After umpteen script drafts and more how-low-an-you-go in Hollywood Limbo than is decent, it seems like Gemini Man is finally getting set in the traps and could be sprinting to the big screen soon. According to Variety, Curtis Hanson is negotiating to take the director’s chair and will be working from David Benioff‘s latest iteration of the screenplay.
Ooops. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a single David Benioff script nor cared much at all for any Curtis Hanson film. Oh – actually, Wonder Boys had some good stuff going for it. Yeah, I liked that. So I’ll take that back (well, without actually going so far as, you know, deleting it). All the same, when a film has this kind of “can’t fail to be fun” premise I can’t help but wish for a better creative team.
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HBO has given the greenlight to film a pilot based on George R.R. Martin‘s bestselling fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice. The show will be titled A Game of Thrones, named after the first novel in the series. Martin has planned seven books in the series, and the plan is to turn each book into a full season of television.
David Benioff (25th Hour, Troy), who is executive producing the series with D.B. Weiss (I Am Legend Prequel), says that “High fantasy has never been done on TV before and if anybody can do it, it’s HBO. They’ve taken tired genres and reinvented them — mobsters in The Sopranos and Westerns with Deadwood.” While supernatural and sci-fi have boomed in recent years, it does seem extremely odd that the fantasy genre hasn’t been tried in primetime, especially considering the huge box office and critical success of the Lord of the Rings films. The only fantasy television series that comes to mind is Xena: Princess Warrior, and that was syndicated and… uh, bad.
Sure, dragons, magic, and even swords cost money (Thrones has all three), but in the last decade sci-fi television shows have pushed the boundaries in the visual effects department. The producers claim that Thrones is more character centric, and most of the action takes place off screen – a formula that has worked well for Battlestar Galactica.
A Game of Thrones was published in 1996, nominated for 1998 Nebula Award and the 1997 World Fantasy Award, and won the 1997 Locus Award. The official plot description follows:
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
20th Century Fox and Hugh Jackman have brought Swordfish and Hitman screenwriter Skip Woods to revise (“more than a polish”) David Benioff’s draft for the upcoming X-Men spin-off prequel, Wolverine. Director Gavid Wood, whose film Tsotsi won the Academy Award in 2006 for Best Foreign Language Film, has been out promoting his new film Rendition, where online journalists have been pestering him for new information about the upcoming comic book adaptation. Hood told SuperHero Hype why he is interested in making Wolverine:
“What appeals to me about the Wolverine character of all the other characters is that my feeling that he’s the one that suffers from the most existential angst. Since I’m a guy who loves emotional complexity, it seemed to me thatâ€¦ when I was first approached to do it, my first thought was, ‘What? Me? Do this? What is that? I don’t know enough about comic book characters.’ And of course, I then did some further research and I realized that the character of Wolverine, I think his great appeal lies in the fact that he’s someone who in some ways, is filled with a great deal of self-loathing by his own nature and he’s constantly at war with his own nature. It seemed to me that really what it is, is that it’s a little like great Greek mythology, which is something I’ve always been in love with where the Greek Gods threw thunderbolts and Poseidon conjured up storms, but those mythological stories were designed to examine emotional truths. It seems to me that the character of Wolverine epitomizes in a modern context, a kind of great mythical tradition of using larger-than-life characters in order to play with and examine human emotion at a sort of operatic level.”
But the most interesting development came when Hood was asked if they were planning to shoot in Japan (which is part of the early years of Wolverine’s comic book origins). Hood responded:
“No, sadly no. We’re not going to Japan. “I think that will be in ‘Wolverine 2’ but I won’t say any more than that.”
Did you read that? Wolverine 2!? Looks like Fox is planning for a Wolverine franchise (possible trilogy). Filming on Wolverine begins this November in Australia for a 2008 release.
Contributing Sources: IGN, SuperHeroHype
Our friend Alex at RT has posted the movie poster for Paramount’s big screen adaptation of The Kite Runner.
Based on the best selling novel by Khaled Hosseini, Finding Neverland and Monster’s Ball helmer Mark Foster directs this story of a man who returns to his native Afghanistan, which is under Taliban rule, to right a long-standing wrong and rescue the son of a childhood friend. 25th Hour screenwriter David Benioff penned this adaptation. Sam Mendes was previously attached to direct. Foster recently signed on to direct the next James Bond film (Bond 22).
The movie is set to hit theaters on November 2nd, and will certainly be vying for an Oscar. Click on the poster to the right to enlarge.
A recent article in the Telegraph (UK) states that Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner is directing the upcoming Wolverine spin-off movie starring Hugh Jackman. Was this a mess-up by a reputable newspaper or credible information that accidently slipped into the article? I’m guessing it’s just an error since Ratner is supposedly directing a heist comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock for Universal possibly later this year. The director is also attached to the film adaptation The Boys from Brazil for New Line, which is expected in 2009.
The movie, based on the popular Marvel X-Men character, has been in development for the last three years. 25th Hour scribe David Benioff penned a script which was complete late last year. If Jackman had his way, the project would already be in post production.
Let’s hope that Ratner is not involved in this one.