Weekly Ketchup: New Grapes of Wrath Adaptation In Development

Plus, new roles for Nic Cage, Helen Mirren, Marcia Gay Harden, and a remake of Jacob's Ladder

Because Independence Day is on a Thursday this year, this week's Ketchup is a much slimmer crop of movie development stories to recap, and so what you'll see here are several stories that probably would not have made the cut in other busier and longer weeks. Included in the mix are new adaptations of classic novels The Grapes of Wrath and The Sound and the Fury, new roles for Nicolas Cage and Helen Mirren, and a remake of Jacob's Ladder.


This Week's Top Story

WHEREVER THERE'S REMAKES, THE GRAPES OF WRATH WILL BE THERE

When holidays fall on certain days of the week, the Weekly Ketchup goes from covering seven days to sometimes barely more than half that. And then you can also throw in a slowing down of the news cycle as various Hollywood types take the week off. So here we are, with Independence Day on a Thursday this year, and a Top Story that, in some weeks, might have only barely made the grade: DreamWorks has started negotiations with the estate of author John Steinbeck to produce a new movie adaptation of the 1939 Great Depression novel The Grapes of Wrath. Back in 1940, director John Ford quickly adapted the novel into a movie that is now considered by many to be the definitive Great Depression epic drama. Steven Spielberg will produce this new version, but DreamWorks is quick to note that he will not be directing. This is leading pundits to speculate that the new movie will be produced in time for a release in 2014 to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of the novel, and since Spielberg is already committed to directing American Sniper for 2014, that rules him out. So, who is the 2013 equivalent of Henry Fonda?

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 NICOLAS CAGE TO HUM ALONG TO A LOST MELODY

After an opening run that included Crumb, Ghost World, and Bad Santa, director Terry Zwigoff has only added one credit to his name in the last ten years (2006's Art School Confidential). That may finally change with the news this week that Nicolas Cage is in talks to star in an independent film called Lost Melody, which Terry Zwigoff is already signed to direct. If he signs, Cage will play a "man who's trapped in a marriage to a shrewish wife [who] falls in love with a prostitute."





#2 HELEN MIRREN TO SET OUT ON THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

Helen Mirren has signed with DreamWorks Pictures to star in an adaptation of the Steve Knight novel The Hundred-Foot Journey, about the competition between two restaurants (one Indian, the other French) on opposite sides of a street in Southern France. Mirren will play the proprietor of the French restaurant while rising star Indian-American actor Manish Dayal (90210) will play the son of the Indian family across the street. The Hundred-Foot Journey will be directed by Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules).





#3 PROMETHEUS STAR LOGAN MARSHALL-GREEN TO STAR IN HOCKEY BIOPIC TURK

Logan Marshall-Green is probably best known for costarring in Prometheus. Wyatt Russell is the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. And this week, the two young actors signed to star in the indie drama Turk about hockey players in the 1970s. Logan Marshall-Green will play Derek "Turk" Sanderson, a star player for the Boston Bruins, who led the team to win the Stanley Cup before derailing his career over drugs and alcohol. Turk was cowritten and will be directed by Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee).




#4 OSCAR NOMINATED ACTRESSES JOIN WOODY ALLEN'S NEXT FRENCH MOVIE

Marcia Gay Harden (who won an Academy Award for Pollock, and was nominated for Mystic River) and Jacki Weaver (who was nominated for Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook) have been cast in supporting roles for Woody Allen's next untitled film, set to start production soon in the South of France. Emma Stone and Colin Firth were cast back in April as the film's leads. Also joining the cast are Eileen Atkins, Hamish Linklater and Simon McBurney. Woody Allen's first film set in France was Midnight in Paris, and this untitled film will be Allen's eighth movie filmed somewhere in Europe. This was a big week for movies about the South of France.

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#5 JAMES FRANCO TO KEEP ADAPTING WILLIAM FAULKNER UNTIL IT WORKS

Actor James Franco directed a recent adaptation of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, but you may not have heard much about it because it sort of landed at Cannes with a critical thud. Franco isn't letting that stop him, however, from trying again with another Faulkner adaptation, this time of The Sound and the Fury. In addition to directing, Franco will star in the drama about a family of Southern aristocrats fallen upon hard times in the early 20th Century. Franco hopes to also cast his brother Dave, Mad Men star Jon Hamm, and Franco's frequent costar Danny McBride.




