Screenwriters’ Dispatch: February 2015

X-Men: Apocalypse screenwriter Simon Kinberg’s confirmed Moira MacTaggert will appear, speaking to Entertainment Weekly:

She’s a significant character in the movie. We ended [X-Men:]First Class with Charles having wiped portions of her memory of her experience with the X-Men. They are, essentially, strangers to her when she meets them. It’s certainly a rich relationship that we started to dig into in [X-Men:]First Class, and would like to mine more in this one. This movie is the completion of the first arcs of Charles, Eric, Raven, and Hank, who are essentially our main characters. They’re such young actors and young characters, so there’s a lot more story to tell. But as a first phase of their lives, there is this feeling of closure by the end of the movie.

Speaking about Fantastic Four and its potential crossover with X-Men, Kinberg said:

Part of what’s cool about the Fantastic Four comics is that there’s an emphasis on the science of science fiction. And we treat what would normally be considered a superpower as a trauma. They don’t just go up a roof, jump off, and start swinging through the city. It’s the opposite. What would happen if your body transformed, and you didn’t have control over it? The reboot of [Fantastic Four] really needed to work in and of itself. We were doing something pretty radical with the tone of the movie. If we wanted to find a way to connect them to the X-Men, we could. There’s a lot of precedent from the comics. As much as it’s an origin story of our heroes, it also tracks how someone can become a villain.”

 

The 42nd Annual Annie Awards have awarded Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production to Darrick Bachman for Disney Television Animation’s Mickey Mouse and Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for Warner Animation Group’s The LEGO Movie.

 

Showbiz Junkies reports Andrea Berloff has written Sleepless Night, a remake of Frederic Jardin and Nicolas Saada’s Blanche Nuit. Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg said

With a sharp script and a first rate team of talent in front of and behind the camera, we are proud to produce Sleepless Night and to make this project the inaugural film under our international distribution agreement with FilmNation.

The story follows seemingly-corrupt Las Vegas cop Vincent Downs, who must escape being caught by internal affairs officer Jennifer Bryant who decides what side of the law he’s on for stealing the ransom: a shipment of cocaine since misplaced.

 

The Stage reports Helen Edmundson is adapting An Inspector Calls for television.

 

The Nerdist has leaked what it claims is information about characters in Akiva Goldsman and Marc HaimesThe Titans:

  • Dick “Robin” Grayson’s working as a detective in Boston.
  • Barbara Gordon, traditionally Grayson’s girlfriend, is the computer hacker paralysed in a wheelchair. No alternate name’s used in the screenplay.
  • Dawn Granger and Hank Hall are a romantic pairing that will differ from the source material the most.
  • Raven’s based on Geoff Johns’ comic book version named Rachel Roth.
  • Roth only appears at the end of the pilot with Starfire, who’s expected to start a love triangle with Grayson and Gordon.

 

The Hollywood Reporter claims the Stargate reboot will be written by Nicholas Wright and James A. Woods.

 

Arrow character Ray Palmer has been revealed as becoming the Atom in Erik Olesen and Ben Sokolowski’s Nanda Parbat:

“MERLYN IS CAPTURED BY RA’S AL GHUL; THE ATOM SUIT REVEALED —Malcolm (John Barrowman) is captured by Ra’s al Ghul (guest star Matt Nable) and taken to Nanda Parbat. Because of his love for Thea (Willa Holland), Oliver (Stephen Amell) considers saving Merlyn. Ray (Brandon Routh) is obsessed with finishing his Atom suit so he can save the city but Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) fears he is heading down the same path as Oliver (Stephen Amell) and tries to pull him out of the lab. Gregory Smith directed the episode with story by Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski and teleplay by Erik Olesen & Ben Sokolowski (#315). Original airdate 2/25/2015.”

 

Deadline reports Michael Gordon’s been approached to adapt Robotech.

