighthearted, easy-to-digest commercial films (She's The Man, The Game Plan). Though he tried to expand his resume by making the so-so sci-fi sequel Race To Witch Mountain, he went back to doing what he does best with You Again, Disney's new trans-generational chick flick and is on a course to repeat that move with Universal's TMI.
Variety reports that Fickman has signed on to direct the Anna Faris comedy about a two best friends who accidentally sleep together but soon find out they know "too much information" about each other to make it work. Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith and Marc Klein penned the script. Longtime Faris collaborator Ryan Reynolds was attached to co-star, but has opted out of appearing in the film and will instead executive produce with Faris. Andrew Panay and Reynolds' partner Jonathan Komack-Martin will produce.
Given Fickman's credits, he is an ideal choice to navigate this story. He's proven that he can deliver broad humor and touching moments that are accessible to audiences of all ages, and that's exactly what TMI calls for. Relationship comedies are still very profitable in Hollywood, especially when a star doesn't eat up more than half of the production budget. Faris is great at what she does and offers a sizable bang for her buck - though she's not yet considered an A-list leading lady, her 2008 comedy The House Bunny took in almost $70 million and she's got plenty of box-office to back up her status thanks to four hit Scary Movies. Though I'd have loved to see her back on the big screen with Reynolds in this pic, I'll take Anna anyway I can get her.
July 29, 2008 3:02pm EST
Dwayne Johnson may have retired his wrestling name, The Rock, but he's still doing battle in the movies. He brought his upcoming family adventure, Race to Witch Mountain, to San Diego Comic Con to put it up against all the other big studio movies showing early footage to fans. This follow-up to the Disney series started with 1975's Escape to Witch Mountain casts Johnson as a Las Vegas cab driver protecting two alien teens from bad guys who would force them to use their special powers for evil.
Hollywood.com: So why remake the Witch Mountain movies?
Dwayne Johnson: Very, very easy decision. Loved the script and was a big fan of the original. My little girl who's six loves the original so it was a very easy decision to make. I love [director] Andy [Fickman], we worked together on The Game Plan and I didn't want to pass it up. Carla [Gugino] came on board, we had a great actress on board with a company that I think embodies a lot of wonderful elements, especially with a movie like this where you can combine and infuse great action with great adventure, great family values, great humor, contemporary action, contemporary humor and with a touch of fantasy too.
HW: How much trouble is it to protect these kids?
DJ: It's a lot of trouble. I think immediately, within 10 minutes, as soon as they get in my cab, everything goes to hell in a handbag. The race begins actually. With the action, Andy wanted to create action that resonated with people and that we didn't rely on CGI effects in terms of creating the CGI villain, CGI monster. So we had a great monster which is really badass and real. I think a lot of times that, particularly with our movie, it shows. It has that texture of reality. When I get hit, I get punched in the face and the thing punches me and I fly across the room, not only does it hurt because Andy's got me on wires…but therein lies a great challenge. We talk about action, how can we compete, if you will. we go.
HW: Do you think directors go too far with CGI these days?
DJ: No, easy. I don't feel it goes too far. There are great movies out there where CGI has done great work with the villains in the movies and the monsters, but there is something appealing about having a real monster when you're fighting something that's real.
HW: Are you just a regular guy in this movie or do you suddenly become a great action hero?
DJ: No, he doesn't suddenly become a great action hero. That's a good question. I think he's struggled. He's struggled to stay on the right path for a long time, frankly not very happy with his life. A lot of great movies, it's always about the collisions of worlds that happen, whether it's great comedies or action comedies, whatever it is. In this it's a phenomenal collision that takes place who's your everyday guy and he gets involved with these two teenagers who have these supernatural powers. I think throughout the course of the story, he learns to trust them and wants to help them.
HW: How were the young actors to work with?
DJ: They were really great to work with. I always find that making movies is a lot of fun but it's a lot of hard work too. Acting is difficult to do on many levels and you're so impressed when you can find teenagers like that who have a tremendous amount of capacity to do what they're doing and to be that involved and be that present in the characters. Then to see the same vision as Andy and the rest of us and to see that wide scope, for them to have that vision and then for them to still embrace being teenagers and having fun which, I thought was great.
HW: Do you believe in aliens?
DJ: Well, how come you can't ask me that with a straight face? Of course I do, yeah. I think it'd be extremely arrogant to think that we're the only ones. I firmly do and I'm always fascinated and intrigued. Spending three or four months with Andy as all of us did in preproduction and his love and his passion, he had all these videos and books. He just literally took us on this course. It was amazing.
HW: What do you look for in an action film?
DJ: In terms of action? Well, I gotta say that there are two movies in particular I think that raised the bar in terms of the action. The last Bourne movie, the Bourne series by the way, the last Casino Royale movie too for example really raised the bar in action, contemporary action, how it's shot in a very energetic way but still very real way. I think it resonates with a lot of people.
