Weekly Ketchup: McConaghey offered Magnum, Dimension Films to Short Circuit

Plus news about Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's next project

For a week that you would think would have been dominated by April Fool's Day jokes, there was an abundance of interesting bits of news in these first few days of April. Let's start, dear reader, with...


Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Matthew McConaughey has been offered the role of Thomas Magnum in Universal Picture's extremely-long-in-development movie version of Magnum, P.I., with the frequent costar of Kate Hudson currently mulling over the script by Rawson Thurber, whose only contribution to the great spectacle that is filmmaking thus far has been 2004's Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. I did genuinely enjoy that little sports comedy, but I don't quite know how that translates to adapting Magnum, P.I. to the big screen. Besides just that though, the obvious issue here is Matthew McConaughey, who I guess sort of has a similar charm to 1980s-era Tom Selleck, but I think too many people firmly equate Selleck to Magnum, that McConaughey is going to be very challenged to overcome that. Besides, Tom Selleck is still in pretty good shape, and it would be cool to see a "Magnum 20 years later" story, in my opinion. With this reportedly a prequel, however, that's not the way Universal is going.


Variety is reporting that Dimension Films, the Weinstein Co.'s genre division led by brother Bob, has commissioned the original screenwriters of 1986's Short Circuit to work on a remake project about the loveable military robot who gets turned into a peace-lover after getting hit by lightning. The funny thing is that it's twenty years later, and today's robots (which are still basically resigned to doing factory work... well, that and military missions over Afghanistan) don't actually look that much more advanced than Number 5's original design. With so many appalling remakes getting done these days, I can't really say I hold much opinion either way about a Short Circuit movie, since my reaction is basically not far from the realm of "Oh yeah, I remember seeing about 20 minutes of that on cable once..."


Director Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha) is returning to the Broadway adaptation trough with word this week from the Hollywood Reporter that a huge cast has either signed on, or is in advanced talks, to fill out Nine, an adaptation of the 1982 broadway musical which was itself an adaptation of Federico Fellini's classic film, 8 1/2. Standing in for the long late Fellini will be Javier Bardem, hot off being spooky as hell in No Country for Old Men, and the many women of the cast are likely to include (recent Oscar winner) Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Sophia Loren and Dame Judi Dench, in this story of a film director's attempts to manage the many women who populate his life. Filming of this Weinstein Co production was originally expected to start last month, but it has been re-scheduled for September, 2008, following the death of its originally planned director, Anthony Minghella. The additional time also allows for recent rewrites by Michael Tolkin (The Player) to be synched up with the songwriting and choreography, and for Nicole Kidman to give birth to her first child this summer (her two children with Tom Cruise were adopted).


Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has renewed his relationship with Working Title Pictures, which covers two movies: Baby Driver, a car/road action movie he will direct first, and At World's End, which will reteam him with star and cowriter Simon Pegg, in what AICN is speculating might be about a conspiracy that lizard people control the world (sort of like They Live!, starring Rowdy Roddy Piper?). At World's End is said to be the third in the pair's trilogy of movies paying homage to three of their favorite genres. Zombies, cop buddies and...? What isn't stated in any of this is what effect these two projects will have on Wright's movie version of Marvel Comics' Ant-Man, which was expected to be a sooner-rather-than-later sort of thing. Now a "not" sort of thing?


  • Ben Stiller is getting into the wacky "graphic novel" adapation business by teaming up with DreamWorks to produce, and possibly star in, an adaptation of the graphic novel, The Return of King Doug, about a man who is forced to return to the fantasy world that he abandoned thirty years earlier.

  • The Benderspink production company picked up rights to two graphic novels this week. First up is Last Blood, about a group of vampires protecting the last human survivors of a zombie apocalypse (so, basically, it's a lot like I Am Legend, but with more survivors, and nicer vampires?).

  • Benderspink also acquired movie rights to the graphic novel Pencilneck by Victor Carungi, which sounds like a fairly standard mob/crime thriller, but based on something from the oh-so-popular-these-days "graphic novel" arena.

  • And now a footnote. As "graphic novels" are seemingly becoming *the* most common source for adaptations, I am suspecting that some screenwriters are just writing their scripts as "graphic novels" first these days as a fast track to getting concepts sold that they would never even get noticed as regular old "spec scripts" without that distinction. Not that this necessarily applies to the three titles announced this week. Just something I might do if I was a screenwriter, honestly. It's a very tough business.



Greg Dean Schmitz can be contacted via his MySpace page, there's a RT Forums thread devoted to him, and his IMDb discussion thread is currently a very lonely place.



lance berry

I remember Magnum being a DECENT show...but who the heck even remembers enough about it that making the movie a PREQUEL even matters?

Apr 4 - 07:01 PM


Benjamin Arie

Magnum is an icon -- and he's Tom Selleck. Sorry, I like McConaghey, but Thomas Magnum, he ain't.

Apr 4 - 09:07 PM

the train

Vinnie Oliveri

the magnum p.i. thing is kind of a problem. its draw will be to people who remember the show, and those people will probably want to see selleck (me, for instance--i watched that show all the time when i was a kid). so if it has a shot without selleck, they'll have to make it a decent movie in its own right. i'm not convinced they can do this with the writer they've picked and mcconaghey. i think it will end up being a generic action film--only in hawaii.

