It’s pilot happy season, and there have been some casting announcements:
Syfy has added Patrick Fischler (Lost, Once Upon A Time), Zabryna Guevara (Gotham, The Get Down) and Ritchie Coster (The Dark Knight, Blackhat) to the pilot for Happy!, based on the graphic novel from Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson. The show follows Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni, Law & Order: SVU), an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hit man, who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue winged horse.
Fischler will play Smoothie, a well-dressed mob enforcer and sardonic soulless torturer who claims to take a ‘New Age’ approach to his work.
Guevara is playing Amanda Hansen, a single mom facing every mother’s worst nightmare; the disappearance of her young daughter.
Coster is Mr. Blue/Leonardo Scaramucci, the lead villain whose wealth and status as a legitimate businessman in the wine import trade support an increasingly profitable and highly illegal sideline.
In another Marvel pilot, but for Fox, one of our favorites, Amy Acker, fresh off the final season of Person of Interest, will star in the unnamed X-Men-based show written by Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and directed by Bryan Singer. The show focuses on a family of human parents with mutant children, on the run from a mutant-hostile government. Acker will play mother Kate, who is struggling to deal with her separation from her husband Reed (Stephen Moyer, True Blood) and her increasingly challenging teenage children.
Fans of writer Larry Niven have been waiting eons for adaptations of his works, most notably Ringworld, but we’ve had our hopes raised before. So far, the only works of his that have been adapted have been “The Slaver Weapon”, adapted into an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series (as “The Soft Weapon”), and a 1996 episode of The Outer Limits based on “The Inconstant Moon”.
Well, now it appears the latter might get a new adaptation, but this time a bigger one – a full feature film. Fox 2000 has started development on the film in conjunction with Arrival‘s Shawn Levy and his production company 21 Laps. Director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) is attached, with Daniel Casey writing the script. 21 Laps Dan Cohen, Ponsoldt and Created By’s Vince Gerardis will also produce.
“The Inconstant Moon” starts with an apparent brightening of the Moon being observed on Earth. Most simply commented on it being pretty, but the narrator of the story has a dreadful explanation – that while the Sun was shining on the other side of the Earth, it went nova, and the planet has mere hours before it is destroyed.
Hopefully this will give more exposure to Niven’s works, and we can get some Known Space stories soon!
It’s pilot season, and Fox is stacking its superhero deck…the network has ordered with a put commitment an unnamed pilot from 20th TV and Marvel TV for an X-Men-based series that will run in the same universe as sister channel FX’s Legion, which premieres next month. Franchise leader Bryan Singer will executive produce, while Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix will write the script.
The show will follow a family of human parents with mutant children, on the run from a mutant-hostile government. Casting is expected to take place quickly with the pilot order.
Fox already has a Marvel/X-Men-based TV series in production for it’s FX cable network in the form of Legion, but they aren’t standing pat, with comic book series starting to take over the airwaves of broadcast nets…Fox has ordered up a put pilot for another show, untitled at the moment, that will focus on two ordinary parents who discover their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.
The same production team for Legion and the X-Men franchise of Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, and Simon Kinberg will executive produce, along with the Daredevil/Jessica Jones team of Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory. Matt Nix (Burn Notice) is the writer/creator and will also executive produce.
OK, now I’ve got to get caught up on Lucifer, seeing as how my bowling adversary Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica, Ascension) is joining the show as a recurring character for Season 2. Based on the comic book spinoff from The Sandman, the show blends fantasy and police procedural drama where the Lord of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), resigns his throne and heads to LA, where he helps the police punish criminals, partnering with Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German).
Helfer will play Charlotte, who it turns out is the Queen of Angels, but has been trapped in Hell for thousands of years thanks to he ex-husband, God. She’s now free on Earth, and all she says she wants is to be with her sons again. But there may be more to it…
Deadpool shouldn’t be the successful film it is.
Sure, it’s a superhero movie and that’s all the rage. And it’s a Marvel movie at that. And it exists within the X-Men universe (which one isn’t clear, even to the protagonist) and features a couple of them.
But it’s R-rated, with lots of violence, nudity and sexual references, it parodies the genre and itself, makes fun of the star, breaks the fourth wall, it opened mid-winter, the studio cut the budget, it stars the guy who previously played Green Lantern…the list goes on. At best, it could make a moderately-successful movie off of a “puny” (for superhero movies) budget of $58 million. Some of the most generous estimates saw maybe $80 million.
Then WHY is it approaching $250 million this weekend?!? Because it’s a frakkin’ good movie.
From the get go the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. Instead of naming the actors, director, etc. in the opening credits, it does so descriptively; Ryan Reynolds as “God’s perfect idiot”, Morena Bacarrin as “a hot chick”, the producers as “asshats” and the director as an “overpaid idiot” and the writers as the “true heroes of the movie”. This, while Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” is playing, during a slow motion continue shot of what appears to be massive carnage.
