Weekly Ketchup: More Toy-Based Movies Are On Their Way

Plus, the Apes sequel gets a director, and new roles for Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner.

This week's Ketchup includes movie development news for three toy/game adaptations from Hasbro, movies based on Little House on the Prairie and Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and new movies for Amy Adams, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Renner, Sam Rockwell, and Meryl Streep.


This Week's Top Story

MORE TOY MOVIES COMING: MONOPOLY, ACTION MAN, AND... HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS?

In recent years, whenever there was some ridiculous movie development story for a non-narrative toy like View-Master or Candyland, a popular joking remark by online commenters involved the toy game Hungry Hungry Hippos. Well, laugh on, fanboys, because Hasbro is going for it. After many of their efforts (except Battleship and the upcoming Ouija) at Universal Pictures were eventually shelved, the toy company has locked up a new deal with the Emmet/Furla production company, best known for star-driven action/thriller movies like Rambo, the upcoming Schwarzenegger/Stallone project The Tomb, and the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man (yes, that one). The deal covers three game/toy properties, the first of which to be filmed will be based on the board game Monopoly. Hasbro has been trying to get the Monopoly movie going for years now, including a time when Ridley Scott (who will now just produce) was going to be the director. The second is a toy, not a game, and it's called Action Man. Action Man isn't that well known in the USA, because we have G.I. Joe, which Action Man was basically a British clone of, back in the 1960s. And then, finally, there's the toy game Hungry Hungry Hippos, where players try to make their little plastic hippos swallow marbles. Hungry Hungry Hippos will be an animated children's movie, but even so, that still doesn't explain why anyone thinks an 80+ minute feature film can be built up around a non-narrative toy from back in 1978. As for the snark, movie fans will just have to come up with a new joke. Say, there hasn't been a Fruit of the Looms movie announced yet...

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 LET ME IN/CLOVERFIELD DIRECTOR GETS UP EARLY FOR THE DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

A little over two weeks ago, fans of Rise of the Planet of the Apes were disappointed to hear that the film's director Rupert Wyatt had dropped out of also directing the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The reason given was that Wyatt was uncomfortable with guaranteeing completion in time for 20th Century Fox's planned release date of May 23, 2014. Fox was able to quickly replace Rupert Wyatt, however, with another rising star director. Matt Reeves has been writing and directing since the 1990s and the David Schwimmer comedy The Pallbearer. Reeves' second film was the shaky-cam monster movie Cloverfield, but it was in his third film, the remake of Let the Right One In called Let Me In, that Reeves' directorial style seemed to emerge. Since that film, Reeves has been in discussions for various movies, including, until recently, Warner Bros' plans for a new movie based on The Twilight Zone. The script that Reeves will be working from is by the same screenwriting team as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, continuing on following that film's cliffhanger ending.


#2 WHO KNEW LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE WAS ON THE PINEAPPLE EXPRESS?

It's pretty much de rigeur in Hollywood to pigeonhole directors into specific genres and styles. There are some, however, that either bounce around from film to film, or make a drastic shift at some point in their careers. David Gordon Green is one such director, starting off with three indie dramas (George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow), befor switching to wacky comedies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter. That introduction is really required to understand why the following story is not a "Rotten Idea." David Gordon Green is in talks with Sony Pictures to direct a big screen feature film based upon Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Obviously (super obviously, let's accentuate), the idea of the Pineapple Express guy directing Little House on the Prairie seems bizarre wrong, but if you ignore his recent comedies and describe him as the Sundance darling that he properly is/was, then this seems like a pretty awesome and appropriate project, a return to Green's roots. The seriousness of this new Little House on the Prairie is driven home a bit by the addition that the script is being adapted by Abi Morgan, the writer of the Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, and Steve McQueen's cowriter on the NC-17 sexual addiction drama Shame. Anyway, Little House on the Prairie was, as most people know, previously adapted as a 1974-1983 TV series (among other adaptations), and was the third novel in a series of twelve by Laura Ingalls Wilder, about her youth in the American Midwest frontiers. The fact that there are so many other books in the series, just waiting to become a new Harry Potter/Hunger Games-style movie franchise, is probably also appealing to Sony Pictures.


