LEGO movie builds up steam with announcement of directors

Will these guys be the next to make it big in Hollywood? (Source: Dunechaser)

After two years of blogging about upcoming movies, I thought that I’d seen all of the most ludicrous things you could adapt into a movie actually get the green light and funding to become a movie. Yes, even the upcoming Candyland and Battleship films.

Until this exclusive from Borys Kit over at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog which announces that there will be a movie based on the LEGO franchise, that is.

According to Kit, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) are in final negotiations to direct a blended live-action/animation movie featuring the ubiquitous building bricks for Warner Bros., under the supervision of producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee with Jill Wilfert handling the money and creative contributions on the LEGO side. And there is bound to be lots of creative influence from the LEGO folks, who are shrewdly and wisely protective of their brand, trademark, and copyright.

There is no word yet what the plot will be, but Kit reveals that Lord and Miller will be working on this film the second they’re done with the upcoming remake of 21 Jump Street .

Marvel Studios starts looking at Dr. Strange

According to Mike Fleming in an exclusive for the New York branch of, screenwriters Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer have been tapped to write the script adaptation of the Marvel comic Dr. Strange.

This isn’t the first geek-oriented property that Donnelly and Oppenheimer have been involved with. The duo, which was credited along with two other writers for 2005’s Sahara, had also been hired by Columbia Pictures to work on the script for the adaptation of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and have also worked on the upcoming remake of Conan.

Fleming opined that the property would be the first superhero property that would be made into a movie under the studio’s new arrangement with the Walt Disney Company, something which geeks everywhere will be watching with a wary eye.

Inside the Lines: Romance author invades comics world, and other stories

  • In the “Damn, they stole my idea” department, New York Times best-selling romance novelist Janet Evanovich and her daugher Alex teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to create a graphic novel called Troublemaker featuring Alex Barnaby, a female racecar mechanic whose vantage point as a raceday spotter leads her into mystery and intrigue. The art is by Joëlle Jones (Dr. Horrible) and volume 1 will be out just days before the annual Nerd Prom in San Diego this July. (Source:
  • American manga artist Amy Reeder (Fool’s Gold) has “graduated” to the big times and will be penciling DC Comics’ upcoming ongoing Batwoman series starting with the second story arc which will see the light of day in early 2011. She’ll be working on scripts by artist/co-writer J.H. Williams III, whose pencils will kick off the series later this year. I’m rather hopeful about this prospect of seeing more female pencilers working on “Big Three” books, and really hope that she (and the book) does well. (Source:
  • After taking heat and a lot of licks for his underperforming directorial debut for The Spirit, comics artist Frank Miller is returning to the medium that made him great and revealed some of the first pieces of art for Xerxes, a 300 prequel story about the leader of ancient Persia who was the antagonist in the numerically-named film/comics series. Scheduled to be published by Dark Horse Comics in 2011, the ouroboros will begin its turn and if director Zach Snyder likes it enough, he said he’ll option it for a live-action adaptation. (Source: The L.A. Times Hero Complex blog)
  • Quick Cuts: Paul Rudd is an Idiot Brother, and other stories

    • Paul Rudd has just signed a deal to be the star of the Jesse Peretz-directed comedy called My Idiot Brother, about a sunshine-spewing optimist who brightens up the lives of his three sisters and overbearing mother. Written by Peretz’ real-life sister Evgenia and her writing partner David Schisgall, the film will start production in New York in July, even if the sisters haven’t been cast yet. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)
    • Dustin Lance Black (Milk) is turning his writer’s and director’s eye towards comics; he will be doing both for the live-action adaptation of 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man. Originally a graphic novel from Dark Horse by Matt Kindt, the plot will concern the relationship between a daughter and her father–who just happens to be suffering from a strange medical condition where he can’t stop growing. Warner Bros. will be producing/financing. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)
    • James McAvoy (Wanted) has been signed to star in X-Men: First Class as Professor Xavier; still no word who will be his star-crossed Magneto. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)
    • “Community” star Donald Glover has started a grass-roots campaign to get himself an audition to be in the Spider-Man 4 movie and all I can think of is that scene from the very first episode of “Boston Legal” where the Reverend Al Sharpton gave Alan Shore his rabbit by giving a speech in the courtroom which featured this line: “Give us an African-American Spider Man!” Glover, if you’re reading this, your people totally need to talk to Sharpton’s people (and the “Boston Legal” writing team). (Source: Donald Glover’s personal blog)

    R.I.P.: Actor Gary Coleman, 42, dies from brain hemorage

    On Wednesday evening, “Diff’rent Strokes” star Gary Coleman fell at his Utah home and was rushed to the hospital. According to the CNN report from two hours ago, he is suffering from a brain hemmorage and is on life support.