 

Screenwriter Robert Blees has died. He was a member of the Writers’ Guild of America Board of Directors and the Motion Picture & Television Fund – CEO Bob Beitcher said:

While my tenure on [Motion Picture & Television Fund]’s board overlapped Bob Blees’ for only a few years, it didn’t take long to appreciate his grace and intellect as well as his compassion for the people of our industry. Bob served the entertainment industry through his tireless dedication as a board member, which spanned 30 years. Based on the thousands of lives he touched through his many contributions to his industry, Blees will be remembered for his storytelling and the goodness he promoted. He was a true gentleman.

An alumni of Dartmouth College, he co-wrote The Glass Web, Autumn Leaves, The Black Scorpion, High School Confidential, From the Earth to the Moon, Whoever Slew Auntie Roo, Frogs, Dr. Phibes Rises Again and Project U.F.O – Sighting 4015: the Underwater Incident, and wrote Cattle Queen of Montana, Project U.F.O – Sighting 4011: the Doll House Incident, Project U.F.O. – Sighting 4012: the Rock and Hard Place Incident, Project U.F.O – Sighting 4017: the Devilish Davidson Lights Incident and Project U.F.O – Sighting 4014: the Wild Blue Yonder Incident.

 

Deadline also reports Chris Bailey has written Blazing Samurai – based on Blazing Saddles, it follows dog Hank as he fights to save Kakamucho from a feline warlord.

 

Another Deadline article claims The Theory of Everything screenwriter Anthony McCarten is writing another Brit biopic, of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The working title is Darkest Hour, and is set in a period in-which the British Army’s stranded in Dunkirk while Churchill’s under pressure to make a deal with Fuhrer Adolf Hitler that would make the United Kingdom controlled by Germany. The finalisation of this deal with The Theory of Everything studio Working Title comes during the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death. McCarten said:

We aim to present a Churchill you haven’t seen before, a new portrait that shows all his famous strengths but also adds new dimensions, such as the grave doubts he privately harbored, the dark moods that would seize him unexpectedly and his fear of failure, a driving force that is often left out of any discussion of the man. It is enormously exciting to be embarking on another project with Lisa Bruce and the Working Title team.

 

Speaking to Collider, Star Wars: the Force Awakens screenwriter J.J. Abrams has commented on Simon Pegg as Star Trek Into Oblivion’s co-writer, which he’s producing:

[Pegg] and I had talked quite a bit about story, he had a lot of wonderful ideas. It just sort of felt obvious that he would be a wonderful person to work on the story and help craft the story, so he’s working on it.

 

The Casual Vacancy adapter Sarah Phelps has replied in the Daily Mail to the accusation of political bias based on scenes not appearing in the source material:

The story is less about party politics and more about community. It’s a great rallying call for humanitarianism and to see ourselves as absolutely connected and linked to each other.

Radio Times‘ Kasia Delgado has assessed the series compared to the source material:

as someone who’s read the book and seen The Casual Vacancy, I think the three-part BBC1 series has done justice to Rowling’s work – and possibly even made it better. fans of the novel will get a shock when they’re confronted with some of the major differences in the TV version, but I suspect that many will approve of these changes. Phelps said that Rowling was happy to let her do her job; that the Harry Potter writer read all the drafts, but essentially left the TV experts to it. And it’s really paid off. JK Rowling’s book is a complex and desperately bleak novel. It rarely lets up. But Phelps, a former EastEnders writer, has thrown some comedy into the characters – even in their darkest moments – which provides some much-need TV warmth on a Sunday night in chilly February. Phelps has also made some big decisions by leaving out various characters and embellishing others. The book is complex and packed with people who never even meet each other, so to incorporate them all would have made for some very dry viewing. On the other hand, Phelps’ adaptation renders Rowling’s already well-drawn central characters beautifully vivid.  Phelps’ ending is more redemptive, less tragic, and the fact that the hero Barry Fairbrother (Rory Kinnear) is allowed to survive beyond the first few moments gives audiences something greater to invest in. Phelps chose to make him a very real presence on screen, interacting with several of the key players. “I had to make Barry very present”, she explained at a screening of the drama. “In the book he’s dead very quickly and he doesn’t come back. I wanted us to get to know Barry better by keeping him in longer and by seeing him again when he revisits in ghostly form. We need more time to get to know him – to really feel his loss when gone”.

