James McTeigue Directing ‘Message From the King’

Briefly: James McTeigue came up working for the Wachowskis and worked in their shadow to some extent while directing V For Vendetta and Ninja Assassin. But in the past couple years he has started to forge his own path. First he shot the literary thriller The Raven, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, and has that film in post-production now.

To follow up that period piece, Mr. McTeigue is now set to direct a modern thriller, called Message From the King. Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell (writers of Unknown) scripted, and Deadline describes the plot as following “Jacob King, an enigmatic outsider who comes to LA to investigate the sudden disappearance of his sister.” FilmNation is producing and plans to shoot the film this fall.

Briefly: Once upon a time, an action star was enough to make a huge audience want to see a broad array of films. That model is changed now, as audiences follow concepts and franchises more than stars. So Vin Diesel is the new sort of action star, where he can help propel the Fast and the Furious franchise to billion-dollar status. But the Riddick films? Not so much. So for an encore to the last two F/F movies, Vin Diesel seems to be looking towards action movies that give off a similar vibe.

Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, who wrote the Liam Neeson thriller Unknown, have sold a pitch to Vin Diesel’s company, in conjunction with new outfit The Ink Factory, for an as-yet untitled action thriller. Not much to go on, but along with The Machine could this be something that will hew a bit closer to the context in which audiences seem to prefer seeing Diesel? If so, maybe that will help him make that third Riddick movie.  [Variety]