Weekly Ketchup: Starship Troopers Will Get a Remake
Plus, new roles for Michael Fassbender, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, and Julia Roberts.
Hollywood made up for lost time during the extended Thanksgiving holiday by returning to "work" and delivering us a healthier helping of movie development news. This week's Ketchup includes news of yet another remake of a Paul Verhoeven science fiction movie, and new (or at least potentially new) roles for Tom Cruise, Michael Fassbender, Harrison Ford, Colin Firth, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Hailee Steinfeld and Rachel Weisz.
This Week's Top Story
STARSHIP TROOPERS BEING REMADE: WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
In the 15 years from 1985 to 2000, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven's Hollywood career included seven movies, four of which were science fiction (RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers and Hollow Man). MGM has been developing a remake of RoboCop for a few years now, and Columbia Pictures has already produced a remake of Total Recall (starring Colin Farrell), which is scheduled for release on August 3, 2012. This week, it was revealed that Sony Pictures and producer Neal Moritz are now developing a remake of Verhoeven's 1997 film Starship Troopers as well. Starship Troopers was an adaptation of the 1959 novel of the same title by Robert A. Heinlein, although Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Edward Neumeier (who also cowrote RoboCop) also added enough new material to make the film more satirical. Heinlein's novel also didn't include any co-ed shower room nudity. Starship Troopers is just the latest remake project for producer Neal Moritz, who is also developing a remake of Highlander, has Total Recall coming soon, and in the past has produced such remakes as The Fast and the Furious, I Am Legend and Prom Night. The screenwriters that Neal Moritz has hired to start working on the Starship Troopers remake script are Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, who have worked together in the past as cowriters of Agent Cody Banks, Thor, X-Men: First Class and several episodes of Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Fresh Developments This Week
#1 WHO KNOWS IF MICHAEL FASSBENDER WILL SAY NO TO NOAH
Christian Bale has been mentioned as the likely star of director Darren Aronofsky's big biblical epic Noah for quite a while. However, Christian Bale has had to recently drop out of Noah due to conflicts with two upcoming projects (Lawless and Knight of Cups) with director Terrence Malick which are both expected to start filming in 2012. The actor that Aronofsky has started talking to and hopes to cast as Noah instead is Michael Fassbender, who recently costarred in X-Men: First Class (as Magneto), and also costars in next year's Prometheus (both for 20th Century Fox). Noah will be a joint production between Paramount Pictures and New Regency Productions (which is based at 20th Century Fox), and filming is expected to start in the spring of 2012.
#2 ALICE EVE THINKS STAR TREK SEQUEL IS NOT OUT OF HER LEAGUE
There are reportedly three major new roles to be introduced in the sequel to J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot of Star Trek. A few weeks ago, we learned that Benicio Del Toro had been cast as the film's main villain, and one of the other new roles is reportedly possibly a villain as well. What that leaves is a mysterious new female character, and this week it was Alice Eve who landed that part. Alice Eve is probably best known for starring in She's Out of My League, but she also costarred in Sex and the City 2, and the last season of Entourage. Eve reportedly won the role through auditioning, beating out both Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger). Although Eve's character is described as being new to the franchise, that hasn't stopped many fans from guessing (mostly based on her appearance) that she could actually be the reboot universe's Nurse Chapel, or possibly Dr. Carol Marcus (from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). It's worth noting that we also don't yet know who Benicio Del Toro is playing, even though many fans suspect it's Khan Noonien Singh. Paramount and J.J. Abrams plan on starting filming of the Star Trek sequel on January 15, 2012, so that mysterious third character should also be cast soon.
#3 TOM HANKS MEETS THE NAZIS AGAIN IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS
Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to the non-fiction novel In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City) for Tom Hanks to produce, and possibly/probably star in as well. In the Garden of Beasts tells the true story of William E. Dodd, the American professor who was chosen by FDR to become America's first ambassador to Nazi Germany in 1933. Dr. Dodd travelled to Berlin with his 24 year old daughter Martha, and the two had experiences that began quite differently, but ultimately led to the same opinion of what was really going on under Hitler in the 1930s. There is not yet any screenwriter attached to adapt Larson's book, and so it is likely to join The Devil in the White City in a development track that will last at least a few years.
#4 COLIN FIRTH IS THE RAILWAY MAN, A STEEL DRIVING MAN
Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz are set to star in the international production The Railway Man, based upon a best selling autobiography by Eric Lomax. Eric Lomax was a British officer during World War II who was captured by the Japanese, and forced to work on the Burma-Siam railroad (the subject of The Bridge Over the River Kwai). Lomax was also tortured and treated brutally for his attempts to build a radio. Decades later, Lomax sought reconciliation with one of his former torturers at the site of The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which became the focus of the 1995 documentary film Enemy My Friend. Colin Firth will play Eric Lomax in his post-war years, Rachel Weisz will play his wife Patti, and Jeremy Irvine (the star of War Horse) will play Eric Lomax during the World War II scenes. The Railway Man will be directed by Jonathan Teplitzsky (Better than Sex, Gettin' Square) from a script by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Millions, 24 Hour Party People) and Andy Paterson (one of the film's producers, making his screenwriting debut). Filming of The Railway Man is scheduled to start in February, 2012 at locations in Australia, the U.K. and Thailand.
