Once upon a time it looked like Harrison Ford might play Matt Scudder in an adaptation of Lawrence Block‘s novel A Walk Among the Tombstones. Scripted by Scott Frank (Minority Report, Out of Sight) the film has been in development for quite a while. This week it got some new juice, however, with financing from Exclusive Media and Cross Creek Pictures and Liam Neeson set to star as the alcoholic ex-cop Scudder. Read More »
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Briefly: Another story that is the subject of several different development projects is the life of Harry Houdini. One movie that hopes to exploit his story is the Columbia project simply called Houdini, which for the past few months has had Francis Lawrence (Water For Elephants, I Am Legend) attached to direct. Last time we checked in there was no screenwriter attached, but that all changes now. Scott Frank has been hired to write. (He penned Out of Sight and Minority Report, among other films.)
THR has this news, but doesn’t offer any more significant detail about the project other than the fact that it has been kicking around Columbia in different forms for some time, and that Francis Lawrence and producer Jimmy Miller helped push it forward with their own ‘fresh take.’ What is that take? We don’t know. I love Houdini, and think he is truly one of the most fascinating figures from the turn of the century, but the competition to make a new film based on his life arouses no particular excitement. Mostly because I assume that, in the race to get one project done first, the only thing that will really matter is going to end up being just that: being first.
Despite the fact that I don’t think anyone is much of a fan of the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake, Fox has slowly been developing another film in the same vein. Dubbed Caesar, the film was written by Scott Frank, and was only sort of a Planet of the Apes movie. The film would tell the story of Caesar, an ape which becomes super-intelligent and leads a simian uprising, allowing the tale to be essentially a very early prologue to the late world of Planet of the Apes. (Though Frank said explicitly that it was not a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.)
But two weeks ago, Devin at CHUD reported that the movie was essentially dead after Scott Frank walked away from it. Now there’s a contrary report which says that, while Frank has indeed left the project, it remains very much alive. Read More »
So what’s going on with the proposed Planet of the Apes sequel/prequel? 20th Century Fox has hired writer/director Scott Frank (The Lookout) to develop a new film based on the Planet of the Apes film property. At first it was rumored that the film would be a remake of Conquest of the Apes or a new film called Genesis: Apes, but according to Chud that is not the case.
The project is going under the working title “Caesar”. Fox’s Tom Rothman says that it is “a kind of prequel story before the first story, with a return to the social thematics that mark the first one, but with an entirely contemporary setting – Earth 2009.” The film won’t have talking monkeys and will not end with chimps taking over Earth. Instead the film will be a hard science fiction film about humans that use science to create hyper-intelligent chimpanzees.
I’m still not convinced that we need another Planet of the Apes reboot at this point. The general public is going to need more time to forget Tim Burton’s remake. And the original films still work.And lets face it, what’s the last good film project developed at Fox? But if you are going to reboot the Apes franchise at this point, Frank’s Caesar sounds like the best possible concept.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down with The Lookout stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Goode and writer/director Scott Frank to discuss the new film. I apologize for the unusually low quality recording, we had to make due as my professional digital recorder broke during the interview.
- Miramax’s deceptive marketing
- The story’s evolution over the last 20 years
- Scott Frank’s decision to become a director
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s decision to transition into dark indie films
- Matthew Goode’s decision to break out from Romantic Comedies
- Scott Frank on Quirky Character Traits For No Reason vs. Character Traits that drive the story
- Researching the characters
- Making a movie about a character with a head injury, and NOT a movie about head injuries
- The media’s obsession about “What’s Next”
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Stop Loss and Killshot
- Scott Frank on his upcoming projects: A western and “Fourty Four”
- Mathew Goode on Brideshead Revisited
- The Appeal of working with a First Time Director
- Rediscovering Jeff Daniels as Lewis
- Shooting in the cold Winnipeg winter
- Editing The Film
- Scott Frank’s dislike for DVD extended cuts
- Deleted Scenes
- The Surprises of a First Time Director: Compromises
The Lookout hits theaters on March 30th 2007.
The Lookout director Scott Frank (screenwriter of Minority Report, Get Shorty) is already hard at work on his next projects: a potential western and a mid-life crisis drama titled “Fourty Four“.
“I’m going to try like hell to make this western that I’ve written but I’m getting the sense that’s going to be an uphill battle,” Frank told /Film. “So it may have to be like this movie where it takes a couple years to get made.”
“I’m writing another story called Fourty Four which I keep glibly describing as my midlife crisis movie set in the world of automotive design,” revealed Frank. “I don’t know, may-be that will be what I do next, I’m not sure.”
The Lookout hits theaters on March 30th 2007.
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If you’ve seen the movie trailer and poster (pictured left) for The Lookout, than you’re probably expecting a dark Memento like heist movie, and you would be wrong. It’s probably the worest example of false movie advertising since Bridge To Terabithia (which promised but failed to be a Narnia fantasy world family film). And it’s a shame, because The Lookout is a great film. So when I got the chance to speak to first time director Scott Frank (screenwriter of Minority Report, Get Shorty), I asked him about it point blank. Here is his response:
“We HATE the trailer. The trailer is NOT the movie, and neither is that (pointing to the poster). All morning I’ve been having chats with the folks at Miramax marketing, telling them that the feedback without question – now we’re laughing because we hear the same thing with every interview people come in and say ‘Boy, I wasn’t even looking forward to seeing that movie because I thought it was going to be this kind of movie, NOT that kind of movie.’ And I keep telling them (Miramax) that. So Thank you, yes you’re right. The trailer, I wish I had more of a say, instead of just a voice in those kind of things.”
So the question presents itself: Should the filmmaker be more involved in the film’s marketing? And what else can be done to prevent studios from engaging in deceptive marketing. I understand that it can sometimes help lesser quality films, but what about a good film? What about The Lookout?