The vulgar references are not only keeping with the character, but help keep the focus of the movie light despite the violence. And even the violence is handled with levity.
Deadpool may have shown the studios the true power of social media as well, as even Reynolds campaigned for and championed this movie heavily, while Fox seemed willing to throw it away. Could it have been done PG-13? Sure. But it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.
Deadpool is laugh out loud funny – and it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud. Go see it…but please, leave the 10 year olds at home.
Fox wants to take the X-Men franchise to the small screen, and they’ve found the man to lead them there. Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crowley on Downton Abbey, will take on the title role in the pilot for Legion, based on The X-Men spinoff comic of the same name.
Stevens will play David Haller, the son of Professor Xavier, who has struggled since he was a teen with mental illness. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, David has been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for years. But after a strange encounter with a fellow patient, he’s confronted with the possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees might be real.
Rachel Keller (Fargo) will play Syd, self-sufficient and street-smart who uses her sharp and prickly demeanor to protect her soft core, because even though it makes her a sucker and puts her at risk, she still believes in happily ever after.
Also cast are Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) as Lenny, David’s friend, who despite a life of drugs and alcohol abuse, knows that any day now her life is gonna turn around, which gives Lenny the likeable energy of the impossible optimist despite her rough demeanor; and Jean Smart (Fargo) as Melanie, a nurturing, demanding therapist with a sharp mind and unconventional methods.
Fargo co-creator Noah Hawley wrote the pilot and will executive produce along with X-Men stewards Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg, plus Jeph Loeb for Marvel TV, Jim Chory and John Cameron
Believe it or not…but Fox has given a pilot production commitment for the Greatest American Hero remake – again. Last summer Fox gave a put pilot commitment, but it appears it didn’t take off, much like the main character (sorry…), so they are trying again, this time with Dope‘s Rick Famuyiwa writing and directing. Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Tawnia McKiernan are still executive producing along with Seth Cohen, for 20th Century Fox TV.
The original show followed a teacher (William Katt) who stumbles upon an suit of alien origin that gives the wearer super powers, but he soon loses the instruction manual and struggles to be a superhero while also teaching, and working with his federal agent handler (Robert Culp). A casting director has been hired to find a new lead for the series.
Marvel and Fox (who holds the movie and TV rights to Marvel’s X-Men franchise) are working together on a pair of TV projects based on X-Men characters for two of Fox’s networks.
Legion, based on the character of the same name, has a pilot order from FX. Fargo creator Noah Hawley will write and exec produce. Legion is David Haller, who is in fact the son of Professor Xavier, and has suffered from multiple personality disorder for all his life. But his splintered personalities eventually manifest different mutant abilities.
Hellfire (the working title) is still in development at Fox, and follows a Special Agent that discovers that a woman with uncanny powers is working with a secret society of rich people called the “Hellfire Club” in a plot to take over the world – the same group led by Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class. The show was created by Evan Katz (the 24 franchise), Manny Coto (the 24 franchise), Patrick McKay (Star Trek 3) and JD Payne (Star Trek 3).
The X-Men movie heads Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg will executive produce both series along with Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory from Marvel TV.
Interestingly, neither series will bear the X-Men label, but will be set within the same universe as the movie franchise.
Could this be the final sign that studios are out of original ideas? It’s one thing to want to reboot something that has shown success (Sony is about to embark on it’s third reboot of Spider-Man), but Fox seems set on trying to make gold from lead, this time with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The 2003 film was a critical and box office failure, but it did at least get a cult following, as does the source material from writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O’Neill, which deals with a group of Victorian heroes who band together to help save the world. The characters are taken from various stories of the time: Mina Harker (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Alan Quartermain (H. Rider Haggard’s novels), Captain Nemo (Jules Verne), Doctor Jeckyl (Robert Louis Stevenson), and the Invisible Man (H.G. Wells) (for the 2003 movie, the character was renamed for legal reasons.) It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but it deviated from the source material in terms of the leaders of the group (in the comic/graphic novel, Harker was in charge with Nemo aiding a lot, while the movie it was mostly Quatermain – likely due to Sean Connery – and Tom Sawyer), and overall I think it just dealt with characters that were too unfamiliar to people. Even in the case of Captain Nemo, although in the Verne novels he is an Indian prince, most portrayals were by British or American actors.
I was overall less than impressed with the acting and the visuals, but I do remember the one bright spot was with Tony Curran as Skinner (not THE Invisible Man, but invisible, making a noticeable performance a major feat.) Even Connery permanently retired from acting right afterwards.
Back in 2013 Fox committed to a put pilot (they would have to air the pilot regardless if they pick it up to series, or pay a penalty) for a TV adaptation, but from what I hear the pilot was rejected, and I haven’t seen any sign it will ever air. This movie appears unrelated to the pilot, with a different production team in the form of Ira Napoliello (Mr. Popper’s Penguins) and Matt Reilly, and John Davis (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, I, Robot).