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    Doug Liman in Final Negotiations to Direct 'Gambit'

    It was a little under four weeks ago that Doug Liman's name popped up as a possibility to direct Fox's X-Men spinoff, Gambit, starring Channing Tatum.

    Word was that Tatum himself was pursuing the Edge of Tomorrow director to helm the project, which had recently lost it's initial director, Rupert Wyatt (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).

    At the time, I cited how I thought it was unlikely Liman would take the gig for two major reasons:

    1) The director's reportedly strenuous filming style as he likes to change scenes around from what's written in the script, sometimes completely (which studios obviously aren't a fan of when you're working with their money). 2) The film's less than a one year release date of October 7th, 2016, a daunting task for any filmmaker.

    Well, seems I thought wrong on this as Liman is now in 'final negotiations' to helm the project after taking several meetings with execs at Fox, the most recent being Thursday.

    While there's no official announcement (yet), I'm willing to bet one of the concessions to get Liman onboard was to push the fim's release date to 2017, specifically June 9th, 2017, a date which Fox currently has Fantastic Four 2 slated for. I had made the point previously that in order to not only deliver a good movie but give any director - Liman or not - a chance to breathe during production, that less than one year to release had to be changed. Fantastic Four was one of the biggest failures - both critically and commercially - for any comic book film, ever. There's no way that thing gets a sequel, let alone one that releases just two year's after the first. Therefore, that opens up the date for Gambit. Fox already has X-Men: Apocalypse opening next May, they don't need a spin-off opening less than six months later.

    Overall though, it's pretty exciting to see Liman coming onboard. He's a talented director who knows how to make great action movies with characters you actually care about (look no further than Edge of Tomorrow). He recently wrapped production on another Tom Cruise film, Mena, a drama centering on drug trafficking during the 1980s. Its release is expected sometime next year.

    Along with Tatum as the lead character of Remy LeBeau AKA Gambit (a New Orleans-based mutant who can manipulate kinetic energy and fights with a staff and a deck of playing cards), Spectre actress Lea Seydoux will play the female lead of Belladonna Boudreaux AKA Bella (also a New Orleans-based mutant who can astrally project herself and fire off blasts of plasma).

    Gambit is expected to begin production early next year.

    Source: The Hollywood Reporter


    What Does the Future Hold for James Bond?

    Here we are in what has become a familiar place for the James Bond franchise: a crossroads.

    With the recent release of the 24th Bond film, Spectre, and the 4th outing for one, Daniel Craig, discussion has been rampant about where the 007 franchise goes next.

    We have an aging star pushing 50 (Daniel Craig is 47), a lukewarm, recent entry into the franchise (Spectre) and a dilemma of how to make this legendary character - who has been a stalwart in cinemas since 1962's Dr. No starring Sean Connery - relevant to modern day audiences.

    If this situation sounds at all recognizable, it's because it's eerily similar to where the franchise was more than a decade ago.

    Back in 2002, Pierce Brosnan had just appeared in what would be his final entry as James Bond in Die Another Day. It was also the actor's 4th outing at the character and he himself was pushing 50 as well at the age of 49. The film itself had gotten a lukewarm reception and the heads of Eon Productions -  Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli - knew they had to go in a new, different direction with the character.

    Enter GoldenEye director Martin Campbell and little-known British actor Daniel Craig to reboot the series with 2006's darker, grittier Casino Royale (which relied on no gadgets and all muscle) and the rest, they say, is history.

    Almost a decade later though, we seem to be at a point where this recent era for James Bond may in fact be over.

    Along with all the preceding points I've made regarding the state of the franchise, there's also the matter of the distribution rights being up for grabs.

    Columbia Pictures (under the SONY flag) has co-distributed the films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) since the aforementioned Casino Royale (another comparison to the post-Brosnan era as a new studio was brought in to distribute) but their rights have now expired following the release of Spectre.

    Many studios are currently eager to win the bidding to get James Bond - including Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Universal - but nothing's been set in stone yet.