On Adam Carolla’s Take a Knee podcast, Spaceballs co-screenwriter Mel Brooks spoke of his desire for Spaceballs 2: the Search for More Money:

I was thinking about Spaceballs the other day. In Spaceballs, in the movie, Bill Pullman says to me, Yogurt, just plain Yogurt, he says, “Do you think we’ll ever meet again?” and I say, “Well, I don’t know… maybe in Spaceballs 2: the Search for More Money.” And I’m thinking now, if I did a movie that came out right after Star Wars[: The Force Awakens] comes out – maybe a couple of months later – I’d have a big weekend, you know? No matter what, even if it fell on its ass and didn’t get its money back… but that first weekend, the anticipation of seeing Spaceballs 2 would… I still have Daphne Zuniga and I still have Rick Moranis if he’d do it, and I’ve still got me.

 

Variety and The Wrap report Jon Spaihts is writing space drama Passengers. Set on a spaceship, Chris Pratt awakens from cryosleep ninety years before the other passengers. Awakening Jennifer Lawrence, he triggers a love story.

 

Jason Ward of Making Star Wars claims Domhnall Gleeson’s character in J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan’s Star Wars: the Force Awakens is an Imperial Commandant sending Chrome Stormtroopers after Finn, and works as a secondary antagonist. Through the story, he also works for the Rebellion to play both sides against each other in order to destroy their superweapons as well as being Luke Skywalker’s son. His mission began before Skywalker’s disappearance, but ends the Galactic Coldwar. In doing so, he removes the probability of Mutually Assured Destruction, beginning a hot war that sparks the next military conflict since the Civil War.

 

On the podcast Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend, James Gunn revealed details of Guardians of the Galaxy 2:

It’s different than what’s in the comic books. Peter Quill’s father is somebody different in the comics. So then when the movie came out, we got green-lit on the sequel right away. I went in and I sat down with those guys and I’m like, “Okay, here’s what I think the sequel should be.” And they were like, “Oh, whoa. That’s risky, but okay.” Now I’m going to turn over the story in a few short weeks and we’ll find out how well it works.

 

Early press preview screening reviews of Kelly Marcel’s Fifty Shades of Grey are in, and there are debates over whether it’s better than the book.

Variety’s Justin Chang said

By happily shedding the book’s 500 or so pages of numbingly repetitive inner monologue and adding the crucial perspective of the camera, the filmmakers have also made Ana a somewhat tougher, more skeptical heroine.

David Ehrlich of Time Out said

A watered-down adaptation that’s embarrassed to be wet, Fifty Shades of Grey is a sex-positive but hopelessly soft-core erotic drama that fails to be even a fraction as titillating as the E.L. James books that inspired it. And yet, that’s exactly why it works. Inevitably, this telling of the tale has been neutered to the brink of recognition.

The Hollywood Reporter said

the movie is, by definition, a stronger proposition than the book because it strips away the oodles of cringe-inducing descriptions and internal monologue that tip the text heavily toward self-parody. The screenplay by Kelly Marcel is ultra-faithful to James’ writing, and retains some of its most risible lines.

