Weekly Ketchup: The A-Team Gets a Release Date, Plus Pics from G.I. Joe!
Plus rumors that Clint Eastwood may return as Dirty Harry
20TH CENTURY FOX LOVES IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER
Long in development, the A-Team movie's imminent production got a bit of a backdoor announcement this week in the form of 20th Century Fox adding the title to its release calendar, aiming for a summer date of June 12th, 2009. The adaptation of the 1980s adventure TV series about a foursome of Vietnam vets on the run who travel around helping people as classifieds-advertising vigilantes has for years been the subject of thousands of "dream casting" type web sites and posts. If someone is beefy, famous and and black, then someone else somewhere has suggested they'd be perfect to play B.A. Barracus. The same goes for wacky comedian types and Murdock. Regardless, no official casting has been announced yet. What we do know, however, is that the current director is John Singleton (Shaft, 2 Fast 2 Furious) and the script will be by his writing team (Michael Brandt and Derek Haas) from 2 Fast 2 Furious (and also, 3:10 to Yuma). So, join the fun... who do *you* think would be best for each of the show's iconic characters?
SNAKE-EYES: ALMOST AS LIFELIKE AS THE ACTION FIGURE
Ain't It Cool News, by way of USA Today and G.I. Joe comics writer Larry Hama, was the source this week for our first glimpse of Ray "Darth Maul" Park in costume as Snake-Eyes in the G.I. Joe movie. I'm just a bit too old to have been a fan of the toys or the cartoon (my G.I. Joes were about 3 times bigger and vaguely resembled a bearded Lee Majors), but I do know what Snake-Eyes looks like, and... I believe that is it. Going a bit off-subject, looking at this picture of a completely costumed guy wielding a sword and sometimes a gun, I got to wondering how they will handle Deadpool (played by Ryan Reynolds) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, who has a similar look (but with a lot more red). Snake-Eyes is mute, so they can easily get away with a look that is basically faceless, but Deadpool is actually quite gabby. Unless they want Deadpool's scenes to come off like those Spidey/Green Goblin scenes in that first movie, I'm guessing then we won't get as faithful a look as what the G.I. Joe costume designers did with Snake-Eyes.
JACK RYAN: BALDWIN, FORD, AFFLECK AND NEXT...?
Paramount Pictures announced plans this week to revive military/adventure author Tom Clancy's character of Jack Ryan's career as a movie character, following the four movies in which he has been played by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears). What's probably most interesting, however, is that the director they are in talks to bring Clancy's C.I.A. consultant back is Sam Raimi (Spider-Man series, Evil Dead series). Reportedly, the decision hasn't yet been made about whether the next film would be an adaptation of one of Clancy's books, or just an entirely new story, which means that there's no script (or writer) yet, but even so, Paramount wants to get the movie done and ready for release in the summer of 2010. Raimi's currently working on his return to horror, Drag Me to Hell, and when you fit the development and production of a big budget spy/military thriller in there, that doesn't allow much time for a lot of Raimi's other projects, like say, the possibility of a Spider-Man 4 (though I sort of didn't think he'd be returning for that one either).
GO AHEAD, PUNK, MAKE THIS MOVIE
With another movie he's directed already in the can and scheduled for this November (The Changeling, a thriller starring Angelina Jolie), Clint Eastwood is wasting no time or worrying about competing with himself, signing with Warner Bros to direct and star in a project called Gran Torino that has really set the Internet buzz wagons afire. Where this gets *really* interesting is the scoop/rumor that Ain't it Cool News is running with, which suggests that the lead character of Gran Torino is none other than one Harry Callahan, AKA Dirty Harry, which would make it the "Dirty Harry 6" many people probably gave up on ever thinking we'd ever actually see get made. If AICN's source is right, the story involves Dirty Harry coming out of retirement when his son, also a cop, is killed by a killer whose only known trait is the 1972 Ford Torino he drives (which as AICN concurs, was a very cool late model from the last days of the classic street muscle car). Anyway, the secrecy about the plot in the Variety article makes me think that AICN is probably right, and that makes me a happy camper, because as a kid in the 1970s and early 1980s, the five Dirty Harry movies were one of the signatures of "cool." Yeah, Harry Callahan was a violent and arguably morally blackish-grey guy, but he was still, you know, awesome.