    There's also the matter of whichever studio winning the rights to realize the difficulty in making a profit off a 007 entry. 2012's Skyfall made over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, but Columbia Pictures only made $57 million off the project. That was all they got after making up the production and marketing costs, on top of exhibitors getting their share and well as filmmakers involved and Eon Productions themselves. It's why reports have put Spectre at needing to reach $650 million worldwide just to turn a profit, it's pricey.

    So you're probably wondering what I make of all this (or maybe not) and want to know my prediction for the James Bond franchise?

    Well, for starters, as much as I love Daniel Craig in the role, I think he's had his swan song (though I imagine he wishes the results for his final outing would have been better). As far as the franchise's co-distribution rights with MGM goes, I think Warner Bros. will be the studio to get it. They currently have a good relationship with MGM with their upcoming release of Creed, and word is that their studio head Kevin Tsujihara is the frontrunner to win the bidding by Eon Productions. Finally, with all that said, I think we'll be getting a new, rebooted James Bond once again, likely in 2018 or 2019.

    I think the character can take a cue out of the Mission: Impossible franchise in keeping things action-packed, but at the same time fun and dramatic. Mission: Impossible - Rouge Nation was a perfect balance of this, and I thought was much better and well done than Spectre. Hey, maybe get that film's writer/director Christoper McQuarrie to do the new film, it could definitely work.

    As for the new James Bond, I have no clue who gets the role, though I will state this: it's too damn bad Henry Cavill is Superman. That guy fits the bill as a classic James Bond perfectly. He also has a great relationship with Warner Bros. as well and was ironically runner-up to Daniel Craig for Casino Royale but was deemed to young at the time (22 years-old). Anyway, until that day comes, we'll just have to wait and see what happens going forward.

    James Bond's not going anywhere, he's just in a period of transition...again.

    Source: Deadline


    Arnold Schwarzenegger's Revenge Drama '478' Begins Filming Next Month 

    Arnold Schwarzenegger turned a lot of heads this past year with one of his films, and no, I'm not talking about Terminator Genisys.

    It was for Maggie, his small scale zombie flick that gave the former Governor a chance to show off his acting chops. While the film did little business and got mixed reviews, many agreed that Arnold played the role of a subtle, grieving father very, very well.

    With that, the big guy is staying on the dramatic train with the dark thriller, 478. In the film, Arnold will play a man whose wife and child are killed in a plane crash, only to enact revenge on the air traffic controller responsible for the tragedy.

    While the project may sound cliche in a 'revenge film' sense, the script is apparently very well written and sophisticated from screenwrtier Javier Guillon who wrote the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer, Enemy, from a couple years back.

    Behind the camera will be director Elliot Lester, whose debut film was HBO's Nightingale, starring David Oyelowo. It premiered this past May in earned strong reviews from critics.

    Acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) will produce.

    I think is a really great move by Schwarzenegger. Obviously, he's not the action icon and box office king he once was, but the man always had the will and work ethic to be a solid actor. I think by focusing more on dramatic fare during this now latter part of his career, he can really turn into something new, almost like the anti-Liam Neeson who went from dramatic actor to action star in the now latter part of his career.

    478 begins filming next month in Ohio

    Source: Deadline


    Mark Wahlberg's 'Six Billion Dollar Man' Getting Christmas 2017 Release

    Remember that campy 1970s show, The Six Million Dollar Man? You know, the one where the man gets seriously injured but only to have his limbs replaced with bionic parts so he can fight crime?

    Neither do I as I wasn't born yet.

    I have heard of the show though and always figured Hollywood would eventually try and make a modern day feature film out of it. Low and behold, that's seemingly turning out to be right.

    Almost a year ago, we heard Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg (who after next year's Deepwater Horizon and Mile 22 will have worked together three times, including 2013's Lone Survivor), were onboard to bring the famed TV show to the big screen, appropriately titled The Six Billion Dollar Man (got to account for inflation). Big time producer Harvey Weinstein was said to be producing the project.

    We hadn't heard anything for a while, but yesterday it as officially announced that the film will be getting a December 22, 2017 release date with filming to begin next September.

    Surprisingly though, Berg is mentioned nowhere in the press release as Damián Szifron (writer/director of last year's Oscar nominated foreign language film, Wild Tales) will helm the project, having already written the film's screenplay.

