It worked for Marvel and now Universal is hoping it works for their monsters. A new report says Universal Studios is in the early stages of creating “a substantial new production endeavor” which will “expand and unify” the Universal Monsters properties, including characters such as Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon. The initial architects of this endeavor are Alex Kurtzman, of Transformers, Star Trek and Amazing Spider-Man 2 fame, and Chris Morgan, who wrote the bulk of the Fast and Furious movies. Potentially, this means all of the above characters would get their own movies before teaming up for an Avengers-type finale. Read more about this possible Universal Monsters Cinematic Universe below. Read More »

‘Fast & Furious 7’ to Resume Shooting in April

Fast and Furious 7 funeral

With a new script, a new release date, and a new plan for working around Paul Walker‘s passing, Fast & Furious 7 is finally getting ready to resume production.

Universal is gearing up to start filming again in Atlanta, where the high-speed actioner had been shooting before Walker’s death. More details on the shoot after the jump.

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Chris Morgan, the screenwriter behind most of the Fast and the Furious sequels, is now producing a new film for Universal. The studio with the richest horror movie legacy of all will make The Wolf’s Hour, based on a 1989 novel. The story is set in WWII, and sees the Allies using a lycanthrope to infiltrate occupied Paris in order to stop a Nazi attack on London. Read More »

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 »

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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]

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 »