Tim Robey of The Telegraph said

It proves that age-old saw that great books rarely make great films, whereas barely-literate junk can turn into something ripe and even electric on screen. Would you rather read an assortment of appallingly organised words describing two stick-thin characters yelping on the page, or watch two very attractive young stars going at it, in images filmed by Seamus McGarvey? This great cinematographer – he also shot The Hours, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Godzilla – is a ready-made cornerstone for the flatly indisputable argument that Fifty Shades of Grey is a far better film than it was a book. Anastasia is no walkover here and sometimes gives as good as she gets, if not better. The funniest scene – debatably the sexiest, too – has the duo sitting at either end of a glass boardroom table, while Ana whips through the contract for their experimental relationship scratching out everything she won’t consent to. The script isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade here: “Find anal fisting. Strike it out”. Johnson’s timing and verve are terrific, and manage to upend the more distasteful indignities of the book in gold-spun-from-straw ways. It’s her rebellion, not just her submission, that this version of Christian finds attractive, which gives Dornan something more interesting, human, and contradictory to play as well. If Taylor-Johnson and James bitterly tussled for control over this material, it’s a relief and even a bit of a thrill that the director came out on top.

USA Today’s Claudia Puig said

screenwriter, Kelly Marcel, faithfully adapted the novel to the screen.

Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum said:

The movie Fifty Shades of Grey is considerably better written than the book. Presumably the look-but-don’t-pant tone of the storytelling was negotiated among the book’s author, screenwriter Kelly Marcel, and various producers and studio types; the movie version appears to be aimed at a younger consumer crowd than -the readers, leaving both those coming to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon for the first time as well as those who have read the book to wonder, for different reasons, Where’s the beef? B–

NY Daily News said

credit goes to director Sam Taylor-Johnson and her screenwriter, Kelly Marcel, who’ve stripped the first book of its biggest flaws, while still honoring its essence. The book’s centerpiece scenes are faithfully recreated. Though the books always reflected the trilogy’s roots as Twilight fan fiction, the movie aims to give Ana, in particular, a story and identity of her own. She’s smarter and sassier than her literary counterpart, while Christian, thank goodness, is less creepy-stalkerish. The filmmakers earn points just for cutting the novel’s many excesses. (Rejoice, readers: there’s not a single reference to either inner goddesses or tampons.) Better still, they upgrade Ana into a fuller, more interesting character worthy of her complex and intriguing scenario.

Fox News’ Justin Craig said

The screenplay by Kelly Marcel, based on E.L. James’ novel, is empty of message or meaning.

Mashable’s Josh Dickey said

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel originally cooked up a sizzling flambé of hanky panky for Fifty Shades of Grey, but producers and Universal brass toned it down by the time they got to shooting. That’s a shame, because Marcel performed nothing short of a miracle here, turning hapless, unreadable fan-fiction rubbish that somehow caught fire into a capable, slow-building script. By boldly stripping away the book’s iconic but most preposterous elements (the inner goddess, tampons, endless juvenile exclamations like Oh crap!), the film ultimately holds up as a stylish and simmering power struggle between a kinky billionaire and the innocent college grad for whom he inexplicably falls. Credit goes to Marcel and director Sam Taylor-Johnson, who give Johnson just enough flashes of defiance and confidence to create friction against Dornan’s unrelenting Christian Grey. Not quite stylish or sizzling or steamy enough to overcome its atrocious source material.

LA Times‘ Rebecca Keegan said

Less explicit than the book, the movie’s sex scenes arrive after a long buildup between the characters and are as close to pornography made for women as those in any cinema, with breathy Beyoncé songs, flattering lighting and frequent shots of Dornan’s bare chest and rear. As played by Johnson, Anastasia projects more strength than the character does in the book. Reviews for Fifty Shades[of Grey] have been mostly negative. While many film critics acknowledge the film is superior in quality to its source material, they suggest it’s a low bar to clear.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes claims it’s

creatively better endowed than its print counterpart

People‘s Alynda Wheat said

If you’re a fan of the book (and Lord knows, y’all are legion), then this flawed adaptation will sit just right.

