Sam Mendes Directing Pinocchio

Disney just keeps tearing through their vault of animated classics in order to bring younger audiences live-action remakes of the movies that their parents fell in love with when they were kids. Beauty and the Beast became a box office sensation this year, and The Lion King, Dumbo, Mulan and Aladdin are marching towards production. Now their remake of Pinnochio is making some progress.

While Pinocchio was announced back in the spring of 2015, news has just surfaced that Skyfall director Sam Mendes is in early talks to direct the remake of the classic 1940 animated film about a woodworker named Geppetto who makes a wish on a falling star for his recently created wooden puppet to become a real boy.

Find out more about Sam Mendes directing Pinocchio below. Read More »

Rogue One Opening Crawl

One of the biggest departures from Star Wars tradition that was taken by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the lack of an opening crawl to set the stage for the movie to come. However, even though we didn’t see one in the final movie, we did find out that there was once an opening crawl that was part of the original draft of the script.

The existence of a Rogue One opening crawl was further confirmed just a few days ago when director Gareth Edwards confirmed in a Reddit AMA that Gary Whitta wrote one in the first draft of the script. But he said that we would have to bug him to find out what it entailed. Thankfully, someone was able to follow up with the writer, and now we have some clarification on the matter.

UPDATE: Apparently writer Gary Whitta’s memory isn’t what it used to be. It turns out the Rogue One opening crawl did exist in the first draft of the script, but was removed when he did revisions. He reached out to us on Twitter to clarify his previous comments. In addition, we got some brief details about what that opening crawl entailed. Our original story follows, and you can find the update with details on the opening crawl after the jump. Read More »

Rogue One scripts

Disney has released a bunch of books in connection with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which give us some insight into John Knoll‘s original pitch for the movie and Gary Whitta‘s original screenplay, as well as how the story evolved under Chris Weitz. I’m always very interested in the evolution of the creative process on this scale, and learning what might have been.

We’ve already delved into the missing trailer footage to try to deconstruct what may have been reshot, now join me as we look at the original ideas for Rogue One, from pitch to shoot:

  • Discover the original title for Rogue One.
  • Find out which character was originally written to be a Jedi.
  • Learn which character was originally created for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Hit the jump to find out what I learned.

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weitz next project

Chris Weitz has had a varied career. Weitz directed The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Golden Compass and co-directed About a Boy and American Pie with his brother, Paul Weitz (Being Flynn). Chris Weitz’s career is a little all over the map, but he’s clearly comfortable with drama, as exhibited by About a Boy and his last feature, A Better Life.

For his next directorial effort, he might depict the hunt for Adolf Eichmann. Learn more about the project below.

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most anticipated movies of 2016

The Force has Awakened, and we won’t find out what happens for another 600 or so days. But another Star Wars movie will be out later this year: Star Wars: Rogue One (or is it Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?) will hit theaters in December 2016, and we’re excited (Peter, Angie, Jacob, Jack and Ethan all listed the film in their most anticipated films of the year). But what do we know about Rogue One? I have compiled everything we know, have seen, and/or have heard rumored, and more, after the jump.

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Judy Greer

After over 15 years in front of the camera, Judy Greer is ready to step behind it. She’s gearing up to make her directorial debut with A Happening of Monumental Proportions, an indie dramedy to be produced by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz. The film already has two high-profile leads on board, Allison Janney and Common. More details on the Judy Greer directorial debut after the jump.  Read More »

Star Wars Rogue One Concept art  - this is concept art from Star Wars The Old Republic

Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger made some pretty big Star Wars announcements during the Disney Shareholder Meeting, including a release date for Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode VIII as well as Felicity Jones casting confirmation and the title of the first Star Wars spin-off.

But that wasn’t all, Bob Iger also showed the first piece of concept art for Star Wars: Rogue One, which may surprise you. I think most everyone assumed that with a title like “Rogue One,” the movie would involve the first group of X-Wing pilots but the concept art shows something very different.

(please note: the images above and below are not the Star Wars Rogue One concept art, but images from various games like Star Wars The Old Republic)

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Star Wars: Rogue One

Star Wars news has been announced by Bob Iger on the Disney investor call this morning. The first Star Wars spin-off film, written by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz) and directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), based on a story by Industrial Light and Magic chief creative officer and effects legend John Knoll, will be titled Star Wars: Rogue One.

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chris weitz Cinderella interview

“Write Cinderella.” On the surface it sounds like a pretty easy task. It’s a well-known story, all the characters are pre-packaged and every major story beat is already locked in. But then you break it down. The original Disney film is about 75 minutes long, the Prince hardly speaks, the mice talk, and we learn very little about the the characters themselves. In fact, writing Cinderella, especially in live-action for for a whole new generation, is much more difficult than you’d think.

For the new Cinderella, which hits theaters March 13, writing duties were entrusted to Chris Weitz. Weitz first hit the big time when he and his brother Paul made American Pie. He’s since gone on to direct The Golden Compass, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, About a Boy and most recently A Better Life. Currently, he’s writing the 2016 Star Wars standalone movie directed by Gareth Edwards. But before that could happen, Weitz was tasked with simultaneously modernizing and keeping the heart of one of the most famous fairy tales of all time.

We spoke with Weitz about the difficulties in adapting such a well-known story, keeping it fresh, the fact he started the project with Mark Romanek and ended with Kenneth Branagh, as well as making changes to that beloved 1950s Disney cartoon. Then, of course, the conversation turned to Star Wars (which we published a few days back). Read our full Chris Weitz Cinderella interview below. Read More »

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On paper, Chris Weitz might seem like an unlikely choice to write a Star Wars movie. As a director, he’s best at realistic fare like About A Boy and A Better Life. He’s done bigger fantasy too, like The Golden Compass and The Twilight Saga: New Moon, but those are based on books. Even his latest film, Cinderella, is based on a very well known story and uses magic as sparsely as possible. Star Wars is a whole other beast, especially since he’s writing a standalone movie that could literally be about anything.

We were given the chance to speak to Weitz on the occasion of the release of Cinderella and, of course, had to bring up a galaxy far, far away. To recap, he was brought on to rewrite the first standalone movie, which comes out in December 2016 and will be directed by Gareth Edwards. Weitz, speaking to the press for the first time since the announcement, told us about his excitement going after the project, the security behind the process, how he’s using the film’s first screenplay by Gary Whitta, if he’s read the online rumors about the project and, finally, what fans should expect from the movie. Below, read our Chris Weitz Star Wars quotes. Read More »