Summit Entertainment's Highlander reboot is starting to look like the moors of Scotland, and by that I mean uninhabited by people. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was most recently attached to direct, but he left in November 2012. Now Ryan Reynolds has left the project as well. Reynolds was attached to play Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish swordsman forced to confront the Kurgan, a brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize."
Art Marcum and Matt Holloway wrote the Highlander reboot, while Noah Oppenheim penned the most recent draft. Melissa Rosenberg also took her turn with the script in 2011. Justin Lin was originally attached to direct in September 2009, though he exited the project in August 2011 to focus on Fast and Furious 6.
Leaving the film won't hurt Reynolds, as he'll soon begin filming Tarsem Singh's thriller Selfless, which FilmDistrict will release on Sept. 26, 2014. He also stars opposite Jeff Bridges in Universal's R.I.P.D and voices the title character in Turbo, which DreamWorks Animation opens July 17. And his exit might actually help the reboot. When it eventually finds a new director, he or she will have more freedom with the vision for the film without being stuck with another director's casting choice.
In the end, there can only be one Highlander star — until he leaves, that is. Then there will be a different one.
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the big surprises of the 2011 summer season, a franchise reboot that was both creatively refreshing and lucrative for Fox, who produced the film. The blockbuster made a name for director Rupert Wyatt, whose previously films barely saw U.S. releases. Wyatt became hot property in Hollywood — perhaps too hot. Last week, he reportedly left his role as director of the proposed sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
With Rise being such a success, Dawn is a top priority for Fox, with a May 23, 2014 release date already set. Now the hunt is on for a replacement, and Deadline has learned who is contention for the massive task.
Cloverfield and Let Me In director Matt Reeves is reportedly at the top of the list. A J.J. Abrams confidant, Reeves has been attached to direct a big screen Twilight Zone movie (although rumors are circling that since the announcement, he's left the project, making him free for Rise). He's demonstrated wizardry with special effects and, like Wyatt, his work on smaller scale dramas like Let Me In shows off a side that can handle the surprising amour of drama now established in the Apes series.
The rest of the list is an interesting mix of fresh faces and known talent:
J Blakeson doesn't have too many credits to his name, but his stylish thriller The Disappearance Of Alice Creed impressed a lot of folks. Like Wyatt, he's untested, but perhaps sports a vision that sounds convincing to investors of this massive blockbuster.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's career has been relatively quiet since he defied expectations and crafted an excellent sequel with 28 Weeks Later. His Clive Owen horror flick Intruders barely opened last year, but this wouldn't be the first big budget project he's become attached to. Fresnadillo previously developed a film based on the popular video game Bioshock that fell apart when the R-rated tone didn't pair with the budget. He's also connected to a remake of Highlander, although if he nabs the Dawn gig, the tentpole's release date may take precedence.
One of the bigger surprises is Jeff Nichols, who has wowed indie audiences with Sundance winner Take Shelter and the upcoming Mud, which debuted at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Nichols has dabbled in special effects — Take Shelter featured some astounding apocalyptic imagery — but nothing on the level that Dawn would demand. But he's a character director, and that's exactly what made Rise of the Planet of the Apes so mesmerizing. With the right collaborators, Nichols could emerge as a major Hollywood player.
Guillermo del Toro knows big budget filmmaking. He's previously helmed both entries in the Hellboy series, was slated to direct The Hobbit (before some monetary shuffling left him anxious to move on), and he has the mind-blowing Robots vs. Monsters picture Pacific Rim in the can for Summer 2013. Del Toro could handle Dawn's demands — thing is, why would he? With so much on his plate and a brain overflowing with creative ideas, there isn't much of a reason for Del Toro to pick up someone else's franchise.
When I saw Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible at the Toronto Film Festival, I knew we had our next Spielbergian filmmaker. Bayona's first film The Orphanage (produced by fellow shortlister Guillermo del Toro) was moody horror movie that transcended most modern ghost stories. The Impossible solidified him as one to watch, the film balancing impressive special effects work with a riveting human story that never backs down. He would make a daring choice for Fox.
Deadline notes that Rian Johnson's reps deny that he's pursuing the job, but that doesn't mean Fox isn't looking into him as an option. Whether his new film Looper will be a financial success, it works on a storytelling level, incorporating heady sci-fi ideas into a slick action movie. With Looper, Brothers Bloom, and Brick, Johnson has dedicated himself to telling stories that are personal and crafted from his own imagination. Unless he needs the cred, he may be in the same position as Del Toro.