#5 UNHOLY NIGHT CONTINUES THE WACKY HORROR MASH-UP MINI-GENRE
Author Seth Grahame-Smith is synonymous with the "horror/classics mash up" genre of fiction, mostly because he is nearly the only one writer writing it so exclusively. Grahame-Smith's books also have the distinction of being quickly picked up for movie adaptations consistently. First there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (though that one remains mired in development hell), and the second book was Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (which has been produced and is scheduled for a 6/22/12 release). Grahame-Smith's third mash-up novel will be called Unholy Night, and as the title suggests, it will take on the Nativity story of the Three Wise Men. Except, of course, Unholy Night will also somehow include monsters, or something. The "something" isn't yet known, because the book doesn't come out until April, 2012. Regardless, Warner Bros has acquired the rights to Unholy Night, which makes it the third project that Warner Bros is currently developing with ties to the Bible, even if Unholy Night is obviously not entirely serious about adapting its source material 100% faithfully. The other two Biblical projects in development at Warner Bros are a Moses biopic called Gods and Kings and Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas' planned biopic of Hebrew revolutionary Judah Maccabee (whose tale inspired the modern holiday of Hanukkah).
#6 TOM CRUISE SHOULD CHECK HIS GRAMMAR IF HE THINKS ALL YOU NEED IS KILL
All You Need is Kill is the title of a Japanese science fiction novel by Yoshitoshi Abe that has been in development as a live action adaptation at Warner Bros since 2010. Although the studio was at one time considering a younger star, Brad Pitt was later mentioned as possibly starring, followed by rumors of Tom Cruise. This week, Tom Cruise did indeed officially sign on to star in All You Need is Kill, which will be directed by Doug Liman (Jumper, The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith). All You Need is Kill is a futuristic war movie with a premise a lot like Groundhog Day. Tom Cruise will play a soldier who keeps living his final battle over and over, but with each death, he also improves at killing his alien enemies. All You Need is Kill also represents a new focus on science fiction for Tom Cruise, as the star is also attached to star in Oblivion for director Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy).
Rotten Ideas of the Week
#3 HAILEE STEINFELD AND HARRISON FORD MAY ALSO PLAY ENDER'S GAME
Now that Asa Butterfield, the 14 year old star of Hugo, has signed on with Summit Entertainment to star in the long-in-development adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, the casting process is now moving on to other characters. First up is Colonel Hyrum Graff, the commander of the Battle School that has been established to train children to fight in an outer space war against an alien race called the Formics. Although nothing is official yet, the star that Summit is reportedly hoping to land for the part is none other than Harrison Ford, who only recently returned to the outer space science fiction genre with Cowboys & Aliens after hanging up his Han Solo vest years ago. Another major character in Ender's Game (and especially later novels like Shadow of the Hegemon and Shadow Puppets) is Petra Arkanian, one of the female students at the Battle School. Hailee Steinfeld, the young actress who first came to attention in True Grit, is currently in negotations for that role. Ender's Game will be directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) from his own adaptation of Card's novel.
#2 AT LEAST CALIFORNIANS WHO SEE SAN ANDREAS: 3D WILL KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
New Line Cinema is currently looking for a director to sign on for San Andreas 3D, a disaster movie about the long-expected "big one" earthquake forecast to someday wreak havoc on the state of California. San Andreas 3D has already been written by screenwriter Allan Loeb, whose last four produced movies all received "Rotten" scores on the RT Tomatometer: 21 (35%), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (54%), The Switch (51%) and Just Go With It (20%). The premise of San Andreas revolves around a man who has to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco "to reconcile with his children and his estranged wife, who's moved away and taken up with another man." If that sounds very familiar, then you most likely saw 2012, which featured almost exactly the same premise for the John Cusack character.
#1 JULIA ROBERTS DISAGREES WITH F. SCOTT FITZGERALD ABOUT SECOND ACT
Julia Roberts has come aboard a New Regency comedy called Second Act, which she will produce and also star in. Although Second Act does not yet have a director or even a screenwriter, the workplace comedy is described as being about "a woman who has never worked and is forced to take a job." This byline makes Second Act seem a bit like the sort of movie that Goldie Hawn used to specialize in, such as Private Benjamin, Protocol, Swing Shift and Overboard. Second Act is this week's Rotten Idea based mostly on the sheer lack of information, and the rather flimsy concept which also seems a bit too obviously designed to be a "Recession Era comedy."
For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook or a RT forum message.