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 »

Over the last couple weeks, one studio announcement has been conspicuously absent.

With the launch of most major film franchises — that is, the opening of a film that is envisioned as a gateway to more of the same — it doesn’t take long at all for studios to greenlight the second entry. With films based on existing properties like comic books, that announcement can come before even the end of the first film’s opening weekend. Studio accounting, shady as it is, has been refined to a science, and Thursday, Friday and Saturday numbers are often all that it takes when the time comes to pull the trigger on a sequel, or to put the gun against the temple of the young franchise.

So where’s the press release announcing that David Fincher will direct The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequel The Girl Who Played With Fire for Sony/Columbia? It hasn’t hit yet. But Sony says the film is still in development and that it will get made. We’ve known that Steven Zaillian is busy on the screenplay, and there has been vague talk of shooting the second and third films back to back. But will David Fincher direct? Read More »

(This review originally ran last week when Sony lifted the review embargo, but we’re running it again today to coincide with the film’s wide opening.)

Something at the center of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium novels has captured the attention of millions. Actually, make that ‘someone.’ The first novel, Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women, softened to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in many countries) spins around an unlikely nucleus: counterculture heroine Lisbeth Salander, a determined outsider possessed of keen investigative skills, a vengeful spirit and a strong sense of fairness. In the 2009 Swedish film adaptation, Noomi Rapace played Salander as a character just different enough to be a forceful vision, and familiar enough to become nearly iconic. But the film in which she lives is a routine potboiler of a thriller.

The directly translated Swedish title is promising in a way, as ‘men who hate women’ hints at a thriller that will use the conventions of a serial killer story to explore the ways in which abuse and violence shape people and their relationships to one another. The first film didn’t skimp on the intersection of sex, power and violence, as a dethroned magazine publisher is hired to discover the truth about the murder of an industrial magnate’s niece, but it was never any good at getting under the skin of the story.

Enter David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian with their own take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Fincher also doesn’t skimp on sex and violence, and in the middle of his dark, frosty film is a strange but tightly controlled performance from Rooney Mara as Salander. This film trims minor players and subplots to focus, in a slightly more effective manner, on these characters who have been molded by violence. And yet it remains merely a routine thriller. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a technically proficient piece of work, but it is almost as bloodless as an old murder victim. Read More »

It doesn’t feel like the last time we reported on a US remake of TimeCrimes was almost a year ago. But it was back in January that Steven Zaillian was reported as the screenwriter responsible for the roadmap for the remake of Nacho Vigalondo‘s fan-favorite time-travel thriller.

He was working from a previous draft from Tim Sexton, and Zaillian was producing as well. Rumors that David Cronenberg might direct had been scuttled, and at the time we didn’t know who might direct the remake. Now, while doing the press rounds for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which Zaillian wrote, he says that he’d like to direct the TimeCrimes remake. Read More »

We’ve already got a fairly good idea of what David Fincher‘s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will look like, thanks to all those previously released photos, trailers, and whatnot, but since everything has looked pretty damn stunning so far, we’re more than happy to flip through a few more pictures. Empire Magazine has unveiled some gorgeous new promo pics of Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in character in their latest issue. See Blomkvist (Craig) keeping his cool while handcuffed to a chair, Lisbeth (Mara) hanging out with her space heater, and the two of them sharing a smoky moment after the jump.

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Moneyball is a baseball movie, an underdog tale, a true story and a Brad Pitt vehicle. But more than any of those things, Moneyball is a character study about what it’s like to stand up against everyone and everything because you have faith in an idea.

In 2001, the Oakland Athletics, with a payroll of about $40 million – almost a third of the ultra-rich New York Yankees – made the playoffs. The next year, three of their marquee players were poached by other teams for bigger contracts and, with little money and few resources, general manager Billy Beane (Pitt) was forced to embrace a whole new way of looking at baseball to stay competitive.

Directed by Bennett Miller, who directed Philip Seymour Hoffman (also in this movie) to an Oscar in Capote, Moneyball plays like an exciting fantasy baseball draft if everyone was in on the intricacies but, at its heart, it’s really about the struggle of being different. And that’s something we can all relate to. Read More »

Did you skip the awful Entertainment Tonight presentation of the trailer for Bennett Miller‘s Moneyball, which came complete with unwanted additional voiceover? So did I, but we’re all in luck now, as Sony has released a clean HD version of the trailer to Yahoo. Check it out below. Read More »

The backstory of the new telling of Jack Ryan‘s origin story is becoming quite an origin story of its own. Paramount has been trying to kickstart the rebirth of the Jack Ryan franchise for two years — it stalled out in 2002 with the Ben Affleck-led The Sum of All Fears.

Now the latest screenwriter to try to stick an adrenaline needle in the franchise’s nearly-flatlined chest is David Koepp. But is he doctoring the script, or starting from scratch? Read More »