markhammill

Kennedy departs ‘Jurassic’, Hamill on returning to ‘Star Wars’, ‘Under the Dome’ casting, ‘Beast’ finds a director

While it should not be surprised, due to involvement with the next Star Wars trilogy, but Kathleen Kennedy announced she’ll not be involved in Jurassic Park 4 for Universal. She -along with Steven Spielberg and her husband, Frank Marshall- produced the first three films in that franchise. Marshall will stay on as producer, while Spielberg is currently credited as Executive Producer, though still no director has been confirmed for the project, which has a release date of June 13, 2014. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) penned the script.

markhammillOn the Star Wars Rumor Parade, word is deals are in the works for the return of principle cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford for Episode VII, though once again, a veil of “no confirmation” continues to dog it. Hamill told Entertainment Tonight that he seems interested in returning. “Another thing I’d want to make sure of is are we going to have the whole gang back? Is Carrie and Harrison and Billy Dee [Lando Calrissian] and Tony Daniels [C-3PO], everybody that’s around from the original [returning]? I want to make sure that everybody’s on board here, rather than just one.” Hamill also seems keen on the franchise returning back to when they filmed the original series. He told them that he would want them to “go back to the way it was, in the sense that ours was much more carefree and lighthearted and humorous, in my opinion, anyway….hope they find the right balance of CGI with practical effects. I love props, I love models, miniatures, matte paintings — I’m sort of old school. I think if you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant a video game, and that’s unfortunate. If they listen to me at all, it’ll be, ‘Lighten up and go retro with the way it looks.’” We all hope that the production does find a careful balance between the practical effects and CGI, if only because the original series stands up pretty well.

beast

Shane Acker, who helmed the decidedly different 9, will direct the screen version of the Dark Horse comic Beast of Burden, created by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thopmson. The animated film is set in the unassuming little town of Burden Hill. When supernatural events start to occur, it’s up to a group of dogs (and one cat) to protect their owners from the forces of evil. Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After) has written the script.

CBS continues to add cast members to their ambitious 13 episode adaptation to Stephen King’s 2009 bestselling novel Under the Dome. Mike Vogel (Pan Am) has been cast in the lead, as Dale “Barbie” Barbara and while Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) will play the “villain” James “Big Jim” Rennie, politician and owner of Jim Rennie’s Used Cars, who seeks to use the dome as a way to gain control of Chester’s Mill. Rachelle Lefevre now has been cast as the female lead, playing Julia, an investigative reporter who takes an interest in Barbie. Other cast members include Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo), Natalie Martinez (2008 remake of Death Race), and Britt Robertson (Secret Circle). While the miniseries format that was plentiful during the late 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s (which by then were boiled down to 2-part versions) has gone the way of the dodo, there is a lot of potential in still adapting novels for TV. While broadcast cable has had some minor success with reviving the format in the 21st Century, it’s probably the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones that showed that novels can be turned into a episodic format instead of being shown over consecutive nights  like it was done long ago. And like Thrones, word is that some of Dome’s story will be compressed for TV, along with a lot of characters being dropped in favor of the main ones, which makes sense for the TV budget conscious of CBS. Still, it is a huge risk to air this expensive series over the summer, when viewing audience is down. But since CBS also committed to a 13 episode second season of Unforgettable, teaming these together could work for them. The drama is set in Chester’s Mill, a small New England town suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. Under The Dome is exec produced by Neal Baer, King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider, Jack Bender and writer Brian K. Vaughan. Niels Arden Oplev (the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) will direct the first two episodes.

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