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 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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XXX: The Return of Xander Cage Finds A New Director

Xander Cage

Is there really a demand for a second xXx sequel? Last year it was announced that Michael Ferris and John Brancato (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Net, Catwoman) were to write the screenplay for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, the third film in the series which would re-team director Rob Cohen and actor Vin Diesel. But when Cohen dropped out to ruin a possible much better film direct Medieval, we assumed that the film had fallen back into development hell. Not so…

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Terminator Salvation

McG tells our friends at Collider that the Terminator Salvation DVD will likely have 30 to 40 minutes of deleted scenes. We know about the now infamous Moon Bloodgood topless scene, and after the jump, we’ll talk about the alternative ending, but McG also says “There are great long takes of Connor giving speeches, evoking Sarah Connor that we ultimately lifted because I didn’t want it to feel that he was dependent on the voice of his mother to find his leadership.”

Remember how McG said a few months back that the ending of the film would polarize fans? Well apparently that ending is no longer in the film.

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jonathan nolan credited

Earlier this week, we noticed that screenwriter Jonathan Nolan was not credited on the official “Written By” credits on the Terminator Salvation website. This seemed odd considering how much director McG played up the Dark Knight screenwriter’s role in the film (even referred to Jonathan as “the lead writer of the film.”) When asked at Comic Con if Nolan would receive screenwriting credit for his work, McG responded “I don’t know how the WGA rules work but honest to goodness, we did the heaviest lifting with Jonah.” The Playlist has noticed that the official standee for the film (seen partly above) includes Nolan in the list of credits. So is he in or out?
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I was looking at the official website for Terminator Salvation, and found myself looking at the credit list on the bottom of the site. Yeah, the PG-13 MPAA logo is there, but we already confirmed the rating to be true. What I noticed was that the official “written by” credits for the film have been awarded to John Brancato and Michael Ferris.

This is interesting because McG has been touting substantial rewrites by The Dark Knight screenwriter Jonathan Nolan and Crash scribe Paul Haggis in interviews and convention appearances. We know that Haggis did a rewrite and that Jonah was brought on to do an overhaul of the script in an effort to convince Christian Bale to come on board  the project. Nolan was also supposedly on set for most of the production, doing rewrites scene by scene. At a press conference at Comic Con 2008, McG even referred to Jonathan as “the lead writer of the film.” When asked if Nolan would receive screenwriting credit for his work, McG responded “I don’t know how the WGA rules work but honest to goodness, we did the heaviest lifting with Jonah.”

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Michael Ferris and John Brancato are in early talks to write the screenplay for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, the third film in the series which re-teams hack director Rob Cohen and robot turned actor Vin Diesel. Ferris and Brancato made a name for themselves with David Fincher’s The Game, but are probably best known for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Net, Catwoman, Primeval and Terminator Salvation. Yeah, not exactly a good track record, not that there was any hopes for a third XXX film in the first place.
On the other hand, at least it can’t be any worse than xXx 2: The Next Level.

In quick defense of Terminator Salvation, Ferris and Brancato will likely only get story credit on the final film with some sort of screenwriting credit going to David C Wilson and Jonathan Nolan.

Sylvester Stallone’s Death Wish Remake

Death WishJust got back from LA, and caught the super special screening of There Will Be Blood last night in San Francisco (more on that later). But for right now I’m going to attempt to catch up on some of the news items I missed in the last 24 hours. First up…

Sylvester Stallone is going direct and star in a remake Death Wish for MGM. The original 1974 film starred Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, a New York Architect and bleeding-heart liberal whose world is suddenly torn apart after the murder of his wife and the rape of his daughter. Kersey returns to New York City with a vengeance against crime, becoming a vigilante who kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark. The film was based on a novel by Brian Garfield, which not-so-coincidently is the same author of Death Sentence, which was adapted to the big screen by James Wan earlier this year. Death Wish spawned four sequels, none of which are said to be any good.

Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins scribes Michael Ferris and John Brancato have been hired to write the script (presumably after the writers strike ends, whenever that may be).

I love a vigilante film more than the next guy but I’m not quite sure the guys who wrote Terminator 3 are the right guys to remake this type of film. And while I’m not totally against Sly (hell, I LOVED Rocky Balboa), I think he can only work in certain movies and certain situations. And there is no guarantee that some of those movies will even be good (which seems to be the case with Rambo 4, again, I could be wrong). And I must admit that if handed right, this is the perfect film for Stallone. But it nights to be done gritty, and not over the top.

source: Variety