#4 THIS WEEK IN POST APOCALYPTIC TEEN TRILOGIES PART 1: THE YOUNG WORLD

Most weeks, there's simply too much going on for the various "post apocalyptic teen novel trilogies" to make the cut in the Weekly Ketchup. This is a half week, and most people are on vacation, so this week, you can get to read about two of them. First up, there's Hollywood writer/director Chris Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie), who is branching into literature with an upcoming novel called The Young World, which is planned as the first of a trilogy. And so, of course, someone in Hollywood (Warner Bros this time) won a bidding war for the rights to this book, which might not even be popular enough with teen readers to lead to an actual published trilogy. Anyway, The Young World is about a group of teenagers living in New York City after a cataclysmic event rather conveniently kills off everyone younger than 12 or older than 21. That may have also have been the premise of an episode of original Star Trek.


#3 THIS WEEK IN POST APOCALYPTIC TEEN TRILOGIES PART 2: THE FIRE SERMON

This story is so similar to the previous one that we can basically just insert different keywords, all Mad Libs style. This time, the studio is DreamWorks, and the author is Francesca Haig, and she's an actual author, not a Hollywood bigwig branching out. The not-yet-published first-novel-in-a-post-apocalyptic-trilogy this time is called The Fire Sermon. This one is set a little further out, 400 years after a nuclear apocalypse, when all human births are sets of twins, one of which is perfect (the Alpha), and the other has mutations (the Omega). The twins are separated into different camps, which makes The Fire Sermon sound a little like The Hunger Games or Divergent or... zzzz. Please wake us when enough of these YA adaptations bomb to stop this trend. Thanks.


#2 HOW DO YOU SPEND $65 MILLION ON SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE A MADE-FOR-LIFETIME MOVIE?

Someone in England is putting up $65 million to make a movie about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But what's stranger than that is that the movie will be called An American Mystery (ie, what's the mystery, again?). There are many reasons this movie could be a Rotten Idea, but the easiest explanation has to do with its director. Back in 2009, Joshua Newton made a film then called Iron Cross, which was Roy Scheider's last film. And then the first reviews came out, and the movie was shelved for years, until finally later in 2013, it will be released as Justice/Vengeance.



#1 REMAKE FEVER CONTINUES TO HIT THE EARLY 1990S WITH JACOB'S LADDER

It's been a while now that it seemed like pretty much every movie from the 1980s that could be remade has either been remade, or will be soon (Poltergeist, RoboCop, etc.). And so, the wave of remakes has to start devouring the 1990s, and this story is an example of just that. Jacob's Ladder was a fever dream of a movie (figuratively but almost literally) when it came out in 1990. And now screenwriter Jeff Buhler (The Midnight Meat Train) is working on a rewrite of a remake of Jacob's Ladder. The best line from the Hollywood Reporter story about this remake is this one: "The producers are looking to make something more akin to an homage and not mimic the original." What used to be remakes and then were reboots are now "homages." Yeesh.

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

Comments

Sir Phobos

Sir Phobos

Sounded all rotten to me.

Jul 5 - 07:31 PM

Terry Ferguson

Terry Ferguson

I agree.

Jul 5 - 09:43 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Why does the dude on Rotten #4 look like that?

Jul 5 - 10:21 PM

Terry Ferguson

Terry Ferguson

I agree.

Jul 5 - 09:43 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Discount Tom Hardy is making Turk.
On a side note, why do so many people think Nicolas Cage is an awful actor? He is brilliant. He plays whacky characters because he knows how to do it unlike Johnny Depp.

Jul 5 - 10:08 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Because 2 out of 3 movies Nic Cage does are unwatchable. Don't get me wrong he has the potential to be brilliant in films ala Adaptation or Leaving Las Vegas, but he also makes more than his share of Wicker Man's, Ghost Riders and Seasons of the Witch.

Jul 5 - 10:56 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Wickee Man was a fun movie.

Jul 5 - 11:53 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

He dressed in a bear suit and ran thru the woods. I agree Wicker Man was a good movie, unfortunately the good one didn't star Nic Cage, it starred Christopher Lee.

Jul 6 - 04:41 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Fun does not necessarily equal good.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

Personally I liked Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence. Not cuz it was a good movie (it wasn't), I just thought Nic Cage's performance was hilarious. He wasn't bad in Kick-Ass either. Hated Wicker Man though.

Jul 11 - 06:54 PM

King of the Snoots

Ryan Brown

The only time I had fun watching Nic Cage play eccentric was "Adaptation," the other forty times I thought he was just overacting. Even his voice acing is lousy.

Jul 7 - 08:13 AM

Brett Van Boven

Brett Van Boven

I'd argue the Depp point but you obviously aren't a big fan so, point taken. Much as I love Cage...it's because he's fallen into the "Do movies for a paycheck" role recently so he loses a bit of credibility. Still a good actor though, just needs to refocus a bit (aka "KickAss").