Speaking to JoBloKick-Ass screenwriter Matthew Vaughn spoke about the possibility of Kick-Ass 3:

we’ve finished plotting it. What we have to do is, we’ve got to do the [X-Men:]First Class to the Kick-Ass world. We lost a few fans on Kick-Ass 2. It wasn’t as loved as one would’ve hoped. So we have this idea for a Hit Girl prequel. It’s a really strong, really simple prequel where I think we can regain the love and the passion. If that happens, I’m pretty sure I can persuade Aaron and Chloe to come back and finish the story of Kick-Ass with Kick-Ass 3. Mark[Millar, source material writer] and I have already plotted Hit Girl. We have to get the script done next. It’s so far out there, you have no idea.

He also spoke about the possibility of a sequel to Kingsman: the Secret Service.

A lot of people are very upset that Colin might not be in the sequel but I’m coming up with ideas at the moment. If people buy tickets in America, I’ve got a feeling we’ll figure out a way for having Colin back. The sequel will be “This is the modern-day gentleman spy.” Because Harry isn’t. Harry even says, “There is a reason why we’ve developed weak chins.” He said that meaning, “Look at us, we need to get new blood into this system,” and that’s what Eggsy is. I joke that we’ve made the prequel to the Eggsy movie.

Hugh Grant’s explained to AMC Independent the story of his new production, Mark Lawrence‘s The Rewrite:

It’s about a Hollywood screenwriter who was very successful, won an Oscar, some fifteen years ago but is now a terrible failure and can’t get any work. And very much against his will, he takes a job teaching screenwriting in a third-rate university in the middle of nowhere, and he does it with a very bad attitude. He drinks too much, and he’s rude to people, and he has sex with his students and then realises he actually quite likes teaching, likes the students, and one of the mature students in particular. As a screenwriter, you don’t have to get in front of the camera. Mark Lawrence himself who wrote and directed this film is a good sort-of object lesson in how to be a screenwriter. We had a big screening in Binghamton University itself where the film is set, just a couple of days ago, and lots of the questions from students were about “what’s the key to being a screenwriter?”, and really, they should just watch Mark, because, I think it was Woody Allen who said, “ninety-eight per cent of success is just showing-up” and he just shows up day after day, he’s writing, writing, writing, writing, rather than saying “oh yeah, I’ve got an idea, I might get it down”, he just writes, and then rewrites, and rewrites and rewrites – a very appropriate title for Mark.

The Writers Guild of America Awards 2015 have awarded Best Original Screenplay to Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Best Adapted Screenplay Graham Moore‘s The Imitation Game.

The 65th Berlin International Film Festival’s awarded the Silver Bear for Best Script to Patricio Guzmán‘s El botón de nácar.

Anthony Horowitz is writing a new BBC London-based crime drama New Blood following the finale of Foyle’s War, reports Radio Times. New detectives Setfan and Rash’s career sets them against the establishment.

For a long time I’ve been wondering how to take a fresh approach to crime drama and I hope that with New Blood I’ve succeeded. This is a show about the so-called Y generation – young people starting out in their careers, the powerless against the powerful. It’s so refreshing to be writing about two central characters who are still in their late twenties and 21st century London is the perfect setting. [BBC Drama Controller] Ben Stephenson has been hugely supportive and I’m delighted to be back at the BBC.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby has announced to Radio Times he’s writing his first television drama. Love, Nina‘s adapted from Nina Stibbe’s letters published as a book set in a 1980s Gloucester Crescent housing playwright Alan Bennett, biographer Claire Tomalin, director Jonathan Miller writer Michael Frayn and editor Mary Kay-Wilmers, who hired Stibbes as a nanny. Hornby said

Love, Nina has already attained the status of a modern classic, and I am so happy that I’ve been given the opportunity to adapt it. We want to make a series that is as charming, funny and delightful as Nina Stibbe’s glorious book.

Ed Whitmore‘s written new biographical drama Arthur and George, reports Radio Times, about writers Arthur Conan Doyle and his secretary Alfred Wood as they attempt to clear solicitor George Edalji, who was imprisoned for the 1903 Great Wyrley Outrages, in-which Staffordshire livestock were bizarrely attacked. Producer Philippa Braithwaite said

We have only told a few months of Conan Doyle’s life in Arthur & George so there’s so much more there.