JONAH HEX AND THE CRANK TRILOGY
Never really a comic book superstar, Jonah Hex was still one of DC Comics' most consistent titles for over a dozen years, telling the story of a "bad ass" cowboy in the style of Clint Eastwood's cowboy movies. This week, two separate pieces were published online about the planned movie adaptation of the series, in the form of a script review and an interview with Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the writers/directors of the Jason Statham film, Crank, and Hex. The interview was done in conjunction with the release of Pathology (which they wrote but didn't direct), and brings the news that they have plans for two more Crank movies, in a schedule that sounds like their next movies would be Crank 2, then Jonah Hex, and then Crank 3. Now, I wonder what Jason Statham would look like with his face half scarred, in a nasty old Confederate uniform, and six guns in his hand?
PUTTING THE SPICE BACK INTO DUNE
Peter Berg, whose career as a director has been quite varied (The Rundown, Friday Night Lights, this summer's Will Smith superhero movie, Hancock), has attached himself to lots of projects over the years, but this week brought confirmation of a remake/adaptation project that could arguably be his most ambitious yet: Dune. Written in the 1960s by Frank Herbert, starting off what would become one of the most popular science fiction "space opera" novel series ever, Dune is the epic tale of a struggle on the desert planet Arrakis, home to giant worms, a drug-like substance called "The Spice" (which also grants super powers of a sort), and not much water. David Lynch made a big budget movie of Dune in 1984, which I personally *love*, but the sentiment was not universal, and the movie is still considered a flop by most. So, that actually makes Dune a good candidate for being re-done, as most people would probably consider the chances of getting a "better" movie on the upside. Paramount Pictures no doubt sees this not only as a "tentpole" project, but potentially the first of many films, with plenty of books by Frank Herbert (and his son, Brian) yet to adapt.
SHAKING THE REST OF THE KETCHUP OUT OF THIS WEEK'S BOTTLE
- George Lucas talked quite a bit this week to the guys over at ComingSoon.net, which gives us the news that he might start filming Red Tails, his project about the Tuskegee Airmen, later this year, for a 2009 release. His 2008 release, Star Wars: The Clone Wars also gets a lot of attention in an interview there.
- The title character of the TinTin trilogy to be directed by Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and either another director or one of those two, has been cast in the form of 17-year-old British actor Thomas Sangster, who is possibly best known for playing Liam Neeson's young son in Love, Actually.
- The voice cast for the DreamWorks 3D CGI fantasy comedy, How to Train Your Dragon has been announced, and it includes Gerard Butler (300), America Ferrara (Ugly Betty) and Jonah Hill (Superbad). The story of a scrawny kid in a Viking village who must capture and train a dragon, is scheduled for a release on March 26th... 2010.
- The first two really great official images of Benicio del Toro in full-on Wolfman makeup appeared online this week, via "Entertainment Weekly." Makeup guru Rick Baker has done an *amazing* job, both of creating a terrifying creature, but at the same time keeping true to the classic features of the original 1930s/1940s Wolfman makeup.
- The first on-location images of Johnny Depp as mobster John Dillinger in Michael Mann's Public Enemies are now online. Depp appears to be enjoying hanging out in Columbus, Wisconsin, which is just one of a few different Dairy State towns he'll be visiting in coming weeks, in a rare situation where a place like Wisconsin plays itself, instead of, you know, being filmed in... Canada.
- Robert Downey, Jr. goes where few other actors could dare (and whether *he* can is still up for debate) in the fairly funny/awesome trailer for Tropic Thunder.
- Mad Max series director George Miller (who's currently working on the Justice League America movie) revealed quite a bit of details about Fury Road, the (not made yet) fourth Mad Max movie, which sounds like it may not get made, and if it does, it probably won't be with Mel Gibson (though it would have, at one time).
- Similarly, based on what Chris "Human Torch" Evans is saying, it sounds like 20th Century Fox may have changed its collective studio mind about making a third Fantastic Four movie, as he's not heard anything on the subject in the year since the second movie's release.
- Director Matthew Vaughn, who's attached to adapt Marvel's Thor, may actually direct another comic adaptation, Kick Ass (which is still not completely published yet) first, according to a scoop over at AICN.