Deeper/Bright

Deadline is reporting that representatives of Mr. Right screenwriter Max Landis are circulating a screenplay titled Deeper. Deadline originally reported word of the screenplay being written on 12th November, initially reporting that it’s to be produced by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice screenwriter David S. Goyer‘s production company. In Deeper, a former astronaut is dispatched to an oceanic trench, the lowest point currently discovered on the surface of the Earth. Once inside the trench, the astronaut finds himself psychologically and physically fighting mysterious forces. But the article dated 30th March 2016 reports that preproduction has now begun, after at least ten million dollars was offered by Goyer. Production reportedly begins next year. On the Screenwriting subreddit, Landis confirmed that Deeper‘s screenplay isn’t being currently made available to read online.

This all comes twelve days after Deadline also reported that Landis had sold a screenplay titled Bright, which was purchsed by Netflix for $3M, one of the highest payments given for a screenplay written on speculation of sale. Bright reportedly is being given the budget of the Men in Black films, and is expected to launch a franchise, despite its expected R rating. Netflix’s $3M was the successful bidder over PalmStar, who reportedly offered $4M. Landis is to share producing credit. Suicide Squad‘s David Ayer is attached to direct. A 2nd March Variety article reports that Bright was inspired by Ayer’s own End of Watch, but set in a world where orcs and fairies live among Humans. The article also reports that Bright won’t be set in the present day. Landis also confirmed on Twitter that Ayer’s rewriting the Bright screenplay:

https://twitter.com/Uptomyknees/status/696779642871545857?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The Bright screenplay is 105 pages long and is currently available to read.

Deeper‘s premise sounds similar to a film Landis pitched on The Schmoes Know Movies Show, which Landis described as not being possible to make or market. If you haven’t watched this pitch, it’s fantastic. Unfortunately, there’s no way for tell you why without ruining the ending:

Landis is represented by Writ Large. Bright‘s sale was represented by William Morris Endeavour.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I won’t go on a rant, because that’s what I’m popular for in some circles. But I do nevertheless have an opinion about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Bruce Wayne is a killer, despite being traumatised by the death of his own parents. He’s not seeking any justice, he’s just an angry psychopath.

Kal-El is killed at the end, because apparently Warner Bros. are bitter about the response to Man of Steel, so have just decided not to do Superman at all.

Diana’s presence is never explained narratively, and is only here for the sake of it, rather than because she’s an actual character.

Other members of the Justice League are seen on screens, in one of the most contrived pieces of franchise-set-up I’ve ever seen come out of Hollywood.

Lex Luthor pissing in a jar is an important plot point.

The problems in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice don’t even need analysing, because they’re presently explicitly. This is a film for people who can’t make those connections themselves based on implications. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t about Kal-El, or Wayne, or Diana. And I’d hesitate to even say it’s adapted from comic books. The worst part is, Warner Bros. aren’t even trying to convince us that’s the case. Nothing here is true to anything, there’s no context to its content. This might just be the laziest big-budget spectacle ever produced. Wayne is a casual killer, because it’s more convenient for the storytelling. The DC logo is presented at the beginning to convince us that these characters are more than just labels added for an attempt at depth. Warner Bros. are only interested in releasing a film with DC characters, but that’s as far as it goes. They simply aren’t committed-enough to do it properly. DC needs to be dark to rival Marvel’s light, so instead they’ll just hire a director who almost completely closes the aperture while characters kill each other aimlessly. They’re a studio of aesthetic, nothing more. But there should be more; a film isn’t dark just because you shamelessly exploit the memory of 9/11. And the worst part of it is, I can’t fall to either side. This is straight down the middle. There’s very little to review – and that’s the real failure. Hopefully I’ll be able to forget about it. Snyder has said everything he wants to say about these characters, to the point of exhaustion. So there’s nothing I can say about them that hasn’t already been said everywhere else. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – a film featuring characters called Kal-El and Bruce Wayne, and Diana is there because reasons.

(Link) Deadpool by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Deadpool was first in development in 2004, when David S. Goyer was working on the screenplay. Goyer then declared on a message board that he’d decided to move-on to other projects. On 5th January 2010, progress had been made toward a Deadpool feature, with Variety reporting that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had been hired. Resse and Wernick were reportedly enthusiastic to be accurate to the Deadpool character.