Whitmore said

In a sense both Conan Doyle and Woodie have elements of Sherlock and Doctor Watson, both have aspects of the deductive side and the geniality. I think we could do more.

GamesRadar reports Disney have released the official synopsis for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean, confirmed with the subtitle Dead men Tell no Lies (something it claims was “an open secret”). It reads

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea… including him.  Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artefact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II co-writer Dan Aykroyd has approved Paul Feige‘s remake screenplay, reports The Interrobang. Speaking on Unmasked with Ron Bennington, he said

I can tell you, as the originator,I’m very happy with what he’s done. It’s very tasteful. And it needed a reworking. The thing needed a new engine. You know? It needed new exhaust. It needed new steering. And this is what we’re getting.

Regarding a sequel to the original franchise, he said

Oh I’ve written… well, we have…I’ve written, well, there’s three drafts of the old concept that exists. And we’re going to be able to salvage some of it and use it. Yeah, we’re gonna be able to use it some day. Let’s get this one made and that will reinvigorate the franchise and then we’ll go on to maybe doing a more conventional third sequel as we were planning and another idea I have for it.

The title of Doctor Who‘s Series 9 opener by Steven Moffat‘s already been announced as The Magician’s Apprentice, but the show’s blog has now confirmed it to be the first part of a two-part story concluding with The Witch‘s Familiar, featuring the return of the Master and Kate Lethbridge-Stewart from the previous season’s finale, Death in Heaven, also by Moffat.

Variety reports John Romano has adapted Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, following school athlete Seymour Levov, who marries a prom queen and inherits his Father’s business, but his daughter becomes rebellious and commits a terrorist act during the Vietnam War.

Radio Times report George Simenon’s novels Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man are being adapted by Stewart Harcourt into two single dramas each.

Thirty Mile Zone claims Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels has died. Los Angeles police are allegedly considering it due to an overdose when found on his couch with drug paraphernalia around his house. There was no sign of trauma. Sarah Silverman tweeted

You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything.

Billy Eichner also tweeted

Don’t know what to say. Harris Wittels was a fantastic writer I had the pleasure to work with at Parks and Rec. So so sad. RIP Harris.

Seth Meyers tweeted

Such heartbreaking news about Harris Wittels. A really funny guy.

and Joe Mande tweeted

I met Harris in 2002 & sought his approval ever since. He was the most effortlessly funny person I’ve ever known. He’d hate all these tweets

Wittels wrote the Parks and Recreation episodes Practice DateTom’s Divorce94 MeetingsMedia BlitzRoad TripThe TreatyLeslie vs. AprilWomen in GarbageFilibusterProm (with Matt Murray) and Ron and Jammy. He also wrote the Secret Girlfriend episode You and Your ex Call it Quits with Ross Novie and Eastbound and Down episode Chapter 15 with Jody Hill and Danny R. McBride.

Mark Kermode’s given the Kermode Award for Best Screenplay to Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook.

The Independent Spirit Awards have awarded Best Script to Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler.

The 87th Academy Awards have awarded Best Original Screenplay to Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo for Birdman or (the Unexpected Ignorance of Virtue) and Best Adapted Screenplay to Graham Moore for The Imitation Game.