    Already, Wikipedia is saying that he’s dead, but I believe I’m going to wait a few hours before we report any further.

    Our best thoughts are going out to his family and friends right now.

    Update: It is with a heavy heart that we type these words to inform you that according to the NY Times blog, USA Today, and The Washington Post, among the other Internet articles posted about this, that Gary Coleman has passed away today, at the age of 42.

    An entire generation of geeks grew up with Coleman when he starred in the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes” as a Harlem youth being raised along with his brother by an rich widower from 1978 to 1986. Other than his signature catchphrase (“Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”) one other thing that Coleman was known for was his short stature, caused by a congenital kidney defect.

    After the show’s ended, Coleman found it difficult to get further work in Hollywood and in 1999, he sued his parents over the mismanagement of his trust fun and won. He never really regained the kind of public adoration he had as a child actor, though guest appearances in several TV shows and an unsuccessful run for the governorship of California kept him in the public eye.

    Even further exposure was gained when book-writer Jeff Whitty and composers, Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx made Coleman a character in their hit Broadway play Avenue Q, depicting him as a “former child actor” who’s now the superintendent of a run-down building somewhere in Manhattan. (Incidentally, the show’s reaction to his death can be read here.)

    Coleman is survived by his wife.

    Aidan Quinn leads actors into Exodus

    If there’s anything I really like about covering indie films, it is that indie films are where you need to look if you want to keep pace with trends in original storytelling.

    Picking up on where “Damages” left off in dealing with Ponzi scheme artists is screenwriter/producer R. Ellis Frazier who has assembled quite a cast for his feature directorial debut, The Exodus of Charlie Wright. Aidan Quinn will star, with Andy Garcia, Luke Goss, and Mario Van Peebles in supporting roles.

    According to Jay A. Fernandez at The Hollywood Reporter, here’s the plot:

    The story centers on Charlie (Quinn), a Los Angeles billionaire financial whiz who goes into self-imposed exile in Tijuana after his empire is revealed to have been a Ponzi scheme. While looking for the woman he abandoned there 25 years before, Charlie is pursued by a Mexican gangster (Garcia), a federal agent (Van Peebles) and thugs sent by a former client (Goss) looking to retrieve his money.

    Whereas “Damages”—which I am still slogging through on DVR, so if you spoil it for me, I will gladly kill you—is very firmly empathetic towards Ponzi scheme victims, by having his protagonist be the schemer I’m wondering exactly just how Frazier will be able to make his story palatable enough for studio heads who may have lost money in Bernie Madoff’s scheme which was revealed in March 2009 and which victims included such Hollywood luminaries as Stephen Spielberg and his Wunderkinder Foundation, Dreamworks CEO Jeffery Katzenberg and Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

    Perhaps the words “self-imposed exile” is key?

    Last-minute indie buys end this year’s Cannes

    Before the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or, was won by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his film called Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives on Saturday night, a flurry of activity sealed the deal for more indie films to get distribution here in the U.S., according to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Risky Business blog:

    • Altitude: Canadian comics artist Kaare Andrews (Astonishing X-Men) is the director of this supernatural thriller which pits a group of teens in a private plane against an unseen horror which threatens to ground them for good. Featuring Jessica Lowndes from the new “90210” series, Anchor Bay Entertainment picked up the U.S. distribution rights.
    • Des hommes et des dieux (aka Of Gods & Men): Sony Picture Classics nabbed the U.S., Australia and New Zealand distribution rights to this “based on a true story” film about Catholic monks lead by Lambert Wilson (the Merovingian in the two Matrix sequels) whose decision to stay within the increasingly dangerous Algerian countryside eventually cost seven of them their lives in 1996. Written/directed by Xavier Beauvois, the film also took home the Grand Prix.
    • Kaboom: The first-ever Queer Palm-winning (yes, I know, but that’s what the award is called) feature from indie darling Gregg Araki stars Thomas Dekker (“The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) as a freshman who trying to enjoy his first year in college (and his hot roommate named Thor) who stumbles into a freaky mystery after witnessing the murder of a mysterious redhead…or does he? It’s been picked up by IFC Films to be released sometime this year.
    • The Princess of Montpensier: A French film by Bertrand Tavernier, it revolves around an heiress (Mélanie Thierry) and the various men who fall in and out of love with her against the backdrop of a war-torn 16th century France. It’s based on the eponymous public domain novel, and will be distributed by IFC Films in the U.S. after its release this November in France.
    • Somos lo que hay (aka We Are What We Are): Just in case you ever wanted to feel empathy towards cannibals, screenwriter/producer Jorge Michel Grau’s directorial debut might be right up your alley as it revolves around a destitute family who only eats humans to survive, not because it gives them any particular pleasure. The horror/dark comedy has also been picked up by IFC Films for distribution.

