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Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns is responsible for scripts such as Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and The Bourne Ultimatum, but it may be his “trilogy” of films with Steven Soderbergh that really stand out: The Informant!, Side Effects, and Contagion developed a vision of modern communication that is pessimistic, to say the least. 

Now Burns is attached to direct a film based on Maxine Swann’s New York Times Magazine article ‘The Professor, The Bikini Model, And the Suitcase Full of Trouble,’ which ran last year. The story follows a wild, almost insane scam, and fits right in with some of the sensibility we’ve seen Burns express in those films with Soderbergh. Read More »

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True to his word, Steven Soderbergh has retired from the movies for now. But it’s the last part of that phrase — “from the movies” — that’s important, because outside of the movies he’s remained as busy as ever. First, he transitioned into TV with the HBO film Behind the Candelabra. Then he jumped to a historical miniseries at Cinemax called The Knick.

Now he’s preparing to move into another medium altogether. Soderbergh is teaming up with Scott Z. Burns and Chloë Grace Moretz for The Library, an Off Broadway show being put on by New York’s The Public Theater later this year. More about his latest project after the jump.

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Bradley Cooper

The intensified scandal over the doping actions of Lance Armstrong have irrevocably tainted his participation in cycling. As you might expect, however, the controversy has only increased the speed at which various producers are trying to put together a film based on his story.

One of a few projects in the works about the cancer survivor and disgraced champ is Red Blooded American, housed at Warner Bros. Atlas Entertainment is producing, and Jay Roach is directing, and the development is based on a script by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion). Now Bradley Cooper has come on as a producer. He may also star in the film. Read More »

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Briefly: Armie Hammer worked with one of the world’s biggest movie stars in The Lone Ranger, and now he’s set to partner up with another in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., for which James Bond creator Ian Fleming contributed early concepts. Hammer has been added to the cast of Guy Ritchie‘s new version of the espionage-focused TV series that ran in the mid-’60s. Read More »

The story of Lance Armstrong‘s precipitous fall from grace seems tailor made for the movies, and indeed it’s about to get two of them. Back in January, Paramount teamed up with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot to adapt Cycle of Lies, a biography by Juliet Marcur. Now Warner Bros. is prepping its own version of the tale, with Emmy-winning Game Change director Jay Roach directing and Side Effects writer Scott Z. Burns scripting. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Steven Soderbergh, so often adventurous over the course of his career, closes out his theatrical run with the relatively conventional thriller Side Effects. Though the ideas within are familiar, a winding narrative path keeps predictability out of sight, and prevents Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns from ever falling back to one simplistic message. Soderbergh’s own skill with the form allows him to pursue that path at length, without losing the plot.

Starting off with pharmacological paranoia, the two take clear inspiration from Rosemary’s Baby, and toy with notions that call back to Hitchcock. But this is no throwback. Soderbergh has crafted a smart but pessimistic film rooted firmly in fears that are becoming more and more common today.

The film is built around a woman (Rooney Mara) who suffers from severe depression and falls into the care of a potentially dodgy psychiatrist. Side Effects traffics in the tone of modern paranoia that defined previous Soderbergh/Burns collaboration Contagion, and revels in the duplicity that was a cornerstone of their first partnership, The Informant!. The three films define something like an informal trilogy in which we are chronically disconnected, dishonest, and perhaps eventually doomed. Read More »

Steven Soderbergh‘s 2011 disease thriller Contagion wasn’t exactly crying out for a sequel, but in the light of its strong box office performance of course more than a few execs’ minds went there. Warner Bros. quietly began developing a follow-up with writer Scott Z. Burns set to produce, and last October it took a small step forward by posting an open writing assignment.

Now, however, Burns says they’re thinking of changing course entirely. Instead of a feature film, Contagion 2 could wind up being a TV series. Hit the jump to read his comments.

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner now, and you know what that means: Fox is ramping up their marketing efforts for their big romantic holiday release, A Good Day to Die Hard. Also after the jump:

  • The Muppets… Again will feature old songs along with new ones
  • Writer Scott Z. Burns discusses Apes and Blade Runner 2
  • Rich Moore and his stars are totally up for more Wreck-It Ralph
  • Enroll in Starfleet Academy with the Star Trek Into Darkness app
  • Chris Pine will kidnap J.J. Abrams for Star Trek 3 if he has to
  • Riddick is back out in the rain in the newest still from Vin Diesel
  • The Last Exorcism Part II unveils a new TV spot and a poster
  • A Good Day to Die Hard will run about 90 minutes…
  • … one of which you can watch right here…
  • … along with a featurette that offers more plot

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