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.