On 22nd July 2010, Music Television reported from San Diego Comic Con International that director Robert Rodriguez had been sent a copy:

They sent me a script to read, I’ve been really swamped with this other stuff. So whether or not I would help develop or not is the question right now. It was really good. It wasn’t supposed to be sent out, it was one of those early drafts. I got an early sneak peek at it.

In further drafts, the characters Cannonball and Garrison Kane were omitted – Garrison Kane for the high-budget requirements of his metal arms, and Cannonball over worries that he’d be an unpopular character. Wyre was due to appear as an antagonist, but was also removed. Cable was initially considered to be included, but was decided to work better in a future film. At least one draft of the screenplay was leaked on Slide Share, and is now available to view.

Chronicle — motion picture review

Written by Max Landis.

In writing Chronicle, Landis has created the film character I personally find the most relatable. Andrew Detmer is an enclosed, anti-social school student with power fantasies and inappropriate sexual desires. There’s even a scene where, with his newly-found telekinetic powers, he accidentally spunks all over a girl. It goes in her hair, everywhere.

When people talk about “superheroes” – or in this case, just people with advanced capabilities – they often talk about the dark side. People say Jennifer Lee‘s Frozen is about the dark side of having superpowers, or that David S. Goyer‘s Man of Steel was trying too hard to be. But just because a story explores the dark side of abilities, that doesn’t mean they’re actually showing us the darker side of that character. People only think they are, because often characters become defined by what they do. Instead, what Landis and Fantastic Four director Josh Trank do is to introduce us to this corrupt Hobbit of a teenager, and then put him in a situation where you know he’s going to become upgraded. This isn’t as if Peter Park decides to use his identity as Spider-Man to help people, and then in the third act, the dark side of his powers start to show – instead, we’re shown how truly disturbed this person is, so that it becomes ironic and dangerous for him to then be blessed with the power of flight. Rather than seeing his development into a supervillain, you can already see that he’s one cliched lab accident away from actually being one to start with, which makes the story less a tragedy and more of a sick comedy, as if the situation happened to the wrong person. Fate was aiming for the school photographer, but instead it accidentally zapped Lex Luthor, if you look past Dane DeHaan also being Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Alex KurtzmanRoberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner). If only he could spunk into my hair, too…

There’s a tradition of “superhero” films (although there’s some debate about whether this is one of them) entering a revisionist “post-comic” era, where characters are dark and realistic. And gritty. The problem with this is that they end up doing what Arrow does – taking on a certain style as to appear dark and gritty, but actually just being a bit pretentious. Storytelling is about the mind, and its condition, and what some people are capable of if they’re given the right circumstance. Rather than shoot everything at night in the rain and have the characters talk in muffled voices, instead the first act decides to just establish who they are. So before anything even really happens, we can see the world as being set-up to be three different worlds for each character, before bringing them into the same story and following each of them to see what happens. It’s like a scientific experiment, but without the need to have any actual scientific experiments.

Yes, parts of it are very dark. But that isn’t brought across in the visual style or by having Michael Caine explain the themes of the story in one monologue instead of threading it into that story, it comes from within. When Detmer starts pulling someone’s teeth out and dismembering a fly, and crushing a car, it’s personal actions he chooses to take. But they make sense, because we already know who he is. This is not an origin story. Origin stories are about how aliases come to exist, using characters as conduits for them. This is about taking three different characters from three different worlds and inserting the element of the “superhero” genre and seeing where that takes them. The realism is only there because it is, and not because it’s trying to hail a renaissance in filmmaking. The found footage concept – Trank’s idea – does contribute to the story in an atmospheric way. It makes it more grounded, so the style doesn’t have to be forged.

And yet, Chronicle‘s real triumph is the way it makes you wish you could unleash you inner supervillain. Torturing defenceless creatures and blowing a cheerleader’s skirt over her hair – tell me you too haven’t fantasised about these things. Were I to acquire those abilities, I’d probably make creepy videos of me showing my tooth collection, too. I’d put them next to the dead months on my windowsill. Seriously, if I had X-ray vision… damn. I’d be a twenty-four hour tripod, undressing people with my eyes. What I suppose I’m trying to say is that Andrew comes from a place deep inside us, a force within, that nature wants to unleash. He’s the Human condition, the primal instinct to survive. And he’ll commit any unorthodox acts to do so, because that’s just the advantage he has.

Apart from the shitty domestic background, I so wish I could be like Andrew Detmer…