This special edition of TV Bits looks to the future, with several bits of info about new projects in development. After the jump:

  • Kelsey Grammer produces a Freakonomics-inspired drama for NBC
  • Warren Ellis‘ crime novel Gun Machine is being adapted for TV by Fox
  • Fox is developing a television adaptation of Danny Boyle‘s The Beach
  • The CW is prepping its own contemporary take on Sleepy Hollow
  • FX picks up The Americans, a Cold War drama starring Keri Russell
  • Luther creator Neil Cross and the BBC consider an Alice-centric spinoff
  • Terry Crews‘ Camacho could feature in a web-based Idiocracy spinoff

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Movie Trailer #2: Red

I know there’s resistance to Red based on the fact that the film looks quite a bit different from the Warren Ellis comics upon which it is based. I haven’t read the comic, so can only approach the film based on what I see — and I really enjoy the stuff we’ve been shown so far. There’s one trailer already, and a second premiered today in conjunction with the film’s appearance at the San Diego Comic Con. Read More »

Movie Trailer: Red

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I would never have guessed that the director of Flightplan and The Time Traveler’s Wife might turn out the most entertaining-looking under the radar comic book adaptation of this summer. But I grinned all the way through the trailer for Robert Schwentke‘s Red, which adapts Warren Ellis‘ graphic novel about a group of retired CIA agents. Check it out after the break. Read More »

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On Easter Sunday, I landed in New Orleans to sweat and drop by the set of RED, yet another comic book adaptation, but one packing the following A-list cast:

Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren (as a tea-sipping sniper with a 50-cal machine gun), Mary-Louise Parker, Star Trek’s Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon, and Ernest Borgnine

And I would be remiss not to list the movie’s possible scene hog: a stuffed toy pig with wild eyes toted around by Malkovich’s character…a paranoiac-genius. Shocked? The movie, due in October, is loosely based on a very lean 2003 WildStorm comic book series by Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hammer, whom we spoke with on set. Willis stars as a retired assassin named Frank Moses, a hermetic, once-valuable man now wanted dead by pesky/shady forces. Naturally, Moses seeks defense and camaraderie from a badass crew of vets (Malkovich, Mirren, and Freeman). The film, described as “hard PG-13,” is directed by Robert Schwentke, best known for the Fincher-aping Flightplan.

RED is an acronym for Retired Extremely Dangerous, and the ensemble aspect means the end product should comfortably fit into the current action zeitgeist of grizzled, last hurrah actioners (The Expendables) and specialized, quick-quip posses (The A-Team). However, on set producers compared the tone not to other genre properties but to Ocean’s Eleven with a splash of True Lies. Ellis and Hammer have both publicly endorsed the decision to forgo their comic book’s bloody, quasi-polemic seriousness in addition to much of the storyline (wherein Moses was a lone wolf). After the jump are thoughts from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers, Constantine), and my own observations (excluding a strip club excursion later that night with various web editors). Look for interviews with several cast members, including an expletive-liberated Willis in top form, closer to release.

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The last time we talked about Guy Ritchie‘s King Arthur movie, it was suggested that a new script was going to be called for, superceding the Warren Ellis draft and now, we’ve found out who the new writer will be. The lucky winner is John Hodge, probably most famous for having written Danny Boyle’s Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. If his adaptation of Trainspotting is anything to go by, he can certainly make order out of rather sprawling and tangled narrative messes, so perhaps he’s a great choice for guaranteeing a driving through-line in this episodic, stop-start storyline.

At least when Ellis was at the Word Processor the film’s basic shape was to be “very specifically about the gathering of the Knights”. Cue Lock Stock style ensemble of British character actors. Variety have reported that the basic source material will be Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, but I can’t imagine the tone and flavour of a 15th century French romance being maintained under Ritchie’s directorship.

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You may recall that, last year, Warren Ellis mentioned he was working on a treatment for an Arthurian film that may or may not be a remake of Excalibur. Now Warner Bros. has evidently attached a director to the film: Guy Ritchie, ready for more adventure after scoring a success with Sherlock Holmes. Read More »

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What if you went to prison, only to discover that the institution was run by vampires? That’s the very silly premise behind the graphic novel Nightfall, which is now the target of a film adaptation by Aurora Productions and Nightfall’s publisher Platinum Studios. (Someone, please tell me why vampires might run a prison. I’m so curious.) Scott O. Brown and Ferran Xalabarder are behind the graphic novel; no talent is on board the film adaptation yet. Variety reports that this is one more high-concept project to join a couple of other projects Platinum has cooking, like Witchblade and Cowboys & Aliens.

After the break, the resurrection of an unlikely comic-based TV series. Just when you thought Global Frequency had been squelched on television, the signal is coming back again. Read More »

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Constantine didn’t entirely work out as a franchise starter or as an adaptation of its source material, the comic Hellblazer. But there’s room for more than one supernatural solider or detective on screens. So Legendary Pictures, which loves to develop comic book movies (recent Batman and Superman films, 300, Watchmen, Jonah Hex) has picked up the rights to Gravel, the series by Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer that centers on British ‘combat magician’ William Gravel. Read More »

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