Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman

In terms of superhero movies, does it get any better than Michelle Pfeiffer‘s performance as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns? And do superhero movies get any worse than 2004’s Catwoman, the laughable solo film starring Halle Berry in the title role? Those are rhetorical questions, by the way – the answer to both is clearly “no.”

In a parallel universe, the Halle Berry version movie never happened. Warner Bros. was considering making a Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman solo film in the late 1990s, and screenwriter John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) pitched the studio an idea. August just found his old notes for the pitch, and shared them on Twitter to give us a sense of what that movie could have been like. Read More »

Movies not available online

If you’ve ever scrolled through multiple streaming services looking for an old favorite movie and came up empty, screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Go) feels your pain. August, one of the co-hosts of the popular Scriptnotes podcast, recently tried to track down 1984’s The Flamingo Kid only to find that it’s joined the sad membership of older movies not available online to rent or purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or any other service in the United States.

This is not a new observation – ever since the dawn of streaming services, hundreds of movies have been left by the wayside. But August took his frustrations and is attempting to channel them into a campaign to get some of these older films released digitally, and you can find out how to help below. Read More »

aladdin remake

The other day, it was reported Disney and filmmaker Guy Ritchie were having trouble finding their stars for Aladdin following a worldwide search. The news was a bit of a surprise considering they met with over 2,000 actors, looking for unknowns of Middle Eastern or Indian descent to play Aladdin and Jasmine in the musical. Producer Dan Lin previously said “we’re not here to make Prince of Persia,” to put worries about whitewashing to rest – although we later heard a rumor both ridiculous but believable that Tom Hardy was looked at for the villianous role of Jafar.

At the D23 Expo, we learned that live-action adaptation of Aladdin has found the stars it was reportedly having so much difficulty casting.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Pacific Rim 2 may be off the table, or it may just be waiting for China to make it happen, but either way Guillermo del Toro will have plenty to keep him busy in the near future. He’s just signed on to develop and possibly direct Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on the classic children’s books written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated very, very creepily by Stephen GammellRead More »

twilight zone tower of terror movie

Disney is developing a movie based on the popular theme park ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The accelerated drop tower dark ride, which appears in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney California Adventure, Tokyo DisneySea in Japan, and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, seems like an obvious movie property. Find out what producers and writers are involved in the new Tower of Terror movie adaptation after the jump.

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How To Write Movies

Academy Originals’s Creative Spark series profiles screenwriter John August‘s creative process. August’s list of credits include Go, Charlie’s Angeles, Big Fish, Frankenweenie and many other films. He’s probably best known for his adaptations and his collaborations with director Tim Burton. We have often featured August on the site because we’re fans of his work (Go is in my top 10 of all time) and he puts himself out there to help aspiring screenwriters learn about the craft and how the business works — we sometimes point to the instructional content he produces. In this Creative Spark video, August gives us a rundown of how he comes up with ideas, how he crafts a scene, and how his screenplays are created. Watch the how to write movies video now embedded after the jump.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie

CBS Films has been trying to crack the popular children’s book series, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, for a while. Originally, they brought on Saw writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton to pen a script. Evidently their take wasn’t what the company wanted. CBS has now gone back to square one and hired a writer who knows a little something about blending the tones that made these books so popular. John August, writer of Go, Charlie’s Angels, Big Fish, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie, has been hired to write a new script for the scary series of short stories. Read more about the Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark movie below.

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With Frankenweenie, Tim Burton goes back to a couple periods of his own history. One is his childhood, during which he was alienated from average school life, and found solace in monsters and movies. Another is his early career, when he created a short film for Disney that, creatively, was his first big success, and professionally his first major failure. Meant to run before the re-release of Pinocchio, the original Frankenweenie, about a boy who reanimates his dead dog, was deemed too dark and weird, and shelved for years.

Today Burton sees the release of a new, feature-length version of Frankenweenie in which the characters are gloriously rendered via stop-motion animation. The film is a nostalgia trip on many levels, but it is a loving one. Burton came to Fantastic Fest a couple weeks ago to present the film, and he and I sat down for a conversation about going back to your past, and the reliability of memory. Read More »

This is the first edition in a new regular series where I attempt to answer your questions about the film industry. We’ll be taking a look at the box office, forgotten Hollywood landmarks, the marketing process and more. Sometimes I’ll attempt to answer the question myself, and other times I will contact experts in the particular field to give a more detailed answer. Please feel free to send your questions to orfilms@gmail.com. I decided to start off this series with an easier question, and use it as a jumping-off point to delve into the more complex world of screen credits.

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In 1984 Tim Burton made a short called Frankenweenie, about a kid who uses Frankenstein-like science to bring his deceased pet back to life. Deemed too dark and family-unfriendly to release, the black and white short cost Burton his job at Disney, but ultimately turned into a sort of demo reel that helped him make Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. In the quarter-century that followed the ’84 short, we’ve seen Burton’s friendly-goth style become hugely popular, and now Disney is bankrolling a feature-length remake of Frankenweenie. This new film is in 3D, but animated with stop-motion, and it is still shot in black and white.

Check out the first stills from the film below. Read More »