Paramount Pictures and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura have acquired the rights to the popular Image Comics series Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh My! Unicorn scribe Joey Aucoin is writing the film based on his pitch. Created by Mike Bullock, the story, which began as a four issue min-series, follows a young boy named Joey Price who discovers that his stuffed animals come to life during the middle of the night to protect him from a group of closet monsters called The “Beasties”. Sounds a little bit like a cross between toy story and Monsters, Inc. The official plot synopsis follows:
“A child’s instinctual need for the comfort of a stuffed animal is rooted in a reality long forgotten by the adult world. The hidden truth is that these companions have been defending children since the dawn of time. Follow young Joey on the adventure of a lifetime as he travels through the Stuffed Animal Kingdom, a journey that puts the fate of all the world’s children in his hands and brings him face to face with his destiny.”
For those interested, you can buy the first collected volume, titled “Fear and Pride,” from Amazon for around $11.
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Columbia Pictures has released the first two photos of Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt in Phillip Noyce‘s thriller Salt. The film tells the story of a CIA officer who is outed as a Russian sleeper spy, and must evade capture by those who are convinced she’s aiming to assassinate the president. The photos aren’t much to look at, just Jolie wearing different color wigs — definitely nothing we haven’t seen before.
Described as Alias meets James Bond / Jason Bourne, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says the film is “a reality-based spy movie with action set pieces as thrilling as the most crowd-pleasing movies of this genre.” But while the Jason Bourne series asks the question “Who Am I?,” Bonaventura says “the question of Salt is, ‘We know everything about her, but do we?’ [Her pursuers] have a ton of information to act on, but that’s where they begin to question what is real and what isn’t.” He continues:
“People who think they know the real her may or may not. Those who think they can tell whether she’s in a disguise also may or may not. You’re supposed to be kept guessing. She tells you her agenda, but are you supposed to believe it?”
You can read the whole article on USAToday.com.
The new issue of Toyfair has an interview with Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who reveals a bunch of new info bits from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Anything from the specs of Devastator to the origins of The Fallen (possible spoiler). You’ve been warned, continue after the jump.
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Shia LaBeouf has signed on to star in Paramount’s big screen adaptation of John Grisham‘s legal thriller The Associate. Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, GI Joe) is producing. So what’s it about? Here is the official plot description:
“It’s a deadly game of blackmail. And they’re making him play. Kyle McAvoy is one of the outstanding legal students of his generation: he’s good looking, has a brilliant mind and a glittering future ahead of him. But he has a secret from his past, a secret that threatens to destroy his fledgling career and, possibly, his entire life.
One night that secret catches up with him in the form of some bad men in a dark alley — they have a deeply compromising video of the incident that haunts him. The men make it clear to Kyle that he no longer owns his own future — that he must do as they tell him, or the video will be made public knowledge, with all the unpleasant consequences. What price do they demand for Kyle’s secret? Strangely, it is for Kyle to do exactly what any ambitious young lawyer would want to do: take a job in New York as an associate at the largest law firm in the world, a job that is incredibly well paid and, with mammoth hours and outrageous billing, could lead to partnership and a fortune.
But Kyle won’t be working for the company, but against it — passing on the secrets of the company’s biggest trial to date, a dispute between two defense contractors worth billions of dollars to the victor. Now Kyle is caught between the criminal forces manipulating him and the FBI, who would love to unmask the conspiracy. Will his intellect, cunning and bravery be enough to extricate him from an impossible dilemma? Full of twists and turns and reminiscent of The Firm, The Associate is vintage John Grisham.”
Previous Grisham novels to be adapted to the big screen include: The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury and Skipping Christmas (Christmas with the Kranks). The Associate sound like typical Grisham, complete with the normal Grisham title. Strangely, the international cover of the book (seen below in blue) actually looks like a scene from LaBeouf’s Eagle Eye.
The book is set to be released on January 27th 2009, and the 384-page hardcover is available for preorder on Amazon for $18.45.
Comic Book writer Warren Ellis is finally headed to the big screen. Summit Entertainment (Twilight) announced this morning, a big screen adaptation of Ellis’ Red, about a former black-ops CIA agent who is forced out of retirement when a high-tech assassin shows up to kill him. The comic, first published as a three-issue mini-series by WildStorm (a division of DC Comics) in 2003, is being adapted for the screen by brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber, who also wrote the adaptations of Whiteout and Alice. According to THR, the film will focus on the idea of an older operative set who is set in his ways having to contend with younger and more fit agents as well as modern techniques and technology. The project is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (GI Joe, Transformers).
Last week it was revealed that Warner Bros is developing a big screen adaptation of Ellis’ Ocean. When thousands of coffins containing a sleeping alien race and a giant weapon of mass destruction are discovered beneath the ice on one of Jupiter’s moons, a sinister representative of a powerful conglomerate seeks to exploit the discovery for their own purposes. Newcomer Ryan Condal has been hired to pen the screenplay based on Ellis’ original six issue comic book series.
“Peace sign or eye gouge?”
Before we begin, there is something you must know about Brett Ratner. Similar to the combination of gremlins and water, when the moon is right and Ratner applies baby powder to his ass, out pop multiple epic-ly shitty movies. Tonight, it was thick. The trades are reporting that Ratner is attached to direct a Beverly Hills Cop 4 starring Eddie Murphy as
Mr. Squirrel Axl Foley, the smooth talking, wisecracking character last seen with a gun near a Ferris wheel. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced the first two, isn’t getting on board, but Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Doom) has taken the ticket to see this ride, opening summer 2010, through for Paramount. Something tells me the only thing separating Ratner’s BHC4 from Metro 2 will be a lack of cornrows and, perhaps, Judge Reinhold.
