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“To grow a surreal ‘stache or to not grow a surreal ‘stache?”

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According to The New Zealand Herald, Johnny Depp is currently holding auditions for screenwriters to pen an upcoming movie based on the life of the late, great surrealist painter and world renown eccentric Salvador Dali (at right). It’s said that Depp will star as Dali, which sounds like a role he’d gravitate to, though this is the first time I’ve heard of the film and moreover Depp’s involvement. The paper also quotes an unnamed source as saying, “[Depp]’s open to working with anyone – from housewives to pensioners – if the script is right.” Well now.

Still, it sounds as the film’s legit. Also quoted is producer Peter Rawley, who last produced a film called Spy Sorge in 2003 according to IMDB, and before that nothing I’d heard of before. In regards to numerous unrelated Dali projects currently in development, including Dali and I: The Surreal Story with Al Pacino and Goodbye Dali with Peter O’Toole, Rawley said, “”Filmmakers somehow pick up on the vibe. But three films [about Dali] is nothing, at one stage, we counted up to nine.”

Next up for Depp is Michael Mann’s historical mobster tale Public Enemies, due in 2009, opposite Christian Bale, and he’ll also pay tribute to the late Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Other projects still warm on the burner include the delayed India-set drug drama Shantaram, which producer Graham King (The Departed) recently said was definitely still happening, and the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary (also being produced by King). So, where a Dali biopic fits in Depp’s dizzying puzzle is unknown. More on this project if and when it develops.

Discuss: Depp as Dali? Might this project break the general sentiment heard in the Slashfilm comments of “not another biopic”? Which of Depp’s future projects do you hope comes to fruition first?

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harbinger12.jpgDoes big time studio director Brett Ratner lie around the Grotto half-naked with Hugh Hefner and his Bunnies while searching through ancient Valiant comic books for his next franchise? If not, did an assistant bring him a copy of Harbinger and if so, why not a copy of Turok Dinosaur Hunter or X-O Manowar instead? I mean, at least those forgotten Valiant series had snazzy holographic covers. The world may never know or care.

Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand), who is currently toying around with a Hefner biopic entitled Playboy, is attached to direct a Harbinger feature film for Paramount Pictures, with MTV Films circling the project as well. The discontinued ’90s comic series followed a group of angst-stricken teenagers called Harbingers who had superpowers, the catch being that these teens’ powers had to be unlocked by more experienced “omega” harbingers. Conflict arises when one teen Harbinger must face his omega mentor, an evaaal industrialist.

“The movie is in the vein of a young ‘Blade Runner,’ as this 17-year- old gifted kid helps other kids tap into these parts of their brains,” said producer Alexandra Milchan.

A “new, young Blade Runner” aside, reportedly one reason why The Rat took interest in the series is that he wants to create a (possibly suck-worthy) comic book film franchise from the ground up. According to Variety, Valiant Comics is set for a comeback after its extensive library was purchased by a private company that will apparently kick-start the better known titles. I’m guessing Harbinger will be one of those, though it definitely wasn’t the most popular Valiant comic when it was around.

Discuss: Only one person can comment on this post and that is the one dude/lady out there who has been waiting for an unlikely Harbinger movie for more than a decade. Dude/lady, Slashfilm is really happy for you, comment away all of your hibernating excitement.

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I’m def digging the official title treatment above for Lost Boys: The Tribe (the 2 is now gone) that STYD just got their hands on. It’s not some cheesy ’00s update like I feared. Even cooler is that the world premiere of the trailer to the seminal ’80s vampire flick will appear tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. on MTV.com; and it will be introduced by none other than Edgar Frog aka Corey Feldman! Here’s what Feldman had to enthusiastically say on his official blog The Feldman Journal…

The trailer will be available to own for yourself when it is released on 5 million copies of the Wil Smith film I am Legend, which ships nation wide next Tuesday. But for now, it will premier presented by myself, on MTV.com Wednesday March 12th (tomorrow for those without a calendar) at 8 A.M. Eastern Standard time.

Accompanying the trailer will be a new interview , I did just last week talking more in depth about the film. As MTV was such a huge part of the success of the original film it is only fitting that they would be on the front lines of the sequels release.”

It’s pretty rare when MTV gets behind a direct-to-DVD sequel, so you have to wonder if a theatrical release could still happen, as the flick’s scheduled for release on DVD this July. Again, Warner Bros. this sequel would make considerable bank in a summer theatrical release, so go for it. What’s to lose? As you might expect, Feldman is still fighting the battle…

“By the way if you do like it spread the word as nothing will ensure a theatrical release like a positive response to the trailer.

Obviously………there’s a lot at STAKE!!!!”