    Wahlberg will also produce alongside Weinstein as well.

    I actually think this may not turn out half bad. The premise is certainly interesting enough where it can be portrayed in a realistic manner, given our modern technology. Not to mention, Wahlberg is one of the most solid box office stars currently working so having him lead the way certainly shows confidence. A Christmas theatrical release doesn't hurt either.

    You can read below below for the film's official press release:

    TWC-Dimension announced today that the action film The Six Billion Dollar Man, starring Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Lone Survivor, Transformers: Age of Extinction), is set to be released on December 22, 2017. Oscar-nominated and acclaimed filmmaker Damián Szifron (Wild Tales) wrote the screenplay and has now been confirmed to direct. Principal photography will commence in September of 2016. Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Bob Weinstein will produce the film.

    The Six Billion Dollar Man is based on the classic television series “The Six Million Dollar Man” and the novel “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin. The story follows military officer, Steve Austin, who becomes part of a top secret government program after a horrific accident leaves him near death. With the help of cutting edge technology, Steve is brought back to life with extraordinary abilities, making him the world’s first truly bionic man.

    “I’m thrilled to assemble ‘The Six Billion Dollar Man’ for the big screen with the likes of Bob Weinstein and Damián Szifron,” said Wahlberg. “We look forward to creating a Steve Austin for the 21st century.”

    “Writing the screenplay was such a fantastic ride and embarking on this journey with Mark, Bob and Stephen to take this story to a whole new level is simply spectacular,” said Szifron. “Growing up, these kind of films left an indelible mark on me and now it feels so good to be making one.”

    “Damián’s unique vision and longtime passion for this story will usher in an new take on this series for a new generation,” said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films. “We are excited to release the film during the holidays to bring audiences an explosive reimagining of this cultural icon.”

    Overseeing production for TWC-Dimension are Matthew Signer, EVP of Production and Creative Affairs, and Keith Levine, SVP of Production and Development.

    Source: TWC-Dimension


    Ben Affleck's 'Live By Night' Finally Starts Filming

    After Ben Affleck's Argo won the Oscar for Best Picture back in early 2013, he quickly set his next directorial effort to be Live By Night, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel of the same name.

    Live By Night tells the story of Joe Coughlin, the son of a Boston police captain who - during the 1920s - sets his sights on moving up the organized crime ladder, taking him from Boston, to Florida, to Cuba.

    Warner Bros. (who Affleck has worked with since 2010's The Town), originally set a December 25th, 2015 release date for the film, but then, things began to change.

    Affleck was offered the lead role in David Fincher's Gone Girl (which released last year), and of course, he accepted the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in next year's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

    These developments created a logjam in the actor/writer/director's schedule, pushing back Live By Night to October 7, 2016, then again to an unknown 2017 date.

    Well finally, Affleck has gotten back behind the camera and took to social media two days ago to officially announce that production has begun on the film, posting an image of the first shot on camera.

    Not only is Affleck directing the project, but he's also playing the lead role of Joe Coughlin, as well as having written the film's screenplay.

    Live By Night also stars Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Sienna Miller and Chris Messina.

    The full synopsis of the novel is listed below. We'll keep you posted on more regarding this project.

    Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

    Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

    But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt. 

    Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

    Source: Twitter - Ben Affleck


    First Image Debuts from Jeff Nichols' 'Loving', Starring Joel Edgerton

    I know it's a popular custom to post stories about mainstream films being made in Hollywood nowadays (comic books movies, sequels, reboots, remakes, etc.) but sometimes, it's quite important to pay attention to the smaller, less known films being made. And usually, these films turn out to be quite good too.

    The producers behind the interracial marriage drama, Loving, have debuted their first image from the film, which stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving. The Lovings were an interracial couple who - after being married in June of 1958 - were arrested, thrown in jail and exiled from their home state of Virginia. For the next nine years, the committed couple fought for their marriage and their right to return home.

    The film is inspired by the Nancy Buirski documentary, The Loving Story, and is being written and directed by Jeff Nichols, who has quite the start to his film career with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Mud and next year's, Midnight Special.