    Ghost to get remake… in Japan?

    Though I am quick to enjoy a good “nerd rage” on the idea of yet another remake or readaptation being announced, I do have to say that the news that there will be a remake of the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore 1990s hit Ghost is making me just a little bit giddy–because it’s going to be in Japanese.

    From Cinema and Nippon—and our friends at—comes the news that Paramount Pictures Japan and Shochiku have handed over the reins of the Japanese remake to live-action drama director Taro Otani (“Gokusen”), and it sounds like they’re fast-tracking it, too with shooting to begin this June with a release in the fall. Taking on the Swayze role will be Korean actor Song Seung Hun while Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima will be stepping into Moore’s shoes.

    No word on whether or not producer Takashige Ichise (The Grudge) will be getting an Okinawan-style comedian to play the Whoopi Goldberg role.

    Anna Faris gives new leading man her Number

    Once off-track due to a problem in lead actor scheduling, the Anna Faris comedic vehicle What’s Your Number? may be back in the pipeline, thanks to Dave Annable. In a Hollywood Reporter exclusive, Borys Kit noted that the “Brothers and Sisters” star was in negotiations to start opposite Faris as her dream guy.

    The synopsis of the film goes like this: “Number centers on a woman (Faris) who treks through her sexual past to find Mr. Right, exploring the idea of sexual quotas and whether such numbers matter.”

    Number is adapted from Karyn Bosnak’s 20 Times a Lady by screenwriters Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden; Mark Mylod is the director. Also in the cast and previously announced are Joel McHale (“The Soup,” “Community”) who will be playing Faris’ boss, whom she sleeps with and which encounter kicks off the entire search.

    As a woman, I find it very difficult to “bring teh funny” as it were, and any time someone laughs at anything I say or write, it always gives me a little thrill. That’s why I really appreciate female comic actresses like Anna Faris because she’s able to be funny and pretty at the same time in movies that while aren’t my typical cup of tea, I’m not going to outright dismiss because one should always be open to the possibility of enjoying something outside one’s comfort zone.

    Also, in doing research for this article, I think I’ve fallen in love a little with novelist Karyn Bosnak, whose blog entry about Joel McHale’s addition to the cast you can find here and contains this enthusiastic endorsement of the leading lady:

    As for Anna Faris… Now, I’m not just saying this to kiss ass, and if she was only so-so during the reading I would gush about how cute she is (which she is—she’s petite and gorgeous), but my God… she is so freaking talented. With all due respect to the amazing supporting cast, Anna Faris could be in this movie alone talking to plants and it would still be freaking awesome. I mean, she owns this character and drives this script. Like, anyone could read it aloud and it would be funny. But when Anna reads it, she brings an element to it that you just can’t write. It’s like magic. She’s like magic.

    For Bosnak’s sake, I really hope that this movie does well, and not just because she’s a fellow New Yorker transplant.

    Sir Anthony Hopkins to play a baddie in Arabian Nights

    In an exclusive from Borys Kit at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog, Anthony Hopkins is in final negotiations to play the villain in The Arabian Nights.

    Hopkins’ role will be that of “Pharotu, an evil sorcerer who killed Sinbad’s love, a mermaid, and is looking to amass more magic for himself.” And since previously announced star Liam Hemsworth will not be playing Sinbad, this makes me wonder if the plot of this movie will feature numerous villains, one for each member of the Hitchhiker Heroes.

    At our monthly midnight screening series at the Landmark Sunshine in New York City, two of the other writers and I were talking about what happens when novels are adapted into movies and the old chestnut about how short stories make the best movie adaptations (Minority Report, Stand By Me).

    I firmly believe that it’s just as tough to adapt mythology into a movie, and its $432 million worldwide gross aside, Clash of the Titans—and its original—is only enjoyable as a movie if you completely turn off your brain when it comes to everything you know about the original source material.

    Which makes it hard for us geeks to enjoy a movie sometimes, but hey… there are some prices that are okay to pay.

    Related Posts: Liam Hemsworth to join Arabian Nights