With The Lost Boys being one of my all time favorite films, keep an eye on Slashfilm manana for a review of the trailer, a review of Corey Haim’s ridiculous garb (if applicable) et al. Here’s hoping for the absolute best.

Discuss: How excited are you for the trailer? What’s the best vampire sequel of all time?

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Some major developments for the sequel to Superman Returns, tentatively titled Superman: The Man of Steel, hit the web today in quick succession. First, IESB reports that they’ve received “100%” confirmation that Bryan Singer will return to direct the flick and they’ve also heard that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Transformers, J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek) are in major talks to replace Returns scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris.

And then, later today Empire actually chatted with Singer, who not only confirmed his “intent” to direct, but once again defended Returns‘ poor critical, fanboy and box office reception, while playing up action in the sequel…

“That movie made $400 million!” Singer says to Empire. “I don’t know what constitutes under-performing these days…Look, I can understand, I suppose, what some people mean. Perhaps some people went in with the expectation of it being like an X-Men film, and Superman is a tougher character than that. Especially bringing him back. It really goes back to the fact that you can only please some of the people some of the time. But, yes, I’m just getting back with writers after the strike. We’re just in the development phase. I’m starting to develop a sequel…with the intention of directing it.”

He goes on to jokingly jab at female fans who went ga-ga over Superman Returns, while mentioning the sequel’s upped stakes…

“The first one was a romantic film and a nostalgic film,” he says. “I’ll be the first person to own up to that without making any apologies for it. I knew it was going to be that from the outset. And now that the characters are established, there’s really an opportunity to up the threat levels…Clearly there’ll be a body count [laughs]. From frame one, it will be unrelenting terror! All those teenage girls who found the movie and mooned over James Marsden or Brandon? Well, I’m going to wake them up!”

I’m moderately surprised that Warner Bros. is going ahead with a sequel rather than scrapping it and revamping the character once again a la The Incredible Hulk or Punisher: War Zone. Not to sound like a smirk jerk, but the first film, which cost $200 million (I’ll still add an ! to that), totally blew it in my opinion and was basically one of the largest pet-projects ever. A Superman movie should reign supreme over all comic book films in terms of epic-ness, scope, special effects and box office, but even if Man of Steel boasts more action, it’ll still be difficult to get stoked after the first faux-weepy, overly nostalgic bummer.

Update (2 a.m. EST): CHUD reports that writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are definitely not attached to pen the Man of Steel screenplay.

Discuss: Can Singer knock a sequel out of the park? Moreover was the only complaint about the first film merely action-related?

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Why not? Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, the minds behind the hit comedy site Ask a Ninja, are set to make their feature film debut with a remake of the lucrative 1978 B-movie spoof Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. They are currently working on the script. Nichols will direct. Both appear to be very fond of the cult classic and arguable pop culture phenomenon.

” ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!’ is the masterwork of a generation,” Nichols said. “We can only aspire to recapture that magic.”

I can’t tell if this sentence is supposed to be funny, but The Hollywood Reporter sez that the remake’s plot is “expected to revolve around killer tomatoes.” I mean, really? ATOFKT spawned a sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, which remains infamous for starring George Clooney (Possible cameo? Let’s hope.), a Nintendo game, a Game Boy game, a ’90s animated TV show that went great with SpaghettiOs, and tons of other tie-ins of questionable taste.

For what it is, Ask a Ninja is rather smart (Sarine and Nichols reportedly make $100K a month off the site and merch) and I’m curious to see how far these guys take their comedic voice. The deal is great news for original content generators on the Web and no doubt a promising glimmer in the eye of Slashfilm: The Movie. Seeing the remake’s absurd title stretched across a marquee next to, let’s say, The Mummy 5 should draw a smile from some and a frown from annoyed adults forced to hear that friggin’ theme song once again. Click here for a clip from the original film.

Discuss: Would you rather see a Tomatoes remake or Attack of the Killer ;)s?

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“I’ve got the touch.”

Over at Deadline Hollywood Daily, Nikki Finke is reporting that actor Edward Norton and Marvel Studios are in an escalating tizzy over editing and final cut on The Incredible Hulk. Oh boy, this is not good. Norton, who pretty much received the right to rework Zak Penn’s script however he wanted, is known for having strong feelings about the end product. His arguments with director Tony Kaye over American History X (Norton won) are the stuff of legend.

Finke reports that Norton and Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel are currently “holed up” alongside director Louis Leterrier (who is oddly mentioned in the news item like a third wheel) in hopes of reaching an amicable decision. It’s not clear what the arguments are over and it seems that, like fanboys, even the insiders have little idea how the $150 million flick is shaping up.

