Your Name Kimi No Na Wa

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: can a Hollywood remake accurately capture the essence of one of Japan’s biggest recent hits?)

The anime craze is continuing, and not even the highest grossing movie in Japan in more than a decade is immune to a Hollywood adaptation.

Your Name – a melancholic coming-of-age film that swept the Japanese box office in 2016, beating out Hollywood tentpoles like Rogue One and Captain America: Civil War – is being adapted into a live-action film by J.J. Abrams and Oscar-nominated Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer. While these names would be an impressive combination for any other film, there is the inevitable consternation that yet another beloved Japanese anime will be lost in translation.

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TV Bits Robot

In this edition of TV Bits:

  • The next season of Archer gets a new title
  • Westworld season 2 casts two more actors
  • Julia Roberts will star in a TV show based on a podcast
  • A first look at season 3 of the USA series Mr. Robot
  • The premiere date of Comedy Central’s Nathan For You
  • And more!

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Books that need movies

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to respond to a new pop culture-related question. This week’s edition asks “Which book do you most want to see adapted into a movie?” 

As always, we have submissions from the /Film writing crew and podcast team. If there’s a book you’d like to see to adapted (especially if you know who should star in it and direct it), send your thoughts to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com for a chance to be featured on the site. Find out our favorite books that need movie adaptations below!
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eric heisserer interivew

Screenwriter Eric Heisserer wrote Arrival, /Film’s favorite movie of 2016. He’s now an Oscar nominee and could very easily take home his industry’s highest honor in a few days. But when I spoke with Heisserer, less than a week before the big ceremony, we didn’t talk about that acclaimed science fiction masterpiece. After all, he’s busy building a superhero movie universe at the moment.

The average moviegoer probably isn’t familiar with Valiant Comics and their vast cast of heroes and villains, but Sony is hoping they’ll want to get acquainted. Films based on Harbinger (about a team of young heroes with incredible abilities) and Bloodshot (about a tormented soldier enhanced with tech that makes him unstoppable) are in the works and Heisserer is writing the screenplays. More than that, Heisserer has gone all in on the Valiant universe: his new Valiant comic series, Secret Weapons, debuts this summer.

So, how do you build a superhero movie universe in a crowded field? And how do you transition from writing movies to writing comic books? All of this (and some awesome new art from Secret Weapons) can be found in the interview below.

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van helsing reboot

Universal’s last Van Helsing movie didn’t do any favors for the monster hunter’s name, but the stench of that misfire is now long gone. While director Stephen Sommers made Helsing’s world largely ridiculous and low on scares, screenwriters Jon Spaihts (Passengers) and Eric Heisserer (Arrival) are interested in grounding the character. As Heisserer recently put it, he wants to make Van Helsing someone with no extraordinary powers saving the day in a story that’s “as scary as possible.”

Below, read what else the Academy Award nominated screenwriter had to say about the new Van Helsing movie.

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Science of Arrival

The ending of Arrival is of a piece with the rest of the movie: a meticulously thought-out, beautifully understated gut-puncher that brings the entire story full circle. But as revealed by its Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer, it almost had a very different finale. It turns out that in a way, we’ve got Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar to thank for the finale we got. Click through to find out how Interstellar changed the Arrival ending. Obviously, spoilers are aheadRead More »

secret weapons comic

The average moviegoer may not be familiar with Valiant Comics and its universe of characters, but the publisher is looking to change that. They may not have the name recognition of Marvel or DC, but Valiant has been on fire (in a good way!) since they relaunched in 2012. While the Big Two have seen their fair share of creative ups and downs, their smaller competitor has been releasing consistently strong superhero comics starring diverse and strange characters I’ve learned to care about. I have no nostalgia for the Valiant comics of the ’90s and was still won over by these odd, often high concept superheroes. So when they talk about wanting to create a cinematic universe for their characters, I get it. I don’t know if any normal people will, but hey, I’m certainly on board.

And they appear to be sharing their assembled talent across mediums, because Oscar-nominated Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer, who penned the upcoming Harbinger and Bloodshot films, is writing a new comic book miniseries for Valiant. Read More »

van helsing reboot

My good deed for the day is using an image of Peter Cushing instead of Hugh Jackman at the top of a news article concerning the in-the-works Van Helsing reboot. You’re welcome.

Today’s volley of Universal Monsters news comes from screenwriter Jon Spaihts, who is penning the next big screen outing of the infamous monster hunter alongside Eric Heisserer. Like next summer’s The Mummy, which Spaihts also wrote, the new Van Helsing will be set in a shared cinematic universe where the Wolf Man can brush shoulders with Dracula and the Mummy can meet Frankenstein. But until we actually see The Mummy, it’s not clear what these movies will actually feel like and whether or not they’ll be worthy successors to the original classics.

But Spaihts does say this much: don’t expect the new Van Helsing to be much like previous versions.

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van helsing movie

There’s an entire generation of moviegoers who only know the character of Van Helsing from the abysmal 2004 movie starring Hugh Jackman, and that should be a recognized as one of our great international shames. Introduced in the pages of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is one of the horror genre’s greatest heroes, a character who has endured as long as the titular vampire himself. Before he was reimagined as a globetrotting 19th century James Bond, Van Helsing was a scientist and a scholar, a professor whose greatest weapon against the supernatural was his vast knowledge of science and the occult. Although his presence in the public domain has allowed any number of actors to play him (Casper Van Dien, anyone?), Van Helsing has been memorably portrayed by brilliant actors like Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence Olivier, and Peter Cushing, who built a cornerstone of his magnificent career around hurting Christopher Lee’s Dracula.

My fondness for this character made the Hugh Jackman movie hurt even more, but it also gives me hope that the new solo outing for the character being planned as part of Universal’s new cinematic monsters universe could be good. There have been incredible cinematic Van Helsings before and there is always room for more…and screenwriter Eric Heisserer is saying some very interesting things.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

The ‘Van Helsing’ Reboot Finds New Writers

Neil LaBute making Van Helsing

Van Helsing is a bad movie. It’s about as soulless as a popcorn movie gets. Director Stephen Sommers brought some fun to the original Mummy reboot, but he stripped Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Van Helsing of their appeal in his garish film. There’s been talk of a reboot for a few years now, and it was once speculated the film would be directed by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak) and star the picture’s producer, Tom Cruise. Universal is still developing the film, and they just brought aboard two screenwriters to co-write Van Helsing.

Learn more about the project after the jump.

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