#3 MERYL STREEP'S MUSICAL RETURN MAY TAKE HER INTO THE WOODS

One of the key films in Meryl Streep's recent streak of box office successes was the adaptation of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia. Streep's performance in that film made it seem likely that she would eventually do another musical, and this week, we found out what that film might be. Chicago director Rob Marshall has been considering a few different projects after last year's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and he appears to have settled upon the adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The timing couldn't be much better, either, as Into the Woods predicted by about 25 years the current fascination in both television (Grimm, Once Upon a Time) and film (the list is too long) with fairy tale characters. To get things going, Rob Marshall recently staged a script reading, and the participants included both Broadway favorites, and a few movie stars that the rest of us (let's be honest) might actually recognize. That list includes Christine Baranski as the Stepmother, Allison Janney as Jack's Mother, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, and Patrick Wilson as Cinderella's Prince. Meryl Streep was not there for the reading, but she's reportedly in talks for the lead role as The Witch. As for the other names on that list, it should be stated that just because they were at the reading, not all of those performers will necessarily end up being in the movie.


#4 AMY ADAMS AND JEREMY RENNER JOIN DAVID O. RUSSELL'S NEXT MOVIE

This story concerns an untitled project from director David O. Russell (The Fighter, Three Kings) which was formerly known by two words, the first of which was American, and the second was what B.S. stands for. This untitled drama is based on a true story of a financial con artist and his mistress who are forced to work with an "out of control" federal agent to turn the tables on other con artists, mobsters, and politicians, including a New Jersey state assembly member. Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper have been signed on for a while now to play the financial con artist and the federal agent, respectively. This week, we found out that Amy Adams has been cast as the mistress, and that Jeremy Renner has landed the role of the New Jersey politician. This will be David O. Russell's first time working with Jeremy Renner, but second time with each of the other stars (Adams and Bale in The Fighter, Bradley Cooper in the upcoming The Silver Linings Playbook). Filming begins at various locations in the NY/NJ area in February, with Columbia Pictures expecting to release the film in late 2013.


#5 THE "MOBY DICK IN SPACE" MOVIE WILL PROBABLY BE A LOT SMARTER THAN ITS LOGLINE SUGGESTS

There are two sides to this story, one of which has been greatly overshadowed online this week by the first. Mobius is the title of a science fiction thriller that has been described as Moby Dick in outer space, as a spaceship captain becomes obsessed with controlling a mysterious alien of great girth and power. That part alone could be perceived as potentially being really, really silly, or pretty awesome. Here's the awesome part. Mobius (which may get a title change to avoid confusion with another Mobius) will be directed by Lynne Ramsay (Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin). Clearly, Mobius will be a huge departure for Ramsay, who is known for small indie character piece dramas, which this writer thinks sounds very intriguing. However, we will have to wait a while, because first, Lynne Ramsay will be directing the western Jane Got a Gun, starring Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender.


#6 MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY TO STAR IN THE AIDS DRAMA THE DALLAS BUYER'S CLUB

Matthew McConaughey and Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien) will star in the independent drama The Dallas Buyer's Club. The film will tell the true story of a Texas electrician (McConaughey) diagnosed with AIDS who started a smuggling ring to bring alternative AIDS medicines into the USA, putting him at odds with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hilary Swank was previously attached to costar in an unknown role, but she has since dropped out, and the role is being recast. The Dallas Buyer's Club will be directed by Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee (The Young Victoria), with filming scheduled to start in New Orleans in November.


