In the pantheon of Big Difficult Adaptations, Frank Herbert‘s novel Dune has stood tall for years. Efforts to make a film in the ’70s stalled, and a film version nearly defeated David Lynch in the early ’80s. (Some, including David Lynch, might say that it did defeat him.) The mini-series adaptation in 2000 can be considered good only by those who judge quality by how many details from the source are crammed onto the screen, and efforts to make a film version since then have resulted in many script drafts, but no actual film.
Paramount has held the rights to Dune for some time, with the project passing through the hands of multiple screenwriters and directors, but now the studio’s option has lapsed. The rights have reverted to Richard P. Rubenstein, the liaison to the Frank Herbert estate and ABC. Read More »
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Sam Raimi and District 9 producer Bill Block are putting together a Warner Bros. film called EDF, or Earth Defense Force, which explosively details “Earth’s response to an imminent alien invasion.” (And which seemingly isn’t an adaptation of the video game series in which soldiers fight off endless waves of giant insects, despite the fact that film and game share a name. Perhaps that’s for the best, and there’s word that the film’s name could change.)
Initial reports said that a director would be chosen soon; now Taken director Pierre Morel is circling the project. Read More »
Those waiting to see the prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing this April will instead find flashy cars on screen at the theater. Universal had planned to release their new version of The Thing, directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., starring Joel Edgerson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead on April 29, 2011. However, a studio spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times that film was “not yet ready” and has now been left without a release date.
Instead, they’re bumped Fast Five, the fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, directed by Justin Lin, starring Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker up into that slot, abandoning its original June 10, 2011 release, “citing the successful release of the franchise’s fourth film in April 2009.” Read how the release date shifts might be a good thing, as well some “creative” issues surrounding another Universal property, their adaptation of Ouija, after the jump. Read More »
Rights holders for big genre, comic book and toy properties are getting smart. In the past few decades we’ve seen many potentially huge adaptations languish as studios and producers waffled about finding the right approach to a project. But in the wake of big-dollar successes from Lord of the Rings to Spider-Man and The Dark Knight, companies such as Hasbro and the rights holders for projects like Dune are demanding new contracts, levying fines for delayed production starts and refusing to grant option extensions to studios that can’t get a project off the ground.
In the past few years, Paramount has held the rights to Dune, and a couple of high-profile directors have taken a crack at the difficult adaptation. Peter Berg was on the film, but then went to make Battleship for Universal. (More on that in a moment.) Pierre Morel (Taken) jumped on to the project, but the word now is that he no longer plans to direct.
So Universal needs a new director, but the clock is ticking. Dune‘s owners will take the project back next year if a film isn’t in motion. Read More »
Last week there was word that Pierre Morel, the director of District 13, Taken, and From Paris with Love, had been named as “a lead candidate” to helm Universal’s Ouija, based on the Hasbro board game. Now two more filmmakers have entered the mix: Sylvain White, director of Stomp the Yard, The Losers and the DTV effort I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, and Scott Stewart, director of Legion and the upcoming Priest. Read More »
In the months following the huge box office take of Transformers, it seemed like Hollywood was going action figure and board game crazy. It has been over two years since Michael Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes announced they would be teaming up with Hasbro to bring the board game, Ouija Board, to the big screen for Universal. Lost/Tron: Legacy scribes Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsiswere hired to write a script, a draft which should have been handed in a while ago. And now it looks like the producers are about to attach a director.
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Screenwriter Chase Palmer has been hired to write a draft the big budget remake of Dune for Paramount Pictures. Taken/District B13 director Pierre Morel came aboard the film early this year after Peter Berg departed the project. Palmer has been brought on board to work some of Morel’s ideas into original scribe Josh Zetumer’s screenplay. Morel has said that he wants to make a film which is faithful to Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 sci-fi novel.
David Lynch directed a big screen adaptationin 1984. Although fans of the Dune series are polarized by the movie, but the film has become a cult favorite in recent years. A three-part miniseries also based on the novel aired in 2000.
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Pierre Morel has revealed both his aspirations for Dune and some of the practical challenges he’ll face in realising it.
Apparently, he’s keen for the film to be in 3D and he’ll push for the format but the decision is yet to be made. So far he’s seen Avatar in 3D twice, he says, and it seems he’d like a little of that for his own project.
While development is continuing apace, work on the screenplay pages has yet to begin. The story is that Morel and his, as yet unnamed writer or writers, will start scripting in February. Are they keeping his collaborators secret? Or have they simply not hired anybody yet?
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