The Little Mermaid

Like Cinderella, Snow White, and her other fairy tale sistren before her, the Little Mermaid is getting her very own cinematic live-action adaptation. And happily for the iconic fish-woman, she’s got some seriously promising talent backing her up.

Kelly Marcel has just been tapped to rewrite The Little Mermaid for director Joe Wright. Though the most famous incarnation of the tale is likely the 1989 animation, pictured above, Wright and Marcel won’t be telling Disney’s version of the tale. Instead, it’ll draw from the Little Angel Theatre’s stage production, based on Hans Christian Anderson‘s classic story. Hit the jump for more details.

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Fifty Shades of Grey

For months now Universal’s division Focus Features has been developing a film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the runaway bestseller that began as Twilight fan fiction and grew into a sensation that turned every supermarket into a purveyor of bondage fantasies. The story follows the kinky romantic and sexual relationship between 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and naive college student Anastasia Steele.

Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have been overseeing the creation of a script, written by Kelly Marcell, and trying to figure out who can direct the film. If faithful to the novel, the movie will have to be a hard-R drama with far more sexual overtones than we usually get in a studio film. Actually, to hell with overtones — this thing is just sex. Strip out the sex, and there’s barely a book. Not your typical studio fare, but that’s the lure of dollar signs for you. (And, keep in mind, Focus is among the few major players that can claim to have released an NC-17 film.)

Now the report is that Joe Wright, who has traded in both literary adaptations (Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina) and modern fantasy (Hanna) is the guy the producers want for the film.

Update: Wright won’t make the film. Details below.

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Joe Wright certainly has a thing for literary adaptations, as evidenced by his films Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and Anna Karenina. Now he’s looking to direct yet another book-inspired movie, but this one moves him back to the present day and into a whole other genre. Wright has just been attached to direct Focus Features’ The Ocean at the End of the Lane, based on an upcoming novel by Neil Gaiman

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I think I like Joe Wright more when he’s working in a tweaked genre mode. Wright’s literary films (such as Atonement and Pride & Prejudice) are great, but it’s Hanna that really stuck with me. And with his version of Anna Karenina finished, he might be edging back towards the unusual with The Secret Life of Houdini, a biopic of the famous escape artist and anti-Spiritualist that tackles some of the more outrageous stories about Houdini’s life. Wright is reportedly in early talks to make the film that once had Gary Ross attached. Read More »

If last month’s first trailer for Anna Karenina gave us an intriguing taste of the sumptuous theatricality of Joe Wright‘s adaptation, this new six-minute clip offers a big, juicy bite. As Wright explains in the introductory voiceover, nearly the entire film was filmed on over a hundred sets, nearly all constructed inside a single dilapidated theater. And he takes full advantage of the setting, turning what could’ve been a staid period drama into something rich, ambitious, and altogether unique.

Historical romance queen Keira Knightley stars as the title character, a 19th century Russian aristocrat who enters into a passionate and destructive affair with the charismatic Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Watch the clip after the jump.

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Joe Wright moved from the stately but intense period piece Atonement to the violent modern fairy tale Hanna without missing a step, and now he has danced back to period form with an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic romance Anna Karenina. ‘Danced’ is exactly the word to use, as Wright shot most of the film on a single soundstage, and there is a very theatrical look to the sumptuous footage. If you hear a distant vibration, that’s Baz Luhrmann quaking with envy, and awards-season fear.

Tom Stoppard (Brazil, Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) scripted, and the film stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, and Kelly Macdonald, with Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams and Ruth Wilson.

Check out the footage below.

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It’s not often you’ll see Piranha 3DD and Anna Karenina mentioned in the same breath, but every film needs a release date, no matter how trashy or elegant. After the jump, check out new release dates for those two movies, plus Henry Cavill‘s The Cold Light of Day, Robert Pattinson‘s Bel Ami, and the comedy Lola Versus.

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After taking a break to make the kick-ass action flick Hanna, Joe Wright is back to his classically literary tricks. The director of Pride and Prejudice and Atonement will return to costumed drama for his next film, a star-studded adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel Anna Karenina. Already cast are Keira Knightley as the title character, Jude Law as her older husband and Aaron Johnson as her younger love. Wright is rounding out his ensemble with a solid list of names such as Saoirse Ronan, Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson and Andrea Riseborough. Read who each will be playing after the break. Read More »

Cool Stuff: Unused ‘Hanna’ Concept Posters

As much fun as it is to take a gander at the new movie posters being released every week, it’s often the case that a film’s best marketing material never makes it past the design stage, as studios tend to opt for simpler, more star-oriented imagery that’s more likely to generate interest in mass audiences. Case in point: These poster concepts for Hanna, which put to the shame the actual posters used to advertise the film. (Do we really need to see the sniper scope motif make its way into every ‘chase thriller’ movie poster?) Read More »