Captain Phillips lo

One word comes to mind watching the first trailer for Paul Greengrass‘ latest film Captain Phillips: Intense. Few filmmakers are better at creating incredible tension and drama out of real world situations, and it appears the director of United 93, Bloody Sunday and two Bourne movies has done it again. This time he’s joined by Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, who plays the title character in the true story of an unarmed American freighter ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The film, which co-stars Catherine Keener, John Magaro and others, will but out October 11. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Universal really, really wants their The Mummy reboot to work. Last spring, the studio set Prometheus co-writer Jon Spaihts to pen a modern-day reboot of the classic franchise. Now, they’re bringing in some extra help in the form of Hunger Games scribe Billy Ray.

While it’s pretty typical for a high-profile tentpole pic to go through multiple writers, this is a special case. Ray isn’t doing a rewrite of Spaihts’ script. Instead, he’s putting together a totally separate screenplay with an unrelated storyline. You know, just in case the other one totally sucks. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Like most famous, talented directors, Martin Scorsese always has a bevy of projects at his fingertips. Right now he’s shooting The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio but once he finishes that, who knows? Maybe it’ll be Silence, maybe it’ll be The Irishman, or maybe he’ll finally get around to directing the long rumored biopic of legendary singer and actor, Frank Sinatra. That scenario is looking more likely today as Universal has just hired Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, State of Play, Flightplan) to write a new screenplay for Sinatra. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Warrior director Gavin O’Connor could follow up his moving tale of brotherly love and competition in the boxing ring with a story about an eternal man-child in bright green tights. Well, maybe the last part isn’t entirely a fair description of Billy Ray‘s Neverland, but the only hard knowledge we have about the script at this point is that it’s an origin story about the immortal Peter Pan and his archnemesis Captain Hook. Channing Tatum is attached to produce, but does not plan to star. More details after the jump.

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The final episode of 24 was broadcast in May 2010, and not long after we started to hear serious talk about a feature film continuation of the series anchored by Kiefer Sutherland‘s character Jack Bauer. Fox spent a lot of time choosing a screenwriter (Billy Ray eventually scripted, with Mark Bomback polishing) and starting the process of finding a director. A tentative start date was scheduled for the end of this month, timed to coincide with Sutherland’s hiatus from his new series Touch.

But there still is no director — Antoine Fuqua was a recent possible hire — and it now looks like Fox isn’t going to pursue the film until 2013 at least. Read More »

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‘The Hunger Games’ Trailer

Here’s the first full trailer for the Gary Ross-directed adaptation of The Hunger Games, the first novel in Suzanne Collins‘ darkly futuristic trilogy of novels about teenagers chosen by lottery to fight to the death as representatives of their local district. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth are the young leads in the Lionsgate film that could be the studio’s answer to Twilight, but hopefully with a harder edge.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

The new version of The Thin Man, which Johnny Depp set in motion at Warner Bros. last year, is still moving forward. The star has wanted to make a new film based on Dashiell Hammett‘s classic novel (which already spawned a six-film series and a television show) and last year roped in his Pirates 4 director Rob Marhsall to direct. Now Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach) has been hired to draft a new script. Read More »

Briefly: The “mysterious” part of the headline really goes without saying, doesn’t it? Deadline reports that famously secretive filmmaker JJ Abrams is joining forces with screenwriter Billy Ray for a “mystery adventure,” the pitch for which has just been purchased by Paramount. That’s all we know at this point, but we like Abrams enough that any new project with his name on it tends to grab our attention.

Ray’s writing credits include State of Play and Flightplan, and he’s also done some directorial work with Breach and Shattered Glass (both of which he also wrote.) He’s currently got a few different projects on his plate, including the scripts for Pan, a retelling of Peter Pan’s origin story starring Channing Tatum; the big-screen adaptation of 24; and Paul Greengrass’ A Captain’s Duty with Tom Hanks. In addition, he’s also set to write and direct the English-language remake of The Secret in Their Eyes, which may or may not star Denzel Washington.

Abrams recently confirmed his return to the director’s chair for the sequel to his 2009 hit Star Trek, and is expected to begin shooting early next year. On the television side, he’s had a hand in two series premiering this fall — the Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson-starring Person of Interest on CBS, and Fox’s Alcatraz.

Denzel Washington has reportedly been offered the lead role in the English-language remake of The Secret in Their Eyes, which is being helmed by Billy Ray (Shattered Glass). The original Argentinian version, by director Juan José Campanella, was a critical success that won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture in 2010. In other words, no wonder someone in Hollywood’s decided to try and make it all over again.

The dramatic thriller centers around a retired criminal court investigator turned would-be novelist who’s struggling to get over a murder case and a romance that have haunted him for decades. Campanella’s film won raves for its unpredictable plotting, impressive camerawork, and excellent performances. I don’t think the American version sounds bad, so much as just pointless — but if it has to get remade, I suppose there are worse choices than Ray and Washington. [First Showing]

After the jump, Will Forte joins Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn in Neighborhood Watch, and Isla Fisher lands magician heist flick Now You See Me.

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Here’s an incremental update on both the film to be based on Captain Richard Phillips‘ memoir A Captain’s Duty and the next stage in the career of director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, Green Zone). Last week we reported that the director had become a candidate for Sony’s film based on the book, which Tom Hanks became attached to months ago based on the script by Billy Ray.

Now Sony has offered the directorial duties to Paul Greengrass, and negotiations are about to begin. Looks like this will be his next film. Read More »