‘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 »

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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 »

Hollywood has never been a town that likes original ideas. It likes safe and established and easy. But sometimes the attraction to stories with those qualities veers into bizarre obsession. So it has been lately with anything that looks like a fairy tale or romantic fantasy story. We’ve got multiple Snow White movies in development with two racing towards production, several possible Wizard of Oz offshoots, and similar projects like Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Killer and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Can we blame the fact that the Harry Potter and Twilight series are nearing the end of their run, leaving producers everywhere scrambling to find new ways to capture audiences that will no longer turn towards those mega-franchises? Do studios need something to start standing in for comic books as source material? Or is it just some zeitgeist current that leaves everyone looking towards dark romantic fantasy? Impossible to tell, really, but the trend isn’t dead yet. Peter Pan is the latest development mini-craze, and no less than five Pan projects are in play right now. Read More »

Some actors attach themselves to scores of films, most of which will never get made, or will never get made with those actors in the cast. Tom Hanks is not one of those actors. He latches on to far fewer projects, and the ones he does pick have a higher probability of getting made.

He’s shooting Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close right now, recently set up Disney’s Jungle Cruise with fellow Toy Story voice talent Tim Allen, and has been strongly linked to Kathryn Bigelow’s Triple Frontier.

And now Tom Hanks is attached to play Captain Richard Phillips in Sony’s adaptation of the Captain’s memoir about the Somali pirate hostage situation that went down in 2009. Read More »

Briefly: Last week we told you about a pitch called Peter Pan Begins — a title which was erroneous, as the project is simply called Pan — which was going around town with Channing Tatum attached to star, Billy Ray writing and Joe Roth producing. Now Sony is negotiating to buy the project, with THR saying the studio beat out two other studios, and that the deal is going down for around $1m.

So that’s a million bucks for a story “which seeks to tell the origin of the flying immortal.” What’s the point? Money, of course. Joe Roth was a producer on Alice in Wonderland and, many millions of dollars and two Oscars (gag) later, applying the same approach to Peter Pan probably seems like a good idea. Billy Ray is a solid writer (Breach, Shattered Glass), so perhaps he can turn out something that doesn’t have the rank stench of a bid for Alice-style box office.

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