Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg has been plenty busy as a producer over the past couple of years, but as a director he hasn’t made any moves since 2012′s Lincoln. For a while it looked like Robopocalypse would be next, but then it was postponed indefinitely. Some months after that, he wound up dropping American Sniper as well. That left him with no directing projects in his immediate future.

But now, Spielberg may finally be ready to make a move. According to a new report, he’s eyeing Montezuma, the legendary 50-year-old script by Spartacus scribe Dalton Trumbo. And he’s not the only one interested. Javier Bardem and writer Steve Zaillian are apparently interested as well. More details after the jump.

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Robert De Niro

One of James Gandolfini‘s last projects is picking up steam once again. At the time of his passing, the Sopranos actor had been working on an HBO miniseries called Criminal Justice. But since the network could not move ahead with the pilot they had already shot with him, there was some question of how the show could proceed. As of today, we have our answer.

Robert De Niro has just signed on to take over Gandolfini’s role, while Gandolfini will receive a posthumous executive producer credit. The rest of the cast, which includes Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi, and Poorna Jagannathan, remains on board. Steve Zaillian, who’s been shepherding the project for the past several years, will direct the first episode. Hit the jump for plot details and more. Read More »

edgerton-gatsby

Briefly: Ridley Scott is prepping Exodus, his film about Moses, at Fox. Christian Bale is set to play Moses, and now Scott is looking to Joel Edgerton to play Ramses (or Ramesses II). The actor is in early talks now for the role. Adam Cooper and Bill Collage scripted the film, and Steven Zaillian did a rewrite. This is one of two high-profile Moses films that have been in development in the past year. The other is Gods and Kings, which Steven Spielberg was set to make for a while. He ultimately dropped out, and the film doesn’t have a director at this point.

Edgerton, as you can see thanks to the pic above, isn’t the first guy that comes to mind for an Egyptian ruler who is contemporary to Moses. Perhaps there’s some unexpected element in the script that makes Edgerton suited for the role in a way that isn’t obvious from afar. He’s a fine actor, no argument, but this choice will kickstart arguments about whitewashed casting.

A more obviously great placement for Edgerton is in Jeff Nichols‘ new film Midnight Special, which will feature him alongside Michael ShannonDeadline announces that Kirsten Dunst has also signed on for the sci-fi tinged chase film. [THR]

The world’s most famous film critic is having a documentary made about him by some of the most famous filmmakers around. Documentarian Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) have optioned the rights to Ebert’s 2011 memoir, Life Itself. Martin Scorsese will executive produce. Read more after the jump. Read More »

The sequel news today involves from pretty big franchises, or some high-profile ones at least. After the break read about the following:

  • One Expendables film was enough for Chuck Norris,
  • David Koepp is no longer working on a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel,
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire remains in development, but David Fincher’s participation as director remains uncertain,
  • and the UK comedy The Inbetweeners is looking likely for sequelization.

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Briefly: Timur Bekmambetov now has a project to possibly follow up Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. He has just been attached to direct The Current War, which isn’t about a war taking place now, but rather about a battle over electricity. Specifically, Michael Mitnick‘s spec script is about “the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to create the first sustainable electrical current.”

That’s potentially a great story, though I wonder how Bekmambetov, whose work isn’t exactly closely indebted to truth and history, will make the movie. Steven Zaillian is producing, as is Bekmambetov. There is no cast yet, though Sacha Baron Cohen was reportedly interested in playing Edison at one point. Now that the top-level team is set, we’ll see whether or not he gets an offer. [Variety]

Zach Helm doesn’t have too many produced screenplays on his resume at this point, but the writer got off to an auspicious start with 2006′s flawed but charming Stranger Than Fiction before making his directorial debut with 2007′s Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which he also wrote. Although the latter wasn’t quite as well received as the former, he’s got a couple of projects on his upcoming slate that sound promising.

The first is Errol Morris’ Freezing People is Easy, an adaptation of Robert Nelson’s cryogenic preservation memoir We Froze the First Man, which cast Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig, and Christopher Walken last week. Now he’s also been tapped to write Deep Water, a “dark, sexy comedy” based on the thriller by Patricia Highsmith.

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Here’s a minor update to Sony’s continuing plans to adapt Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy. US box office is low, if holding relatively steady, for David Fincher‘s version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. As the movie has opened outside the US, foreign returns have been low, too. Foreign box office has become the salvation of many a film in the last few years, but even with those numbers factored in, Dragon Tattoo has earned only $100m worldwide so far — not even close to breaking even once promo costs are taken into account.

But Sony reportedly expects the movie t0 make $300m when all is said and done, and that’s enough to follow through with the sequels. Read More »

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