Ah, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That much-maligned 2003 superhero effort, spawned from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s graphic novels, that failed to generate much love either from fans, critics or – given its eventual $179 million global haul from a $78 million budget, not counting marketing – the box office bean counters. 20th Century Fox thinks there’s life in the property yet and is trying another movie.
Moore and O’Neil’s alt-history stories follow a group of literary characters – Alan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Doctor Jekyll and Dracula’s Mina Harker among them – as they band together to fight off monstrous threats to the realm. It would seem to be fertile fodder for a movie, but that first attempt, which had Steven Norrington directing a cast including Sean Connery and Jason Flemyng, just didn’t seem able to take full advantage of it.
According to Deadline, Fox has a producing team including Ira Napoliello, Matt Reilly and by John Davis on board to start finding writers and directors who might be able to turn the concept into a functioning franchise, wiping the slate clean for a new attempt. And this follows the studio’s 2013 TV version, which never made it out of development. So if you had your choice of filmmaking team, whom would you entrust to make the League work this time?
Highlights of a middling edition of the festival included a riveting Holocaust thriller that offended some, a beautiful Italian film that Italians hate and a bold experiment from Pixar.
The jury may have made its selections May 24, but The Hollywood Reporter's film critics have their own opinions.
'Animals' was among the biggest buys, landing a worldwide distribution pact with Focus and Universal despite losing producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov.
Soda Pictures in Britain and Atnine Film in South Korea have pounced on the Director's Fortnight title from first-time director Magnus von Horn.
David Levinson is back.
Set up last year to champion Scandinavian horror, the Nordic Genre Invasion has most recently infiltrated Cannes, where some significant deals have advanced the cause. Taneli Mustonen's Bodom is finally underway, and it's been joined on its journey to production by Pål Oie's Villmark Asylum and Marco Mäkilaakso's It Came From The Desert.
Mustonen's Bodom is inspired by the legendary unsolved murders at Lake Bodom in 1960 (the metal-inclined may already be familiar with the Finnish Children of Bodom, named for the same reason). Set in the present day, the film is about two couples who go to Bodom to reconstruct the events. It goes badly. “We aim to bring down the whole camping industry in Finland,” production company Don Films' Aleksi Hyvärinen chuckled to Empire last autumn. Mustonen's most recent film, The Reunion, was the biggest homegrown box-office hit in Finland in more than a decade.
Oie's Villmark Asylum is actually already in post-production, but secured international deals that should mean it's more widely seen than just in its native Norway. It's a "stand-alone sequel" to Oie's previous Dark Woods (AKA Villmark), and premieres on its home turf in October.
And if the title It Came From The Desert sounds familiar, it may be because you remember the 16-bit 1989 videogame from which it's adapted - a big deal for Amiga owners at the time, who could only play it if they bought a massive half-megabite hardware upgrade. It involves giant irradiated ants, which should be par for the course for the director of War Of The Dead. Iron Sky's Tero Kaukomaa gets an exec-producer credit, and shooting is set to start in the autumn.
The idea behind the Nordic Genre Invasion is to capitalise on the popularity of the Nordic crime genre in recent years (think writers like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo; the movies based on their and others’ work; and the TV series’ like Wallander, The Killing and The Bridge which achieved breakout international success). With a feeling that those things are becoming slightly old hat now, it’s an attempt to kick-start something similar for other genres: specifically horror, sci-fi and action.
The Invasion is an umbrella title for a coalition of production companies, who've come together both in an attempt to create a wave and ride it. The initial salvos in that battle are looking promising...
The show, co-created by Paramount vice chair Rob Moore and the Chinese actress in partnership with several Hollywood studios, promises inside access to films and stars.
Ewan McGregor will also speak at the 12-day event, which unveiled its lineup on Wednesday.
Hot off 5 Flights Up, which stars Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton, director Richard Loncraine will return to home shores for his next film, Finding Your Feet. The rom-com about a woman on the verge of retirement stems from a screenplay by Nick Moorcroft (Burke & Hare, St. Trinians) and Meg Leonard, who makes her debut as a writer here.
The retiree at the centre of the story is an aspirationally middle class snob who finds herself in reduced circumstances, much to her chagrin. Her world is further turned upside down when she comes into the orbit of her formerly estranged boho sister, who lives on a council estate. A senior citizens dance group is involved. Bonding and reconciliation probably ensue.
“Good stories are hard to find, and great one’s all but impossible," says Loncraine, who previously made Wimbledon and the awesomely mental Ian McKellen version of Richard III. "Sometimes you get lucky. Finding Your Feet is for me the best kind of story. It is about people, and how they’re lives entwine. The script made me cry and laugh - often at the same time. I cannot wait to get into production on this moving and funny film."
Shooting will take place in London and Venice, and get underway in October. There's no cast or release date in place yet. 5 Flights Up is just out in the US, but we don't yet have a UK date for that either.
The cult Hong Kong director will speak at a 'BAFTA A Life in Pictures' event on June 22.
Three years on from The Man With The Iron Fists, RZA is set to make his second film as director. He'll man the cameras for Azealia Banks' acting debut in the drama Coco. Common, Jill Scott, Lucien Laviscount, Lorraine Toussaint and Hana Mae Lee will support her in the cast.
Banks broke through on the hip-hop scene last year with her album Broke With Expensive Taste. Three years in the making, it followed a mixtape and a single that she unveiled at Glastonbury in 2013. She recently announced her second and third albums for release this year and next, but is perhaps most famous at the moment for a series of beefs with rival musicians on social media. She has an acting background inasmuch as she studied for a while at the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, although she dropped out to focus on her music.
In Coco she'll play "an aspiring twenty-something rapper" who reluctantly puts off her hip-hop career in order to finish college to placate her parents. It turns out to be a good move, however, since she "experiences the true power of the spoken word" in class, which in turn helps her own writing and career. Education's important, kids.
As a director, RZA's ambitious Iron Fist plans didn't quite take off in the way that he'd hoped - although there's at least been a straight-to-DVD sequel this year (helmed by Death Race 2 and 3's Roel Reiné). Coco seems comfortably within his Wu-Tang wheelhouse though, and he clearly still has the confidence of Iron Fist studio Lionsgate, who are also behind this.
Nicole Jefferson Asher wrote the screenplay, and shooting will be underway sharpish, before Banks disappears for a tour next month.