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We’ve been hearing about the possibility of a new Judge Dredd movie for some time. Now the project has taken a big step closer to being real: in a deal made just prior to Cannes, where the film will be shopped around for distribution, Andrew Macdonald‘s company DNA Film has made a deal to finance Judge Dredd as a 3D feature with a budget around $50m. And there’s a director: Vantage Point‘s Pete Travis.

But here’s the catch, and the part that could, somehow, be reason to hope this version won’t suck: this is not a studio financing deal. The money comes from Indian outfit Reliance Big Entertainment. Without a studio calling some of the bone-headed shots that made the Sylvester Stallone version miss the mark, could this be…good? Read More »

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UPDATE: According to three sources close to the Judge Dredd film (two are employees at Rebellion, the publishers of 2000AD, the other is Jock, responsible for the concept art at the head of this post) a draft of Alex Garland’s Judge Dredd screenplay has been shown to John Wagner, who created Dredd alongside artist Carlos Ezquerra. What isn’t clear – yet – is what feedback Wagner offered, or how that feedback has/hasn’t had an impact.
It is worth noting that many Dredd stories credited to either Alan Grant or John Wagner alone were actually written by the two of them in partnership, like some kind of reverse Lennon and McCartney.

The closest UK equivalent to Comic-Con would be the MCM Expo and I’ve been there today, looking for scoop. It’s not one half the size of San Diego’s mammoth geek Mecca (okay, not a quarter of the size, even) but it is rapidly expanding in terms of attendance figures, exhibitors and nifty special events. If you’ve got a good nose and alert ears, there’s all sort of great stuff to sniff out and tune into.

The major panel on day one saw Andy Diggle, Jock and Idris Elba taking to the stage to promote The Losers. Meanwhile, a less high profile event saw Alan Grant joining a group of comics creators in discussing multi-media crossovers such as comics adapting stories from other media, and other media leeching ideas from the comics world. What connected these two panels? Talk of DNA’s upcoming Judge Dredd movie.

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Mark Romanek is currently on location in the UK town of Clevedon, North Somerset, filming his melancholy sci-fi mystery Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and just about every other great British actor currently in their 20s. In case you do not yet know, it was adapted by Alex Garland – who previously scripted 28 Days Later and a draft of the proposed Halo film – from a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

As well as a video clip snooping on a scene being shot (which you can see hosted on a BBC website but was not designed so that it might be embedded elsewhere) several paparazzi-style pictures have appeared here and there, showing the filming taking place and, as ever, the actors standing about between takes. I’ve put some after the break as well as some every basic, and not very spoilery, information to help you contextualise them.

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Mark Romanek to Adapt Never Let Me Go

Mark Romanek has signed on to direct a big screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s novel Never Let Me Go. According to Production Weekly, Beach author and 28 Days Later/Sunshine screenwriter Alex Garland penned the adaptation.

Romanek is probably best known for his music video work. He directed the video for Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream” in 1995, a sci-fi themed video which won the 1996 Grammy for Best Music Video, and to date, is still the most expensive music video ever produced ($7 million). His other videos include Closer for Nine Inch Nails, Criminal for Fiona Apple, Devil’s Haircut for Beck, and Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”.

In 2002, he made a wonderful indie thriller called One Hour Photo, which starred Robin Williams as an photo lab employee who becomes obsessed with a young suburban family (if you haven’t seen it, netflix it!). Romanek was originally attached to dieect The Wolf Man for Universal but dropped out for undisclosed reasons. The official book description follows:

“From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love. As a child, Kathy–now thirty-one years old–lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory. And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now. A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance–and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.”

The book was named one of TIME’s 100 Best Novels (from 1923 to the Present), featured on many top ten books of 2005 lists, and a finalist in the National Book Critic Circle Award. For those interested, you can buy the softcover for only $11.20 on Amazon.

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Note: This is a not an April Fool’s Day joke. Screenwriter Stuart Beattie, whose script is behind the $170 million G.I. Joe that’s currently filming, has written a full spec-script for a potential Halo movie according to Latino Review. Moreover, his script is based on Eric Nylund‘s first book tie-in, the prequel Halo: The Fall of Reach, and carries the same name.

For those not in the know, a “spec script” means a script that’s written without the screenwriter being paid or contracted to do so. Apparently Beattie (Spy Hunter, Pirates of the Caribbean 1) is a fan of Bungie‘s ginormous video game franchise and wishes to get the first film off life support, where it’s been since last summer when producer Peter Jackson and hotshot director Neil Blomkampf once again threw in the towel after an eruption of distribution differences.

Not only does Beattie’s Halo: The Fall of Reach deliver a worthy action film according to LR’s inside source but it sets up a trilogy of films to coincide with the three Xbox installments. Here’s what the source said…

“The script is, first and foremost, a character-driven story about a soldier named John who was kidnapped or “conscripted” by the UNSC when he was just six years old, and then brutally trained to become an elite Spartan warrior known as Master Chief 117.

The script then takes us through the horrific first contact with the Covenant hordes on the doomed colony world of Harvest, and then climaxes with the spectacular fall of the UNSC forward base on Reach, during which every other Spartan is slaughtered.”

The source goes on to compare the script to Jaws, in that the Covenant (the series’ cunning alliance of aliens) isn’t seen until the half-way point, thereby making the first film financially attractive. In 2005, a script by Alex Garland (28 Days Later) that went through several rewrites was set to be used for Blomkampf’s film. Of note, Beattie also wrote the Gears of War video game adaptation that is now reportedly scheduled for 2010.

Discuss: Will Halo: The Movie ever happen? Furthermore, will the infamously uptight dudes at Microsoft give Beattie’s script the time of day?

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