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.
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 »
Briefly: Last week there was a collective ‘huh?’ (and probably some genuine interest) when word filtered out that High School Musical director Kenny Ortega might direct a feature film based on Michael Jackson‘s song ‘Thriller.’ But the director, who was Michael Jackson’s long-time choreographer and frequent creative partner, has been in touch with EW to say, hey, hold up a second.
“It got put out there before I’ve even really had a chance to think about it too much,” Mr. Ortega said at the end of last week. He elaborated:
It is still in very, very early stages of development. The [Michael Jackson] estate would have to sign off on it. I have been a part of some early creative meetings and if all goes well, I think it could happen in the next couple of years.
And, with respect to the idea of trampling the very good legacy of the existing ‘Thriller’ video, directed by John Landis, he explained, “I would never do anything to ruin his memory or one of his creations. But like I said, it is so early, so who knows what will materialize?”
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Did you know that there is a plan afoot to make a new feature film based on ‘Thriller,’ by Michael Jackson? Neither did we, but a rights package is being fought over that would allow a studio to further exploit the posthumous popularity of Michael Jackson and his music. The result might be a new Thriller directed by…the guy who made High School Musical? John Landis has got to be rather irritated right now. Read More »
Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?
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Early this week, This Is It director Kenny Ortega bailed on Paramount’s remake of Footloose. Seems like a great idea, even if the Michael Jackson movie doesn’t become the Dark Knight-sized hit that some have predicted. And yeah, Footloose? A remake? Who needs it? Well, Paramount still seems to, and their shortlist of directors is evidently topped by an unlikely name: Craig Brewer. Read More »