Is Neil Marshall Going to Replace Peter Berg on Dune?

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A new and curious rumour suggests that Peter Berg is no longer attached to the next big screen adaptation of Dune and the studio are shopping around for a new director. Normally, when rumours like this have something to them it’s been after a fair bit of radio silence but it hasn’t exactly been all quiet on the Atreides front, with Peter Berg discussing progress on the picture only a couple of months ago. Okay – it’s possibly more accurate to say he was discussing a lack of progress.

If this rumour is true, however, there’s a little more to it. As well as informing us that Berg and his Film 44 company have made a break for the door, the story goes that some frontrunning candidates for the canvas chair have already come in to focus: Neill Blomkamp and Neil Marshall. Bafflingly, it’s Marshall who is said to be the frontrunner.

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Nimrod Antal to Direct Predators?

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There’s a new rumor about the Robert Rodriguez-produced Predators, according to Latino Review: supposedly Nimrod Antal is at the top of the list to direct the film. Which would actually be great news, if true. What, you don’t recognize the name? Read more after the jump. Read More »

Neil Marshall In Talks To Direct Predators?

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Update: As expected AICN has contacted Robert Rodrigez for comment on this rumor, and according to Harry, “Neil Marshall is one of about 7 names that Robert is looking at and meeting with right now.” So it is not a done deal just yet.

Neil Marshall is close to signing on the dotted line to direct Predators for 20th Century Fox, according to Bloody Disgusting, who obviously have sources close to this production.

Marshall broke onto the scene with Dog Soldiers, but the horror film The Descent gained him more mainstream attention a couple years back. His follow-up last year, Doomsday, was a critical and financial disaster, but his new movie Centurion seems a bit more focused. Still, I’m not sure about the choice. I’m sure we’ll get a confirmation or denial real soon from AICN, as they have a direct line to Robert Rodriguez, who is producing the film at Troublemaker Studios.

Written by Alex Litvak, and based loosely on a treatment from years past penned by Rodrigeuz, the reboot is expected to expand on the universe of “both the Predators and other species live in.” Rodriguez has also said that he wants to “feel free to walk to the Predators soundstage, pick up a camera and co-shoot the coolest scenes,” but I really wonder if a filmmaker like Marshall would be comfortable with that kind of producer collaboration.

Discuss: Who do you want to see direct Predators? Is Marshall a good choice?

Who Will Direct Conan?

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After Brett Ratner dropped out of directing Conan due to “scheduling conflicts,” V For Vendetta director James McTeigue was tipped to be the top choice to helm the project. CHUD is now reporting that while Nu-Image/Millenium want McTeigue, Lionsgate is interested in three different choices:

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New Photos: Neil Marshall’s Centurion

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Check out a new production photo (above) from Neil Marshall‘s epic action film Centurion. Also, the recent issue of Total Film Magazine (#154) features an article with more production photos. See a preview after the jump.

Set in 117 AD, the film tells the story of a group of Roman soldiers who must fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack.  The film just wrapped production.

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centurion behind the scenes

Our friends at Rotten Tomatoes went to the set of Neil Marshall‘s epic action film Centurion and have posted a short behind the scenes video which intercuts filming with on set interviews.

I’d recommend that anyone who wants to know more about the movie just watch the video because it explains everything in a minute and a half. Set in 117 AD, the film tells the story of a group of Roman soldiers who must fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack. For those who might not remember, Neil Marshall broke onto the scene with Dog Soldiers, but the horror film The Descent gained him more mainstream attention. His follow-up last year, Doomsday, was critically and publicly slammed. Centurion, from all indications thus far, seems like it is a lot more focused. Watch the video embedded after the jump.

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On Thursday, we played pinata with the rumor that Brett Ratner was in talks to helm the $100 million R-rated Conan reboot. Well, Latino Review put the gossip in focus, reporting that Ratner merely took a meeting with Nu Image, and evidently so have a lot of other directors. We think a few of them would be ace for the job.

Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank, Crank 2, Crank 3/3D, Game, Jonah Hex)

At Slashfilm: In Crank We Trust (a lot). With their debut feature, the duo hit the ground running with so much batty confidence and aggression that we’ll support any genre fare they wish to assault with a bullet-time rig or a gazillion consumer-grade cameras and a mulleted Corey Haim. Moral: If someone throws a ridiculous house party, from then on you just need an invite. Imagining what these guys would do for barbaric decapitations, naked women nestled in animal furs, and a botched crucifixion with vultures (if applicable in the reboot) makes us want to sell your sister to James Earl Jones to make it happen. And their down-to-earth relationship with movie sites would quickly dust off the skepticism amongst readers who didn’t grow up with Milius’s version. But aren’t they insanely busy?

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later, Intacto)

If LR is on the money with this list of prospects, it seems that Nu Image wants to invest in a director(s) with turbo-powered visuals and style to spare. Fresnadillo is apparently scheduled to meet with producers, and he’s a guy we’d recommend for several projects of Conan‘s magnitude…if we didn’t keep forgetting about the dude! In the summer of 2007, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later was supposed to put the Spanish hotshot on the fanboy map; alas it fell well below Fox Atomic’s box office expectations. That said, along with the 10 people at my screening and the New York Times, I was knocked-over by how well he handled action, tension, gore, clever subtext, and a modern flare too often attributed to coked-out music video directors. I was possibly even more knocked-over by future runs-ins with 28WL haters and meh’ers. Fresnadillo is likely seen as untested for the dinero at play here, but the talent is obvious. With a solid cast, he’s a fantastic gamble. Take advantage.

Other directors who’ve sat down with Nu Image include the long rumoured Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday), James McTeigue (V For Vendetta, Ninja Assassin, Wachowski Bros’ protege), Greg and Colin Strause (AVP-R, fuck this), and Robert Rodriguez, who’s been attached to a reboot for years, and is said to remain choice numero uno, but he can’t work it in. Oh yeah, and Brett Ratner (Chris Tucker’s career, swimming pools). So, the list is pretty encouraging, with a few welcome surprises. More as it develops.

Discuss: Out of the directors here, who would you choose? Why do you think the level of interest in a Conan reboot isn’t incredibly strong?

Neil Marshall to Direct Hugh Jackman in Drive

His recent, loud homage to Mad Max and killer viruses, Doomsday, was mostly ignored and deflated quickly at the box office, but genre director Neil Marshall is still going strong. He’s now attached to his second project of the month, an L.A.-set action mystery vehicle for Hugh Jackman at Universal entitled Drive that looks to be his next film. An adaptation of author James Sallis‘s neo-noir of the same name, Jackman will star as a Hollywood stunt driver who enjoys a double-life as a getaway man for robberies. In the book, one of the heists backfires and Jackman’s character earns a bounty on his life.

“This is something I haven’t done before, and I’ve wanted to bring a British sensibility to an L.A. shoot and a scorched classic film noir concept,” Marshall told Variety. “Hoss is a fantastic writer, and he’s written three amazing car chases in the film. He’s turned them into dramatic scenes as opposed to the usual crash, bang, wallop. I would like to be shooting it this summer.”

Last week it was announced that Marshall will also direct Sacrilege, a Western horror flick that he ambitiously described as “Unforgiven by way of H.P. Lovecraft,” with a dash of The Thing. Drive was adapted by Hossein Amini, who wrote The Golden Compass sequel The Subtle Knife as well as the long-delayed Elmore Leonard crime adaptation Killshot (um, IMDB says it’s due April ’08).

I’m curious what Marshall means by bringing a “British sensibility” to L.A. for Drive. His currently has one of the more active mid-level fanboy-centric careers in the industry right now, and it will be interesting to see if he continues to build on the promise seen with The Descent or if he goes the way of a Simon West.

Discuss: Drive or Sacrilege, which sounds cooler? If you skipped it, why did you miss Doomsday? What didn’t grab you about it? If you saw it, worth the ticket?

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