#7 SAM ROCKWELL AND OTHERS JOIN AGENT COULSON IN TRUST ME

Although most people know him as Agent Coulson from The Avengers and other Marvel movies, actor Clark Gregg also directed the 2008 Chuck Palahniuk adaptation Choke, starring Sam Rockwell. (Just as a footnote, it's interesting that none of the online articles about this story mentioned that fact.) For his second film, Clark Gregg also wrote the script called Trust Me, in which Gregg will star as an unsuccessful entertainment agent (and former child star) who stumbles upon a new 13-year-old client who is a brilliant acting prodigy (played by newcomer Saxon Sharbino). Sam Rockwell will have one of the other larger roles in the independent ensemble comedy (possibly as the boy's abusive father, but that's not confirmed yet). Other cast members will include Alison Janney, Niecy Nash, Amanda Peet, Molly Shannon, and real life couple Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy. In closing, this article really shouldn't go without mentioning that the lead character sounds a lot like the Michael J. Fox character in the 1993 comedy Life with Mikey. As for the Fresh rating... yes, the RT Tomatometer scored Choke a Rotten 54%, but this writer is just going to over rule that; Choke was pretty great. But, in fairness to the RT Tomatometer, let's just go ahead and call it "borderline Fresh."


#8 EMILIA CLARKE FROM GAME OF THRONES JOINS JUDE LAW IN DOM HEMINGWAY

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) and Academy Award nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life) have signed on to join Jude Law in the independent black comedy Dom Hemingway. Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park, Withnail and I), Jumayn Hunter and Madalina Ghenea will also costar in the story of a recently released ex-con safecracker (Law) who travels to the south of France to claim what he's owed for the crime that sent him to prison. Dom Hemingway will be directed by Richard Shepard (The Matador, The Hunting Party), whose RT Tomatometer scores are split right in the middle, so let's call this film a borderline Fresh Development. Going back to Emilia Clarke, she's one of several actresses revealed this week to be testing for the role of Steve Rogers' 21st century love interest in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#2 SACHA BARON COHEN DOING A COMEDY CALLED THE LESBIAN... OKAY, STOP IT, SBC, RIGHT THERE. STOP IT!

You may have heard or seen the story last week about Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao Sze-Tsung, who offered $65 million to any man who could woo and marry his recently eloped lesbian daughter, and basically, "turn her straight." Sacha Baron Cohen didn't let that story sit around very long, because this week, he and Paramount Pictures are now developing a comedy called The Lesbian, about... exactly that story. The Lesbian will be a starring vehicle for Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno, The Dictator), probably as a man who attempts to claim the $65 million (and hopefully not as the Chinese billionaire himself). The Lesbian is one of this week's Rotten Ideas because... it just feels wrong. Will this story even be remembered by the this movie gets made?



#1 SEE TOP STORY.

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

Comments

filmmaniac123

Aakash Kumar

lol at number one
and yeah, SBC isn't as bad as Sandler but this is something Sandler would do. It feels wrong but honestly it is a funny idea. Not that I'm up for it. D: Come on Hollywood!!
And finally more progress on Russel's new movie

Oct 5 - 05:29 PM

Zach Thomas

Zach Idiculla

When they said "more toy movies", I was hoping Toy Story...

Oct 6 - 09:56 PM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

There is nothing wrong about SBC's new film, people are ssssoooooooooo uptight these days :/

Oct 5 - 06:15 PM

Steven Bartholomew

Steven Bartholomew

Couldn't agree more with @myron Kinsey

Oct 5 - 07:03 PM

Alex Szatkowski

Alex Szatkowski

If his films were actually funny people would be ok with it.

Oct 6 - 08:37 AM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

Uh, they are funny.

Oct 6 - 04:12 PM

Steven Bartholomew

Steven Bartholomew

Couldn't agree more with @myron Kinsey

Oct 5 - 07:03 PM

C Damien Belyeu

C Damien Belyeu

For the last line of the main story, I only need to utter one word.

Battleship.