Jul 8 - 02:05 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Why does the dude on Rotten #4 look like that?

Jul 5 - 10:21 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Because 2 out of 3 movies Nic Cage does are unwatchable. Don't get me wrong he has the potential to be brilliant in films ala Adaptation or Leaving Las Vegas, but he also makes more than his share of Wicker Man's, Ghost Riders and Seasons of the Witch.

Jul 5 - 10:56 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Wickee Man was a fun movie.

Jul 5 - 11:53 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

He dressed in a bear suit and ran thru the woods. I agree Wicker Man was a good movie, unfortunately the good one didn't star Nic Cage, it starred Christopher Lee.

Jul 6 - 04:41 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Fun does not necessarily equal good.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

Personally I liked Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence. Not cuz it was a good movie (it wasn't), I just thought Nic Cage's performance was hilarious. He wasn't bad in Kick-Ass either. Hated Wicker Man though.

Jul 11 - 06:54 PM

Kelly Walsh

Kelly Walsh

Lol Rotten #4 looks like a pic from the old Conan O'Brien skit If They Mated (still trying to figure the two celebs combined, maybe Sarah Silverman and Ron Livingston? )

Jul 5 - 11:08 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

Wickee Man was a fun movie.

Jul 5 - 11:53 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

He dressed in a bear suit and ran thru the woods. I agree Wicker Man was a good movie, unfortunately the good one didn't star Nic Cage, it starred Christopher Lee.

Jul 6 - 04:41 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Fun does not necessarily equal good.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

Overfed Jed

Overfed Jed

First time I've ah seen Cage in the fresh section in IN a ah long time.

Jul 6 - 03:29 AM

CyborgUnicorn

Cyborg Unicorn

now i really can't stop laughing! Yes it is nice to see him in fresh with Zwigoff.

Jul 7 - 02:29 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

He dressed in a bear suit and ran thru the woods. I agree Wicker Man was a good movie, unfortunately the good one didn't star Nic Cage, it starred Christopher Lee.

Jul 6 - 04:41 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Cage will play a "man who's trapped in a marriage to a shrewish wife [who] falls in love with a prostitute."

So the wife falls in love with a prostitute?

Jul 6 - 05:15 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

More pressing than bad wording, however, is the fact that this idea is actually considered fresh.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

John Tyler

John Tyler

WHY DO WE NEED A FUCKING JACOB'S LADDER REMAKE??!!!

Jul 6 - 05:34 AM

Ash Gilmore

Ash J. Gilmore

We don't.

Jul 8 - 11:41 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Boring-ass week.

Top Story: I don't think a Grapes of Wrath movie will appeal to anyone other than Steinbeck fans, or those who saw the original (and there's probably significant overlap to be found there). This hardly qualifies as a top story, surely.

Fresh
No. 1: I know Nic Cage is a good actor and all, but considering his career trajectory, and the director's lack of appeal, and the stupid plot, Should this really be in the Fresh developments?

No. 2: This sounds like a semi-plausible good idea, though honestly, I'm more interested in learning what horrible choice led to Helen Mirren adopting that hairstyle, over the film itself.

No. 3: Sports biopics don't concern me in the slightest, and the actors are hardly a reason to get hyped up, so this story, while fresh, surely won't appeal to a great deal of people.

No. 4: I don't care how many people Woody Allen can attract to his films, the guy is ridiculously scattershot, and the sooner he realises that he should drop the annual film act, the sooner he can get back to decent films at a higher rate.

Rotten
No. 5: I like James Franco, he's got big things ahead of him, but this Faulkner malarkey does absolutely nothing for me.

No. 4: Gettin' real tired of book series' being the big thing, especially when you consider that Harry Potter is the only one that was really, really good. Just because you can write a trashy novel (Something Potter wasn't), doesn't mean that it will translate to Hollywood gold. The cynicism to be seen in this is astounding.

No. 3: See above.

No. 2: This is hilarious, and I would probably see it, just to onserve what a catastrophe really looks like.

No. 1: Jacob's Ladder? Really?

Jul 6 - 05:58 AM

Matt Jordan

Matt Jordan

uh? Cage a good actor!? The man has one expression. And don't give me the Oscar nod reason.Cuba Gooding won an Oscar once so that has no cred at all anymore.

Jul 7 - 05:59 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Cuba got a lucky role, one that he could adapt well to, and that got him an Oscar. Cage is a legitimately great actor, he just has a habit of appearing in bad films. He does receive critical acclaim when he takes a good role (Bad Lieutenant PoCNO, Adaptation, and Face/Off, to name a few), you know.

