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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Since helming Sony's alien invasion action pic Battle: Los Angeles, Darkness Falls director Jonathan Liebesman's profile has risen significantly. The scale of that 2011 spring blockbuster made him an ideal candidate to further Warner Bros. burgeoning Clash of the Titans franchise - the qualitative results of which will be determined on March 30 when Wrath of the Titans is released. Now the 35-year-old filmmaker is looking to leave his mark on another blue-chip property - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Variety reports that the Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Platinum Dunes production - first reported back in 2010 - is interested in bringing Liebesman on board. The project has a script from Iron Man writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, and was touched up by Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol scribes Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum. Originally slated to hit theaters in 2011, the film looks like it can actually move forward now that the companies are looking at directors.
So the question is: is Liebesman the right guy for the job. I'm undecided at this point. So far he's made a name for himself with violent, visceral horror flicks and larger special effects driven tent-poles. The latter has definitely provided him all the experience needed to realize producer Michael Bay's vision for the film, but the Heroes in a Half Shell have won places in all our hearts because of the characters, not necessarily the action. I haven't seen him create protagonists as strong as any of the Mutants in any of his films to date, and that's what makes me a bit nervous.
Whoever takes on the Turtles must understand that exploring the relationship between battling brothers Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello is more important to the film's success than set-pieces and action sequences. We need to see contemporary iterations of the characters that also stay true to the heart of what they stand for, otherwise the new TMNT film will be just another rehash of a nostalgic brand.
Source: Variety (via ComingSoon)
Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, two of the writers of Iron Man and Punisher: War Zone, have locked down their next comic adaptation - Nickelodeon's reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes is producing for Paramount Pictures.
Paramount and Nickelodeon picked up the property rights for the four martial arts-trained, anthropomorphic turtles for some $60 million last year from Mirage Studios, and are planning to recoup their investment with an animated TV show and merchandise alongside the upcoming feature.
Heatvision reports that if Marcum and Holloway's script is strong enough, the studio will likely sign a director and begin production as early as next year.
Although it may seem like odd timing to pick up a cartoon franchise that peaked in popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Paramount's TMNT reboot is in keeping with Hollywood's recent obsession with the financial viability of choosing to tap into established fan bases rather than develop new properties. Still, one wonders if the rights to a 30-year-old property are really worth $60 million in 2010. The demographic that the original comic and cartoon series appealed to has long since grown up, and Nickelodeon is going to have to find a way to connect with a new generation of young moviegoers for whom TMNT nostalgia won't be a factor. Even though the studio is probably thinking more about the profitability of the inevitable merchandising bonanza rather than the film itself, $60 mil is a fair amount of money to be in the hole before a script has even been written.
With all that money (and our collective childhood memories) riding on their shoulders, I hope Marcum and Holloway will be able to come up with a worthwhile script that doesn't take itself too seriously. While "dark and gritty" reboots have been the popular trend of late, let's not forget what TMNT actually stands for and all the silliness that implies. These are four crime-fighting, teenage turtles - named after Renaissance artists - with an insatiable hankering for pizza; personally, I'll pass on any Nolan-esque "realistic" reimagining.
Source: Deadline New York
Deadline reports that director Paul W.S. Anderson (Death Race, Resident Evil films) has locked a deal to direct a new version of Buck Rogers, the classic tale of a fighter pilot who wakes up in the 25th Century and quickly acclimates to the future, putting his skills to use defending the planet against invaders.
Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway will write the screenplay.
The character launched in the 1920s and has been the subject of comic books, radio and movie serials, and two TV series, the latter of which ran on NBC and starred Gil Gerard.
Paradox, the company behind the new Conan movie, owns the rights to the age-old character. Paradox will finance and Anderson's partner, Jeremy Bolt, will produce with Fredrik Malmberg, Larry Abramson and George Furla.
When we last saw the armed-to-the-teeth vigilante Frank Castle he was fleeing Tampa after exacting his revenge upon the money launderer responsible for murdering his son wife parents aunts and uncles third cousin twice removed … But that was the old Punisher. Meet the new Punisher. Like Incredible Hulk Punisher: War Zone reboots a franchise by assuming we know enough about the Punisher without having go into excruciating detail about why he became judge jury and executioner. Another good sign: Ray Stevenson’s Punisher is back where he belongs in a dirty grimy New York not sun-kissed Florida. And he’s got his sights set on comic-book nemesis Jigsaw the alias of mobster Billy “the Beaut” Russoti (The Wire’s Dominic West). While trying to assassinate Russoti the Punisher accidentally kills an undercover FBI agent compelling him to hang up his guns. Russoti escapes but his face is torn to shreds by glass. With his once-handsome face stitched up like a 12-piece puzzle the rechristened Jigsaw springs his brother Loony Bin Jim (Doug Hutchison) from -- of course -- a loony bin to help him punish the Punisher. So much for the Punisher locking up his war journal for good … No disrespect but Jane’s too much of a pretty boy to pass himself off as the Punisher. The big burly Ray Stevenson (HBO’s Rome) looks every bit the cold-blooded dispenser of justice fanboys know and adore. And the Northern Irish hard man possesses an intimidating physical presence something Jane inherently lacks. Jane though received significant leeway to explore the anguish resulting from the loss of Castle’s family. Stevenson wears nothing but a scowl as the taciturn and psychologically scarred human weapon which admittedly is in keeping with the comic-book character’s stony disposition. Then again the out-of-control West does enough emoting for an army of Punishers. With his exaggerated gestures dancing eyebrows and thicker-than-Italian-cheesecake Noo Yawk accent the Brit blasts through War Zone with the destructive force of a rocket-propelled grenade. This is a money gig for West and damnit if he isn’t going to have fun earning his paycheck. The Green Mile’s Hutchinson as Jigsaw’s organ-chewing sibling almost keeps pace with West. Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight does his usual shtick as weapons supplier Microchip. Colin Salmon fills space as a by-the-book lawman pursuing the Punisher. Rambo and Saw V’s Julie Benz -- who obviously can’t say to any sequel or reboot she’s offered -- is wasted as the FBI agent’s widow and the voice of Castle’s conscience. Try counting the ways the Punisher dispatches of his foes. He hangs from a spinning chandelier and sprays a roomful of mobsters with bullets blows up a man leaping between buildings punches his fist through a bad guy’s face sets another on fire and … well we could be here all day. Fair to say director Lexi Alexander’s blood lust drives her to come up with one grisly laugh-inducing death after another. With its Empire State Building-high body count Alexander’s does the impossible and out-Rambos Rambo. And quite frankly it’s everything a Punisher quest for vengeance should be. The 2004 Punisher seemed too disconnected from its source material. Why relocate from New York to Tampa? Or pit the Punisher against a villain from not from the comic book? Or have the Punisher setup Travolta for his fall when he lives by the gun? Jane’s departure paved the way for a reboot that’s closer to the spirit of the comic book and wants nothing more than to be an old-school shoot ’em up like Commando or Lethal Weapon. There isn’t a moment that goes by when you’re not howling at the disgracefully bad dialogue gasping in shock at each and every execution or wondering at just how much more dumb and fun things can get. Alexander the German director who turned sweet little Elijah Wood into a soccer thug in Green Street Hooligans isn’t trying to transcend the comic-book genre á la The Dark Knight. Instead she’s just wants to give us one hell of an adrenaline rush. “This is just the beginning ” Stevenson growls after taking care of business. Let the bodies continue to hit the floor.