Descendants

When you’re the offspring of popular Disney villains like Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen or Jafar, do you follow in your parent’s footsteps or learn from their mistakes? That’s the question at the center of Descendants, a new live-action Disney Channel film. It’ll be directed by Kenny Ortega, who helmed the High School Musical trilogy for the company.

Casting is underway from a script by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott. They’re aiming at a 2015 premiere on Disney Channel. Read more below. Read More »

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Briefly: A remake of the 1987 hit Dirty Dancing has been on the books at Lionsgate since 2009. Two years later, Kenny Ortega was brought on as a director, a screenwriter was hired and finally it was scheduled for a July 2013 release. Turns out casting roles as iconic as Patrick Swayze’s and Jennifer Grey’s isn’t as easy as expected, though, and now Deadline reports Lionsgate has pulled the film off their release schedule. If it’s still to come out, it won’t be until 2014 at the earliest.

Briefly: We still don’t know who’ll be stepping into Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s shoes for Kenny Ortega‘s Dirty Dancing remake, but we know exactly when they try to dance into your hearts. According to Variety, Lionsgate has announced a release date of July 26, 2013 for the updated version of the 1987 romance classic. That pits Dirty Dancing against Disney’s TV-to-film project Phineas and Ferb, which is slated to open on the same day.

The new Dirty Dancing will be a modernized take with a soundtrack featuring ’60s classics and brand-new tunes, as well as songs from the original. (Can’t have Dirty Dancing without “Time of My Life,” can we?) As with any remake, some fans of the original are no doubt already primed to hate this new take, but it’s actually in pretty good hands — Ortega was the choreographer behind the 1987 version. Other works on his resume include the Michael Jackson documentary This Is It, the super-successful High School Musical franchise, Hocus Pocus, and Newsies.

Robert Zemeckis is collecting quite a cast for Flight, his return to live-action filmmaking. Oscar winner Melissa Leo and Rubicon star James Badge Dale are the latest additions to the project, which stars Denzel Washington as an alcoholic, drug-addicted pilot who becomes a public hero when he rescues a troubled flight. However, his own issues may have contributed to the flight’s problems to begin with. Bruce Greenwood and John Goodman are also set to appear, while Don Cheadle, Brian Geraghty and Kelly Reilly are in negotiations to board the project as well.

Leo would play the role of an investigator who believes the pilot is guilty of negligence, and wants to expose the truth about him. Dale is negotiating to play a dying cancer patient. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, Kylie Minogue makes a movie with Juliette Binoche and Footloose remake star Kenny Wormald may be up for another ’80s classic.

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Writer Hired for ‘Dirty Dancing’ Remake

That remake of Dirty Dancing that many have already enthusiastically begun to doubt now has a screenwriter: Maria Maggenti, writer of this summer’s Monte Carlo, will pen the screenplay. When we first heard that Lionsgate wanted to remake the film we heard that Julia Dahl (Uptown Girls writer, West Wing writer/story editor) would write the script. When Kenny Ortega (This Is It, also the original choreographer for the original Dirty Dancing) was hired to direct, suddenly there was no screenwriter attached. Read More »

Kenny Ortega to Direct ‘Dirty Dancing’ Remake

Briefly: Choreographer-turned-director Kenny Ortega directed the first two High School Musical films, the Michael Jackson performance film This Is It, and was set to direct the remake of Footloose before dropping out and leaving room for Craig Brewer to take that project. But Kenny Ortega is now set to remake another well-liked ’80s dance film. Lionsgate has just hired him to direct a new version of Dirty Dancing. And if anyone is a good choice to remake this particular movie, it is Ortega, as he choreographed the now-famous moves (referenced recently in Crazy, Stupid, Love.) in the original 1987 version.

Deadline says that this remake is a “high priority” for Lionsgate. Back in 2009 when the intent to remake the film was announced, Julia Dahl (Uptown Girls writer, West Wing writer/story editor) was penning the new script. IMDBPro still lists her as the screenwriter. Expect to hear casting on this pretty soon; would-be Jennifer Greys and Patrick Swayzes should start polishing their moves now.

Joel Schumacher Directing ‘The Hive’

It’s been a rough few years for Joel Schumacher — rougher than most for the director who is often lambasted for his Batman films, regardless of the fact that he’s made a couple of solid pictures since then. He bombed with the Jim Carrey film The Number 23 in 2007, then saw Blood Creek dumped in dollar theaters, and Twelve was critically savaged as one of the worst films of 2010.

Now he’s in post-production on the potentially more satisfying Trespass, which stars Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Cam Gigandet and Ben Mendelsohn. And he’s now set to direct a new thriller called The Hive. Read More »

Oliver Stone‘s adaptation of the novel Savages, in which two pot-dealing friends are roped into working for the drug cartel that kidnaps their young female companion, is becoming a hot property. The combination of a young cast, a long-established major director and lively material tends to do that. Multiple studios were in contention for distribution rights, and Universal has taken the brass ring.

Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch are the leads; Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek are looking like the two key cartel characters, and multiple actresses are reading for the role of the female friend. Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish & Teresa Palmer are all said to be possible names, though Deadline also says Oliver Stone might go with a ‘discovery.’ Oliver Stone, Shane Salerno and novel author Don Winslow are working on the script now.

After the break,  a total change of gears: a Universal film based on the musical In the Heights is no longer happening, for the moment. Read More »

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