So I leave it up to you: who should direct Rise of the Planet of the Apes?
Who Should Direct 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
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Variety reports movie bosses and Lionsgate-Summit want The Proposal star to revamp the period action film franchise.
28 Days Later's Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is already onboard to direct the reimagining of the 1986 film, which starred Frenchman Lambert, Sean Connery and Roxanne Hart.
Lambert and Connery returned for the film's sequel Highlander: The Quickening in 1991 - with Lambert reprising the role a futher two times.
South by Southwest, like so many film fests, is a strange animal. With all the films playing at so many different locations, it’s nearly impossible to see everything, and even keeping abreast of what all is playing becomes an insurmountable task.
You may find yourself laboring under the delusion that SXSW is a fest that only showcases small films featuring largely unknown talent. But in fact, plenty of big names have new films playing this year’s film festival. Here are a few films that may not be on your radar, but that you’ll want to seek out.
Chris Hemsworth (The Cabin in the Woods)
Directed by Drew Goddard of Cloverfield, and co-written by The Avengers’ Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods has already proven to be one of the biggest hits of the fest. Along with seasoned acting aces like Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, The Cabin in the Woods stars Chris Hemsworth; now better known to theater-going public as Thor. The interesting thing about this Whedon/Hemsworth collaboration is that, despite Cabin’s being released this year, the film was shot long before Chris was Thor and therefore before he would have joined that highly anticipated superhero alliance. Read our rave reactions to the movie for further proof of why Cabin is a movie to watch for.
Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe, Bernie)
Matthew McConaughey gets a lot of love here in Austin because he’s a local boy. He graduated from the University of Texas, he owns property out here and he’s frequent collaborator with renowned Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater. At this year’s SSSW, McConaughey once again teams with Linklater, and a very creepy-looking Jack Black, for the dark comedy Bernie. Never one to be content with doing things in the traditional fashion, McConaughey actually has two movies here this year. The other film, Killer Joe, sees Matthew playing a hitman for legendary director William Friedkin (The Exorcist).
Clive Owen (Intruders)
Clive Owen, whom we saw going toe-to-toe with Jason Statham in last year’s Killer Elite, turns in a decidedly different film for this year’s SSSW. Owen will stars in the horror film Intruders from Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later). The film centers on a faceless specter that seems hell-bent on abducting two different children. Intruders promises to be a creepy, atmospheric ghost story that should fit in quite well in its Midnight Movie slot.
Will Ferrell (Casa de mi Padre)
When you hear that Will Ferrell has a new comedy on the way, certain expectations immediately leap to mind. You picture Ferrell adopting his over-confident, developmentally-arrested chauvinist persona, built around a flimsy, but humorous, concept. Director Adam McKay’s influence almost assured. But the Will Ferrell movie playing SSSW is about as outside the man’s typical wheelhouse as he could have possibly wandered. Casa de mi Padre is, and I’m not joking, a Spanish-language comedy about two brothers vying for their father’s affections as his ranch comes under attack from a drug cartel. Casa de mi Padre is the brainchild of the creators of FunnyorDie.com and, if nothing else, we can’t possibly say that they’ve crafted an average film.
Billy Crystal (Small Apartments)
Whether or not you agree that he should have hosted the Oscars, Billy Crystal is a legend in the industry, and I’m thrilled to see that he has a new film playing SSSW. Small Apartments, from Swedish director, Jonas Akerlund, is a comedy revolving around a strange assortment of characters living in one apartment building. The film has definitely put together quite the bizarre cast to emphasize this plot point. Along with Crystal, the film features Juno Temple, James Caan, Dolph Lundgren, Johnny Knoxville, and DJ Qualls. It may be called Small Apartments, but it has a giant, if seemingly randomly generated, cast.
Millenium Entertainment today released a new trailer for Intruders, a horror-thriller from Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later, that Highlander remake that refuses to die) about a mysterious figure named Hollow Face whose hobbies include ripping the faces off children. How delightful:
Intruders stars Clive Owen and Carice van Houten, brother of Milhouse. It opens March 30, 2012.
