Essential Pictures is developing a potential franchise of films based on Outlander, a series of six fantasy novels by Diana Gabaldon. Not to be confused with the potentially bad ass Alien / Viking movie of the same name, which seems to have gotten the shaft from The Weinstein Co.
Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace penned the script, which has already been sent out to potential directors. The goal is to begin production in Spring 2009. The first book in the series, titled Outlander, tells the story of Claire Randall, who travels through time to the eighteenth century Scottish Highlands. Here is the official plot synopsis from the book:
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another… In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Sounds like your typical genre-rom story (ick… romantic genre… and you thought romantic comedies were bad). Unfortunately, with the rise of Twilight, there is a good chance that we’ll see more and more of these types of novels adapted for the big screen.
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UPDATE 2: TWC is getting back to us. Now they say tomorrow.
UPDATE: A reader from Outlander.solsector.net says, “There’s been no confirmation about the DVD date and nearest myself and one of the producers can tell there really isn’t a date set for the DVD much less a theatrical release. Plus, The Weinstein Company is contractually obligated to give outlander at least a limited theatrical release.” We’ll be contacting TWC tomorrow.
Recipe: Go into the closet and dust off Castle Grayskull. Place an E.T. figurine with its arms raised on one of the turrets. Pour a goblet filled with red wine all over it. Now set it on fire. Pretend it’s worth $47 million. Send a recording of this to The Weinstein Co. in New York and entitle it “Angry Outlander Fan.” Kill yourself.
It’s a sad day when a movie featuring Vikings battling a giant, monstrous alien with the help of a spaceman doesn’t see a theatrical release. Do you know what P.T. Barnum could have done with this premise? Slashfilm planned on seeing Outlander on the big screen. Sober. We liked the trailers. We were stoked on what little buzz there was, including a super passionate plea to Ye Gods over at AICN. It wasn’t a friggin’ remake or a Vin Diesel movie or AVP–R, just an ever-rare shot at original genre fare. And based partially on their dedicated work, writer-director Howard McCain and fellow screenwriter Dirk Blackman were recently hired to rewrite Lionsgate’s $100 mill Conan reboot.
If Outlander sucked, we were confident the post-screening laughs and riffage would have made it worthwhile, even more so than Death Race (pretty funny remake, that one). But the fact remains: we could say we were effing there. It would have been a lifetime bond or a primo /Filmcast. Alas, Dread Central has discovered a DVD listing on Amazon via Movies Unlimited for November 18th. Conclusion: it’s been dumped.
There’s no word from TWC on the matter, but the film’s been without a release date for eons. I really hope the studio’s justification isn’t, “Well, Viking movies don’t play” complete with a box office scientist pointing smugly to Pathfinder and The 13th Warrior. Is this the point we’ve reached for genre movies? “Pirates don’t play,” “Vikings don’t play,” cannibals and on down the line?” Knowing TWC, there won’t be any justification. If they treated kids like movies, their basement would have been on the nightly news some time ago.
via Dark Horizons
Rumblings of a new Conan movie have been ongoing for two years now, and today Lionsgate announced a fresh pair of screenwriters for its $100 million, R-rated tent pole. Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain will rework the former script. The duo previously wrote Outlander, the vikings-versus-alien movie currently growing moss over at The Weinstein Co. In recent months, Outlander has earned a fair number of supporters, Slashfilm included. AICN even wrote a letter to Harvey Weinstein praising the film and pleading for a wide release. From our standpoint, their involvement in this franchise has potential. Here’s what producer Fredrick Malmberg told the trades…
“We all want this movie to go into production as soon as possible,” Malmberg said. “It’s a fast-tracked movie. Lionsgate felt the process was enhanced by having a second team come in and do a script.”
The prior screenwriting team he’s referring to? Back in January we reported that Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Sahara, The Sound of Thunder) were hired as Conan scribes.
Malmberg makes the requisite comparison to The Dark Knight, calling the barbarian a “dark hero” and a “badass,” and stating the importance of keeping faithful to the source material. No director is attached. In the past, Robert Rodriguez, Rob Zombie and Neil Marshall have been mentioned for the job.
Discuss: How do you feel about the writers of Outlander for a $100 million, R-rated Conan movie?
In this week’s episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Devindra, and Adam debate whether Robert Downey Jr. would make a good Sherlock Holmes, celebrate Jon Favreau’s return to Iron Man 2, and delve deeply into the cultural phenomenon that is Step Up 2: The Streets. Also, an in-depth review of Hellboy 2. Special guest Dave3 joins us from Geeks of Doom and Peter Sciretta also makes a brief appearance.
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Remember that trailer we posted the other day for Outlander? You know, the upcoming action fantasy/sci-fi mash-up with the insanely crazy plot involving both Vikings and Aliens? Well another trailer has dropped on the interwebs, and clears up some of the misconceptions I had. For instance, the movie doesn’t have dragons. We get a better look at the alien monster at the story’s core. Oh, and they corrected the spelling error in the Lord of the Rings title credit. Call me crazy but I’m still really interested in seeing this flick. Too bad The Weinstein Co will probably botch the marketing. Watch the trailer after the jump.
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I’m not a viking movie type of guy, but who is? The international movie trailer for Outlander has hit the interwebs and I can’t tell you how excited I suddenly am to see this flick. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a movie about “vikings teaming with a human alien to take on an alien creature”? Watch the trailer below, and tell me what you think! Am I insane, or could this be a lot of fun?
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/outlander.flv 470 252]
Plot Synopsis: As an age old battle rages amongst the stars, Kainan’s ship burns brightly as it crashes into the Nordic coast. As his space craft comes to rest in the fjords of ancient Norway, it’s with dismay that Kainan realizes that he wasn’t the only survivor. A second passenger, a Moorwen also emerges from the wreckage. A Fierce and animal-like creature, the Moorwen is intent on causing harm to those it perceives have wronged it. As the Moorwen kills everything in its path, Kainan must work together with the Vikings to destroy the beast before it destroys them all. Starring James Caviezel, Sophia Myles, Jack Huston, John Hurt, and Ron Perlman.
The Weinstein Co have yet to announce a U.S. release date for Outlander.
Hat tip: rowthree
Though it recently showed at Cannes and received a fan-site response equal to, “if you want to watch a movie about vikings and a human alien versus an alien creature, go for it,” Outlander still remains tucked in at the Weinstein Co. and is without a release domestically. Meanwhile, an international release for the James Caviezel (Passion of the Christ) sci-fi actioner is tentatively planned for late summer. Worth noting is how easy it is to get this film mixed up with Marcus Nispel’s dismally received Pathfinder (suped-up vikings versus Indians). Shock received the Frank Frazetta-ish poster, click for the high-res, and you can find more info on the flick here. Thought it was worth a look–cool concept in theory–too bad the film itself seems permanently floundered.
Discuss: Have any of you managed to see Outlander?