John Cusack is on a roll this week at the American Film Market, and he’s bringing Roger Avary (along for the ride. The writer/director has had his share of trouble in the last few years thanks to a DUI-related vehicular manslaughter conviction, but he’s getting back in the news in a positive way with a couple new projects.

The first is Airspace, written by Briana Hartman (Brother’s Keeper), in which Avary would direct Cusack as a charter pilot who is en route home but “must escape a sudden attack by a heavily armed MiG fighter jet after finding a mysterious briefcase in his plane.” It’s described in shorthand as “Duel in the sky,” referencing Steven Spielberg’s early thriller. Avary is polishing the script, says Variety.

And then there’s an old Avary project that has been revived: the film adaptation of the classic Castle Wolfenstein video games, which he’ll write and direct. Read More »

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Paul Verhoven, the dual-sided filmmaker whose Hollywood career is broadly split between  highly aware genre fare (RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Black Book) and gleeful, exploitative silliness (Showgirls, Basic Instinct, Total Recall), has long wanted to make a film about Jesus. Yes, that Jesus, the carpenter. He co-wrote a book on the subject, Jesus of Nazareth, and has tried for some time to raise money to do a film version.

Now he’s a couple steps closer, perhaps thanks to a climate that is more favorable than usual towards big films with religious origins. (Think Aronofsky’s Noah and Spielberg’s Gods and Kings.) Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction, Beowulf) has been hired to script, and Muse Productions is ready to finance the picture. Read More »

The association between author Bret Easton Ellis and screenwriter/director Roger Avary goes back a decade. Avary directed a film version of the Ellis novel The Rules of Attraction, released in 2002, and used footage shot for that film to create another movie, Glitterati, which is tangentially related to The Rules of Attraction.

Glitterati has never officially been released, and probably never will, which I’ll get into in a minute. But that film was intended as connective tissue between The Rules of Attraction and the adaptation of another Ellis novel, Glamorama, which Avary has planned to write and direct for many years. Now Bret Easton Ellis says the Glamorama script is done and will be directed by Avary next year. Read More »

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jennifer's body posterIn this week’s /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley discuss the sad state of Disney’s live action brand, assess Tomas Alfredson’s proclivities for gender-bending storylines, offer up some unabashed praise for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and report back on the first week of the fall TV season. Special guest Adam Kempenaar joins us from the Filmspotting podcast.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Surrogates.

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Roger Avary is Returning to Silent Hill

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There will be more shenanigans in Silent Hill. The 2006 film, directed by Christoph Gans didn’t do terribly well, but Konami’s game series is a perpetual seller, suggesting that there is room for another film. So screenwriter Roger Avary is re-teaming with producer Samuel Hadida to rebuild the foggy, freaky town. Or perhaps Konami is just jealous that Capcom will soon collect yet another Resident Evil licensing package when they’ve only nabbed one. (Hadida has the right idea; he produces both franchises.) Read More »

Twitter Update

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Since our original posting on March 6th, we’ve added over 20 new names to our listing of all the screenwriters, directors and actors/actresses on Twitter. The additions include: Donald Glover, Roger Avary, David Hewlett, Kate Hewlett, Brea Grant, Mark Romanek, David Wain, Jon Hurwitz, Joe Lynch, David Bruckner, James Moran, Michael Stephenson, Sean Flanery, Aubrey Plaza, Rian Johnson, Faizon Love, David Blue, James Kyson Lee, Jonathan King, Aziz Ansari, John Cleese, and Danny Masterson. Head on over to our original post for the updates.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Roger Avary pleaded Not Guilty at a Ventura California courthouse on Friday to manslaughter and other charges connected to a January 13th single car collision which resulted in the death of another passenger. 34-year-old Andreas Zini was visiting Avary as part of his Honeymoon when the accident occurred. Prosecutors have said that his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. The Los Angeles Times reports:

“Now that charges have been filed, Avary hopes to quickly resolve the case, his attorney said. Besides felony manslaughter, Avary faces two felony counts of causing bodily injury while intoxicated, charges that could bring 11 years behind bars. A pretrial conference is set for Feb. 20 in Ventura.”

Avary co-wrote Pulp Fiction with Quentin Tarantino, for which he received an Oscar. He went on to make his feature filmaking directorial debut with Killing Zoe, and followed that up with a big screen adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction. He has since penned the screenplay for the video game to film adaptation of Silent Hill and co-wrote Beowulf with Neil Gaiman. Before the accident, Avary signed on to write and direct a big screen adaptation of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, based on the first-person-shooter computer game.

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Compared to most authors, onetime New York it-boy Bret Easton Ellis‘s works have had a pretty good translation record at the cinema. American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction and Less Than Zero were all pretty faithful, quality adaptations that kept Ellis’s sensational penchant for drugs, kinky sex and sociopathic detachment intact. A tall order these days. Next in line is this fall’s The Informers. Not only did Ellis co-write the screenplay for his 1995 interlocked collection of twisted tales set in the ’80s, but the film easily has the coolest cast of any Ellis flick: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Billy Bob Thornton, Pineapple ExpressAmber Heard and Brad Renfro‘s last theatrical role.

Well, now it seems that the key element that made The Informers stand out from its darkly hedonistic pack, a good dose of the supernatural, including a vampire storyline starring Superman ReturnsBrandon Routh as the book’s main vampire, Jamie, has either been “exorcised” or dumped altogether. Odd. Actor John Graham, who has a rather large role as the son to Thornton’s Hollywood exec, expressed dissonance about the film’s seemingly last minute change to IGN

“There are no more vampires. They took the vampires out. There are no zombies or monsters either,” he announces. “This is more about the narcissistic side of people’s characters. God knows why they took the vampire characters out. I can’t say if I was pleased or displeased, that is just the way it is.”

Sounds as if Routh is no longer in the film, eh? If so, that’s a pretty big blow for him, as it would have given the All-American actor a dose of indie cred. There’s speculation that Ellis himself made the decision to ditch the fanged murderers from the film version due to criticism the book’s subplot received originally. Ho-hum. Fans will be bummed. Has to be more to it than that though, right? Perhaps director Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly) wasn’t digging the footage? If anyone has a contact or, cough, informant on this film, let us know.

Ellis is really starting to dive into Hollywood, with an adaptation of his batshit semi-autobiographical Lunar Park due in 2009, along with The Frog King, another writer-obsessed flick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt that he wrote an original screenplay for. Also kicking around is Roger Avary’s third (yes, third) adaptation Glamorama, which would follow The Rules of Attraction and its obscure, never released, mysterious spin-off film Glitterati starring Kip Pardue.

Discuss: Any Informers fans pissed? We haven’t heard much from this flick as of yet, but how many of you anticipate it? Who’s seen Glitterati? What’s the best Ellis movie? 

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