    Nichols longtime collaborator, Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) will once again have a role in this film, playing Grey Villet, the LIFE Magazine photographer who shot what are thought of as 'iconic' images of the Lovings in 1965 (I''ve posted a couple below).

    Nick Kroll (TV's The League) will play Bernard S. Cohen (the political figure who argued for the Lovings before the Supreme Court), Marton Csokas (The Equalizer) will play Sheriff Brooks (the man who arrested the Lovings), Jon Bass (Big Time in Hollywood, FL) will play Philip Hirschkop (another attorney who represented the Lovings in court) and Bill Camp (Black Mass) will play Frank Beazley (a police officer during the Loving's case), respectively.

    Filming is taking place in Richmond, Virginia.

    I know it's premature to even state this, but I think this project might get some awards buzz when it is eventually released. It's got a great filmmaker in Nichols (who's on the cusp hitting it big), an actor on a roll right now in Edgerton (who just starred in, produced, wrote and directed this past summer's hit, The Gift) and centers on a very sensitive civil rights topic in interracial marriage, which the Academy Awards voters always love.

    I'll keep up on any future news regarding this project.

    Source: The Wrap


    Doug Liman To Direct 'Gambit'?

    Just last month we reported that Rupert Wyatt (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) had left the director's chair for Gambit. While it was officially stated it had to do with a scheduling conflict for another project, buzz behind-the-scenes was that Wyatt was clashing with the studio over his vision for the film (with this being 20th Century Fox, there's a shocker).

    We haven't heard anything on the project since, but just last night it was reported that none other than Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) is being courted by star Channing Tatum himself to come aboard and helm: 

    That tweet was sent out by The Wrap's Jeff Sneider, responding to a Deadline article where it was mentioned Liman has the inside track to direct the project.

    Personally, I doubt this all happens. Doug Liman is well-known to be a great director but an absolute nightmare to work with for a studio. His films always have lengthy and rough productions as he constantly changes scenes from what's written in the scripts to try something new (though if you look at his results, especially with last year's Edge of Tomorrow, it'd be hard to argue he doesn't know what he's doing).

    On top of that, Gambit is set for release next October 7th, 2016. That is less than a year away. There is no way Liman takes on a film with deadline in under a year. Any director would be crazy to do that, and considering the problems this film has already had, I'd be willing to bet Fox delays this thing until 2017. You don't need an X-Men related film coming out next year with X-Men: Apocalypse hitting in May. Give it Fantastic Four 2's June 9th, 2017 release date because there's no way that one moves forward after the reboot's awful reception this past summer. Plus, it gives any director - Liman or not - an extra 8 months to breathe in getting this thing made.

    Anyway, we'll see how this all shakes out. Until then, keep your eye on the site as we'll report on any further developments on this project as it becomes available.

    Source: Jeff Sneider Twitter, Deadline


    Is 20th Century Fox Trying to Make a 'Die Hard 6' Prequel?

    Other than Terminator, Die Hard is the other once great action franchise that has been completely ruined by modern-day Hollywood filmmaking.

    Back in February of 2013, 20th Century Fox released the 5th entry in the franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard. It centered on our hero, John McClane (played once again by a now tired and bored looking Bruce Willis) heading to Russia to save his estranged son Jack (played by the nice guy who I'm sure tries hard but sucks in everything, Jai Courtney). The McClane father-son duo get involved with the wrong Russian bad guys and well...chaos ensues from there. Safe to say, the film was an absolute disaster (despite being R-rated). It had terrible writing, shittier directing and probably some of the worst editing I've ever seen in an action film. It was a far cry from the original, all-time classic Die Hard, and made 2007's 4th entry, Live Free or Die Hard, look like Citizen Kane.

    While the film was ripped by critics (14% on Rotten Tomatoes), it still made a sizable amount of box office worldwide with just over $300 million (but only about $70 million of that came from the U.S.). It was thought that after the film's terrible reception that we may not see another Die Hard film for a while. Well, thanks to our lovely, current day Hollywood, we might be getting another one soon, and man does it sound awful.