HW: Have you had any strange fan encounters at Comic Con?
DJ: Nothing strange. I've been able to come to conventions for a long time now and with Comic Con being the biggest and one that carries the most passion, nothing strange. We were talking about earlier when we were on the plane coming over here, what sets Comic Con apart from all the other conventions. Why this one? It all came down to passion. It's not a stuffy convention. It's literally, people travel thousands of miles, hundreds of thousands of people, come here and they're passionate about movies and passionate about comic books and passionate about whether they're wearing something or whether trying to be something or whether they want to meet somebody but it's all about passion so I can always appreciate that. Plus I can appreciate all the great costumes that I see. I've never seen so many Jokers in my life. It's just been great.
Race to Witch Mountain opens in theaters March 13, 2009
October 02, 2007 9:25am EST
The Boston Rebels’ quarterback Joe Kingman (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is known as one of the toughest most skilled NFL players to ever take the field; he's also probably the most self-absorbed. But his seemingly perfect bachelor life is suddenly thrown for a loop when he discovers Peyton (Madison Pettis) the 8-year-old daughter he never knew existed on his doorstep. Oops. Now instead of supermodels and late night parties Joe has to deal with baby dolls and bedtime stories--and it isn’t easy. But as the championship grows nearer Joe is about to realize what really matters has nothing to do with money endorsements or even touchdowns--it’s all about being selfless and winning the heart of the one little fan who turns out to count the most. Collectively now: “Awww!“ The Rock is Disney’s poster boy these days which must suit him just fine. He knows his limitations and playing a formidable football player whose heart is softened by a little girl’s love is just his cup of tea. And as the precocious Peyton Pettis (Disney Channel’s Cory in the House) hits all the right beats—feisty cute handy with the frilly arts and crafts and ballet tutus. There’s also Roselyn Sanchez as a ballet-school owner and Joe’s potential love interest/sparring partner especially since she doesn’t even know who he is when they first met. The only one in The Game Plan who is sorely out of place is Kyra Sedgwick (TV’s The Closer) as Joe’s hard-edged mega-agent a no-nonsense woman who only wants to milk whatever she can out of Joe’s fame. The talented actress is obviously too good for the material but to compensate she actually overdoes it. Might be better just to stick with the TV gig. Director Andy Fickman (She's the Man) follows a pretty standard playbook in guiding his Game Plan. There’s no fancy footwork in this movie—just basically get the ball pass the ball and gain the yards. It’s straight clean wholesomeness. In fact Game Plan is reminiscent of the old-school Disney live-action flicks of the ‘60s and ‘70s such as The Parent Trap. Coincidentally Fickman is also set to direct Witch Mountain the update of Disney’s 1975 Escape to Witch Mountain which will also star The Rock. Game Plan isn’t anything more than a pleasant way to spend an hour and half with your kids at the movie theater especially if it’s a father-daughter outing.
March 17, 2006 4:19am EST
Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) is expected to become her family’s next debutante but--much to her mother’s dismay--she would rather be the next great female soccer star. When her high school cuts the girls soccer team however Viola tries out for the guys team. She thinks maybe she has an in because her boyfriend Justin (Robert Hoffman) is the captain. But alas they laugh her off the field. So Viola decides to assume her twin brother Sebastian’s (James Kirk) identity at his new school and lead the boys soccer team to a win against her now ex-boyfriend’s team. What she doesn’t expect is to fall in love with her new roommate Duke (Channing Tatum) who happens to like Olivia (Laura Ramsey) who actually likes Sebastian but doesn’t know Sebastian is actually Viola. Oh what a tangled web. Cutesy Bynes (What A Girl Wants) isn’t very convincing disguised as a boy. She unsuccessfully tries to compensate her lack of ability by using awkward facial expressions and adopting a deep voice that sounds more hillbilly than anything else which she can’t even keep consistent. You’re actually embarrassed for her. On the flip side with unbelievable good looks Channing Tatum (Coach Carter) is great eye candy. He can also play the sensitive good guy making you root for him the whole way whether on the soccer field or when he’s getting the girl. And it would have been nice to see James Kirk as the real Sebastian for a little longer than five minutes. He seems to have most promise. Depending on which way you look at it director Andy Fickman could have either tried harder to bring this Twelfth Night-inspired film up to date or he could have cut it way down. The beginning starts out pleasantly enough moving pretty quickly with a few quirky laugh-out-loud moments. The montage scene in which Duke is teaching Sebastian (who is really Viola) how to improve his (her) soccer skills is entertaining. It’s probably because no one is speaking and all you can hear is the rockin’ soundtrack which includes songs from the All-American Rejects and The Veronicas. Definitely the best part of the movie. But soon She's the Man is dragging to the point where it should have ended--successfully--five times over.