Eccleston in 'Thor 2', AMC goes to 'Area 51', Black & Abrams' 'Earthquake' & 'FF' reboot delayed?
While he helped re-launch Doctor Who in 2005, Christopher Eccleston’s career since then has been somewhat predictable, in the sense that the aloof actor chooses his roles that seem based more on what he wants to do, versus the money and popularity it brings. This is good for him, in a lot a ways, as a lot American actors seem to take roles that are more in quantity than of quality. While the British actor remains indifferent about why he chooses to distance himself from Doctor Who (was Russell T Davies “gaying” up the sci fi institution too much for his liking as some have suggested) as its global reach continues to grow, he has now earned his first huge role in Hollywood, that as the villainous Malekith The Accursed in Thor: The Dark World. Malekith is the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, and will clash with the mightily with Thor in this sequel to be helmed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones).
AMC is developing a period sci-fi drama based on the nonfiction book Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen. The book explores the myths about the famed U.S. military installation which many claim is home to all sorts of things from aliens to nuclear facilities. Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd will executive produce while Todd E. Kessler is attached to pen the script.
While disaster films have always been big tickets in Hollywood, the bulk that was released in the 1970s had a tendency to be too soap opera-ish with well-known old-time Hollywood actors parading through them for their last hurrah. Sure the miniature effects were cool, but the human story of suffering was usually clichéd filled. Still, this seems not to have deterred Star Trek director J.J. Abrams from trying to sort of reboot the disaster flick (something that Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich have done in the past, but only with moderate success). It’s been announced that Oscar winning writer Dustin Lance Black will write the screenplay for Earthquake (which is not a remake of the Charlton Heston 1974 film of the same name), while Abrams will helm it. The project, it seems, has been around for a bit. Back in 2008, screenwriter David Seltzer was supposedly penning the script, and whether Black will be rewriting this or something different it unknown. Abrams’ vision will focus on survivors in the wake of a massive earthquake, and how the tragedy changes their lives and relationships. The announcement, however, came on the heels of New Line Cinema setting up San Andreas 3D, what they call a big budget 3D earthquake disaster epic. While San Andreas 3D was announced in December of 2011, production in now moving forward so it seems appropriate that Universal would announce their version as well.
The Fantastic Four reboot is finding more roadblocks than first thought. After losing one director, the studio went with Chronicle helmer Josh Trank to come on board as director. But Trank is also signed on to helm Warner Bros film Red Star, which is based on the graphic novel where the USSR is still alive thanks to magic and high-tech warfare. Warner’s would like the film out in 2014, which means Trank would have to helm it in 2013, which is the same time 20th Century Fox would want him directing their Fantastic Four film. One thing Red Star has going for it, however, is a script from writer Jason Rothenberg. While in any other time, Fox might just delay the film due to Trank’s obligation to Warner Bros., the studio needs to have a Fantastic Four film out in 2014, or the property reverts back to Marvel and Disney. Fox could always dump Trank, but they also want him to helm a sequel to Chronicle, which they released. So in some ways, they just don’t want to piss him off. Still, my guess is Fox would hire a Starbuck’s barista to prevent any scenario where they lose the rights.
The X Men: First Class sequel, which begins filming in January, has a title, The X Men: Days of Future Past and is based on the 1981 2-part issue which featured an alternate universe set between the present day and a future timeline in which Sentinels rule the United States and mutants live in internment camps.
20th Century Fox is moving forward with a sequel to Prometheus, with director Ridley Scott and actors Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender all expected to return. One person not coming back is screenwriter Damon Lindleof, who (fairly or unfairly) got the brunt of the bad comments from fans and critics, who while liking the striking visuals, where viscous when it came to pointing out all the numerous narrative issues and inconsistencies.
With Paramount reviving and rebooting Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character with Star Trek’s Chris Pine in the lead (and with British actor Kenneth Branagh set as director and the acting as the villain), they’re hoping to get Christopher McQuarrie to helm the adaptation of the Clancy novel Without Remorse, which features the John Clark character. Expectations are that if McQuarrie is brought on board, they’ll have to pen a new draft of the script to replace the previous one by Shawn Ryan.