This announcement sumo wrestles with an earlier report in Ad Age about Brett Ratner Brands, a new marketing/consulting firm he’s starting. [Shudder] His first client is Guitar Hero, and tacked on at the end, it says that Ratner mentioned he “might be working on a movie adaptation of the video game God of War” for Sony. I’m sure some of our readers are pissed. The hit vid game adventure franchise has received wide critical/fanboy acclaim for an engrossing and violent storyline/aesthetic entrenched in Greek mythology; it’s generally agreed that GoW has cinematic and box office potential along the lines of Metal Gear Solid. Inside word is that Ratner’s involvement is extremely loose right now, so don’t obsess over the premature mediocre visions that melt inside your head. However, Ratner will definitely be moving into Uwe Boll’s territory in the future. Death match of the lessers!?!
Earlier we reported that Robert Downey Jr. may star as American publishing legend, Hugh Hefner, in a biopic entitled Playboy. Ratner’s been involved with this one for quite some time, and while it’s not official that he’ll direct, it’s generally assumed he will if Downey signs on. Ratner confirms to EW that he’s met with the Iron Man star, they’re both enthusiastic about the project, and it all depends on his response to the script…
“We’re gonna hand him the script very shortly. He loves the character and the role and we’ve been meeting with him on it. So, if he wants to do it, we’re excited to have him. We wanted him before Iron Man so we were ahead of the curve.”
Personally, I think Ratner was born to direct the Hef biopic. Glitzy Hollywood stories and semi-annual Chris Tucker comedies suit him perfectly. Okay, you can put away your ponchos. That’s all the Ratner news we’ll expose you to for now.
Discuss: While we’re at it, why doesn’t Ratner just combine BHC4 and Rush Hour 4? Who’s the audience for Beverly Hills Cop 4 in 2010 anyway? Who should direct God of War? Are we too easy on the guy?
Additional Sources: Cinematical/Film Junk
Last month it was reported that Australian hottie Teresa Palmer had been cast in Michael Bay’s Transformers 2. Bay denies the casting on his personal blog, claiming that “Teresa Palmer was not considered for a role.”
To complicate things further, IGN is now reporting that another Aussie actress Isabel Lucas (pictured right), has been cast in the role of Alice in the sequel. Lucas is a newbie, and will be seen in the upcoming vampire flick Daybreakers, and the HBO miniseries The Pacific. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura promises that the big casting announcements will be made over the next several weeks.
“Ultimately, we’ll have a couple casting surprises for everybody soon,” the producer told MTV. “Michael’s got some really great stuff planned.”
Last year Michael Bay told reporters that he has “an amazing idea” for a transforming aircraft carrier but it was “just too expensive” for the first film, but teased that it might be featured in one of he sequels. When asked if Broadside would make an appearance in the sequel, di Bonaventura said:
“We never really talked about that, practically speaking,” he said. “There was some Japanese animated movie we saw where that occurred, and we were like ‘Wow! Look at that thing!’”
Transformers 2 is scheduled to begin shooting in early June, if the actors don’t go on strike. Bay lashed out against the strike yesterday:
“Oh my god. SAG wants more than Directors and Writers? That’s a smart tactic I guess. When are people going to understand, most importantly actors – we are at war – we are facing a major recession – our country is in dire need of being fixed – our country also has no money because we have given trillions to the Iraq war and we have NOT even started to pay for it – it is just paid right now by printing more money on presses – China owns our ass in every way. Why not strike on a business in a down fall. Just like the writer’s they made pennies on the four extra months striking – when you do the real math and they are paying the price for it still – so many writer’s out of work still!!! I want this business to thrive – I know the studio heads and they will punish those that defy them. Okay, be an idealist – but you will never get a better deal then the writer’s or directors – only the same – the studio’s will never allow it, don’t kid yourself. The working actors don’t want a strike – they have said so. Too many non working actors have a say which is crazy – maybe there are just too many actors?? Gosh I’m even a member of SAG, but I don’t feel I’ve earned the right to vote in this guild. One hunch, the leaders of these guilds seem to like the limelight they get in the press, it becomes more about the ego in the room rather than something smart. Striking is not smart. Through the history in America, strikes in businesses have only gained the union worker 6% at the max – so take the emotion out of it and go for the 6%. A path to strike is not smart for the the hundreds of thousands of people in this business. Sanity needs to prevail here – talk real and talk the same talk as your union brothers – not more!”
Let’s hope this strike doesn’t happen.
Collider has an extensive interview with G.I. Joe producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. I’ve included a few of the newsworthy tidbits below:
- The film will be rated PG-13 and will feature bloodless violence.
- Defending the choice of director Stephen Sommers: “He’s just… his enthusiasm, his excitement, his sense of adventure, his embracing of the mythology, his understanding of the characters.”
- The movie will feature “2 or 3 really big” set pieces :and a couple of sort of medium/small ones.”
- Each character has more than one outfit, aside from Snake Eyes.
- On the tone of the film: “I guess it’s definitely a comic book movie and it’s definitely has a great sense of humor, so there’s a lot of humor and a lot of drama and a lot of action. “
- Production moves to Prague on May 8th. Prague will serve as 2 or 3 locations from around the world.
- On The Pit: “I think everybody’s going to be really happy that we took The Pit very seriously and built it to fulfill anybody’s sense of fantasy of what it could be.”
You can read the full two-page interview on Collider.com.
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