How does one convince Arnold Schwarzenegger, a 65-year-old man, to reprise the very physical, mostly shirtless role that helped launch his career in the 1980s? That was the question producer/screenwriter Chris Morgan had to answer when pitching the actor his idea for The Legend of Conan. Schwarzenegger had already shown an openness to returning to some of his more trademark roles (Terminator, for example) and has embraced his action superstar status once more, with upcoming films like The Last Stand and The Tomb.

Conan was something different, however. More animal. More open. So what did Morgan say to convince the actor to once again play in the days of high adventure?

Get the answer, and more news about the new chapter in the series, after the jump. Read More »

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Briefly: If one were to imagine Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride inspiring a narrative arc, it might be a children’s’ western, or something along the lines of Thomas the Tank Engine. But while Disney is putting a show into development based on the ride, the concept is focused around another aspect of the ride, and one which is behind so many other new shows. The ride has inspired a “supernatural adventure drama” at ABC, with a script by Chris Morgan (Fast and Furious) and Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift).

No doubt the general tone will be one able to entice families and kids, and this will be one way to explain where those dinosaur bones came from. Given that the various backstories for the ride involve the gold rush, perhaps there could also be a Yeti. Or is that movie vaguely based on the Matterhorn ride already claiming dibs on that big guy? The supernatural aspect will likely come into play thanks to the other consistent notion in the backstory — that greedy miners built their mining town on sacred Native American land, then fell prey to a natural disaster (like an earthquake, or a flood), leaving the possessed trains to run on their own. [Variety]

What do you call a reboot when the film in question involves going back to a previous film template? Robert E. Howard‘s long-running character Conan the Barbarian came to screens incarnated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, in one of the actor’s earliest starring gigs. Arnie did two movies, but a year ago the character was rebooted by director Marcus Nispel with Jason Momoa starring.

Conan’s wheel has turned again, however, and Schwarzenegger is stepping back into the role for The Legend of Conan, which is being described as “Conan’s Unforvigen.” Read More »

Two of the major studios set up brand new sci-fi projects on Wednesday. First up, Paramount bought the rights to Clark Baker‘s short film Vessel with the aim to turn it into a feature. We covered it in June and it’s about a flight that goes frighteningly wrong. Stephen Susco (The Grudge, Red, Texas Chainsaw 3D) has been tapped to write the adaptation with Baker directing.

Then, over at Universal, they’ve just bought a still-untitled pitch from Zak Penn (The Avengers, X-Men The Last Stand) and Chris Morgan (Fast Five, Wanted) which is reportedly in the vein of Chronicle. Read more about both projects below.

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First Look: Keanu Reeves on the Set of ’47 Ronin’

Pretty minor stuff here, but here’s the first look at Keanu Reeves in costume for the Carl Erik Rinsch film 47 Ronin. The movie is a remake, in name at least, of a Japanese film from 1947, but what we’ve heard about the film so far suggests that Rinch is going for something a bit more his own than just a straight remake. The story has been around far longer than sixty-some years, so Rinsch has many previous versions to draw on, but also the leeway to give his own spin on the tale. (Which includes shooting this version in 3D.)

Rinsch is noted for being a Ridley Scott protege, and he was once attached to direct a film related to Alien way before that movie evolved into Prometheus, with Scott taking directorial duties. Rinsch was also set to direct Logan’s Run before dropping off that project (making room for Nicolas Winding Refn) and to make 47 Ronin.

We don’t have actual stills from the film yet, but after the break you’ll find a shot of Reeves in character, and images of a couple other players in their film garb. Read More »

Briefly: The sixth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise isn’t much more than an early script draft right now, but it already has a release date. Universal has just claimed May 24 2013, aka Memorial Day ’13, like Marvin the Martian spiking a flag into a planetoid, crying out “I claim this date in the name of cars!” (Shoot me now. I demand that you shoot me now!) Justin Lin is likely to direct, making this his fourth film in the series, and we know that it will carry forward the Ocean’s 11 vibe that was introduced in the most recent episode. Chris Morgan, who penned the last three films, is writing this one, too.

Fast & Furious 6 isn’t a very elegant title, though. Too bad The Fast and the Furry-ous is already taken. (Universal also dated R.I.P.D., with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, for June 28, 2013.) [Deadline]

This week will be saturated with press for Fast Five, Universal’s latest entry in the car racing action franchise that the studio plans to stretch into infinity. But the best thing you’re likely to see about the film is after the break: a video clip in which the hosts of Today Now! on the Onion News Network interview Fast Five (and Wanted) screenwriter Chris Morgan. He’s not quite as… mature… as I thought he’d be. Read More »

Fast Five is still over a week from being released but its writer has not only been hired to write the sixth installment, he’s been given a brand new production deal. Chris Morgan, who wrote Wanted, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious and Fast Five in addition to the currently in production 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves, just signed a first-look-deal with Universal that’ll keep him writing and developing ideas at the studio for at least two years.

One of the first projects he’ll tackle is Fast and Furious 6, yet another sequel in the successful crime and car franchise. He’s also been rumored to be developing a Terminator movie with his Fast and Furious director Justin Lin as well as the cartoon adaptation Bakugan. After the jump, read some quotes from Morgan about the types of films he hopes to make. Read More »

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