Apr 4 - 10:04 PM


J Taylor

Used to watch Magnum PI religiously. Selleck was the man. Not sure if I'm sold on McConaughey though.

Apr 4 - 10:22 PM


Greg Dean Schmitz

Just to continue what I said in the column... I think the "problem" with this idea of casting Magnum with anyone other than Tom Selleck is that it's not like Selleck is some dodderly old man who can't still do action scenes and stuff. He's still out there, doing western made-for-TV's, he did some action scenes in the "Las Vegas" tv series recently, etc.

There just isn't enough time between the TV show and today to justify replacing him, and people *legitimately*, I think, want to see Selleck playing an older Magnum, if they want to see Magnum at all. The actors who played T.C. and Rick were on Las Vegas this season (in other roles) in what was basically a Magnum reunion show, and it was GREAT.

Years ago, Tom Clancy actually worked on a Magnum sequel (for Selleck to continue, from the show) where he would be called back in some capacity to work for the Navy (they did this on the TV show a few times too), but they eventually didn't use his stuff, so he (rightly so) gave up on the project. I don't know if that's 100% a perfect recipe for a Selleck movie, but it probably would have been better than this prequel idea.

Apr 4 - 11:36 PM


D.S. Levy

They're remaking C.H.U.D? I don't even know what to say.




Apr 4 - 11:43 PM


Steve Johnson

Tom just hit 63 in January, so I'm not sure how much action he would be up for, but I would go and see a Magnum reunion movie. Like a lot of 30 somethings I remember catching the show as a kid and realy likeing it.

Apr 5 - 12:53 AM


Greg Dean Schmitz

Tom just hit 63 in January, so I'm not sure how much action he would be up for,

If he can handle as much as Harrison Ford (age: 65), that would be enough !

Apr 5 - 10:54 AM

Xx MooSE xX

brian kochaniuk

tired of the word remake, how about originality, that would be cool

Apr 5 - 11:54 AM


Greg Guro

Too much news at once for my little brain. Too much news to write/reply about. RT should have seperated all this news into other categories. Please.

. . .

And Magnum shouldn't make a comeback until those ridiculous shirts make a comeback. For the most part, the best Magnum episodes dealt with him and the Vietnam war. If they take one of those story arcs, then Selleck, even at his ripe old age, would make some sense. If Buddha Belly Segal can still make movies, might as well let Tom.

Apr 5 - 12:20 PM


David E. Miller

Since I basically did not watch TV in the 80s, I have only seen a few reruns of Magnum P.I. However, I have several of Tom Selleck's westerns. He's an excellent actor and is underused. I would not go see a Magnum P.I. movie unless Selleck was in it. And it would be to see him, not because I have any nostalgia for the show.

Apr 5 - 12:56 PM


Biji Badness

at world's end? wtf? what are they thinking, making a movie that shares the same name as the third pirates film which what, made a trillion dollars?

Apr 5 - 06:12 PM

the train

Vinnie Oliveri

@ greg_dean_schmitz:

i remember that. if i am not mistaken, it was around the time selleck guest starred on friends and everyone went nuts over him, and suddenly he had buzz again.

i think part of my frustration with this news about a magnum movie is that the clancy script sounded so much more interesting and could have started a nice little franchise. instead, we're getting this, and, let's be honest, probably about 10 years too late to boot. i'm crossing my fingers that selleck doesn't do some kind of a cameo and legitimize this travesty.

and you're absolutely right--these days, a 60-year-old actor doesn't have to stay away from action. connery was in his mid-sixties when he did the rock.

Apr 5 - 11:05 PM

CoUcH ToMaToE DoUgIe

Shawn Amoroso

Hooray Johnnie Five is coming back!!! As long as steve guttenberg

isn't it, i will be there!! I wonder if they will get the original voice of

Johnnie five back? Y'know I expected this with all this great buzz with

Wall*E, it forced Johnnie five to come out of retirement and i do believe the

title should be "Johnnie Five Begins" ;) and as long as Katie Holmes isn't it

then i'll be there;)Johnnie Five is Alive....Again;)

Apr 6 - 01:43 AM


L Smith

The prospect of the 'Machete' film getting made is the only point in that entire article that I got even remotely excited about. Rodriguez could direct an enzyte commercial and I would watch.

Apr 6 - 09:52 AM

Top Hat

John Miller

The thing that caught my attention was the mention of Dan Simmons Hyperion novels (two pairs of novels, so four in all), but they are so dense, literate, and complex that it's hard to see how they could be reduced to a movie without being ruined. But then, they'd be in good company.

This got me to thinking about what science fiction novels might transfer well to movies, and the first two that came to mind were both by Heinlein. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and (in a young adult treatment, like Narnia or HP) Have Spacesuit Will Travel.

Apr 6 - 10:16 PM


Quin Makie

Yay Johnny 5 is alive!!! I am personally so excited about this... I think they should write in a fight scene between J5 and Wall-e... If I owned the Short Circuit franchise, I would sue the crap out of Pixar for ripping-off the lovable J5 from the 80's... Just sayin...

Apr 7 - 09:45 AM


Matty McGale

Thomas Magnum has a daughter. Duh! In 2012 she will be 30 yaers old. She should be the new Magnum pi so that Selleck can be cast as retired NIA officer Thomas Magnum. More here:
http://infilmstudios.com/the magnum pi page.html

Feb 16 - 02:37 PM

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