Joss Whedon‘s explained his Avengers: Age of Ultron writing process to Empire:

The writing is never done because I haven’t finished it. It’s not like it was good enough yet. It’s not like anybody’s going, “Well, let’s try something else”. We all know I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m close. The story’s there, the structure’s there, everybody basically knows what they’re going through, but there’s still some scenes that absolutely need to be much better. And so I have that to deal with, but it’s good because it makes me feel guilty about how late the script is when someone says, “What am I reacting to?” and I say, “Something I wrote on another page that you haven’t seen yet, oops! It’s ok, I’m totally on top of this. I’m the leader of the whole movie!” But it just makes you work harder when you feel bad about not having worked harder. The thing with this is, it’s different. The thing I haven’t told you about, because I open with some complaining because it’s me, is the part where I’m having the best imaginable time. It’s feeding me in a way that it didn’t ever on the first one, and partially that’s because I didn’t allow it to. There was a whole process where I had to understand that if I’m going to make these films, I have to not feel guilty about it, I have to give myself up to the process, I have to work as hard as I humanly can, and that’s what I am doing and I’m having a wonderful time. The movie reflects better than anything I’ve ever made, and so visually there’s so much going on in terms of styles and templates and genres and locations, and ideas. Everyday it’s like a different movie, which is really fun because you don’t get that stuck feeling. And because there’s a lot of location work you get a lot of interesting challenges. On stage, it’s easy for things to get more sterile. There’s a large amount of trust with the troupe, and they were great the first time but they were taking it on faith! They were like, “Ok, he seems to know where he’s going, so we’re going there”. And Thor hadn’t come out, Cap hadn’t come out, and there was a certain amount of tension in the group within themselves, but this time I feel like there’s an ease and I’m trying very hard not to let that ease translate into “Don’t worry, we got this, we’re definitely gonna win”. The only reason you come to do this again after the kind of splash we made is because you think you can make a better movie. But what’s exciting to me is that I’ve been able to attack it really like a terrier, like a pitbull, like a crossbreed between a terrier and a pitbull, a Perrier, I guess you could say. My instinct was, “Let’s just come out of the gate saying there is an Avengers”. So we can have more time to pick at them and tear them apart and hurt them and ultimately destroy them. I’ve been working on a lot of Ultron scenes, so I’m very anti-Avengers right now. I know I reference [The]Godfather Part II a lot. “Don’t reference the greatest movie ever made because that’s Icarus, you moron!”. But at the same time it is a huge touchstone for me because you get everything you got from [The Godfather] in a very different movie, in a movie that structurally couldn’t be more different, and thematically and in intent and in mood, and yet nobody ever goes, “It wasn’t Godfathery enough”. I need to give people an exciting ride about heroic people, and that’s certainly part of why I signed on, but at the same time a richer, deeper, darker movie is not a bad thing. We see the early days, young Nick Fury in Sicily… I don’t know what the hell he’s doing in Sicily. “I can’t wait to see this 3D technology, all these amazing bifocals, and the things I can do with both of my eyes…” It’s very poignant, actually. There is a pre-credit Bondian blow-out. Before I took the first movie. For me what was interesting is that he is this angry, and I hired the smoothest talker in Hollywood to play him. I did it on purpose. I needed a guy who can give you the Morpheus but then can just LOSE HIS SHIT. Spader’s really good at that and he’s really good at finding the darkness, but also the comedy. The comedy is always a huge thing for me. Tom Hiddleston is hilarious. Hiddleston can turn on a dime, which is my favourite thing. He can be absolutely apocalyptic and then, “Um, point of order?” Ultron has the same thing. He is very different, obviously, in his rhythms and his concepts, but for me it’s a guy who’s that angry and who hates the Avengers that much and is also a robot and is therefore going to have every issue that a robot’s going to have with humanity anyway… there’s a lot to play there. For me, he’s an iconic figure. The powers in comic books – they’re always like, “And then I can reverse the polarity of your ions!” – well, we have to ground things a lot more. With Ultron, we have to make him slightly less omnipotent because he’d win. Bottom line. Also, having weaknesses and needs and foibles and alliances and actually caring what people think of him, all these things, are what make him a character and not just a tidal wave. A movie about a tidal wave can be great, but it’s different than a conflict between one side and the other. When Ultron speaks, he has a point. He is really not on top of the fact that the point he’s making has nothing to do with the fact that he’s banoonoos. And that he hates the Avengers for bringing him into this world, and he can’t really articulate that or even understand how much he hates humanity. He thinks all that. That guy is very fun to write. He combines all the iconic stuff. The powers he has are slightly different – he can control certain things, he’s not just firing repulsors. [Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch] have an origin but it’s largely described. They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running. You don’t want to fall into Spider-Man 3 territory – and I say that as a guy who actually thinks pretty well of that movie, there’s some great stuff in that movie – but there comes a point where you’re overloaded with front story, backstory, origin story and it becomes very hard to juggle. My instinct is always, “Don’t put in more, work with what you have”. But I insisted on putting in more in this movie because I felt I needed more villains. I needed someone for Ultron to talk to, and I need more trouble for the Avengers. As powerful as Ultron is, if he builds more Ultrons, they’re Ultrons. There’s no reason for him to ever to talk to them because they’re him. “I need you to – I KNOW! I AM TOTALLY YOU! I DID IT EARLIER! I know that because I am also me.” That’s not a good conversation. Actually, it sounded pretty good there. I think I’m onto something.  Of all the heat I’ve ever taken, not having Hank Pym was one of the bigger things. But the fact of the matter was, Edgar had him first and by virtue of what Edgar was doing, there was no way for me to use him in this. I also thought it was a bridge too far. Ultron needs to be the brainchild of the Avengers, and in the world of the Avengers and the MCU, Tony Stark is that guy. Banner has elements of that guy – we don’t really think of him as being as irresponsible as Tony Stark, but the motherfucker tested gamma radiation on himself, with really terrible, way-worse-than-Tony-Stark results. It didn’t make sense to introduce a third scientist, a third sciencetician, to do that. It was hard for me, because I grew up on the comics, to dump that, but at the end of the day, it’s a more interesting relationship between Tony and Ultron if Tony was once like, “You know what would be a really great idea?” They’re doing what they always do – which is jump in headfirst, and then go, “Sorry, world!” But you have to make it their responsibility without just making it their fault.

