Sam Rockwell in Early Talks for ‘Poltergeist’

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Briefly: You can complain about the idea of a remake of Poltergeist, but there’s not much bad to say about the cast for the movie so far. Rosemarie DeWitt was the first cast, and now Sam Rockwell is in talks for a role in the remake, says The Wrap. Rockwell is choosing between this and other films, but the site says he’s the top choice on MGM and producer Sam Raimi’s list, and that Rockwell likes the idea of working with Raimi.

Gil Kenan (Monster House) is directing from a script by David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz: The Great and Powerful). The Wrap says Rockwell would be the husband in the Bowen household, with DeWitt playing his wife. Their daughter Madison is “abducted by supernatural forces that trap her in the netherworld between life and death.” Based on this report, the story  features the Bowens standing in for the Freelings of the original film, but we still don’t know how closely this film will resemble the Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg original.

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Rosemarie DeWitt in The Company Men

Briefly: The new version of Poltergeist, to be directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House) has found its first victim, er, resident. Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men, United States of Tara) will take the lead female role. David Lindsay-Abaire scripted, and we’ve heard the film might be a semi-remake/semi-sequel, vaguely in the vein of the recent Evil Dead re-do. The specific story details are unconfirmed, and I’ll let you explore them here to prevent spoilers.

When MGM officially announced the new version, a press release offered this story description: “In a revisionist take on the classic horror film, a family struggling to make ends meet relocates to an outdated suburban home and is confronted by an angry spirit who kidnaps their youngest daughter and challenges them to band together to rescue her from the clutches of evil.” [Deadline]

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The long-in-development remake of Poltergeist is officially moving forward. MGM and Fox 2000 will co-finance and distribute film, billed as a “revisionist take on the classic horror film.” Gil Kenan (Monster House) is directing from a script by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz The Great and Powerful). Sam Raimi is among the producers and production starts this Fall.  Read More »

Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi‘s first Disney film, is oddly two-faced. Here we have a director who made his name with low budget horror, who became a household name when he infused the superhero genre with his do-it-yourself, energetic visual style. And then there’s Oz, a massive film that gives Raimi the most toys he’s ever had to play with, but also the commitment to make a movie that’s fun for all ages. The result is a Sam Raimi movie wrapped up tightly in a Disney package. And the Raimi elements are willing themselves out.

There’s not a frame of Oz The Great and Powerful that doesn’t bear Raimi’s mark. The production design, the camera moves, the pulpy performances, everything screams his name. I mean, the movie is basically Army of Darkness, right? (Normal guy lands in magical land, is forced to go on quest to save that land.) But just when you see that kinetic, signature style starting to unleash, the story forces the film back into its Disney shell to play to the masses. We’re left with a film that’s entertaining, a little scarier than you’d expect, but extremely inconsistent. Read More »

In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.

And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.

After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.

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Remakes live, die and get defended in this edition of Remake Bits. After the jump, read about the following:

  • David Lindsay-Abaire gives an update of the Poltergiest remake.
  • Sharlto Copley eases fan misconceptions about Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy.
  • Chris Tucker is in talks for the remake of the French smash The Intouchables.
  • Larry Clarke said a remake of Mona Lisa is dead.
  • Paul Verhoeven believes the failure of the Total Recall remake could have killed a Starship Troopers remake.

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Rise of the Guardians is an animated, family-themed version of The Avengers. In both films, a team of superhuman beings join forces to defeat an evil threat (one with a dashing British accent) before it can destroy the world. But rather than featuring superhero characters only some audiences are familiar with, in Guardians the team is made up of mythical beings such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman.

Directed by Peter Ramsey, written by David Lindsay-Abaire and co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, Rise of the Guardians is full of wonder and excitement.  The myths of these characters build off our preconceptions to create an imaginative world that’s both gorgeous to look at and teeming with possibilities. If anything, the film’s biggest downfall is that it is so dead-set on creating audience excitement through elaborate action set pieces that it ends up losing a little steam and resonance. Read more after the jump. Read More »

MGM’s been trying to remake Poltergeist for years now, but the project suddenly became much more interesting last summer when David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) was tapped to pen the script. While the picture is still in the early stages, with no director or stars signed on as of yet, the writer reassured Collider that it is “definitely a priority” for the studio and that it’s continuing to move forward:

I will say that I handed in a second draft and people are incredibly excited about it. They’re not the director, but they’re in search of a director. I will also say that there are very few people who are as obsessed with the original movie as I am, so I would try to write a script that I would want to see as a fan. I will say that.

The big question with any remake is what will change, and what won’t. Despite the current popularity of hard-R horror films, Lindsay-Abaire says his version will retain the original’s more family-friendly feel. “It’s tonally similar to the first movie, and that’s sort of family-friendly-esque with some real, genuine scares in it,” he said. “It’s not Saw if that’s what you’re asking. I’m not trying to turn it into something else.”

After the jump, check out a new viral image from another horror remake, and read about HBO’s plans for an English-language version of a French drama set in a brothel.

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