Jul 7 - 07:07 AM

Frisby2007

Frisby 2007

Cage is a good actor, his problem is taking whatever shit-excuse for a script thrown at his front step & instantly partaking the role. Have you seen the guy in Face/Off?

Jul 8 - 07:37 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

More pressing than bad wording, however, is the fact that this idea is actually considered fresh.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Fun does not necessarily equal good.

Jul 6 - 06:59 AM

Teddy K.

Ryan Gavetti

Jeez. The rotten developments this week are supremely rotten. I'm sick and tired of these apocalypse movies, and especially zombie apocalypses. That "Young World" trilogy sounds so damn depressing to read and/or watch, I may as well just invent a time machine and spectate the Holocaust.

And "an homage" to Jacob's Ladder? Make a short film for that. Go to hell.

Jul 6 - 08:23 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

There was a minor hoopla a month or two back when I mentioned I wasn't all that keen on 70's movies, and Janson or some such ninny tried to grief me about it. Well, I'm back with some proof that the Eighties simply had more memorable films.

From Bad Idea #1 t's been a while now that it seemed like pretty much every movie from the 1980s that could be remade has either been remade, or will be soon (Poltergeist, RoboCop, etc.).

Now, why is it that all these 80's films are being remade but you see virtually no 70's films being remade, at all, ever. Just sayin.

Jul 6 - 02:08 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

80s was the decade of cinema, dude. You should've known that if you like films.

Jul 6 - 03:51 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I dunno about the decade of cinema, however I credit the 80's with being one of the most creative decades of film, where movies had that 'magic' and people were excited to go to the theater. It's hard to get excited about much they put out these days.

Jul 6 - 07:09 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Hey! Hey, Val! It's 'cause people actually have respect for Seventies Films! *Ducks for cover*

Jul 6 - 04:28 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Hollywood holds nothing holy that can make them money, it's just that few 70's films are worth updating.

Jul 6 - 07:12 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

and by updating I mean utterly destroying

Jul 6 - 10:17 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yep because they're good enough as is.

Jul 7 - 01:58 AM

ProducerPaul

Paul Barrett

I actually think the 70's were overall the better decade for movies, but the 80's weren't too far behind. The 70's was the director's decade and the 80's were when the studios started taking the reins back over. As to why they aren't trying to remake or update them, that's an interesting question, but it could be because some of the ones they've tried (The Bad News Bears, The Poseidon Adventure) didn't fare real well. Or maybe all the young executives running things haven't actually watched any 70's movies.

Jul 6 - 10:34 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Good movies are good. It isn't any more complicated than that. 1927, 1939, 1954, 1960, 1969, 1974-76, 1982, 1987, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2007. Lots of good years.

Jul 7 - 09:37 AM

Dave J

Dave J

"Now, why is it that all these 80's films are being remade but you see virtually no 70's films being remade, at all, ever"

Maybe because many movies from the 1970's didn't need to be remade! Can you make a better adaption of "The Godfather", "Taxi Driver", "Close Encounters" and "Apocalypse Now" than the directors who made them?

Also, it wasn't until the 1980's which low budget movies became more prevalent! Ed Wood may have started this but it was the 'King of Low Budget' movies director Roger Cormon who made this low budget film making huge aka 'Full Moon', 'Cannon group', "Empire Pictures', 'Troma Pictures' etc..."The Toxic Avenger", "Tromeo and Juliet", "Robot Jox", "Surf Nazis Must Die" are some of the films that came out during the 1980's! The "B" movies name came from the 80's!

Now that I think of it, I can't believe I wasted half of my life watching these low budget movies!

Jul 8 - 01:10 PM

OG Cutler

Cutler's 5th Account

80s was the decade of cinema, dude. You should've known that if you like films.

Jul 6 - 03:51 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I dunno about the decade of cinema, however I credit the 80's with being one of the most creative decades of film, where movies had that 'magic' and people were excited to go to the theater. It's hard to get excited about much they put out these days.

Jul 6 - 07:09 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Hey! Hey, Val! It's 'cause people actually have respect for Seventies Films! *Ducks for cover*

Jul 6 - 04:28 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Hollywood holds nothing holy that can make them money, it's just that few 70's films are worth updating.

Jul 6 - 07:12 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

and by updating I mean utterly destroying

Jul 6 - 10:17 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Yep because they're good enough as is.

Jul 7 - 01:58 AM

President Pedro

President Pedro

Damn, how long before they remake Citizen Kane now?

Jul 6 - 06:18 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Not long.

Jul 7 - 09:25 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

I dunno about the decade of cinema, however I credit the 80's with being one of the most creative decades of film, where movies had that 'magic' and people were excited to go to the theater. It's hard to get excited about much they put out these days.

Jul 6 - 07:09 PM

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