Another unnamed source seems to throw some water on the flame, saying…

“There is a very healthy exchange of ideas going on. Discussions now are even more heated. But some of Ed’s best movies have had this exact dynamic to them. Everyone’s in the process of figuring it out and working it out. But I expect it’ll all get resolved pretty quickly.”

With The Incredible Hulk‘s teaser trailer, yes only a teaser, appearing tomorrow night on MTV, it’s at once worrisome and kinda sweet how cloaked this project is from the public eye. Opening on June 13th, its secrecy has almost seemed like a Sun Tzu marketing strategy when compared to The Dark Knight and Iron Man; but while a secretive approach might work for a never-before-seen character that’s eagerly anticipated, we’ve seen Ang Lee’s Hulk already. Either Leterrier’s Hulk is going to blow us away tomorrow or get a big “meh!” It’s really that simple. And Norton is pretty sharp, so hopefully Marvel listens to him. As much as I pined for Liv Tyler in that Aerosmith video, Norton is the only reason why I’m interested in the remake.

Discuss: Does Norton’s disagreement with Marvel over final cut bother you? What are you expecting from the teaser tomorrow? Do you find it cool to know so little about the film this far in?

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

“Wasn’t me.”

Peter emailed me the following question regarding the announcement that Justin Long will now star in Sam Raimi‘s Drag Me to Hell: How did a movie go from so much potential with a return to old form, an Oscar nominated actress [Ellen Page] attached, to a Justin Long movie? I have no idea, but I too would rather see Mr. PC star in Raimi’s first horror thriller in years than the baby-faced star of Jeepers Creepers, Drew Barrymore’s prolonged youth and Apple propaganda.

Long (Live Free of Die Hard) will star alongside Ellen Page’s lesser known replacement, actress Alison Lohman, who joined the film just days ago after Page bailed due to scheduling conflicts. Written by Raimi and his brother Ivan, not much is known about Drag Me to Hell except that it will follow the unfortunate recipient of a supernatural curse, it has an awesome title, and it harks back to Raimi’s Evil Dead salad days but with less gore and less Bruce Campbell.

Next up for Long is He’s Just Not That Into You. Make ’em swoon Long, make ’em swoon.

Discuss: What has more scary potential, Drag Me to Hell or Justin Long in a movie?

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Shock Till You Drop received a tip over the weekend from a source at 20th Century Fox who claimed that a sequel to last December’s generally hated Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem is a “certainty.” A second sequel in the battle royal sci-fi horror franchise would be rather surprising, as AvP-R didn’t reach $50 million domestically, though it made about $130 million worldwide. However one might expect sales of the DVD, set for April 15th, to be rather healthy. As aforementioned, after much boasting by visual effects wizard brothers Colin Strause and Greg Strause, their film still sucked about as much as the first AVP flick from Paul W.S. Anderson. The source didn’t clarify whether the Brothers Strause would return.

The question here is whether this potentially landmark franchise can ever retain the promise that existed in so many fanboys’ heads before it became a cinematic reality. Twentieth Century Fox has to realize at this point that the key factor to making an AVP film that can reach $100 million domestic (and a third film still could) is the director. At this point they need to go with a well known action director rather than a young hot shot with visual acumen.

While some of the thrill is gone after two outings, especially amongst the non-geek mainstream, an injection of class and a detachment from the prior two films could still make considerable bank. I doubt they could get Ridley Scott at this point, but that’s the type of talent they should aim for. And this isn’t about AVP so much as rebooting the Aliens and Predator franchises, neither of which are particularly strong go-to’s right now. As seen from the boffo grosses and insatiable interest in I Am Legend, moviegoers want their dark sci-fi, so do it right or don’t bother.

Discuss: Can you ever get excited for an AVP film again after the first two? 

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“Takes all kinds, guys.”

The premiere for Horton Hears a Who! was held today at Mann Village Theater in Los Angeles. In attendance were stars (and Horton voices) Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, non-star Victoria Beckham, lots and lots of children and…a totally uninvited group of pro-lifers, who were apparently uber-inspired by the film’s upbeat mantra of “After all, a person is a person no matter how small.”

The protesters reportedly “chanted” pro-life messages after the flick was over, then applied red tape labeled with the word “LIFE” to their mouths and kept on protesting. What would Dr. Seuss think (WWDRST?). Sidenote: This item was brought to my attention by Peter and since I’ve already been called a “commie” today on Slash (a first!), we thought it was worth posting.

Discuss: Have you ever attended a screening interrupted by protesters? If not, what’s the craziest distraction you’ve encountered during a movie screening?

via TMZ