Fast and Furious 7 - Kurt Russell

Production on Fast & Furious 7 has been on indefinite hold since the death of star Paul Walker on November 30, but sooner or later Universal is going to have to decide how it wants to proceed. Today, we have word that they’re making some tentative progress in that direction.

According to a new report, writer Chris Morgan is working to revise the screenplay so that the film can use the footage of Walker that’s already been shot, while simultaneously retiring his cop character Brian O’Conner. If all goes well, the shoot could resume in late January. Hit the jump for the latest on this tough situation.

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A significant step has finally been taken in the development of Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s return to the days of high adventure. Universal Pictures has hired Andrea Berloff to write the screenplay for The Legend of Conan, the sword and sandal sequel which will continue the story from the Conan films of the 1980s. Berloff is best known for writing Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, but she also penned the American remake of Sleepless Night as well as a few other male-centric, in-development projects including the NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton. She’s a screenwriter on the verge of the big time. Read More »

James Wan in Talks for ‘Fast & Furious 7′

James Wan

When Justin Lin decided to exit the Fast and the Furious series after directing four consecutive installments, he opened up a plum gig at one of the hottest franchises in Hollywood. Now it looks like Universal’s found just the man to take it.

Saw director James Wan has entered talks to direct The Fast and the Furious 7, with the deal expected to close sometime in the next week or so. The quick progress is beneficial for the studio, which reportedly wants to put the film in theaters next year. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Fast and Furious 6 - Vin Diesel

Universal has turned the Fast & Furious franchise into a juggernaut that fans love — I’d wager that I see more anticipation expressed for Fast & Furious 6 on a daily basis than I do for any other summer tentpole slated for release this year. By crafting a series of tightly interconnected stories, the studio (and screenwriter Chris Morgan and director Justin Lin) have pinpointed exactly what audiences want: big action with entertaining actors, and a story throughline to match long-form television.

Seems so simple, but only Marvel is building the same sort of structure, and capturing fans the same way.

Fast & Furious 6 arrives on May 24, and in a note about an early screening of the film Vin Diesel says that the reaction to 6 is good enough that shooting on Fast & Furious 7 is already set for this summer. Read More »

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 »

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]

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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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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 »