Rowan Joffe, screenwriter of the underrated The American and of 28 Weeks Later, is now working with director Mike Newell on an adaption of the WWII double-agent story Agent Zigzag, based on the book of the same name by Ben MacIntyre.

The subject of the book and the film is Eddie Chapman, dashing and charming criminal, conman and spy. He’s the classic image of the fast-living spy. Recruited by the German Secret Service at the outset of WWII, he was a major asset for the Nazis, but was also secretly working for Britain, as Agent Zigzag. His story sounds like perfect movie material.

A bit of info on the book is after the break. Read More »

Mike Newell will follow up Prince of Persia, not quite a modern classic, with a new take on a genuine classic and perennial enemy of disinterested English classes across America. He’ll direct a new version of Great Expectations as part of a year-long celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens‘ birth, in 2012. Read More »

Yesterday it was reported that Neil Marshall, Mike Newell and David Slade are on the short list of filmmakers being considered to direct Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper circling the lead roles. The Wrap now adds a couple more interesting names to the list:

Jonathan Demme has read the script and wants to direct the movie, but he’s not the only one interested in the job, as TheWrap has learned that Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”), Mike White (“Year of the Dog”) and the “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller are also in the mix.

I can understand Demme’s interest, but Matt Reeves seems like a more natural fit coming off of Let Me In. Mike White’s humor seems like an odd match for this property, and his directorial debut Year of the Dog left me thinking he should stick to screenwriting. I have yet to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, despite constant encouragement to do so from friends. I’ve heard it’s hilarious. I really liked Lord/Miller’s animated television series Clone High U.S.A., but does their cartoon-like sensibility fit this period zombie film (even if it is a ridiculous comic take?).

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As unbelievable as the notion of Darren Aronofsky directing Wolverine 2 might be, there’s something more difficult to swallow going on in Hollwood: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is becoming a hot property. Initially set to be directed by David O. Russell with Natalie Portman starring (she is still producing) the film now needs a new creative team. So, start the ‘shortlist’ compilation. Directors such as Neil Marshall and Mike Newell are reportedly in the mix, and Scarlett Johansson has been mentioned as a possible star. Read More »


Prince of Persia International PosterIn this week’s /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley debate whether or not Michael Bay is the right person to take over Ninja Turtles, discuss the artistic ethics of “fixing” an older film, and remember the passing of Dennis Hopper.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Splice.

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Prince of Persia

My biggest question going into Mike Newell’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (in theaters everywhere today) was whether or not Newell and Jerry Bruckheimer had successfully transcended the oft-disparaged genre of “video game movies” and managed to cobble together a satisfying cinematic adventure. The answer? Kind of, but not really. Hit the jump for some of my brief thoughts, and feel free to share what you thought of the film in the comments.
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Italian-German reporter/comedian Daniele Rizzo decided to interview the cast and crew of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time dressed as Jake Gyllenhaal‘s character, and pretending to be the long lost son of Tamina and Dastan. The results vary depending on who he is interviewing, but Sir Ben Kingsley really plays along with the gag while Gyllenhaal can’t stop laughing. Game creator and screenwriter Jordan Mechner also makes an appearance. Watch the clip after the jump.
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Prince of Persia

Walt Disney Pictures has released a new movie trailer for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time on IGN. The new trailer incorporates some of the new special effects footage from the Superbowl spot and new “Creating of an Epic” featurette, as well as a lot of never before seen sequences.

I’m still not digging the over-the-top voice over from Gemma Arterton, and am a bit worried about the story. But the action sequences are looking bigger, more elaborate, and more epic with every new spot. I’m also really loving the rewinding time effect. I’ll have a chance to see this film in a couple weeks, and I promise to report back with my thoughts afterwards. You can watch it now, embedded after the jump. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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When I look at director Mike Newell’s filmography, I’m impressed by its breadth, depth, and quality. It’s difficult for me to imagine that the same man who made Donnie Brasco also made Four Weddings and a Funeral, and also made Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yet despite (or perhaps because of) his eclectic choices, Newell has been able to craft films that always seem able to bring out a certain sense of authenticity in their characters and in the relationships between them. In a couple of months, Newell will tackle another big-budget adaptation, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In the past, videogame adaptations have had a pretty spotty record in terms of quality, but I’m holding out hope that Sands of Time will be one of the best videogame-to-film adaptations we’ve seen yet.

I had the opportunity recently to chat with Mr. Newell for a lengthy conversation/interview. Our discussion spanned topics far and wide; we discussed the early days of Mike’s career, why he enjoyed working in film over TV, the tax benefits of working with George Lucas, the “English-ness” he tried to bring to the Harry Potter series, how he chooses his diverse projects, and why he cast Jake Gyllenhaal in The Prince of Persia. You can read the interview below, and/or listen to the audio via the /Filmcast.

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Mike Newell to Direct The Terminal Spy

terminal spy

Mike Newell (Prince of Persia, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Donnie Brasco) has signed on the write and direct a yet-to-be-officially-titled feature film based on the book The Terminal Spy by Alan Cowell, the New York Times’ London bureau chief when the events narrated in this book reached their climax.. The 448-page book is about the mysterious death of ex-Russian KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in 2006 and while laying in his London hospital bed, personally accused then-Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind his murder.No cast has been attached to the project, which is said to be in “an advanced stage of development” over at Warner Bros.

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