Oct 5 - 08:22 PM

Craig Lumley

Craig Lumley

It dosent matter if the story is remember by the time the film is out. Its not a biopic, its a jumping off point. It will be as close to the true story as The Dictator was to the Hussein novel Zabibah and the King (which is was said to be based on....)

Oct 5 - 09:18 PM

hyperthinking

Marysue Meints

So, LHBP, that could be good, if it's nothing like the TV adaption. This could be the first series of movies from books that I read over and over and over when I was a kid. There's such potential in the project!

Oct 6 - 06:00 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Little House on the Prairie is a rotten idea no matter which way you slice it...

Oct 6 - 06:09 AM

Epic Barney Funk

Barney Funk

I would watch a Hungry Hungry Hippos movie. Just saying

Oct 6 - 07:04 AM

Mercx

Curtis Bernard

Seriously. I think Hungry Hungry Hippos has more potential than most game/toy adaptations.

Oct 11 - 10:54 AM

LestattheVamp

Lestat TheVampire

Mr. Schmitz - You forgot the word "time" in the last sentence. But hey, it's a long weekend.

Oct 6 - 08:18 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

A long, Timely weekend, indeed. (VOTE DEMOCRATIC ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6th 2012 -- on ELECTION DAY!)

Oct 6 - 10:26 AM

Alex Szatkowski

Alex Szatkowski

If his films were actually funny people would be ok with it.

Oct 6 - 08:37 AM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

Uh, they are funny.

Oct 6 - 04:12 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"American Bulls#it" looks great, and it's always promising to see another film made without DOR or Christian Bale melting down on each other. Hopefully it will be a welcome return to Russell's comedy roots. And I also don't think the SBC thing sounds particularly bad, but if this did develop from a newsstory last week, we have to admit that this was probably greenlit without an actual shooting script, and that's always a rotten formula.

Good to see Clark Gregg pushing his talents. I also liked "Choke", although the book was sharper. Rockwell has a lot of credit for keeping the film watchable.

I'm also on the side of those who think "Mobius" is very promising, much more so than, say, a Connect Four film or something. Extending Melville's metaphor to the cosmos seems natural enough.

Not sure how I feel about Reeves moving on. I'm not as convinced of his skill as someone like (out of thin air) Tomas Alfredson. Oh, is that not fair? My bright idea is to court Alfredson for the Twilight ZOne project. And, as a consolation prize (ROTPOTA made big big dollars), they need to give Wyatt whatever his heart desires.

Oct 6 - 09:06 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Janson, I'm always in AWE of how up you are things; having read the novel Choke, for instance AND being informed of Mobius AND being well-informed of J. Edgar Hoover as well//// I wish the same director was doing the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel . . . RISE was EXCELLENT! (I really think the power is in the editing, however)// you DO know to vote DEMOCRATIC on November 6th, 2012 ELECTION DAY! (large scale privatization will only lead to the further suffering of the average Americans . . . Republicans favor privatization; Do not vote Republican)

Oct 6 - 10:35 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm with the Barack Ness Monster on this one.

Oct 7 - 12:50 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I bet you're just a blast at parties, Gordon.

Oct 7 - 11:30 PM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

@Janson: Would you be interested in seeing the documentary UNLAWFUL KILLING? I'm getting it on DVD in a couple of weeks; of course, I need to get it from a Euro dealer because the film is banned in the UK.

Oct 6 - 04:19 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I wasn't aware of the film, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I don't have much information to go by with the Diana crash, but I've heard many unsubstantiated rumors (rumours, btw) like her being pregnant or the driver being drunk or it being a family conspiracy, etc. My favorite theory is that it was an occult murder to bring about a new matriarch religion in the icon of Diana, and that Dan Brown made the Merovingian (French descendents of Jesus and Mary) connection for this purpose. Being my favorite theory should not be confused as having any semblance to what I may actually believe, of course. Dan Brown and his Priory of Sion have been shown to be hoaxes. It doesn't negate the intention of those attempting the hoax.