Radio Times reports Ed Whitmore‘s also writing a The Saint reboot. Whitmore says

There is a post-Breaking Bad appetite for morally grey characters. Simon Templar is a kind of Robin Hood figure, he’s timeless

Radio Times also quote Debbie Horsfield, who claims she wants Poldark “to run for as long as six years”:

I’d be doing it for years and years but I love the stories so much.

Thunderbirds reboot Thunderbirds are Go! will be getting a special written by David Baddiel, guest starring Sylvia Anderson as Penelope Creighton-Ward’s great aunt Sylvia. Anderson was the original voice of Creighton-Ward, and this episode will be a reintroduction between her and David Graham, who continues his role as Aloysius Parker.

Citing a Sky Movies interview, Den of Geek quoted Alien 5 screenwriter Neil Blomkamp on the series’ continuity:

I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of Aliens. So it’s Alien, Aliens, this movie. It’s a Freudian kind of nightmare. That element is what is so appealing. It’s a great series, it deserves a proper ending. I know the fans would love that. So I hope it works out.

This move will ignore, and retroactively de-canonise, instalments Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill‘s Alien³ and Joss Whedon‘s Alien: Resurrection.

The 30th Independent Spirit Awards have awarded Best Screenplay to Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler and Best First Screenplay to Justin Simien‘s Dear White People.

Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington‘s Creed has released its synopsis:

Adonis Johnson never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa. Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky down and asks him to be his trainer.  Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend.  Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring. With Rocky in his corner, it isn’t long before Adonis gets his own shot at the title…but can he develop not only the drive but also the heart of a true fighter, in time to get into the ring?

Deadline reports Hampton Fancher and Michael Green have written a Blade Runner sequel, taking place several years after the events of the original, which Fancher co-wrote with David Peoples, with Harrison Ford returning to the role of Deckard.

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Author: alexsigsworth

Basically... run.