Two successful female writers will take on new roles as they collaborate on an indie romantic comedy. The film is called Austenland and it’ll be directed by Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos with her husband Jared Hess, and produced by Stephenie Meyer, writer of the Twilight novels. Though Meyer is credited as a producer on those ultra-successful movies, this will be her first producing gig on something she didn’t conceive.

Austenland focuses on a young woman obsessed with Colin Firth’s character, Mr. Darcy, in the BBC production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Starring Keri Russell, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis, it humorously explores how that idealism completely ruins her love life. Shooting begins this week. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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There’s been a little bit of back and forth over who will sit in the director’s chair for the adaptation of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer‘s sci-fi novel The Host. Andrew Niccol scripted and was going to direct before he ran off to do Now with Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake. Earlier this year it looked like Susanna White (the Nanny McPhee sequel) would direct instead, but when Saoirse Ronan was set to star Andrew Niccol started circling back around. Now he’s back in the director’s chair for good. Read More »

Though it may be hard to believe, Stephenie Meyer, the author behind the Twilight phenomenon, also published a non-Twilight book. It’s called The Host and while it also blends genre with romance there are no sparkly vampires here. Instead, The Host is about alien parasites called the Souls who take over Earth by inhabiting human bodies and what happens when one human’s brain fights back.

A film adaptation has been in the pipeline for a while with a script by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) and now a director has been added to the equation. Susanna White, who did this year’s family sequel Nanny McPhee Returns as well as several episodes of David Simon’s HBO series Generation Kill, will take the reigns of this potential franchise. Read more after the break. Read More »

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The Onion News Network has a report on an Al-Qaeda attack on the nation’s capital which was called off to reportedly spare the life of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. Watch the video from this late breaking news report, embedded after the jump.
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Summit Developing Three Twilight Sequels

Twilight doesn’t hit theaters until next Friday, and Summit Entertainment has already aquired the rights to the next three novels in Stephenie Meyer‘s vampire romance series. According to THR, Twilight scribe Melissa Rosenberg has signed on to pen the next two screenplays, based on the books New Moon (you can read the first chapter here) and Eclipse. A writer has not been hired to adapt the fourth book, Breaking Dawn.

The films themselves have yet to be officially greenlit, but I’m sure after the first film does monster business next week, it will only be a matter of time. Word is that Summit would like to shoot the next two films back to back, as they did with The Matrix sequels and Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Twilight

The Internet Movie Database is not just a useful tool to answer questions like “who was in that movie” or “what else did that guy direct”. IMDb also keeps track of a variety of analytics. For example: movie, actor and crew member searches. Who is the biggest star in Hollywood this minute?

Tom Cruise? Nope.

Kristen Bell? Nope…

Taylor Lautner

 

Taylor Lautner

Twilight promotional psoterDon’t know who Lautner is? Welcome to the club. I was shocked to see his name on the top of the list when I logged into IMDB this weekend. Taylor has been in three movies, the biggest of which was Cheaper by the Dozen 2, had been flying completely off of my radar. So why is he the most searched actor in the world? Because he’s currently starring in the upcoming film Twilight. Ever hear of it?

Twilight is actually the 14th most searched movie on the internet according to IMDbPro’s moviemeter. Twilight ranks higher than Sex and the City: The Movie, The Incredible Hulk, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Speed Racer, and even Indiana Jones 4. Even more surprising is the film’s 18 listed cast members make up most of the top 30 searched stars on the web (look at the numbers to the right on the IMDB screenshot below). How could this be?

Twilight Cast List

Twilight BookIf you’re not a teenage girl or a mother than chances are that you probably have no idea what Twilight is. To be honest, I had heard of the movie in passing, but had no idea that there was such a huge passionate fanbase behind it. Twilight is the first book in a series of teen-lit vampire novels (“Twilight,” “New Moon,” “Eclipse,” and upcoming “Breaking Dawn”) by Stephenie Meyer, who is often refereed to as America’s JK Rowling. An apt comparison considering the third book in the series, Eclipse, actually knocked Harry Potter off the #1 spot on USA Today’s bestseller list. Stranger yet, Meyer is a Mormon stay-at-home mom who admits that she doesn’t watch horror movies, and has never even read Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The movie adaptation is directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the production designer turned director responsible for Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story. The story follows Seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father, and finds herself drawn to a mysterious classmate named Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who is revealed to be a one-hundred-year old vampire. He tries to push her away, but they soon fall in love. When the arrival of another coven of vampires puts Bella in danger, Edward and his family band together to save her before she is killed. It’s being pitched as Romeo and Juliet set in the world of Vampires, but the visuals and story sounds a bit more like The Covenant to me. I’m sure the resulting film will be nothing to that effect.

But it gets even stranger. The movie studio which is producing and is distributing this film is not Warner Bros, Disney, New Line, MGM or Sony. Actually, I’d be surprised if you even heard of the studio before. The answer is: Summit Entertainment, a former foreign-sales agent which announced last April that they would evolve into a full-fledged production and distribution entity which planned to “deliver studio-quality product at a reduced cost ($20 million – $60 million range).” Twilight is scheduled to be released on December 12th, 2008, only three weeks after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters. Watch some behind the scenes featurettes from the film on MTV.

Discuss: Will Twilight become the next Harry Potter?

Added Disclaimer: Welcome to all the Twilight fans who have found this article. Over the last 24 hours I’ve talked to a lot of people who also had never heard of the book series or upcoming film adaptation. Please note that this article was written by someone who had never heard of the book series. I was surprised to discover the huge intense fanbase behind a film that virtually no one in my field has been aware of. In this article I make a comment that if you aren’t a teenage girl, than you probably haven’t heard of Twilight. I’ve come to discover that Twilight fans come in many ages, and even different sexes. But I still stand by the fact that most Twilight fans fall into the teenage female demographic. This is not meant as a slight, or as an insult, just an observation about the audience for this book series and the eventual movie. Also, I realize that Twilight is very different than Harry Potter, but at the same time they are both huge fantasy book series with strong fanbases. My question is really akin to asking “Will Twilight become the next huge fantasy film series?”

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