Oct 7 - 12:44 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

A long, Timely weekend, indeed. (VOTE DEMOCRATIC ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6th 2012 -- on ELECTION DAY!)

Oct 6 - 10:26 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

Janson, I'm always in AWE of how up you are things; having read the novel Choke, for instance AND being informed of Mobius AND being well-informed of J. Edgar Hoover as well//// I wish the same director was doing the Rise of the Planet of the Apes sequel . . . RISE was EXCELLENT! (I really think the power is in the editing, however)// you DO know to vote DEMOCRATIC on November 6th, 2012 ELECTION DAY! (large scale privatization will only lead to the further suffering of the average Americans . . . Republicans favor privatization; Do not vote Republican)

Oct 6 - 10:35 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm with the Barack Ness Monster on this one.

Oct 7 - 12:50 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I bet you're just a blast at parties, Gordon.

Oct 7 - 11:30 PM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

Uh, they are funny.

Oct 6 - 04:12 PM

Christopher Kulik

Christopher Kulik

@Janson: Would you be interested in seeing the documentary UNLAWFUL KILLING? I'm getting it on DVD in a couple of weeks; of course, I need to get it from a Euro dealer because the film is banned in the UK.

Oct 6 - 04:19 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I wasn't aware of the film, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I don't have much information to go by with the Diana crash, but I've heard many unsubstantiated rumors (rumours, btw) like her being pregnant or the driver being drunk or it being a family conspiracy, etc. My favorite theory is that it was an occult murder to bring about a new matriarch religion in the icon of Diana, and that Dan Brown made the Merovingian (French descendents of Jesus and Mary) connection for this purpose. Being my favorite theory should not be confused as having any semblance to what I may actually believe, of course. Dan Brown and his Priory of Sion have been shown to be hoaxes. It doesn't negate the intention of those attempting the hoax.

Oct 7 - 12:44 PM

Kadeem S.

Kadeem Stewart

I hope Monopoly and all those board-game based movies gonna suck big time. Battleship failed, so that means that they should stop making those god awful movie ideas based on a board game. What are they making, Simon?

Oct 6 - 04:20 PM

Mitch Jones

Mitch Jones

You don't have to worry about them sucking. They are definitely going to suck. What you should hope for is that they don't make money. If they do then there will be sequels and further time wasted on other board game movies.

Oct 7 - 08:52 AM

Zach Thomas

Zach Idiculla

When they said "more toy movies", I was hoping Toy Story...

Oct 6 - 09:56 PM

Kurtiss Keefner

Kurtiss Keefner

When I read the first story all I could think of was Ace Ventura 2 when Jim Carrey "wears" the Monopoly guy. Classic!

Oct 6 - 10:27 PM

Joshua Wilburn

Joshua Wilburn

#0 - There's no hope... No Hope at all.
#1 - I'm actually looking forward Dawn of the Rise of the Planet of the apes in the near but not too far Future.
#2 - The reeks of Your Highness...
#3 - 99.99999% chance it'll come out during oscar season and steal another award from Viola Davis.
#4 - An actor who plays the same role in everything he does with an actress who does the same. May i present to you, "GENERIC: THE MOVIE"
#5 - No... No, there's no change in hell for MOBY DICK IN SPACE to have any sense of intelligence whatsoever.
#6 - McConaughey has really impressed me this year. Hopefully he'll continue to impress.
#7 - Clark Gregg should just change his name to Coulson (First name Agent). This looks interesting. I always like me some Rockwell, and him with Coulson should be a good team (no pun intended).
#8 - Thrones is taking over Hollywood, hopefully it's for the better.
Rotten:
#2 - AAAAAAAAAND it happened... Cohen dressing up as a stereotype has offically jumped the shark. NOW MAKE THE GOD DAMN FREDDY MERCURY MOVIE!
#1 - I'm done.

Oct 7 - 12:19 AM

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