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With the recent fixation on making big budget action-oriented versions of classic stories and characters like Sherlock Holmes, the Three Musketeers and Don Quixote, it should come as no surprise that one more classic has fallen into the studio mill.

Paramount has bought a pitch by Willie Block and Jake Emanuel that jumps off from the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. See, the great thing about these adaptations is that nobody reads anymore, but they do recognize classic titles like this one. So it’s an easy goldmine. What will the potential film entail? If you’ve seen one of the Pirates films, or Sherlock Holmes, you should already be able to predict it. Read More »

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Movie Trailer: Red

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I would never have guessed that the director of Flightplan and The Time Traveler’s Wife might turn out the most entertaining-looking under the radar comic book adaptation of this summer. But I grinned all the way through the trailer for Robert Schwentke‘s Red, which adapts Warren Ellis‘ graphic novel about a group of retired CIA agents. Check it out after the break. Read More »

Transformers

Anthony Breznican has a new article on Transformers 3 titled “Next ‘Transformers’ is due for a switch” which mostly consists of director Michael Bay and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura explaining what went wrong with the previous installment, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (blamed mostly on the rushed schedule and writers strike). There are a few interesting bits about the newest film to be found in the article, here is a sample:

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On Easter Sunday, I landed in New Orleans to sweat and drop by the set of RED, yet another comic book adaptation, but one packing the following A-list cast:

Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren (as a tea-sipping sniper with a 50-cal machine gun), Mary-Louise Parker, Star Trek’s Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon, and Ernest Borgnine

And I would be remiss not to list the movie’s possible scene hog: a stuffed toy pig with wild eyes toted around by Malkovich’s character…a paranoiac-genius. Shocked? The movie, due in October, is loosely based on a very lean 2003 WildStorm comic book series by Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hammer, whom we spoke with on set. Willis stars as a retired assassin named Frank Moses, a hermetic, once-valuable man now wanted dead by pesky/shady forces. Naturally, Moses seeks defense and camaraderie from a badass crew of vets (Malkovich, Mirren, and Freeman). The film, described as “hard PG-13,” is directed by Robert Schwentke, best known for the Fincher-aping Flightplan.

RED is an acronym for Retired Extremely Dangerous, and the ensemble aspect means the end product should comfortably fit into the current action zeitgeist of grizzled, last hurrah actioners (The Expendables) and specialized, quick-quip posses (The A-Team). However, on set producers compared the tone not to other genre properties but to Ocean’s Eleven with a splash of True Lies. Ellis and Hammer have both publicly endorsed the decision to forgo their comic book’s bloody, quasi-polemic seriousness in addition to much of the storyline (wherein Moses was a lone wolf). After the jump are thoughts from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Constantine), and my own observations (excluding a strip club excursion later that night with various web editors). Look for interviews with several cast members, including an expletive-liberated Willis in top form, closer to release.

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Summit Entertainment and Transformers/GI Joe producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura are in talks to acquire the feature film rights to Andrew Klavan‘s young-adult book series Homelanders.

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Pet Sematary

1408 screenwriter Matthew Greenberg has been hired to pen a remake of another Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary. Transformers/G.I. Joe/1408 producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is attached, and the project is set up at Paramount Pictures. Aside from the previous King adaptation, Greenberg’s screenwriting credits include a bunch of subpar genre efforts: Reign of Fire, Halloween H20 and The Prophecy II. No director has been attached.

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Doc Holliday

Paramount Pictures has acquired Chad St. John‘s action adventure spec screenplay The Further Adventures of Doc Holliday. St. Johnis one of the hottest screenwriters in Hollywood at the moment. He had not one, but two screenplays on the 2009 Black List, a listing of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood – Motor City about “A small time hood is framed and sent to prison, only to exact revenge years later” and The Days Before about “A man who possesses a time travel device uses it to go back in time to prevent an alien invasion.” St. John has also developing screenplays for the film adaptation of the Ronin and Sgt. Rock comic books.

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The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra/Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has signed a deal to produce a big screen adaptation of Michael Scott’s six-part fantasy book series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. di Bonaventura tells Variety that “Michael’s fantastic series is a natural evolution from Harry Potter,” but will it come close to the popularity of the teen wizard series?

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