More Universal Monster Writers Confirmed

Universal Monsters franchise

It’s like something out of a mad scientist movie: Universal is building its own brain trust like a Frankenstein’s monster version of the Pixar brain trust. We know that two key players in this team are Chris Morgan (Fast/Furious) and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek), with Kurtzman writing and directing a new Mummy picture. Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) was recently confirmed to be on board to write a new Wolfman movie. Now Noah Hawley (Fargo TV series creator/writer) and Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Now You See Me) are confirmed as part of the group as well. We’ve got more details on the evolving Universal Monsters franchise plan below.  Read More »

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Universal has been working hard to get a Marvel-style Monsters franchise off the ground. Their efforts kicked off this year with Dracula Untold, which included a hastily tacked-on epilogue to fit in with the rest of the universe, and will continue in 2016 with the Mummy reboot.

Now it looks like the Wolf Man could be the next to get a 21st century makeover. The studio is reportedly courting Prisoners writer Aaron Guzikowski to pen the script. More details on the Wolf Man reboot after the jump.

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The Sundance Channel is getting into the prestige TV game, and is following up Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake with six-episode series The Red Road, which has James Gray directing the first episode. (Not to be confused with Andrea Arnold’s 2006 film Red Road; this isn’t a remake of that movie.)

The show stars Martin Henderson, Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson and Tom Sizemore, and follows “a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians.” In other words, yep, this covers some of the same geography as the film Out of the Furnace, and features the same population that wasn’t all that psyched about Scott Cooper’s film.

Check out a trailer below. Read More »

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Summer only officially started a few days ago, but for those who don’t want a long procession of super-powered tentpoles, summer movie fatigue is here in full force. If you’re in that crowd the fall festival season may seem like a great promise on the horizon, and one of the first films in that season is Denis Villeneuve‘s Prisoners. The story follows a family (Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello) whose daughter is kidnapped; Terrance Howard and Viola Davis play another couple whose child is also missing. Melissa Leo, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal factor in to the plot, too.

We just saw one fairly heavy trailer for the film a few weeks ago, but now there is already a second. Like the first look at the movie, this positions Prisoners as a tense and very promising fall entry.  Read More »

It’s been a while since we’ve received any significant updates on Timur Bekmambetov‘s action-oriented Moby Dick adaptation, but the project’s apparently still simmering over at Universal and has just brought in a new writer to help with one specific stumbling block: the budget.

Over the past year, we’ve seen several big action adaptations get scrapped or put on hold for financial reasons, including Disney’s Lone Ranger, Warner Bros.’ Akira and Arthur & Lancelot, and Legendary’s Paradise Lost, and it seems Universal is also treading carefully. Aaron Guzikowski, who previously wrote Universal’s Contraband, is in negotiations to rewrite the Moby Dick script with the specific aim of trimming costs. More details after the jump.

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Hugh Jackman Once Again Cast in ‘Prisoners’

The revenge film Prisoners is in a weird position: it seems like very familiar territory to those who closely follow projects in development, but for those who don’t get too interested in films until they’re shot, it might be a total unknown.

In short, Aaron Guzikowski‘s script landed on the Black List in 2009, after which it was briefly set to be a Bryan Singer film with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, before those two actors dropped out and it even more briefly became an Antoine Fuqua and Hugh Jackman movie. Leonardo DiCaprio was interested in it, too, and Michael Fassbender was rumored at one point. In 2011 Incendies director Denis Villeneuve was attached, and he’s finally going to get the movie made, it seems. And he’ll do so with Hugh Jackman in the lead, as the actor just signed on. (Again.) Read More »

The trailer for Contraband put me to sleep. How many times have we seen an action movie where a former crook is drawn back into the life he left to save his family? That, coupled with the January release date, usually a kiss of death, had me going into the Baltasar Kormákur-directed film with expectations suitably low. As it turns out Contraband, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi, has plenty of entertaining elements. It’s noticeably flawed but those problems aren’t fatal and you get exactly what you paid for. Two hours of forgettable, forgivable entertainment. Read More »

Briefly: Sam Worthington may have been in one of the biggest films of all time, but his presence has been reduced on movie screens in the months since Avatar‘s release. (And re-release.) He had two films, The Debt and Last Night, that were delayed by the Miramax shutdown, and are just seeing release this year. And other casting deals have been percolating, but are waiting while he shoots the Clash of the Titans sequel. (That is lensing right now.)

The actor has a few other films ready to drop, like Man on a Ledge (not to be confused with The Ledge) and The Fields (aka The Texas Killing Fields, with Jessica Chastain and Chloe Moretz, and which seems to be MIA) and can now add one more project to his desk. Warner Bros. has bought a pitch that will put Sam Worthington into a “grounded space war film.” (That’s per Deadline.) Um, ‘grounded’ in what, exactly? Reality? OK, then, it is vaguely realistic sci-fi. If it’s grounded in anything else, I’m not sure how it is a space war movie. But that’s nitpicking. Aaron Guzikowski is writing; he also wrote Contraband, the Reykjavik-Rotterdam remake starring Mark Wahlberg. That’s really all we’ve got right now. But for the Sam Worthington fans — I’m sure there are a few of you left — it’s one more thing to look forward to. [Deadline]

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