Saturday, 11 June 2011

Finding a new Franchise (Film News - 11/06/11)

Is the comic book adaptation dead? Poor returns for Thor and X-Men: First Class and with poor tracking for the innumerable other upcoming fixtures is a clear indication that the bubble has burst for graphic novels. Naturally the studios need to find a new cash cow to milk, and the news this week is strewn with unnecessary sequels and potential jumping off points for major franchises.

American Assassin

Primarily there's the news of the first of a major series of novels from a well worn genre that could see significant returns. Based on the books by Vince Flynn this is the second novel to be optioned following Consent to Kill two years ago, however given this is a prequel novel explaining the back story of the central character Mitch Rapp.

For those of you interested it's essentially a revenge mystery with the young Rapp losing his fiance in a terrorist attack and vowing vengeance. It doesn't take long for the CIA to identify the potential in the virtually unstable personality and unleash him onto the un-American hordes. It sounds like an odd mix between Die Hard and the Jack Ryan series which is probably why there's been no hesitation in getting the wheels in motion - the book was only published (cover below) in October last year.

Ed Zwick has been approached to direct and it'll be good for him to get back to the kind of action adventure that he used to do so well in the early 90's.

Read on for colourful criminals, retired actors, archaeologists and boxers, and the usual round-up of casting rumours.

Dick Tracy 2

Warren Beatty (right) has finally won his protracted 21 year battle with Tribune over the rights to Dick Tracy and he's been celebrating at the LA Times Hero Complex Film Festival by hinting to plans for a sequel. I love the original film, Madonna and all, but whether Beatty who's now 74 could convince either as the star or in the directors chair again remains to be seen.

The Humbling

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I believe Al Pacino has at least one more great performance left in him, and it could just be for this bizarre hybrid of sexual humiliation and character study. He's signed up to play the suicidal aging actor Simon Axler who following his divorce shacks up with the daughter of friends 20 years his junior, a relationship which leads to him to trying a variety of unexpected things in the bedroom and learning a great deal about the impact of his age, former success and the sexual credit partners hold over each other.

Indiana Jones 5

Shia LaBeouf has been making subversive comments during the press tours of Transformers: Dark side of the Moon whilst genuinely appearing positive about the quality he seems to be ruling himself out of any future sequels, not the really the sign of someone who really believes in the quality of the product. He's also been confident about the resurrection of another blockbuster serial, Indiana Jones, stating that George Lucas is confident but is currently seeking a MacGuffin to kick start the plot. Someone should mention to Shia that the public are probably not interested in seeing his 'Mutt' (right) return to that franchise, with or without gibbons at his side.


I've been torn about Eminem's next movie, the story, partly based on Mathers' own life but with rapping swapped for welterweight boxing, but I actually respect him as an actor (based on his solid performance in 8 Mile) and now it has a reasonable director (Training Day helmer Antoine Fuqua) on the case I'm beginning to warm to it. Will have to wait and see if it manages to find some of the audience of The Fighter.

Casting News

The casting front has been more rumour and innuendo rather than any hard facts this week with some very big names jumping around some very interesting projects. First up was the rather bizarre connection of Anjelina Jolie with David O. Russell's Silver Lining's Playbook, which you can just imagine the stand up rows on. Whilst Leonardo DiCaprio has been confirmed for Django Unchained there is a delay with Will Smith signing on the bottom line, so much so that an alternatives list has been drawn out which includes Chris Rock (wtf?) and Jamie Foxx. Finally, and on much more solid ground, Alan Arkin has joined CIA masquerading as filmmakers true story Argo.


TomS said...

Ben, as always a slew of intriguing nuggets. I no longer read Variety..I just check in here!

Wonder how Dick Tracy will be promoted to an audience steeped in 3D and who doesn't know Warren Beatty.
I am very queasy about Django... especially DiCaprio as a bad-guy who stages Mandingo-style battles between his slaves.
It would be nice to think that there will be more originality in movies for a shile. Midnight in Paris finally arrived in our dull suburb, played to a packed house, and received a rare ovation. Stgay tuned for a review.

TomS said...

It would be nice to think that there will be more originality in movies for a WHILE. (dreaded spell check failed me!)

Colleen said...

Just like books, it seems impossible to tell one great story these days. I hate that everything has to come in threes or be remade in less than a decade. Prequels, sequels, re-launches...I just want good cinema!

Runs Like A Gay said...


I think Dick Tracy can work as a stand alone property, after all the premise of fight scenes and colourful baddies is hardly new. Of course Beatty won't be in the lead so it will have to be sold on whoever takes that part.

I really didn't like Basterds but I'm hoping that Tarantino can deliver when looking at American history, it may end up exploitative but could still be worth the wait.

Can't wait for your Midnight in Paris review.


I don't mind the idea of sequels and multiple episode film-making providing each movie can stand alone in it's own right, so you can enter into a film without massive prior knowledge of the characters. Just like a good action novel...