Source: IMDB via Comingsoon.net
Click on the image below for more shots of Clive Owen and his glorious pornstache:
Relativity Media's remake of The Crow, only recently cleared to move forward after the settlement of a legal spat with The Weinstein Company, gathered momentum today with the hiring of both a director and writer. Deadline.com reports that Spanish director F. Javier Gutierrez (Before the Fall) will helm the update of the 1994 gothic horror flick, while Jesse Wigutow, a newcomer with a number of as-yet-unproduced projects to his credit will pen the script.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had previously been slated to direct with Bradley Cooper attached to star. Cooper dropped out of the project in August of last year; Fresnadillo followed soon thereafter.
A month after Justin Lin dropped out of directing the Highlander remake, a new helmer has been chosen to take his place. Summit Entertainment issued a press release today announcing that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has been tapped to take Lin's vacated spot. Fresnadillo, best known for the 2007 zombie sequel 28 Weeks Later, is currently in Toronto to promote his latest film, the horror-thriller Intruders, which opens October 7, 2011.
Source: Summit Entertainment
Fresnadillo is also slated to direct a remake of the goth-action flick The Crow. That project recently suffered a setback with the departure of its star, Bradley Cooper. Rumored potential replacements include Mark Wahlberg and Channing Tatum. Click on the image below to enjoy our massive Channing Tatum gallery:
Relativity Media's remake of The Crow suffered a setback today when star Bradley Cooper announced that he's dropping out of the gothic actioner. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ye olde "scheduling conflicts" are to blame for Cooper's exit: The Hangover star is slated to shoot David O. Russell's Silver Linings and an adaptation of Paradise Lost (in which he'll play Lucifer, naturally) back-to-back in the coming months, and the latter project directly overlaps with the planned start of production for The Crow.
Crow director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is now tasked with finding a replacement to play the film's title character, a murdered rock star who returns from the dead to seek vengeance. THR mentioned two actors as possible contenders for the role, neither of whom would seem earn the Hot Topic stamp of approval: Channing Tatum and Mark Wahlberg. The immediate edge goes to Wahlberg, who, at the very least, has portrayed a rock star before. That said, we're rooting for Tatum, if only because imagining the G.I. Joe star in long black tresses and goth makeup makes us giggle uncontrollably.
Check out our most recent interview with Tatum, who was last seen in The Eagle:
Watchmen screenwriter Alex Tse has been hired to revamp the script for Relativity Media, the studio behind the new film, and 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will helm the movie.
Cooper will play Eric Draven, the film's central protagonist who returns from the dead to track down the gang who murdered his wife.
Brandon Lee famously lost his life in a prop gun accident while filming the original film in 1994.
Relativity Media has been trying hard to get a reboot of The Crow off the ground since last year. Blade director Stephen Norrington was to direct, but he departed last October, leaving the beloved character in limbo for some time. Now it looks like Eric Draven is finally readying a return to the big screen under the guidance of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), who was just hired to helm this exciting undertaking.
For those unaware of the legacy of the character, allow me to educate you. The Crow is the creation of James O'Barr, who wrote a highly-stylized supernatural fantasy mini-series of comic books about a rocker turned revenge-seeking wraith named Eric Draven. The popularity of the character helped spawn more graphic sequels as well as a 1994 film from director Alex Proyas which starred Brandon Lee (in an infamous production that ended up killing the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee). Three sequels followed that flick as well as a TV series, none of which lived up to the gothic beauty of Proyas' original. That's why Relativity believes that a reboot of the series is just what the doctor ordered.
In today's movie market, with costumed vigilantes and supernatural heroes running rampant around the multiplex, The Crow seems primed to stage one hell of a comeback. Producer Edward R. Pressman certainly thinks so: "The original Crow was groundbreaking cinema. Its gothic visual and musical ideas influenced a generation and cinema itself. With Juan Carlos, we have every confidence that his new Crow will have a similar impact on the contemporary audience." I have to agree with Mr. Pressman, as anyone who's seen the Spanish filmmakers work would. Fresnadillo has a raw sensibility for thrills and action and that's exactly what defines the character. I think we're in store for a unique new chapter in the history of this franchise.
Fresnadillo will reportedly work with a yet-to-be-hired writer on developing the project before production begins in the fall. If all goes according to plan, count on a late 2012 release.
Source: Relativity Media