    A new report suggests that 20th Century Fox is making deals with both Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (best known for the Transformers film franchise...Jesus), to develop a prequel of sorts which would still involve Willis' now older John McClane, but center on a flashback story set in 1979 when the character first became a gritty New York cop and learned how to...die hard.

    Are. You. Kidding. Me.

    This has to be one of the absolute worst ideas I have ever read in my over 6 years freelance writing about the filmmaking industry. First off, why would you now bring in a younger actor to play a character that has been world renowned and recognized as Bruce Willis? Say what you will about the guy and his current 'laziness' in Hollywood, but he IS John McClane. Secondly, we don't need to know how the character learned to 'die hard' because we already found that out in the original Die Hard! You want an origin story, just go back and re-watch the 1988 classic and greatest action film ever made.


    I sincerely hope the studio execs and filmmakers behind this thing realize what a terrible idea it is. Apparently, Willis is being kept in the loop regarding this project but as we all know nowadays, he'll do anything for a paycheck. While I enjoyed Live Free or Die Hard, Len Wiseman is not a filmmaker, period.

    My suggestion (and I know this story and rumor has been floating around the web for years) is to bring back director John McTiernan (Die Hard, Die Hard with a Vengeance) and set the 6th (and FINAL) entry in Japan on the 30th anniversary of the Nakatomi Plaza terrorist/hostage takeover in L.A. The company flies in a now retired John McClane along with friends and family (so you bring back everyone from previous films) to honor his heroic efforts three decades ago, and from there...chaos ensues. You can make the villain a Gruber once again (maybe Hans' son), have McClane end up back in a high-rise Nakatomi building only this time in Japan, and make the series come full circle with McClane one last time saving all his friends and family from terrorists on his own. It is the absolute best and most perfect way to end the Die Hard franchise but will more than likely not happen because it makes too much sense for Hollywood.

    I digress.

    We'll (sadly) keep you posted on further developments of this project as it becomes available. It the meantime, I might go watch the Die Hard with Vengeance and think about what once was.

    Source: Deadline


    Watch Hilarious Deleted Scene from 'The Martian'

    If you haven't seen The Martian yet, I don't know what you're waiting for.

    It's gotten glowing reviews, been #1 at the box office going on two weeks straight now, and is starting to get some serious Oscar buzz due to it's broad appeal and critical acclaim.

    While the film had many funny moments translated from the book to screen, there were also a lot that were cut. It's unknown how many of them were actually filmed, but above we have our first look at one of the deleted scenes from the film.

    It's basically just Matt Damon's Mark Watney character doing one of his video logs while conducting experiments for his fellow astronauts, but damn does he get some good zingers in there to poke fun at each of his crew mates.

    Enjoy the clip if you've already seen The Martian, and if you haven't, well, maybe this will convince you to go see the film like everyone else.

    When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

    Source: 20th Century Fox


    F. Gary Gray Expected to Direct 'Furious 8'

    After a well publicized back and forth on who will direct Furious 8 over the past couple weeks, it looks like both Universal and Vin Diesel have settled on their choice: F. Gary Gray.

    The Straight Outta Compton helmer reportedly took a meeting with Diesel last night (as the actor posted the above picture to his Facebook page) and word is that they have both agreed to work together on the 8th entry of the Fast & Furious franchise.

    This is quite a big deal for Gray. His recent commercial and critical success with the NWA biopic has made him a hot commodity in Hollywood and certainly with Universal. He was their top choice to helm the follow-up to Furious 7 but had to get Diesel to sign-off first. Ironically, both Diesel and Gray have worked together in the past on 2003's A Man Apart.

    While previous directors in the street racing franchise were bandied about to direct the 8th entry (James Wan, Justin Lin, Rob Cohen), some proved unavailable due to scheduling conflicts while others either weren't interested in returning or the studio wasn't high on bringing back. At one point it was thought Diesel might direct himself but obviously that was not going to happen with such a massive undertaking for a novice director.

    Pre-production is already underway on Furious 8 with principal photography expected to begin next year for a release on April 14th, 2017.

    Source: Deadline

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